Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: Up to OotP
Crossposting: fanfiction.net, remusxsirius
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Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or settings in this story.
Bright and early on a muggy July morning, Harry, Sirius, Hermione, and the Weasleys were hard at work decontaminating the Order headquarters. At the moment they were in one of the parlors, battling an infestation of doxies.
“I’ll be right back.” Sirius said suddenly. He put down his bottle of Doxycide and hurried out of the room. Harry heard him thump up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Mrs. Weasley sighed as she sprayed the curtains one last time. A single frozen doxy fell to the floor with a clatter. Fred and George grinned at each other.
“What are you so happy about?” Ron asked them.
“Nothing.” George replied.
“Nothing Ickle Ronniekins need worry his pretty little head about.” Fred said, mussing Ron’s hair.
Ron pulled away from him, scowling. “I do hope this isn’t a repeat of last month though.” George said, “I would up finishing that cabinet because he kept leaving it. Took hours for me to get that snuffbox off my hand.”
“Imagine being on the receiving end of it.” Fred said, “That must be a nightmare. Poor bloke.”
“I’ll bet he likes it.” George said, smirking. He ducked down under a small table and dusted off the last of the room’s cobwebs.
“What are you talking about?” Harry asked just as Sirius came back in.
“So,” he said, clapping his hands and looking oddly cheerful. “What’s next, Molly?”
“Lunch.” Mrs. Weasley replied. “I’ll bring up some sandwiches.”
But by the end of lunch, Sirius was looking distracted. “I’ll meet you all in the trophy room.” he said, disappearing up the stairs.
“What’s with him?” Harry asked Ron.
“I dunno. Indigestion, maybe?”
A loud sniff conveyed Hermione’s opinion of that guess. They both turned to her. “And your problem would be?” Ron asked.
“You mean you haven’t figured it out?” Hermione said, opening the door to the trophy room.
“Figured what out?” Harry was strongly reminded of that time in third year when he and Ron had been wondering what was wrong with Professor Lupin.
“Now, I’m not sure exactly what Sirius wanted done with these.” Mrs. Weasley said, surveying the glittering trophies that lined the room’s walls.
“Dump them all.” came Sirius’s voice from behind them. “Or better, melt them down and drown Kreacher in the them.”
Everybody laughed except Hermione who looked appalled. “We can toss them.” Sirius said, flashing Hermione and apologetic grin.
Despite the fact that they were throwing everything away, it was still hard work. For starters, many of the trophies had jinxes on them that were set off by the slightest touch. Ron nearly lost his hand when one snapped at him and Ginny’s skin turned green from handling another. Sirius was responsible for bringing the full bags out to be trashed. On one trip he was gone for fifteen minutes.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Mrs. Weasley said with an impatient glance at the door. “He’ll be all right for five minutes.”
Ron and Harry looked at each other with identical looks of frustration. What was going on? The twins obviously knew. So did Hermione and Mrs. Weasley.
Sirius returned a few minutes later without a word about where he had gone. He merely smiled at Mrs. Weasley and preformed an antijinx on George, whose head was caught in one of the trophies.
“See what kinds of awards my family got?” Sirius asked Harry as he threw a golden chalice in the bag. “Mind you, half of these my father probably awarded to himself.”
“Sirius, what’s going on?” Harry asked.
“What?” Sirius said, picking up a jeweled plaque and examining it closely.
“I was just wondering why you keep leaving.”
“Oh, I’m just going to check on --- MRGH!”
The plaque he had been studying had leapt onto his face and clamped down over his mouth. Roaring, Sirius yanked at it but it wouldn’t budge. Harry pulled too but it held fast.
A hoarse laugh floated over from the doorway. Remus Lupin was standing there, looking almost ghostly in his paleness. A cut stretched across his right eyelid and dark cicles rimmed both eyes. He leaned heavily on one of the canes from the front hallway.
“Mm-ny.” Sirius whined, gazing pathetically at Lupin. Still chuckling, Lupin took out his wand, pointed it at Sirius’s face and said, “Alohomora.”
The plaque clattered to the floor and Sirius took gulping breaths. “Dear, you shouldn’t be up.” Mrs. Weasley chided Lupin. “It’s only been a few hours since sunrise. Go back to sleep.”
“I would, but this git keeps waking me up.” Lupin replied, smiling at Sirius.
Sirius narrowed his eyes. “I’m just making sure you’re all right.” He said.
“I’m fine.” Lupin said, stepping further into the room. When he reached Sirius, he had to clutch his shoulder for support.
“I’ll walk you back up, then I promise to leave you alone.”
“Sounds good.” Lupin said as they walked out the door. He stumbled and Sirius caught him around the chest.
“Want some milk or anything? A Firewhiskey?”
“No thank you.”
“A bedtime story?”
“No, thank you Sirius.”
Their voices trailed away as they ascended the stairs. Harry looked around. Mrs. Weasley looked caught between approval and annoyance. Hermione was smiling. The twins were trying not to laugh.
“What is it?” Ron whispered.
“I don’t…” But Harry did know. It was something he’d been suspecting for a long time without even realizing it. The protectiveness, the tone they took with each other. The little things they thought nobody noticed.
And Harry felt a smile begin to cross his own face.