Chapter 9 - Not all the Bulls are in China Shops

A.N: Sorry about the long delay. I'm back now, with no more summer classes, vacations or excessive amounts of yard work to do.

Thank you to the readers and reviewers of this story! Special thanks to Cindy who came up with the amusing ways in which Sirius and James could get in trouble. And special thanks also to Miri for being my wonderful beta.


"Ouch! That hurt!" Sirius jumped back several feet from the chrome object. The stainless steel, three pronged instrument he was holding dropped to the floor, "Why'd it do that?"

Lily was laughing too hard to explain, and James and Peter were just as confused as Sirius. So, naturally it was left to Remus to explain the subtle workings of a toaster and the more basic rule of 'don't stick a metal object in an electrical appliance. In other words 'Don't stick a fork in a toaster.'

The seventh years had been given the day off while their teachers marked their mock NEWTs. Lily had wanted to visit her parents and sister, while Remus needed to pick up some stuff in Muggle London. Naturally, the remaining three had tagged along. Lily had arrived home to find that her parents had gone out and left a note on the table.

The note had mentioned something about Petunia needing stitches after a small accident with a paring knife and they doubted that they would be back until after the teens returned to Hogwarts. Lily's mom also expressed sadness that she could not meet Lily's boyfriend. As Lily read the note, Sirius attempted to discover the mysteries of the toaster, James had been fascinated by the telly and Peter warily stuck his head in the fridge.

"Will it do that again?" Sirius inquired as he picked the fork off the floor and advanced on the hapless toaster again. Lily and Remus lunged for him as soon as they realized that he intended to put the fork in the toaster again. "Ouch! How many times will it do that before… heh…what if I put it in that thing!" Sirius pointed at a light socket. Remus jumped on his friend and Lily sat on Sirius's back when he hit the ground.

Speaking slowly as though she was talking to an extremely dense child (Sirius was not a child but the density of his skull was often called into question), "If you stick the fork into the electrical socket you will look like you have been stuck by lightning. Unlike lightning, this is not an instantaneous experience. The electricity will continue to burn through you, and anyone who touches you, until we get sick enough of the smell of burning flesh that we hit you with a wooden board so that you fall over and away from the electricity. And you will be unable to move during the entire experience."

Sirius, of course, had more questions. Lily finally got sick of them and marched Sirius and Peter to the couch to join James, who was staring avidly at the television screen. He turned to face Lily, "What is this…"

Lily glared at him, "Star Trek. Now shut up"

James looked back at the screen, "What are the people with the bumps on their heads?"

Lily didn't even look at him, "Klingons. I told you to shut up"

Remus looked around, "We can't Floo back to the school until five o'clock, which means we have four hours to…keep these three out of trouble. Oh, and I need to visit the grocery to pick up some crisps and soda; I promised Emma that I would bring some back for her. You said you needed to visit the bookstore to pick up some new books. I really don't want to take these three out…"

James glared, "We are not untrained puppies…"

Lily interrupted him, "I am not leaving them here. I know that Peter will leave nothing in the fridge and James will spend the next eight hours watching the television, but Sirius…I mean the blender-"

Sirius interrupted, "What's a blender? It sounds fun!"

Lily kept on going, "Long distance calls, -"

Remus started his own list "Them on the subway, -"

"Them in a Muggle suburb-"

"Cross-walks and traffic lights-"

"The typewriter upstairs-"

"Elevators, escalators-"

"THE BLENDER…Sirius putting things in the blender…WITHOUT SUPERVISION!"

Remus stopped talking, "Oh Merlin! You don't have any pet goldfish, do you?"

"I do, and I want them to stay alive."

"Fine, we'll take them into London."

The bus into downtown went fine. The questions about the differences between a red bus and the purple Knight bus were easy and quickly dealt with. Lunch was at a small pub that was nearly identical to the ones in Hogsmead and Sirius only sat and sulked when he was denied whisky because he had was too young. Of course, the slap across the head by Lily might have also minimized the fuss that he made. Lily's stop at a small bookstore was perfectly mundane since they all knew about non-moving pictures, even that question was avoided.

Remus and Lily got progressively more and more apprehensive as the day went on. Both of them knew that something bad was going to happen. It just had to.

It happened at the grocery, which was a big chain grocery with what seemed like endless aisles and lights. The three purebloods were quickly herded to the isle containing the soda and crisps. Remus reached for a couple bottles of root beer when he heard an enormous bang and lots of little snaps. He turned around to see that James had stepped on a bag and that he looked overjoyed, "It sounds great. Lets break another one!" and before Lily could stop him James had dropped another bag on the floor and jumped on it. Little flakes of fried and salted potatoes flew everywhere.

Sirius grabbed his own bag, "I can make a better explosion," and he jumped on three bags at once. In complete shock, Remus dropped the soda bottles he was holding and they exploded on the floor.

James looked at the foamy brown liquid, running down the aisle carrying away the crisps, "I remember those, if you shake them and open the bottle they explode!" and he then proceeded to demonstrate.

As he was reaching for another handful of bags and bottles, Remus grabbed his shirt collar, "That is food. Not firecrackers. That is the manager of the store," he pointed, "he is a bit mad. You are going to be in a lot of trouble."

Just before the manager reached the four boys, Lily stepped in front of him. Noticing that he was nearly turning purple, she gave a little smile of apology, "I am so sorry, they are the children of some missionaries from….from… Uruguay. This is their first trip into civilization. We'll pay for the crisps and soda. I promise."

She grabbed James' arm, "Come on Jamie. Let's go pay for your little mess. Did you get everything you needed Ryan? Good. Come on Pete, Seamus. Let's go!"

They marched up to the till with the manager in tow. The manager explained to the cashier that they owed the store for five bags of crisps and three bottles of root beer that they had destroyed and left.

"What is that?" Peter pointed at the cash register.

The cashier looked at him. "Are you from Nigeria too?"

They all looked blank.

"We had some people in here yesterday from Nigeria, said they were missionary's children. They were fascinated by the cash register. I had to explain everything to them. Not that I minded. The blond one was dreamy. He said his name was Lucian or something like that. Where are you from?"

Lily looked at the others…Lucian? "Oh, they're from Uruguay."

The cashier smiled tolerantly as Lily shoved the boys outside. After walking some distance away from the store, James stopped and turned around, "Why was Lucius slumming?"

As no one had an answer to that question and since they were all due back at the Leaky Cauldron in an hour, they walked down the street, pausing to window shop, but they did not actually enter any stores.

Remus bent over to whisper something in Lily's ear and she started laughing.

James turned around, "What are you whispering to my girlfriend?"

Remus smirked, "Oh, just commenting that it's good we're not going into any china shops since you could definitely give a bull a run for its money."