Title: Futile Hopes & Unexpected Kindnesses

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter (Harry's year 3)

Rating: G

Pairings: None

Spoilers: HP3

Disclaimer: These characters? No rights! Not mine! This fanfic? No money! No fame!

Summary: Remus isn't feeling well. Snape's not exactly his usual self, either.

Notes: This was meant to be a drabble because I was feeling VERY unproductive... but wouldn't stop until 4 pages went by. And now, for some reason, I'm thinking a series might be in order. Or making this just a chapter in a larger fic (which would make more sense). So feedback would be useful



Futile Hopes & Unexpected Kindnesses


     Having just finished sneezing, Remus looked up at the man whose cold eyes were shooting daggers at him. Quickly he fumbled with his large handkerchief, snuffling and rubbing in order to make himself as presentable as possible given his condition. The handkerchief was damp and uncomfortable against his nose, however. He carried it with him everywhere in order to blow and rub at his nose, but when in the company of others, also sneezed into it as completely as possible. Like his other condition, sickness was something he loathed transmitting to others. But if he had his druthers, he would sneeze unrestrainedly and unashamedly. His sneezes were simply too wet and too strong to do otherwise when the occasion presented itself. "'Scuse..." he muttered hoarsely, clearing his throat several times to do away with the scratches before trying again. "Excuse be."


     Severus Snape showed not even a hint of sympathy. "Yes," he said flatly and held out the goblet. "As I was trying to say when I came into your office here and those sneezes and snorts of yours drowned me out, it is time to start taking your potion again."


     Remus knew this, of course.


     "Had you forgotten, Lupin?"


     Remus sighed and shook his head. With his cold coming on, he had to admit he'd lost track of the specific date. But he could feel it in his blood already... the wolf's time nearing. The way the waxing moon pulled at him. "I'd not forgotten," Remus replied. "I'm simply glad you did not."


     Though glad wasn't exactly the right word to use when speaking about his affliction or the potion he was forced to drink. He wasn't much feeling up to another week of drinking a goblet of the vile concoction every single day, but he didn't have much of a choice in the matter. He and Snape both knew that. His only hope was that his cold might dull his sense of taste enough to make the potion slightly more bearable.


     With a deep breath and two fingers crossed under his desk where Snape couldn't see them, he took the goblet. Remus sniffed at it, finding it smelling almost the same as ever it did. Looked like that hope had been dashed. "It's the sabe as last tibe?" he asked. Since the beginning of the school year, Snape had been tweaking the potion a little. The fourth time, the previous time, seemed to have been perfect.


     "Yes. With an unrelated addition," he replied. "After your display at the staff table this morning, I spent a little while with the potion and added a decongestant draft in quantities that should not interfere with the wolfsbane."


     Remembering with pain and embarrassment the way he'd sneezed and coughed his way through breakfast rather helplessly, Remus flushed. He'd even given up on eating halfway through, as the prospect of sneezing with food in his mouth in front of the staff and students was too hideous to imagine. But two cups of tea hadn't done much to calm his sniffles, and a morning of sneezing through breakfast had quickly turned into a day of sneezing through classes. Most of his students had been significantly more sympathetic than Snape was being at present.


     Though Remus had to admit that the man had been thoughtful enough to put the decongestant in for him, and that was something. "Thadk you very buch, Severus," Remus said, eyeing the goblet. Perhaps with the added ingredients it might taste bit better. Unfortunately, it still had a sour, overly bitter taste to it. Remus did his best to try to choke it down.


     "I didn't do it for you," Snape said coldly. "Given the way you've been strutting around in your normal routine while sick and spreading germs everywhere, I feared for the school's health. I just wanted to lower the possibility of you giving your head cold to the rest of us."


     Remus gulped down the last of it, and picked up his hanky before even a beat had passed. He felt another sneeze coming on, and though he hated to let it out he knew he should at least prepare himself for that inevitability. The sensation was strong, though he rubbed his nose and fought against it. Barely ten seconds had passed since drinking, and the tickle was unrelenting. Shoulders hunched, he leaned forward with a deep breath. If he had to sneeze, the least he could do was try to keep it to himself as much as possible. He could do no less, considering Snape's last comments. "heh...EKUShhhh! Hih-IEKPHShhhhh! ahhKufshhhhh!"


     Blowing his nose messily, Remus thought he heard Snape mutter the word 'disgusting' but wasn't exactly sure. It could have just as easily been 'pathetic' or some other word with three syllables that took to having the middle syllable emphasized. Remus wiped his nose clean and dry and set his hand and the handkerchief down in his lap afterwards. The sneezes, which had violently snapped him further forward, combined with the potion caused his stomach to churn. He closed his mouth and swallowed hard, fighting now against the wave of nausea.


     Whether reading Remus' mind or simply seeing it in the man's face, Snape immediately instructed, "Don't even think about getting sick to your stomach, Lupin. You'll lose all that potion and I won't have time to brew more this evening." It was a week before the full moon, and Remus was supposed to take a whole gobletful tonight if he wanted it to work at all.


     Remus' hand left the handkerchief on his thigh and clutched at his stomach. He took strong, deep breaths that hurt his throat a little, but calmed him considerably. He wasn't about to risk a transformation without the wolfsbane potion just because his stomach was feeling a bit on edge from his cold.


     "Lupin?" Snape followed-up guardedly. Remus saw his eyes flicker over to the pewter basin sitting on the windowsill beside the half empty pitcher of ice water.


     "I'b fide," Remus said, trying his best to make that sound like the truth. His throat hurt from the words, but he dared not cough and upset the delicate balance of his body at present. He wanted to be sure his stomach calmed considerably before he allowed another cough or sneeze to unseat him. He looked up at Snape, eyeing him. "Really, I'b fide. I'b dot goig to..." He didn't even want to think about getting sick in front of Severus Snape. Sneezing was bad enough. Sitting up straight, and with a deep breath, he spoke firmly, "I'b fide."


     Whether Snape actually bought it or not, Remus could not tell. But Snape nodded just the same. "The decongestant should kick in within the next twenty minutes," he explained. "At which point you should start feeling a little better."


     Remus nodded back, glad to hear that. Most remedies were out of his reach, due to his condition. But mild decongestants alone were usually all right to take, though it was rare to find such weak potions all by themselves. Madam Pomfrey always had cold remedies, but those were packed with other things like pain killers and throat soothers which always contained ingredients he could not handle. The addition to his potion was the best news he had heard all day. "I certaidly abbreciate it, Severus." Quickly, he added, "Eved though I dow you did't do it for... for be."


     He could feel another sneeze coming on. His stomach gave a preemptive lurch, but settled again. Feeling he could now take the risk, and knowing how much worse it would be if he tried to stifle his sneezes, he recovered the handkerchief at once. "ehhhhh..." he wavered in uncertainty, vocalizing the urge as a warning to Snape who ignored it and stood steadfast, towering over where Remus sat at his desk.


     At that moment, Remus wished for nothing more than for Snape to be gone, so he could suffer properly in private. But Snape did not budge. Instead, he stared unblinkingly at Remus, and Remus felt horribly self conscious about every move he was making. Sneezing in front of the whole Great Hall was somehow less embarrassing than sneezing alone in his office with Snape eyeing him critically. Sparing him a long, embarrassing build-up, his body tensed and more sneezes struck. "ehhhKUFShhhh! Hehguhshhhh! Ehgushhhh! ehhh... EH-UHShhhh! Uhhh... uh, excuse be." Remus went through the process of blowing and rubbing again. He thought he could hear Snape say something, but the man apparently realized Remus couldn't hear him and stopped.


     Snape cleared his throat in a way that commanded attention, and Remus stopped wiping his nose, though it still tickled fiercely. "I shall take my leave of you, if there is nothing else you require of me?" Remus shook his head, wishing Snape could have left before these last sneezes. They'd taken quite a lot more out of him than he'd expected. Snape nodded and headed for the door. With any luck, Snape would be gone before the next sneezes, however.


     Remus fought back the tickles in his nose as he watched Snape cross the office and walk through the doorway. Remus' nose twitched, and he pinched it shut, though that did nothing to stop the sneezy sensation. Assuming the man would be gone in a second, and unable to deny the tickling any longer, Remus cupped the handkerchief to his face again. "hehh-GUHShhhh! KUFChhhh! Sniff!" This time when he blew his nose, he heard no comments from Snape at all. Hoping against hope that meant Snape had left, Remus sighed with relief and did not bother excusing himself.


     But when he looked up again, Snape was still there, watching. He groaned at the sight and gave his nose one more wipe. "I'b so sorry," he said. "I cad't seeb to stob sdeezig. I dow I soud berfectly awful."


     There was a brief pause, then Snape answered, "Actually, you sound considerably better than you did this morning." Remus brightened at these words. Despite the fact that they were an outright lie, they had come from the person least likely to have spoken them to Remus. That on top of the decongestant, and Remus was almost willing to believe Snape was actually capable of caring about something.


     "Thadk you," Remus said softly in appreciation.


     "That does not mean of course that I want to hear you keep this up all through dinner." Snape stood in the doorframe, doorknob in hand, door half shut. "It might behoove you to skip dinner in the Great Hall tonight."


     Remus sighed inwardly, but was forced to agree with the man. If he were someone else, he wouldn't want to watch or hear him like this either. "I'll do so," Remus agreed. It was the least he could do considering Snape's near kindness. He supposed that for Snape, that was as good as it would get. It wasn't as though Remus had actually been expecting sympathy of any kind anyway.


     Rubbing the handkerchief at his nose as he felt the need to sneeze again, he forced his eyes to stay open a few moments more. He watched as Snape stepped back and pushed the door closed. Then Remus dropped the wet handkerchief and allowed himself to sneeze freely in the privacy of his own room. "ehhh-HEHGShoooo! ahhhKEHShooo! KUHShahhhh!"