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Dog Days of Summer (2006)

Chapter Text

"Today," Remus' mum says.

The heat is heartless and thorough, beating the dry, red earth until it cracks under the weight of the swelter, smothering the plants and flowers until their leaves crisp and their petals wither and bleach. But the air is pregnant, almost stagnant; it buzzes in Sirius' ears, hisses and snaps like the crackle of pent-up magic.

"Today," she says again. Her words carry a sense of finality that tells Sirius he's witnessing a kind of magic he doesn't understand, a kind of magic that has nothing to do with spells and wands.

She pulls the laundry from the line stretched between the two skeleton-like trees that guard the back garden, charms closed the chinks in the walls that at night have let in the summer's stifling excuse for a breeze.

Remus takes her strange prediction and behaviour in his stride, and he helps her lay a faded tarp across a hole in the barn roof. He pulls Sirius around the back of the house, but Sirius is confused, after a few quick kisses, when Remus points him to a stack of firewood.

"Remus, it's bloody hot enough!" Sirius complains.

"It's not for a fire," Remus says patiently. "This bit's what didn't fit in the shed. It needs to be put in the house, so it doesn't get wet."

"Wet?"

"Today," Remus says, with his mother's ominous tone. "Just you watch. She's never been wrong."

The sky bursts like an overripe melon just as the sun dips below the horizon. The rain doesn't fall, it attacks, careening down in fat drops that batter everything in their path. Sirius is outside when it starts, because he wouldn't listen, because the hot stillness of the tiny farmhouse had been too much for him to bear.

"I told you," Remus says. The water soaks his hair, and it sticks to his forehead in thick strands. "She's never been wrong."

Sirius doesn't understand, but he doesn't think he's meant to. It's a different kind of magic -- farmer's magic and old wives' magic -- the kind of magic his family has never even heard of.