I was reading OoTP again tonight, and I came to the part where Remus and Sirius give Harry a joint Christmas present: books about Defence Against The Dark Arts. And I got to wondering how on earth they came to the decision to buy those. And then I remembered seeing somebody comment on this, somewhere...
I intended this to be short, an attempt to scourge my brain of this angsty werewolf, but it...um...grew in the telling, shall I say. It is short still, but not as short as I'd meant it to be, and it's not the piece of pure angst that's been haunting me for days. For the most part it's pretty angstless. Never mind. it's slight Remus/Sirius; there are some spoilers for OoTP. I've never written in HP fandom before, so if the tone is all wrong I apologise!
Title: Tea Leaves
Author: Janette Le Fay
Disclaimer: The characters are all Rowling's. What I did with them is my own.
Warnings: None...well, slight angst.
"Schoolbooks?" Sirius's face was a study in disgusted incredulity, one eyebrow raised and his lips curling at the corners. "Schoolbooks for Christmas? For Merlin's sake, Moony; I know you're a teacher, but I thought you were a Marauder too!"
Lupin sighed and closed his eyes, rubbing at the bridge of his nose. "Sirius. Enjoyable as Quidditch may be, a set of books on the subject will hardly be any use in an encounter with a Death Eater. Harry's going to need all the practical help he can get in that area, what with that woman teaching Defence. It's not as if he doesn't enjoy the subject."
Sirius looked entirely unconvinced. "I can see where you're coming from, Remus, but...for Christmas?"
Lupin shrugged. "Why not? And they're not schoolbooks anyway. They're very interesting." He smiled wanly. "And as for giving them at Christmas - I can't really afford to stretch my means more than once a year, can I?"
Sirius frowned slightly. "I'll pay for them, Moony. He's my godson."
"Yes, well." Lupin reached past Sirius to retrieve his tea from the side-table. "I can't let you put my name to it if I haven't contributed."
"You have contributed! You're my advisor."
Lupin chuckled. "I just think that he's had quite enough mischief-making devices from you, Padfoot."
"Where, oh where would I be without you?" Sirius lamented sarcastically into his teacup.
"Eating baked beans out of the tin with that penknife James gave you in fourth year," Lupin suggested airily as he stirred his tea.
Sirius swiped him across the head with his free hand. "Cheeky git."
Lupin smiled. "Thanks."
Sirius, who was now agitating the dregs of his tea with half a biscuit, made no reply. Lupin glanced at the biscuit, and then up to Sirius's face. "Are you going to eat that?"
"At some point," Sirius replied, still swirling the half-inch of tea about the bottom of the cup. "I'm reading the leaves, Moony."
Lupin groaned. "Not that again!" He sighed. "Come on, then, what do you see?"
Sirius screwed up his face in mock concentration. "I see...that you are going to die, my dear Moony, and that it will be soon, and dark, and terrible!" He snorted. "But before that, you're going to go and buy Harry those books, whatever I say about it."
Lupin snatched the cup. "Well, let's see what it says about you, shall we?" He narrowed his eyes until they showed only as slender crescents of hazel-gold in his thin face, still slowly agitating the teacup with one hand. "It says..." He peered at the meandering cracks on the bottom of the cup, chewing at his lip to suppress a chuckle that threatened to destroy the act. "Oh, Sirius...I'm so sorry...it seems...you're going to die, my friend."
Sirius leaned forward in his chair, feigning concern. "And will it be soon?"
"Oh, very soon," Lupin continued monotonously. "But fear not, for it will be swift, and in that you are lucky. Swift...and soon...and dark..."
"I already said dark," Sirius commented, taking the cup back and retrieving the sodden remains of his biscuit. "You're copying my act."
Lupin smiled. "Sorry." He nudged Sirius's knee with his own. "So you've resigned yourself to buying those books, then?"
Sirius sighed. "Yes, I suppose. You know best."
"Finally, the message sinks in."
Sirius chuckled, and tangled a hand in Lupin's greying hair, and the remnants of the tea filtered between their fingers, forgotten.
Lupin drew his fingertips near-reverently across the stick-shiny surface of the photograph, Sirius's face beaming back at him. Last Christmas; Sirius and the kids clustered together beneath the enormous Christmas tree, bright-eyed and waving. Lupin stared blearily at it for a moment before slowly lowering it, and then, beneath it, was another; a photograph taken by one or other of the Weasley twins for a lark.
Sirius wasn't smiling out of this photograph, namely because he was asleep. He was curled up on the long settee in the front room, sparks of tinsel strewn in his dark hair. Lupin was tangled loosely in Sirius's arms, one hand dangling limply over the edge of the sofa and the fingers of the other entwined with Sirius's. Some bright spark had managed to tie a rather elaborate bow of salvaged ribbon about both their wrists. The only movement was the slow waft of the tinsel in Sirius's hair, rippling like coral when he breathed.
Lupin smiled wistfully as he replaced the photograph carefully in its packet. Swift...and soon...and dark... Tears welled then, his vision fading and blurring together; briskly he dashed at his eyes with the sleeve of his robe.
He'd always hated Divination.
And now hopefully I can get back to my fandom. Fandom Majori. *scurries*.