by Tina
Rating: Gen
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: I only wish Remus Lupin was mine, he and the other characters mentioned belong to JKR. I just like to borrow him for play
Spoilers: Occurs just prior to PoA with information from that book
Author's Notes: Written for the Sneezefic in 132 Moods Challenge

Remus Lupin stirred in his bed as a shaft of sunlight streamed through the window onto his face. He pawed at his nose a moment and then started to drift back to a deeper sleep. Gradually, the sunlight shined more brightly into the room and fell onto his face once again. He awoke enough to roll over in bed. He considered getting up for the day, but the dull ache in his head and the scratchiness in his throat convinced him that going back to sleep for a few more hours was definitely preferable.

Unfortunately, the fierce tickling in his nose was not in agreement. He sniffed wetly, breath hitching and tried to reach over to his bedside table to retrieve his handkerchief. The sneezes were too fast however, and he was forced to sneeze wetly into his hand. " "Heh - ishooooo!! Ishhhooooooo!" He retrieved his handkerchief and wiped his hand before fiercely scrubbing at his dripping nose.

"Ughhh. Still sick," He groaned, flopping back on the bed with disgust. Not that he was surprised to still be unwell, he had just been hoping for some improvement. He had fallen ill shortly before the full moon, and that had only been a few days ago. Anything he caught around that time of the month could linger on for weeks. He pulled the blankets up snugly around himself and tried once again to go back to sleep.

After many more harsh, wet sneezes that left him shivering in his bed , he began to reconsider his plan. As much as he wanted to sleep, he felt too unwell to do so without some kind of relief. His store of potions ingredients was meager, primarily dedicated towards healing his monthly injuries, and there was not much he was able to take for a cold anyway. What he really wanted, he decided was a hot cup of tea, but what he really needed, was someone to make him the tea. And perhaps, someone to talk to, and look after him for a bit.

Remus shook his head, silently chiding himself that after all this time he should be used to being alone. And for most of the time he was. He really was a very solitary creature and had been for years, but at time like this when he was ill, he craved company. His transformations had grown more and more difficult over the years, taking so much out of him, that he seemed to fall ill more often than not around those times.

It was at those times, feeling weak and ill, that he would indulge himself and allow his mind to drift back to the memories of happier times. He would fondly remember his days at Hogwa't's, how his fellow Marauders had become animagi to be able to spend the moons with him. How they all looked after him in the days following the moon as well, especially Sirius. And he remembered how after graduation even as they all moved on with their lives, his friends would come back to spend the moons with him. And how Sirius remained with him, after the moons to take care of him, and then all of the time. He just didn't understand what had happened to Sirius. It made no sense to him. How could his friend, who cared for him lovingly every month have turned?

The sadness and loneliness became overwhelming and Remus felt tears stinging his eyes. This is ridiculous he told himself, slowly climbing out of bed. He didn't know why he did it really, allow his mind to bring him back to the past. It was always the same, a few moments of happy memories, then even more loneliness than he was feeling to begin with. He grabbed his dressing gown and pulled it snugly around him, making his way to the kitchen to make his own tea.

He sat at the table, sniffling and sipping his tea. He was frequently interrupted by more harsh sneezes. He was in the midst of a particularly long sneezing fit when he was startled by the loud popping sound of someone apparating outside his door. Then there was a firm knock on the door.

"Who.....Heshooooooo!!! is it? Ishhhhh" He asked breathlessly and with some panic, reaching for his wand between sneezes. He certainly was not expecting anyone.

"Remus, it's Albus Dumbledore!" Came the voice from the other side of the door.

Remus was shocked, why would his old headmaster be here to see him, he couldn't think of a single possible reason. He stood dumfounded for a moment and then was caught off guard by another strong sneeze, "Heh....Kishoooooo!!!!"

"Remus, are you quite alright?" Came the voice again, this time with obvious concern.

Remus snapped back to reality, "Oh, yes Sir, so sorry, " He apologized as he opened the door, "You just caught me by surprise. Please come in Headmaster." He tried, and failed to smother the next several sneezes into his handkerchief, "Etchhhh Etchooooo!! Hetchhhhhh!!! Excuse me Sir."

Dumbledore smiled kindly at him. "After all these years Remus, you certainly do not need to call me Headmaster still." He looked at his former student appraisingly. "I'm sorry to find you ill Remus, is there anything I can do for you?"

"Oh no sir, I'm fine. Just a bit of a cold," Remus replied with embarrassment, " Seems to happen a lot around this time of the month ....."

Dumbledore nodded his head knowingly and with some sympathy, "Yes, I imagine it does."

Remus, recovering from his shock and embarrassment and remembering his manners invited the elder man in to sit down and offered him some tea which Dumbledore graciously accepted. After drinking in silence for several minutes, Remus finally could contain himself no longer. "So, Sir, what brings you here to these parts?" He asked with great curiosity, Remus knew there were no other wizards in the isolated region so Dumbledore must have come specifically to see him.

Dumbledore once again smiled kindly at Remus, "I've come to offer you a job. I need a professor to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. It was your best subject as I recall."

Remus felt his mouth drop open in shock. It was absolutely the last thing he expected. He tried to speak, to tell Dumbledore why this would be a mistake, but he could not find his voice. There were a thousand reasons why it would be a mistake, why he was completely the wrong choice. He finally found his voice, and Dumbledore discounted each of his arguments with vigor and at the end of their visit Remus was shocked to find that he had accepted the position.

Certainly he needed the work, and he loved to teach but it all just seemed unbelievable. Dumbledore had brought him so much information to digest. He was aware enough of the passing years to know that Harry was attending Hogwart's by now, but he had not heard of Sirius' escape from Azkaban, and he had only heard whispers about the Wolfsbane potion that Dumbledore spoke of. He could not imagine maintaining control of his mind during his transformation, that alone made the offer almost impossible to refuse. And of course he still felt such loyalty to James and Lily that he would do anything he could to protect their son. Dumbledore felt that he would be the best one to protect him from Sirius, but Remus doubted that. Twelve years ago he would've insisted he was the one who knew Sirius best, but after what happened, he realized that he had not known Sirius at all.

Dumbledore's visit was brief, after securing Remus acceptance of the position he stayed only long enough to make a magical chicken soup that worked wonders on Remus' cold. After he left Remus found himself still stunned , but quite exhausted and he able to quickly fall back asleep.

He slept soundly through until the next morning. He awoke in a state of shock at the previous days happenings, but feeling much better. He set about quickly preparing for his departure. By the following day he found himself at Platform 9 3/4. It was a very strange sensation, being back there again after so many years.

He found himself once again drifting back to the past. He remembered how nervous he had been waiting the first year, without any friends. And then he remembered the excitement of the following years, waiting for Sirius, James and Peter. He felt sadness and loneliness once again washing over him as he boarded the train before the students arrival. His cold was much better but he still shivered as he found a seat in a familiar compartment.

He wondered if taking the job had been a mistake. His last days at Hogwarts had been such happy ones. He'd had his friends, and grand plans and hopes for the future. Now he had noone, and no future to speak of. Oh Sirius, he thought, how could you do this to me? He pulled his cloak up snugly around his shoulders and leaned against the window, closing his eyes. The train ride at least, he fathomed would be much better if he slept through it. He needed to avoid the memories for just a bit longer and steel himself for what would come once they arrived. Then he would summon his courage and face the past and look to the future, there was nothing else to be done.

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