Title: Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Fandom: Harry Potter, Marauder era
Disclaimer: Not my characters. Not my world. Not getting paid for this.
Summary: Remus is sick in bed during Easter Holiday
Notes: Honestly, this bunny was too cute to resist. Literally.
Beginnings & Endings Challenge Bunnies: 1, 4
Feedback: Like chocolate-filled Easter baskets, I accept it gladly
Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Balling up another tissue, Remus tossed it only a few inches in front of him in bed. It was in the company of dozens of others, now, which had all been used to take care of his runny, sniffly, sneezy nose. It was the reason he was stuck in bed during the holiday week. And it was the reason he quickly reached for another tissue.
"ihhh-HIHShooo! IhhhShuhhh! Ehhh... ehhhSchhhhh!" He sneezed wetly into the tissue he held out inches in front of his face. His nose was pink from so much attention, but he wiped it dry anyway with the tissue and tossed it over with the others. He closed his eyes, head sinking into the center of his pillow, and hoped this would all be over sooner rather than later.
Remus heard the door to the dormitory open and shut, but did not recognize the footsteps coming towards his bed. In fact, they did not sound like footsteps at all, rather more like strange, squishy thumps. Curious and unable to fall asleep anyway for the cold in his nose, Remus sat up and pulled back the hangings of his bed.
Who he saw, what he saw, made Remus Lupin, who had been alone in bed snuffling miserably for an hour, burst out laughing. "Wormtail!" he exclaimed through his stomach-hurting fit of laughter.
Peter stood in the middle of their dorm room in a bright pink bunny suit. Large, floppy feet which were surpassed only by enormous and tremendously floppy ears. Like the feet, the hands were covered in large pink gloves that were made to look like paws. The only thing not covered soft pink cloth was Peter's face. Even without a nose and whiskers, Peter looked the part of a rabbit there as well. His nose was always twitching and his cheeks were round and red. And for a young man in a bright pink bunny suit, he looked remarkably ecstatic. Especially as he knew Sirius and James had put him up to this. Sirius and James were always putting Peter up to things like this.
The worst part of it was that Remus could tell this was no charm or transfiguration. No, it was an honest-to-goodness authentic costume that Peter had apparently willingly put on. Though smiling delightedly at the sight of Remus' laughing, Peter shook his head. He twisted his body enough so that Remus could see his arse. "No," he said, pointing down at a large ball of white fluff that was his tail. "Cottontail."
At this, Remus howled with laughter. One arm clutched his stomach as he fell onto his side, shaking. Peter grinned even more broadly, watching this. "What..." Remus managed to choke out between laughs. He swallowed and cleared his throat, then tried again. "What are you... doing here, Peter?"
"I know," Peter said, wiggling his nose and cocking his head. One of the ears flopped into his face but he quickly brushed it away. "I know the Easter Beginnings & Endings Challenge Bunny usually comes when you're asleep, but it took us a little longer than we'd hoped to get it all together and you woke up."
"Get what together?" Remus said between laughs. The nose-wiggling and ear bit had refreshed his amusement.
From behind his back, Peter pulled a small basket filled with all sorts of things. "Brought you a cheer-up present." When Remus, looking curious and letting his laughter die down, motioned for Peter to come closer, Peter did so by hopping. The sight of the pudgy boy dressed up in bright pink, clearing the ground by only an inch at the most when he hopped, and his ears flopping over into his face, all sent Remus into another fit of laughter.
This fit did not pass until Peter made it to the bed and cleared away some used tissues to set the basket down in front of Remus. He gestured to the basket and Remus started to go through it. He first found a few chocolate frogs that someone had attached ears to so they'd look a little like bunnies. Peter took one of those and tore open the box so Remus could inspect it more closely. The frog took a jump but Peter, who had much experience with these, caught it deftly. "See?" Peter said. "It hops just like a bunny."
Remus grinned and nodded. "Clever."
Behind the chocolate frog-bunnies there was a small square box of Kleenex which looked as though it had once been grey but ambushed by a set of pastel paints. Now it sported pink and lilac squiggles that resembled flowers if one squinted hard enough at them.
Remus took the box out of the basket and pulled a few tissues out at once. His nose, like Peter's, was twitching but not in a good way. "hehhh... hehhh-IPHShhhhh! EMPHshhhhh!" Grateful for the tissues, Remus pulled out another and rubbed his nose. "Thanks. Definitely needed these." Peter smiled proudly.
Behind the tissue box was a large plastic egg. Inside it, Remus found a package of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans which had been scrunched up in order to fit. There were three real eggs besides, all decorated in the same pastel colors. Remus was careful when he picked each up to examine it. One had a very noble-looking stag drawn upon it, with antlers that wrapped around the egg, twisting and turning in every possible direction. Another sported a dark-colored dog who looked mean aside from the flower it held in its mouth which gave it a rather loveable appearance. The dog seemed to me standing in the midst of a field of flowers, which were drawn in such a way that Remus had an idea who had done most of the work on the tissue box. And the third egg, of course, had a rat which was holding a wand with its tail. Out of the wand read the words 'Happy Easter!' printed so large they overshadowed the small rat. "These are so lovely!" Remus remarked, placing them all back in the basket where there was a soft bed of fake grass to keep them from breaking.
"Took us all morning to work out how to combine the hard boiling and non spoiling spells," Peter explained. "Finally had to ask Lily for some help. Girls are better at that kind of thing."
And Lily was especially better at anything Charms-related. "This was so thoughtful," said Remus, smiling. "And the presentation was first-rate, Peter. Thank you."
Grinning from ear to ear, Peter also blushed a little. The color in his cheeks went well with his new bright pink fur.
Remus went for the tissues again, placing the box in his lap for easier access. He wasn't sure if it was his imagination, but these tissues felt a little softer than the one's he'd been using the last few days. In either case, he was glad to have them. Tissues were one thing he could always use. And something that would last a bit longer than eggs and candy. Normally he would have liked a book. His parents had always included a book in his Easter basket when he was a child. But it was seventh year and with N.E.W.T.'s coming up along with end of year exams, he couldn't afford to spend reading time on pleasure books.
"ehhh-ihhhh-HihTchhhh!" Remus sneezed suddenly into his shoulder. The tissues were close, but not close enough. He directed his next sneeze into the crook of his arm as it came just a beat and a breath after the first. "IhhhShuhhhhh!" Then came the tissues and the subsequent nose-rubbing. "Sorry, Peter."
Peter looked sympathetic but also as though he'd been ordered to look cheerful at all times. "It's all right," he said with a casual shrug. He eyed the chocolate frog-bunny that was wriggling in his paw.
"Oh, you can have that one, of course," Remus said quickly, not wanting it to melt on the costume. He wasn't sure if it was a rental or not. And Peter seemed more than happy to accept the chocolate though he did seem to have a difficult time eating it with the paw gloves on. When eating chocolate, however, Peter was resourceful and managed the feat.
Remus sat back against his pillows, pulling a blanket around his shoulders for warmth. Then he placed the other items back in the basket with care. "Peter," Remus asked, his eyes on the presents. "Why did you do this?"
"You've been sick through all of Easter holiday. You weren't able to celebrate or have a nice feast with the rest of us. Or even just enjoy the week off from classes. So we thought it would be a nice way to end the week and the holiday for you."
"Yes," Remus agreed. "It is nice. I love this. But what I mean is why did you let them talk you into doing this?"
Peter shifted uncomfortably and flushed. Remus supposed it must be hot in the costume, but knew that wasn't what Peter was uncomfortable about. "To make you laugh?" he squeaked. He looked down at the bedspread and both ears flopped over into his face. He made no move to push them away. It was clear Peter knew that Remus knew that was not the whole truth. "I know," he said softly.
"People say laughter is the best medicine," Remus told Peter, reaching out and pushing the ears back for the young man. "And you know we're all laughing with you this time. But you mustn't let them push you around for their own amusement, either. Just think of what they'd have said if you suggested one of them wear this costume instead. You can stand up to them once in a while, you know."
Peter contemplated the words for a moment. Then he nodded decisively and climbed off the bed. Realizing what Peter was doing, Remus lunged forward and grabbed Peter by his fluffy cotton ball tail. "Whoa! Hold on there!" Peter paused in place. "Best not to confront them while looking like a giant pink bunny. Might not take you, ah, completely seriously."
Peter flushed again and nodded. He headed over to his bed to change. Remus chuckled and lay back down on his side, hugging the tissue box to his chest and practically curling up around his new Easter basket. He took one of the chocolate frog-bunnies out of its packaging and watched it hop on his hand a few times. When it became still, he broke off one of the chocolate ears and ate it. By the time he was finished eating it, Peter had changed and left with the bunny suit under one arm. With his friends being sweet and sentimental and Peter actually standing up for himself, this was definitely going to be a holiday to remember. And even if it had begun with him coming down with a cold, at least its end had been amusing and exciting.