Title: Nowadays You Can't Be Too Sentimental
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: Oh, the pups are SO not mine
Summary: An after-mission walk home with more suffering!Sirius. Sequel to 'Comfortable Place on the Couch'
Note: This was a 60 minute fic. With exactly 28 seconds to spare. The title is part of the Billy Joel song 'It's Still Rock and Roll to Me'
Nowadays You Can't Be Too Sentimental
Remus winced at the pain shooting through his ankle every time he took a step forward with it. It was only twisted, he was sure, but that didn't mean it didn't still hurt. Of course, coming out of a showdown with two Death Eaters with only a twisted ankle was pretty good in his opinion. Sirius, on the other hand, seemed to be suffering more and made his displeasure very well known.
"I know Moody thought he was on top of it..." Sirius grumbled as he led the way up the street and home, gaining about half a foot more than Remus with each stride.
"Moody was on top of it," Remus insisted. "You were trying not to sneeze. You can't intimidate a Death Eater when you've got a head cold. He was aiming right for you."
Sirius moaned, lifting up what remained of his favorite leather jacket which had been blasted apart in the ensuing scuffle. It was now a loosely strung together bit of fabric with a raggedy sleeve and a zipper that went nowhere hanging off it.
"I'll..." Remus winced as he stepped down over a curb unexpectedly and wrenched his ankle even worse. He took a sharp gasp in and gave the sharp pain a moment to subside. On any normal day, he would have just jumped onto Sirius' back for a ride home. But with Sirius sick and needing to get better soon, Remus wasn't entirely sure that was the wisest movement. So he toughened up and gritted his teeth. "I'll buy you a new one," Remus finished.
"It's not the same..." Sirius said, hugging the remains to his chest affectionately. "This one had great sentimental value."
Remus rolled his eyes. It was cool out tonight, even without the rain, which had stopped late into the evening when they were both asleep. He wouldn't be able to tell if Sirius was still running a fever until they were inside for about an hour, but from the sound of it, a fever was a distinct possibility just now. "Why's... ah..." he stepped up onto the sidewalk from the street and came down harder than he meant to on his ankle. "Why's that?" he asked through gritted teeth.
"This is the jacket I was wearing when I rode my motorbike for the first time," Sirius explained. "You know, right up into the sky, with the air whipping past. I'd never gone so fast in my life. It was thrilling." He glanced back, flashing a grin, but not really noticing Remus. "It's the jacket I bought in Diagon Alley right after I left my parents' house that first time. You know, when my mother kicked me out? I had to wear something on my way over to James' place. It was snowing after all. That purchase symbolized my final liberation from their oppression."
Remus rolled his eyes again. He should have known Sirius was going to be overly dramatic about it. It would have been better not to have asked in the first place.
Sirius stopped dead in his tracks, making Remus nearly slam up against him from behind. He only narrowly avoided it by quickly swerving to the side. His ankle twisted again in the process and he let out a yelp. Immediately he squatted down, grabbing his ankle with the hand that wasn't tightly clenching his wand, as though he expected Death Eaters to jump out from any one of the dark alleys they were passing on the way to their building. He waited a few moments more for the pain to subside, rubbing at his ankle with his hand. "Sirius!" he growled. "What do you think you're..." Looking up, he saw Sirius with a hand cupped to his face.
Sirius had to sneeze again. And not just any sneeze. This one looked like it was taking every bit of him to prepare for. His breath was drawn in heavy, sharp gasps. His face was screwed up with concentration. His body had seized up tightly, shoulders hunching forward as the breaths made his head tilt back and his back arch. Finally he snapped forward at the force of it, a loud, booming sort of sneeze. The sort that could be explained by the fact that he'd been holding sneezes in all evening and now it was catching up to him. He sniffed hard and rubbed his hand on his slacks.
Remus stood, his paining ankle forgotten. He dug the handkerchief he'd retrieved earlier from his pocket and handed it over.
Sirius smiled briefly, then buried his nose in it with a strong blow. When he lifted his head, he smiled. "Thank goodness for you. I feel better now," he said with a sigh of relief and a sniffle.
"Bless you," Remus said, nodding. He was extremely glad that he'd been able to at least do something to help. On the missions he was usually watching Sirius' back, which meant the man had to be responsible for his own front, and that was usually a big mistake when it conflicted with Sirius' ego or his headstrong nature. Or his intense hatred of Death Eaters. The man was known to have been reckless on more than one occasion.
"And when I first realized I was madly in love with you," Sirius said suddenly.
Remus tensed at this, and he suddenly realized how dry his mouth had become. "I-I'm sorry?"
He opened his mouth to speak, but another tickle struck his nose at that moment. His breath caught and he turned away, hand to nose and mouth again. Remus reached out and put a hand on his back to help steady him. Though it did little good, it was enough to let Sirius know he was there. Sirius sneezed several times, paused, then sneezed another four times. He blew his nose again into the handkerchief and made a face that showed that he really wanted to be back home.
"Come on," Remus urged him, pushing him onward. "We're nearly home."
Sirius nodded, openmouthed, and obeyed. Another tickle was upon him, and even without it, he was too congested to breathe through his nose properly. Remus ignored the stabs of pain as they climbed the stairs to their flat. He walked Sirius over to the couch and tucked the comforter around him before finally sitting down and propping his foot up on the coffee table with a relieved sigh of his own.
Sirius leaned against his side, snuggling and snuffling, and letting Remus take as much of the comforter as he liked. "When I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you," Sirius said softly, "I was wearing this jacket." He shut his eyes and hugged the destroyed jacket close. "I remember feeling this hot shiver rush through me as I unzipped the jacket just you walked in. You had this look about you, Moony. This glow. I don't even remember what it was from. Maybe you'd just helped James pull a prank. Maybe you got a perfect mark on a test. Or maybe that book you had on reserve at the library just came in. I don't remember. I just remember how delighted you looked, and how handsome. And how sweet and happy and caring you looked just then. I wanted to always be able to see that smile, and the way your whole face lit up. I wanted that around me forever... and I wanted to be the one to make you smile like that." He took a deep breath. "And I was wearing this jacket at the time."
Remus reached over slowly. First the fingered the decimated jacket, the leather thick and soft. Then he reached up and pressed the back of his hand against Sirius' forehead. "You must be feverish to be talking like this."
Sirius grinned and rubbed the handkerchief against his nose. "Yeah, maybe. But it's still true." He sighed. "And those bloody Death Eaters went and destroyed it."
"It's just a jacket," Remus said, shaking his head. Being a werewolf, he had grown up knowing not to get attached to clothes. Things like bed sheets and good shirts didn't last long with him around. And he could recall how very many robes and jumpers had been destroyed in battles for the resistance. Lately, it wasn't good to get attached to anything, let alone anything tangible. "They can't take your memories. You'll always have those. We'll get you another jacket and you can form some new, great memories about that one."
But Sirius shook his head. "Nah, they'll probably just hit me with another shot of acid and demolish it, too. Besides, these aren't really the times I want to look back and remember. Nearly getting killed twice a week, the obituary section of The Daily Profit growing every day, mistrust and evilness and little hope. No, it's better just to forget it all and try to get through things."
He shivered and pulled the blanket around himself tighter. Remus put an arm around him and whispered, "I'm getting you a new one anyway. You still need a jacket to stay warm. And I dare you not to be sentimental about it a couple years from now."
A smile grew on his face, but was disrupted momentarily by a strong yawn. "I'm sure I will end up that way," Sirius said. "If only for the fact that it was the man I love who bought it for me, to keep me warm and happy."
Remus chuckled. "Okay, now I know for certain you've got a fever. Go to sleep, Padfoot, before you end up making a memory out of this overly sappy moment." He kissed the top of Sirius' head and hugged him close as the man's body grew heavier against his as Sirius fell into a deep sleep. The pain in his ankle was completely forgotten.