Amused
by Tina
Rating: PG
Fandom: Harry Potter
Author's Notes: Written for the Sneezefic in 132 Moods Challenge. This is the first thing I've finished in months, hope it's not as bad as I think it is.

Sirius Black slid his chair abruptly back from the table and turned his head to the side, sneezing forcefully for what seemed like the thousandth time that morning. "Etshhhhhhhhooooo!!!!"

From across the table, a slight smile and then , "Bless you."

He responded to the blessing with a dirty look and three more sneezes, "Hehchooo!!!!! Etchooooooo!!!! Hesshhhhh!!!" Before he opened his eyes he felt a handkerchief being pressed into his hands. He grunted his thanks and then blew his nose with a wet gurgling blow.

From across the table Remus cringed in sympathy, "I am sorry Padfoot, but surely you must see the humor........"

Another dirty look and several more wet sneezes were the response. "Etchooooo!!!! Hetchoooo!!!!! Hetchhhhh!"

"Well, may be not the humor, but the irony perhaps......" He paused as Sirius blew his nose again, "Drink your tea, itíll'help with the congestion."

Sirius looked across the table sullenly, "Why bother, the second that creature comes near me again it'll start all over again."

Remus reached out to touch his arm, " I am sorry, I didn't know you'd be coming when I agreed to take him.... and I didn't realize..."

He had agreed to take Crookshanks for the week, while Hermione was on holiday with her family, not knowing that Dumbledore would be sending Sirius to him. He wasn't even sure that he would've remembered Sirius' allergy if he had known he was coming.

Dumbledore had owled the week before telling him to expect a visitor. He had hardly dare to hope that Sirius would arrive. He had changed the locking spell on his door to one he had used years earlier, one that would respond only to himself, and to Sirius.

Sirius had arrived in the middle of the night, traveling by darkness. On a whim he tried the door and was amazed that it opened. He hadn't wanted to wake Remus, he told himself that it was to allow Remus his rest, but actually he didn't know what to say to him. Other than those few precious minutes in the shack, it had been almost 13 years since he had spoken to the man, the man who had been his best friend, and his lover.

He had curled up on the couch and fallen asleep almost instantly. He awoke very early in the morning, gasping for breath, a fierce tickle building in his nose. He tried to stifle the sneezes, not wanting Remus to be startled awake , but he could not. He hadn't known what was wrong at first, he thought maybe the long cold nights and the lack of food were catching up with him.

Remus had awoken suddenly to a strange sound in his cottage. He sat up in bed, frozen in fear, listening intently. He heard the noise again and tried not to panic. As he reached for his wand, he identified the noise as a sneeze. After another minute and four more sneezes he smiled as he realized the identity of the sneezer. His heart soared as he stood in the doorway to the living room and saw Sirius Black sitting on his couch.

Sirius looked up as he entered the room, "Remus... Moony, I'm sorry to wake you...."

Remus crossed the room in an instant and put his arms around Sirius. There were no words between them, only touch, a long intense embrace, finally broken when Sirius pulled back to sneeze.

"Are you sick Padfoot?" Remus examined his friend with worried eyes. "Are you all right?"

Sirius nodded, "I'm okay Moony, just started sneezing like crazy this morning. Don't know why." His voice was thick with congestion.

Remus continued to look concerned. "Well, come to the kitchen. I'll make you some tea and some breakfast." Sirius paused, looking down at his filthy clothes. "Would you like me to run you bath first?" Remus offered.

Sirius nodded gratefully, "If you wouldn't mind Moony, that would be perfect."

After almost an hour he emerged from the bathroom wearing Remus' robe, and looking like a new man. Remus looked up eagerly from the book he had been trying desperately to read, it seemed that layers of grime had been lifted from the man, and Remus was quite sure in his somewhat haunted eyes, he could see a trace of the old Sirius Black... his Sirius.

"Are you feeling better?" Remus asked, trying to restrain himself from reaching to feel Sirius' forehead.

Sirius smiled, "Much, thanks . The bath was like heaven." He paused a moment, then added, "It's good to see you Moony..."

Remus could hardly find the words to express his feelings to Sirius, he felt almost giddy with excitement as he took Sirius arms and led him to the table for the breakfast feast he had prepared. Sirius ate ravenously, unable to restrain himself from the eggs, toast, sausage and potatoes before him. Remus sat contentedly watching Sirius devour his breakfast. Sirius remained silent other than a few words of appreciation and compliments for the meal.

He was almost finished when a rustling sound came from the blankets on the couch. Sirius looked up in surprise, and after a minute a large orange cat appeared and jumped off the couch. The cat made a beeline, straight to Sirius, whose look of surprise was quickly replaced by a sneeze as the cat jumped up on his lap. The sneeze did not seem to disturb the animal who purred happily and rubbed against his chest. Neither did the second or third sneeze, as Sirius tried to wiggle free of the cat, without actually touching him. The fourth sneeze, much louder and more desperate than the previous ones however, was enough to remove Crookshanks from his position. By that time a look of understanding had dawned on Remus' face.

"Oh.... the cat. I had forgotten about that Padfoot. Bless you..." he offered, a surprised look on his face.

Sirius nodded, trying to suppress another round of sneezes. "ETCHHHHHH!!!! EshhhhSHOOOOO!!!!!! Bloody beast." He grumbled.

"Bless you again Padfoot. You have to remember that Crookshanks was very helpful at the castle. Did he bother your allergy then?"

Sirius shook his head, and sniffled wetly. "I know, that's the only thing the creature has going for it. Etcchoooo!!!! Didn't bother me then because I was Padfoot. He's not allergic to cats..... ISSSSHHHOOOOO!"

"Well... that's good," Remus managed before bursting into a fit of giggles. "Because that would be just too much, a dog sneezing at cats....."

Sirius scowled across the table, sniffling madly. "It's not really all that funny Remus. Etchhhhh."

Remus hadn't want to laugh at his friend. It was as much a release of stress and all the emotions that had been bottled up for so long. Unfortunately Sirius did not see the humor in the situation. He sat sullenly as Remus made him a cup of tea and shooed the cat into the bathroom.

After their brief exchange Remus fell silent, desperately trying to salvage the moment. Finally a smile came to his face.

"Did you come up with another brilliant cat an dog joke?" Sirius asked, his voice thick with congestion and fatigue, but no longer angry.

"No," Remus looked apologetic and somewhat hopeful, "But I did just realize that there is one place in the house where the cat hasn't been..."

"Oh, " Sirius smiled slightly back, "Where might that be..."

"Why the bedroom of course, Crookshanks hasn't been there at all. Do you think you could manage to get comfortable in there? There's not much furniture....only the bed...."

Sirius grinned widely, "Oh, I think I could manage. ISHOOOOOO!!!! ETCHOOOOO!!!!"

"Bless you Pads." Remus stood and reached out his hand, "Come on let's get you into bed. I'm sure I can find a way to distract you from that sneezing."

"I'm sure you can Moony. How long will the beast be here?"

"A week, sorry about that Pads.."

"That's all right. I'm sure I can survive a week in your bed Moony, as long as you're there with me..."

"Of course, what kind of host would I be to leave you alone."


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