The Sugar Quill
Author: Jack Ichijouji (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Hard Day's Night  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A Hard Day's Night


Disclaimer: The characters described in this work of pure, uncut brilliance are not the property of Jack Ichijouji, although they should be, since JK Rowling has the miraculous ability to write her own characters out-of-character. What was once a logical impossibility becomes absolute truth. It must be true, the Internet told me so.


Also the title is not mine, as it belongs to the Beatles, who are awesome.


Sirius and James were having a non-verbal conversation as they walked together towards the Forbidden Forest. It had to be non-verbal so that Filch, great pile of slime that he was, didn't decide to use what little power he had to assign more detention.


The conversation mostly involved elbows, as James was a skinny lad and had a fair amount of elbow to go around. Eventually one of the thuds against Sirius' chest was loud enough to cause Filch to turn around--he regarded them suspiciously, but then, he always did.


"Ooh, yes," Filch was saying, with his usual sadistic glee at the thought of punishment. "You boys are in for a special treat today. Not often you go into the Forbidden Forest for detention, no. Hear there's werewolves in there, just waiting for a snack."


Hagrid's hut wasn't too far away, but Filch was none too happy to be letting them get on with their detention, so he slowed his pace. This wasn't unnoticed by Hagrid, who walked up to meet them. "All right there, lads?"


"This is meant to be a punishment, Hagrid," said Filch, in the voice one uses to speak to a child. Or to terrify it, in Filch's case.


"An' yer meant ter be leadin' 'em here, not torturin' 'em with yer company," replied Hagrid. "Let's go then, Potter, Black."


As Filch walked back to the castle, muttering, Hagrid picked up his lantern and surreptitiously (or as surreptitiously as one can when one is larger than reason allows) grabbed his umbrella, and led the way into the forest. "So what'd yeh do this time?" he asked as soon as Filch was out of earshot.


"That's hardly fair," Sirius objected. "We were unjustly prosecuted because of our heritage."


"Oh?"


"If we'd have been Muggle-born, we could have got away with it. At least avoided detention. But no, James 'Four-Generations-Back' Potter and Sirius of the House of Black get punished." He didn't sound particular bitter, and spoke as if he were pointing out an interesting fact.


"So what was it yeh did?" Hagrid persisted.


James sighed. "Do you know Bertram Aubrey? I think he's a Ravenclaw, about two meters of ugly?"


"No."


"Well, we hexed him. Made his head grow really big." James held his arms out to demonstrate how big. "And our foul luck that McGonagall saw us do it."


"Old Sluggy would've let us off once we told him why," added Sirius.


"An' why'd yeh hex him?"


Sirius, for the first time in the conversation, expressed an emotion other than indifference. "He called me... a name. You know. The m-word."


"M-word?"


Sirius didn't say anything and shook his head in a manner that indicated he wasn't about to. James, with a look of disgust, said, "He called him a Mudblood." He said the last word in a whisper.


"He didn'! Wait, but yeh're--"


"We don't think he knew what it meant," explained James.


"Yes, yes," said Sirius impatiently. "But it's a damn nasty word to call a person, and he knew that much, at least."


"Hmm. Anyway, yeh're out here fer detention, so let's get to it." They were rather deep into the forest by now, further than James and Sirius had ever been--on two legs, anyway. "Flitwick's doin' charms fer things that're already magical, so he wants a few unicorn hairs. I got a couple in me hut, but that's not enough fer all his classes."


"If you need a unicorn, what's the point in bringing us?" asked James. "They only come up to virgin girls, don't they?"


"We should've brought Lily then," whispered Sirius. James responded wittily with a sharp elbow to the chest.


"Nah, we don' need unicorns," said Hagrid. "The hairs'll do, yeh see. Yeh can find 'em tangled on branches an' what have yeh. It's not hard work, but it'll take yeh a while in the dark."


"'You?'" repeated James. "You're not staying with us?"


"O' course I am! But it's yer punishment, innit? I'll be 'round, so don' be slackin' off." He added this last part to Sirius, who had his wand in his nose.


"There's a perfectly good explanation for this," Sirius said defensively.


"There always is," said James as Hagrid left, presumably to find a place to make sure Sirius and James weren't slacking off.


James and Sirius began their search, running the light of their wands along branches and bushes where unicorns might have gotten caught. "I don't see why you had to bring up that thing about Lily," said James.


"Oh, come on, Prongs, it was a joke. Lily doesn't even mind when I make them."


---


"Cotton or lace?" asked Sirius.


"What about them?"


"Which do you think Lily prefers? Knicker-wise?"


James goggled. Then he decided he wasn't doing a good enough job of it and put his glasses on to goggle again. "I am not answering that. You are not thinking about it. This is not a thing to be spoken of."


"Because lace is sexy, of course, but Lily has that good-girl charm that makes cotton all that much better," continued Sirius, delighting in James' discomfort.


"Sirius, no. Bad Sirius. Stop talking."


"Oi! Lily! Come over here and tell us about your underwear!" called Sirius. A few Gryffindors turned to look at Sirius, but most were too used to him by now to bother.


"Maybe later!" she replied.


---


"Yes, but she has a sense of humor about her underwear, something that I lack. Got one!" James added the last sentence hanging from a tree as he reached for a tangled hair in a higher branch. "How'd it get up here, I wonder."


"The wind probably blew it," Sirius said dismissively. He was having little luck with the stupid detention. "Why didn't you just Summon it?"


"Because I'd have had to put my light out, and then I would have fallen out of the tree, and then I would have died. And all this before answering the lace-versus-cotton conundrum."


"Whatever happened to 'I don't have a sense of humor about Lily's underwear,' eh?" asked Sirius.


"Who's joking? If I die before making it past the Skirt Defenses of the Valley of Sex, I'm going to be bloody pissed off."


They passed a few minutes in relative silence, aside from the occasional grunt of effort in reaching for what might have been a unicorn hair, and a groan of disappointment when it turned out to be a trick of the light or a strange fungus or, in one interesting case, a tuft of werewolf fur.


"I wonder why old Filch was trying to scare us with werewolves," Sirius said. "It's not like we haven't studied them. And also live with one."


"Maybe he doesn't know about Remus," James suggested.


"How would he like that, knowing the only werewolf in a hundred miles is probably up in the tower right now trying to decide whether or not a coffee-flavored sugar quill will keep him up all night?"


---


On the one hand, Remus thought, it's the only one I have left. On the other hand, if I eat it, I probably won't be able to sleep. But if I don't eat it and I know it's there, I definitely won't be able to sleep.


Remus resisted the urge to pace and continued staring into his trunk. If I give it to Peter, I'll be able to sleep, but he won't. That wouldn't be fair.


Stupid sweets addiction, why do you plague me so?


---


"How do you know?"


"I ate his last chocolate one before we left." Sirius slipped another hair in his pocket with a silent Yes!


"You're a monster."


"My blood sugar was low!"


"Your blood blood is low, you chocolate fiend."


It was about half an hour, or five hairs later when Sirius said, "I didn't steal it, you know."


"What?"


"The quill. I didn't steal it, he said I could have it."


"I didn't mean that monster comment, Padfoot."


"I know. I just wanted to point out the fact that I am not a thief." He paused. "Although I would make a sexy one."


"You're insane."


"I could be Robin Hood and you could be Little John, and we'd steal from Snape. It'd be brilliant."


"Nice. Who'd be Marion, then?"


Sirius thought for a moment as he ran the light from his wand over a nearby rough rock. "Jessica Lapin," he decided.


---


"I don't see the fuss you and the others make about Jessica Lapin," said Remus as they walked to Defense Against the Dark Arts. "I mean, she's cute and all, but hardly what I'd call the ideal mate."


"Remus, my friend, have you seen her... lips? They're gorgeous!" Peter answered. He then fell into a daze as his mind redirected itself towards her.


"Lips or no, there's something off about her. Perhaps her hair is too dark."


Sirius snorted. "She's a redhead, Remus. If she got any lighter she'd be... pink. Would you like a girlfriend with pink hair?"


"Maybe!"


---


"Lovely choice. Not that I'm to have any opinion on the matter, mind you."


"Completely off the record. How long have we been here?"


James looked at his wrist. "I don't know, my watch got hit with a Bludger, and hasn't worked since. What about you?"


"I had a Muggle watch to annoy my parents at home, but it didn't work when I got here. I imagine it's still up in my trunk reporting that the time is beer o'clock."


"That's a shame. I'm sure Hagrid hasn't forgotten about us though."


Sirius wasn't listening, but thinking. "Since when have you played Quidditch?"


James goggled some more. Knowing Sirius had made him a world champion goggler, the likes of which people name awards after. He could have swept the James Potter Goggling Awards (Prongsies) with this look alone. "What do you mean, since when have I played Quidditch? I've always played Quidditch. Since second year or so. It's my one true love." Sirius gave him a look as if to ask What about Lily? "You heard me!"


"I have never seen you play a game of Quidditch ever."


"You always have detention. I, on the other hand, am a glorious angel for two weeks leading up to every Gryffindor Quidditch game. I have a schedule of goodness over my bed."


"Ah! I knew yeh'd have summat like that," said a booming voice, making Sirius and James jump. "Yeh wandered quite a bit from where I left yeh, but yer all right." Hagrid emerged from the darkness with a couple of hairs in his fist. "How many'd yeh find?"


Sirius held up six, James seven. Hagrid counted them together and did a little arithmetic in his head. "That'll be 'bout thirty, with the ones in me hut. I guess yeh can go back to the castle now, but don' yeh be cursin' people anymore." He waved the obligatory finger at James and Sirius. "Foul-mouthed and deservin' as they migh' be."


---


Almost to Gryffindor Tower, Sirius started again. "Everyone has had the conversation at some point, James. You just have to wonder, cotton or lace?"


"Not everyone has this conversation, Padfoot."


---


"Does James wear boxers or briefs, do you think?"


"I'm not telling you what I think or what I may or may not have seen, Hannah. Go away."


"Come on, Lily, it's just something to wonder."


---


"Well, anyone worth talking to does."


Oh, they're wacky. Or possibly zany, I can never decide which.


And since you asked for it! Well, no, I suppose you didn't ask for it, but since you didn't beg me not to (and therefore it is all your fault!)


"Harry, do you think Hermione favors lace or cotton knickers?"


"Shut up, Ron."


"You're thinking lace too?"


"Yes, but I can't for the life of me think of why. Now never speak of this again."


Yes, Harry and Ron are worth talking to.

//
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