Let's Call This Whole Day Off
Harry Potter ; Remus/Sirius ; PG ; 900 words
In which Remus has research fatigue, Sirius gets into a fight, and sleep is a long-overdue luxury.
The last of their supply of candles were burning down as Remus reached for yet another yellowing file. He picked up his mug, taking a long sip before realising that the tea inside had gone cold long ago. "God," he muttered, swallowing with a grimace.
He opened the report, scanning scratchy quill marks in a mish-mash of hands looking for any indication of unexplained money changing hands, sightings of dubious characters in adjacent places, anything at all that could give advance warning of what the other side were thinking, what their next move might be. Remus was trawling through records from a contact in Gringotts, eye-witness interviews, even Muggle police reports. His head was spinning, and every time he shut his eyes he just saw an endless list of dates and names and places.
Rubbing his eyes furiously with the heel of a hand, he picked up his quill once again and dipped it into the inkpot.
10th November, around sunset. Lucius Malfoy seen outside Granville Crescent - last known whereabouts of Rodolphus Lestrange. Poss. some kind of base/HQ?
Remus' hand hovered over the parchment, head drooping too much to write more.
Then someone was moving beside him, and Remus blinked, looking up to see Sirius performing some sort of intricate manoeuvre with stacks of paper. He cleared space until there was room for a new mug that steamed gently like a pre-Christmas miracle.
"I-- what?" Remus asked. "You weren't here. Before." Advanced sentence construction had taken its leave a few hours previously.
Sirius laughed. "Hello yourself. Just drink the tea."
Remus grabbed it like a marooned sailor grasping for fresh water, the hot, sweet burn going down his throat and awakening a dormant sensation of feeling faintly human. "Oh wow," he said. "That's -- thank you."
"You look a state," Sirius said by way of reply.
Remus grinned ruefully at that, then he looked at Sirius properly. "Merlin, so do you, what happened?"
There were slashes running along Sirius' cheek, and a jagged cut that ran down his throat and disappeared beneath his robes. Sirius hissed a little as he readjusted his shoulders. "Ran into a little trouble on the way back from Dumbledore's, but nothing to worry about - you should see the other guy."
"Sirius, are you--"
Sirius waved him off. "I'm fine, I'm okay. Alice patched me up a bit before she took off, said the damage was mostly cosmetic anyway. Which, you know, is a terrible tragedy and everything, but it'll all heal up all right."
Remus laughed, though it wasn't funny at all.
"You, on the other hand," Sirius breezed on, "have clearly been entangled in a battle of epic proportions."
"Yeah, you think NEWTs were bad - a run in with some Death Eaters would have been a nice break from this horror."
"Looks like you've got some good leads, though," Sirius said, peering over Remus' shoulder.
"We can only hope. I've just got to follow up on--"
"No, you don't." Sirius clasped Remus' shoulder. "It's officially stupid o'clock now, we're going home."
"Oh believe me, I will body-bind you and sling you over my shoulder if I have to."
Remus glared at him. "You'd never take me."
Sirius scoffed. "Yeah, you keep thinking that. More to the point, I don't want to be the one that has to dig your corpse out of a stack of property reports in a week, so come on already."
Sirius looked about to haul him up bodily, so Remus sighed in defeat and stood up. "We'll have to walk," he said, "I'm in no position to Apparate myself in one piece."
"Nah, I've got you." Sirius pulled Remus against him, hissing as he made contact with his shoulder.
Remus attempted to pull away at that. "You said you were fine."
"I am, it just -- ah -- smarts a little. Right then, homeward bound, you ready?"
Before Remus had a chance to reply, they were off, exchanging musty filing cabinets for a table and chairs and moth-nibbled sofa that Sirius sagged against as they appeared.
"Ugh," he said, looking suddenly drained.
"Uh," Remus agreed, his brain still entirely shorted out.
Between them, they somehow managed to function, Sirius giving instructions on matters such as locking the front door and no, try not to walk into that doorframe while Remus steered him into the bedroom. They lay down clumsily, tugging off the reminders of the day in haphazard, tired movements.
Remus let his head fall back against pillows, his wand clattering to the floor as his whole body sagged, a tension released that he didn't know he'd been holding. Sirius groaned next to him, a mixed sound of discomfort and relief Remus could relate to.
"Are you holding up okay, do you need--"
"Sleep," came Sirius' drawled out reply. "Sleeeep."
"Bad day," Remus muttered, his eyes closing inexorably.
"Yeah," Sirius agreed.
Outside, the wind in the night was whipping up an icy storm, the brunt of November hitting London with full force. Remus listened to it idly as sleep began to creep over him, wondering how exactly he was going to wake up again in a few hours.
A slow exhale by his side, then Sirius reached out, fumbling for his hand. That was better, the warm point of contact, their fingers entangled and their palms pressed together.
"Sleep," Sirius said again, grateful and prompting.
Remus smiled slightly as the wind howled on and Sirius curled in closer. "Yeah, sleep," he murmured, already halfway to oblivion.