Title: Victories

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter (MWPP 7th year)

Rating: PG

Pairings: Remus/Sirius, James/Lily

Disclaimer: *sigh* They're not mine. None of them. Not a bit. Accordingly, I get no money from this.

Summary: After a Quidditch Cup win, there are celebrations, calmer times, and numerous victories.

Feedback: I'd love some.





     "The game was close to an end, right? And then I looked down the field and saw them passing the quaffle back and forth. I recognized it at once as the Tringunt pattern, of course. And that needs three people at minimum to stop." Standing up on a low table in the Gryffindor common room, James explained the last seconds of the game in as much detail as possible. He was surrounded completely by other Gryffindors, with their faces painted scarlet and gold.


     One pushed though the crowd and was helped up onto the table. James reached over and pulled Lily close to keep her safe and steady. She wrapped a warm towel around his shoulders to keep the wetness of his hair from dripping down his shirt collar. Then, as he gave him a kiss on the cheek, he squeezed her tightly. She wrapped arms around his waist and bade him continue.


     "When I looked around, I realized nearly the whole team was down at the other end. Franks, Simon and Sirius were all flanking Marshall who was going after the snitch. And I realized that if we let in one more goal, it wouldn't matter if we caught the snitch or not. So I charged at them. They saw me coming and didn't expect me to be able to stop them. But they didn't count on the fact that I'm a genius when it comes to Quidditch. I know the Tringunt Pattern like the back of my hand. So as they passed the ball from one chaser to another and I intercepted it beautifully. Then it was just a mad dash back down to the other side of the pitch to score. And I managed to do it before they even knew what was coming." He hugged Lily again. "So even if they had managed to catch the snitch, we still would have had points enough to beat them." James beamed. "It was brilliant, I must say," he complimented himself in the midst of outstanding applause and cheering. Lily stood on her toes to give him another kiss, and instead he pulled her even closer, dipped her, and kissed her hard to tumultuous applause from the whole house.


     Despite the heavy downpour of spring rain and the threat of exams not far ahead, the whole house had turned out to watch them win the cup. And the whole house celebrated afterwards. Even McGonagall was there, with the cup of course, cheering along with the rest. Though there was a slight blush in her cheeks when James and Lily kissed, she said nothing to stop their fun.


     There was one in the room, however, who did not seem to be having any fun at all. Remus' eyes, though they'd been searching for him for a while, finally fell upon Sirius. The young man sat on the far side of the room, out of the way. He'd pulled his legs up onto the large armchair chair with him, wrapping his arms around them and burying his face in his knees, but Remus still knew it was Sirius.


     He pulled a wooden chair over and settled in front of Sirius'. "Hello my sweet, handsome, Quidditch cup winner."


     "Stop with the names. My boyfriend might hear," he whispered ever so quietly. His arms tensed around his legs.


     Devoid of a clever rebuttal, Remus simply laughed and leaned forward to kiss the top of Sirius' head in greeting. "What're you doing over here? Letting James have his fun boasting so you can swoop in afterwards with a better story?" he asked with a cheerful smile.


     Sirius looked up in a way that said he wouldn't have raised his head were it anyone else. "Ac-" he stopped and cleared the rasping from his throat. "Actually, I'm... I'm feeling a little run down."


     Remus could figure that much out just by looking at him. Apart from his lack of celebrating, Sirius Black looked pale and frail, much unlike his normal self. His eyes spoke to his fatigue and his frown reiterated. "You don't look very well at all," he said, feeling Sirius' neck and jaw with his fingertips, then cheeks and forehead with the back of his hand. "Not at all. And I'm willing to bet my whole chocolate frog card collection that you've got a fever."


     "I had one this morning when I checked myself," Sirius admitted. "Thirty-eight point fih... five. Eh-heh-heh-hehh-KTshoo!" He sniffled and rubbed a finger at his nose.


     "Feverish and sneezing?" Remus observed, looking concerned.


     Sirius nodded and gave his nose an additional hard rub. "Sore throat, coughing, headache, pains, chills, and all... all that."


     Remus identified the look on Sirius' face immediately. As jaw dropped and nose twitched, Remus fished in his pocket for a tissue. But those he found were soggy from his standing out in the rain so long. Before he could locate a dry one, Sirius pitched forward with another sneeze. "huh-uh-h'Ershooo!" His hand cupped to his nose and mouth, he froze in place. All but his eyes, which darted up to be sure only Remus had seen. Then they snapped closed again. "haHKTchoo!"


     Sirius gave a hard and long sniff, followed by a few smaller ones. He rubbed the side of his hand against his nose, then sat up and looked back at Remus with a weakened apologetic expression.


     Remus sighed and shook his head. "Sirius... Love... why didn't you tell anybody you were sick?"


     Sirius hugged his legs tighter to his chest and shook his head again. "Dunno. Sniff, sniff! Whenever I complain about feeling sick everyone just thinks I'm this attention seeking drama queen or something." He did have a point there. Having weathered quite a few illnesses, most caught from Remus, his tendency to overact when it was clear he was sick and needy was well known.  


     "I wouldn't ignore your complaint, however," Remus countered. He pressed his hand to Sirius' forehead again and sick young man closed his eyes to savor the cooling sensation. Remus wondered exactly how high Sirius had let his fever rise without treatment or rest.


     "Yeah, sniff! But you wouldn't have let me play in the Quidditch... match-" He burst into a fit of moist coughing.


     "Well, you're right about that," Remus agreed. "Had I known, I wouldn't have let you even go watch the game, let alone play in it."


     Sirius' coughs had escalated in volume and strength. Remus moved his hand to pat Sirius on the back in comfort until the fit passed. When it did, Sirius looked around again to be sure no one else was watching his display of suffering. No one had seen or heard, as the room was still buzzing with sound. Someone had put on a recording and talking and cheering filled the common room.


      "Come on," Remus whispered, rubbing his hand up and down his back now. "Let's get you upstairs to bed."


     "I can stay. I don't need you fussing over me," Sirius said with a shake of his head. Still looking around, Sirius scrubbed at his nose, sniffed, and then rubbed a hand across his face. "I can pretend to look okay." He cleared his throat. "I'm a tough guy, see?"


     "Yeah, I know you are," Remus chuckled. "But you're a tough guy with a fever and you should be in bed asleep."


     Shaking his head fervently, Sirius cleared his throat. "No. Can't. I've got to stay for the victory party." His talk was strong, but playing the game had clearly added significantly to his exhaustion. He leaned forward and into Remus, cheek on shoulder.


      "What you need," said Remus soothingly, "Is to take care of yourself... or at the very least, let me do it for you." He stroked the back of Sirius' head soothingly. "Upstairs. Now."


     With another shake of his head, "But they'll notice I'm gone and make a big thing out of it."


     "They'll just figure you've gone up with me for a celebratory shag."


     Sirius grinned at the idea. Then his face fell and he sneezed several times quickly in succession. "HEH-Tchoo! ehhChoo! ERShoo! Sniff!" It looked like they weren't going to be doing anything along that line for a while.


     "Come on," Remus repeated, taking Sirius' arm and helping to pull him up. "To bed with you."


     Sirius continued to look around, not wanting anyone to see. "With you?" he asked hopefully. Remus nodded, and Sirius finally agreed.


     He leaned greatly on Remus as they walked over and up the stairs. Remus slipped an arm around Sirius' waist to help support him. Remus simply felt relived he'd finally convinced the other man to get to bed, however slowly that was happening. Sirius seemed very unsteady on his feet. "Should I add feeling dizzy to the list?" Sirius nodded. "It's probably just from the fever. Don't worry, I won't let you faint before we get to the dormitory." Sirius nodded weakly and closed his eyes, taking his cues on where to walk from Remus' pulling and pushing.


     Though it took far longer than usual to climb the stairs, they reached their room and closed the door behind with absolutely no fainting spells. Sirius sighed deeply with relief and Remus looked about to determine where to go next. "Which bed? Mine or yours?" Typically they slept in Sirius', and the familiar setting would be favorable when feeling unwell. But Remus' was the one stocked with needed supplies and comforts, and the one furthest from the drafty window. Sirius did not seem to be able to decide, and swayed a bit on the spot as he looked from one side of the room to the other. His eyes finally rested on the right side of the room. "Okay, yours it is then. Over we go."


     He supported Sirius all the way over, then deposited him on the bed. Sirius shivered as he hit the cold covers. "Get changed into pajamas, then get right under the blankets," Remus instructed. "I'll be right back with a few things." Remus could always be counted on to have the best supply of tissues of any of the roommates. When Remus returned minutes later, Sirius had only managed to get his shirt off.


     "Siri," Remus sighed, pulling the young man up and supporting him as Remus stripped off the damp slacks, socks and all. It took some extra effort to get the dry clothes onto Sirius' body and then ease Sirius under the covers. Having showered and changed out of his Quidditch uniform after the game, Sirius wasn't as wet as most of the Gryffindors who had been out in the stands. His hair was still rather damp, and Remus had brought over a towel for it just as Lily had done for James.


     "Get under with me?" Sirius requested, shivering beneath the covers and looking terribly pale and sick. It wasn't the most appealing of offers and Remus certainly didn't want to tire the already exhausted man. But there was nothing that could keep him from his friend in a time of need.


     "In just a minute," Remus agreed, slipping on his pajamas as well as his own clothes were still rather damp. "Want to take your temp and get you some water." He paused, expecting some protest, either protesting the delay in having Remus in bed or having to have his temperature taken. But Sirius simply gave a nod of agreement.


     Remus asked him to open up, then slipped the thermometer in and checked his watch. It wasn't a very long wait, but Sirius seemed to be having trouble with it. He breathed through his nose slowly but heavily. "Ung..." he looked up at Remus, trying to make him understand. Remus helped him sit up a little but there was not time for more. Not a beat later, he snapped forward with a strong sneeze. "HERShooo!" Sirius groaned and reached around for the fallen thermometer as he rubbed at his nose with his other hand. He sniffled wetly as a bent finger grazed against his nostrils. "Sorry. Sniff, sniff! You can try again."


     "Sure?" Remus said, touching his lips to Sirius' forehead as his hand dug in and stroked the damn black hair. "It'd be nice to know how bad your fever was now, but if you're too sneezy--"


     "Just do it, Remus. Before I sneeze more."


     Remus was quick with the thermometer, then, just in case Sirius changed his mind. Far from resisting, Sirius opened his mouth and lifted his tongue for the thermometer. Remus slid it in approvingly and kissed Sirius' cheek. "You really aren't feeling well, are you, Love?" Sirius shook his head and sniffled a few times. The sniffling seemed to trigger something more in him, and he closed his eyes to contain his distress.


     Concernedly, "Sirius? You all right?" Sirius did not answer, but his lips pursed against the thermometer and he tensed up. "Are you going to sneeze?" Remus guessed. Sirius nodded and sat up a bit more in bed, leaning forward. He seemed to be having trouble breathing through his nose now that he was keeping his mouth closed. He snuffled and sniffled and rocked a bit with each breath. "Can you hold on for just a few more seconds?" Sirius gave it a moment of consideration then shook his head.


     As Sirius' breath caught, Remus pulled out a few tissues from the box he'd brought over from his bedside. He took the thermometer from Sirius' mouth just in time, letting Sirius take charge of the tissues and his sneezes. "huh... hehhh... uh-huh-HIHTChoo! HehShoo! Huh-uh-hehh-HuhhKShooo!" Sirius blew his nose furiously, then sniffled. "So sorry," he muttered, shaking his head. "Just couldn't help it. I really tried. My nose... just started tickling so badly." He gave it another strong blow to be sure he had it under control. "Sorry, Rem. Sniff!" Weakly he looked up. "Go again?"


     Remus shook his head and set the thermometer to the side. "Not right now. Right now... I think we should just concentrate on getting some rest. How would that be?"


     Sirius nodded and yawned. He let Remus ease him down upon the pillows and sheets, and he smiled when Remus climbed beneath and spooned him from behind. When Remus' arms came around him in a tight hug, he sighed deeply. "Feeling comfy and cozy now?" Remus asked, kissing Sirius' temple and rubbing their cheeks together. "You look exhausted, you know."


     Sirius nodded weakly. "Took all the energy I had to keep from seeming sick all day. Holding back the coughs and the... the snee... oh shite... speaking of..." His nose twitched and he shivered despite the warmth of the blankets and Remus holding him. "huh-uhhh-hih-hih-ihhhh-yihhhChoo! IHHShoo!  EhhChooo! hurShooo!" With tissues in hand, Remus rubbed at Sirius' nose. Sirius snuffled into them and gave a few half-hearted blows.


     "I'm very impressed, you know," Remus said, stroking the side of Sirius' face with one, then two fingers. His touch was so soft that it made Sirius' eyes close automatically in relaxation. "That you managed to hide it so well all day. From everyone. From me."


     Sirius coughed and cleared his throat. "Yeah, well, it's all catching up to me now, isn't it?" He opened one eye, looking up at Remus. "And I..." Sirius looked distressed. His breath caught. "I," he whispered, but couldn't get the words out. He shook his head and found Remus had brought the tissues back over again. "ehhh-IHHHShhoo! KTchoo!" He coughed and blew his nose again. "I..." he tried to finish, "I wish I had't had to breted around you. I dew you'd be bad at be for dot takig care of byself." James may have been the leader of their group, but it was Remus who really looked after them all. Especially Sirius.


     Remus shook his head again and kissed the bridge of Sirius' nose. Then touched it lightly with a finger. "It's all right. You're allowed to try and be the big, tough Quidditch player. Playing, and winning, with a cold and fever that high is so much more impressive than scoring the final goal in a game. And, most importantly, you knew when to tell me and let me help you into bed."


     He tried to reply, but Remus' head gave one last shake. "You need your sleep. You should be asleep already."


     Sirius agreed with a cough, a clearing of his throat, and a few more congested coughs.


     "Though maybe a couple of blows first?" Remus pulled a few tissues from the box.


     Sirius looked back, grinning slyly. On any other day, Remus saying that in bed and reaching for the tissues would mean something completely different and much more appealing. But before he could say anything, he turned his head away as the coughs seized him. His hand clenched into a fist as his body shook with sharp spasms. Even Remus' hand on his shoulder did not help any. Again he struggled to sit up just a little, and felt a glass at his lips, cold water lapping as he shook. He managed, after several more coughs, to sneak in a sip, and then another. His coughing slowed the more he drank, as the cool water rushed down against his sore throat.


     Seconds later, Remus had the tissues folded against Sirius' nose, ready for him to blow into. Sirius hesitated, but Remus' eyes convinced him to. He rolled onto his back and blew his nose. "I'm a pushover when I'm sick."


     "Mmm," Remus agreed, shoving pillows under his to prop him up so he could stay up and breathe more easily. "Only when you're really sick and in bed with me, Paddie Love." He'd said the name to be funny, but Sirius seemed beyond humor at the moment. Another sign that he felt worse than he was showing. Remus snuggled up beside Sirius, arm over chest, tissue box still close at hand. "And you know I love taking care of you when you let me."


     Tilting his head, he laid it against Remus'. "Just so long as you quit with the sweet talk and fussing when..."


     "When the others are around," Remus finished for him, understanding. "I know." Keeping secrets was something Remus had quite a lot of experience with. He gave Sirius a half-hug half-squeeze and then relaxed against him.


     Sirius sniffed a few times but closed his eyes and relaxed as well. Minutes passed slowly, both men lost in thought for a while. Finally, Sirius whispered, "Do you really think I was more impressive than Jamie?"


     Remus smiled. "Of course. In more ways than one. You're the one I'm in bed with every night, aren't you?"


     Sirius smiled back, not wanting to risk lapsing into coughs from any amount of laughter. "Yeah, well, I don't know about that argument. James is straight."


     "Well there was that one time..." Remus started.


     Sirius was forced to laugh at this, and paid the price with the coughs just as he had expected. Remus reached over and gave him water, then rubbed a warm hand up and down Sirius' chest. When the coughs had subsided and Sirius had settled down again to attempt to sleep, Remus snuggled back up against his side.


     Sirius spoke again after a few minutes of quiet sniffling. "Remus," he said with a sigh. "I just wanted to say--"


     "Don't." Remus sat up, shaking his head.


     But Sirius barreled ahead. "--thanks for rescuing me back there." Remus smiled and shook his head. "Wasn't what you thought I'd say?"


     Remus shrugged. He kissed Sirius softly on the lips. "I just thought we should quit with the conversation. If we keep talking you'll never get any sleep." He kissed Sirius again and put his arm around Sirius. "You're most welcome, but I want you to sleep now."


     "You sure?" Sirius asked, rubbing his face into Remus' pajama top. "We're in bed..." He slipped his hand under Remus' top. "We're awake..." He kissed back, over one of Remus' pert nipples. "We can..." he paused a moment, then tried again. "We can... oh Hell..." He paused again, blinking. He tensed and snapped forward. "heh-ERShhhhhh-Ihhshh!"


     "Whoa," Remus said grabbing the tissues and rubbing at Sirius' nose for him. "I think that double sneeze there says we can't." Sirius nodded weakly and Remus had to adjust his wiping to go along with Sirius' movements.


     "Just... it's hard being in bed with you. Listening to you sweet talking me and having you kissing me and not..." He coughed a few times and blew into the tissue Remus was holding for him.


     "I know," said Remus softly. He did indeed know. All too well. "There will be time for that when you're feeling better. Wouldn't want you to pass out on me halfway through, after all." Remus guided Sirius' head to his chest and stroked gently. He tucked the covers around him tightly, having pulled them all the way up to Sirius' chin.


     Sirius yawned and closed his eyes. "If the others come in, you'll tell them--"


     "I'll tell them you shagged me senseless and passed out."


     Sirius smiled. "Our excuses always have more fun than we get to," he remarked. "And... and fewer sneezes... ahh-Rem?" Remus was there in a flash with tissues pressed to Sirius' face. "hah-hahChehhh!" Remus hugged Sirius tighter, as the other man's face tensed up again with another strong, drawn breath. "hahh-IHShooo! hehhhShooo!" He rubbed his nose into the tissue again and sniffled. "Sorry," he sighed.


     "If you'd gone to sleep when I told you to, you'd have nothing to apologize for now. So get to sleep! Not one more word out of you." Remus laughed, petting Sirius' head softly until the man finally drifted off.


     Not long after, the others returned to the room, James with Lily in tow and Peter fawning over James and his great accomplishments as usual. Today, it seemed, he had no shortage of stories to boast about, and even Lily was humoring him by listening attentively and making interested noises all the way through. Years ago, she would have been put off completely by James' ego, but now it seemed to have grown on her a bit. The fact that it had deflated significantly due to James acquiring some good sense about matters certainly hadn't hurt any.


     Remus had drawn the curtains around Sirius' bed closed on two sides, but they remained open at the third and he could see them as well as they him. They waved and nodded, and Remus smiled and waved back, not wanting to speak and wake Sirius. James continued on with his current story without pause. If they noticed how run down Sirius looked, they said nothing. And if they noticed the box of tissues and used ones lying on the bed, their faces did not show it.


     Eventually the sex excuse would be lost thanks to a series of coughs or a sneezing fit from Sirius. But for now they were safe with their cover, and Sirius was fast asleep as he needed to have been all day. With several victories under their belts, the room seemed both alive and quiet in a way the celebration in the Gryffindor common room could not have matched. Sirius snuggled closer in his sleep when Remus pressed his hand to Sirius' warm forehead. And eventually Remus fell asleep to the sound of Sirius breathing heavily and the sound of James one bed over telling about the time he and Sirius raided the Quidditch equipment shed one night.