15. In Sickness and in Health The light was dimmed, the curtains drawn, and with the exception of Harry and Hermione, the seventh year boys' dorm was empty on this Sunday morning. Harry's heartbeat was quick and his breathing shallow, as he lay on his bed, Hermione leaning over him. "Blow!" the girl ordered, holding a handkerchief under Harry's nose. "I'm not a child anymore," he whined. "I can do that on my own." "Sure," Hermione said, putting the tissue in Harry's hand. "Go on." Harry's hand sacked down as if it weighed a ton. "That's it. Now go on and blow!" She held the handkerchief back under his nose. "I'm feeling not so well," Harry mewled piteously. "And it's all your fault." He blew his nose like a good boy, causing Hermione to flinch in ill-concealed disgust. "I've got the nastiest cold ever, and nowhere a Pepper-up Potion in sight. Am I such a tiny minor consideration that you took me not into account in your Plan B?" he sobbed, red-rimmed eyes glazed over in fever. Hermione stroked back a lock of sweaty hair and smiled sadly. "I'm sorry, Harry. I should have kept a vial to myself for that case. You'll be better soon, I promise. I'll get you some hot milk with honey from Dobby, okay?" "Eww," protested Harry weakly, closing his eyes. "Hate that taste." In a matter of seconds, he was asleep. Sighing, Hermione stood up from the bed, smoothing out the covers over the prone figure of the Boy-Who-Slept. Feeling extraordinarily bold, she even kissed his forehead and wished him, "Sweet dreams." She was already out of the dorm, when Harry snuggled deeper into his blanket, smiling in his dreams. Severus Snape, on the other hand, was far from smiling. He hadn't one single reason to do so; even less than normally. Snape felt miserable. His eyes were tearing, his skin flushed unhealthily, his nose would be running, were it not for the two handkerchiefs that he had shoved up his nostrils. He supposed he looked exactly how he felt; like hell. The only advantage of this situation was that he didn't have to smell how his chamber reeked of the perfumed L-Letters (as he called them in dread). Snape looked at the vial of Pepper-Up Potion in disgust, but knowing he would have to either swallow the concoction or teach his bunch of dunderheads in this condition helped to reconsider gravely. The Potions master poured the potion in his mouth (vowing to himself never to drink any other person’s brew again, even if his life depended on it) and swallowed bravely, his taste nubs thankfully numb. Snape tried to rub the headache out of his temples, and when the smoke shot out of his ears, he didn't realise it was the wrong colour. "How is he?" Ron asked. "Cranky. Highly emotional." Hermione plopped down next to the redhead and groaned softly. "I don't get it. How can the guy fight against Dark Lords and Death Eaters, but confronted with a simple cold, he's such a baby ..." "I suppose that has something to do with his childhood-" "Doesn't it always?" "-with his childhood," Hermione repeated, crossly at being interrupted. "There wasn't anyone who'd mollycoddle him when he was sick. And now he's taking advantage of it. I don't really mind. He deserves it, doesn't he?" "As long as I don't have to touch his used tissues ..." "Git." "A loveable one, I hope." Hermione only smiled. "I can't wait till tomorrow," Ron crowed in excitement. "I really would've liked to see the greasy pra- professor with a cold. Ha!" He sighed. "Doesn't matter now." "We couldn't have let him stay sick, Ron," Hermione said. "Somehow, Snape would have found a way to get a Pepper-Up Potion, and our spiked one would have been for naught. No; it's better that way. Besides, Tonks wouldn't have been really thrilled-" "Yeah. Imagine a sick Snape courting her," Ron laughed. "Would he bring her flowers or a breathing mask?" Hermione quirked a small smile. "Wouldn't that be romantic? If he cared more for her health than his own?" "Yyyyes." Ron shot her a funny look. "Whatever you say, dear." Tonks' inner Snape Radar trilled, alerting her that her darling was either in mortal danger, injured, ill or sulking (which all happened fairly equally). Thinking quickly and deciding even quicker, the Metamorphmagus left her room and took off in search for her heart piece. As Harry was dreaming about dancing tissues, Ron and Hermione arguing about the difference between romantic material and sappy crap, Tonks searching for her Darling in Distress, and Snape being oblivious to everything around him, Crookshanks decided to play a round hide and seek with himself. No one heard the cat banging against the desk leg in Hermione's room (which squished the cat's nose even more), and no one witnessed the following crash as the glass vial fell to the ground, shattering to pieces and coating the ground with wetness. - A/N: The clock which shows when Snape is sulking is from poy-sin.
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