Title: Breakfast Time
The Marauders, etc.
Comments: Yes please!
Sirius lowered his hand slowly, then leaned in, his cheek against Remus' as his arms pulled around him for a tight hug. "Feels like a bit of a fever to top it off," he murmured, rubbing a hand up and down the man's back comfortingly.
Remus nodded, pawing at his nose with the back of his hand. "I thought as much." Feeling as if the hug were a bit awkward, he forced the man to pull out of it.
Looking a little guilty, Sirius hung his head. "S'my fault. I shouldn't have let you stay out in the rain while we watched James' practice." He recalled the handsomeness of the man's face as it dripped wet with raindrops running down it. How he'd wanted to pounce on the man then, lick him dry, nuzzle him warm. Two wet bodies rolling in the mud like dogs as the rain fell all around. But he had settled for stealing a soft kiss when the others weren't looking.
Remus laid back, spreading his arms, falling into the cushy covers of his bed. "You had your umbrella over us all; I was quite dry while we sat." Not to mention that Sirius' arm had stayed around him the whole time, holding him warm and close. And not to mention that Lilly had been on his other side, snuggled up against him to keep under the umbrella that stretched from just over her to just over Peter.
"You were chilled," Sirius said, stretching in play with a faked yawn to lie down beside Remus. "Don't deny it, I felt you shiver near the end. I was going to suggest going in just before they finished for the evening."
Rolling his eyes, "You can't catch a cold from a chill," he said blatantly.
Sirius nuzzled closer, draping an arm over his middle. "You were already weak and tired from..." from his time of the month, Sirius refrained from saying out loud. Even in the small dormitory, and even empty as it was now, they refrained from saying it outright as if by some unsaid code. "You probably just picked it up from... someone...." Both boys' thoughts strayed to detention with the Slytherins a few nights back. Sirius thought he remembered seeing Snape sneeze a number of times, turning, showing them his back as he fell forward with each. Remus remembered Malfoy coughing a few times rather pointedly in his direction. Sirius also remembered guarding Remus as he napped during the detention beneath James' invisibility cloak. The detention had fallen the night following the last night of Remus' transformation and the man had been exhausted already without needing to spend a whole night awake outside in the cold night air.
"Yes, someone," Remus agreed, closing his eyes as his own nose tickled fiercely. He rubbed his nose against his sleeve roughly to subdue the feeling, to no avail. His breath hitched, and the feeling was so strong that he squeezed his eyes shut. "eh-heh...Ehshoo! Kehshoo!" Feeling the man staring at him as he wiped his nose on his sleeve, he sniffled and suggested, "Shouldn't you be going down for breakfast?"
Sirius eyed Remus a moment. "You're not hungry?"
Shaking his head, Remus pulled the covers up around himself all that he could with Sirius lying beside him on top of them. "I could use some more rest... ehh-Heshoo! Heh-Keshoo!"
Sirius, wand in hand, summoned the tissues from one of his bed stand drawers and put it in-between the two of them. "I'll check on you later, then." He felt his stomach rumble with hunger and inched back for Remus. Still feeling a bit guilty, he gave the man a small peck on the cheek before heading down to breakfast.
* * *
The morning sun glittered off the feathers of the hundreds of owls descending upon the great hall. Mail was well-timed to calm down some of the exploits of that morning which had come from the Slytherin table. There had been a rather public display of spells by one, and a number of Slytherins jumping onto the bandwagon with pranks and mischief of all sorts which both entertained and disturbed all attendants to the breakfast that morning.
Sirius looked up to find an unfamiliar owl circling over their table looking confused. So he put up his hand and called the owl over, offering some of his toast to prove he could be trusted with its delivery. After debating a while with the owl, it finally left a thin, blank envelope for Remus with Sirius. James and Sirius both had subscriptions to the Daily Profit tossed into their orange juice, and Lilly received a small package of what turned out to be her mother's famous cookies. She took the ribbon off the package and, tossing her hair back, tied the ribbon around her head with a small bow on top.
Sirius glanced through the paper as he devoured another plateful of eggs and toast. But he kept his ear half open to the conversation Peter and James had been having since the chaos began that morning.
"I just don't see what's wrong with wanting someone trustworthy to follow if it helps you both get where you're going," Peter said, gnawing on his toast in tiny rat-like bites.
"Nothing at all," replied James with his you-can-believe-everything-I-say sort of face on, "As long as the person you're following is the right sort." And Sirius noticed his eyes fell not upon Peter but looked past him, across the room to where Dumbledore stood with the defense against the dark arts professor, trying to get a curtain against the Slytherin wall to release a tiny owl it was playing with. "There's a harm in following without questioning, Pete, no matter how much charm anyone might have."
Peter squeaked, "But if he's really great and you admire the person..."
James laughed, and leaned in, keeping his voice low. "I'll tell you, with that bunch of Slytherins I wouldn't be doing any admiring. I can understand being power-hungry but they're restless for mischief."
Sirius nearly spat his drink out, managing to cup his hand over his mouth and turn to the side before exclaiming, "You're one to talk about mischief Prongs!" The four had a good laugh, and Sirius made Peter a hat out of his Daily Profit for no other reason than the boy had a very addictive and comforting sort of laugh.
* * *
Remus couldn't fall back asleep, despite his best effort to do so. He couldn't seem to get comfortable in bed without Sirius. It was too hot under the covers, and too chilly above; cuddling against warm Sirius had been the perfect balance. So he propped up his pillows and tried to read an assignment for History of Magic, keeping the tissue box close at hand as it was needed more often than he would have liked. He couldn't remember the last time he was sick very clearly, aside from the werewolf bit of course, but he had a strong recollection of something very disgusting being poured down his throat by the school nurse and the sour, stale smell of sheets on a cot in the hospital wing. Certainly not something he wanted to remember more vividly, especially if he were already feeling poorly.
"Mister Remus Lupin, Sir?"
Remus looked down to find a small elfish face staring up at him. It balanced a large stack of sheets and pillowcases on its head between two long, pointed ears for in its hands was a large silver tray topped with a steaming teapot and a large bowl of fruit. It was just a few feet high, and Remus would sure he wouldn't have seen it over the side of his bed if it hadn't first called out to him. If this had been his first sighting of the creature he would probably have screamed and jumped off the bed in surprise. "Hello Henny," he greeted, running a hand through his hair and sitting up straighter.
"I is hearing that you is not feeling so good again," he said, rocking on two very large feet as if it had a built-in rocking chair. "So we is bringing you a get well breakfast from the kitchens."
Remus smiled, thinking how good tea really sounded to him right now. "How thoughtful you and the other house elves are!" he exclaimed, overdoing it as much as his limited energy allowed.
He rubbed at his nose, watching the elf beam with pride. "We is doing our bestest, Sir." The elves were used to seeing him sleeping in the day after his transformations had ended, though they had never so much as brought him an entire tray before. Henny set the tray down on the bedside table.
Remus dipped into the tissue box again, breathing heavily into it a moment before sneezing again. "ehh-Emshuhh! Heh-Chehhh!" He turned to the side slightly to blow his nose clearer, then turned back with a muttered "Excuse me."
The house elf, still rocking on his feet, grinned. "Oh, bless you Mister Remus Lupin!"
Remus smiled, though slightly embarrassed. "Thank you, Henny."
"Remus?" echoed up the stairs into the room.
The house elf jumped a foot on his large kangaroo-like feet and pulled his ears down over his eyes. Whining with some great concern, "I is not supposed to being here with students about!" The house elves cleaned, lit the fires, even made their beds. But the mark of a good house elf was not being seen and perhaps if he couldn't see the incoming student, the student wouldn't see him.
"S'all right, Henny. It's my..." what was he? "My close friend," Remus snuffled, rolling his eyes as Sirius came around the corner. "Hey," he greeted the man.
"Hey," Sirius returned, his tone soft and sympathetic. He hung, hugging the corner of the doorway, seeming apprehensious to enter. But instead of asking how Remus was feeling or asking if he were interrupting, he just clung and leaned in the doorway.
Remus waved a beckoning hand, scooting over in bed and giving the empty spot an inviting pat. Sirius, not one to decline an offer, walked in though eyeing Remus' visitor already there. So Remus explained, "This is Henny, one of the Hogwarts house elves," as if Sirius couldn't recognize the creature decked in oversized socks and an old pair of corduroy shorts with a hole in the seat for his head. "Sometimes they bring me a bit of food when I'm, uh, a bit under the weather." Sirius noticed the weariness in his voice, and wondered if Remus had gotten any sleep at all during his absence.
The house elf blushed and let his ears go as he bounced to the table and gestured to the tray. "I is brining sleepy Mister Remus Lupin good food."
Sirius tried his best not to laugh at the silliness of the house elf's statement. He seated himself beside Remus on the bed. "Very nice. Healthy, hmm?"
The house elf nodded quite enthusiastically and stood on tip-toes to rest his chin on the bed. "Yes, yes. You is most welcome to have some, too, close friend of Remus Lupin."
"Why that's very nice," Sirius said, trying again not to laugh. "But I've just come up from a wonderful breakfast." He patted his tummy. "And I'm all full up."
The house elf, Henny, beaming with delight, bonked his head against the bed frame with a pleased giggle and disappeared out the door with a "Feel better, Sir!"
"Brings you food, huh?" he asked with a laugh, reaching over Remus to snag a strawberry despite his lack of hunger.
"Aw, he's nice," Remus defended. "They change our sheets every day and they notice things, you know? Like how I'm gone for a few days pretty often. So they offer me food sometimes when I'm recovering and I'm more than eager to accept if it pleases them." He leaned over, onto his side to pour a cup of tea.
Sirius, fearing he'd spill, hopped right up and darted to the other side of the bed to get him some. As he poured with one hand, he pulled a small clump of napkins from his pocket. "It's no tea tray, but I brought you a muffin from breakfast."
"Thought I might be..." he stopped, his breath catching, eyes narrowing. "...hung... huh... huh-hurChishh! Huh-cheshh!" Shaking in bed. He unrolled one of the napkins around the muffin and buried his nose in it for a bit of a blow.
"Hungry, yes," said Sirius with a gentleness he reserved for Remus. Then, he handed the tea over with the proper amount of sugar and lemon added. "The tea should help you feel better." Softly, he sat back down on his usual side of the bed and draped his arm around Remus.
Remus thanked him for the tea and snuggled into him, comfortable against the familiar warmth. "Don't we have class soon?" he asked, closing his eyes to savor the gentle, soothing tea.
"Mmm," Sirius replied with an affirmative sort of edge. "Transfiguration. We're learning how to transfigure ourselves into small forest creatures." He smirked. "Boy, can't imagine how to do that." He and James had perhaps mastered the art of transfiguration better than any Hogwarts student every had, and by their fifth year at that. "And I'll catch you up on anything you missed," Sirius offered, sensing some worry in that. Of course, he and James had willingly filled Remus in on anything he had ever missed, even before they found out about the reason Remus was gone every so often. But at least now, Remus didn't have to go through it alone. "Besides, I'd rather stay here with you, you know?"
"Thanks, Sirius," Remus managed with a heavy yawn. Then he sniffled and scrubbed his nose with his wrist.
Rather than suggest Remus try and sleep, Sirius shook with a jolt of sudden realization. "Oh, I forgot! You've a letter!" He leaned forward and groped for it beneath his robes.
"Who's it from?" Remus asked, curious but tired.
"Dunno. Didn't recognize the owl and the envelope's blank." He pulled it out and handed it over, settling back against the pillows comfortably, squeezing Remus' shoulders. There was an excitement in receiving such a mysterious letter, and he was eager to find out what it was about.
Remus, however, did not seem to feel the same sort of excitement. He took it reluctantly, tore it open with his teeth, and pulled a single piece of paper out. His eyes skimmed it ever so briefly before balling it up with the envelope, tossing it toward the trashcan, and willing it to burst into flames with a simple charm. The ashes, cool and calming, sprinkled down into the trashcan. He sighed and closed his eyes. Perhaps if he were to fall asleep quickly, he wouldn't need to explain.
"What was all that about?" Sirius asked with no reservation.
Before Remus could answer, he grabbed for a tissue. His breathing raced in a strong, panicky sort of way. His eyes narrowed, mouth hung open. "heh... huh... heh-eh-EhCheshhh! Heh-Hushoo! HehUhsheshh!" He rubbed his nose dry and settled back against Sirius, against the pillows. "Job rejection," Remus explained finally, without feeling. "Silly of me to hope. After all, who wants to hire a werew--"
"Oh, Remus," Sirius sighed with sympathy. "Can't you... I dunno... not tell them about that?"
Remus snorted, closing his eyes. "Against the law, that is. Employers need to know when they can or can't rely on an employee. And they'd figure it out sooner or later and have me off to Azkaban." He and the others rarely spoke of their plans for after Hogwarts next year because of Remus' situation. James and Lilly had no reason to worry, being head boy and girl and all, and James wouldn't need to work for money regardless. Sirius, tough and quite bright, had a good future in anything he wanted as well. Peter, on the other hand, didn't seem to have a very strong talent in any particular area, and applied to the usual places only.
"You'll find somewhere," Sirius tried to reassure him. "Besides, you have me and I'd never let them send you to Azkaban." He nuzzled the man affectionately and wrapped both arms around him securely. Remus, not entirely believing him about the job, was glad the subject had closed. He cuddled back with a powerful yawn that Sirius couldn't help but notice. He took the empty cup of tea from Remus' hands and tugged the blankets up a bit more. He pulled the tissue box close enough for Remus to reach when needed. "Oy, now. No worrying allowed. Get some sleep, all right?" He pressed his cheek against the man's head and hugged him tenderly. "Feel better." Remus, yawning and nodding, fell asleep in no time with his head on Sirius' chest and his arm around Sirius' waist.