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The Diner (HP, Remus, allergies)


Dusty15

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I started this AGES ago for a Tumblr prompt (that I believe Sen Beret may have posted?) that proposed a fic where old friends reunited at a diner but one of them was sick/allergic. 

This takes place during the first war, when these guys are in their early 20s. 

 

 

“What about breakfast, then?” Lily had proposed.

The whole group had tried multiples times to organize an evening together but with various duties for the Order and their work schedules, no one seemed able to agree on a date. So Lily's solution came as a welcome relief when they all found a Saturday morning that they could agree on.

The small diner in Godric's Hollow served the usual fare in a cramped space that hadn't been updated since the 1940s, but that was part of the charm.

Lily and James arrived first and claimed a corner booth with enough room for the group. Lily eased herself into a chair at the end, her wide belly pressing against the chrome-rimmed edge of the table. It was mid-April and she had only a few months to go before she gave birth.

Peter was next to arrive, rushing in with his work satchel and apologizing in advance if he had to leave early. The Ministry department in which he worked was so far behind that they'd threatened to call everyone in early for an extra weekend shift.

Sirius was next, much to everyone's surprise given his normal lack of punctuality. He staggered in, bleary-eyed and still yawning, complaining that nine in the morning was far too early for socializing, at least before he'd consumed his daily ritual two cups of black coffee. A nod to the waitress and a trademark grin was all it took to get a ceramic cup to appear in front of him filled to the brim with a rich Javanese blend.

“Moony said he could make it, right?” James asked, perusing the menu as he spoke.

“Yes, he said he was in,” Lily replied. “I'm sure he's just running a little behind.”

“He's never running behind,” Sirius murmured between sips of coffee, slowly gaining consciousness by the second.

“Moon's in two days,” James reminded him. “Could've overslept.”

Just then, the diner's door chimed as Remus elbowed his way inside with a handkerchief pressed to his nose.

“Sorry,” he said breathlessly as he approached the table, wriggling the cloth a final time against his nostrils before shoving it into his pocket and sitting down across from Sirius.

“You look like death,” Sirius said, eying the new arrival over his mug.

“Well, it's nice to see you too,” Remus replied wryly.

“He's not wrong,” Peter chimed in. “What the hell, Moony?”

“I don't really know what you're all on about,” Lily said, leaning in to kiss Remus' cheek in greeting. “Hello, Remus. Glad you could make it.”

“They're right,” Remus said, shying away from Lily's embrace. “Sorry, it's bloody awful hayfever. I've been try--”

He broke off suddenly, lips parting and eyes squinting shut in anticipation. He raised a finger to indicate a needed moment of pardon and turned away from the group, shielding his face with his elbow.

Eghh-GMPHHH!

He sneezed into his shirtsleeve, muffling the sound. With a sniffle, he surfaced momentarily before his head bobbed again, this time not quite reaching his elbow.

Nhh'GSHT! Hehh....ehHH-TSGHHT!

He squeezed his eyes tight in a moment of clear annoyance and shook his head as if to throw off the irritation.

“Goodness!” Lily exclaimed. “Bless you.”

“Sorry,” Remus repeated, retrieving the handkerchief back out of his pocket and giving his nose a quick blow. “I'm trying a new potion for the pain...you know, for later in the week. But it's making me really much more sensitive to everything than I already usually am. I was up half the night like this.”

“Leaking from everywhere on your face?” Sirius asked and James laughed at the mental image.

Remus gave them both a dark look.

“Basically that's the situation,” he confirmed, wriggling his nose with the heel of his hand. “Not sure if it's worth the potion's effects, honestly."

“I suppose you'll have to wait and see,” Peter said. “Shall we order some food then? I'm famished.”

“Of course you are,” Sirius quipped.

“I'm usually up at seven for breakfast,” Peter replied. “Some of us keep normal hours, Sirius.”

“Some of us can't be bothered to listen to you two go on at this hour,” James interrupted.

“The french toast looks good,” said Lily. “What are you thinking, Remus?”

Remus squinted at the menu through red, itchy eyes.

“I don't know, really,” he said. “I'm not sure I can taste much at the moment. Maybe an omelet...”

“There's eggs benedict, Pads,” James pointed out to Sirius.

“I'm sticking to coffee for at least the next hour,” Sirius replied.

“Rough night?” Remus asked.

“I was on rounds with McKinnon. Didn't get in until past two.”

“So, normal bedtime then?” Lily said with a grin. Sirius scoffed and took a swig of coffee.

Eh-GHSHTT!

Everyone jumped as Remus sneezed loudly and unexpectedly, barely managing to shield his face.

“Pardon me,” he apologized from behind cupped hands. “I-”

He didn't manage another word before he was sneezing again.

Ehhh-heh-tsSCHT!

“Can I take some food orders?”

The waitress appeared at the end of the table, looking at the group expectantly.

“I'll have the french toast with strawberries, please,” Lily said. “And a cup of the decaffeinated tea.”

Beside her, Remus stifled another sneeze.

Ngh-tsGHT!

“Just coffee for me, thanks,” Sirius said.

“I'll do the full English,” Peter ordered, followed by James' request for the sunny-side-up eggs combo.

Ehh-TSGHT!

All eyes turned to Remus, who was still fighting a battle against a volley of sneezes.

Tshh-GHTT! Sorry...I—the-- teh---hehh-TSGHT!

“The western omelet, I think?” Lily prompted. Remus nodded and made a noise of affirmation between sneezes.

“Anything else?” the waitress asked.

Hehh-TSCHHHSHH!

“Bless you!” Lily said emphatically, putting a caring hand on Remus' shoulder. “Can I help at all? Do you want a glass of ice water or something?”

Remus finally managed to stop sneezing long enough to speak.

“Yes, that might help.”

“A glass of water, certainly,” the waitress confirmed. “I'll be right back.”

Remus slowly lowered his hands and gave his nose some wipes with his handkerchief.

“Sorry,” he repeated.

“You can't help it,” Lily said. “Don't worry about it.”

“Do you think the...you know...Moony. Do you think he has hayfever?” Peter asked. “Will we be dealing with this when you're....you know?”

“Wolves don't get hayfever, Wormtail,” Sirius said with a laugh.

“How do you know? Have you ever asked one?”

“I seriously doubt they do.”

“I guess we'll find out,” Remus replied, rubbing absentmindedly at his left eye, which was rapidly reddening. “So does this mean you'll all be there this time?”

“I think so,” Peter said. “Depends on my work schedule.”

“Same here,” Sirius replied.

“I'm in, unless Lily needs me,” James said.

“He's in,” Lily assured Remus with a smile. Remus smiled back and sniffled for what felt like the millionth time that morning.

“What kind of potions are you messing with, then?” Sirius asked. “Must be pretty new if they're causing these kind of weird side effects.”

“Something that Pomfrey read about in some healing journal and she wrote me to recommend that I try it. Yeah, it's definitely ne—nehh...eh-TSCHTT!

He buried his nose into his sleeve with a frustrated groan.

“Here we go aga—again...nh'TSHGHT! Hehh-TSGHTT!”

He stopped and wiped at his pink nostrils with the edge of his hand.

“It's new, I was trying to say,” he croaked. The waitress returned with his glass of ice water and he drank from the cup greedily.

“Well, they clearly don't have the kinks worked out of it yet,” James said.

“There's not really money in the research of these sorts of potions,” Remus said, setting down his now half-empty water glass. “It was probably invented for something else. They don't really take the different physiology into consideration. My hay-fever’s already worse this close to the cycle and something about this just magnifies the sensitivity.”

“Well, I hope they can figure out a balance that works without being too much of a burden come spring,” Lily chimed in.

“If they bother to work on it,” Remus replied hoarsely. “We'll see."

He took another swig of water, trying to wet his rapidly drying throat where a vague, itchy feeling had settled.

“How's the Ministry treating you, Wormtail?” Sirius asked, changing the subject. Remus pressed his leg against Sirius' under the table in a show of gratitude.

“Well enough,” Peter replied. “Understaffed, as usual. I said to James and Lily not to be surprised if an owl shows up for me. They threatened us all with extra weekend shifts to clear some backlog.”

Ehh-NHHGSHH!

Across the table, Remus turned away and cupped his hands back over his face.

“Sorry!” he apologized once again as the sneezing restarted. “Go on, Pete. Ignore me.”

But the spectacle was difficult to ignore as Remus' head bobbed in time with each increasingly urgent sneeze.

Ngh-TGHHT! TshGHXTT! Ehh-TSGXHTT!

He pressed the handkerchief against his nostrils, squeezing his fingers tight around the inflamed edges of his nose, stifling the sound as his other hand waved at his friends to keep talking.

TsGHT! NgGHT!

“Remus, love, you don't have to hold it in,” Lily assured him. “Don't worry about us.”

“Excuse me,” Remus managed to gasp as he rose to his feet and rushed towards the men's room, his head nodding down occasionally in time with his sneezes.

“Poor chap,” James mused, watching him go.

“Here,” said Lily, taking a napkin from the table and tapping it with her wand so that it was transfigured into a face towel. She handed the washcloth to Sirius. “Get this wet in the sink so he can wash his face down.”

Sirius disappeared into the washroom in pursuit of Remus.

He found the man leaning against a stall door, still in the throws of the sneezing fit.

NhGHHSHH!

“Hey,” Sirius said. “Lily said this might help.”

He soaked the towel and guided it into Remus' hands. Remus pressed the cool rag to his face, sneezing a final harsh Ehh-TSGHCHTTT! before he finally relaxed a moment and let the water soothe his itchy eyes and nose.

“Thanks,” he said. “Give me a minute. I'll be out soon.”

“You don't want me to stay?” Sirius asked.

“I need to blow my nose. A lot. You can stay if you want but it won't be pleasant.”

“Ah,” Sirius affirmed. “Right. I'll go if you want me to, but I don't mind.”

Remus shrugged and pressed his handkerchief to his nose, giving a gurgling blow that didn't seem to solve any of the congestion. He tried two more times, each effort less productive and more strained. Finally, he was unable to get any decent amount of air out and he stopped, taking gulps of air through his mouth.

Sirius had edged closer during the ordeal and gently put a hand on the bare curve of Remus' neck above his shirt collar.

“Poor Moony,” he said, leaning in and kissing Remus' temple.

“Stop,” Remus grumbled, shying back. “Someone might come in.”

The....affair? Relationship? Fooling around? Whatever they were calling it, it was new and so far, a secret. They were both sure that James and Lily had suspicions, but Peter was entirely clueless and no one had openly spoken about it yet

“No one is coming,” Sirius assured him. “Wash your face again and come back. Breakfast has probably arrived by now.”

“Go on,” Remus said wearily. “Tell them I'll be out in a minute.”

Sirius returned to the table and relayed the message. Remus reappeared a few moments later, as promised, looking blotchy and red-eyed but no longer sneezing. He sunk back into his spot in the booth where a western omelet now waited to be eaten.

“You alright, mate?” James asked.

Remus nodded and cut into his breakfast, taking a mouthful of egg and chewing quietly. The food had no real taste to his muddled and congested senses.

The group chatted amongst themselves, enjoying the meal and the company, but it quickly became evident that Remus wasn't having the best time of it. His omelet remained mostly untouched on his plate and his eyes were now swollen and irritated to the point of almost permanent teariness.

“Not feeling any better, eh love?” Lily remarked. “What's on your plate for the rest of the day?”

“Just need to get some edits done for a journal review,” Remus replied. “I'll hunker down inside my flat and try not to let any outside air in, I suppose.”

“Can you even see?” Peter asked. “Your eyes look pretty fucked.”

“Yes, I can see,” Remus retorted.

“Why don't you head home and one of us will come by later to check in on you?” Lily offered.

“I'll be fine,” insisted Remus. “I'll probably just end up lying low for the rest of the day if I have to. And tomorrow will be a wash, I guess.”

“And then where the hell are we going to go for the night that won't involve you being unable to breathe?” James asked.

“I think I may have to owl Pomfrey and see if it's safe to take something,” Remus responded, rubbing absentmindedly at his eyes again. He wrinkled his nose and slowly shook his head, eyes squinting shut. Turning away, he sneezed harshly into his shoulder.

Hurhhs-TSGHHT!

“C'mon, then,” said Sirius, rising from his seat and depositing enough Sickles on the table for his meal with a few extra to cover Remus'. “I'll make sure you get home okay. Not a good idea to Apparate in your state.”

Eh-TSChGHT!

Hands cupped to his face, Remus stood and turned to the side, bending a bit at the waist as the final sneeze of the small fit exploded out.

Nhh-GHSXHTT!

“Are you sure I can't stop by later with some tea and treats or something?” Lily asked.

“It's really okay,” he insisted, wiping his nose surreptitiously on his sleeve. “I think I ought to try to keep quiet and get my editing done and then get some rest.”

“Send an owl if you need anything, okay?” James added. “I'll see you tomorrow night.”

Remus nodded as Sirius began to guide him to the door.

“I'll side-along you from the alley next door,” Sirius said as they approached the exit. “Try not to breathe too much outside.”

“That should be easy enough, given how little I'm already doing it,” Remus quipped, bracing himself for the inevitable allergen-filled spring air.

They stepped out into the alley and down to the magically-marked apparition spot. Remus pressed his sleeve against his dripping nose and sniffled miserably.

“Almost home,” Sirius assured him, wrapping an arm around the smaller man's waist and hugging it tightly. “One...two....three...”

They suddenly spun and disappeared from sight, landing outside the block of flats where Remus kept a small bachelor room.

Eh-GHTSHTT!

Remus staggered forward with a harsh sneeze.

“Merlin,” he croaked as he wiped his now red and raw nose. “I thought I might splinch us but I managed to hold it ih---eh-TSGHH! ---hold in in.”

He gathered his handkerchief, turning it over in his hands to invoke the self-cleaning spell, and blew his nose aggressively.

“Let's get you inside before your nose falls off,” Sirius suggested, watching the man with a sympathetic expression.

They trudged up the stairs to the third story flat, Remus wheezing and sniffling as his efforts to breathe became more and more difficult. When they entered his small flat, Remus let himself collapse into the old beige chenille couch that dominated the centre of the room.

Ngh-TXHTT!

He sneezed into a pillow and groaned loudly. Sirius headed to the washroom in search of a towel. He returned with a damp facecloth and sat down on the sofa beside Remus.

“Here,” he said, offering the cloth. “Get some of that pollen off your skin.”

“Too late,” Remus grumbled, pressing the cloth over his swollen eyes and nose. He sat up and leaned forward, letting his face rest in the palms of his hands with the facecloth sandwiched between.

“I'm going to send an owl to Pomfrey to see if you can take another potion,” Sirius offered.

“Please do,” Remus replied from behind the towel shield. “It wasn't nearly this bad when I left the flat earlier.”

Sirius went to Remus' desk to draft a note. When it was finished, he folded it up and put it into his pocket.

“I'll Apparate over to the post office to send it,” he said. “Be back in just a second.”

Remus nodded and listened for the 'pop!' of Sirius' disappearance. It was too much of an extra cost for Remus to own his own owl, so he often relied on the local post office for sending owl mail.

When Sirius came back, Remus was reclined on the couch with his fingers pinched at the bridge of his nose.

“Okay, sent,” Sirius said. “Hopefully we'll hear from her soon. I sent a request to the apothecary for some owl-mail allergy tonic so that'll be here in a bit either way.”

“Thanks,” Remus replied, distracted. He adjusted his fingers and pinched his nose again. “Sorry, my sinuses...there's a sneeze that's stuck there or something and it won't come out.”

“Want some help?” Sirius offered. “I'm sure there's a sneezing hex I could look up.”

“The last thing I want is to be forced to sneeze more than I already am,” Remus responded, pressing his palm to this nostrils and wriggling a circle. “It's just really really itchy.”

“I have an idea,” said Sirius. “Look at my wand.”

“Does that pickup line work on other boys?” Remus asked sardonically. “I said I don't want to be hexed, Sirius.”

“I'm not going to hex you, I promise,” Sirius replied, giving his best innocent look.

“I'm not convinced,” Remus said, pinching his nose again and groaning. His nostrils were quickly becoming chapped and raw from all the irritation.

“I promise. It's not a hex.”

Remus turned his head and Sirius pointed his wand towards Remus' eyes.

“Lumos!” Sirius said and the end of his wand glowed bright white. Remus' pale eyes squinted and he turned away from the glare.

“Arghh,” he moaned, mouth dropping open and breath hitching. “That might do it.”

“Look again,” Sirius urged.

Remus squinted towards the light, nose twitching and lips trembling in anticipation.

Hurrrhhh-TSCHGHHT!

He suddenly erupted forward with an urgent, explosive sneeze that bent him at the waist. He kept one hand over his nose while the other searched wildly for his handkerchief.

Ehh-nghhGHTHHH! Ehh-TSCHHHH!

He managed to get the cloth over his nose as the fit continued. He tried to stifle the next few outbursts, but they quickly escalated back to full sneezes.

Ehh-TXKKT! Ngh-XHT! 'GXHT! Ehhhh....hehh-SGHHHHT! Heh-TSCHHHTT!

Sirius elbowed his way onto the couch beside Remus and put a hand on the man's back.

“Poor allergic Moony.”

“I don't care what Pomfrey says,” Remus panted as the fit ended. “I'm taking that potion when it arrives. I can handle the pain.”

“Here,” Sirius said, flicking his wand to summon a fresh handkerchief from Remus' bedroom. He handed over the cloth and Remus blew his nose.

“I don't like seeing you in pain though,” Sirius continued.

“I don't know if this is any better or worse, frankly,” Remus admitted, rubbing at his swollen left eye.

Just then, a tap sounded on the window and two owls looked through the glass.

“Sweet relief is here,” Sirius declared. “Sit tight. All will be better in a minute.”

He went and retrieved the potion from one owl and a letter from the other. Tearing open the parchment, he scanned the response from Pomfrey.

“Oh thank Merlin,” he said, tossing the letter on the end table and hurrying to open the potion bottle. “She says she's sorry about the side effects and of course, take a tonic. Worst case scenario, you don't see any pain improvement. Best, it works even with the allergy tonic.”

“Good,” Remus said, gratefully taking the potion bottle and drinking a healthy swig. Almost immediately, some of the redness faded from his nose and eyes and his breathing seemed to ease.

“That's better,” Sirius said.

“Definitely,” Remus agreed, taking a mostly full breath for first time in hours. “This stuff always makes me drowsy though.”

“Then lie down. I don't have anything for the rest of the day. I'll stay.”

He sat on the sofa, patting his lap. Remus stretched out, letting his head rest on Sirius' thigh. The man ran a hand through Remus' sandy brown hair as Remus closed his eyes.

Not a minute later, Remus was snoring quietly, totally exhausted from the allergies and the potion. Sirius stretched out his legs and let his head roll back, closing his own eyes. It would be several hours before either of them woke.

 

 

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Aw man, I love your Remus so much <3 And I am a HUGE sucker for the initial awkwardness and do-they-know at the beginning of a relationship, which is something I feel like we don't see a whole lot from these two! Lovely as always, thanks for sharing!

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This is so darling! I suppose we know the real reason Sirius was so exhausted; his boyfriend was up all night sneezing. Poor little love. 

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Great story! It's been quite some time since I've read a good Remus allergy fic. I just loved all the desperation and those spellings.

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  • 3 weeks later...

oooof. Somehow I missed this when it was first posted but am delighted it came back up so I could enjoy it! It's simply miserable in all the best ways, and that tentative, sweet and uncertain relationship dynamic between Sirius and Remus is giving me MAJOR feelings... What an adorable concept, the idea of them all hanging out for diner breakfast as the war rages! Also, I love how well Lupin's condition lends to colds and allergies, it feels so inspired and completely fits with the books.

In short, I absolutely loved this. :heart: 

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  • 4 months later...

This was lovely! Sorry, I'm late to the party, but I was looking for sneeze spelling inspiration for my own Remus/Sirius thing (should be up later today) and this was just fantastic. I loved all of it - the early relationship, all the funny little friendship moments between the five of them, f***ing hell, the sneezing. Just great. Thanks for posting!

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