Title: Snuggles and Some Seriousness

Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Harry Potter

Rating: PG13 I think

Pairing: Remus/Sirius
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: Sirius is a bit under the weather and switches roles with Remus, who takes care of him this time

Note: Sequel to 'Love and Lightheartedness'

Comments: I'd be grateful for some!

 

 

Snuggles and Some Seriousness

 

     Their alarm clock was not so much clock as alarm. Every morning, the box which stood in one of the shelves in their headboard transformed into something different, waking them with a surprise. Yesterday it had been a rooster that Remus had needed to grab and march over to the window to point out that yes he saw that the sun was up, thank you very much, before it stopped crowing and turned back into a cube. This morning it was a teapot, squealing with readiness and spurting steam from its spout. Remus reached up and hit it a few times to indicate that he heard it. But the pot spun and slid out of his way, bursting with fullness. Remus batted it with his pillow. "Oy! Shut up! We got it!" The pot tipped its lid to him and the sound died down. "Finally," he complained. "Why Peter thought this infernal thing would make a good flat-warming gift, I'll never know." He reached over and shook Sirius' shoulder. "Come on, Love. Time to get up."

 

     But Sirius was not in the mood. He groaned and burrowed his head between his pillow and the mattress.

 

     Remus shook him again. "Hey, come on now. James will be by to pick you up in thirty." He tried lifting the pillow to peek beneath, but Sirius quickly dropped his arm on top of the pillow, holding it down. Remus sighed. "Sirius, I'm not kidding here. You've got classes today. It's time to get up."

 

     Sirius grunted. "I'm not going. I feel sick," came his barely audible reply from beneath the pillow.

 

     Remus leaned in, whispered to Sirius' neck, "You should have thought of that before staying out all hours with James last night."

 

     "James needed a break. Besides, we only had a few fire whiskeys," said Sirius' muffled voice.

 

     "As if I believe that when both you and he returned with a bottle of dragon blood wine each?" Even if it was just imitation dragon blood and the pretense was just for the label, it still packed a bit of a punch when you drank close to the whole bottle. Remus shook Sirius again. "I don't care how bad your hangover is this time. Get up." He pulled the covers down, and Sirius gave a fierce shiver.

 

     Roughly snatching the covers back up, Sirius pulled his head out from beneath the pillow. "Leave me alone, Rem. I'm sick."

 

     Remus sighed and slipped out of bed. A bit peeved, he grabbed his clothes and headed to the bathroom. "Fine. You get ten minutes to sleep in. But if you're not up by the time I'm done with my shower, I'm dragging you out by your ankles!" Remus called back, fuming. This was hardly the first time Sirius had begged to stay home after a late night out. This time James and Sirius had been out until nearly three in the morning, stumbling off the night bus drunk and singing so loudly they woke the others in the building. To say nothing of not writing to tell a worried Remus he'd be late, Sirius also went straight to bed without changing or saying much at all to Remus.

 

     By the time Remus finished his shower this morning, he returned to see Sirius softly snoring and curled up beneath the covers, his anger had completely melted away. Even a rude, unruly Sirius when asleep looked like an angel. And Sirius certainly looked as though he could use an extra few minutes of sleep this morning.

 

     Remus fixed a breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon for himself but only after putting on a large pot of coffee. "You've got five minutes until you need to leave," called Remus, pouring a large cup of black coffee and carrying it over to the bed. "Here," he said, sitting down, cross-legged on the bed beside Sirius. He placed a gentle hand on Sirius' shoulder, shaking very softly this time. "I made you your favorite hangover breakfast. Sit up and have a sip before it gets cold."

 

     Sirius opened his eyes wearily. "Thanks," he said coldly. "But I'm not hungover and I don't feel much like sitting up."

 

     With a sigh of frustration, "Look, James will be here in less than five minutes. You've got to be up and dressed by then or he'll give me a hard time about it like he always does." Remus pulled the blankets off him again. "Now sit up and drink your coffee. You'll feel much better."

 

     Sirius tried for the blankets, but Remus clutched them tightly, not about to let Sirius retreat back beneath them. With a frustrated whimper, Sirius turned his face into his pillow. "S'not fair," he grumbled, sounding close to tears. "I always believe you when you say you're sick." And before Remus could give another sigh and tell him again to get up, Sirius body seized up and shook with force. "arshhphh! harashhphhh!" he sneezed into the pillow, then sniffled and moved his head over to avoid the resulting dampness.

 

     Remus froze. He had heard Sirius sneeze before on numerous occasions. And he knew what sneezes like that meant. "Sirius?" he said softly, petting the back of the man's head, fingers gently caressing the dark black hair Sirius had only recently decided to start growing out. "Roll over, let me feel your forehead," he instructed.

 

     With an angry sort of whimper, Sirius did so, crossing his arms over his chest. He sniffled pointedly as Remus pressed the back of his hand to Sirius' forehead. "Merlin's beard..." he said softly, now feeling Sirius' cheeks. "You're burning up, Love."

 

     "I know," said Sirius shortly. "I'm sick, or didn't you catch that when I said it the first three times...?" he turned his head as his breaths raced. "hah...EHHChahh! herAhshhhh!" He rubbed the side of his hand beneath his nose, sniffling after sneezing freely.

 

     Remus grabbed the tissue box, setting it down in front of Sirius. "Apparently I just needed some convincing evidence. I'm sorry," he said softly, forcing tissues into Sirius' hand. "I believe you now, all right? And you're not going to training today."

 

     "I think I... said that... before, too..." Sirius said, holding one of the tissues to his face expectantly. "hah-AHHChushhhh! arhCHIHshhhh!" he sneezed, only half catching it in the tissue. "'Scuse me," he grumbled, rubbing at his own nose.

 

     Remus shook his head. "Hey, no feeling sorry from your end. Especially since I probably gave this cold to you." He picked up one of the tissues and rubbed Sirius' nose for him. "Feeling chilly and feverish?" A nod. "Congested and sneezey with lots of pressure here?" Remus gently stroked the bridge of Sirius' nose. Sirius nodded. "A headache and body aches?" A nod. "And a burning, sore throat?" Yet one more nod. "Yep. That sounds exactly like what I had, all right." He tucked the blankets tighter around Sirius. "And I'm not letting you out of this bed until you're well again. Or leaving your side for that matter." Not that he really had anywhere to go.

 

     Sirius looked up at him, feeling incredibly grateful. He started to reply, and would have said something terribly sappy in hopes of eliciting a playful slap from Remus, but was stopped by James' arrival.

 

     "Morning!" the man sang cheerfully, the door swinging closed behind him. "Everyone have a good night?" He asked, striding over to the table and helping himself to some breakfast. "Hey, Moony? Can-ah-hah-a-piecea-toas?" James mumbled, already halfway through a piece of toast.

 

     "Of course, Prongs," said Remus, waving his hand dismissively, his attention still focused on Sirius.

 

     James chased the toast down with a glass of juice. "Oy, Pads, we've got to get going. Why aren't you up yet?" He paused, looking Sirius over. "You've got a hangover, haven't you?" he said with a cheeky grin, spinning a kitchen chair around to sit on it backwards, leaning on the top rung. "I told you not to go for that seventh shot of fire whiskey."

 

     Remus eyed Sirius. "Seven shots?"

 

     "It was only four, you git!" called Sirius, leaning so he could see around Remus. "You started seeing double after the first one. And I'm not hungover, I'm... I'm..." He was going to sneeze was what he was. He turned his head, sneezing freely again. "ahhKUHshhhh! hahhKURSHUHH! herTChhhhh!"

 

     James' eyes grew wide. "You're not!" he exclaimed, stumbling back from the chair, falling against the far wall of the kitchen, running his hand through his hair nervously. "Oh, Padfoot, don't tell me..."

 

     "arrChushh! ehhhKushhh!" Sirius continued to sneeze.

 

     Remus pushed tissues into his hand for him, and Sirius blew his nose. Remus looked back at James, "He's--"

 

     "He's come down with what you had last week?" James finished finally. Remus nodded. "Ohhh!" James groaned, running his hand through his hair again. "I was afraid of that!" Quickly he darted over to the sink and, using ample amounts of soap, began frantically washing his hands.

 

     Remus and Sirius exchanged slightly startled looks. "James?" Remus started, turning and moving to crawl off the bed.

 

     James held up a hand to signal he should stay put. "Look, I don't want to catch this, okay? So just stay over there, will you?" He splashed water on his face. "First Peter, then you, Remus, and now Sirius. I'm the only one of the group who's not come down with this bloody thing. And I've got a pregnant wife at home. Do you know how dangerous it is for a pregnant woman to get sick?"

 

     They didn't, but they could certainly guess by his reaction.

 

     "Okay, well, it's not too bad, especially early on, but I don't want to take the chance. Please tell me you're not coming to class today?" James asked pleadingly.

 

     "I'm staying home today," Sirius confirmed, giving his nose another honking blow.

 

     "You're staying home all week if Peter and Remus are any indication. I don't want you and your germs falling asleep on my shoulder during class!" James laughed, taking a handkerchief out of his pocket to clean his glasses, then to hold it over his nose and mouth. "I'll see you later."

 

     "James!" Sirius called out, his voice strained. He coughed from the effort, and James flinched at the sound, backing up towards the door. "Could you bring by the assignments on your way home today?" James hesitated to answer. "Oh, come on, Mate. It's not going to hurt you to just pop in with my assignments, is it? I promise I won't sneeze on you."

 

     James laughed. "All right. I'll stop by. But I've a meeting with Albus right after training so it'll have to wait until later in the afternoon." Both Remus and Sirius flinched this time. Just a matter of months out of school and they hadn't quite gotten used to calling their former headmaster by his first name the way James did. James found the doorknob behind him and slipped out with a hurried, "I'll see you both later, then!" he shouted through the handkerchief.

 

     Both Remus and Sirius had to try very hard to keep from laughing at this. And before they could say a word, the door opened again. James head poked in. "And feel better, Mate, all right?"

 

     Sirius smiled and nodded, and James left again.

 

     "You'd think I had the plague or something," Sirius said, trying to make the best of the fact that his best friend was repulsed by the idea of standing in the same room as him. Sirius helped himself to another tissue, but didn't quite get it up to his nose on time. "herAhshhhh! hehKatchhh!" He sniffed miserably. "Though I feel twice as bad, I bet." He coughed.

 

     Remus handed the coffee over immediately. "Here, it's still warm. It'll feel good on your throat."

 

     Sirius, sniffling, took the cup in both hands. He lifted it to his lips.

 

     "Wait!" Remus exclaimed, snatching it back. "No. Way too much caffeine in this. It'll dehydrate you. I'll go make you some tea instead." He bolted from the bed with the coffee, returning soon thereafter with tea.

 

     Sirius waited a few minutes to be sure Remus wasn't going to snatch this out of his hands as well, then drank a bit. It was clear that he wasn't overly fond of tea but he drank it because Remus was hovering over him so. And it made him so sleepy that he could barely keep his eyes open.

 

     Remus placed his lips gently against Sirius' cheek. "It's early yet. Go back to sleep." He took the cup from Sirius, then pulled the covers up. "I will be just a call away when you wake up and need something." Sirius nodded, mouth open, eyes closing, and fell asleep almost at once. Remus tucked the blankets around him and plumped his pillow as he slept, then headed to the table to finish breakfast and read the morning paper before starting his work.

 

*

 

     Sirius woke hours later, feeling significantly better than he had earlier that morning. At least when he sat up his head didn't feel like splitting itself open. He couldn't imagine what trying to have gone to classes that day would have possibly accomplished except to a masochist. He looked around the room for Remus, spotting him on the couch in the midst of books and papers, fast asleep. Sirius wanted to call out to him as Remus had told him to do. But Remus looked so peaceful and in need of sleep.

 

     On the other hand, Sirius was in need as well. His head felt all stuffed up, his throat sore and itchy, his nose tickly and runny. He just wanted Remus in bed with him to snuggle up next to and keep him warm and make him feel better. "Remus?" he called, looking hopefully over towards the couch. Remus did not stir. Sirius sighed and grabbed for a tissue at once. "heh..." While he was feeling much more rested, apart from a bit of an ache in his whole body, his nose was feeling worse. "heh-hehKURShhhh! KEHShhhh!"

 

     Remus' eyes shot open at once, and he turned to look towards the bed. "Sirius?" He was full of concern but not quite awake yet to say much more.

 

     "I feel sick, Remus," Sirius replied, rubbing a finger under his nose and sniffling.

 

     "Yeah..." Remus stretched broadly with a yawn. "So I gathered." He lowered one arm but kept the other extended. "Come on over here with a blanket and let me keep you warm and make you feel better." He'd uttered the magic words.

 

     Even sick and aching, Sirius didn't mind getting up and crossing the room for that. He curled up on the couch beside Remus, his face nuzzling Remus' chest as the man's arms wrapped around him. Remus always wore such soft shirts, as though expecting Sirius to nuzzle him as much as he did. Sirius certainly didn't complain. "So, is this what you do all day when I'm in classes? Nap on the heh- the couch?"

 

     Remus chuckled. "Bet you'd like to think that." He summoned the tissues over and pulled one out for Sirius. "But no, usually I get much more work done. I was just up late last night waiting for you to get home. Didn't get very much sleep."

 

     Sirius looked sorry about that. "You didn't have to wait up for me."

 

     "I was worried," Remus said, petting Sirius' head, running his fingers through the short black hair. "Since he got married and Lily got pregnant, you and James don't stay out as late as you used to, so I got worried when you didn't send word."

 

     Sirius sniffed. "Aw, Moony. Of course we'd be... all right..." his voice died away as it occurred to him what had probably gone on in Remus' mind, alone in the flat, surrounded by darks arts books, with no word from his friends. "I'll send an owl next time, or floo you," he said seriously, reaching up and taking one of Remus' hands. "I promise."

 

     About to object and say that wasn't necessary, Remus stopped himself. Damn right it was necessary. If he could have placed trackers on his friends he would have done it, just so he could spring to their aid at a moment's notice. Or know that they were at least still alive and moving. He wasn't an alpha wolf for nothing. "I'm paranoid when it comes to you," he confessed, nuzzling Sirius back and pressing his cheek against the top of Sirius' head, closing his eyes. "I just don't want anything to happen to you."

 

     Sniffling, Sirius reached for another tissue. "Now, don't get so sappy on me because it'll force me to do the same. And I'm sick so you won't be able to slap me properly for a... while."

 

     Remus laughed, snuggling the warm lump in his lap that was Sirius, all wrapped up and comfortable.

 

     But Sirius wasn't entirely comfortable. He groaned, holding the tissue up in front of his face and sneezing towards it as best he could, dislodging Remus' head from its resting place. "harChuhhh! arrKishhh! hahCheshhhhh! hahKERChhhhh!" He flicked his hand away with another groan. "Ugh... I detest beig sick. How'd you get through this, Rebus?"

 

     "I had someone sweet to take care of me and nurse me back to health."

 

     Sirius managed a smile. "Add who bight that have beed?"

 

     Remus squinted, his face screwing up in concentration. "Hrm... can't quite remember..." Playfully, Sirius hit him on the arm, not feeling up to using his energy to punch. "No, wait... it's coming to me... something about a sexy leather jacket and snow..."

 

     Sirius punched him again, laughing. "All right, all right. So it's all by fault I caught your cold. I should have lis-ed about the jacket." He pulled his hands back beneath the blanket, shivering, and rested his head on Remus' chest. "But go easy od be? I could use sobeode sweet to durse be back to health, too."

 

     Remus hugged Sirius close and placed a kiss on his hot forehead. "And I'd start with that nose of yours. You need a few good blows." He forced tissues against Sirius' nose, though the man laughed and tried to pull away. "Ah-ah. Now blow your nose or I'll do more than slap you. I don't know what- ah-ha!" He trapped Sirius' nose between his thumb and forefinger, through several layers of tissues. "But I'd think of something. Now, blow." Sirius obeyed, repeatedly, as Remus folded the tissues and restocked his handful until Sirius had no blows left. "Better, aren't you?" Sirius nodded, closing his eyes.

 

     "I still feel sick," he said pointedly, but had to admit, "But yeah, better."

 

     He shivered again, and Remus held him tighter, tugging the blanket around Sirius so that it covered him entirely. "Let me take care of you then, okay? Like you did for me."

 

     Sirius shrugged, his breath hitching again. "hurCHUH! hurCHushhhh! Huh-ARShuhhh!"

 

     "And that includes, taking care of your nose," Remus said, wiping Sirius' nose for him. "Just like you did for mine." Sirius nodded, closing his eyes, snuggling into Remus. "I don't want you to have to worry about a thing."

 

     "huhh..." He tensed in Remus' arms, and Remus had tissues all ready for him. "hurChmphh! Shufphhh! Huh-hurAshmphhh!" Sirius drew another breath, ready for a fourth which was taking its sweet time. Remus took the opportunity to rub Sirius' nose and get a fresh tissue for him. "huh... heh... her-uhhhh-IHHShummphhh!" It finally came, ending the series.

 

     "There we go," Remus coddled, wiping Sirius' nose for him. "Blow?" Sirius did. Half a dozen times. "That's a good lad." He gave Sirius a kiss in appreciation of his work. Sirius snuggled close again, snuffling into Remus' shirt.

 

     "This isn't exactly how I wanted to spend my day off," he said, lifting a hand to rub boyishly at his nose.

 

     "Well, then, how would you like to spend your day off?" Remus asked, his hand running through Sirius' hair with gentle pets and soft, smooth strokes. "I remember when I was sick you tried to amuse me with cards and chess and all sorts of things."

 

     Sirius shrugged. "If I had a choice, I'd spend it in bed with you and I wouldn't be sick. But as that's not an option... just spending the day with you is fine. Nothing special needed. I can settle for that."

 

     Remus laughed. "Settle for me, huh? Well that's good to know."

 

     "Not what I... what I meant." His face fell again, and Remus held a tissue up for him. "heh-her-Ashmmphh! Arshuphh! Shmmphh!" He rubbed his head back and forth into the tissue Remus held up for him. "Don't have more of that tea made, do you? Helped me stop sneezing for a little while."

 

     Remus laughed again. "Well that's because it made you sleep. Hard to sneeze when you're asleep." He kissed Sirius' forehead. "I'll go ahead and make some more tea. You want to get back in bed or stay on the couch?"

 

     Sirius looked around at the work on the coffee table. "If I stay here, you'll be tempted to work, won't you?" Remus smiled but didn't have to answer. "I'll take it in bed, then. I'll meet you over there in a few." He sat up and rolled off Remus, standing up. Luckily, Remus stood and held onto him as well, because Sirius went dizzy and needed his help just to stay upright. Sirius put a hand to his face, rubbing his eyes, forehead, and cheek. "Ah, like I was saying, you can help me over there."

 

     "Right," Remus nodded, taking a hold of his arm and escorting him over to the bed. Sirius was tucked beneath the covers with the tissues before Remus took his leave to make the tea.

 

     Sirius couldn't help taking up nearly the whole bed, starting at the center and moving outwards on both sides. He stretched out in a way he hadn't been able to do, snuggled onto the small couch with Remus, and piled both his and Remus' pillows beneath his head to help clear his breathing.

 

     The tissues were a welcome companion while Remus was on the other side of their flat. Wearily he pulled out several, holding them in front of his face. "hurAhshhhh! hehChushhhh! herCheshhh! heh... heh-HERChushhhh!"

 

     "Need help?" called Remus, who was running water into the kettle.

 

     Sirius shook his head and answered with several harsh blows of his nose. "No," he replied when he could. "Just hurry back, would you?" He turned his head, his words muffled into the pillow. "I just feel all... heh... all snuffley and-ehhhhh-heh-Sniff! And all sneezey." His hand closed over another tissue and brought it up to his nose this time. "hurUHShufff!" He rubbed the tissue against his nose. "Ughh... Remus?" he moaned. "I take it back. Can you come over now?"

 

     Partly because the apartment was small, but Remus was by his side quickly, palm to Sirius' forehead, and a tissue rubbing his runny nose. "The kettle's on the burner, anyway." Sirius whimpered and coughed. "Feeling miserable, aren't you?" Remus said as much more a statement than a question. Sirius nodded. "Just relax and you'll be all right. The best thing you can do right now is rest, and the tea will help with that." Sirius reached for another tissue, moving as though in slow motion. Remus easily beat him to it. "Going to sneeze or need to blow your nose?" he asked, folding it in half.

 

     "Blow," Sirius whispered, and sniffled wetly. His nose felt as though it was full and running more than it looked like it was. Remus folded the tissue in half again, then held it up to Sirius' nose. Sirius took a deep breath and blew hard. He winced as one ear popped, but continued to blow until his nose felt better. Then he moved his jaw around and forced a yawn until the pressure in his ear popped back to normal. Sirius relaxed against the bed and pillows with a sigh.

 

     "Awww, my little Pads all sick and sniffley," cooed Remus. "Well don't you worry. I'll take good care of you." He leaned forward to kiss Sirius, but then the tea kettle began to whistle and Remus pulled back. This time it wasn't the alarm clock which called. "Water's ready!" chirped Remus, jumping up and going for it, leaving Sirius to smirk and wait for his return.

 

     Remus returned with two cups of tea and slid beneath the blankets. He balanced himself on the very edge of the bed, letting Sirius take up as much of the middle as he liked. But Remus did share space on the pillows as the two sat snuggled beside each other in bed drinking tea. "I hate tea," Sirius commented after the first sip. Even with the lemon and honey Remus had added, for sugar wasn't the best thing to add when sick.

 

     "Drink it," Remus instructed in reply. Knowing it would indeed help in the long run, Sirius did drink it, albeit slowly. The warmth of the mug against his hands was welcoming, but his nose tickled and ran all the more from the steam. His sniffling got worse. In fact he only seemed to stop sniffling in order to take a sip of the tea, then started right back up again. "Want to blow your nose again?" Remus asked, finishing his own tea, and taking Sirius' cup from him. Sirius nodded several times, head bobbing up and down weakly.

 

     Remus took several tissues this time, folded them in half, and lifted it to Sirius' nose. This time he blew a little less hard, and his ears made it through unhurt. But his nose was starting to hurt a bit from all the attention. Remus' touch was certainly much lighter than his own, however, and he found himself continuing to blow his nose. Then his breath caught and he leaned forward, his nose against the tissues. "herKushhhh! hehArshuhhhh!" Remus switched the used tissues for some clean ones and had him blow his nose again.

 

     When Sirius was finished, he closed his eyes and groaned miserably. "Finish your tea now before it goes cold," Remus said, not wanting to dwell on the state of Sirius' runny nose. Sirius took it but whimpered and rested his head on Remus' shoulder. "I know how you feel," Remus whispered. "But the first day's the worst. Now come on," he said, tilting the teacup and pushing it up to Sirius' mouth. "Finish your tea."

 

     Sirius drank as much as he could before he was sick of the taste and too tired to want more. Still sitting upright, he snuggled against Remus and closed his eyes. Remus pulled the covers up over his shoulder and put an arm around him. Before long, Sirius was asleep again.

 

*

 

     "Forget what I said about being able to pee without help. I'm feeling dizzy." Sirius called, resting with his back against the molding around the bathroom door. Remus hopped up and grabbed hold of Sirius' arm while also sliding an arm around his waist. Leaving the bathroom door open behind him, Remus held Sirius steady as he pulled his cock out of his pajama bottoms and used the toilet. "Makes it sniff difficult, sniff though," Sirius said as he finished up and tucked himself away. "With you holding me like this it's hard not to get a stiffy."

 

     Remus smiled and helped him over to the sink so he could wash his hands. "Looks like you managed all right. I couldn't be too enticing."

 

     "You are," Sirius said, shaking his head. "I've just learned to deal with that problem. You always turn me on, Remus Lupin. I'd never pee if I didn't learn how to block off my mind for a few moments. Besides," he coughed into his shoulder and reached over for the tissues on the counter. "Besides, sex is out of the question right now. I feel like dying, not fucking." Though a select few might argue that was the same thing, Remus knew with first hand experience how bad this cold was. So Remus hugged him warmly from behind as Sirius lifted the tissue to his nose. "hurChmphhh! Hehh-ERShhphhh!" He pitched the tissues towards the trashcan and missed.

 

     Sirius started to bend over to pick it up. "Leave it. I'll get it later," Remus said, kissing his cheek from behind, and then holding him again to help him walk without stumbling. Sirius certainly needed the help as his legs were wobbly and between a headache and fever he couldn't see straight. "Now I want you to get back in bed," Remus soothed, talking to take his mind off how heavy Sirius was. "And I don't want you getting up again without me there. You shouldn't overexert yourself in this condition." Sirius bobbed his head up and down wearily.

 

     Remus helped him back over to the bed, pulling the covers back so Sirius could lie down, and then back up over him. Sirius sighed heavily as his head hit the top pillow and the blankets fell against him. "So nice, this bed," he mumbled. "I never want to get up again."

 

     "I'm afraid I can't promise you that," Remus said, sitting down on the edge of the bed and tenderly brushing Sirius' hair back from his cheek and forehead. "Especially since I'm going to continue to push liquids on you at least until your temperature drops and your throat's less irritated. Speaking of which, another glass of juice?" Trying to look cheery, Remus held up a glass, gesturing to it.

 

     Sirius sighed but nodded and accepted it. He needed Remus help to sit up a little so he could drink and swallow without choking or spilling. But with the blankets around him and Remus to lean against, it was nearly as nice as that first moment of lying down in bed again had been.

 

     There was a knock on the door, or rather a familiar series of knocks. Knock. knock-knock-knock-knock. "James," Sirius said after a swallow of juice. "Don't worry, I'll jump right up and get it."

 

     Remus laughed and kissed his cheek, then went over to the door. It was indeed James. James who was in the middle of eating an apple and James who handed over a folder nervously, not wanting to touch Remus' hands or get too close. He looked around Remus to see Sirius in bed.

 

     With the worst possible timing, Sirius was in the middle of a sneeze, one he didn't bother covering, as he'd been used to Remus doing that all day for him. "herChahhhh!"

 

     Wincing terribly and taking a step back, James asked, "How's he doing?"

 

     "He's sick and biserable!" Sirius answered as Remus opened his mouth. Remus shut his mouth with a sigh and nodded in agreement.

 

     "How are you doing, James?" Remus turned and walked over to the table, placing the file there. "Can I get you anything?"

 

     Instead of following Remus in, James hovered in the doorway. "No, thanks," James said, eyeing the kitchen warily as though he could see the germs swarming everywhere. "I've cast a spell over myself to strengthen my immune system, and I've been eating fruit all day. I'm not going to come down with this thing." He gave a wave. "I'd better get home."

 

     "Sniff! Thaks for, sniff, sniff! Thaks for gettig by assigdbets," Sirius said. Remus sat down on the edge of the bed, pulling a tissue from the box. He rubbed it against Sirius' nose to keep it from running. Sirius pulled his head away, cheeks flushing. "Reb, dot dow," he muttered beneath his breath. He raised his arm and dragged his sleeve beneath his nose instead.

 

     "Oh come off it," Remus replied, pushing his arm down and rubbing his nose dry with the tissue. "James has seen worse." Sirius still pushed Remus' arm away when he was finished, trying to look as though he were still in control.

 

     Nonetheless, James smirked. "Feel better, Sirius," he said, shaking his head. "And good luck, Remus," he added, locking the door on his way out.

 

     "Aw, why'd you have to baby be id frodt of Jabie?" Sirius complained with a congested cough.

 

     "Because, your nose was running and you weren't doing anything about it. And I told you I was going to take care of you." He plucked a few more tissues out. "Now, give me a good blow and I'll get you a nice bowl of gelatin. I made some while you were napping."

 

     Sirius looked a little cross, but turned his head, looking over at the kitchen. "Really? What... sniff, sniff! What flavor?" He tried to spot some evidence, a colored spoon or an empty box.

 

     "Cherry. With fresh banana cut up in it. Your favorite, if I'm not mistaken." He folded the tissues in preparation.

 

     Sirius' eyes lit up. "Yeah. Yeah, all right. You've got a deal." He took a deep breath as Remus positioned the tissues and blew his nose until his nose wouldn't even think about running for a while. True to his word, Remus brought over a bowl and spoon and sampled it on the way over just to be sure it was all right. He explained that it was with a smile and nod. Sirius, who hadn't had an appetite all day, agreed as he devoured it quickly.

 

     "I'm thinking of calling Peter and asking him to get some take away for us," Remus said, watching Sirius eat. "That way we can eat a little and reheat it later when we get hungry again. You have a meal preference? Italian? Chinese? Pizza?"

 

     Sirius shrugged and handed the bowl back over to Remus. "More gelatin, please?"

 

     Remus sighed with a smile and nodded. "Sure." He stole a brief kiss, then headed back to the kitchen area. It was good to see Sirius eating anything, and at least this wouldn't upset his stomach at all.

 

     "hehhErshhhh! Archhuhhh!"

 

     Remus looked back to see him weakly rubbing his nose. "You all right?"

 

     He nodded. "Just feeling sneezey again." He coughed. "You could hold off on the... heh... on the hah-herEhschhhhhh! I dod't thig I could eat right dow adyway."

 

     Remus set the bowl down in the sink and returned to Sirius. He lay down beside and put his arm around the man. Sirius whimpered and snuggled as close as he could get. "That's it, Love. Get all comfy and cozy."

 

     Remus lifted a tissue and held it up to Sirius' face. His mouth hung open, and his eyes were shut tightly closed, brow furrowed. "her... her-ehshhhhh! archmphhh!" He took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Sirius' nostrils twitched against the tissue. "ehhh... hehhhArtshphhh!" He coughed, breathing heavily through his mouth, and Remus held up a new tissue without needing to be asked. Sirius blew his nose, though it didn't do much good.

 

     Moments later, his nostrils were twitching again, and his breaths racing. "heh-ehh-KEHTchhhhh! KERChhhhh!" The sneezes were so strong that even smothering them into a tissue didn't help much. "ehhhh..." Sirius seemed to be trying to hold this one back. He wrinkled his nose and lifted his hand, running a finger along the bridge of his nose. But it was to no avail, and he shook with another sneeze just as easily as though he'd not tried to resist at all. "ehhffffshhhh!" After which, he whimpered in frustration. Remus shushed him and rubbed his nose dry. Coughing and snuffling, Sirius closed his eyes and rested the side of his face against his pillow. "Don't like this," he muttered.

 

     With a sigh, Remus kissed his cheek, then his lips. And when Sirius opened his eyes, he saw Remus' bright smile. "I'm going to get the chess set. You'll feel better once you've beat my pieces into a pile of rubble." Remus caressed his cheek.

 

     Agreeing that he probably would, Sirius let Remus get the set. As miserable and horrible as Sirius must feel, Remus also knew taking his mind off how sneezey he felt was the best thing to do right now. And with luck, it would carry him through rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

 

*

 

     Remus massaged Sirius' shoulders as he led him back from the bathroom. "There now," he said soothingly. "Nice hot, steamy shower. Clean pair of pajamas. New change of sheets. All ready for bed."

 

     Sirius coughed and nodded, letting Remus tuck him beneath the covers. Remus took leave for his own shower, and to get everything else ready for bed. He set a glass of water on the bedside table on Sirius' side, along with an extra box of tissues. It wouldn't do to run out in the middle of the night. Thinking twice, he moved the water to his own side. As Sirius had taken to lying in the middle of the bed, it would just be easier to hand Sirius the water as needed rather than have him crawl over just for it. Remus snuggled beneath the covers, taking Sirius in his arms with a strong hug and a kiss. "You goig to sleeb?" Sirius asked. No matter how much he blew his nose now, he still sounded terribly congested.

 

     "Eventually, hopefully," said Remus, caressing Sirius' cheek. It was early yet, especially for them, but as they'd spent practically the whole day in bed anyway, there was no harm in getting ready for bed early. "But like I said, the first day's always the worst. I intend to take care of you, even if I have to stay up all night."

 

     "Sniff! Sniff! I wadt you to go to sleeb if you're tired," Sirius said with a cough.

 

     "And I want you to quit worrying about me," Remus placed a gentle kiss on Sirius' forehead. "I'm not the one who's sick... at least, not this week." Sirius cracked a smile. And Sirius smiling could cheer anyone up, even Sirius. "So just relax and let me take care of you, Love. Oh, and don't make me have to say it again."

 

     Sirius snuggled into Remus, rubbing his hand up and down Remus' chest. "You're a good guy," he whispered. "I really dod't deserve--"

 

     "Shuddup you," Remus laughed, turning Sirius' head up with two fingers pushing beneath his chin. He caught Sirius in a strong kiss, wrapping his arms around in a tight hug, rubbing his hands up and down Sirius' back.

 

     When the kiss ended, Sirius sighed, then coughed. "Wish I felt better, sniff, sniff, add I could thak you, sniff, broberly."

 

     "There will be plenty of time for that when you're well." He pulled a few more tissues from the box.

 

     "I'b okay," Sirius said, trying hard not to sniffle as he said it. "Doe bore rubbig. By dose hurts." He turned his face into Remus' shoulder and the pillow to muffle the sound of his sniffling.

 

     Remus kissed the top of his head and pushed off from the bed. "I'm sorry you hurt. I'll be right back." He popped over to the bathroom and back with a small jar of cream. He sat down on the bed, looking down at Sirius who now couldn't keep from sniffling. "You've got to blow your nose first," he said, gesturing briefly to the jar, and picking the tissues up again. After a couple of coughs and another popped ear from blowing too hard, Sirius' nose had stopped running for the moment. Remus touched his fingertip to the surface inside the jar and pulled it out with just a tiny dab of cream. "Hold still," he whispered, then gently applied it to the end of Sirius' nose.

 

     Sirius coughed and laughed. "Hey... tickles!" he said, but did not protest, Instead, he tilted his head back a little so Remus could rub beneath as well.

 

     "Feels better?" he asked when finished.

 

     "So buch better," said Sirius, wiggling his nose. "Excebt that I hah... have to sdeeze agaid..." Remus held a tissue up in front of his face, but not touching his nose so as not to rub any of the cream away. "huh-hurSHhhhhh! herCHUHH! TChuhhhh!" Then he wiped Sirius' nose very carefully.

 

     "Okay now?" he asked. Sirius nodded and sighed with relief. "Good." Smiling, Remus slipped back beneath the blankets, finding a very warm Sirius already cuddling up to him.

 

     Having slept much of the day away, Sirius wasn't in the mood for more sleep just yet. It was quite late, and there was nothing on the Wizarding Wireless but static. "Hey, could you read to be?" Sirius suggested, looking up with need. "Like I did whed you were sick?"

 

     With a chuckle, "What would you have me read you? The latest issue of Motorbike Weekly?"

 

     "Whatever," shrugged Sirius. "It doesd't batter. I just wadt to dow you're here."

 

     "What, and my holding you isn't enough?" Sirius looked even more desperate. "Hey, all right, all right. No problem. But you hate the novels I read."

 

     Sirius shrugged again. "I dod't care. You dod't eved have to start at the begiddig. Just bick ub where ever you left off. I just wadt to hear your voice."

 

     Remus petted his head gently, then reached over to the nightstand, sliding his book off without bumping the glass of water. "Well, all right then. Snuggle close to stay warm, and interrupt me when you feel you have to sneeze, and we've got a deal."

 

     "Baking a lot of deals today," Sirius observed, snuggling close to Remus, who had sat himself up in bed in order to lean against the headboard and read.

 

     "Well, you seem to be a difficult patient, when you're sick," Remus replied, opening the book up to somewhere in the middle and giving Sirius a shifty-eye look. "I'm just trying to get you to cooperate. And I thought it better to make deals with you than to chain you to a bed and force you to take it easy and let me take care of you."

 

     Sirius coughed and raised an eyebrow. "Better, or just easier? Because I'd rather fadcy beig tied to the bed--"

 

     "You would!" laughed Remus, ruffling his hair. It was starting to look shaggy now that he was growing it out. And thicker, at that. "But, yes, making deals is indeed easier. Though now that I know, the next deal might just involve chains and whips. Better watch yourself."

 

     "It's dot dice to tease the sick," Sirius replied with a grin. "You're gettig by hobes up."

 

     Remus coughed and straightened, trying to pump a bit more dignity into the conversation, though failing with his next statement. "So long as that's the only thing I'm getting up. I told you I didn't want you overexerting yourself." Sirius looked impressed and laughed. Remus could certainly be naughty when he wanted to. But he could also be reasonable. "You don't want any more tea or juice, do you? Extra pulp?"

 

     Sirius shook his head, sniffling. "Doe, just stay here add read?"

 

     "Of course," Remus nodded. Sirius was warm and ready to settle in for the night. He cleared his throat and looked down at the book, finding a good paragraph to start with. Sirius had never been fond of his choice of readings and he didn't want to start with something that would make Sirius uncomfortable or groan and tell Remus to go find something else. Failing that, Remus flipped back to the start of the book and turned to the first page. "Early one morning, Malcovitch--"

 

     Both Sirius and Remus jumped as they heard a knock on the door. In a flash, both reached beneath their pillows, pulling out wands. "Who's, cough, that?" Sirius asked, raising his other hand to snuffle and cough into his wrist, but keeping his wand up and at the ready.

 

     "I don't know," Remus replied gravely, slipping back out of bed and throwing his bathrobe on. If he was going to be murdered, he didn't want to be found in just a nightgown. "But I'll go find out."

 

     "I've got your back," said Sirius with a nod, crawling out from the warmth of the covers.

 

     Remus looked back and shook his head. "No, stay in bed. You're sick."

 

     "Fuck sick," snapped Sirius, crawling over to the end of the bed and setting foot on the floor. "It could be ode of those dab werewolf hudters. Or a gadg of death eaters. I'll dot have you adswerig the door alode." He sniffed hard and said definitively, "I've got your back."

 

     Knowing it was pointless to argue, Remus gave a nod. He walked slowly over to the door, with Sirius behind him, holding onto Remus' shoulder for support. Their wands were raised and ready. Stunning spells sat on the tips of their tongues. Their eyes and ears were alert and searching for some clue as to who the late night visitor might be. As they approached the door, there was another knock. This time, however, it was a recognizable one. Knock knock-knock-knock-knock. They both heaved a deep sigh. "Jabes," Sirius said as Remus unlocked the door.

 

     James stood there all right, dripping from head to toe. He was wearing a water-resistant traveling cloak, but the hood was down and his hair was dripping wet as well. His face was pale, and he was shivering with cold. His hazel eyes were over bright.

 

     "Jabes?" Sirius asked, looking him over, and noticing the bulge from beneath the cloak.

 

     All of a sudden, James' head snapped down and he sneezed twice, into his chest. "ahhhChooo! hahhKChooo!" He lifted his head to see their sympathetic looks. He sniffled and pulled out his arm by throwing back his cloak on one side. He rubbed the side of his hand against his nose. "I thik I cabe dowd with it after all. Sniff! Sniff! I dod't feel so good." They could see beneath his cloak a blanket and pillow. He was wearing not his normal robes, or even muggle clothes, but his pajamas. "Cad I stay here todight? I dod't wadt Lily gettig sick."

 

     Remus cocked his head and reached out for James, easing him in the door. "Of course, James. You're always welcome in our home." Remus glanced out into the hallway to be sure it was deserted. His senses told him James had not been followed. Still he closed the door and did all three locks. James stripped off his cloak, still dripping on the floor. Though he initially turned to take the cloak Remus glanced Sirius out of the corner of his eye and quickly spun around to grab Sirius' arm as his knees buckled. "To bed, Sirius. Right now." He kissed Sirius' cheek and ushered him over. Sirius just made it without collapsing.

 

     Meanwhile Remus took James' cloak and flung it over a chair to dry. And James tossed a blanket and pillow down on the couch. "I wod't be a bother, I brobise. I'll just crash here for todight add toborrow I'll fide sobwhere else to--"

 

     Remus grabbed James' arm and held him back. "You can stay here as long as you need to. You're sick, James. We don't want you in an inn or something silly like that. I took care of Peter, I'm taking care of Sirius, and I can very well take care of you, too. Now come to bed and get warm."

 

     James rubbed his nose and cleared his throat. "I, ah, are you sure? I dod't wadt to... hah... idvade." He cupped a hand over his nose and mouth this time. "hahShooo! HahChooo! HShoooo!"

 

     "Come on, tissues are over by the bed anyway," Remus said, picking James' pillow and blanket up and leading the way. "We share our lives with you, Jamie. We've no problem sharing our bed."

 

     James still looked hesitant, as he watched Sirius cup a hand to nose and mouth. "herChhhhh! herAhshhhhh!" He sniffled and rubbed his palm against the tip of his nose.

 

     "Besides, Remus said, looking over his shoulder at James. "Not like Sirius and I are going to be using the bed for anything other than resting. Might as well keep each other warm."

 

     James walked over, rubbing miserably at his nose, shivering, but still hesitating when it came to getting into the bed. "Just get idto bed, you git," Sirius said, smiling. "Ah, dot that side," Sirius clarified as James froze in place. "That's Rebus' side."

 

     Remus draped the blanket over the bed, and set the pillow down on the other side of the bed, as James lay down upon it. Remus and Sirius both pulled the covers up over him, and Remus plumped his pillow, though it wasn't very high up. "Well, that won't do," Remus said. Over to the couch and back again, he came with arms full of cushions and used them to elevate their pillows. Then he retrieved a towel from the bathroom and took it over to James, drying his wild black hair with it. "Need anything, James? Water? Juice? Hot water bottle? Cup of tea? Headache medicine? Dinner? Have you eaten?"

 

     James took over for drying his hair and nodded. "I'b all right for dow. Thags."

 

     He handed the towel back and Remus put it over the back of another chair to allow it to dry. "All right, but don't hesitate to ask for anything. I'll probably be up with Sirius the whole night as it is, but even if I'm asleep and you need me, wake me up. Got it?" James nodded, sniffling.

 

     Remus climbed into bed on the other side, beside Sirius, who was again taking up the middle of the bed for himself. "Rebus was just goig to read a little," Sirius explained to James.

 

     "Is that all right with you?" Remus asked, adjusting the covers, and adjusting the way Sirius curled up against him. Abandoning the pillow, Sirius rested his head on Remus' chest, as he lounged in the bed with the book. "Oh, and there's an extra box of tissues on the nightstand right there," Remus pointed out. "If you need them and can't get to this box."

 

     That possibility was certainly good, as Sirius was using the tissue box at that moment. He snuffled into a handful of them, breathing heavily. "hurh...EhShuhhhh! HerChahhhh!" He sighed, rubbing the tissues at his nose weakly. Then he pulled his hand down and Remus rubbed for him, with a gentle touch. Sirius seemed less ashamed this time and let him, even with James watching.

 

     Remus wrapped his arm around Sirius and hugged close. Then he stretched it out to James and squeezed James' shoulder. "Hey, you all right?" Remus asked. "You sure I can't get you anything?"

 

     James nodded and turned over on his side, scooting up close to Sirius so Remus could reach him better. Plus being closer to Sirius meant more warmth. He sniffled and Sirius, on his back, smiled at him. "Cobe od, sduggle closer," Sirius invited. "You're lettig all the cold air slib betweed us and uder the covers." James understood and scooted closer. The covers were pulled up to Sirius and James' chin and tucked around them to prevent any more air from sneaking in.

 

     "All right, I'm going to start reading from the beginning and you two," Remus said, looking over both sick men in bed beside him, "You two fall asleep whenever you feel like it. And stop me whenever you need something. I don't mind, I've read this before anyway." He quickly pulled out a tissue with his other hand and handed it over to James just in time.

 

     "hahTChooo! Sniff, sniff!" James closed his eyes still as he blew his nose. "Sorry," he whispered. "Go od with the story. I'll brobably fall asleeb id doe tibe."

 

     Remus smiled, nodded, and picked up the book with his hand. "A tale of romance and drama it is." That sounded familiar, however he felt he'd had enough romance and drama for one day. "Actually, maybe we should go with something a little lighter." He pulled out his wand, which had been nestled beneath his pillow and a couch cushion, and Assio-ed an adventure story from his bookcase to read instead. Remus looked over at them once again. James still had his eyes closed, but he was sleepily rubbing the tissue at his nose. On the other hand, Sirius looked wide awake and was anxious to hear the story. He sniffled and rubbed his cheek against Remus' chest affectionately, then picked up James' hand in his own, squeezing it. Eyes closed, James smiled lazily. "All right then, boys, this is a good one." Looking up to be sure the alarm clock had been turned off, Remus opened the book and flipped to the first page.