Title: Friends will be Friends
Fandom: Harry Potter, Marauder's Era
Disclaimer: If I were JKR I wouldn't have to write fanfic and go broke.
Summary: According to Sirius, it's a bad time for Remus to come down with a cold. Both of them learn a little something about friendship.
Notes: This bunny struck me while I was out walking the dog in the rain. It wouldn't let go so I wrote this in a few hours. The title is taken from a Queen song because I suck at titles :-)
Friends will be Friends
Remus Lupin was nothing if not studious. So when his note-taking took a back seat to staring off into space during one Transfiguration lesson, his friends immediately took note. Just as surprising was when he seemed to snap out of it and leaned over to James with a whisper, "Did you catch that last bit?" James wasn't sure how far back Remus meant but he hadn't been paying much attention himself, considering Lily Evans was in his line of sight.
The class began the practical part of their lesson not seconds later, and by the end of the class Remus was the only one unable to properly transfigure his raven into a writing desk. Thus, he was the only one with homework when McGonagal dismissed them. And while he didn't mind homework, he couldn't help beating himself up for not being able to do the work properly during practical.
"I'm really sorry, mates, but I'm skiving off dinner," Remus mumbled to his friends as soon as they'd left the classroom. He felt miserable and his body was screaming at him to get some sleep.
"Remus, are you feeling all right?" asked James concernedly. He patted the young man on the back.
"You look a bit peaky," Peter observed.
"I'm going to go take a nap," he announced, rubbing the back of his neck and stifling a yawn.
"Do you want us to save you dessert at least?" Sirius asked.
"No thanks." Remus quickened his pace and passed them. "I feel like I might be coming down with something. I'm not really hungry." He turned and gave his three friends and roommates a wave. "I'll see you all later." Then he headed up the stairs towards the Gryffindor dormitory.
James and Peter, looking sympathetic, continued on down the hallway, but Sirius paused a little longer to watch Remus go until the young man was out of sight. But, by then, he'd formulated a plan. He jogged to catch up with James and Peter, his schoolbag slapping against his hip until he came to a halt right between his two friends. Draping his arms around the two sets of shoulders, he put on his charming grin. "Oy, I need your help with a project..."
Remus woke late the night in a cold sweat. He felt awful having slept in his school robes and felt disoriented to find the room dark when it had been so bright and sunny when he'd fallen asleep. "Hello?" he called out, blinking and swallowing to find his throat in considerable pain. He hoped that one of his friends might be around. And, luckily, he heard footsteps. Remus looked up just in time to find Sirius jumping onto the bed beside him.
"Hullo, Moony!" Sirius said cheerfully. "How are you tonight?"
Remus pulled his arms close and propped himself up on his forearms. "I'm... huhhh-huhhh-HEHChoo!" Remus' head snapped downwards. He sniffled and looked weakly over at Sirius. "I'm sick."
Sirius shook his head. "Nah. It's just exhaustion. You work yourself too hard, Moony. Always have."
Shaking his head, "I don't think so, Padfoot. I feel pretty bad... hehhh..." He lifted a hand and cupped it over his nose and mouth. His eyes closed and he took a deep breath. "EHHShhooo!"
"Aww, you're fine," Sirius said casually as he passed Remus a tissue.
As Remus blew his nose, he noticed Sirius had not only brought over a tissue box but just about everything else a sick person might need. The pile started with an extra blanket and ended with a pair of Remus' pajamas. "If I'm so fine, what's with all this?"
"Just to be sure. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you're fine."
Sirius handed over another tissue, eyed Remus critically for a moment, then pulled two more out of the box and handed those over as well. "You're not sick," he told Remus, climbing off the bed and pushing the pajamas closer as a hint.
Remus coughed and picked up the pajamas, finding them warm for the hot water bottle they had been sitting upon. "Sniff! Sniff! How do you know I'm not sick?" Remus asked skeptically as he pulled his robes off over his head and pulled on the pajama top. He certainly felt sick.
"Because you and I are supposed to go to Hogsmede tomorrow. You can't be sick now. It's just not possible." He pulled the hangings around Remus' bed closed. "Sweet dreams, Moony!"
"See you in the morning, Padfoot," Remus replied, sounding worried but done changing now. He snuggled under his covers with the hot water bottle and tissue box, and Remus fell asleep in no time at all.
"Pads... I don't think this is such a good idea," James said, standing beside Remus' bed with his arms crossed over his chest.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Prongs."
Standing on the other side of his bed with Sirius, Remus put his hand down on the bed to keep himself upright as he sneezed. "ehhh... hehhhh-heh-HEHTChooo! Sniff! hehh-EHShooo!"
"I don't know what I'm talking about?" James laughed, gesturing towards Remus. "It's obvious he's sick."
"He isn't!" Sirius insisted, handing Remus a tissue then continuing to load Remus' pockets up with tissue after tissue. "He's just fine. Remus, tell James here how you're feeling."
"See that?" Sirius said, grinning over at James. "He says he's well." He patted Remus' shoulder reassuringly. "He's not sick. Because he can't be sick. He just can't be. We're going to Hogsmede for our date and we're going to have a lovely time." He straightened Remus' robes so the bulges in the pockets weren't noticeable. "Aren't we, Remus?"
Remus sniffled and looked incredibly doubtful. But he saw the desperation in Sirius' eyes and nodded. "We are," he agreed. Then he looked over at James. "Don't worry about me, Prongs."
James sighed and shook his head. He leaned over the bed and pressed his palm to Remus' forehead. Frowning, "We'll see how you do over breakfast, all right?"
Remus nodded, appreciating James' concern. But, more than anything, he hated to disappoint his friends. And Sirius really needed him to be well right now. So he straightened and cleared his throat and led the way down to breakfast.
While there was no reason to save seats, Peter had been saving them the best pancakes and French toast. The others ate hungrily while Remus sat at the Gryffindor table, practicing not looking as sick as he felt.
In truth, every bit of him felt rotten. His nose was running and tickling. His throat was raw. His head throbbed. And his whole body ached. He felt weak and shivery, and the cup of tea he had been hoping would somehow magically cure him wasn't even making a dent. "ehhh..." He pressed two fingers beneath his nose and closed his eyes, waiting it out. The tickle backed down and he sighed deeply with relief.
"Mister Lupin?" Apparently he had celebrated too early. He turned and looked up to see Professor McGonagal. "Are you quite all right? Or should I send you off to Madam Pomfrey?"
As he considered his answer for a moment, he caught sight of Sirius, who looked terribly anxious. "There's no need. I'm all right," he told her. "Thank you, Professor." She hesitated, looking him over, then headed back to the staff table. Remus sighed and scrubbed very hard at his nose, muttering to Sirius beside him, "You owe me big for lying to a professor."
"It's not lying," Sirius said, sounding more and more in denial as time went on. Remus could hardly believe he was the same person who had brought him extra pillows and water last night. "You are all right." He put his arm around Remus' shoulders and gave a quick, tight squeeze.
"Right," replied Remus, not sounding convinced but rather sounding like he needed to sneeze. "hehhh..." He pressed his fingers against his nose again. "hehh-INGuhhhh! Owww..." He shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Not going to do that again." He reached for his tea and didn't protest when Peter piled two pancakes on his plate and James dribbled syrup on them. With a smile on his face, and a bit more sniffling than he might have liked, he forced himself to eat breakfast.
He was glad to have a bit of food in his stomach as he waited in line with the other students who intended to go out to Hogsmede. Sirius was twitchy and nervous beside him, repeatedly looking in front and behind. Remus knew he wasn't looking out for professors. And with Sirius beside him, Peter in front, and James behind, he felt safe to be a little sick. He pulled out one of the tissues and held it against his nose as inconspicuously as possible. "ehhh-ehh-HShphhh!" The sneeze, muffled into the tissue in his hand was just as quiet as the one he'd tried to stifle, but not the least bit painful, except when he rubbed his nose. That was starting to feel a bit sensitive. Feeling shivery on top of that, he stepped a little closer to Sirius. He felt James pat his back.
By the time they were at the front of the line Remus had tucked the tissue away and was standing straight and tall, looking as though nothing were wrong. He smiled as Filch checked his name off and let him pass through the doors and towards the town. He waited with Peter in the cool autumn wind as Sirius and James were waved through as well, then they all headed down the path to Hogsmede.
Peter broke off when they passed Honeydukes, his hands in his pockets, jingling the coins within. James spotted Lily having a laugh with a few of the girls outside the post office and he was immediately drawn to her, wishing his friends good luck.
Remus hated to admit that he probably needed more than luck at the moment. He needed to be back in bed with that hot water bottle and another cup of tea. His sniffling was getting bad, louder, noticeable. So he took out another tissue and blew his nose. "Hey," Sirius hissed in a whisper to him. "Buck up. We're nearly there." Remus nodded, wiping his nose dry and hiding the tissue just as they arrived in front of The Three Broomsticks.
Standing in front, by the door, were two lovely young women: Claire Hampton and Margie Glint, both in Ravenclaw. Sirius had fancied Claire since their fifth year, and as Margie had a bit of a thing for Remus, Sirius had used that to his advantage in pressuring Claire for a date. It had taken nearly a month to arrange the double-date and Sirius had spoken of nothing else for the last week. He had even let his pranking slide, which was really saying something.
"Hello Ladies," Sirius said charmingly, and both of the girls smiled. Claire giggled and offered him a hello kiss on the cheek. Margie seemed too shy to do so with Remus, but they exchanged warm, friendly smiles. She was just about his height and was rather pretty with a head full of golden curls. Claire was equally attractive, with so many nice features Sirius could probably take an hour to list them all out. The gentlemen offered their arms and escorted their dates into the establishment.
Remus was terribly glad to be out of the cool weather and inside where it was warm. And, once he'd pulled out Margie's chair for her and pushed it in when she sat, he was glad to get off his feet as well in the chair beside her. He could not relax, however, as there was still much more to do. He had to constantly sniff silently to keep his nose from running visibly. Every time his throat itched, he went straight for his glass of water. And he went through all the excuses he could think of to casually rub at his nose so they wouldn't think he was fighting off sneezes.
They ordered and began to converse. Remus knew Margie was smart-- she had to be to have been sorted into Ravenclaw-- but he hadn't counted on enjoying talking with her as much as he was. She had a fascinating take on combining the subjects of Arithmancy and Ancient Runes and she seemed equally fascinated by his theories on Defense Against the Dark Arts. He was so absorbed in conversation that he only briefly noticed that Sirius and Claire seemed to be nursing their Butter Beers more than actually talking. However, Remus couldn't see one of Sirius' hands and had a bit of an idea of why Claire was smiling so brightly.
Everyone seemed to be getting on so well that the date went on longer than Remus had anticipated. The girls wanted to go see the Shrieking Shack, thanks to a completely fabricated story Sirius had told about their attempt at breaking in last year. Of course there was no way Claire or Margie could possibly know the truth, even as smart as they were, but they giggled and convinced the boys to take them over to see the shack. Then they wanted to go by Zonkos and maybe Honeydukes and Remus' head was starting to feel heavy.
The warming effect of his two Butter Beers was wearing off, and his fatigue was taking over. So much so that, when he felt a fierce tickle brewing in his nose, he didn't get his hand up to rub early on and, as a result, couldn't stop the sneeze from coming. "hahhhhh-CHISHHHHHH!" He sneezed wetly into his hand, cupped over the lower half of his countenance. "Sorry," he muttered. "I..." But his eyes snapped shut and he couldn't finish. Letting the one sneeze out seemed to make it impossible for him to hold back the rest. "ehhh-Chhoo! hehhhChooo! Hehh-ehhh-IH-Chooo! K'TChooo! hehhhShooo!" When the small fit passed, he rubbed his nose with a tissue as politely as possible. He looked up to see both girls staring at him, and he gave them a weak smile. "I'b sorry. Dod't dow what cabe over be." He swore to himself at hearing the stuffiness in his voice but couldn't risk further suspicion by blowing his nose, much as he needed to.
"Are you sick?" Margie asked concernedly.
"Be?" said Remus innocently. "Oh doe. I'b... fide... hehhh!" He pressed a finger under his nose until his breath slowed and the sneeze backed off.
"You don't sound so fine," Claire said. Margie looked sympathetic and went to feel his forehead. But Remus pulled away quickly before she could touch him, making it look like a natural movement caused by him laughing so she wouldn't be offended. "If you're sick, maybe we should cut the date short..."
"No!" exclaimed Sirius at once. Then, speaking with a very serious tone, "Remus is fine. He's fine! Aren't you Remus? Fine enough to spend the rest of the day with these lovely ladies. Perfectly fine."
Remus paused a moment then nodded. "Right." He cleared his throat as he pushed back from the table, using the chair scraping across the floor to cover the sound. Then he stood. "Just fi..." He trailed away as darkness passed over his eyes. It was confusing, as he was sure his eyes were open, but he was overwhelmed with the sensation of falling. Something hard struck his rear and his back and his head and by that time his eyes were closed.
When he opened them, he found himself propped up in his chair again, with Sirius squatting to his side and the girls on the other side of the table looking terribly angry. "...right now or so help me, Sirius, you won't be the only one in this school starting nasty rumors." Claire noticed Remus was awake and softened slightly when she addressed him. "Feel better, Remus. And make sure that one does as he's supposed to, got it?" she gestured to Sirius.
Dumbly, Remus nodded and sniffled again. He looked over at Margie. "I'm so sorry."
She shook her head. "We don't blame you Remus. But you really should have told us you were unwell." She paused, then, "Feel better." Then she and Claire left and Remus was left feeling confused still. He looked over at Sirius and sniffed hard.
Sirius sighed, rubbing his forehead in frustration. Then he stood and took hold of Remus' arm. "Come on. Lean on me if you need to. We're going back to Hogwarts."
Remus decided it was best not to ask questions on the trip back, especially as he was using all the strength he had just to walk. Once he had been deposited on his four poster bed, however, he pressed Sirius about it. "I'm so sorry for getting sick, Padfoot. But why were the girls so angry at you?"
Sirius held Remus' pajamas out again and Remus obediently shook off his cloak and pulled off his school robes. "Well, you passed out. You remember that, right?" Remus nodded and reached for his pajama top. "You hit the chair on your way down and it softened your fall. And luckily I was able to jump up and do a spell to keep you from cracking your head open on the floor. Then I got you back up into the chair but the damage had been done. They got mad at me for letting you come out today even though I knew you were sick. They said I was a terrible friend and Claire said she wanted nothing to do with me. She said she wouldn't even speak to me again if I didn't get you back here right away." Remus had finished changing and Sirius pulled down the covers so Remus could get into bed. He forced a laugh. Indignantly, "But can you believe that? Me a terrible friend? Me!"
Remus was glad the tickle in his nose prevented him from answering. He grabbed liberally at the tissues and pressed a small bunch to his face. "HEHKSchhphhhh! Ehhh-ehhhh-HEH-Chhhphhhhh!"
As Remus blew his nose, Sirius sighed deeply and sat down on the side of Remus' bed. "The thing is, I don't think they're wrong."
"Sirius..." Remus said weakly, pushing himself up on an arm so he could see better despite the fact that his pillows were so soft and comfortable.
But Sirius barged in before Remus could continue. "I'm such a screw-up. I was awful to make you go out there with me when you were sick just because I fancied a bird. You could have gotten worse." Panic rose in his voice, "You're not worse, are you? I mean, apart from the fainting? Did you hurt your head? Can I get you a cold compress?"
Remus shook his head. "It's just a cold, Padfoot. I really will be all right. I could just use some more sleep... And it's not just your fault."
Sirius shrugged and pulled his legs up onto the bed with him, bending them at the knees and hugging them to his chest. "Nah, it is. I pressured you to go. I took advantage of how nice you are. And I put you at risk. Merlin, Remus..." He took a deep breath, then quickly admitted, "Imsosorry."
Remus chuckled, hoping it wasn't just his illness making him hear things because it really seemed that Sirius had actually apologized. "Thank you. But, Sirius, don't beat yourself up over this. I made my own decision. Apart from some embarrassment, nothing happened to me. And, believe me, I can handle embarrassment." He coughed and lowered himself back onto the pillows, hugging the blankets to his chest. Sirius pulled the blankets up to Remus' chin and tucked them around his friend. Remus could tell that Sirius still felt badly. Smiling, "You want to make it up to me?" Sirius nodded. "Can you read me to sleep? Or... just sit with me a little while? Sleeping during the day makes me uneasy. Makes me feel like it's the day after my transformation."
Sirius' face brightened. "I'll sit with you all day if you want me to," he said, grabbing the novel off of Remus' bedside table. "I've got nothing else to do today anyway, right? After doing such a smashing job of ruining the date."
Remus smiled sympathetically. And closed his eyes as Sirius opened up the book and flipped to the page Remus had marked. As a bookmark, Remus was using a strip of photo paper. Sirius recognized it as a series of four photos they'd taken in one of those machines over the summer. It had been difficult to get all four of the Marauders into the booth at one time, but the series of pictures of them laughing and fighting for the best spot was worth it. Sirius smiled and looked from it over to Remus. "But I think I might enjoy spending the day here with you," he said. "We can have our own date."
Remus nodded, chuckled, and coughed. Sirius patted his arm through the blankets. Then he started reading at the top of the page.