The Sugar Quill
Author: Durayan (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: It's a Dog's Life  Chapter: Chapter One: Part the First
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

PART THE FIRST

 

A/N: This is my first official attempt at writing a story (well, at writing a story longer than a page and a half anyways). I suppose this story is the result of too many trips with my own dogs to the vet's office, and of inane speculation as to whether Padfoot has ever been. So, this is the rather silly story of Padfoot's trip to see the vet. Much much thanks goes to both Alphie and Thing1 (two of my favorite fanfic authors!) for patiently beta-reading every draft, and for their thoughtful and insightful comments. (And most especially for their encouragement. I thought I'd *never* finish. Heck, THEY thought I'd never finish!)

Thanks also to Thing, for the loan of three of her Original Characters. Katie Lupin is Remus' lovely wife. Malcolm is the Lupins' young son, and Liz Harker is a talented witch who, while working with Remus and Sirius, has for all practical purposes moved in with them at the Lupin house (and with whom Sirius has developed more than just a professional relationship).

Remus and Sirius of course belong to JK Rowling, as does their amazing wizarding world. Hope y'all enjoy this!

 

*************

 

"You're….joking." Sirius eyed Katie suspiciously.

The corner of Katie's mouth twitched ever so slightly. Sirius was almost certain of it. He glanced across to Liz, who was suddenly studying a photograph of a large shaggy black dog on the Lupins' mantelpiece very intently, and then back to Katie.

Katie returned his gaze evenly. "No. No, I am quite serious." Katie practically oozed a calm, professional demeanor.

Sirius coughed a short barking cough into his hand, and looked at Katie again. "You are certain?"

"Absolutely. I've even double checked my results" Katie paused carefully. "It's---kennel-cough."

Liz made a bit of an odd muffled noise.

"Very funny Miss Harker. Go right ahead and laugh, why don't you?"

Liz smirked. "Well, you have to admit,…." Liz began, and then stopped, seeing the rather wounded look on Sirius' face. She made a valiant effort to adopt an appropriately concerned expression. But when she turned back to the mantle, her eyes fell on the photograph of Padfoot again and she finally broke apart into a fit of helpless giggles.

Sirius pointedly ignored Liz and addressed Katie. "I have no idea what that is, nor why some people find it to be so damned amusing . Honestly, I don't care what it is. As long as you can cure it. I've coughed my bloody head off for days now." As if to emphasize this point, Sirius' last indignant words faded out as his voice caught again, and he doubled over in a fit of harsh coughs that seemed to rattle the furniture. He looked back at Katie with growing desperation in his now watering eyes, as he struggled futilely to stop the coughing.

Katie eyed Sirius sympathetically as he struggled to catch his breath. "Actually, Sirius, as much as I would like to help you …there is not much I can do. Well not directly. I can mix up some potions that might make you feel a bit better, but you really should have antibiotics. Magic achieves many wonders, but Muggles are not completely helpless you know, and in situations like this their medicine may be superior to ours…as much as I hate to admit it," she continued hastily, coming over to take Sirius' hand. "Please don't think for one minute that I am abandoning you to get through this on your own. I know you're miserable, Sirius." Katie exchanged a glance with Liz. "We all know you're miserable."

Sirius sighed heavily, and rubbed at his rather bloodshot eyes. "So what do you suggest we do?"

"There's a clinic I know of that asks few questions and does a tidy business treating the magical community." Katie began.

Sirius turned slightly ashen. "You know I can't very well show up anywhere I might be recognized. Questions or no, I am bound to be recognized by Muggles and wizards alike."

"The alternative is to ride it out. I'll do what I can to make you comfortable. I assure you, it's not likely to be fatal."

Sirius was seized again by a coughing fit, even as he shook his head frantically and gave her another fantastically pathetic pleading look.

Liz considered the photograph of Padfoot again. "Katie, you know, Padfoot would not be recognized…couldn't we get the proper medication for Padfoot? I mean…kennel cough is a dog disease isn't it? Wouldn't that help Sirius?"

Katie considered this-"It's possible, I suppose…."

*************

 

 

 

The previous week had been a particularly rough one. Remus and Sirius had been in London for several days. London missions were difficult enough for Sirius, as he was compelled to spend most of his time as Padfoot. He was still a wanted man, and could take no chance of being recognized. Still, he accompanied Remus as often as possible, and the two of them made a most effective team. This particular mission, however, had not gone off quite as well as they had hoped.

They'd had their doubts about this mission from the start. Their "target" seemed an unlikely sort. Not a particularly talented wizard based on the information they'd been able to garner. It seemed this fellow at least had the appearance of being little more than a Squib. Further, his personal hygiene made Severus Snape look good. But the League had received information that he was a supplier of illegal potions to some of Voldemort's forces, and there had been at least two discreet meetings between this fellow and Lucius Malfoy. They'd managed to determine the location of his laboratory in the basement of a rather run down Muggle apartment building. Remus had even succeeded in breaching the rather elementary wards protecting the laboratory to get a look around, while Padfoot stood watch.

Potions was never Remus' best subject. He'd recognized a few of the more innocuous ingredients assembled in the lab, and one or two not so innocuous ones. But he had not recognized any of the queer substances that were stored in unmarked crystal vials. It was neither enough to establish their quarry as a supplier of illegal potions, nor enough to rule it out. A more direct approach was needed.

After considering several options, Remus and Sirius decided to send an owl requesting a discreet meeting.

Dear Sir,

I have heard from an esteemed associate that you may be able to assist me in obtaining some rather rare and hard to produce potions, of which I find myself in need. Perhaps you would be willing to meet with me to discuss the nature of my order and terms of payment. I need not mention that discretion is of the utmost importance. I will be waiting for you at the Rabid Dog pub at half past five.

 

The Rabid Dog Pub was an eminently suitable place for private conversations. Tables in the back were tucked in private alcoves and the lighting in the pub was dim and hazy from a variety of rather noxious smoky substances favored by some of the more unsavory characters from both the magical and non-magical patrons of this establishment. This was the sort of place that questions were not asked, and faces were not recalled. Remus and Padfoot arrived at the pub shortly before the scheduled meeting. Just outside the front door, Remus exchanged a meaningful glance with Padfoot, and said, "Wish me luck".

Padfoot assumed a watchful position near the front entrance as Remus took a deep breath and marched into the bar with what Sirius recognized as his 'right, let's get this crap over with' face. Sirius knew Remus wanted to get home quickly. Katie had been rather crabby about choosing this night of all nights to go out. Sirius had heard something about this being an 'important anniversary' for them, but since their wedding anniversary wasn't for another 6 weeks or so, he was lost as to what she was referring to. Considering Katie rarely complained, it had to be something rather monumental, and Sirius hoped that this would all be over and done with soon. It was early enough that a table could still be had. From his vantage point near the front door, Padfoot observed the potion-seller's entrance into the pub and settled down to wait. Maybe there's something to this one, after all. Nervous looking smarmy git.

An hour slipped by. Then two. Padfoot was beginning to grow restless. It was not yet dark but the street had settled into a rather protracted twilight. Oddly enough, there seemed to have been little foot-traffic; he was of the understanding that this was an extremely popular spot. What few people he did see generally approached from the other side of the street, and moved very quickly past him into the pub. Padfoot stood up and stretched. His stomach growled insistently. He was just pondering whether a loud bark might be heard from within the smoky pub when he heard a voice behind him mutter, "Oh, geez, Jimmy, would ye lookit the size of 'im? 'Ee'll be eatin' us alive, 'e will!"

Jimmy was a bit more confident. "Nah…we got 'im outnumbered. An' outsmarted. You can sure see why they wanted 'im picked up! I wouldn't be crossing that doorstep ta git in, not with 'im right there. No sir, I wouldn't." Jimmy hefted a long pole with a noose on the end rather expertly. "Ho there, big boy." Jimmy edged closer. Padfoot showed a few teeth, and Jimmy slowed his advance. Too late, Padfoot figured out that Jimmy's more timid friend was also armed with a pole with a noose, and was also rather expert with it. Clearly, it was time to find out just how audible a bark was to someone inside the pub. Someone who'd had time to have a few Butterbeers.

Once properly summoned by raucous barking, Remus made his appearance outside the pub with surprising alacrity, Padfoot was pleased to note. Remus looked at the two men who held Padfoot at bay with their long poles with a startled expression just for an instant, then quickly assumed his most vague and harmless smile.

"Excuse me, is there a problem? It would appear that you have my dog there."

"Ah, yes, sir…your dog, eh? 'E's been threatening patrons out 'ere. We was sent to pick 'im up," Jimmy announced with authority.

"I do beg your pardon? He's threatened people? I assure you, my dog is extremely well-trained, and would do no such thing. Besides, he's a decided softy and rather slow, so I can promise you he would hurt no one. People just get a little startled by his size, that's all. If you will kindly remove that noose, I shall gladly take him home."

"Oh, sorry sir, we can't be givin' to ya to do that. 'as ta be taken in, 'e does. You'll have to pay the fine and be pickin' 'im up tomorrow at the pound".

Remus was becoming slightly alarmed at this-"Tomorrow? Surely you could simply hand him over to me, and we could just forget this?"

Jimmy drew up to his full height, and informed Remus very solemnly "There's rules, sir. We got to follow them. And those rules says if we got 'im confined, 'e goes in with us. Dog's noosed and going in wagon. You don't even 'ave tags on 'im, I can see, so that's more trouble for you, mate. You'll have to go down t'pound tomorrow, and pay the fines."

Remus made a gesture Jimmy couldn't quite identify in the dusky light. "But, you do not have him confined." Remus pointed out helpfully, as the noose fell slack.

"Oi!" began Jimmy's partner.

Remus moved quickly to grab Padfoot's collar.

"Is there a problem here?" They were joined suddenly by a rather large man in a dark blue uniform, who was idly fingering a stiff black baton which hung from his belt.

"Evenin' Sir" began Jimmy. "We're 'aving a bit a trouble with this gent 'ere. See, we got this here dog t'take in, and this fellow, 'e's tryin' ta keep us from doing our job."

"And dog's got no tags, neither," added the other one, looking very smug now that he had one of the Metropolitan's finest to back him up.

The Muggle policeman looked Remus over appraisingly as he clasped his hands behind his back. This was his regular patrol and he was fond of saying that the patrons of the Rabid Dog Pub brought nothing but trouble to the area with their strange manners and odd dress. He appeared to have just concluded that this particular man, clothed in what looked to be his mother's house dress at twilight with an unleashed and unlicensed monster of a dog in his company qualified as "exceptionally strange" and as such was likely to be trouble.

"Is there any particular reason, Sir, why 'your' dog does not have the proper identification?"

"He was rather naughty and managed to get out of his collar. I'm just on the way to rectify that, I assure you," said Remus, in his quiet voice, still smiling like this whole thing was nothing that anyone should get alarmed over. The policeman seemed rather unconvinced.

"I see. So you just popped in here for a quick pint whilst your ill-tempered dog sat out here unrestrained and threatening law abiding citizens, is that it?"

"Officer, I hardly think… Remus began.

"Just how much have you had to drink tonight? And I don't suppose you thought to carry your identification, either?"

Sirius could see that Remus was carefully considering his next move. However, what Remus could not see but Sirius had an excellent view of was that the policeman was now casually moving his hand towards what Sirius was pretty sure were Muggle handcuffs. (Sirius had recently learned all about such things from Liz, who kindly had offered to bring him up to speed on various forms of Muggle restraints, and how they could very effectively be used to fully incapacitate even a wizard).

"My good sir: I fail to see what exactly the problem is here . This is my dog, and I am here to take responsibility for him and can personally assure you that I will be taking him home directly. I can hardly imagine that this is the most pressing thing you would have to deal with in this quarter of town." If Remus thought this approach was a wise one, he was shortly about to learn otherwise. (Perhaps if Remus had considered the possibility that the officer might have been insulted by Remus' apparent slight of law enforcement's ability to prioritize perceived threats to the peace in this rather dark corner of London, he would have chosen other words).

"Well...Public Intoxication…. Interfering With a Public Servant Lawfully Performing his Job…Failure to Properly Register and Harness a Potentially Dangerous Animal. You will need to come with me down to the station. Now, we can do this peacefully, or…" The officer was now sliding his baton out of his belt.

Before Remus could react, Padfoot took advantage of the fact that the noose had been loosened from around his neck and lunged menacingly at the officer, growling and snarling. Now, Moony! Go NOW!!! Jimmy and his partner, caught off guard, had to scramble to restrain the dog, who had pinned the officer squarely. None of the three Muggles even heard the peculiar *pop*, and when they finally noticed that the odd character in the robe had disappeared, they assumed he'd taken advantage of the chaos and melted away into the darkness. Oddly, the large black dog seemed more than willing to be escorted back to the wagon with Jimmy and his partner and was easily locked up for delivery to the pound. It was probably an over abundance of adrenaline that prompted Jimmy's quieter partner to draw out his tranquilizer gun and dart the massive dog with a strong sedative.

The officer was uninjured but none-too happy. "I want that animal held---he's a threat to the public. AND I want the name of anyone who inquires after him!"

************

 

 

Remus had Apparated only a short distance away, into the dark doorway of an abandoned building. He watched as Padfoot received the tranquilizing dart, stumbled heavily, and was hefted up and locked into a large cage on the animal control wagon.

This evening had turned into a spectacular disaster on all counts. Their suspect had arrived as promised, and with wares to sell, and had settled into a discreet smoky corner of the pub with Remus. Remus' eyes still burned from the smoke, and it had made him surprisingly light-headed. He'd had a bit more to drink than was his custom, but he'd found the salty snacks provided at their table made him exceeding thirsty. And he couldn't seem to stop munching them. He appeared to have lost track of time while in the pub. But Remus had managed to determine that the greasy fellow they'd been following was not the dealer in deadly potions they'd suspected. Rather, it appeared he operated a tidy little underground business in the manufacture of potions that enhanced…certain aspects of intimate performance. Remus had quite nearly choked on his Butterbeer when it finally dawned on him what exactly he was bargaining for in this dim and hazy pub on a seedy street in Muggle London, while Katie spent this evening (this evening) at home with Liz and Malcolm for company.

Remus shook his head in an effort to clear it, and rubbed at his eyes. Alright, Moony. Been a while since you've had to rescue Padfoot from the clutches of Muggle Law Enforcement. Now, where might this "pound" be?

************

 

The building was impressively non-descript. And dark.

"You sure you don't want me to wait around?" inquired the Muggle cab driver. "You know they are not open at this time of night. If they do have your dog, you won't be getting him until morning."

"Thank you, that won't be necessary." Remus smiled grimly at the cab driver and counted out the proper amount of Muggle money to pay his fare.

"Suit yourself," shrugged the driver as he drove away, leaving Remus standing in an abandoned parking-lot.

Remus considered Apparating directly into the building. Prudence dictated that he first make sure there were no Muggles about. He therefore proceeded to the font of the building and peered in the windows. He knocked loudly. Nothing. Again he knocked. No response. Right then. Safe to proceed…Suddenly, a light came on inside the building at the end of a hallway. Then again, maybe not.

Remus waited while an elderly Muggle made his way down the hall to the front door and peered out at Remus. "Go away! Can't you see we are closed?"

"Good evening, Sir," began Remus, "please Sir---I need your help."

"Can't help you" the Muggle said shortly. "Come back in the morning." He turned to trundle slowly back up the hall.

Remus considered his options carefully. He already owed Arthur Weasley for the last time he and Sirius had run into trouble with Muggles, and he wasn't eager to add to that. But, reasoned Remus, a suggestibility charm is far less invasive than a memory charm. Far less to explain to the Ministry. Remus drew out his wand, and muttered a charm designed to incline the Muggle gentleman to believe what Remus told him. It wasn't a very strong charm, but it might be just enough…

"Please, Sir! It's quite important that you let me in." Remus called to the man. The Muggle stopped. He turned and looked back at Remus, who smiled hopefully at the man.

The old man muttered under his breath that he must be getting soft in his old age, but returned to the door, unlocked it and let Remus in.

"Thank you. Thank you very much. Um, I believe my dog, er, my wife's dog was brought in here a bit earlier. I'm afraid I can't show up at home without him. Can you, er, help me?"

The old man smiled knowingly at Remus. "Wife's dog, eh? Well, you are in a pretty pickle, then aren't you? C'mon back. Let's see if we can't find him."

Remus began to relax just a bit. At last something was going right this evening. The elderly gentleman led Remus down a hallway, and through a heavy door into a large dampish room with dozens of kennels, each seemingly filled with several dogs.

"Large dogs in the big kennels there and down that wall. Small ones over to your left."

Remus surveyed the rows of kennels. "Padfoot! Where are you?" He was answered by the riotous barking of at least three dozen dogs. Oh, that was just an excellent idea.

"Um, you may just have to look" The old man offered, helpfully.

Remus began walking the long rows of kennels. Almost every dog in the place was barking, and several growled, no doubt sensing the wolf in their presence. It was on the second to last row that he finally found Padfoot, in a solitary kennel. Remus noticed that this kennel was secured with a large padlock, and a sign that read "Vicious. Held for observation". Padfoot was crouched in the back of the kennel, head down.

"Thank heavens, Sirius" Remus began in a rush of relief. Padfoot didn't move. "Sirius…" The great black dog slowly lifted its massive head, but his glazed eyes did not seem to see Remus. Remus dropped to his knee and aware of the caretaker watching him, whispered urgently, "Sirius!"

The black dog stared blearily at Remus and trembled slightly but did not otherwise move. What in the bloody hell did they do to him? Remus suddenly was deeply alarmed. Sirius appeared to be unable to transform himself, and clearly was in no shape to attempt to Apparate home. "Did you find your dog?" the old man inquired.

"Ah, yes. Yes, he's here. He appears to be ill, however." Remus eyed the lock on the cage. "Can you help me get him out?"

The old man looked doubtfully at the lock on the cage and at the sign hung over the door . "Vicious, is he? I heard 'em talking about this one. Say he attacked a police officer, and they are holdin' him for observation now. Ten days. See if he has rabies, you know. Then they'll probably destroy him."

Remus stared dumbly at the old man, stunned by how casually he had announced Padfoot's death sentence. "Destroy him?"

"Oh, aye, lad. Not much tolerance for vicious animals, you know. Especially since he attacked a police officer." The old man shook his head. "Fine looking beast, he is. I'm very sorry."

Remus ran a hand through his hair, thinking quickly. "I'm sorry to be a bother, but do you think I might visit your lavatory?" Remus did not have to fake a pale sick look to match the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach at the thought of what the Muggles intended to do with Padfoot.

The old man simply nodded and showed the way to a small bathroom tucked off the hall outside of the main kennel.

Once in the lavatory, Remus locked the door and Apparated immediately to the garden in front of his house-and smack into the middle of a rather impressively raging torrent of rain. Oh, just lovely. Impatiently slicking the wet hair out of his eyes, Remus worked his way through the wards protecting the house and charged in the front door, mindless of his rain-soaked cloak and the amount of water he'd tracked into the house. He startled Liz and Katie on the sofa in the front room, where they were sitting with Malcolm, who, at almost three, had been awakened by the storm and was now artfully wheedling "just one more bedtime story" out of Liz and Katie.

Alarmed, Katie began "Remus, what…."

Remus cut her off. "It's Sirius. Liz, I'll need you to come with me. He's-there's really not time to explain." Remus was uncharacteristically flustered. "Padfoot's in the animal shelter in London. He's unable to transform. I think he's been drugged."

"Drugged?" Liz and Katie both echoed.

"He was attempting to distract a Muggle police officer so I could get away from a rather sticky spot. I saw them hit him with a dart of some sort, and he fell. I've just come from where they are holding him. He looks like he'd been stunned. He's going to need help. I think we will need a Portkey to get him home."

Liz and Katie stared blankly at him for a moment. Then Liz jumped up abruptly, dropping the book she'd been reading to Malcolm, and left the room. Malcolm looked indignantly after Liz and then suddenly, recognizing that his father was soaked, laughed out loud and announced "Daddy! You are all wet!!! Did you shower with your clothes on?"

Remus smiled faintly at his son, and agreed, "It certainly looks that way, doesn't it?. I seem to have forgotten my umbrella. And you, my little Marauder, are up past your bed time." Remus knelt and kissed Malcolm on the forehead. "To bed, my little one."

Malcolm considered his father seriously. "Is Sirius coming home?"

"Yes. We are going to go get him and bring him home. You'll see him in the morning," Remus promised.

Liz returned with a leather leash and collar in hand. "We can charm this as a Portkey".

Liz was extremely skilled at charms, and had been working closely with Remus and Sirius for a couple of years now as part of Dumbledore's underground network. During that time, Liz and Sirius had become colleagues, close friends and now their relationship was deepening into something more serious, in spite of Sirius' continued status as a wanted man. Liz drew out her wand and began muttering the first part of a complex charm. Once this charm was completed at the other end, they would be able to transport Padfoot directly back into the study.

Meanwhile, Remus methodically began working through the spells to collapse the particular wards protecting Remus' study, so that Liz and Sirius would be able to use the Portkey to return directly into the house. Remus turned to Katie and said, "We'll be back very soon." He then grabbed Liz's hand and together they Apparated out.

Liz was slightly alarmed at the size of the space into which they'd Apparated. Normally, one Apparated into as large a space as was available. To do otherwise risked some rather-unpleasant-- accidents. The room they arrived in was little more than a closet with plumbing fixtures. "Remus!" Remus immediately put a finger over his lips and gave her a rather stern look for silence. Liz got it, and continued in a ghost of a whisper, "Warn me next time when you are about to have me materialize in the middle of a toilet tank!"

Remus flashed her the ghost of a grin-"I assure you, my spatial awareness is…above average. You were in no danger," he whispered back.

Liz took a deep breath and gripped the leash, deciding to save the panic for later. "Okay. Where do I find Sirius?"

"They've got him in a cage in the large room around the corner, about three down I think on the far right. Get him back home, and I will follow. I'll distract the Muggle caretaker."

There was a sharp knock on the lavatory door. "You okay in there?"

"Ah, yes. Just a moment, please" Remus called. He surveyed his soaked robes and tried a quick drying charm that really didn't appear to make much of a difference. He turned to Liz, and whispered, "Give me a minute to get him away from the door. You get Sirius and I will be home as soon as I can."

Liz nodded her agreement and gripped the Portkey tightly.

Remus slipped out of the lavatory, closing the door behind him quickly. "Sorry. Had a bit of trouble with the faucet. Quite a bit of water pressure you have there."

The caretaker eyed him up and down suspiciously. "What'd you do? Go for a swim?"

Remus laughed. "So, I suppose I shall have to come back tomorrow. Can you tell me who it is I will need to talk to regarding this? My wife's going to have a fit when I come home without him you know."

Liz waited in the small bathroom until she heard the door at the far end of the hall click shut and she could no longer hear Remus and the old man talking. Then she slipped carefully out, and around the corner and through a door into the large holding room. She quickly located the cage holding Padfoot, touched the padlock lightly with the tip of her wand and slipped into the cage with the large black dog. Liz knelt, and slipped the collar around Padfoot's neck, whispering soothingly all the while. Once the collar was in place, Liz muttered the charm that would complete the Portkey spell. The dogs in the cages on either side began barking wildly as Liz and Padfoot disappeared with a *pop *.

Liz experienced the familiar disorienting sense of being yanked abruptly through time and space by a invisible cord, and shut her eyes. When she opened them again, she was in Remus' study with Padfoot crouched by her side. The storm outside crashed menacingly.

"Sirius, it's alright. We are home." Liz began uncertainly, addressing the large black dog. Padfoot was trembling mightily and seemed unable to focus clearly.

Katie joined them, having evidently convinced Malcolm that it was bedtime and no further discussion of the matter was going to be entertained. Liz exchanged a worried look with Katie. "Sirius, Can you hear me?" Liz tried again.

Padfoot struggled as if trying to get to his feet, but succeeded only partially. After what seemed like an unnaturally long time, he finally transformed with a * pop * into Sirius Black, crouched on the rug and still trembling.

"Sirius!"

Sirius turned toward Liz' voice, eyes still wildly unfocussed. Liz gathered him into her arms, hugging him tightly. Sirius seemed to orient a bit, taking in where he was and that he was with Liz and Katie. He focused sharply on Katie. "Remus-" and struggled to get to his feet.

"Remus is fine. He'll be here shortly. You will stay put." Katie told him firmly. "Now, let's see what they've done with you." Katie peered into Sirius' rather glazed eyes, checked his pulse and looked him over for any visible signs of damage. "Well. You will be sleeping soundly tonight. But I don't think any lasting harm is done. Here. Drink this." Katie vigorously shook a bottle that she had produced from within her robes. Katie removed the top and offered it to Sirius, who drank it and immediately felt better for it.

Thunder crashed again, and the front door was abruptly thrown open. Seconds later, Remus appeared in the doorway to the study, freshly soaked.

Katie eyed the floor and then Remus. "Hmm. I'd just mopped it from your last appearance. This one's yours."

"I'll just reset the wards on the study, now that you're home, shall I?" Asked Liz sweetly. "I'd have done it sooner if I'd known you were going to insist on materializing outside in the rain anyway."

Remus pointedly ignored them both, at least outwardly. But the message was clear. Sirius was all right. "Padfoot?"

Sirius was on his feet now, and much steadier. He smiled weakly at Remus. "Saved your tail again, you know. It's getting to be a bit of a chore, Moony."

Remus smiled. "I'm lucky to have you watching my back, you know."

Sirius was rubbing distractedly at his robes. He shuddered and met Remus' eyes. "Well then. Quite a night. I think I will just go get out of these wet things. A shower, maybe." Liz, Katie and Remus exchanged a look. Sirius' robes were bone dry.

"Come on, then, Mr. Black. Let me help you." Liz said brightly, taking Sirius hand and guiding him up the stairs.

 

 

 

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