Title: With Friends Like These
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: In the beginning, JKR made the puppies and they were good. And then the fangirls came and slashed the puppies, and they received no compensation for their fanfic, and that was good.
Summary: Sirius is sick but incredibly stubborn. The other Marauders do something about that.
Sneezefic Annual Challenge Bunnies: 12, 19, 25
Author's Notes: Sorry that this is so short and dialogue-heavy
Feedback: Of course, I would love some.
With Friends Like These
James chuckled and pitched a small,
balled-up piece of parchment towards Peter. With his hands forming a circle,
Peter only had to move them down slightly to ensure James made a goal. “Ten
points!” James declared, then he leaned back in his seat, grinning at Sirius.
“Go upstairs, mate. You're ill.”
Sirius scowled and shook his head. “I'm not,” he said. “Quit saying that every bloody time I sniffle.”
“I would,” James said, picking up another piece of parchment, this one containing the abbreviations he needed for his Arithmancy homework. “Save that you're sniffling every other second.”
Sirius couldn't help it just then; he sniffled.
It was enough to make Remus pull his head out of the Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook and look at him critically. “Padfoot, you told me earlier that you weren't ill.” Remus put a hand on the table and moved it slowly towards Sirius'. Fingertips brushed over the back of Sirius' hand, feeling the smoothness of fingernails, hardness of bones, and toughness of knuckles. A moment later, Sirius pulled his hand away and rubbed the side of it under his nose.
“I am not ill.” Pleadingly, he said to Remus, “Who are you going to believe: your good but ultimately mischievous friend or your handsome, devoted lover? Sniff!”
Remus frowned. “You know, you don't need to put on a brave front. If you've caught a cold, we're not going to kid you about it-”
“Much.” James smirked, and Peter laughed at the joke.
Remus rolled his eyes briefly. Then he scooted his chair closer to Sirius'. Sirius stiffened, but not in a good way. “Don't listen to them.” He dropped his voice down to a whisper. “You can tell me. Did you catch my cold, after all, tough guy?”
Sirius hesitated for a moment, his pale gray eyes meeting Remus' amber ones. Then he shook his head. “Of course not,” he replied to Remus. Then, louder, to the others, “Of course I don't have a cold. Sniff! I'm just going to sit here and do my homework with you lot like always. Sniff!”
“But you don't always sniffle,” Peter pointed out.
Sirius scowled again and pretended to be entirely absorbed in his homework. Apart from a table of third years across the room and one fifth year student not as far away, the Marauders were alone in the Gryffindor common room. It wasn't unusual for the room to be so empty this late in the evening, and it wasn't unusual for the Marauders to have claimed the best chairs by the fire there.
It was, however, somewhat unusual for Sirius to put so much space between himself and Remus. That alone seemed somewhat suspicious, but the sniffling was difficult to miss. As was the juicy sneeze Sirius directed into his sleeve not two minutes later.
James groaned as Sirius snuffled into the black folds of school robes as though the action might not have attracted attention. “Padfoot! Go to the hospital wing for some Pepper-up or get yourself up to bed. You're obviously coming down with something.”
Sirius was adamant. “I'm staying right here.”
“Stubborn berk,” James muttered under his breath.
“I'm sorry?” said Sirius, looking at James over his book.
“You should be,” said James. “And you'll be even sorrier if you get the rest of us ill.”
Sirius cleared his throat and leaned forward, laying the book down. “Are you trying to say that I'm inconsiderate?”
“Damn right I am,” said James, leaning forward as well. “You, with your ugly face and your runny nose.”
Sirius screwed up his face with disgust at the comment. “Sniff! You sound like a first year, using phrases like that.”
“And you sound like a first year, sniffling like that. Blow your nose at least.”
“I would, if I were ill! Hah-” Sirius raised his arm and buried his nose into it. “harUrshooo!” He lifted his head, sniffed, then lowered it only a second later, eyes shutting again the moment after they'd opened. “huhhShikkkuhh!”
“Bless you,” said Peter, instinctively. There had been a good load of blessing during the past week when Remus had been ill.
But Sirius did not take kindly to it in this case. He glared at Peter, rubbed his nose, and sniffled. Peter mumbled an apology and turned back to his homework. Sirius could not concentrate on his homework, however. His nose ran terribly, and his already-frequent sniffling was getting worse. Sirius alternated shirt sleeves, snuffling and rubbing at his nose.
Apart from the sounds Sirius was making, they sat quietly, each doing his own work. At some point during the night, they'd rotate papers and copy what bits they didn't have down already. Remus wasn't especially fond of the practice, but they'd been doing it for years without being called on it, and it really did help them make sure everything was covered and done well.
After a good ten minutes, Sirius' nose had reached its limit. “her… her-Ehshuhhh! Har-UHChoo! huhhKSchhhh!” His sniff was thick and liquidy and he sat for a moment, open mouthed, blinking as his head tried to sort itself out.
James slammed his book down on the table so hard that everyone in the room jumped, let alone everyone at the table. “You're seriously telling me that you're not ill?”
Sirius sniffed and shrugged. For a brief moment, he debated the pun. If he were his normal, charming self he'd be able to pull it off with ease. But he felt tired and congested now. But not doing it would certainly tip them off about his being sick. Then again, if they saw he was trying too hard… maybe it was better not to say it after all.
“Oh, you're so incredibly ill,” James said, looking at him knowingly through those glasses of his.
“I'm not,” Sirius said again.
“Then prove it.”
Sirius froze, staring. James stared back. Neither spoke. Neither moved. Neither blinked.
Finally, Sirius sniffled, and James leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Okay,” snapped Sirius, refusing to let James win. “I'll prove it.” Before he could change his mind, he reached over and grabbed hold of Remus by the maroon and gold striped tie. He pulled Remus over and planted a strong kiss on Remus' lips. Remus did not protest, whatever his opinion of the situation was. Sirius' kisses were always wonderful and this one was no exception. It seemed to last minutes- certainly long enough for Remus to consider Sirius' expression, then close his eyes and enjoy the sensation. Then Sirius pulled back, grinning not at Remus but at James. “There. Do you think that I'd kiss my Remus like that if I had a cold?”
James considered for a moment, then picked his book and quill back up again.
With a triumphant smile, Sirius went back to his own work. He managed to get through two pages of potions work before the sneezes struck again. They were strong and harsh, and felt just as wet as they sounded.
“Sirius?” Remus whispered, passing him a hanky under the table as discretely as possible.
Still, the other two Marauders noticed.
“How's that for evidence? Widdle Padfoot's got a bad head cold.” James teased, and Peter laughed. “He can't hide it and has to blow his nose, doesn't he?”
“SNIFF! Shut it, Pads!” Sirius tossed the pocket square across the table at James. “Sniff!”
“I wasn't having a go,” James laughed. “No need to throw things at me… not that it matters, 'cause you throw like a girl, you pofter.”
Sirius pulled a face and aimed a kick at James under the table. He hit the table leg instead and his foot glanced off a struck Peter, who half-shrieked in surprise.
James put his hands up. “Hey, hey, no need to get worked up. It's just a little cold.”
“It's not a cold!” Sirius insisted, jumping to his feet.
Still chuckling, James gave a shrug. “Whatever you say.”
“I want you to say it,” Sirius said through clenched teeth.
“All right. It's not a cold.” He shrugged. “You can just sit down now and keep sneezing and coughing and I'll just keep pretending that's perfectly normal for you. Or you can give us all a break and take those sniffles of yours to bed.”
Sirius had had it. He gathered up his books and things into a haphazard pile and gathered it up in his arms. “Fine! I'm going.” His sniffed again, rubbing the cuff of his sleeve at his nose. “Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored, not because I am ill. I just refuse to put up with your shite for the next couple of hours!” He stormed upstairs, dropping a quill on the way but not stopping to pick it up, if he even noticed.
The minute they heard Sirius storm upstairs, James burst into quiet laughter. He was joined immediately by Peter, and even Remus reluctantly cracked a smile. “That wasn't very nice,” Remus said finally.
“I know it,” said James. “But that was the only way to get that stubborn git up to bed to rest. And you know what they say, in the world of mules, there are no rules. “
“Would you have preferred he stay here and get us all sick? I don't think so. It's better this way. He might be mad at me, but at least he'll be mad from bed.”
Remus nodded. “They also say that ill deeds are doubled with an evil word.” He stacked his own texts and notebooks.
“Aw,” James smiled. “Don't be sore with me, Moony. It's for his own good.”
“I know it,” said Remus. “But I'd better head up to him to try to smooth things over before he falls asleep. Otherwise he's liable to kick me out of bed in the middle of the night.”