“Remus, are you not going to try and stop this? Are you honestly going to allow them to do this?”
“Sirius I told you I-”
“I thought you were supposed to be in charge!”
“Me? In charge of them? Now you’re being daft, I told-”
“Tell them no!” Sirius’ voice raised and he stomped his foot slightly, throwing his hands up in frustration. Remus stared at him with an amused look for a moment before shaking his head with a smirk.
“If you’d let me finish my sentence, I already told you, telling them no is useless.” He informed the other, who was honestly currently acting like a toddler who didn’t get his way.
“Not useless, just tell them no.” Sirius barked back tossing himself into the armchair beside Remus, glaring angrily at the spot on their usually crowded coffee table that James had cleaned off that morning.
“Useless.” Remus repeated, looking back down at his book that he had been trying to read for what felt like months.
“No, if you just tell them no then-”
“Sirius! I told you! No does not work for them. No matter what we say, it won’t matter at this point. If we tell them not too, James will certainly respond by immediately buying the fish. If we tell them they can buy it, then Lily will take that as an invitation to buy the fish. The way this flat is run, the fish will most likely be gone and forgotten by Monday, so I say let it be.” Remus explained to a sullen looking Sirius.
“But I don’t want a fish...” He muttered, his head falling back so he could stare up dramatically at the ceiling. “If I can’t have a dog, they shouldn’t be allowed to have a stupid fish. Fish serve no purpose besides a nice dinner.” Remus snorted at that, rolling his eyes.
“No we can’t have a dog because the landlady doesn’t want big pets and you refuse to even look at small ones.” Sirius opened his mouth to argue, but was interrupted by the sound of their front door opening.
“We’re home!” Lily’s voice rang high through the small apartment, “And we brought a friend!”
“More like foe..” Remus shot him one last look before standing up to go look at whatever monstrosity James pestered Lily into buying.
The man in question entered the room, Lily in tow, and he lifted into the air a small bag that held a single goldfish. Remus stopped in his tracks, pleasantly surprised that the bag didn’t contain a shark, or a piranha or something equally awful.
“Oh. Well. Look at that.” Remus grinned, throwing a look back at Sirius, “What’s his name.”
“Dick!” James announced proudly, causing Remus to flush and cross his arms, giving Lily a look of mild shock.
“Come on James, don’t be crude..” He chastised. James shook his head, grin not wavering for even a moment.
“Mind out of the gutter mate, I meant like Moby Dick. The muggle book about the whale. Dick for short.” James explained as Lily brought two plastic shopping bags over to the coffee table, sitting down to unpack their new room mate’s home.
Lily began to set up the tank, and the filter while James searched the kitchen for a bowl or something to put the fish in while he waited. Sirius continued to stare suspiciously at Lily. Remus took his seat back on the sofa and opened his book up once more. All was silent for about two minutes, before a glass shattering in the kitchen caused everyone’s head to snap up.
Lily was up in a second, dashing into the kitchen to check on her boyfriend and pet, and Remus wasn’t far behind her, making sure what was broken wasn’t something important.
James was sitting on the floor, cradling the bag of water to him, a wine glass in pieces beside him. Lily went to his side and Remus merely looked at his friend genuinely and thoroughly confused.
“What the hell mate?” he asked, letting out a disappointed sigh.
“I was trying to get one of the bowls from the top self and Dick here nearly got knocked off the table by.. I don’t know, a breeze, and I knocked the glass over when I saved his life Remus.”
“So you broke one of four of our wine glasses to catch a fish you knocked over.”
“You can’t out a price on Dick’s life Remus!” James scoffed, allowing Lily to take the fish from his hands to go and release into the newly set up tank. When Lily disappeared Sirius appeared in the doorway, a small smirk on his lips as he looked at the shattered glass that needed cleaning.
“Have fun cleaning that up.” He smirked, looking at James with a smug look, James huffed rolling his eyes and took his wand from his back pocket to clean the glass.
Dick was here, and here to stay. And that first broken glass merely marked the beginning of all of the trouble he would be known for in the coming months.
“Do you think if I flushed him James would even notice?”
“I honestly don’t understand your fixation with the damn fish, he’s not a cat, he’s not making any messes, he’s just swimming around minding his business.”
“I didn’t ask if he was minding his business, I asked if you thought James would even notice if Dick took the adventure of his lifetime into the London sewers.” Remus chuckled slightly and Lily turned her head to shoot daggers at Sirius.
“Don’t you dare lay a finger on the fish Sirius Black or I will have your head on a platter.” She threatened pointing a finger at the man who was peering disgusted into the bowl that still remained on their once again cluttered coffee table.
“It’s been nearly two months.. Remus told me he’d be sick of the fish in less than a week.” He argued.
“Yes well Remus isn’t always right, now is he?” Lily snapped, causing Remus to let out a disgruntled ‘oi’ but Lily completely ignored him, “This is James’ fish. James has been taking care of him, quite well I may add. I rarely need to remind him to feed him anymore. James would be devastated if you flushed him. So back off Black.”
“Lily,” Remus began tentatively, “While we all agree it’s nice to see the.. motherly side of James, you do have to admit he’s become far too attached to something that isn’t going to last more than a few months best case scenario.”
“I don’t think he’s too attached, I-”
“Lily, he took a bath with him yesterday. Put him in a little bowl of water and set him right on the side of the tub. Sang to him too.” Sirius informed her, going to curl up in the arm chair that was closest to their little fire place. Lily sat for a moment before looking at Remus.
“Oh no is right.” Remus nodded, head dropping down so he could continue the same book he had been reading when they got Dick.
“He’s going to be a mess.”
“He’s... He’s going to be crushed!”
“Oh God we screwed up.”
“We?” Sirius snorted. “You. You let him get it, if he freaks out when nature takes it’s course, you get to handle him.”
“Handle who?” James asked, stepping into their small sitting room hair wet from his evening shower. “Is Remmy being mean again? I told you we needed to keep him off the sofa. Let them on the sofa and they think they own the damn place.” James teased, standing behind the sofa and ruffling Remus’ hair.
Lily stood up giving the other two boys a firm look before grabbing James’ arm and tugging him towards their shared bedroom.
“Come on, I want to talk to you.” She smiled kindly, bringing a confused looking James out of earshot of his two best idiots.
Moments passed and only silence came from their room. Sirius tapped his hand on the arm of the chair impatiently and Remus strained to hear anything that might indicate how their little talk was going. Suddenly the door banged open and James stormed out. He stomped into the sitting room and grabbed Dick’s tank off the coffee table giving his “best mates” a dirty look.
“We are going for a walk. We will be back when you lot learn to.. to appreciate your friends!” He huffed before storming off out of the flat. Lily slowly came out of their room looking guilty. She stared into space for a moment before giving a sheepish smile.
“Okay... So.. Maybe the fish was a bad idea.”
“You think?” Sirius snorted, feeling mildly pleased by the unfolding chaos.
“Some people watch history, some people make history. Our beloved friend and room mate, Moby Dick, I would say made history in and through his life and contribution to the kingdom of God.” James spoke his voice was soft but it did not waiver.
“I can not believe we are doing this. Is he seriou-ouch!” Sirius was cut off by Remus elbowing him in the side. They all currently stood around the toilet in their small flat wearing their finest clothes as James read to them from a piece of paper, trying not to look up into anyone’s eyes, or down at the final resting place of his friend.
“We laughed, we cried, we fought, and laughed again. I can go on for hours talking about the kind of person he was but, I think many of you here already know. Dick was the friendliest, sweetest, most comprehensive, and humble fish I ever met in my life. Always worrying about the welfare of others. Even Sirius, who hated him.” James continued, his voice starting to become slightly higher pitched. Lily put her arm around him giving him a small squeeze.
“I honestly can not believe he’s giving a eulogy to a fish, Remus this is-”
“Beautiful.” Remus finished for him, “Now shut up please.”
“This morning, I woke up to some terrible news. My beloved Lily, woke up to find Dick passed peacefully during his sleep. I don’t know why you had to... to go today, but you did, and now it’s time for you to rest your little fins for a change.” James sniffled but remained as composed as possible. Lily however was beginning to tear up at his words.
“I’ve never met someone as equally impressive, smart and grounded as Dick. Dick was a sensitive fish, but he would not want us to cry over his departure. I will now read to you a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye that truly sums up how Moby Dick would be feeling right now...
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Dick, you lived only a short time here in this flat but I know in these few months you touched all of our lives. You lived more in these short hours then many fish do in years of swimming.. You were brave, and kind, and I will miss you. Goodnight.” James reached his hand out and pulled the handle down watching the water begin to swirl and disappear carrying his friend with the current.
After the sound of the toilet flushing faded everyone stood still in complete silence for a few moments, all trying to hide their wet eyes from each other. Final Sirius was the one to speak up, clapping his best mate on the back.
“Nice speech there James.. Uh, Well. Dick will sure be missed. The flat will feel a lot emptier without him.” James nodded his head. “Do you want to take the bowl outside for you?” He asked gently.
“No. I was just thinking of going to the shop and getting a new fish.” James admitted sniffling.
“No no no no. No! No we are not doing this every other month! Dogs die die bimonthly!” Sirius shouted.
“Padfoot!” James shouted pushing past Remus to follow his mate, “Let’s talk about this like adults!”
“No more pets.” Remus stated looking at Lily.
“God. No. No more pets.” She agreed.That week the fish bowl was replaced by a water dish for Sirius’ new friend, “Padfoot Jr.”