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Catching Cold (Harry Potter fic, M)


Dusty15

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A little winter fic that I started a long long time ago based on two Sneezefic bunny prompts. One asking for a character who enjoys being the center of attention but hasn't had that in a while, so he purposely catches a cold in order to be fussed over. The second asking for a fic in which two boys share a bed and a cold or allergies, 'competing' on who is worse off. This is a little bit of each combined into a rather fluffy fic. But let's be honest- I'm a fluff master...I can't write much else!

Not M/M, just friendship between two of my favorite HP characters, Sirius and Remus. Set during their 5th or 6th year. Enjoy!

----

Christmas holiday was rapidly approaching and all of Hogwarts was abuzz with anticipation. Peter’s trunk had been packed for a week already in preparation for the trip home and James rambled non-stop about the cousins he’d get to prank at the Potter family Christmas dinner. Even Remus was excited to leave, even though it’d be just him and his parents at their little countryside cottage.

Sirius, on the other hand, was downright dreading his impending time at home. Already on shaky ground with his parents, he’d been caught dueling with his younger brother in the hallway the previous week that resulted in a letter home and he had a particularly spectacular failure of a term essay owled off to get signed too. The thought of facing the wrath of Walburga Black was weighing heavily on him.

So, when a day before holiday hit and Sirius awoke late in the morning to the sight of a miserable, cold-infected Remus, he had an idea. The last time he’d been doted on and fussed over by his parents was when he had dragon-pox three summers ago. They’d forgiven his pranks on Regulus from the day before and served him soup in bed and dabbed lotion on his sores. If he went home for Christmas with a cold, they wouldn’t dare punish him! So what if he had to suffer for it? If he was going to be shut in his room for break anyway, he might as well have the attention that a cold brought rather than the banishment of grounding.

“Moony?” he said, peering over at his friend who sat propped up in bed by several pillows.

Remus turned, eyes glassy, and sniffed wetly.

“Bloody fucking hell,” he said, pawing angrily at his nose. “This year this is no moon remotely close to Christmas but oh no, I can’t get out of jail free. I’ve got to go and get a sodding cold. I swear, Sirius, this immune system of mine is shot. Completely gone.”

Sirius wasn’t particularly listening to the words, instead his head was turned and fishing in his nightstand for a clean handkerchief which he retrieved before bounding over to Remus’ side and sitting on his friend’s bed.

“Here,” he said, holding up the cloth.

“Thanks,” Remus said miserably, taking it and blowing his nose with a gurgling, slurping sound. He visibly cringed and turned the cloth over to a clean spot, dabbing away the excess moisture.

“Poor Moony,” Sirius cooed as Remus turned and buried his head in his arm, coughing hoarsely. Faking a sniffle of his own, Sirius took the handkerchief from Remus’ distracted hands and dabbed his own nose lightly before setting the sodden cloth aside.

Eht’schi!

Remus sneezed into his elbow and then transitioned back to coughing.

“I’m going to get you something to eat,” Sirius said cheerfully. “Rest.”

Remus slumped against the pillows, looking thoroughly uninterested in doing anything, let alone eating, but he nodded wearily and Sirius disappeared in the direction of the kitchens. He returned fifteen minutes later carrying a tray bearing a bowl of tomato soup and some crackers. Settling it on Remus’ lap, he watched the ill werewolf take several tentative spoonfuls.

“Is it good?” he asked, tugging the spoon from Remus’ grip and taking a spoonful for himself.

“Don’t use my spoon!” Remus said, trying to wrestle the utensil back. “You’ll get sick!”

“Don’t worry about me, Moony-boy,” Sirius said happily, popping the spoon in his mouth and tasting the soup. “I’ve got a perfectly capable immune system!”

The two boys alternated spoonfuls until the soup was gone and they set the tray aside with satisfied sighs.

“I’m going to sleep,” Remus said hoarsely, sliding down under the sheets. “Why don’t you go find Prongs and Wormtail?”

“I think I’ll hang out here,” Sirius said, tucking the comforter up over Remus as the boy turned and snapped his head into his pillow with a sharp, spraying sneeze.

Hehhhs’tschooo!

“Bless you,” Sirius said softly, settling down at Remus’ side with a book.

“Pads, are you trying to get sick?” Remus asked irritably, inching further away from his friend and shielding his face with his quilt.

No,” Sirius replied, mocking offense. “Why would you say that? I can’t sit and watch over my ill friend? Please, Remus, how many times have you been sick and I’ve not so much as had a sniffle? I’ll be fine.”

What he didn’t mention was in the past he’d been very careful about washing his hands and avoiding sharing anything with Moony. Now, he was doing just the opposite.

“Don’t keep me awake then,” Remus croaked, head buried in his pillow. “I’ve got my History of Magic exam at three and I need to get better before then.”

“Right,” Sirius agreed. “Me too. Rest up, Moony.”

He watched Remus drift off to sleep, snoring congestedly, and sat reviewing his school notes until it was just after two and he gently shook Remus awake.

“Mate?” he said. “Better get up and get showered. We’ve got about an hour to the exam.”

Remus looked up wearily and moved slowly from the bed, shuffling to the bathroom with a volley of hoarse coughs into his arm. Sirius followed, taking the shower stall beside Remus’ and listening to a series of wet, exhausted sneezes that echoed from the tiled walls.

Ehtshiiiiii! Hehhhhtshiii! ‘tshiiii!

“Bless,” he called.

“Thanks,” came the whisper of Remus’ hoarse voice.

Side by side at the sinks, Sirius took his time shaving while Remus brushed his teeth and disappeared to get dressed. Sirius eyed Remus’ toothbrush for a moment before plucking it from its holder and squeezing a ribbon of toothpaste across it.

I can’t believe I’m doing this…” he thought as he put the brush in his mouth and began to work.

Teeth brushed and face smooth, Sirius dressed and met Remus down in the common room where the werewolf was waiting slumped in an armchair with a handkerchief clutched in his hand.

They walked together to the History of Magic classroom, students clearing a path to give way for Remus who was coughing dry, loud barks. Settled in their seats in class, Remus gave Sirius a pitiful look as the exam was handed out.

Sirius set to work, dutifully guessing at the dates of various goblin rebellions. Across the room, Remus had one hand propping up his head as the other scribbled away on his paper. Every few seconds the silence of the room was punctuated with a wet sniffle and the occasional soft cough. Finally, tiring of the interruption, a Slytherin in the back row slammed down his quill and raised his wand, flicking a silencing spell in the direction of Remus.

“I’ll take it off when the exam is done,” he hissed.

Sirius felt his temperature rise in anger but Remus merely nodded resignedly and continued to write.

Exams done and collected, Sirius rushed to his friend’s aid and removed the silencing spell.

“Thanks,” Remus said, gathering his things and pushing through the crowd of students back towards their dormitory. “I’m going back to bed.”

“Good idea,” Sirius said. “I’m gonna grab a bite to eat. See you later.”

He took dinner in the Great Hall and finished a term essay in the library (he was a good student when no one was looking…) before returning upstairs to the dorms, tired and ready to sleep again. Remus was already tucked in bed, still looking worse for wear. A half cup of tea still steamed on his bedside and Sirius crept up and took a sip.

There. He’d tried all day to get this bloody cold and if it hadn’t worked, so be it. Tucked in bed, he dozed off, not hearing James and Peter get back from their late Astronomy practical.

In the morning, he woke to Peter singing a Christmas carol and the sound of Remus’ voice begging him to shut it already. James was tossing things in his trunk from across the room. Sirius’ head ached a little and he smiled in triumph. This was the beginning of a cold.

“Cheers, mates!” he said happily, poking out from behind his bed hangings. “School is out, I declare!”

Remus was perched on the edge of his own bed, still in his pyjamas, sorting books into his trunk. His nose was scarlet and his sandy hair stuck up at all angles.

“Are you gonna make it, Moons?” he asked.

“I sure hope so,” Remus said with a half-smile. “I slept fourteen hours. I should have this damned thing kicked in no time.”

The boys deposited their packed trunks at the top of the stairs to be sent to the train and went to breakfast together before piling on the Hogwarts Express for the journey home. Remus sat, tucked against the window with his coat over him for a blanket, snoring and coughing in his sleep while the other three boys played a game of cards and watched the countryside pass. Half way through the journey, Sirius threw down his hand of cards and curled up on the train seat, dozing off too. His throat had begun to scratch and it hurt to swallow.

At King’s Cross, the boys disembarked, finding their trunks and saying their goodbyes. Sirius and Remus hugged quickly and as Sirius began to turn to leave, Remus grabbed his arm.

“Listen,” he said. “I know you weren’t thrilled about spending time with your family. If you need to get away, owl me. My mum said you’re always welcome, okay?”

Sirius smiled fondly at Remus.

“I suspect things’ll be just fine,” he said. His voice caught in his throat and he coughed to clear it.

“You okay?” Remus asked, retrieving his handkerchief to wipe his scarlet nose. “You’re not sick too, right?”

“Oh no,” Sirius said, putting on a false smile though he could feel his nose beginning to run. “Not at all. Have a happy Christmas, Moony.”

“Happy Christmas, Pads.”

They parted ways, Sirius spotting his parents near the exit waiting impatiently with his brother at their side.

“Coming, Sirius?” his father said sternly. “We’re late and I’ve got an important Floo at six-thirty.”

Sirius followed them silently to the fireplaces on the far side of the platform and Floo-ed home to Grimmauld where he disappeared into his room with his trunk and fell into bed, asleep.

----

He woke a few hours later to his mother’s voice and sharp knocking at his door. Groaning, he stumbled over and opened it.

“Sirius Black, you are home for five seconds and you lock yourself in here. Your father and I have some matters regarding your progress in school we need to discuss and then it is dinner time. You’re expected in the study in five minutes.”

Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Sirius leaned against the wall and took a sharp breath, his head pitching forward with a wet sneeze.

Tghhhhtt!

“Mum,” he said, sniffling miserably. “I’m sick.”

“You’re fine,” she said sharply. “Study, in five minutes.”

The door was shut in his face and Sirius stood, stunned. He felt ten times worse than when he’d first arrived and could hardly breathe through his nose. A steady, low fever burned and he felt too hot and too cold all at once.

Irritated, he slunk downstairs and into the study, sitting in one of the big leather armchairs with his legs tucked up. Shortly, his parents entered and sat on the sofa across from him, looking as stern and disappointed as if Sirius had committed a major crime.

“There were several owls this week,” his father began. “A failed paper and a notification for a detention served. Do you care to explain?”

Sirius looked down at the floor, a sneeze building as his breathing slowed and became hitched. He tucked his face into his elbow…

Ettttshhhh! Tshhiii!

“Sirius?” his father’s voice said.

“You aren’t even going to say ‘bless you’?” Sirius croaked, looking up with a streaming nose and glassy eyes.

“I’m asking you a question, Sirius.”

“And I’m asking you one,” Sirius snapped.

“Room, now,” his mother demanded. “No wireless, your Quidditch magazines are cancelled, and Kreacher will bring dinner to you later.”

“Mum!” he said incredulously. “I’m sick! Listen!”

He coughed painfully to demonstrate.

“I don’t care if you’re infected with Spattergroit,” she hissed. “You are being disrespectful and belligerent. Now, off you go.”

Cheeks burning, Sirius retreated upstairs and slammed his bedroom door behind him, hearing it lock magically. He flopped on his bed, coughing, and buried his face in his pillow, fighting back tears. They hated him! He’d hoped for their attention and again only got their discipline. Plan ruined, he was now sick and alone.

He put on his pyjamas and climbed into bed, ignoring Kreacher’s dinner delivery and falling asleep. When he woke, it was morning and outside, it poured a cold, winter rain. A tray of cold porridge was on his nightstand and he shoved it away angrily, the bowl clattering to the floor.

Retrieving a handkerchief from his dresser, he blew his nose loudly and it honked and honked until he was out of breath and coughing again. He could feel the tip turning red and chapped, and he tried again to clear the congestion to no avail. Thoroughly miserable and frustrated, he sat on his bed and stared out the window. Remus’ parents would no doubt be fussing over their son right now, making sure he took the right potions and delivering fresh handkerchiefs.

And then a new idea came to him. Remus had said he was welcome any time, right? Energy renewed, he went about packing a small satchel with his clothes and pyjamas before dressing himself in a thick jumper and slacks. Armed with a pocketful of hankies and an umbrella, he carefully lifted his window open and climbed out on the roof and down the trellis into the back garden. Ducking low to avoid view of the kitchen window, he crept out of the yard and to the street where he extended his wand arm and waited for a purple bus to come whizzing around the corner.

“Knight Bus!” the Steward declared and Sirius handed over his fare, asking for delivery to the Lupin cottage in south Wales. Settling into a seat with feverish brow pressed to the cool glass of the bus window, Sirius watched the streets zip by in colorful blurs as the bus sped towards the countryside. The beds in the rear slid and slammed as the bus swerved along, avoiding cars and buildings with ease. About an hour and several dampened handkerchiefs later, the bus delivered Sirius to the end of a country road that led down to the Lupin house.

He said goodbye to the driver, a middle-aged bloke named Ernie, and climbed down the bus steps into the drizzling rain. Raising his umbrella, he shuffled down the dirt path towards the cottage, which looked particularly welcoming with its chimney smoking and its windows ablaze with soft lamplight. A small Christmas tree was visible in the parlour window.

When he reached the door, damp and shivering, he knocked twice and waited. Footsteps approached and Mr. Lupin, a tall kindly-looking man, opened the door.

“Sirius Black!” he exclaimed. “What ever are you doing here? Come in, come in.”

He stepped back to allow Sirius shelter from the rain in the small foyer.

“I'm sorry to come unannounced,” Sirius said, voice croaky.

“You're always welcome,” Mr. Lupin said, taking Sirius' umbrella and casting a drying charm on it before tucking it into the nearby umbrella stand. “I'm afraid Remus is up in bed with a cold, but I'm sure he'd enjoy a visitor.”

“Okay,” Sirius said, sniffling as he stripped off his damp jacket and boots. “I had a bit of a row with my parents. Do you think I could...could...ehh, hold on...”

Sirius put his arm up to shield his face and bent forward with a thick, congested sneeze.

Nhh'ghxtt!

“Bless you!” Mr. Lupin said, taking Sirius coat. “You don't sound much better than Remus.”

Sirius sniffled wetly and shook his head in thanks.

“Sorry. I was going to say, would you mind if I stayed the night?”

“Not at all,” Mr. Lupin replied. “Go tuck up with Remus and get warm. Marie has some soup on. I'll tell her to bring up a second bowl.”

With a grateful smile, Sirius went down the hall to Remus' bedroom and opened the door to find his friend propped up in bed with a book on his lap.

“Hello,” he said.

“Padfoot!” Remus exclaimed, shutting his novel and setting it on the bedside table. “What are you doing here?”

Sirius climbed up on the bed alongside Remus with a long-suffering sigh.

“I've got your cold,” he confessed. “And my parents were being truly horrid about it. I'm sorry for just popping over like this. Your dad said I could stay a bit. Maybe overnight, if you don't mind sharing.

“Not at all!” Remus said, slinging back the quilt to allow Sirius to tuck his legs under. Remus' room was quite small and was dominated by the full-sized bed against the window facing the fields behind the cottage. He'd told Sirius once that his parents had bought the bed after he'd been bitten, knowing he'd spend a fair amount of time resting there each month. It was a modest wooden frame but as Sirius settled against the pile of pillows, he noted it was far more comfortable than the massive four-posters of his own home.

“Feeling any better?” Sirius asked his friend. Now that he had a closer look at Moony, he could see that the boy's red, chapped nose was coated in some sort of healing balm and that there were several balled-up handkerchiefs on the floor beside the bed.

“Not really,” Remus said with a sigh. “Couldn't sleep very well last night because I couldn't breathe. Mum gave me some potions but they didn't seem to do much. Pepper Up seems to have little effect on this.”

He waved away a bit of residual smoke from his ears and shrugged.

“I guess we'll have to wait it out,” he said resignedly. “I'm not surprised you got ill, the way you were hanging about me.”

Sirius wiped at his nose with the back of his hand and made a little noise of frustration.

“I have to confess, Moony, that I did something very stupid,” he said as he drew a fresh handkerchief from his pocket to blow. “I thought that maybe if I had a cold over Christmas hols that my parents would be a bit kinder to me. Not my brightest moment.”

“Oh, Pads,” Remus replied, putting a sympathetic hand on Sirius' shoulder. “I'm sorry they're so awful. I'm glad you came here.”

“I'd go to James' place but I figured they wouldn't be keen on inviting a plague case in, and since you were already ill, I'd hoped your parents wouldn't mind.”

“Even if I wasn't ill, my mum's excellent at playing nurse by now,” Remus said wryly. “Any time.”

There was a knock at Remus' door and his mother entered bearing a tray with two steaming soup bowls.

“Hello, Sirius dear,” she said brightly as she set the tray down on the nightstand. “How are you?”

She put a cool hand on his forehead and Sirius instantly relaxed into her touch.

“I'm okay,” he said croakily.

“Fevered, I fear,” she said, withdrawing her hand and passing him a bowl of soup. “I'll bring you up a potion. Remus, how are you doing?”

“I'm okay, mum,” he said, shying away from her touch to assess his own temperature. “Chilly, actually.”

“I'll fetch you a jumper. Eat up, boys.”

She passed Remus a bowl and went to his dresser to get a wooly cardigan which Remus pulled on over his pajama top.

“Give a shout if either of you need anything,” she said, giving Sirius' head an affectionate pat. “And no staying up all hours chattering. Get some rest.”

“Yes, mum,” Remus said, spooning out some tomato soup and taking a tentative slurp.

His mother kissed him on the forehead and left, shutting the door behind her. Sirius took up his spoon and ate some soup too, feeling relief as the warm liquid soothed his throat. The steamy soup served to make both boys' noses run, however, and soon the room was a symphony of sniffling and snorting.

“Bloody hell,” Remus groaned, setting his bowl aside in favour of his handkerchief, which he pressed gently to his glowing red nose and blew very wetly before a sneeze came and exploded out.

Huhhr'tshh'GHXT!

“Bless you,” Sirius said between his own sniffles. “Sounded pretty wet. I think my own sneezes are a bit more powerful though.”

“Clearly you missed the fit I had last night,” Remus drolled. “You'd think there was a proper storm in my room or something. Mum had to wash a dozen handkerchiefs this morning.”

“I left about a dozen at home and brought all the spares I could fine,” Sirius said, tucking one over his own nose and blowing with equal wetness to Remus. “Plus, there's this...”

He took a deep, crackling breath and went into a fit of shuddering coughs that made him go red in the face and left him gasping like a fish out of water. Recovered, he sank sweaty-faced and exhausted into the pillows.

“I could do the same, but I'll avoid it if I can,” Remus said, putting his hand on Sirius' chest and giving it a circular rub. “I'll stick to mostly sneezing, I think.”

Sirius, as if on cue, took a hitching breath as he prepared for a sneeze of his own. Pinching his fingers to his nose, he partially stifled it, releasing his fingers afterwards as his nose made a strange squelching noise.

Nhh'tsh'NGHT!-eh'sght!

With a gurgling sniff, he turned to Remus, smug.

“Bet you can't keep them in like that.”

“Bet I could, but I won't waste the brain cells being killed off. S'not good for you to keep them in,” Remus replied.

“It's not good to let them spray out either,” Sirius said. “No wonder I got ill with you sneezing like that all the time.”

“I thought you got ill on purpose,” Remus teased. “I seem to recall someone awfully eager to share my soup spoon.”

“Either way,” Sirius said. “I'm more wretched than you now. Thanks for the plague, Moony.”

“More wretched than me?” Remus said incredulously. “I think you're forgetting who turns into a werewolf once a month.”

Sirius poked his friend in the side as he snuggled down into the covers.

“I don't think that counts in this exercise,” he said. “I bet I can fall asleep faster than you.”

Remus stretched out on his own side of the bed and pulled the quilts up to their chins.

“You're on, Black,” he said, closing his eyes.

“Remus?”

“Mhmm?”

“Thanks again for letting me stay.”

He was met with a congested snore.

“Okay,” Sirius said, shutting his own eyes. “You win.”

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Dusty. Dusty. You know I can't even handle it when you write these two. I just--

POOR BOYS, OKAY?

Gahhhhhh. Lovelylovely. :wub:

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Oh my gosh, this is so adorable I've melted into a pile of Sirius and Lupin feels!

Poor Sirius! And when they had that competition at the end! Mmmm, so, so hot. :wub:

bye. :heart:

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I love these two too, Sneezelover! If you do a board search, you'll find I've written a great many stories about them and I'm sure more will come :)

Thanks for all the sweet words, all of you! :)

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  • 4 months later...
  • 3 years later...

You don't know how many times I've read this already, I've loved it each time! I, for some odd reason, love it when a character purposely gets himself sick or fakes sick for attention. 

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  • 2 months later...

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