Day 12

Title: Day 12
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG
Pairing: Remus/Snape
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my 'verse. I don't get paid a cent to play. Please don't sue and make things worse.
Summary: Snape is sick and miserable, but at least he's alone.
Note: Part of the 12 Ficlets in 12 Days project 2011-2012. Requested by L


Day 12

Snape refolded his handkerchief again, searching for a dry spot. Using a damp portion against his already sore nose did more damage than not using a handkerchief at all. If he’d felt better, he would have remembered to have used a spell to keep the handkerchief dry while he used it. But, then again, if he’d felt better, he wouldn’t need to use it at all.

ah…” Giving up his search, Snape lifted his head and patiently waited for another sneeze to come. “ahhh… HUHShhhh!” He felt the spray fall against his hands and winced. That was not an acceptable solution.

Snape gathered his bathrobe around himself, pulling the knot tight at his waist, and summoned all his strength to rise from the armchair. Stepping even just a few feet away from the fire made him shiver. He gritted his teeth to keep them from chattering. His nose was too stuffed up to properly say the spell he needed to evaluate his status and see how high his temperature was, but even without it he was sure he was running some sort of a fever.

Snape mounted the stairs of his house with some difficulty. Even as a boy, they’d seemed too narrow for him. But now he was glad for it, because he maintained a firm grip on the banister while leaning on the wall for support. He felt more and more dizzy the further up he went. But somehow he stumbled into his bedroom.

The bed was unmade, sheets rumpled, pillows strewn about. Both nightstands were piled high with items that needed to be easily accessible. Snape frowned at the bar of chocolate on one and the package of condoms on the other. Then he turned his back on both and headed for his dresser. Ever since he’d made some room in it, it was harder to find what he wanted, but that would soon be remedied. He opened the second drawer from the top and began rooting around inside it. It was mostly socks and underwear, neither of which he wanted. Though, actually, his feet were freezing. Snape stuffed an extra pair of socks into the pocket of his bathrobe. He continued feeling around inside the drawer.

He had already checked there twice for clean handkerchiefs, but to no avail either time. If there were some, they weren’t there. He checked the drawer beneath and the one beneath that, coming up empty after each. Snape stopped short of checking the top drawer. With his stuffed up nose, it probably wouldn’t be too bad, but he couldn’t bring himself to even slide his hand over the iron hardware to pull the drawer open.

Feeling his nose wanting to run, Snape did the only thing he could do, which was sniff. He detested the sound and the action; he’d been teased plenty in his youth and the nickname ‘Snivel us’ was not a fond one.  His nose never seemed so big as when he had a bad head cold. It was hardly possible to keep it in check, even with an infinite supply of properly treated handkerchiefs. He drew the line at wiping his nose on his sleeve like so many of his students did when they had unbearably runny noses. He might feel entirely miserable, but he wasn’t that far gone.

Not yet, at least.

Snape nearly tripped on a bit of the comforter from the bed as he turned to leave the room. He bent down, head giving a protesting throb as he did so, and retrieved it. He collected it up, even though it was at least five times his size, and somehow wrapped it around himself. With thick fabric and down feathers inside, it was heavy. But heavy meant warm and wonderful and he smiled again, even as he sniffed again.

He trudged back down the hallway, letting part of the comforter trail behind him. He almost lost his footing near the bottom of the stairs, but he threw his arm out to brace himself. And though the comforter fell from his shoulders, he remained in place. And he was re-ensconced in its warmth by the time he made it down to the kitchen.

He almost didn’t want to use the new teakettle, but he accepted its help when the old one failed to heat without the proper spell; it was too old and beaten up to accept his nonverbal commands. The new one, on the other hand, sung delightfully to indicate that the water was boiling hot. Snape let his tea steep for a little while to increase the flavor then took some with him back to his living room.

The fire was less roaring when he returned to it, but that was nothing another log and some poking at it couldn’t fix quickly enough. With it crackling in front of him, the massive comforter eclipsing  him in the chair so that only his hands and head were visible, extra socks on his feet, and a steaming mug of herbal tea, Snape couldn’t remember a time when he had felt so warm and content.

No. No, that was a lie. Just a few days ago he had been wrapped warmly in Remus Lupin’s arms, under the covers of the bed, sure that life could get no better than that. How quickly that had all changed. And would never happen again.

ahh…” Snape appreciated that his sneezes were thoughtful enough to provide him plenty of warning. There wasn’t much he could do, but this time when he sneezed, so much of him was under the blanket that he remained dry. “ahhh-Ershihhhh!” It wouldn’t stop at just one, however. As soon as one was out, his voice quavered and breath caught. “ahh-ahhh-huhh… ihktchhhh!

Now he really wanted a dry handkerchief. In addition to running, now he desperately wanted to blow his nose. He could feel how stuffed it was and a good blow would save so much agony. His head hurt from pressure in his sinuses. He tried to sniff, but even that didn’t work because of how congested he was; air refused to pass. In fact, it made him cough. And one cough scraped at his throat and caused another to follow. Soon he couldn’t stop long enough to administer even a sip of the tea he had procured.


The voice spoke just as Snape’s gaze rested on the fire. There was a face amidst the flames. It was not the method of communication which startled him, it was the fact that anyone might choose to communicate with him at all. Snape gave such a start that he spilled the entire contents of his teacup. Most ended up on the comforter, which was so thick it didn’t get to him. But some splashed against his hands, and it was so hot still that it made him cry out. And then swear.

But then Remus Lupin was there, covered in a little bit of ash from the fire. He repaired the broken teacup before either man could cut himself on it. He applied a salve on Snape’s hand to help with the burn. And he performed a cleaning charm on the comforter to keep the stain from setting in.

“What are you doig here?” Snape demanded.  “Abart frob causing be idjury, that is.” Talking made him feel sneeze. It was like the motion of his face made the tickle flare up. He tried to control his breath, but it wasn’t helping.

Remus’ eyes flashed with annoyance. “I live here, Severus.”

“Dot… adybore-hah… you dod’t. hah…” He just couldn’t help it. Even pinching his nostrils only seemed to draw the tickle forth. “hahShxxtt!

“Bless you. I’m sorry, were you saying something? I didn’t quite catch that.”

Snape glared and turned away. The cold wetness on his hand made him shiver, but he absolutely refused to let the man see his nose run so badly. This was precisely why he had told the man to leave in the first place. But no matter how much he wiped at his nose, it was still in desperate need of a handkerchief. The best he could do was borrow just a bit of the comforter. The dry fabric felt good.

Remus’ gaze on him, however, did not. Snape closed his eyes and turned so that his face was buried in the side of the high-backed armchair, out of sight. “Just leave be ah-ah-alode-h’ktchgxx!” He felt Remus’ hand on his shoulder, then his upper arm, rubbing through the thick comforter. Snape stiffened but couldn’t retreat any further away. Remus did not get the message.

“Bless you. I’m not going to leave. You can’t break off what we have and drive me away just because you don’t want me watching you when you sneeze, Severus.”

Snape winced and his nose ran. He practically pawed at it and found a different bit of the comforter to surreptitiously wipe his nose with. Remus had been absolutely right: he was pathetic. But it wasn’t his fault. It was this damn cold and the fierce tickle that just wouldn’t leave him alone, just like Remus. He could only handle one irritation at a time.

“Did you take pepper-up? Shall I get you a potion?”

The questions were particularly irritating. What wizard, thinking he might be coming down with a cold, didn’t take pepper-up? Except this cold seemed to be one that was immune to pepper-up. “I dod’t wad adythig you would brew.”

“I admit potions are not my forte. You have always been a competent enough brewer for us both. I meant, is there one I can fetch for you, Severus?”

The tickle was back and Remus was trying to be sweet and helpful as if nothing had happened between them. Which was worse? At least Snape could do something about the tickle. He pinched his nose at the bridge, but his nostrils flared and that was all it took to trigger a full-blown sneeze. “h’ah… hahErkshhh!"

“Bless you, Severus.”

 “Stob, snuff, stob callig be, ah, that.”

“What, your name?” Remus continued to rub. “Would you prefer I call you a bad-tempered curmudgeon? Those are your only two options.”

Turning his head, Snape’s dark eyes bore into the werewolf’s. “You add your frieds frob school dever had trouble thidkig ub other dabes for be.” Taking the blanket with him, Snape rose from the chair and made a get-away.

But he was slow from cold and a heavy comforter that kept getting underfoot. He stumbled and coughed and barely made it to the stairs before he bent over the railing, hacking and snuffling and shivering.

Without a word, Remus put an arm around him and apparated him upstairs. He manhandled the man into bed, despite Snape’s barrage of curses and protests, none of which came out right because of the stuffiness of his nose. Snape tried to fight against him but didn’t have the strength or energy, especially as Remus pinned him down in bed, spooning from behind and wrapping warm arms around him.

“Beddlesobe ah… werewolf-hhh-Ahhh-Chshihhh!

“Hmm?” Remus’ breath was warm and, instead of tickling Snape’s ear, somehow calmed Snape’s nerves. “I missed that because you sneezed. Bless you, by the way. Perhaps you need to blow your nose?”

“I—” Snape broke off, feeling a miraculously warm, dry cloth cupped to his nose. Snape wanted to curse him and shove him away, telling him to mind his own business and leave him alone. Snape wanted to move his hand out from the warm cocoon the covers had made to take the handkerchief for himself. But, the moment his nose touched the handkerchief, he began blowing his nose. It sounded dreadful but felt so good. As did the soft kiss to the back of his head.

As Snape came up for air, the hanky was readjusted and repositioned and immediately Snape nuzzled into it, blowing again. He didn’t stop until he felt the pressure building in his head dissipate, evaporating away like a thin potion over a hot flame. Then the handkerchief tenderly wiped at his nose, drying but not hurting the sensitive skin too much.

“There. That’s better. You were saying?”

Snape couldn’t say anything. It had taken hours of fighting to drive the man from the bed and the house before the worst of the head cold had hit. And all it had taken was one clean hanky to AK Snape’s sense of self-preservation for good. “I hate you.”

Another kiss. This one firmer, reassuring. Remus Lupin had been forbidden to return, yet here he was and it was clear he wasn’t going anywhere. “You love me.”

Softly, “That too.”