autumn stories: 1974 (year 4), curses, G

My "First Hogsmeade Weekend" entry for scarvesnhats Day 8. Very G rated. In which people suffer from curses. Third year. (A/N: The tin is of Ryukakusan (a real medicine), good for the throat. It can explode, and is nasty.)

“I don’t know why it bothers you so much,” Remus said through a vigorous mouthful of toothpaste, which dripped every now and then onto his already spotted pyjama shirt.

“Oh, well, you wouldn't,” Sirius said in two or three or possibly seven octaves, ending on a squeak. He glared at Remus, who had been tricking him into talking all week long by simply carrying on as if Sirius weren't cursed. It was easy to not talk to James and Peter, who regarded his personal tragedy as a cornucopia of amusement.

But Remus' laughter had always been out of sync with the rest of the world. When Sirius's voice suddenly shattered glass clear on the other side of the common room it didn’t earn a blink. Stupid, unfunny things, however, things like the Toujours pur-crested socks Sirius had gotten on his birthday, had him lying on the floor wracked with inexplicable mirth. It was maddening.

Sirius looked sidelong at Remus, who was examining his tongue in the mirror with crossed eyes.

“Da wa-ah,” Remus said encouragingly.

Sirius woke up icy cold because his blankets had fallen on the floor. His numbed fingers knocked over the jar of acorns that he’d spent four days filling, and the floor was carpeted with shattered glass, treacherous acorns, and lots of little white worms. By the time he made it to the Great Hall there was nothing left for breakfast but unripe persimmons and sooty chestnuts. (Actually, there was a platter of pumpkin-buttered toast in front of the seventh-years, but after last week’s Plum Pudding Prefection Incident, he was lying low.)

When he returned to the dorm he discovered he had two horrible spots. Even after the hurried application of one of Narcissa's vanity charms his nose looked oddly red. He picked up his boots by their knotty laces and let them dangle from his hand.

“Come on,” James said. He had been acquiring new nervous tics in wholesale quantities as the first Hogsmeade weekend approached, and now, on the very morning, he was incapable of staying still. He swung the door back and forth between his hands and feet, looking for all the world like a wind-up monkey. “Let’s go.”

Sirius swung his boots in a slow arc. “Might not go,” he muttered (tried to mutter), and heard Peter snort in laughter.

Remus rummaged through his trunk. His robes, the same ones he'd had when he started school twenty centimetres ago, were already almost to his knees, but it never seemed to embarrass him, being a walking advertisement for the Underfed Beanpole Association. Sirius hated growing up.

“Here,” Remus said, and handed him a battered tin with a picture of a pink dragon and Chinese characters printed over it in green. “Put a pinch under your tongue, it's good.”

“Is that some kind of werewolf medicine?” Peter asked, sharply. Remus gave him a look that was too bland.

“It’s not poisonous, it’s for… troubles,” Remus said, but the fact of Peter’s disapproval already had Sirius dipping into the tin, taking out a pinch of the fine white powder.

He was unprepared for the explosive sneeze. White powder shot from his nose, mouth, and ears, leaving his head in a kind of personal fog.

Under your tongue,” Remus repeated, not even laughing at this, although Peter and James were staggering about in absolute fits of hilarity, crying on each other. “Just let it dissolve.”

“Nathty,” he said to Remus as they raced down the stairs, Sirius’ boots swinging like a mace and his socks not remotely pur any more. He was looking forward to having the time of his life in Hogsmeade. He glanced back: James and Peter were gaining ground, swearing loudly and threatening to gore both of them with their horns.

“Medicine’s not effective if it’s not nasty,” Remus said.

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