PART THE SECOND
"Remus, love, don't be an idiot. You were soaked to the bone last
night. The least you can do is drink the potion. It's not that
bad." Katie pushed the smoking goblet across the table toward Remus
who was trying to coax Malcolm into eating his breakfast rather than playing
"Ah. Then, you drink it. I can't stand the stuff! Besides,
I assure you, I am quite well. It takes far more than a bit of rain to
stop me." Remus disliked taking potions in general, but Pepper-up
Potion was one he especially detested. It wasn't that it tasted all that
bad, really. It was more the peculiar sensation of smoke escaping from
his ears (a side effect of the potion) that he found so particularly distasteful.
"You could indulge me just a bit you know. How else am I to feel
loved and needed if I can't play mother hen?" Katie persisted.
"My dearest Katie: That is your problem. I will not spend the morning
walking about with my ears smoking, no matter how beautiful you are,"
Remus declared firmly. Then, more gently, "I am quite all right.
Really." Remus took Katie's hand, kissed it tenderly and met her
eyes. "I do appreciate your concern. Truly." Malcolm's spoon,
laden heavily with oatmeal, thunked on the floor. Malcolm looked innocently
back at his parents, as if he could not figure out what exactly had happened
"Malcolm Lupin!" Katie started, giving Malcolm a dangerous
The creak of footsteps on the stairway announced Liz' arrival. "Good
morning," Liz yawned sleepily. "Quite a night last night, eh?"
"How is Sirius?" Remus asked.
"Sleeping soundly." Thought I'd leave him to sleep as long
as he could." Liz yawned again, gratefully accepted a cup of strong
coffee from Katie, and took a long sip. Liz was normally the late sleeper
of the household and tended to avoid conversation before her first caffeine
infusion. But today was different. "Remus, what happened to Sirius
Remus shook his head, as he waived his wand at Malcolm's chair, to set
up what he hoped would be an oatmeal-proof ward around it. "Not entirely
sure. Maybe it was the effects of the tranquilizer they used on him that
disoriented him. Or perhaps being locked up may have triggered some memories
from Azkaban for him. Did he talk about it last night?" Remus retrieved
a clean spoon for his son, and Malcolm set about testing the ward.
Liz shook her head. "He went up and took a long hot shower. Then
went to bed. He was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow."
"Sirius is extraordinarily tough. It's amazing what he has been
able to survive, let alone overcome. If being hit with a tranquilizer
dart and being locked up in the dog pound has a bit of an effect on him,
I suppose he is entitled," observed Katie.
The sound of movement from upstairs told them that the subject of their
concerns would soon be joining them. Katie renewed her efforts to entice
Remus into taking the Pepper-Up potion, which still bubbled smoke over
the sides of the goblet. Remus continued to refuse.
Footsteps thundered on the stairs in what was unmistakably Sirius bounding
down the steps. He stopped half way, paused a moment, and sneezed loudly.
Remus seized the opportunity. "There… You just may have a customer
for your noxious potion" he announced to Katie. Remus pushed the
potion toward Sirius as he appeared in the doorway "Ah, excellent
timing, Sirius! My lovely wife has been trying to peddle this stuff all
Sirius sniffled, rubbed at his nose with the back of his hand, and grinned
amiably. "Mrs. Lupin, is this silly git here failing to recognize
what a very lucky man he is again? I shall have to have a talk with him."
Sirius scooped up the goblet of Pepper-up potion, sipped it, nodded approvingly
at Katie and downed it in a single gulp. "Excellent vintage, as always,
Mrs. Lupin," Sirius declared as smoke began to drift lazily from
his ears. He sniffled again, and waggled his eyebrows at Liz, who grinned
back at him.
"You tinks zee eyebrows, zey are sexzy, yes? And zee smoke?"
Sirius waggled his eyebrows again, and shook his head to make little smoke
Liz giggled. Malcolm clapped excitedly.
"You are quite chipper today, Mr. Black!"
"And why shouldn't I be? I slept better last night than I have in
ages! Katie, you must find out what those Muggle dog catchers put in that
stuff." Sirius rubbed his backside thoughtfully, and added "and
whether or not there's a less painful method of administering it."
Katie insisted on giving Sirius the once-over again, peering into his
eyes, making him stand first on one foot and then the other, poking him
here and there until she satisfied herself that there was no permanent
Sirius winked dangerously at Liz. "I wasn't worried for a minute.
It's rather exciting to be rescued by a woman so lovely as yourself."
Liz laughed. "How exactly did you get yourself into that particular
predicament, may I ask?"
"Why, by saving Mr. Lupin's hide, of course. How do I always end
up in 'predicaments'?" Sirius sighed dramatically. "It seems
I made a promise to Katie-girl that I would always bring him home. It's
gotten me in more trouble over the years. Don't be fooled by his calm
demeanor. It's all a front. He is trouble from the word go."
Katie sat back and laughed. "Funny, that's not what Remus said.
Do tell, Sirius. Your version of last night's events sounds ever so much
Sirius described in detail how he'd faithfully stood watch outside the
warm cozy pub where Remus pretended to be tailing a death eater operative
while indulging in several Butterbeers on the job, how the Muggle dog
catcher had attempted to capture him and how Remus, when summoned for
help had promptly attempted to get his ownself arrested and might have
too, had Padfoot not threatened to sink his teeth into the officer's rather
ample behind, giving Remus an opportunity to Apparate away.
"You owe me for that one in a big way, Moony. In fact, dear Moony,
I would like to register a complaint," Sirius declared. "We
are supposed to be partners, yet there does not seem to be quite the equitable
division of work here. We track a suspected Death Eater, but somehow it
is YOU sitting by the fire in the pub sipping Butterbeer while I wait
outside in the elements. You insult an officer of the peace, and I have
to save you and somehow it is ME who spends the night behind bars. You
practically drown yourself Apparating in the rain and I end up catching
cold. It is not fair. I protest. I am afraid I cannot continue to work
with you under these deplorable conditions." Sirius sniffled loudly.
Remus laughed, genuinely pleased that Sirius seemed to have made it through
the whole incident with nothing more than a cold to show for it. "Rubbish.
You are lucky to have me for your best friend, you know."
Sirius suddenly sobered. "Yeah. I know that. I really do know that."
Sirius looked thoughtful for a moment. "At least, we must have gotten
some good information on this fellow we were tailing. You were in the
bar for quite a while, after all. Anything useful? Is he supplying illegal
potions for the Death Eaters? The connection to Lucius Malfoy could be
quite useful to Arthur Weasley, if we can establish the nature of the
potions this fellow is dealing in."
All eyes turned to Remus, who shifted uncomfortably. "Oh, yes. The
potions are illegal. But I am afraid they will do Arthur little good.
Beyond, perhaps, a good laugh. It seems that our little potions master
has established himself as a skilled brewer of potions which…" Remus
seemed to be casting about for the proper words "…well, they enhance
certain…aspects of…um, 'intimate performance'."
Liz and Katie stared with mouths agape at Remus. Finally, Katie asked
the question: "You bought VIAGRA from a DEATH EATER?"
Remus looked blankly back at Katie, wondering if he should recognize
Sirius coughed lightly and asked, "What's Viagra?"
Liz snorted and replied, "Something you will NEVER be in need of,
Three days later…
"Katie, he is driving me bonkers. You have to do something."
Liz looked a bit frazzled. "I swear---you'd think the man was dying.
Are all men like this when they are sick? Where do they learn this?"
Katie laughed. "They learn it from us. Give them soup and they milk
it for all it is worth. Anyway, I thought you said he sounded sexy with
that low gravely voice".
Liz frowned. "He does. Until he starts whining…that just about kills
it. Honestly. Men are wimps. And the next time I ask him if he wants something
and he just sighs and says 'soup, just soup' in that pathetic little voice
I shall return with the bowl and dump it on him."
Katie laughed and Liz softened a bit. "He does look like he feels
rather awful though. He was up most of last night coughing. Can't you
do anything for him?"
Katie considered this. "I've given him most of the usual potions.
They don't seem to be having too much of an effect though. Mrs. Noyes
had a couple of suggestions-this seems to be no ordinary cough he's picked
"Right then. I've called and made us an appointment." Liz announced
as she stepped out of the fireplace, brushing soot off her shoulders,
having just returned from Mrs. Noyes' shop in the village where there
was a telephone. "The vet's name is Dr. McCarron. His office is in
the village just over the bridge from the apothecary. Specializes in cats
and dogs mostly. Should be perfect."
So far as Katie could tell, there was no reason this wouldn't work. Padfoot
was very nearly the same weight as Sirius, so the medication dosage should
be close to the same. Sirius was tall and lean, (though since he'd been
staying with the Lupins, he'd filled out and could no longer properly
be considered gaunt). Padfoot, however, was simply a massive animal. Katie
could see little reason to wonder why someone had called the animal control
department over such a large beast, but she said nothing to Remus and
Sirius, who were both still pretty indignant over the incident.
So it was that, options carefully weighed, and patience thoroughly worn
through, Liz, Katie and Sirius loaded into the Lupin's car and set off
for the local veterinary office.
They pulled into a spot not far from the door of the squat gray building.
A small rectangle of grass graced the front of the building, and the sign
read "F. Robert MacCarron, Veterinary Surgeon".
Liz looked doubtfully at the building. "Are you sure about this,
Sirius gave Liz a rather flat stare. "The worst they can do is kill
me," he said in a hoarse voice and broke into another coughing fit.
"That just might be an improvement", he said morosely once he
could speak again.
Liz politely resisted the impulse to roll her eyes, or to mention that
Sirius seemed to have acquired the personality of Moaning Myrtle. She
marveled that a man strong enough to have endured 12 years in Azkaban
and have made it out with his sanity intact could be reduced to such an
absolute baby by what was essentially a bad case of the sniffles. She'd
had about all of the "helpless man" routine she could manage
this trip, and suspected that she was about to convert rather abruptly
from "supportive and sympathetic girlfriend" into someone a
whole lot less patient. Soon. True, Sirius looked patently awful. And
she supposed he felt about the same way he looked. But then again, he'd
impatiently refused Katie's potions this morning, muttering that they
were doing no real good and that he couldn't bear the taste any longer.
Liz figured that if he wouldn't take his medicine, well, he deserved to
suffer a bit.
So here they were. At the vet's office. At least this way, Sirius could
obtain precious Muggle antibiotics and run no risk of being recognized
by Muggles or wizards who might recognize him as a wanted man.
"Well. We are here now." Katie declared with resolve. "Let's
do what we came for, and get you home, Sirius. Liz and I will be with
you the whole time. I promise".
Liz looked around, and waved her wand slightly, muttering a charm that
would wrap the Lupin's auto in an aura of utter uninterestingness. Charm
in place, a Muggle could look directly into the car through the open window
and not see what was about to happen.
"Ready?" Sirius nodded, and transformed into a large listless
shaggy black dog. Liz fitted the collar on over his head. "Let's
A bell tinkled when they opened the door and they were hit with an odd
smell that seemed to be a mixture of alcohol and wet dog. Padfoot froze
on the threshold.
"No time to back out now. We're here. Let's get what we came for."
Liz gave Padoot's leash a light tug and he followed her cautiously into
The woman at the front desk looked them over appraisingly. "Appointment?"
Liz nodded "Um, yes. I called earlier. Harker. Our dog is ill."
Liz gestured at Padfoot, who obligingly hacked for the receptionist.
"New patient, then? You'll need to complete the paperwork, of course.
What's his name?"
"Padfoot," Katie said. At the same moment Liz said "Snuffles".
They exchanged a look.
"Well, which is it?"
"Padfoot. But we call him Snuffles." Katie smiled as if this
"Here. Fill this out". She eyed the large dog rather suspiciously.
As if she were not accustomed to seeing large animals in need of medical
care. She seemed to consider the likelihood that this particular patient
might have a personality as intimidating as his appearance, and she quickly
ushered them into a small room. "You can wait in the exam room."
"Thank you" said Katie taking the offered clipboard with its
form and she, Liz and Padfoot slipped into a small room with an exam table
and no chairs.
Once safely alone in the exam room, Liz looked at Katie and they both
laughed nervously. Padfoot whined softly.
Katie examined the form they were to complete. "Let's see here….Responsible
party. Is that you or is it me?"
Liz shrugged. "Didn't Sirius say this was all Remus' fault?"
"So he did. Remus Lupin it is." Katie filled in Remus' name
and relevant information at the top of the page.
"Okay, breed: what do you think he is?"
Liz surveyed the large black shaggy dog. "Looks rather a lot like
a Newfoundland to me. Maybe has some Irish Wolfhound in him, judging by
the shape of the muzzle. I don't know…Large Black Mutt?"
Katie laughed and wrote it down.
"Age…let's see…how is it you calculate dog years? Isn't it something
like four years to every human year? Let's see…Sirius is 38. That would
make Padfoot 9 1/2" Katie filled this in.
"What does this mean: 'Is your pet intact"? Katie eyed Padfoot.
Liz blushed. "I think that's asking whether or not he's been…you
Katie grinned wickedly "Well, then. Has he?"
"Oh, you are positively awful! Of course he hasn't!"
Liz assured Katie. "No…not remotely."
Their giggles were interrupted suddenly when the door to the room was
opened and a short stout balding man with glasses appeared. "Hello.
I'm Dr. MacCarron. New patient? What seems to be the problem?"
"He seems to have a bit of a cold." Liz offered.
As if to prove this, Padfoot coughed mightily. The vet looked at him
with a bit of a grimace, then motioned for Liz and Katie to move Padfoot
up onto the exam table. The ice cold exam table, Liz noted..
Padfoot clambered up and sat down carefully on the slick steal surface,
then glared at both of the women over his shoulder before Dr. McCarron
took hold of him with the strong authority of one accustomed to dogs and
pulled him round to start examining him.
The vet was going carefully over Padfoot from nose to tail. "Hmmm,
yes I see. Is he around other dogs, then?"
"No. Not normally anyway. He was picked up by the dog catcher last
The vet clucked disapprovingly. "Running loose, was he?"
Liz bristled slightly. "Well, he does have rather a mind of his
own you know."
The vet peered into Padfoot's ears and shined a light into each of his
eyes. "Looks to be in excellent shape for a dog of 9. Are you sure
of his age?"
"Um, well, isn't it four dog years to every human year? He is 38
in human years." Liz offered.
The vet gave her an odd look, but said simply "Well no, not strictly
speaking. It's more like 7 years with dogs. You are thinking in cat years.
Not that either measure is particularly accurate." The vet pondered
briefly asking how it was Liz knew how the dog was 38 in human years,
but decided not to even touch it. "This fellow is about middle aged.
Not geriatric, mind you, but he's no pup. What do you feed him?"
Liz shrugged. "Pretty much what we eat".
The vet scowled. "Human food isn't a proper diet for a dog you know.
He appears to be just a tad overweight." He prodded Padfoot's ribs
disapprovingly. Padfoot growled indignantly. "He'll get fat if you
don't watch it. When did he last have his shots?".
Katie and Liz exchanged blank glances. "Um. I don't know. My husband
just brought him home a couple of years ago. I don't know what shots he
might have had before that" Katie offered truthfully.
"Not been neutered…Running loose, was he? Do you ladies have any
idea how many unwanted pups are born here each year? Irresponsible pet
owners. Fail to keep their animals properly restrained. Fail to get them
neutered." He shook his head disapprovingly. "I can assure you
that the neutering will not change his personality a bit. Nor will he
put on weight. If you feed him properly. You surely don't plan on breeding
him do you?"
Katie looked to Liz to answer this one. Liz turned crimson. "Um,
actually, we haven't really discussed that in too much detail just yet."
"Shall I schedule him for a snip then?" asked the vet matter-of-factly.
"Um, thank you, but I don't think he'd like that." Liz pretended
to cough lightly behind her hand and inwardly marveled at Katie's ability
to remain stone-faced while conversing with this man.
The vet gave them a disapproving glower over the top of his glasses.
"You really should think about this. Here you have a large mutt.
He's not suitable for breeding purposes."
Padfoot growled softly.
"And certainly", the vet continued rather pointedly, "neutering
him would make him less aggressive and more manageable".
"I appreciate your concerns. We will consider the, um, option,"
replied Katie, quite firmly establishing that nothing of that sort would
be happening today.
"Well," the vet said finally, "he appears to have a case
of kennel cough. It's quite treatable with rest and antibiotics. And avoidable,
I might add, with a proper round of vaccinations, which he should have
every year." He gave Liz and Katie a long hard look over the top
of his glasses. "If you will excuse me, I will return shortly with
Katie and Liz looked at one another after the door closed and burst once
more into fits of nervous giggles. Padfoot growled low and menacingly.
When this had no effect, he barked at them, which only set him to coughing
again. But he did manage to more or less silence Liz and Katie into quiet
shaking fits of stifled laughter, as they tried hopelessly to gain control.
The door opened and Dr. McCarron returned. He had a tray with three syringes
and a bottle of pills. Katie and Liz stopped laughing immediately.
"What's all this for?" asked Katie, somewhat apprehensively.
Antibiotics were largely of standard manufacture, but Katie had not considered
the possibility that Padfoot might receive vaccinations.
"The standard workup: Rabies, parvo, canine distemper," answered
Dr. McCarron as he slipped the protective cap off of one rather large
"Is all this really necessary?" asked Liz
Padfoot whimpered slightly.
The vet appeared annoyed. "Ladies, it is the LAW". He grabbed
the scruff of Padfoots neck and swiftly injected the contents of the first
syringe into the large black dog, who gave a startled yelp.
Katie and Liz stated wide-eyed. "Are you sure…" Katie swallowed.
"they are quite safe?"
The vet appeared annoyed at first, but returned Katie's gaze evenly.
"Yes. They are quite safe. I promise."
Katie looked rather helplessly at Liz, who shrugged and stroked Padfoot's
head soothingly. "It's okay, Padfoot. This won't hurt. Much."
Padfoot glared balefully at Liz and Katie, but took the remaining two
shots without a sound.
"Now, have either of you ever "pilled" a dog before?"
"I beg your pardon?" Liz asked blankly.
"Have you ever given a pill to a dog before? Do you know how to
get him to take the medication?"
Katie bit back the urge to tell the vet that she would normally just
hand him the pill and a glass of water, and instead said sweetly, "I'm
sure I can manage."
"Well, I will just give him one now, and you will need to give him
another tonight. Thereafter, follow the instructions on the bottle."
The vet swiftly grabbed Padfoot by the snout and pried open his mouth
expertly, popping a pink pill onto the back of Padfoodt's tongue. He held
Padfoots muzzle closed and spoke soothingly to the dog, who looked patently
horrified, but did eventually swallow the pill.
The doctor released his grip. "There's a good boy…you earned a treat!"
the doctor said genially. He offered a biscuit from one of his pockets,
which Padfoot rather sullenly refused.
They paid the bill and left the office. Once in the car, Katie and Liz
lost it completely, and it was some minutes before Katie could stop laughing
long enough to get the key in the ignition of the car.
For his part, Padfoot refused to transform back and sulked all the way