Title: Sleeping Arrangements
Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: none, really
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter. I write this only in fun, I mean no harm, I get no money from this.
Summary: Remus has "moved into" Sirius' bed and must get used to it. But this night turns out to be a bumpy ride.
Note: This is very poorly editing. I'm a slacker and I know it. Many apologies!
Remus was new to the bed. New to the way the pillow did not give under his head and how it smelled of the shampoo Sirius used. New to how his sheets were stiffer, somehow, and smelled a bit of his sweat. New to the give and take as bed moved beneath and beside him. New to having to pull the covers around himself or go without. New to having to hold on to the blanket because sometimes Sirius would kick it down to the foot of the bed in the middle of the night. But the new experiences were worth putting up with to be able to lie beside Sirius all night. To be able to wrap his body around Sirius' from behind and hug him until the dawn made the scarlet curtains glow. To be able to feel his warmth and his touch in a moment rather than long for it at a distance. To be able to slide his hands beneath Sirius' pajamas and fondle him any time he liked. To be able to kiss and hug and adore the man to his heart's content. To be able to wait together in the darkness until the others were asleep and they could commence with more intimate actions.
"Listen to that rain," Remus whispered, lifting his head off the pillow just enough so that his voice carried clearly to Sirius' ear.
"But the wind is howling only half as well as you," replied Sirius, to which he received a tight squeeze from Remus. "I think it's surrounding the tower," Sirius whispered back.
"I think it wants in." Remus lifted his head more and kissed the back of Sirius' neck.
"Can't imagine why," said Sirius in the most alluring way possible.
Remus pushed a leg in between his two, and placed his other leg on top of Sirius' top one. Sirius gave a sound, somewhere between a grunt and a sigh, which indicated his pleasure at the new position. "I reckon it's the same reason I wanted in," Remus speculated.
Sirius' head moved in a slow nod. "But this is our romantic night together and I'll not have the rain and wind when I can have you." Both boys had been eagerly looking forward to their private late night love-making session. Sirius reached back, groping, rubbing.
The thunder crashed so hard it nearly shook the tower. And only moments later the lightning struck, lighting the room as though the candles were still burning. Remus jumped at it and felt Sirius pull the blanket tighter around the two of them. He laid a comforting hand on Remus' arm and Remus pressed himself closer to Sirius' back. "Warm enough?"
Remus nodded. "Just startled me."
Sirius rolled over in place from his side to his back, so that Remus was leaning against him but they could look into each other's faces. He reached up and gently stroked Remus' cheek. "Feels different to be here with me, doesn't it?" Remus nodded. "You can go back to your own bed if you'd feel more comfortable."
"I don't think so," whispered Remus, bending down and kissing him softly. "There's no time like the present to start getting used to it."
Another crash of thunder sounded so unexpectedly that they both jumped. Their arms intermingled so that they were holding each other tightly, each one wanting to comfort the other's fright. The lightning flashed again, illuminating the dark room almost as well as sun would. Remus could hardly believe the other two boys were able to sleep through all this.
Sirius smirked. "Well, if this storm keeps up like this, you'll find there's something else you'll need to get used to."
Before a confused Remus could inquire, there was another thunderous boom closely followed by a loud crack of lightning. As the room flashed in front of his eyes, Remus saw the curtains of Sirius' bed pulled back to reveal a shivering Peter. Peter looked from Sirius with desperation, to Remus, his face changing to show hesitation. He clutched a pillow to his chest, the end of which was stuck in his mouth as he sucked it.
"You all right?" Sirius asked, with the same soft compassion as he showed when he spoke to Remus. Peter nodded and took a step back. "Come on into bed, Wormtail. Remus doesn't bite and the full moon's not until next week anyway."
"I d-don't want to interrupt," he squeaked. "It's just that the thunder..." Peter shook his head. "I can g-go back and hide under my bed." He looked imploringly at Sirius, but looked worried when his eyes fell on Remus.
Sirius forced a sigh so that Peter got the message. "Don't be a berk. We don't mind. Get into bed and we'll take care of you." Remus seconded that with a firm nod. While he didn't exactly want to give up his intimate moment with Sirius, it was Sirius' bed after all and the boy could invite whoever he liked. But it had taken him four bloody long months to work up the courage to move into Sirius' bed and he would be damned if he was going to move back out again because of anyone.
Besides, Peter did look like he could use a friend or two. Peter stood beside the bed, rocking back and forth with hesitation. But another crash of thunder sounded, and Peter gave a yelp of fright. He jumped onto the bed and chiefly onto Sirius, who grunted under the boy's weight. The springs of the bed screeched and gave under their combined weight, but magically bounced right back into place. A little stunned, Remus pulled the covers back and Peter scrambled under. He curled up in a ball between Sirius and Remus, snuggling into Sirius' chest with the end of the pillow still in his mouth. Sirius patted his back comfortingly. "There now. The thunder won't find you here," Sirius whispered.
Then he looked over at Remus with an expression that silently asked if this was all okay with him. Remus smiled back and scooted close to both of them, drawing the covers around them all. Remus looked over at Sirius to see the dark-haired man mouth, 'Every thunderstorm, without fail.' Remus smiled and suppressed a giggle. 'Some traumatic experience as a child,' Sirius mouthed again and Remus' urge to laugh died away. Of them all, he understood the sort of lasting mark childhood trauma could have. He gently stroked the back of Peter's head, hands sifting through his hair like a comb. Peter gave a weak smile at the touches and closed his eyes tightly.
Reaching over Peter, Remus and squeezed Sirius' shoulder as though to reassure Sirius that he really didn't mind the other boy being there. Three in the bed meant more for the blankets to stretch over, but Peter was so curled up against Sirius that they really did not have much trouble fitting. Every time the thunder struck, Peter shook and yelped, and Remus found himself still on his side, curled up behind Peter but not in the same way as he had been with Sirius. With Peter, he was hugging the boy in comfort, trying to get him to calm down. "It's all right, Peter. It's only thunder," he said. That didn't seem to do much help as another crash sounded, shaking the tower and bathing them in light. Peter cried out and bit down hard on the corner of his pillowcase.
The sound of sniffling caught Remus' ears, and he looked up at once. Sirius had heard it too, and it had not come from Peter. "Prongs?" called Sirius, risking the loud call on the assumption that James was still awake as well.
There was silence for a moment, then, "hehhh... ehhTchhoo! ehhAhshoo!"
Remus rolled his eyes. James had been fighting a sniffle all night thanks to a particularly cold and wet Quidditch practice. It was that particular mess of rain and wind that birthed the storm they were enduring now. He had refused to go see Madam Pomfrey about it, despite Peter's suggestions. He had refused to take Remus' handkerchief until somewhere around the twentieth sneeze when Lily had shot him a disapproving look from across the common room. And he refused to stop punching Sirius for laughing at the look on his face he got just before he had to sneeze. Half the time the sneezes fled because James was too busy rolling on the floor, using his best mate as a punching bag.
"ehhKTchoooo! ahhTchooo!" There was a frustrated grunt following these, then another set. "hahTchooo! ahhKtchooo! Sniff! Sniff!"
Sirius and Remus exchanged exasperated looks. Then Sirius called out, "Blow your nose!"
To which James called back, "Shut up, sniff, sniff, and mind your own, sniff, business! Sniff!"
Sirius made to call back, but Remus reached over and clamped a hand over Sirius' mouth to stop him. "He's ill. Go easy on him," whispered Remus.
Sirius pulled back to get away from Remus' touch, and Peter whimpered at the sudden rush of cold that faced his front at Sirius' departure. The bed shuddered as he rolled over onto his other side, now facing Remus. Clutching his pillow tighter than ever, tears in his eyes, he looked up at Remus for comfort.
If there was one thing Remus was good at, it was sympathy. He held out his arm and pulled his friend closer. "There now. I won't let it hurt you." The boy who had never looked more like a small boy than he did now, whimpered but quickly obeyed. He curled up into a tighter ball and snuggling against Remus' warmth. Remus wrapped the arm around Peter, petting his back soothingly.
"ehShuff! hehtChushfffff!" sneezed James, apparently trying to muffle his sneezes so they could not be heard. But the room was quiet in between bursts of thunder, apart from the fat, hard raindrops pelting against their dormitory window.
"James," called Sirius, rolling over onto his other side now so that his voice carried well through the room. "Just give it up, Mate, and climb into my bed. We'll look after you." His voice had that soft tone again, and Remus beamed. Only now did Remus realize that Sirius could be as gentle as he was, as kind and sympathetic. But it was Remus who Sirius turned to when he wanted someone to give him sympathy.
There was an immediate rustling of blankets, then the soft steps of sock-clad feet. Small sniffles got closer, and the curtains were pulled back again. James stood, shivering though he had a blanket around his shoulders. His eyes looked over-bright and dazed, though Remus suspected that was partially because he did not have his glasses on.
James squinted and looked hard at the bed, then eagerly jumped aboard as well. He, too, climbed over Sirius to the middle of the bed. Remus pulled the covers up again, thinking again that they might not all be properly covered. But this time, as well, they were so closely packed into the bed that the blanket spanned them easily. Or, perhaps more likely, at one point Sirius had put a charm on it to make it expand as needed.
"How're you feeling?" asked Sirius of James, putting his hand on the other's forehead to feel for fever.
"Getting worse," James croaked back. "Can't fall asleep because I'm sneezing too much and can't get comfortable. And I can't sleep on my side or my nose gets too stuffed."
Remus slid his hand under the pillow, feeling around for the handkerchief he'd put there only a few days ago when he'd first taken to sleeping in Sirius' bed. It had slid nearly to the top of the bed, but Remus retrieved it and handed it over Peter to James. At first, James waved it off with a mumbled thank you. But then that look came about him. His nostrils twitched and his mouth hung open. Sirius chuckled at his appearance as he felt another sneeze coming on. And James, eyes squinting closed, reached over and hit whatever part of Sirius was closest before grabbing the handkerchief and burying his nose in it. "huhChfff! hehAhchuff!"
"Blesses!" called Remus.
"Yeah, bless you," said Sirius, who was plumping the pillow James' head rested on. "Just relax and fall asleep," he instructed kindly. "And that goes for you, too, Wormtail!" he said, raising his voice and peering past James at the curled up ball that was Peter. Peter gave a muffled squeak but nodded. Remus stroked the back of his head gently to reward him.
It was quieter now, with the storm passing. The thunder claps were soon distant booms and the lighting that followed was too far away to notice from the tower, let alone from behind the hangings of Sirius' four-poster. Still, Peter would not budge and gave a whimper or a sharp intake of breath every time Remus loosened the cuddle or moved at all. James wasn't doing much better, even with the handkerchiefs. The sneezes weren't frequent but they could tell he felt miserable as he kept rubbing dejectedly at his nose and sniffling almost constantly. After a few minutes, he did seem to relax a little, closing his eyes and taking deeper breaths.
After a little longer, Remus thought perhaps James had fallen asleep. But then his nose twitched and his mouth opened more, and Remus recognized that helpless pre-sneeze look he always got. But it happened so fast and with James so tired that he didn't have time to react. "hetchhooo! hihTushooo!" he sneezed freely.
"Oy! Prongs!" Sirius exclaimed, pulling back and bending his arm over his face to avoid the spray. "Cover your nose, you git!" He waved in the air, as though directing the germs away. "You think we want to catch your ruddy cold?"
James flushed and sniffled wetly. As though in slow motion, he tried to lift the handkerchief to his nose but coughed and his arms went limp, resting on his chest. Remus started to help, but Sirius was already in motion. He pried the handkerchief out of James' hand and wiped roughly at James' nose. "Come on, blow now." James obeyed shyly. "That's it," crooned Sirius. "I'll man the hanky from now on, shall I?" he asked. Both James and Remus gave nods. As James relaxed again and closed his eyes, Sirius rolled his in dramatic disbelief. Remus stifled a laugh.
From then on, every time James had to sneeze, Sirius was on the job. Sirius held the handkerchief to James' face and slid an arm beneath James' neck to squeeze his shoulders reassuringly. And when James had finished sniffling and blowing his nose, the boy looked as though he felt much better for the care.
Peter fell to sleep first, with familiar, soft, snuffling snores directed into Remus' chest. Not long after, off went James. He snored as well, from his cold and lying on his back. Sirius considered turning him over to silence him but in the end they let him be, just thankful he had managed to fall asleep at all.
And then it was just Sirius and Remus awake in the bed, with the other two boys asleep between them. Remus had to laugh at the turn their romantic night had taken. They had spent so much time earlier waiting for the others to fall asleep and now that had happened and they were no longer alone to take advantage of the situation. Sirius gave Remus an apologetic look and whispered, "I'm so sorry. Peter always comes to me when there's a storm or he has a nightmare. And James sounded so cold and miserable..."
"It's all right," Remus whispered back, looking over both his snoring friends who seemed much better now in their company.
"You can go back to your bed if you want," suggested Sirius for the second time that night.
Remus would have been lying if he'd said the thought had not occurred to him. This wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind when he'd decided to spend the night in Sirius' bed. But he had never had such close friends to share a bed with, nor ones that looked to him for comfort and support. "I don't think so. I'm fine right here," he said. "I'm still with you in bed, after all."
Sirius chuckled. Gently, sweetly, as though he were kissing Remus, kissed two fingers. He stretched his arm out across the bed to Remus, though his reach wasn't quite far enough. Remus, very careful not to disturb Peter so much that the boy woke, extended his arm and his hand met Sirius'. They lingered there, palm-to-palm, for a few moments as they exchanged longing, desiring looks. Then Remus brought his hand back, touching two fingers to his lips. "Goodnight," said Remus, feeling warm and comfortable and oddly tired for the first time that night.
"Goodnight, Love," Sirius replied, resting his head against the pillow and taking a hold of the handkerchief just in case James woke and needed to sneeze again. But his eyes did not leave Remus' until his sleepiness took over and forced them closed. Remus was the last to fall asleep, waiting until Sirius' heavy breathing sounded in his ears in beautiful accompaniment to the set of snores. It was a sound so familiar to Remus that even in a new bed with a new set of bedmates, it put him right to sleep.