Title: Love and Lightheartedness
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG maybe?
Warnings: This is the epitome of an overwhelmingly smarmy PWP
Spoilers: none whatsoever
Disclaimer: I do not own the pups, I simply play with them. And play is just that- play. I put them back when I'm finished, I promise!
Summary: Despite a strong sense of humor and other things he could be doing on a day off from auror training, Sirius does an excellent job at being a caregiver when Remus comes down with a bad cold
Note: I am terribly sorry about the title. I tried everything else I could think of. My boyfriend suggested "The Mysterious Cantaloupe Capers" but that didn't seem appropriate, somehow.
Comments: I'd be grateful for some!
Love and Lightheartedness
"Come on, Remus, just sneeze. I haven't got all day."
Remus glared at Sirius over the balled-up tissue, then closed his eyes again. "hehhh..." he breathed shakily, trying to draw the sneeze out of his nose where it presently sat, tickling madly. "hehhhh..." His tongue eased out, licking his lips as his jaw dropped halfway. Then the tickle took over everything with a stabbing, overwhelming urge. It made him pull back, but the tissue went with him, pressed gently to his nose. Then it made him pitch forward strongly. "hehEhkshhew!"
"Ah, there we go," said Sirius soothingly, wiping the tissue against his nose, then coming at him with a fresh one, wiping his nose dry. A caring hand helped Remus sit back up straight. "Need to blow this time?"
Remus shook his head, sniffling wetly and pulled the blanket tighter around his shoulders. Part was caught beneath his rear end where he sat on the edge of the bed, and wouldn't quite pull free to his satisfaction.
"I think you do," sang Sirius softly, his hand moving up Remus' arm to his face, thumb stroking his cheek gently.
Remus opened his eyes, tilting his head towards Sirius'. His shoulders raised and he gave an open-mouthed nod, unable to breathe through his nose.
Sirius took another tissue from the box on his own lap, folded it in thirds, then covered Remus' nose with it, pinching just enough to secure it. Remus closed his eyes and blew hard. Sirius refolded the tissue and held it there again, and Remus blew again. "One more?" Sirius asked. Remus nodded. Sirius pitched the tissues when it was all over, missing the trashcan by half a meter but not bothering to leave Remus' side long enough to retrieve them. "Better?"
Remus nodded again, still sniffling, but not nearly as badly.
"Good!" Sirius perked up. His hand swung down and felt the water in which Remus soaked his feet. "Still rather warm," he murmured. "Need another blanket, maybe?"
Remus considered this for a moment, knowing precisely how few blankets they had in the tiny flat. But a great shiver seized him, tingling through him, making his hairs stand on end. He bent forward a little out of instinct, clutching the blanket that was already around him even closer in a movement disguised to hide the shiver. But he nodded again. "I think I bight," he whispered.
Sirius grinned with amusement at Remus' stuffy talk. "He thinks he bight," he said, getting up and crossing over to the other side of the bed. "He sits there with his feet in a tub of hot water, in his flannels, wrapped up in a quilt, shivering like mad and only says he *bight*." Sirius pulled the comforter over the bed, sweeping it off and onto Remus, who sat on the edge. But before he could properly wrap it around the man, Remus' halting breaths caught his ear.
"S-Siri?" he managed, frowning, pulling his arm out from beneath the blanket to try and reach the tissue box Sirius had left on the chair. "I'b godda... heh..."
"Whoa, Sirius to the rescue! Man the tissues!" Sirius exclaimed, darting over and grabbing several at once, holding them up to Remus' face for him. Sirius' other hand absentmindedly pulled the quilt around Remus so that both his arms were tucked back beneath again in warmth. "All right, all ready for more sneezes whenever you are."
Remus gave him an apologetic look as his eyes fluttered closed. "heh-Huptchshh! ehhhKetshushh!" It was clear from the expression on Remus' face that there was at least one more sneeze lurking there. His breathing was still fast, deep, and uneven. Sirius took the opportunity to wipe his nose and exchanged the used tissues for fresh ones, again missing the trashcan as he tossed. Sirius waited patiently as Remus again tried to draw out the sneeze that was tickling him. "hehhh...ehhhhhh... ehhh-ihhhhh..." His brow furrowed, his nostrils flared, his lower lip quivered, but still the sneeze did not come. Finally, Remus sighed in frustration and shook his head, pulling his eyes open.
"Backed off?" asked Sirius.
Remus nodded. "I hate whed they do that." He sniffed in hard through his nose, not getting far with the stuffiness.
Sirius reached down to recover the comforter and finish the task of warming Remus with it, when Remus' breaths caught again. "Looks like it's back!" Sirius exclaimed, snatching up the tissue and holding it to Remus' nose.
"ehhh...ehhk... kah..." But no sneeze this time either. Remus hung his head and sniffed again. "Just wod't cub out," he complained contorting his face around his nose and flaring his nostrils.
Sirius rubbed Remus' nose gently, then brushed his fingers against Remus' hot forehead. "Try not to get upset by it. Ignore the little blighter and it'll come right out when you least expect it." Remus nodded with understanding and closed his eyes to savor the warmth of the comforter Sirius was pulling around him. It was large and thick, full of heavy feathers. Sirius tucked it around Remus so only his head and feet could be seen. "Better?" Sirius asked again, more softly. Remus nodded with more of a smile.
As Sirius moved to sit back down and feel the water in the tub again... "IHKUFShhhhhh!" Remus sneezed finally.
The front of his shirt caught in the spray, Sirius shook his arms jokingly as though he needed to shake off. Remus' already fever-red cheeks flushed an even deeper shade with shame. But before he could stutter an apology, Sirius was wiping his nose dry. "Yep, that's when I least expected it. See, didn't I tell you that would work?" Remus gave a meek smile. "Come on, blow your nose again. Then I'll get you some more tea." His head throbbed with pressure as he nodded to confirm the need to blow his nose. It felt both stuffy and runny at the same time and his arms were so very warm now under both blankets that he didn't want to pull them out for anything.
So Sirius took care of it, going through a half dozen tissues before Remus' nose was satisfied. "Sirius," he whispered as Sirius again missed the trashcan with the thrown tissues. They were beginning to fill the whole corner of the room, covering everywhere save inside the trashcan. "Doe bore tea, okay? You're drowdig be id tea."
"No more..." Sirius trailed off, seeming to think that it would take at least another dozen cups before Remus was actually drowning in tea. "All right. How about some juice, then? Fresh squeezed orange juice with the pulp strained out, just like you like it?" Remus made to refuse, but the offer was just too tempting for his dry, burning throat. Sirius flashed a wide smile. "I'll be back in two shakes," he said, nearly bouncing out of the bedroom.
It being a little flat, the bedroom was but a few meters from the kitchen, and Remus could hear all the sounds therein. There was the opening and closing of a fridge. There was the sliding of the silverware drawer that squeaked when it closed. There was the repeated thump of the knife against the cutting board. There was the series of grunts from Sirius as he twisted the orange halves against the strainer. There was the repetitive pouring sound, then a bit of a slurping which had to be Sirius drinking down a very pulp-filled mouthful as that was how he liked his orange juice.
Sirius came back in, noticing at once that Remus needed to sneeze again. He raced over, hand reaching the tissue box before Remus' did. "Siri... I cad... ehhh... do it byself," he said as Sirius lifted tissues to his face.
"I know," he said with a soft smile. His pale eyes shown with something far deeper than just love and caring. "But you feel bad enough from this cold. The least I can do is help you with the little details like this. Now, sneeze already!" he demanded with a chuckle as Remus had been trying to hold back the sneezes long enough to hear Sirius' sentimental words.
"hehhh-Eytchhh! ehhhKehchahh! ihhKahshhhh!" He snuffled wetly, shaking his head back and forth to rub his nose against the tissues to his satisfaction.
Then Sirius carefully handed the glass of juice over to Remus. They had learned from much experience that the probability of Remus sneezing and spilling a drink on himself was far lower than Sirius' hand tilting prematurely and spilling on Remus. So Remus took care of his own drinking, though feeling a little colder with one arm out of the blankets.
"What else can I fetch for you?" asked Sirius, rubbing his other arm through the blankets. "You must tell me."
Remus smiled, quickly gulping down the juice. "Surely you have buch better thigs to do od a day off frub classes thad blay fetch for be."
Sirius went overly dramatic, slapping a hand against his heart and dropping his mouth open as far as it would go. "Remus! I'm shocked! To imply that I would take a day off to take care of my sick lover, then shirk my responsibilities... I'm appalled and hurt!"
It was enough to elicit a chuckle from Remus which was some feat. Though smiles weren't hard to come by, Remus felt so ill that managing a genuine chuckle was nearly impossible. "You already arraged to beet with Jabes for coffee before didder," Remus pointed out.
"Well," said Sirius, running a hand through his hair at the mention of James and playing again, trying to look casual this time. "That's just to copy his notes to learn what I missed in class."
Knowing that Sirius was joking did not keep Remus from nearly spitting out a mouthful of orange juice. Though his throat was desperate for it, he resigned himself to keep from drinking until Sirius' humorous streak was over. "Jabes Botter dever took dotes a day id his life at Hogwarts, add I would wager a hudred galleods that he still doesd't. Eved if it is auror traidig."
"You're a researcher, you don't make enough to bet five galleons, let alone a hundred," said Sirius, changing the subject. "But at any rate, the meeting won't be long. Lily gets anxious if he stays out too late. She's liable to come waddling in, hexing everybody in the café if I don't get him back home on time."
Laughing and deciding that Sirius' humorous streak would probably never really end, Remus risked another gulp or two of juice.
"You don't mind, do you?" asked Sirius softly. "Because I can just owl him instead if you can't do without me for a few hours tonight."
"The owls ared't secure edough for that kide of talkig," said Remus. "Besides, I'b a big boy, Sirius. I'll be all right without you. I'll just try add sleeb or subthig."
Sirius grinned slyly. "That's good to hear, because I was planning on slipping a sedative into your drink anyway. That way you're sure not to miss me any."
Not sure whether Sirius was joking again or not, Remus decided it was best just to drink his juice rather than find out.
"So, now, back to my question. What else can I get you?"
Remus smiled, shaking his head and gesturing with the nearly empty glass at their surroundings. "You've fetched everythig I cad thig of, bost of which I did't eved deed id the first place," he said truthfully.
"Nonesense!" replied Sirius, looking around. "All the tissues were perfectly necessary. The paper, well, I knew there was no way you could go a day without reading The Daily Profit front-to-back and back-to-front. The books were a good attempt at distraction for all of two minutes before your eyes started to hurt. The chess set would have been fun if the pieces could understand your stuffy talk half as well as I can. The tea was medicinal, and you're supposed to have as many fluids as possible. The chocolate frogs count as medicinal in my book as well, especially when it comes to your sweet tooth. The scrolls were because you insisted on having some work close by in case you started feeling up to doing some. The guitar was an attempt at singing you off to sleep. And the chicken soup and sandwiches, well, can't blame a guy for trying to get you to eat a little something, can I?" He took a deep breath, eyes running over the room to see if he had missed some crucial item that he'd taken time and care to bring Remus. "So what now?" He dipped his fingers into the water basin again and looked decisive. "Apparently, this."
He picked up a large pitcher and filled it as much as possible with water from the basin. Then he headed to the bathroom and poured it out, filling it with warmer water instead. He returned and poured slowly to allow Remus time to adjust to the temperature change. The water was not hot, but rather warm and Remus wiggled his toes beneath the small puffs of steam. It made him feel warm all over.
Sirius took Remus' empty glass and paused before setting it on the bedstand along with a few others. "Would you like me to make you more?"
"Doe," said Remus, deep down meaning yes.
Sirius wasn't fooled. "Another glassful, then," he said, starting to get up again.
Remus held a hand out. "Doe, dot quite yet. I wadt you to stay with be for a little while loger."
"Rem, it only takes a few minutes to make orange juice. You know that. I just did it a second ago."
Searching for an excuse, he tried, "I dow... but I'b feelig sdeezey agaid..."
Sirius hesitated, then set the glass aside, relaxing back in the chair. But he wasn't convinced enough to pick the box of tissues back up. "You're back to being needy again. Maybe it's time for me to take your temperature again?" Sirius suggested, reaching over for the thermometer on the bedstand.
Remus shook his head. "Blease dod't," he pleaded. He had a terrible track record for this already today. He'd never been able to get through a session with the thermometer without sneezing. He lifted a foot out of the water. "It'll be idaccurate adyway."
This was true, and Sirius set the thermometer back down, feeling Remus' forehead with the back of his hand instead. He counted for a few seconds, then removed it. "If this fever continues much longer, I'm not letting you out of bed tomorrow, either."
Remus did not feel well enough to object. He did, however, feel sneezey again. This time Sirius could see it in his eyes and quickly recovered the tissues. Remus' first gasping breath was directed out heavily into the handful of tissues, as were the rest, building quickly into a sneeze or two. "ehhhKUFChhhhh! hehschekhhh! Ihhhshkuhhh! hahKutchhhhh! ehhh-ketchahh!" Or five.
Wiping his nose several times for him until it was dry, Sirius then pulled out another few tissues. "Okay, time to blow your--" quickly he covered Remus' nose again.
"hehhhh...ehhhChefshhhh! ehhShukshhh! ihhhKetchuhhh! ehhh-heh-kah-TChushhhh!" Or nine.
"Merlin, Rem. When you say you feel sneezey, you aren't kidding." Remus blushed again but let Sirius guide him through another series of blows until both the pressure and tickle in his nose lessened drastically. He panted for breath afterwards, closing his eyes and swaying slightly. "Feeling light-headed?" Remus nodded, reached out from beneath the blankets for Sirius to steady himself against the other man. But Sirius did it first, holding Remus firmly. "Time to lie down," he said, though it sounded quite unlike an order or an observation. To Remus, it just sounded heavenly.
He let Sirius pull his feet from the basin and lay him sideways on the bed. He snuggled into the two pillows under his head, holding the blankets tight for warmth. Sirius dried his feet off with a fluffy towel and tugged on thick socks. Then he wrapped the comforter around Remus so that it covered him completely.
"I dew it..." said Remus, weakly. "This was all just ad elaborate blot to get be idto bed."
Sirius laughed, crawling up onto the bed on the other side of Remus, wrapping an arm around her. "I could never hide anything from you, could I?" he asked, giving the back of Remus' head a stroke through the blankets.
Remus sighed. "I'b bathetic," he muttered, avoiding Sirius' eyes.
Before Remus had time to explain, Sirius cut in, "You most certainly are not pathetic!"
"I ab," he continued, bending his head down so that he could rub his nose with his hands still beneath the blanket. "Every bodth by body tradsforbs, add there are cuts add bruises add scratches add broked bodes."
"And you bear them well," said Sirius softly, not understanding as he continued to pet him gently.
"I dow... but thed I get a little head code like this add I'b cobletely out of... out..." he broke off, his point made, his voice unable to deliver more words as his breathing raced along without his consent. "EHhhh!" he breathed loudly in as much warning to Sirius as he could muster.
Sirius grabbed for the tissues at once, though his hand still stroked the back of Remus' head soothingly. "It's all right. Go right ahead and sneeze any time now."
"Ruddy... heh! Ruddy... little-ehhh...code... ehhh-IHHHSkuhhhh! ehhhKexshhhh! heh-Chegshuhhh!" he sneezed, shaking against Sirius, who held him tightly.
"I know," said Sirius soothingly. "But it's not just a little cold. This is probably that bug Peter had all of last week, remember?" Remus remembered, as one of the few in the order without classes or a job to attend, going over five times a day with soup and tea and tissues. "You're allowed to not be as tough as usual. You're allowed to feel sick and weak and frustrated. And you're allowed to let me take care of you until you feel better."
"Ab I allowed to slab you whed you get all sabby like this?" asked Remus, looking back with a smile.
"I like it when you slap me," said Sirius. "So maybe I should be sappy more often?" He leaned forward to kiss Remus on the cheek, but Remus pulled away with a cough.
"I dod't wadt you catchig this frub be," he muttered, turning his face into the pillow to muffle more coughs that came from his congestion as much as from his raw throat. Sirius held tissues to his nose firmly to blow into. Then Remus relaxed back against the pillows.
"Not catch it from you?" said Sirius slowly in order to hold back laughter. "For pity's sake, Remus, I'm wiping your nose! If I'm supposed to come down with this thing, there's no stopping it now." Gently, he pulled strands of hair back from Remus' hot face. "So there's absolutely no point in resisting a perfectly good kiss. It'll make you feel better." Sirius leaned forward again, placing a kiss softly on his cheek. He pulled back, flipping Remus' bangs from his face. "There now, not so terrible, was it?"
Remus shook his head. "Sorry," he whispered. "I'b just dot feelig so well."
Sirius slapped his own forehead and rolled his eyes. "You're joking! Why didn't you tell me about that before? Whatever could be the matter?"
Remus chuckled again and Sirius nuzzled him in approval of the sound.
"Much better. So... back to my question... what else can I fetch for you?" Remus shrugged, looking around the room for what could possibly be missing. His eyes fell on the stack of books. He said nothing, but Sirius still understood. "Come now, let me make the bed again. We can snuggle under the covers together and I'll read to you until I have to go meet James." Remus agreed and slipped beneath the sheets as Sirius pulled off the blankets and tucked them in at the bottom of the bed. He looked up at Remus from the bottom of the bed. "You're about to sneeze again, aren't you?"
Remus nodded, rubbing a finger boyishly under his nose. His expression was one of worry as he looked around, trying to spot the box of tissues that had been lost in the rearranging.
Sirius located it, crawled up, and caressed his nose with tissues. "There, Love. Sneeze all you want, now."
"Add... add... heh... what if I dod't... ehhhh... wadt?" said Remus, his mouth forming a bit of a smile in between struggling breaths.
Sirius lowered the tissues briefly, tapping Remus' nose. "Something tells me that they're going to come out anyway and you don't have a choice about it."
"HEH!" Remus exhaled, half a chuckle, half from the building sneezes. He leaned forward and buried his nose in the fistful of tissues Sirius provided. "hehKushhuhh! ehh-Ahehtchhh! ehhhTschihhh!" He wiggled his nose as it continued to itch and tickle.
"Blow," said Sirius, raising a fresh tissue and holding Remus' nose through it. Remus shook his head free, but Sirius caught his nose again, wiping the runs and holding it again. He cleared his throat in a commanding sort of way, and Remus obeyed this time, emptying his nose into a series of tissues. Sirius spent a few seconds in aiming this time, but still missed the trash can when he tossed the tissues away. "No matter," he mumbled under his breath to himself. Then he wiggled out of his pants and shirt and slipped beneath the covers with Remus.
The sick man's body burned with heat beneath such heavy blankets. But he still clung to Sirius for warmth, snuggling and cuddling up as close as possible. Sirius wrapped an arm around him, holding him close. Sirius' hand gently massaged Remus' upper arm through soft flannel pajamas as Remus slid an arm over Sirius' undershirt-clad chest. Sirius retrieved a book from the top of the stack and opened it, holding it up with one hand.
Sirius' voice was deep and soothing, a flawless, soft tone that rose and fell in interesting ways along with the words. It was so comforting a sound that Remus was forced almost immediately to close his eyes, in order to enjoy it. But he fought hard to stay awake for fear of missing even one word spoken by that voice. He slipped a hand under Sirius' shirt, feeling the familiar chest hairs, feeling his warmth more directly. Sirius smiled as the touch mildly tickled, but he did not break the rhythm of his reading. Several times he did stop, however, in order to help Remus with sneezes, or to him get glasses of water. Remus was thankful for the water, but even more thankful when he was back in Sirius' arms. Feeling sick wasn't half as bad when it meant snuggling up to Sirius in bed.
After a while, Remus found it slightly harder to stay awake. And harder to keep his sneezes back long enough for Sirius to finish a whole page. "Sirius?" he whispered finally, tugging on Sirius' shirt to get his attention.
Sirius put his finger in the book to hold his place. He looked down at Remus closely. It wasn't a sneeze or a glass of water this time. "I'll go get you that cup of tea then, shall I?"
Remus nodded. "With able abouts of those herbs to dock be out?" he asked hopefully.
"Just enough for a little nap. With the way you've been yawning, I don't think you'll have any trouble sleeping." He bent his head and buried his nose in Remus' soft brown hair. He took a deep breath, nuzzling and taking in every bit of Remus' scent so he could recall it while they were apart. Then he placed a soft kiss on the top of Remus' head. "I'll be right back."
And he was, hovering over a sniffling Remus only minutes later, blowing on the tea to cool it down to just the temperature Remus preferred. He handed it over and gave Remus' nose another wipe as the man inhaled the steam and sniffled.
"I'll be gone just a few hours," Sirius guaranteed, slipping on a pair of pants, then a black turtleneck and sweater. "But I'll send an owl if there's trouble."
"You rebebered to fill up your tadk, did't you?" Remus asked, sniffling as the steam tickled his nose as he drank.
"Full tank and ready for flying," Sirius said. He caught the warning look in Remus' eyes. "But I won't be flying it tonight, I promise." Remus narrowed his eyes all the more. "Yes, you need hardly remind me about what happened to Edgar last week. No flying, I promise! Besides, I've got a sneaking suspicion that you snuck out and nicked part of the elevation regulator anyway."
Not wanting to admit to anything, Remus changed the subject. "You're dot wearig *that* are you?" he asked demandingly.
Sirius, who was just pulling on his black leather jacket, looked flabbergasted. "Remus, listen to what you're saying! It's practically *illegal* to ride a motorbike without a leather jacket. What would you have me wear, that bulky parka of yours?"
"It's the biddle of widter. It's bractically sdowig out. If you go out id oddly that you'll catch a..." he trailed off, realizing how terribly ironic that statement was given their present circumstances.
Sirius' grin showed that he got it, too. "That's why I bothered with a sweater." He plucked at it for effect before zipping up the jacket. Then he turned to the mirror, pulling up the collar of the jacket and running his hands through his hair. "You know, I'm considering growing it out. What do you think?"
"Whatever you... like," said Remus, giving a wide, body-shaking yawn.
Sirius raised an eyebrow and turned his head back towards the bed. "Looks like the tea is kicking in."
A hand over his mouth to cover another yawn, Remus nodded.
"Good, good." Sirius settled on the edge of the bed beside Remus, easing the other man down against high stacked pillows, and then pulling the covers up to his chin. "Then get some sleep. I'll be home before you wake." He ran his palm against Remus' sweaty forehead, flipping his bangs back again as his hand traveled to the top of his head, affectionately messing his hair there.
Remus sniffled wetly, pulling out a hand to cover his nose as a sudden sneeze struck without warning. "Kerchushh!"
"Oops, sorry. Didn't see that one coming," Sirius apologized, pulling the tissue box to a spot right beside Remus and folding a few tissues. Remus blew his nose wearily. His eyes stayed closed after the sneeze, and he gave a relieved sigh and a nod when his nose was better.
With a sigh of his own, he stood and tossed the tissues towards the trashcan. Eyes lighting up with excitement, he turned back to Remus. "Hey! Did you see..." a soft snore made the words die away. Remus was already asleep. Sirius smiled and shook his head. "Never mind. Sweet dreams, Love," Sirius whispered, bending down and kissing Remus' forehead.