Fandom: Harry Potter, marauder year 6
Disclaimer: For goodness sakes, if they were mine there wouldn't be a 'fan' in fanfic and I'd be rich. As it is, they're not and I don't have a galleon to my name.
Summary: The marauders make resolutions for the new year
Notes: This was written in about an hour
More Notes: Written for the Sneezefic Winter Celebration Challenge using bunnies #1, #19: Write a story using the situation 'Characters make/try to keep New Year's resolutions' with a length of 2004 words
Feedback: If you have some, send it my way
"Well, there's no need to ask Remus his," said Sirius, turning his head up to stare at the stars. His eyes scanned the formations, searching for the dog star, but either it was on the wrong side of the tower or covered by clouds. The moon, on the other hand, could not be missed as just a glorious sliver in the sky. The monthly cycle of the moon was a constant reminder of the passage of time.
Sirius shoved his hands into his coat pockets to stay warm. His breaths outward and his words came in cloudy puffs that could just be seen in the dark of the night. "Because he..." Sirius' words died away and his breath came in sharp gasps. "hah-Hah-Ehhshhh! Hah-Chuhhh! Hih-Chuhh! Sniff!" He wiggled his nose as he sniffled and waited for the tickly, itchy feeling to die down before trying again. "Because he says the same thing every year..."
There was a brief pause, then, "Study more!" the marauders, minus Remus, chanted in unison.
Remus bit his lip and absentmindedly fingered the braided tassels at the end of his Gryffindor scarf. "Well, it's as good now as it is every year I make it." He stuck his tongue out at the lot of them.
"Aww, you're regular and predictable, Moony," James laughed. "But that's why we love you." He leaned over and caught Remus in a rough hug, rubbing a fist against the top of his head which would have messed his hair if not for the matching Gryffindor knit hat Remus wore. "Really though, we just finished O.W.L.s this last spring. You can relax the studying a little now."
Remus shrugged and readjusted his hat. "Yeah, but we have N.E.W.T.s next year and I do need top marks in at least three subjects."
"You'll get them," Peter said reassuringly. "You always do." His teeth chattered both with cold and a bit of nervous fright. Marauder tradition dictated they sit outside on the steeply sloping roof of the Gryffindor tower as approached and relate to each other their resolutions for the new year. Heavy and unsteady, Peter sat gripping the ledge with one hand, and staring at the other to see the hands of his pocket watch ticking away. As soon as it passed , he intended to climb back in through the window and crawl into his nice warm bed for the rest of the night.
So the night found them lined up on the roof of the tower, their rears numb from cold against the shingles, their legs dangling off the edge. Each wore a thick winter coat, which was warmer than their cloaks, they'd found over the years. And there was a general assortment of hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, and ear muffs among the four, which poofed them up so they resembled four snowmen sitting and waiting to ring in the new year. Coincidentally, they were as cold as snowmen as well. The night air was chill, but the blessing was that the sky was clear enough to see the stars and not a bit of snow was in sight.
"So... your turn, James," Sirius said as he dug a tissue out of the depths of his coat pocket and rubbed it against his chapped and runny nose. As it was freezing outside, everybody's noses were getting a bit sniffly, but none so much as Sirius'.
James paused a moment for dramatic effect. "I want to be Head Boy come fall," he admitted plainly. "I'm going to work towards that." No one said anything. "And... so that's it. That's my New Year's resolution." He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and looked around at the others.
For one, Sirius burst into laughter, though the others quickly joined in. "What, you? Are you serious?" asked Sirius, sounding as though the idea broke through the boarder of the absurd. He coughed and held the tissue to his nose, waiting for a few moments for the sneeze to strike. "hahUhshhh! Hah-Chuhhh! Sniff, sniff!" He rubbed it beneath his nose and tried to pick up where he'd left off. "Yeah, right. Good luck with that one, James!" he laughed.
"Why not me?" retorted James, sticking out his chest proudly as he began to recite his résumé, which he'd clearly given considerable thought. "I get some of the highest marks, I'm a Quidditch cup winner, and I'm captain of our house team to boot, I--"
"You're a marauder and get detention as much as I do, maybe more!" argued Sirius, waving his hand with the tissue in it around to emphasize his words. But a cold gust of wind caught it and sent it flying off into the black winter sky. "Bollocks!" Sirius swore, and accepted with a nod a replacement tissue Remus was already holding up for him. Sirius rubbed it against his nose. "Besides, Moony's the prefect around here. If it's any of us who gets it, it'll be Remus." This was hard to argue with. Despite all the obstacles Remus had in his path, Remus had a decent repertoire with both the staff and his peers, he still made good grades, and he appeared to obey most of the rules. He also had tissues at the ready whenever they were needed, much to sniffly Sirius' relief. Why James Rules-are-made-to-be-bent Potter even wanted it seemed beyond their understanding.
"I bet," said Peter slowly and with a deep breath. He wanted to get it right now that he'd broken the silence and drawn the others' attentions. "I bet he's trying for it because Lily Evans is a sure thing for Head Girl."
Silence filled the air again as the other three looked at him hard for a moment. Peter flushed profusely but his cheeks were so red from the cold already and his ears covered in ear muffs that it was impossible to see any difference.
"Peter," said Remus finally, sounding quite impressed. "You know, I think you might be on to something there. I bet you're absolutely right." Sirius echoed the sentiment with a punch to Peter's upper arm, while James was still struck silent by the truth. Protesting such a thing in front of his friends would only make it that much worse for him, though. Remus smiled over at Peter. "See, you're getting braver and bolder already and it's not even the new year yet!"
Peter beamed and looked back at his watch. "It will be in a minute and... and thirty-eight seconds," he said, doing a quick bit of math. "Thirty-seven. Thirty-six. Thirty-five..."
"Hurry, Sirius," said Remus, always a stickler to punctuality and tradition. He tugged on Sirius' sleeve. "You'd better make yours before or you will have no hope of keeping it."
Peter continued to count down. "A minute twenty-eight. Twenty-seven..."
Sirius created some tension as he pretended not to be able to think one up. The others leaned closer to him anxiously, waiting for it and prodding at him to hurry. Peter stared at his pocket watch as though trying to decide if he wanted the hands to slow so Sirius could make a resolution in time, or to quicken their pace so he could go inside and get warm. But then Sirius grinned that mischievous grin of his. Instead of speaking, however, his nose twitched and he pitched forward with several sneezes. "HahChihhh! Heh-Ehhhshhh!" After rubbing his nose he blurted out, "I resolve to get even with James for giving me his cold!"
"Hey, no fair!" called James, in surprise. Sirius pitched his used tissue at James' head but the wind caught it, too, and carried it away. James laughed triumphantly. "It's not my fault!" he declared. "I caught it from Remus, you know."
Remus flushed a bit at that and wished he could say he caught it from Peter, but Peter was the type who hardly ever got sick. And when he was sick, it was usually nothing so simple as a little head cold, either.
However Remus was saved from thinking of anything to say as Peter, his gaze fixed on the pocket watch, began the countdown. "Ten. Nine. Eight." The others joined in. "Seven. Six. Five." In anticipation, they rushed the count so it ended a half second earlier than it should have. "Four. Three. Two. One!" But their cheer of celebration lasted long enough to cover the time difference so when they shouted "Happy New Year!" it was indeed the new year. All four cheered loudly, hugging each other carefully, so as not to lose their balance and slip off the roof. The hugs could barely be felt through their large, bulky coats but the sentiment was what mattered as once again the marauders were together to welcome in the new year. Then they broke into a marvelous rendition of Auld Lang Syne with Remus and Peter taking care to supply the base of the harmony, James making it overly dramatic by stressing and exaggerating certain words and conducting with a flair, and Sirius going in and out as he felt a sneeze coming on.
Remus gave him another tissue, and missed a bar or two in singing as he did so. Sirius didn't actually sneeze until the song was over. "hah-Hah-CHIHH! HehShhh! HehhChuhhh! Sniff!" It was clear from Peter's agitation and Sirius' violent shiver which followed his sneezes and sniffles that it was time to go in and get warm.
Peter led the way inside, shivering still but smiling. James went in next and though Remus was closer, Remus gestured for Sirius to follow James and get inside to start defrosting as soon as possible. Remus took one last look of the stars as they welcomed in another new year, then climbed in, closing the window and its shutters behind. The empty room at the top of the tower was still cold, but at least they were out of the wind. Before any had a chance to remove their bulky coats, gloves, scarves and what not, Remus grinned and yelled excitedly, "Last one in bed is a flobberworm!"
All four boys, still shivering and stiff from the cold, tore from the room and raced down the stairs to their dormitory room and their beds.
No one was quite sure which thump of the four was the first or whose it was, but the whole point was forgotten completely as Sirius sneezed again, "hahhCHihhh!" and James yelled bloody murder at the top of his voice. It was a good thing they were the only students left in Gryffindor for the holiday break, or James might have woken the whole tower with his shout.
Though Sirius' sniffles and coughs following the sneeze did not sound good, Remus and Peter raced to James' bed where something seemed even worse. Sirius, however, slipped under his covers, pulling them up over his head to muffle the sound of his laughter. Shaking, James pointed to his bed. "Th-the sheets are frozen. They're like ice!" Remus and Peter touched them and confirmed the story with nods. The blankets and sheets were indeed frozen solid against the mattress and very cold to the touch.
Remus pulled out his wand and shook his head as Peter tried to hold back his laughs. "Nice one, Padfoot!" James called over to him, loud enough to be heard above Sirius' roars of laughter.
"hah-EHShhhh! Heh... HehIhshhh! Sniff! Sniff! Thanks for the cold, Prongs!" Sirius called back.
Only a few minutes into the new year, and it looked like at least one of the marauders had been able to keep his resolution already. And as Peter already seemed braver and James had ulterior motives driving his, Remus clenched his fist and muttered the counter spell to unfreeze James' sheets, determined not to be the only one to fall short on his resolution for the new year. Remus sneaked a book under the blankets with him when he went to sleep that night, glad the others were already fast asleep and couldn't chide him for it.