Lemsip and Vapour Rub
This is the first chapter of my latest Harry Potter fiction. As usual I hope you enjoy what you read, and please don't forget to REVIEW afterards! I love to get feedback for my work!
Although Sirius had left promptly for Lupin's place on the evening of Voldemort's vengeful attack upon Harry and his classmates at the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and subsequent and unexpected return to full form, it was to be a number of tribulant days before he was to finally meet his best friend again. Following Dumbledore's instructions to the letter in fear of giving Voldemort any, even slight advantage, which may prove ultimately disastrous to their cause, he soon grew to realise that his initial idea to make the entire journey in animagus form had been foolhardy in the least, and, owing to the urgency of the circumstances during which he now travelled, life as a dog was becoming nothing short of inconvenient. So much so that by the end of the first evening Sirius' paws ached madly, his swollen pads had been rubbed by the course ground and left bleeding, and when he finally chanced to risk the transformation back into his original human self, when he was entirely assured of the fact that there was nobody around to witness, the little weight he had gained over the past couple of years since his initial escape from Azkaban seemed lost on him now, and he appeared the shadow of the man he had indeed once been. His already gaunt appearance, the lingering affects of the twelve years that he had spent incarcerated in the wizard prison for a crime he had not committed, had been made all the more prominent in light of the extra bulk he had continued to lose in recent months, and his unkempt and dirt streaked features only served to highlight the fact that he was still a fugitive from the Ministry.
As Dumbledore had advised he visited each member of the Order in turn however, making a mental checklist of them all in his head as he journeyed, for some of them were new, too young to have fought in the last war, and many of the rest he had not seen in innumerable years. Finally however Remus' was the last place he had yet left to visit, and, although whilst he himself had benefited somewhat from the hospitality he had received from several members of the Order over the last few days, he could not deny that he had been concerned to hear that the last anybody had seen or heard of Lupin had been just before the full moon, a few weeks previous, when it had been felt by some that he had not appeared quite himself.
It had been pouring down with rain for the majority of the day by the time Sirius finally arrived at Lupin's place, and there was a renewed sense of urgency in his stride as he strode up the dimly lit path to the wood worn and peeling front door. The picture of poverty painted by this run down if not suitably humble abode provided a startling contrast to many of those homes which Sirius had visited and even found himself to be a guest within over the course of the preceding few days. However the sight he befell of his best friend appearing quite so unwell once Lupin finally responded to the persistent yelps of the great, shaggy dog, as he threw himself persistently up against the splintered doorframe, tapping with one magnificent paw upon the sopping pane of wood, was a tough sight to bear… even with prior knowledge of the tough reality of his friends affliction, and having bore witness to Lupin's constant struggle, whether it be during the agonising transformations themselves, and the toll that they took on him, both in body and mind afterwards, and his daily battle to make a life for himself following Hogwarts.
The smell of damp caught in Sirius' nostrils pungently as he resumed human form. Remus stood before him, complexion tinged with grey, the rosy blush of fever heavily prominent against his already pale skin, as his unhealthy figure shivered weakly, wracked with both inner chill and cold beneath the thin blanket draped over his shoulders.
"Sirius." He managed a small smile at the sight of his old friend. "You're soaked to the bone."
"Never mind me Remus!" Sirius spoke, failing to keep the feelings of concern he felt from his tone. "Come on, lets get you back inside before this rain soaks you through to."
"I heard about Harry." Remus spoke urgently, despite himself. "How is he?"
"He's alright, I think." Sirius explained. "Although I think we can all quite honestly say that we've had better days than these."
Remus nodded. "I'm sorry." He apologised weakly as Sirius shut the door carefully behind him, making sure to check for any sign that he had been followed before locking and bolting it however. "Had I have known that you were coming this evening my friend I would have…" although his words were suddenly swallowed up by the wracking cough which escaped him, a hoarse rasp originating from the depths of his fluid filled lungs, causing him to gasp for breath, only aggregating his already inflamed throat further, and resulting in a further, even worse coughing fit. With this Sirius followed Remus into the front room of the small house, where all he could do was to collapse onto the shabby, threadbare couch, exhausted.
As Sirius entered behind him he was not sure whether it was the dull, light of the room which cast an ashy hue over Lupin's complexion and appeared to deepen the shadows under his eyes. The room itself was a mess, quite out of keeping with Remus' usual character. His friend had very few possessions to his name, very little luxury or fortune, which was why he found it all the more startling to see Lupin's place now in such a state of disarray. There was a strange contradiction in the room between the meticulously organised and much of the furniture, which was, in the most part ruined, splinted fragments of wood littered the carpet, and the fire which burnt in the small fireplace, was down to its last embers. As Sirius looked closer he saw that the curtains, now drawn across the window, concealing view of the outside, although already patched in places, were torn around the edges, and to an experienced eye still bore several tell tale slash marks and splices.
"I'm afraid that it's been rather difficult for me to get hold of the Wolfsbane since I left Hogwarts." Lupin explained, opening his eyes again slightly and noticing Sirius' expression. "It would seem that besides Snape there are few other wizards willing to associate themselves with the brewing of that particular potion… although I get by."
Sirius screwed his face up awkwardly as he entered Remus' adjoining kitchen, finding it to be significantly lacking.
"You know the kind of life a werewolf must endure Sirius." Remus coughed, in response to the other mans silence, there was no need for him to communicate his real concern. The two had long built up an understanding of each other, and Sirius realised that Lupin knew exactly what he was thinking, without need for verbal conveyance.
He sighed, and seeing Remus' wand discarded over in the far end of the room, he made his way slowly over, not wanting to disturb his old friend, who currently appeared to have closed his eyes again, and at least for now appeared to be resting.
This was hardly the welcome he had expected from his old friend, nor the one he would have desired given the choice. Remus had been through so much already… it wasn't fare that he should have to withstand this added attack upon his immune system, although Sirius hoped that he may at least be granted a speedy recovery.
"Repairo!" He muttered as he took the wand in hand, and within a moment the room became shrouded in a cloud of dust and broken debris, suspended in mid air before, in a flash, the room was restored to its original state. It had been a while since Sirius had used a wand. However, although slightly out of practice, the effect was still satisfactory.
"How are you feeling now?" Sirius asked, finally turning his full attention back to Lupin, as he made his way back over to the other side of the room where his friend still lay, bending down gently beside him.
"Oh don't fuss Sirius." Lupin sighed, "It's just a touch of flu!"
"More than just a touch!" Sirius pointed out rather poignantly as he said this. "You have been eating though?"
Remus waved his hand dismissively with this. "What I could find." He explained, pointing a meekly outstretched finger in the direction of the kitchen as he added, "I haven't been able to go out in order to get anything else in."
Sirius sighed, rising to his feet again as he made to scrawl a note onto a spare piece of parchment which he located amongst a pile of papers, set in the far corner of the room. "I only wish I could for you." He spoke. "But I'll get a message to the Order as soon as I can. Do you have an Owl?"
Lupin nodded. "Thank You Sirius." He smiled, "I'm only sorry… I'm sorry that you couldn't have come under better circumstances."
"It's a good job Dumbledore sent me." Sirius returned his friend's gesture affectionately. "I just wish you had of told us Remus."
"We have more important matters to trouble us now…" Remus sighed. "Times are changing again Sirius."
"And Harry's going to need us more than ever…" Sirius trailed off.
But to this Remus didn't respond, further silenced by exhaustion and fatigue, he had already began to slip gradually into an even deeper, and much more restful state of sleep than Sirius expected he had seen for days…
…and perhaps that was the best medicine.