Title: Pack Mates
Summary: In response to Bunny 162. When Remus was surrounded by his pack, they always took care of him, when he became ill. Now, they were all gone. But, there was still Harry…
Disclaimer: JKR owns Harry Potter. I don't make any money off of this. This is just for entertainment purposes.
"Heh-Kesh!" Remus sneezed roughly. "Hep-Kesh! Tesh!" Remus groaned audibly and snuffled.
"Bless you dear," Mrs. Weasley called from the kitchen.
"Thang do, Molly. Heh-Kessh!" He blew his nose quietly. He had come down with a head cold a few days earlier. And, he still felt just as lousy. When he had met up with the Weasleys and Harry at Diagon Alley, they had insisted that he come home with them.
Gratefully, he accepted. He hadn't had much sleep since Sirius disappeared, and he was desperate for assistance. The past few years had been difficult for him. He used to never accept help, except from his pack. But, now he was quite packless – except for Harry. But, Harry wasn't aware of the duties of a pack, and Remus didn't feel right thrusting them upon somebody with so many responsibilities already.
"Here, have a cuppa tea," Molly said coming into the sitting area and handing him a steaming mug.
"Thang you. You're too kind. Really."
"Oh, Remus. You know it's no trouble. Though I don't like the idea of leaving you alone this weekend."
"I'll be fine, Molly, really. I jus-ju-ja…Hesshoo! Tesshoo! Itchh! sniff I'm just going to rest and take id easy." He dabbed at his nose with his handkerchief, but he could feel another sneeze lingering there.
Molly sighed heavily. "I know dear. But, in these dangerous times…maybe Fred or George can stay with you."
The creases around Remus' eyes deepened as he smiled. "Thank you, Molly. But really, you all have had these plans for months. Don't let me-m- muh Hesshoo! Hessh! Teshh! sniff Hesshiissh! Heptchoo! Spoil them." He blew his nose until it hurt and then popped his ears.
This was more than just a cold. This was bordering a flu. His head was pounding and he had started to have a fever a few days back. He had suppressed his coughs at night – which was probably why he had slept so little. He wished James or Sirius was alive. He never minded being sick in front of his pack. But, nobody else ever saw him the way he truly felt. Not even Madame Pomfrey. He had become so used to putting on an act, he rarely took it off.
Remus heard a pack of wild elephants running through the upstairs of the house. Well, not really. Really it was Fred, George, Harry, Ron and Ginny all getting ready. A pack of wild elephants would have been quieter.
They all came downstairs and sat at the kitchen table, ready to be fed. All, that is, except Harry.
"Good Morning, Remus," Harry said brightly as he came into the sitting area and sat down beside Remus.
"Mornig Harry," Remus tried to return brightly. "Hetshh!"
"Bless," Harry said, sympathetically, and brushed a few stray strands of hair off of Remus' face. It felt so natural to be caring and nurturing to his old Professor. He couldn't explain it, but he couldn't deny it either.
Remus subconsciously moved towards Harry's touch.
"How're you feeling?" Harry asked. He knew it was a foolish question. Anyone could see the man was miserable. But, he didn't want Remus to think he didn't care.
"Bedder." Remus cleared his throat, and took a sip of tea.
"How did you sleep?"
"All right." Truthfully, he hadn't slept at all. But, he didn't want Harry to worry about him.
Harry smiled. He didn't believe him for a second. For fear of infecting the house, Remus insisted on sleeping downstairs. And, whenever Harry woke up to check on him, he had been awake reading. But, he wasn't going to embarrass his dear friend either.
Suddenly, Remus choked. His throat tickled relentlessly and he nearly dropped the teacup during the onset of the coughing fit.
Carefully, Harry took the teacup and set it down. He then started rubbing and patting Remus' back.
Remus could feel the Weasleys watching him, and he was sure he was making quite a spectacle out of himself. The more he stressed about it, the harder he coughed.
Harry sat there, steadfastly rubbing his back and brushing his graying hair out of his eyes. Slowly, very slowly, the coughing subsided, and Harry handed him back his tea.
Exhausted and panting, Remus took it gratefully.
"Mrs. Weasley can I see you in the other room please?" Harry asked, suddenly standing up.
"Why, of course dear," she said.
"Are you sure H-Harry – kessh!" Remus asked wearily. His voice was getting rougher and he was exhausted.
"I'm sure, Remus. It was my idea. And, I really think it's for the best."
Remus nodded – too tired to fight. "Thanks for letting him stay Molly."
"It's nothing dear. Now Harry, are you sure you have everything you need?"
"Yes ma'am." Harry cast a sideways glance to Remus, who was already dozing in the rocking chair.
Molly smiled sympathetically. "Well, alright. But, you call us if you need anything."
She gave Harry a quick hug and followed her family through the fireplace.
Harry looked at Remus, dozing in the rocking chair. His face was getting paler by the minute, but his cheeks and nose were getting redder. Wisps of his silvering hair were every which way, and he tightly clutched a handkerchief in his hand. Within moments, Harry heard him start to snore.
He gently tapped him on the shoulder.
"Hm?" Remus asked, sleepily. "Did you need something, Harry?"
Harry smiled. That was so like Remus. Always putting others before himself. "Come on, let's get you to bed."
"No, no, I'm alright, right here Ha-H-Huchoo! 'arry." He sniffled stuffily.
"No, you're not. Come on. You can have my bed. I'll take Ron's."
As Harry helped him stand he whispered, "Don't trouble yourself. I'm fine. I'll be fine." His head was swimming. He wasn't fine. But, he couldn't just let Harry take care of him. Not without knowing what it meant.
"I know you'll be fine, Remus. But I stayed here to care for you. And, care for you I shall."
"Hurchoo!" Remus sneezed forcefully and freely. He caught Harry a bit on the arm, and flushed with shame. "Oh," he said starting to sink back into the chair. "I'm so sorry."
Harry put his arm around Remus' waist and helped him back up. "No harm done," he assured him.
When Remus awoke he was in Harry's bed with a cold compress on his head. He didn't recall getting there, but apparently either he had walked, or Harry had carried him. He hoped it was the former rather than the latter.
Harry was asleep in Ron's bed. He looked on at the pup and remembered when Lily had first told him that she was pregnant. Could that have been almost 2 decades ago? He sniffed back a tear and bit back a sneeze. He remembered babysitting Harry as an infant and remembered the terror of waking him up. But, his nose seemed to have different ideas.
"HepSHOO! EtCHOO! Etchissh!" He grabbed a tissue and blew his nose.
Harry stirred. "Hey Rem. I hope you haven't been awake for long."
Remus shook his head. "No," he whispered.
Harry sat up. "You look parched. Here." He handed Remus a glass of water.
"Th-tha-thangs – Hesshoo!" Part of the glass of water spilled on his covers.
"Oh, Rem, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking," Harry said, getting out of bed and pulling the comforter off the bed. He switched it out with the cover on Ron's bed.
"You cold?" Harry asked, concerned. He placed a hand on Remus' forehead and froze for a second. "Rem, you're burning up!" Quickly, he rewet the cold compress and tried to get Remus to lay back down.
Remus was reluctant. There were so many things he wanted to discuss with Harry, and he knew that if he slept for any length of time, the night terrors would come.
"Harry, you have to know something," he said quickly.
Harry furrowed his brow. "What?"
"I – I get night terrors. Don't let me hurt you. I don't want to hurt you."
Harry smiled and sat on the edge of the bed. "Remus it's okay. I appreciate the concern, but you won't hurt me." He smoothed back some of Remus' graying hair. "Just rest. You're safe in the Burrow, and I won't let anything happen to you."
Remus tried to say thanks, but sleep overtook him too quickly.
Remus woke up in the middle of a coughing fit. Harry was standing over him, speaking softly. "Water," Remus breathed, and without a word, Harry handed it over.
Harry helped him sit up in bed.
"How long have I been asleep?" Remus asked, trembling.
"About 6 hours. You were having some night terrors."
"I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No, no. I'm fine," Harry assured him.
Remus nodded. "I'm sure you don't understand. But, if I bit you, I-."
"Would turn me into a werewolf too," Harry finished for him. "I know that, Remus. I'm careful, but I trust you."
Remus smiled. "Thangs"
Harry laid back down on Ron's bed. Both men stayed awake, staring into their own worlds for a few minutes.
"Remus?" Harry's voice broke the silence.
"Can I ask you some questions about your … affliction?"
"Of course." Remus was curious. Nobody ever asked him questions about it. Everybody always researched things behind his back and then assumed they understood him.
Harry sighed. "I don't want to offend you."
Remus cleared his throat. "You won't."
"Is it true that werewolves are pack animals?"
Remus stiffened. "Yes."
"Who's in your pack? And who's the alpha?"
Remus sniffed back tears. "Your parents, Sirius, and at one time, Peter."
Harry digested that. His whole pack – what the research articles he'd been reading said were the most important relationships in a werewolves life were deceased.
"Were you the alpha? Or was Sirius?"
"I was the alpha." Remus could feel his stomach start to flip flop. He was the alpha, and yet he hadn't protected any of them. They all died right in front of him. He sniffed again. "Esshhesshaa!" He tended to his nose quickly.
"Bless. Remus, can I ask you something else?"
"Of course. Always."
Harry remained silent for several minutes.
"Harry," Remus whispered. Are you asleep?"
"What was it you wanted to ask me? Hesshessh!"
Harry heard him blow his nose in the darkness. When it was quiet again he continued. "I don't' know how packs are formed, but… would you consider making me one of your pack?"
Remus was stunned. Never in his wildest dreams did he dare to let himself think that Harry would ask him if he could be part of his pack. It typically worked the other way around. "Well, that would entail a lot. Are you ready for that kind of commitment?"
"Like putting your pack before yourself. Keeping your pack closer than family or friends. Making your pack the most important thing in your world and taking care of all of its members."
"I already do that. Unless there are more people in your pack that you didn't mention."
Remus thought about that. Harry was right. He already was all those things. He was always there for Remus, unwaveringly. And Remus was always there for him. And, if Harry was part of the pack, that explained his need to take care of Remus – and Remus' willingness to let him.
"Harry, I can't let you into the pack right now," Remus answered softly. He heard Harry gasp.
"Oh, why not?"
"Because you've been a member of my pack all along."
Both men drifted off to sleep that night smiling at the their unity and their strength.