"I'm not paranoid!"
The argument continued such for several minutes, and was eventually ended with Sirius flicking the end of Remus nose, and being rewarded with a fierce, warning growl. He hurriedly apologised and wrapped his arms tightly around Remus to prevent any painful retribution on his part. They were standing in the locked storeroom of the book store where Remus worked, with Sirius holding a scalding hot flannel to Remus' forehead. It took only seconds for the scald to heal when Sirius moved the cloth, but left an unnatural heat in Remus' skin. Sirius pressed the back of his fingers against Remus' head. "Oh yes. Nice fever you've got there."
"Have you got the aconite?"
Sirius held out a small vial and a jar. Remus took the jar, unscrewed the lid and sniffed the contents, dried leaves of wolfsbane. He sneezed suddenly. He rubbed a bit of the dust into the cuff of his robes.
"Yuk." He said, feeling his nose begin to run already.
Then Sirius took the vial, wet his finger with the contents, extract of aconite, and gently applied a little underneath each of Remus' eyes. Almost immediately Remus eyes became red rimmed, puffy and began to water. Sirius rocked back on his heels and surveyed Remus with folded arms.
"Hmm you look healthier than usual "
"Glamoure, do you think?"
"Great minds. Go on."
Remus took out his wand and made a sweeping motion over his face. A Glamoure was an appearance altering charm, handy in tight spots but could not achieve the same level of alteration as a Polyjuice Potion or Transfiguration. The Glamoure Charms were relatively easy to cast, but difficult to hold in place well or for a long time. Some wizards could even see through them, especially weaker ones. Remus, however, had a knack for the wandless control required to maintain the wand-cast illusion and could create and maintain for days complex, elaborate or subtle alterations. As this particular utilisation was to trick muggles, the charm suited his purpose well.
Using Sirius as a mirror, he hid his wand in his sleeve and concentrated on changing his appearance wandlessly.
"Paler paler " said Sirius. "Ok, that's enough. Add a bit of flush on your cheeks. Perfect. Death warmed over."
"Ok, got your handkerchief? "
"Got your pathetic, pitiable look ready?"
"Yes what, Sirius!"
"Sorry, that just comes naturally of course."
There was a thwack as Remus fist found Sirius' arm.
"Serves you right now bugger off before I cool down."
There was a pop and Remus was left alone in the store room. With a sigh, he unlocked the door and stepped out into the backroom of the shop where he worked, shoulders hunched. It was a small but busy book store run by two elderly sisters, one of whose husband assisted with the balance books. It was a muggle store, and very handy for Remus as muggles did not take much notice of the full moon so therefore, did not realise his monthly illnesses coincided perfectly. He'd discovered, by experience that even muggle employers would get annoyed with the constant absences and monthly illness, assuming you were skiving so Peter had come up with the brilliant idea of staging a fake illness. Hence the appearance of Sirius in the store room during his lunch break to assist Remus in `coming down with the latest bug'.
Pausing in the doorway to main shop, Remus' nose itched to buggery, and sneezed loudly. "KCHH! Ah KCHOO!" Mrs Betteridge, Edna, who was cataloguing something at the desk, jumped.
"Oh! Remus, dear." She clapped a hand to her chest, disrupting several beaded necklaces. "Are you alright?" she said, chuckling at her own reaction. She was a large lady, plump and jolly and rather prone to grand mothering anyone under the age of 40 who happened to come into the shop.
"Oh yes, just a bit of dust." He sniffed the aconite laced cuff and sneezed again violently. "KASHHH! Ha..ha HACHUMPH! !!"
"Oh dear! Are you quite sure?"
Remus nodded, wiping his nose with a handkerchief (which was preinfected with aconite dust on it, so his nose became inflamed red really quite suddenly). Edna peered at him through horn rimmed glasses. As soon as she saw him she smiled sadly.
"You're very pale dear "
Remus smiled wanly, in his much practiced suffering bravely way, privately cheering that once again their efforts appeared to have worked. Just as he expected she would, she stood up from the pile of books she was cataloguing and bustled over to him. Sure enough, a small plump hand reached up to feel his forehead.
"You feel warm. I think you might be coming down with something."
Remus sniffled and rummaged in his pocket for the handkerchief Sirius had given him and rubbed it under his nose. "I hope not." He said, voice already starting to sound congested.
In large enough doses, wolfsbane did genuinely make him ill. Even the little bit under his eyes and on his cuff was enough to make his head feel full of water, his nose blocked and sneezy and his throat sore. So it wasn't really lying. Really. One of the other `advantages' of wolfsbane, was that once in his system it triggered an immune response, effectively raising his temperature by a few degrees. In a human, this would be a rather large concern, Remus, however, wasn't human. In about 2 minutes time, Remus would be hotter than a kettle thus producing an actual fever for Edna to be concerned about.
"Sit yourself down Remus. Margaret!" Edna cried into the depth of the stacks. "Margaret!"
A small, fragile bird of woman scooted out from the closest book shelf. The older of the two, Margaret Johnson, was more cynical than her sister, and seemed to blame Remus ill health on a lack of constitution. She was of the attitude that cold baths improved the circulation and so on. Not to say she was unfriendly, or mean, if anything she fussed over Remus naturally pale and thin anyway more than her sister, recommending homemade remedies for his frequent coughs and colds and upset stomachs. Castor oil, hot milk with rum and on one unfortunate occasion, brimstone and treacle.
Margaret peered at Remus; they were about the same height, if he was sitting. She nodded sagely. "Yes, yes." She examined his eyes by pulling his lower lid down slightly. She tutted. "Look at the fever in those eyes."
"I'm really quite alright just a little cold, I'll be fine." He pulled himself up, bravely, and swayed suddenly to one side, stumbling with a bang into the table. He was quickly repositioned in the chair by Edna's strong arms and ample bosom. "Oops "
A thin, withered hand with papery skin came to rest on his forehead. As predicted the wolfsbane had raised his temperature and Margaret gasped. "You are most certainly not alright, burning up like that. You should be in bed. Edna, call Miss Lily right away."
Remus continued to protest, amid copious sneezing, until he was shushed that on no uncertain terms was he to be up and about before Lily took him home.
"Ah..AHBCHSHH! KkTCH!" Remus groaned and had to remind himself why he went through this every month. The downside, minor downside he supposed considering, was the gap between making himself appear ill, and getting home and away from the damned stuff because if they'd used aconite or silver he was rapidly becoming actually ill. For example now, because of aforementioned aconite, his head throbbed and his sinuses were on fire. More pressingly, his nose, was streaming. He pushed himself out of the armchair trying not to be noticed by his fussing, self appointed matrons.
"Remus! Sit yourself back down!" cried Margaret.
Remus blushed. "Erb I deed to you dow " he indicated vaguely at his face, hoping snot wasn't actually descending or anything equally disgusting.
"Ah. Of course." She nodded, as if she'd known his needs all along. As he turned she called, "Do you have a handkerchief? "
Thanking Merlin and all his descendants that no one was there to hear that, he flourished it in his hand and quickly dispatched himself to the toilet.
His nose was stinging, so he didn't use his hankie, but pulled off a reel of toilet paper and blew his nose of that. A worrying amount of watery fluid soaked the tissue, and h sneered in disgust at himself. Grateful to have even temporary nasal clearance, he breathed deeply through his nose stupidly, as it aggravated the tender membranes already inflamed from the aconite abuse and he sneezed, violently. "AKSSHUB! KSHCHOO! Ah ah..KITSCH! aAAAHSH!" the fit surprised him and he reeled for a moment, light headed and dizzy. He sat down with some speed upon the toilet with his head on his knees until it passed. With a few last sniffs and wipes he stood and washed his hands. He made the mistake of glancing up into the mirror above the sink. His nose was red raw, no wonder it stung and his eyes were swollen and watering all over his face. He let his Glamoure spell dissipate, and assessed himself again. Worryingly there was no obvious improvement, he was now pale of his body's own accord and his eyes looked over-bright. Sighing, as there was nothing to be done about it now, he went back to the main room and hoped Lily would come soon.
10 minutes later, Lily was there, dressed her muggle wifely finest,
as this was her role in all of this Remus' loving, if not
"Hello darling." She said, leaning down to kiss her `husband'. She frowned, Lily was usually called to `pick Remus' up' and seen him in several states of feigned illness, but his appearance now had shocked her. Her hand strayed to his forehead and sighed, playing her part beautifully and said "How are feeling sweetheart?
"Sdeezy." He said, and sneezed punctually. "ah KASSHHCHUU! TISSH! PCHHHSHH .oh "
"Oh darling " there was genuine worry in her voice. Remus squeezed her hand reassuringly.
Lily kissed his forehead comfortingly and looked up at the two kindly ladies falling over themselves in grandmotherly concern. "Thank you for calling me."
"Quite alright dear. You take Remus home directly."
"Yes, he ought to be tucked up in bed. Poor dear, it often hits him so quickly."
Lily and Remus exchanged a look as Edna and Margaret smiled at Remus affectionately. "I do hope it's nothing too serious."
"I'll let you know how he is tomorrow."
This part always amused Remus, as the three of them spoke over the top of his head like he wasn't there discussing his various illnesses, and impart on Lily various treatments and remedies they thought appropriate. Lily was standing close to him, his head resting on her hip and her arm encircling it so her hand rested against his forehead, and his arm slung around her waist. From this position, Remus could tug her robes discretely trying to convey that the wolfsbane was really began to itch and burn, and `I don't feel very well now and could they please go'
Obligingly, Lily bade the ladies goodbye and they waved off Remus' sniffly apologies as Lily helped him up and led him away. Outside, out of sight, they scurried around the corner and disapparated simultaneously. Back in the shop, Margaret commented that they should get something done about that backfiring exhaust.
Back at Godric's Hollow, in the pouring rain, two pops announced their arrival, followed by a sneeze.
"KITCSHOoo.. argh, I nearly sneezed halfway through that would
have been a painful splinch I'm sure." He rubbed his eyes which were
itching like mad.
"Don't rub it." She said, pulling his hand away from his face. "Come on let's get inside, it's raining."
Remus was only too grateful to get inside. He was beginning to feel sick, and properly ill from the Wolfsbane. It was an elaborate, and slightly painful palaver to go through just to gain the afternoon off from work, but necessary he felt he owed Edna and Margaret that much.
"I'm going to get out of these clothes!" he shouted to Lily, running up the stairs as fast as dizziness and shaky knees would let him. He scrambled out of his clothes, and the handkerchief, throwing them into the wash basket and scrubbed his face 3 times with cold water. At least his eyes started to feel better. Still congested and sneezing, as he would remain for a while yet, he dressed in old, clean but ultimately comfortable clothes and mooched downstairs to lie on the sofa.
Despite the fact he couldn't breathe through his nose, and his face felt dry and stiff, like he'd been crying for hours he cherished this time he got to spend at home. Usually they were all so busy, Sirius, James, Peter, Lily and himself, but Full Moons were different. Remus would come home at lunchtime, usually `picked up' by Lily and Harry, and spend the afternoon curled on the sofa with hot tea playing with Harry or chatting to Lily. Depending on who was working what and where, James, Sirius and Peter whenever he could make it would get home and they'd have tea altogether before apparating to the edge of the Forbidden Forest to gallivant the night away as a wolf, dog, stag and rat. This would be especially good, as it was Friday which meant James had a half day off, so was already home and everyone had the Saturday to have a lie in and relax.
He settled himself on the sofa, pulling one of the blankets around him, running the corner under his nose. "Feel better?"
"Here use the hankie, not that blanket." She handed him a soft white, but aconite free handkerchief and he snivelling into it.
"Are you sure you're alright, sweetie? You look, and sound awful." Lily stroked his hair and sneakily felt his forehead again.
"I know but it's not normally this bad is it? I think you and Sirius must've used too much aconite."
Remus tried to make an `mmm' noise of agreement, but instead produced a nasal sort of snort.
"Alright, I'll take your word for it, but if you do start to feel ill "
"I know I'll come find you. I promise." He grinned and saluted, which made her smile back and chuckle.
A loud squeal heralded James' entrance, holding Harry upside down, dangling by his ankles much to the child's delight. Lily grabbed Harry around the middle and blew a great big raspberry onto his stomach, eliciting more squealing. Though the noise rendered his head in two Remus laughed, upset his chest and sneezed again.
"Hello Moony. Alright?" James walked over, swinging Harry up and dropping him with practiced ease onto one hip whilst slinging his other arm around Lily.
"Yeah I think I have aconite stuck in my nose though. ASSHCHOO!" He groaned.
James put Harry down on the sofa, by Remus feet and sat down in the armchair whilst Remus blew his nose.
"Sorry." Said Remus, wincing and then tried to breathe in through it. "Ow." He said when it didn't work, and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"I'm going to start tea and there's washing to be done. If you're hoarding anything in your room I suggest telling me now "
Remus told her about the stuff covered in aconite, and thanked her for dealing with it. "No worries. Feel better." She disappeared, and soon there was the banging o pots and pans to be heard in the kitchen.
"Are you looking forward to tonight?" asked James, propping his feet up on the puff.
"Yes. I rebebeber grr remember last month we found that old centaur nest? I think I smelt another path nearby we could follow that you'll have to remember for me until we get there "
"Of course, will do. You're right I think, are you going to try and sleep now then, before we go?"
Remus shrugged, "I'll try. I'm tired and restless all at once."
"You still feel ill from the wolfsbane?"
"Just a bit shaky, and my eyes are still sore."
"OK, well lie down and I'll fetch you some tea to make you feel better."
Remus rubbed his hands over his face and smiled. "Thanks Prongs." He lent forward and picked up Harry, pulling him over so he was sitting directly on Remus' chest as he laid down. The little boy giggled and grinned as Remus pulled faces and chattered away to him, the one year old copying some of the words and noises.
James returned with a tray, bearing tea and biscuits and a jar of cream.
"I liberated the biscuits for us. Don't let Lily see."
"Hehe. Your Daddy's a bad influence Harry." Remus told the child as he shuffled about to sit up more, but keep Harry happy in his lap.
"Me? The bad influence. I just know how much you crave sugar Moony. Merely caring for a friend." James said with a straight face.
"Well thanks." He took a sip of tea and sighed gratefully. "Mmm, that's much better." The steam was already helping stop his nose from itching. It ran instead, but at least he had a hankie now. "When's Sirius' home?"
"Any minute, he flooed about 20 minutes ago to see if you were back yet."
"How was work?"
"Alright, the usual plebs making twice as much work for everyone. Mostly we've been reviewing the incident and call out reports from last week. So far there's no real increase in Death Eater activity, no drop either, but there's been significantly less public demonstrations and gatherings etc, you know, sightings of Voldemort."
"Yes, exactly, But that doesn't mean he's backing off."
"No, probably the opposite. He's busy making plans, or working on something. The Order's been picking up reports of a few missing items which might be connected."
"The Slytherin locket?"
"Yes. Did you remember the meeting Monday night?"
"Yeah, I'll be there."
Their shop talk eventually evolved into gossip until Remus started to drift distractedly in strange directions. James smiled warmly when his lovely wife appeared, and gently checked Remus forehead for fever.
"Temperature' s still up, you should sleep for a while sweetie. Tea won't be for an hour or so."
Remus nodded and blinked sleepily. He was warm now, full of tea and the sneezing had subsided enough to lull him into a comfortable state of relaxation. Taking advantage of the lack of pre full moon restlessness due to fever - he fell asleep with Harry already dozing on his chest.