The Sugar Quill
Author: Thing1 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Soupmaker's Apprentice  Chapter: Default
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Remus had not been in a good mood when he had gone to bed the evening before. He was firmly convinced he was coming down with a cold, but Katie seemed both skeptical of his diagnosis and unsympathetic to the mere idea that he might be ill. Usually Katie was more sympathetic in her bedside manner, but Remus knew he was still getting the edge of her extreme annoyance to having arrived home that afternoon to discover that not only had he and Sirius had another lengthy snowball fight, they had for some ‘reason unknown even to the greatest minds of our generation or any other’ brought it into the parlour. That had been Sirius’ fault of course, but both of them were in for it.

The comment “if you have gone and given yourself a flu from acting like a deranged teenager, you bloody well deserve it,” uttered in a mumbly tone as she snuggled up to him and promptly fell asleep did absolutely nothing to soothe Remus. When he awoke the next morning, alone in the bed and in the middle of a sneezing fit, he felt only a moment’s vindication in being proven right. Then Remus just felt miserable, stuffy, and rather sorry for himself.

“Katie?” No response.

“KATIE?!”

At this, his son’s owl swooped in through the open doorway, landed lightly on his chest and handed Remus a note. The bird then gave him a cold look and hopped to the opposite side of the bed, ruffling his feathers indignantly as Remus sneezed violently.

“Sorry, Boinn,” he sniffled, even as he unfolded the note.

Remus-Love –
You looked a little peaky when I left, so I didn’t want to wake you & left you to sleep. There is tea and potions for you in the kitchen; I’ll be back sometime this afternoon. If you have woken up with a cold, please do be sensible and just drink your potions.
I love you & I’ll be here as soon as I can-
K.

What is the point of being married to a healer if she’s not about when I need healing? He grumbled to himself as he shrugged on his thick red robe and moved in a creaky fashion towards the bathroom. But Remus sighed and smiled to himself as he passed a picture of Katie on the dresser, and even reached out to give it a small pat. The image in the picture gave him a radiant smile and winked.

Remus couldn’t muster the energy a shower required at that moment, so he opted to simply grab a handful of tissues and stumble down to the kitchen to see what Katie had left for him to treat his cold with. Boinn followed him and sat glaring at the window until he opened the window to let her out. Only after she sailed off did it occur to him that he had sent her off without a note for Malcolm. Drat.

Now he turned to look at what his wife had left for him, and as his gaze fell on the table he audibly groaned. There sat a tin of chamomile tea, a plate with several small piles of herbs and other assorted dry ingredients, a spoon and a green bottle. Not just any green bottle, the green bottle in which Katie kept her endless supply of the dreaded Pepper-Up potion. Remus loathed few things as much as this particular tonic, and felt his jaw tighten even as his brain said ‘no bloody way am I taking that’. There was another note from his wife sitting looking very innocent next to the green bottle. Remus knew from what was soon to be twenty years of marriage that the note would be anything but innocent, but had enough sense left in his head to grin sheepishly as he picked it up and read it.

Remus –
I repeat my previous admonition and tell you to just drink the Pepper-Up. I know you dislike it sweetheart but it really is for the best. If you simply cannot face this, then take that plate and empty the contents into the cauldron of boiling water at the small fire there and stir slowly by hand for thirty minutes. Not one minute less or more.
Honestly, love; did you give your mum this much trouble?
K.

Remus looked at the plate, then defiantly picked it up and marched over to the smallest fireplace where a cauldron was indeed boiling water. No doubt Katie expected he would simply balk at the idea of having to stand there stirring for a half an hour and drink the Pepper-Up. And there was no point of dragging his mother into this; besides, she had understood how much he hated that noxious stuff and had….

Remus stopped himself from emptying the plate into the cauldron and smiled as he looked into the slowly rolling water. True, there were times when he was bad enough off that his mother had demanded he drink the Pepper-Up, but for the most part, she tended to have a standard response to colds in her house. A simple, easy, and tasty one. Chicken noodle soup; wonderful, lovely, old Welsh recipe handed down for generations chicken noodle soup. And it can take care of itself!

Remus sneezed once more, ending this time in a rasping cough as well. He managed to move the plate away from his face in time to only blow about half of the ingredients into the air. The scent of the potion contents was enough to remove any doubts he now had as to whether this were truly his best option. Pulling his wand from his pocket he sent the plate and the remainder of its contents into the sink. Remus then wandered into the pantry and collected the ingredients he would need. He even hummed in a dry and scratchy voice as he removed the preserving charms from the half a chicken they had left over from dinner two days ago.

Once he had his soup contents prepared, he laid them out in a small circle around the spoon, lifted his wand, and said his mother’s old family soup spell.

Stir, stir onward!
Spices many,
Spare not any
Broth boiling,
Ever steaming fully upward

Toward the tureen in current roiling!

The spoon rose from the table and seemed to stand at attention for a moment, before a pair of tiny arms appeared on the handle with a faint popping sound. A pair of miniature wings followed after a moment, and the spoon gave a few experimental flaps with its new appendages, then soared over to the counter to collect a ladle from the collection of cooking implements kept there. Returning to the table and wielding the ladle rather like a wizard might move a wand to cast a spell, the spoon drew the ingredients into the air after it, and led them to the cauldron. It lowered the ladle into the boiling water and started to stir in a lazy fashion, bringing the ingredients into the pot slowly one by one so as not to splash. Remus saw the last of the noodles vanish into the water, then happily retrieved a large soup bowl from the cupboard. He placed this on the table directly across from the tureen and muttered a modified inhero charm directed at the spoon. The spoon stopped its stirring for a moment and twinkled a bit as the charm took effect, then resumed its task.

Pleased with having come up with such a satisfactory substitute to both of the potions his wife had tried to pour down his throat against his better judgement, Remus shuffled off to the front room, blowing his nose loudly. He collapsed there on the couch and managed to charm the radio on softly before he simply decided to lie as still as possible and wait for his soup to be ready.

After a bit, Remus was roused from the light doze he had fallen into by a sharp ‘clink-clink-clink’ sound. He opened one eye to see that the spoon had filled the bowl he had left for it with the wonderful looking soup. Remus shifted to sit up, and accepted the bowl from the spoon. He then took the spoon in hand and cheerfully ate the soup as he listened to a Muggle News programme. Oddly enough, there was an ‘in-depth report’ on the flu season. Apparently Muggles and their medicines were just as unlucky in preventing colds.

Once Remus finished the soup he released the spoon back in the air, and handed it the bowl. The spoon sailed out of the room with the bowl, leaving Remus to feel slightly better and certainly less grumbly in the tummy. He was debating between lying down and going to sleep again on the couch or dragging himself upstairs to fall asleep in his bed when the spoon returned with another full bowl of soup. Remus regarded the refilled bowl with a surprised eyebrow, but decided another bowl would actually be rather nice. He finished the second bowl in the same fashion as the first, and once more sent the spoon off to the kitchen with the empty bowl.

This time Remus did lie down and close his eyes. But no sooner had he started to drift off, when he once more heard a sharp ‘clink-clink-clink’ next to his ear. Opening one eye in annoyance, Remus confirmed that the spoon had returned once more with another full bowl of soup. Inhero charm seems a little off, he thought to himself. However, rather than remove the charm he simply reached out and took the bowl from the spoon, and set it on the table. The spoon, as he had expected, simply hovered there and was obviously waiting for him to finish the bowl so it could refill the order once more. Remus decided to beat it at its own game, and once more closed his eyes to sleep. No empty bowl, nothing to do. Will deal with spoon later. After one finally volley of sneezes, Remus dozed off once more.

This nap was proceeding unhindered for a while until Remus’ subconscious was certain it had heard a faint sound, like something being placed on a wooden surface. Is Katie back? Remus decided she couldn’t possibly be, for if the dull thud had been Katie placing things on her kitchen table, she would surely have come into the front room soon after, to admonish him for not taking the Pepper-Up if nothing else. But this was not the case. Just as Remus drifted almost completely into sleep, assuming that the noise was something from the radio, he heard it again. This time, still unwilling to get up, Remus’ subconscious pointed out that obviously that was one of the owls playing with something again.

And that would have satisfied Remus Lupin and left him to finally sink into sleep, had not the next incongruous noise to invade his nap been a loud crash such as was associated with china meeting a floor. It was a sound any parent both knew well and was programmed to respond to instantly. Sitting up and swinging his feet off of the couch, Remus gasped both in shock and slight pain as his left foot came down on what was unmistakably shards of a bit of broken crockery and something hot, wet and rather noodly.

Remus was stunned to see that his foot was firmly planted on a broken bowl and a large puddle of soup. Even more startling, the coffee table next to the couch was now completely covered with bowls of soup. It took Remus a moment to guess what was happening, just as the spoon flew back into the front room with a fresh steaming bowl, and moved to deliver it to the coffee table. Remus immediately saw that this was not going to be successful; indeed, the table was now full, and the crash that had awakened him was the result of one of the bowls at the front being shoved off as a new bowl was placed onto the back of the table. This was confirmed as a second bowl moved forward and teetered over the edge. This one caught enough of the carpet that is did not shatter, but chicken noodle soup spread over a large area next to the previous spill, and sunk into the carpet quickly.

Swearing loudly, Remus jumped up and grabbed his wand. Apparently the spoon was not to be put off from its appointed rounds simply by being ignored. Much to his horror, Remus saw that the spoon had run out of their everyday dinnerware and was now filling the bowls from the antique china Katie’s grandmother had left them. Hideous though it was, it was not something Remus could allow a poorly charmed spoon to destroy. Raising his wand, Remus took action quickly.

Unfortunately, he chose the moment he was attempting to cast the Desisto! spell to deploy another mighty sneeze.

Remus was never able to decide exactly what spell was heard as his words were twisted around his paroxysm, but the effects were immediate. A blue stream of sparks flew from his wand and blasted the offending spoon into slivers of its former self. Remus stood there and watched these fragments flutter down towards the floor, disappearing silently from view behind the second couch. Though he hadn’t intended for quite such a dramatic effect, Remus had to admit that at least the crockery was safe and the soup deliveries were over. To say a wizard gifted in the art of expecting the unexpected should have known better would be an understatement.

Remus took his time over cleaning up the carpet and restoring the broken bowl. While repairing the bowl, he was forced to hesitate as he fired off three sneezes in rapid succcession. Groaning, Remus rubbed at his eyes for a moment and straightened back up to sit on the couch for a moment. In doing this he glanced over towards the door. Did it seem to have been opened a little further than he left it? Remus couldn’t be sure, and so he sniffled again as he returned to the task of cleaning up. But as he stood and stepped around the couch to go and collect a book on removing household stains, he froze and stared at the empty space behind the couch. The space where Remus was certain the pieces of the destroyed spoon had fallen….

Remus did not have much time to consider what had happened of the pieces of the spoon, as it became evident in the next instant. Before he could investigate anything further, Remus looked up to see another spoon flapping towards him with another bowl of soup. A second spoon with a second bowl following closely. Dodging them, Remus quickly moved into the hallway, making his way towards the kitchen. He was now actively ducking and weaving to avoid being hit by flying bowls of scalding soup escorted by spoons. The spoons were not taking well to being ignored. They all followed him closely, forming an enchanted and aromatic conga-line behind Remus as he ran into the kitchen.

The kitchen was pure bedlam. Spoons flew in all directions, filling cauldrons with ingredients, dragging out cups and mugs and mixing bowls and anything else they could find to contain liquid. It had reached such a point that Remus could now actually smell the contrasting scents in the air through his flu; no longer did the calm smell of simple chicken noodle fill the space, but a confusion of aromas that matched the frenzy of the implements was now evident. Having run out of chicken, the spoons had started brewing any number of soups. Mushroom, rice, Shaker Potato, beef noodle, vegetable, tomato, minestrone and clam chowder were just the ones he was able to identify pelting at him.

The cloud of objects swirling around Remus began to grow; he tried to think of the best means of controlling the situation, but kept getting distracted as steaming soup was sloshed on him, and spoons kept clipping his ear and bowls kept banging into his legs. The noise level grew and grew as the spoons clanked more and more insistently on their soup containers, telling him to take their offerings. They seemed almost offended that he refused to do so.

Remus was making a determined effort not to actively panic as the situation grew more absurd by the second. It was only when he noticed that containers were starting to smash into each other in their eagerness to get to him and witnessed two of the hideous pink-with-brown-roses antique china bowls essentially disintegrate in a shower of what looked like split-pea soup that he decided panicking might in fact be an acceptable option. He reached out quickly to grab at the remaining heirloom pieces as he saw them in the crowd, soaking himself with soup and enraging the spoon escorts by ignoring their offerings. The disembowled spoons moved on from circling him in a mad frenzy to diving at him and rapping him on the head once they determined he was not going to be releasing the bowls anytime soon.

Remus had reached the point where he was wondering how hard people would laugh to learn that he was ultimately done in by a swarm of outraged spoons, when he saw a bright flash and heard a loud shout over the din.

IMOBLIUS!”

Everything froze for a second, and then came crashing to the slate floor of the kitchen. Remus winced in pain as the sound shot through his fevered head, and he instinctively raised his hands to cover his ears and squeezed his eyes tight shut. After several seconds of silence, he carefully opened his eyes, and slowly turned to look over his shoulder.

Katie stood in the doorway, left hand on her hip, right hand idly twirling her wand. Remus lowered his hands and straightened as best he could before working up the nerve to look her in the eye. She raised an eyebrow at him.

“I ...um,” Remus cleared his throat carefully. “I decided to make a little soup, Katie-love.”

“Did you now? How was it?”

“Well, lovely actually. But there seems to have been a …cooking accident…as you can see.”

Cooking accident? That’s how you would explain this, would you?” Katie tried to sound grave, but Remus could hear the laughter in her voice anyway, and there was no mistaking the twinkle in her eye. Remus decided to push his luck to determine if she really that cross.

“Yes. The crockery and cutlery seem unable to manage simple instruction.”

Katie did smile rather dangerously at this and clasping her hands behind her back, she walked carefully over the remains of the ‘cooking accident’ to stand very close to her husband and look him directly in the eye.

“You just couldn’t drink the potion, could you?”

Remus opted for the high road. “No.”

Katie looked around the battlefield with a long, all encompassing stare. Her eyes fell on some shattered pieces of the dreaded antique china. Her smile faded and she gave Remus a very stern look.

“Remus, that is…it was… a full and undamaged set of china. You know it will never be the same once I fix it!”

Remus nodded a little morosely, then held out the few bowls he still held in his hands for her to glance at before he carefully placed them on the table. He started to say something, but opted for only giving her a sorry look that begged apology.

Katie nodded, then after being able to resist for only so long, burst out laughing. Remus watched her with a rather sheepish look as she roared with amusement, shaking her head and wiping away tears even as she surveyed the disaster made of her work areas. After a long moment, she stopped laughing long enough to wrap her arms around him and give him a kiss.

“Never a dull moment, with you Remus. Thank you for that.”

Remus tried to act dignified. “You shouldn’t do that, my dear. You’ll end up with my cold. Of course, that might just serve you right, laughing at a man when he is down.”

Katie waited exactly four beats before turning from him and raising her wand in preparation for cleaning up the mess before saying matter-of-factly, “Well, if I do you’ll just have to make me some soup, will you not?”

//
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