Harry Potter, Crown of Laurel

Title: Crown of Laurel [Remus/Sirius]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for drunken revelry
Summary: Somehow, Remus doesn’t think that using a Time Turner to research Ovid is really what McGonagall had in mind by ‘creative research.’
AN: Written for juleskicks for the 2005 Shacking_Up secret santa exchange. Well, you asked for Remus and Sirius’ Excellent Adventure, and you got it. When whole sentences are italicized, the speaker is speaking in Latin.

Crown of Laurel

“Remus,” Sirius said, “we are destined to fail most egregiously.”

“YOU are destined to fail most egregiously!” Remus snapped back, peevishly yanking more of the Invisibility Cloak over his shoulders. “I didn’t fail anything!”

“Then why are you on detention with me?” Sirius gave a smug grin.

“Because you are a nitwit,” Remus answered, “and also because you cheated off my history exam so heinously and atrociously that even Binns caught you at it!”

“You, my dear Moony, are a bad sport,” Sirius announced, leaning out around the corner to peer down the corridor just a little farther. Remus, like any good Englishman, drew himself up to full height and punched Sirius in the shoulder. Sirius was unphased. “I always let you copy off my crystal ball in Divination.”

“We were crystal ball partners!” Remus snarled.

“Oi, hush up, you’ll get us caught,” Sirius hissed, making Remus bristle with rage. “All right, let’s go! And no stepping on my feet this time.”

“Your little peabrain cannot even fathom,” Remus muttered as they crept down the hallway, shuffling as quickly as two 16-year-olds could under a single cloak, “how very badly I want to murder you.”

They stopped in front of the Defense Against the Dark Arts practice room door and Sirius reached up to yank on the heavy, iron handle. The door didn’t budge.

“Ah well!” Remus exclaimed, taking hold of Sirius’ arm to drag him off. “Locked up tight! No chance of breaking in, better get back to bed!”

“Geroff.” Sirius shook Remus off and pointed his wand at the door, muttering a string of unlocking spells.

“Oh honestly,” Remus sighed, “you don’t think they might have thought of that? You may as well stroll right up and say ‘open sesame!’ ”

The door creaked open obligingly, letting out a draft over a startled Remus and a self-satisfied Sirius.

“Good lord, I love our professors,” Sirius grinned, waving Moony forward.

“Sirius, we really shouldn’t,” Remus dug his heels in as Sirius snatched at his sleeve and tried to drag him across the threshold. “I’m sure they can tell if somebody has taken the Time Turners out for a 2,000 year spin, don’t you think?”

“Have you got a better way to find out 36 inches worth of facts about this Ovid bloke before morning?” Sirius asked, tugging Remus harder. “Seeing as we can’t go to the library, and just for the record, that has to be the ponciest punishment in the history of ponce!”

“Sod off,” Remus grumbled, letting himself be dragged across the threshold.

“Besides,” Sirius continued as they tugged the cloak off and trotted up to the front desk of the room, where there were three foot-tall Time Turners under glass covers. The sand inside each of them gave off an iridescent glow in the dim light that made Remus shiver. “Don’t you think it’s a bit of a coincidence that there are Century Turners here on the very day McGonagall tells us to be creative about research? It’s like she’s giving us a free pass!”

“To hell,” Remus muttered, eyeing the Turners with suspicion. Sirius was already removing the cover from one and lifting it off the table.

“Heavy bugger,” he grunted. “Here, be a lad and take a corner.”

“It’s your magical mystery tour, you hold it,” Remus replied, reaching over to flip the chain over Sirius’ head, then dropping it over his own with a sigh. He leaned over to read the little card lying in front of the Turners, and Sirius tugged at him with the chain.

“Will you come on?” he said, shifting the unwieldy artifact in his hands.

“I’m reading the directions!” Remus retorted. “I’m not using something that could send me back to before they invented clothes without reading the directions!”

“You’re a great big girl,” Sirius announced, then smiled winningly when Remus turned towards him with a growl and adjusted some levers on the side of the Turner. “Oi, hurry it up, James would’ve had us to Rome and back again by now!”

“Then maybe you should have cheated off his exam,” Remus replied acidly, twiddling with one last dial. “All right, turn it two times.”

“Two?” Sirius grumbled, trying to brace the thing against his body and swivel the glass at the same time. “What kind of lackluster number is two? Moony, you have no romance in your–”

A sudden cosmic yank on Remus’ person cut off Sirius’ words and drove all the breath out of his lungs, and he squeezed his eyes shut to stop the whirling that was twisting his stomach inside out.

“-soul,” Sirius finished when they landed on pavement with a thump.

“Oh dear god, what is that smell?” Remus demanded, sagging against the building they were standing beside. After a moment of indecision, his stomach decided that no, the ride plus the stench was far past unacceptable, and all current cargo must be jettisoned.

“Rome,” Sirius said grandly, sucking in a chestful of air as though it were bracing, then promptly was sick right beside Remus.

“Bleah,” Remus said as he straightened up, running a hand over his clammy forehead. “I’m not anxious to repeat that ride.” He glanced around and realized that they were in a rather cramped alley in between two whitewashed buildings. The ruckus of people shouting and singing poured into the alley from all sides, and he caught glimpses of people in brightly dyed togas and plainer tunics hurrying past their hiding place in the fading afternoon light.

“Guess we better make like the locals then, eh?” Sirius said, eyeing his and Remus’ robes.

“Quite.” Remus pulled out his wand and muttered “Incognito!” and his robes rippled and snapped, and suddenly were a rather nondescript, white wool tunic.

“Boring!” Sirius announced, before giving a crisp “Deck the Halls!” When the cloud of glitter had settled, Sirius was admiring his dark green tunic and rich red toga with gold embroidery. “See? Seasonable and flattering!” Sirius shrank the Turner with a flick of his wand and tucked it into the pocket-fold in the front of his toga.

“Let’s just go,” Remus moaned, trotting to the end of the alley and peering around the corner. “How do you suppose we’re going to find this one man in a city of millions?”

“Excuse me!” Sirius had already advanced on a very pretty and clearly very rich young woman. “Might you know the way to Ovid’s house, gorgeous?”

Barbarus!” the girl exclaimed, and a very large, African slave appeared from thin air to loom over Sirius and bare his teeth. Sirius yelped, seized his toga in both hands and dashed to hide behind Remus.

“Honestly,” Remus muttered at him, “they speak Latin, you twit.” Dipping his head to the woman, who was still glaring, Remus asked in reasonable, if stiff, Latin if mayhap the lady might know the pathway to the door of Ovid, crafter of winged words?

Expression clearing slightly, the woman said something about foreign freedmen with a wrinkled nose, then directed Remus to a house several blocks over.

“Yo Saturnalia!” Remus called as an afterthought as the woman was moving on, and Sirius elbowed him in the ribs.

“On a first name basis already?” he glowered.

“No, you imbecile,” Remus kicked him in the gloriously appointed shin, “Saturnalia is the holiday. You may notice the houses bestrewn with evergreen boughs?”

“I thought they were just trying to cover up the smell,” Sirius shrugged. “You got directions right? Let’s just get going.”

The streets were filled with Romans, freeman, and slaves, all hollering “Yo Saturnalia!” at each other and trading brightly wrapped gifts. Remus didn’t linger to watch for very long, however, because having bare legs and sandals in an Italian winter was not Remus’ idea of a good time; grudgingly he admitted that Sirius’ costume, while totally ridiculous, did look a good deal warmer.

It was pretty easy to guess which home belonged to the poet of the imperial court when Remus and Sirius turned the corner and came face to face with a house ablaze with torchlight, cheers and music drifting outside through the high, narrow windows.

“So, er, do we have a plan?” Remus inquired, trailing along as Sirius strode up to the door, the lintel of which was practically sagging under the weight of the evergreen branches strapped to every available inch.

“Yes,” Sirius answered, pounding on the door. “I’m rich and you’re my slave.”

“That’s not a plan!” Remus snapped, but just then the door swung open, and man in a hideous pea-green tunic and pink sash grinned at them, cheeks pink from alcohol.

Who’s this, then?” he asked.

“Go on!” Sirius hissed, pushing Remus forward. “Tell him you’re my slave.”

My master inquires,” Remus sighed long-sufferingly, “whether this dwelling houses the wordsmith Ovid?

Ah, it does!” the man beamed down at them. “But I won’t be composing any more verses for anyone until after dinner, even your pretty young sir back there. Come, though, join the feast!

“What’d he say?” Sirius hissed as Remus failed miserably not to both gawk and blush. The man, apparently Ovid, waved them to follow him, the noise of the dining room pulsing out into the atrium as they crossed the marbled floor.

“He’s…” Remus pulled himself together, “he’s Ovid.”

“What?” Sirius eyed the man’s hideous fashion sense and thinning hair. “He is never! There’s no way he’s a wizard, and what’s he doing answering his own door?”

The answer hit Remus like a winebowl to the face when they entered the dining room.

I’m so sorry!” exclaimed the woman, dressed from head to toe in orange silk as she scooped it up off the floor. “It just slipped out of my hand!” She flashed a smile, then turned and handed the bowl to a much more shabbily dressed girl reclining on one of the couches.

“Of course!” Remus exclaimed. “On Saturnalia, slave and masters switch roles.” Remus shot a grin at Sirius. “How about fetching me a plate of mutton and some of the red, master?

“Oh fuck you,” Sirius said casually, slinging his toga end more firmly over one arm so that he could snag a cup of wine from a passing tray. He tossed back a good amount of it, and his whole face scrunched up. “WOW, Remus, try this stuff!”

“Sirius, you idiot,” Remus sniffed the cup, “this is pure honey-wine! You’re supposed to dilute it with water!”

“That’s for nancies,” Sirius announced, snatching the cup back and taking another gulp. “Oi, look at our illustrious host. Who’s that girl whose lap he’s trying to invade? He’s going to get slapped, just you watch.”

Leaning over to a nearby reveler, Remus made an inquiry while Sirius openly ogled the blonde, whose purple stola was slipping off one shoulder as she gave Ovid a shove, her curls slightly mussed and her eyes bright with honey-wine.

“Any second…” Sirius said with glee, draining his cup, “that bint is going to give it to him good!”

“That bint is the emperor’s daughter!” Remus hissed, making Sirius choke a little, and just then the girl began to laugh and settled Ovid’s head against her ample bosom, plucking the crown of greenery off her head to set it on the poet’s.

“Holy hell!” Sirius’ jaw dropped as Remus laughed heartily. “He really is a wizard! Merlin, I need another drink.”

“Yes, you do that.” Remus glanced over his shoulder at the doorway. “I’m going to do some research.”

“Ponce,” Sirius said affectionately, tossing his hair back, then going to chase down the boy with the wine bowl. Remus caught just a glance of the boy squeaking in terror at the dark-haired, embroidered attacker approaching him, and left the room snickering.

Half an hour later, Remus returned with a scroll concealed in a fold of his tunic, and sidled over to the couch where a thoroughly soused Sirius was lounging amidst a sea of supple flesh. Remus reached down, carefully avoiding an exposed breast or two, and shook Sirius’ shoulder.

“Nugh?” Sirius blinked up at him from under a very verdant crown, then a slow grin spread over his features. “Moony! Join the party!”

Before Remus could get out of the way, Sirius’ hand shot out and snagged Remus’ tunic, then Sirius jerked Remus down, tipping him over the back of the couch and bringing him crashing down into the pile of debauchery.

When Remus’ head stopped spinning, he found himself on top of Sirius, the scroll digging uncomfortably into his chest, and eyes glazed dark with wine blinking at him. Then Sirius’ grin was very, very close, and the next thing Remus knew, warm lips were sliding against his, the alcohol making Remus’ lips tingle.

“Mnn,” Remus protested weakly as Sirius tugged on his tunic to settle him in a slightly more comfortable angle, and then Sirius’ wine-soaked tongue was sliding hotly along his, the honey making his head buzz like his lips.

Jerking his head away to gasp for air, Remus shoved himself off Sirius and staggered to his feet.

“C’mon,” he said muzzily. “We have to get out before you pass out, you sot, I can’t carry you.”

“A’right,” Sirius grumbled, managing to get to his feet with a sharp pull from Remus. The man and girl who were on either side of him oozed into the space he’d been occupying and cuddled against each other like Sirius had never even been there.

The sky was pitch black when Remus and Sirius staggered outside, and the wind was growing sharp. Remus dragged Sirius into the first alley he saw and stood with teeth chattering while Sirius tried to fumble the Time Turner out of his toga pocket.

“Here, give me that before you blow us both up,” Remus said, plucking Sirius’ wand out of his unresisting fingers. He enlarged the Turner and tossed the chain over both their heads. Just as he was about to twist the knobs that would get them home, something thick and warm settled over his shoulders. Remus glanced over to see Sirius throwing his arm along with his ridiculous toga over Remus.

“C’mon,” Sirius’ breath against Remus’ ear was warm, and smelled of honey, “your nice warm bed awaits.”

“One of us still has to write 36 inches,” Remus grumbled half-heartedly.

“I dunno about 36,” Sirius’s lips curved against Remus’ cheek, “but I can sure promise you eight.”

“Inches, Sirius, not centimeters,” Remus laughed, then sucked in a breath when Sirius bit down on his earlobe, and the Time Turner whisked them off.

********

“This is not quite what I expected,” McGonagall said the next morning, entirely too early.

“You told us to be creative,” Sirius said sulkily. Remus eyed him to make sure he wasn’t going to throw up on the professor’s shoes or anything like that. Sirius had dark smudges under his eyes, but he seemed to get it all out of his system immediately after their return trip.

Remus, unfortunately, had still been wearing the sandals.

“I was hoping for information of a more magical nature,” McGonagall’s lips were rather thin, “as you might imagine, this being a school of magic.”

“Ovid’s effectiveness with the opposite sex were nothing short of magic,” Sirius reported. It just figured that what Remus had thought was Ovid’s personal diary had turned out to be a rough draft of The Art of Love, but then again, it had made interesting reading.

Remus fought valiantly to banish the mental image of a recently de-togaed Sirius with laurel leaves stuck in his hair trying to write a thoughtful analysis of Ovid’s seduction tips and memorize them at the same time.

“I suppose this is the best I can hope for this close to Christmas holidays,” McGonagall said tersely. “You may both go to Hogsmeade today.”

Remus dragged Sirius off before he could begin spouting his usual praise of McGonagall’s beauty and perceptiveness, and it was only when they were halfway up the stairs that Sirius suddenly realized that McGonagall had kept their essay. Remus shuddered a little as Sirius started to speculate what she might do with it, and informed him that they were never going to speak of this again.

“We’re going to Hogsmeade!” Sirius hollered as they stomped into the dorm, flopping down on the end of Remus’ bed, while Remus burrowed thankfully under the covers to try and catch a few more minutes’ sleep.

“Good show,” James muttered from his bed, face mostly buried in his pillow.

“Oi,” Peter sat up and yawned, peering out the window, “did it snow again last night?”

“Somebody sure got eight inches,” Sirius answered under his breath, and Remus kicked him off the bed.

~*~

2 people like this post.

1 Comment

  • By Vanessa, 2009.06.03 @ 8:23 am

    Lol! Great story, awesome writing style, and wonderful plot!

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