Title: Secret Keeper
Fandom: Harry Potter (Marauders Era)
Disclaimer: Not my characters or world or anything. I make no money from this.
Summary: James shows up drunk at Sirius’ place one snowy night.
Author Notes: Snow Drabble written on March 14, 2017, a snow day.
Four quick knocks followed by a pause and four more knocks could only mean one thing: there was a Marauder at the door. Which meant it must be opened at once. Which meant Sirius must leave the warmth and comfort of his bed in the middle of the night. He reached for the wand he kept on his bedside table at night but didn’t utter a soft “Lumos!” until he was out of the bedroom.
There were four more knocks as Sirius rubbed sleep from his eyes as he padded down the hallway. And four more as he crossed the living room. He unlocked the door and swung it open just as a fist came toward him, trying to knock again. Sirius jumped back, avoiding what might have been a black eye.
James Potter stood in the doorway, snow dusting his shoulders and unruly dark hair. “Is somebody after you?” Sirius asked, eyeing the snow-covered London street, searching for any sign of Death Eaters. “Or did you just hit the pubs too hard again?”
“Whad’d’y’think?” James slurred, swaying on the spot.
Sirius sighed and stepped aside. “You’d better come in.” Inside was warm. Inside was safe. Though inside was also where Sirius would have to deal with his drunk mate. Again.
James stumbled in far enough for Sirius to close and lock the door behind. “M’legs are all wobble-wobbly,” he explained. “Can’t app… apparate. Lily… Lily said. ‘S a promise.”
“Right,” Sirius yawned, scrubbing a hand across his face. “She’s got lots of common sense, that Lily Evans. You can’t be apparating when you’re like this. You can use my—”
“Can I jus’kip here fer the night?” He swayed in the direction of the hallway, heading toward Sirius’ bedroom.
Sirius caught hold of his arm and pulled him back. “Wait! No you can’t.”
James looked at him a moment, blinking. Than a slow grin spread across his face. “You’ve got a girl in there!” He glanced over at the bedroom. “Y’went out t’the clubs ‘n’ brought back a pretty bird. D’she sing fer ya?” He lunged in the direction of the room again. “I wanna see…”
“No, James!” Sirius pulled him back again.
Just then, from the bedroom, both Marauders heard a loud “hehh-DIHShhhhhh!” sneeze.
James looked at Sirius. Sirius looked at James and tried to keep embarrassment from his expression. He failed. “Y’haven’t got a bird at all. Y’ve got a gent!” James laughed. “Wanna see what kinda guys do it fer ya. Is he as handsome as me? Now I’ve gotta look!” He tried to pull away once again, but Sirius clung tight.
“No you don’t. He—”
“hehIHHTshhhhhh! Heh hehCSHHhhhhh!”
And then James froze. He stopped trying to go in the direction of the bedroom. He turned to Sirius, eyes wide. “He’s got a case of th’sniffles doesn’t he?”
Sirius felt his cheeks burn. “Wha—“
“’Cause y’like that. Y’like when gents sneeze. Don’t try t’deny it. Y’can’t keep secrets from me. I saw the way y’mooned o’er Moony every time he caught a head cold.”
Sirius felt his whole face burn. “Prongs…”
“Does he know? Does he sneeze for you? Does he sneeze on you?”
Sirius felt his whole body burn now. “It’s time for you to go.”
“Oh, y’wanna go tumble w’him, don’t ya?”
“eh heh hehehehhh YIHHSchhhhh!”
“So hot y’can’t stand it, right?”
Sirius pushed James. “You’re going.”
“But s’cold out! Snowing again! Can’t stand outside ‘n’ wait for the Knight Bus… I might… catch cold. ‘N’ then I’d get all sniffly… you’d have to listen ta me sneeze all day in auror training.”
“You can use the Floo Network.”
“B’what if floo powder tickles my nose? What if I can’t say where m’going because m’sneezing too hard?”
“I’ll say it for you.” Sirius pushed him over to the fireplace, waved his wand to light the fire, and grabbed the canister of powder. “Good night, James. Take a hangover potion when you get home, all right?”
James nodded obediently. “’N’ you have fun when you get back ta yer guy. Y’know… his sneezes sound an awful lot like—”
Sirius threw a handful of powder into the fire and stated clearly “The Potter Residence!” For an instant, James’ form twisted in the green flames then was gone.
With a deep sigh of both relief and foreboding, Sirius double-checked the locks on the door. Then he headed back to the bedroom. Snow fell steadily outside the open window, illuminated by a streetlight. And a man stood at the window, watching the snow, a dark silhouette of a form wrapped in the comforter from the bed. It was such a lovely, serene sight Sirius didn’t want to disturb it.
“hehhhhh!” The man’s head dipped down and his hand came up to meet it. “hehehhehDdschhhhhhhh!” He sniffled softly into his hand.
“You should be in bed.” Sirius spoke softly, timidly, trying to feel out the situation.
The man turned, swiping his sleeve under his nose. “So you can ravish me?”
Sirius cheeks went hot again, though they couldn’t be seen in the dark bedroom. “James was drunk. He rambles when he’s drunk. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“Oh, I think he knows exactly. It just takes being drunk for him to say it to your face. Which is the same reason I’ve never said it. Was never brave enough.”
Sirius swallowed. “You knew?” he squeaked out.
“Of course I did. Seven years sharing a dorm room; even I couldn’t miss the signs. As soon as I realized I was coming down with this cold, I took off work and came right over. Partly because I didn’t want you to miss any of my best sneezes. And partly because I love the way you tuck me in and give me attention when I’m not feeling well.”
Sirius gestured to the bed and they both climbed in. Sirius lay on his side, holding his arms out, and Peter came to him, snuggling in close and sniffling into his chest.