The Sugar Quill
Author: Ciircee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Bathing Sirius  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Snuffles, Sirius, James, Remus and Lily all belong to JKR.  Abigail Loomis belongs to Katinka. 

Author's Note: Read Katinka's fabulous 'Interwoven'.  This fic is based entirely on a scene from Chapter 3 of said wonderful story.  Read that.  Oh, and has anybody noticed that I am a big sandbox-hog?  Yeah, that's right.  Write a story that I like and I might just swoop in with my shovel, bucket and castle molds.  ^.^ I owe everybody a big 'thank you'.

Beta props go out to Katinka and Chelle.

Dedication: To Katinka, for letting me; I'm glad you liked it because I loved doing it.

Bathing Sirius

If Sirius Black had had money to bet, he'd have laid odds that Hagrid had finally gotten bored with gardening and was beginning to create his own pets.  The thing that had been chasing Abigail Loomis had been part-fire crab, part something he couldn't identify, and altogether a mistake of genetic crossbreeding.  Interesting. Knowing Hagrid, the thing was probably just being friendly.  Sirius dropped Abby's wand by the door and flopped down in front of the fire, panting in exhaustion; all in all, he thought, saving the lady's life was a good way to say thank you to the woman who'd taken to feeding him and giving him newspapers.  A bit of rest, he told himself as his eyes drifted closed, a bit of rest, a check that Abby was still breathing and able to take care of herself, and then he'd get back to his cave.  With a deep sigh, he was fast asleep.

The sound of running water woke him sometime later.  Abby was standing in the door of her bedroom, studying him.  Sirius hoped that she wasn't going to get undressed in front of him; while he wasn't about to hang around and let the pretty witch disrobe in front of him (even if he was the only one who knew he was a wizard), he was just too tired to move.  Apparently, Sirius mused as Abby came to stand beside him, God was on his side.

"Shh, come now, Snuffles, come on," Abby urged him to his feet and led him into her bedroom.  She kept up the soft litany of 'good boy, come on' all the way into the bathroom.  The bathroom had a large bath filled with steaming warm water and bubbles.  Lots of bubbles.  God, Sirius knew, was not on his side.  In human form, Sirius would have been craving hours in such a bath.  Padfoot, however, disdained them and as he was currently Padfoot, the doggy part of his brain was shuddering. 

Sirius eyed the bathroom nervously.  "Please God," he whispered, hearing it come out as a muted whine.

"Good boy, everything is all right," he heard Abby murmur.  Maybe it was, he thought hopefully.  Maybe she just wanted the bear-like Padfoot to be nearby in case she slipped; she had been hurt and dizzy and...and she was lifting his front end over the rim of the bath, wasn't she?  "There you go," with grunt and more strength than Sirius would have thought possible, little Abigail Loomis had him neck deep in bubbles.  It smelled...girly.

"No way," Sirius muttered, another whine released into the steamy confines of the bathroom.  "No way."  She had a scrub brush laid out.  He backed up as much as he could, ready to take a running leap right out of that vaguely flower-scented bath.

Abby was far more clever than he would have thought, even if he hadn't known that her O.W.L. scores were a lie.  "Oh…no, no, no, my good friend," she  moved directly in front of him, blocking off his escape route; there was no way he'd push over a girl and most certainly not a girl who was injured. "This is the least I can do for you, after tonight."

"I saved your life," Sirius reminded her with low, keening sound.  "The least you can do is let me go.  Don't do this to me."

Abby patted him on the head, ignoring him.  "Now, if you’ll just…"

He certainly would not 'just', the Padfoot part of his brain insisted.  He dodged for the other end of the bath; he'd simply go around the lady and be on his merry way, thanks all the same.  He hadn't counted on how slippery the porcelain was and his escape was ruined by his hind end sliding ignominiously back into the bath with a splash of grimy water.  Most of it cascaded over Abby's shoes, he noted, but he was just put out enough to notice that some of it had soaked back into his fur.  He bit back a howl of frustration as Abby's eyes narrowed and she leaned in close to him, nostrils flaring. 

“Now, that certainly was not called for!"  She hissed.

Sirius snorted.  "I'll say."

"This could be much worse – I could have you smelling of raspberries right about now,” her voice was rising irritably.

"Not bloody likely; this stuff is just as girly smelling as raspberries would have been.  I have a dog's nose, Miss," he argued in a short series of barks.

She apparently didn't care for his arguments;  she glanced at the sink.  Unfortunately, she didn't entirely take her eyes off of him to do it.  Blast it.  “I could throw a quick Cleansing Spell on your coat and be done with it…”

Hell no, she would not.  Oh, was his chance!  Something on the sink had distracted her; possibly the winking wizard on the bath soap.  Abby was either quicker than he knew or he was slower than he remembered because before he could do more than lower himself and get ready to make a break for it, Abby had flung herself forward, grabbed him around the neck and wrestled him back down into the water.  His self-indulgent whine of distress was drowned out by her shriek as she nearly toppled into the tub.  "That's it, lady," the Padfoot part of his brain muttered via a gusty sigh and moan.  "You see how well you like it."

She was holding her arm, he noted suddenly.  Her elbow.  Sirius thought back on her scream and realized that she must have hurt it diving at him.  Part of him, admittedly Padfoot, thought she sort of deserved it for dunking him.  The rest of him felt badly; she was only trying to help him.  Poor woman, he thought sympathetically.  Or maybe not.  She was backing toward the sink, eyes open now.  Narrowed eyes, Sirius knew from experience were a sign of mistrust.  Lily had looked at him like that countless times.  Abby, he concluded, was up to something and he was not going to stick around as she found another way of keeping him in the bath.  He reared back and, just like Lily, she came at him.  Well, if she were going to come at him, she'd have to pay the price, he decided, and braced his paws on the lip of the tub.  He didn't jump, however.  That witch had her wand on him; despite slipping and ending up with her skirts around her knees and her bottom in the middle of a dirty puddle, she'd drawn her wand and aimed it at him.  A smart dog knew when to hold himself still.

Her voice was low and measured, but filled with an unmistakable fury.  She'd make a good mum, with a voice like that, he thought.  “Stay…still…now. Or, by Hogwarts, I’ll turn you into a kitten. A girl kitten. And I’ll have no compunction about leaving you that way.”

"Well, since you put it that way..." he said with a soft yelp.  Remus had once used the very same threat against him during a bit of mischief in Hogsmeade and James had offered to hold him down.  Somehow he doubted that Abigail Loomis needed the help.  He sat back with a sigh and let her cast spell after spell after spell at him.  He even let her use that wicked, long-handled brush on him with barely a whimper.  A smart man knew when he was beaten.

Abby seemed happy with his compliance, although, he noted sourly, she didn't put her wand down until she allowed him out of the tub.  "That was easy, wasn't it, Snuffles?" she said in a cheerful voice.  Sirius appreciated the irony and gave himself a good, hard, shake in agreement.  "Come on, you can dry by the fire while I get myself tidy again."  She threw down a clean quilt that smelled of the open air and sunshine and pointed to it.  "Don't move."

He'd have to thank her, he realized.  It was good to be clean even it hadn't been fun getting that way.  "Shoes," he muttered quietly to himself as he heard the water being run again.  "Wasn't she going on about her..." house slippers, he remembered suddenly.  She'd lost her favorite pair a week ago when she'd kicked them off in the garden; they were right underneath the bench she favored.  With a weary sigh and a hopeful heart, Sirius trotted out to the garden.  The house slippers would do suitably as both a thank you and an apology; and maybe, if he were at all lucky, she wouldn't try to comb out his fur.


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