Title: 2005 Gift for Pixie_Dusted
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: These characters and their world are not mine. I've no rights and no money.
Summary: Harry comes down with a terrible cold
Notes: Written as a gift fic for pixie_dusted during the 2005 holiday season.
2005 Gift for Pixie_Dusted
"So, as it turns out, sniff, sniff, Professor Flitwick, sniff, had it on his head the, sniff, sniff, the whole time!" Laughs and chuckles erupted from their end of the Gryffindor table.
Ron's pleasure from storytelling was quickly destroyed, however, by Hermione, who was holding her fork very tightly in her hand. "Ronald, for goodness sakes, blow your nose!" she whispered, though it was loud enough for him and everyone else to hear it. Seamus and Dean took this as their cue to leave the discussion and Neville buried his nose in his Herbology textbook.
Ron turned a bright shade of red from cheeks to ears. "Hermione!" he exclaimed, his voice cracking in the middle, ending with a higher pitch. "Sniff! Sniff! I just did. Sniff! Not that it's any of your business, sniff, sniff, of course. SNIFF!"
She sighed in frustration, knuckles turning white. "Well, then, do it again. Because you're still sniffling like mad and none of us wants to hear that." He did not move. "Go on," she urged, in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
Scowling at her, he pulled out his handkerchief, unfolded it, cupped it to his face, and blew as strongly as he could several times. The sound was partly wet and full and partly honking, but it was all loud and just as noticeable as his sniffles, in his opinion. "There," he said, folding it back up and shoving it into one of the pockets of his robe. "Happy now?" he asked with a bit of attitude.
Hermione replied with a nod to let him know that was satisfactory. "Honestly, I would have thought your mother taught you better than this." She looked over at Ginny in question.
"Oh, she did," Ginny said, quickly swallowing her last gulp of pumpkin juice in order to jump into the conversation. "When we were kids and sick at home, Mum never even let us get out of bed if we were still sniffling."
"Is that so...?" Hermione said, raising her eyebrows and looking back at Ron. "In that case, I think you should go back to bed."
"What?" Ron said, exasperated. "You're not my mother. Sniff! I'm feeling better. Sniff! Sniff! And I can have dinner here if I like." He looked straight at her and gave an especially strong sniffle, his nostrils flaring. "SNIIIIFFFF!"
Hermione gave a loud sigh. "If you're even a little sick, still, the polite thing to do is to stay in bed so the rest of us don't catch it. Right Harry?"
Harry looked up from his plate, startled at the sudden realization that they were speaking to him. He hadn't really been following a word of the conversation. He looked at Hermione who was nodding leadingly at him. Then he looked at Ron who was adamantly shaking his head 'no'. Filled with panic, Harry had no idea which friend he was supposed to side with on this matter, whatever it was. Desperate, he looked over at Ginny, his new girlfriend, hoping her opinion would be the one to trust. Ginny's head was tilted, her long, flaming red hair fell onto a shoulder and then past it. Her eyes were wide, as though pleading with him to agree. He took a deep breath. "Oh, ah. Yeah. Right. Absolutely."
"Harry!" Ron groaned, throwing his head back to gaze up at the ceiling in frustration. He sniffed again. "Sniff! Sniff! You're supposed to be my best mate. Sniff! Why can't you take my side? Sniff, sniiifff! You know I'm feeling better." That was relatively true. After three days of almost constant sneezing, Ron did look and sound loads better. Maybe not perfect yet, but certainly vastly improved.
"Sorry," Harry mumbled. "I sort of had my mind on something else." His friends knew that was Harry-code for the situation with Voldemort, and did not press him about it. "I'm going upstairs to do some thinking and studying before bed. See you all later." Harry dug into his pocket and pulled out a wad of tissues. He stood, leaned over the table, and handed them to Ron. "Ron, blow your nose. You know how annoyed the girls get when you sniffle."
As Harry headed away, he heard Ginny exclaim, "See?!" Presumably the THWACK he heard was Ginny hitting Ron in the arm, because he complained that it hurt a moment later. Harry could hear him blowing his nose, however, and chuckled. He thought to turn back and give Ginny a little kiss goodbye, but he knew she liked it best when they were alone together, not in front of prying eyes of past boyfriends. Besides, she and Harry had plans to get together the next day for more than a little kiss.
Harry took the most direct route up to the dormitories and didn't relax until he'd flopped face-first onto his four poster bed. He pulled himself up towards the pillows and made his very best attempt to reach for his texts... but his head felt heavy and his eyes felt tired. He pulled the covers up over him and basked for a moment in the warmth and comfort, intending to nap only for a few moments.
Harry woke to find the sixth year boys' dormitory room blanketed in darkness. He lifted his arm and pushed the little button on the side of his watch. It lit in a blue glow, telling him that it was nearly a quarter past one in the morning. Harry groaned to himself and sat up, looking around. All the hangings around the other beds were drawn closed, and Neville's usual strong snores they had all grown used to in six years filled the air.
He shivered and cupped his hands. When he took a deep breath in order to breathe into his cupped hands, his nose tickled. He scrunched up his face and rubbed the tickle away. Then he climbed off the bed and headed towards the middle of the dormitory. There was a fire burning in the space heater and Harry stopped shivering as soon as he was standing in front of it, rubbing his hands together.
It was the spring, but the nights were still rather cool. Harry felt much colder than he thought he should have, though. Cold and definitely sneezier. "HAHShhoo! HahhChoo!"
Sheets and blankets rustled all over the room as Harry's roommates woke at the sound. The sneezes had filled and echoed through the room. "Ron," Seamus' voice called out. "Quit yer sneezin'. We're tryin' ta sleep here, Mate."
Harry sniffed and cleared his throat. He did his best Ron impersonation. "Sorry! Go back to sleep!" They did. There was more rustling and then the snores resumed right away.
Harry sighed and went back to bed. He curled up in his blankets, shivering just a little until the blankets warmed to him. "hehh..." Unfortunately, the sneezes weren't as easy to deal with. "hahh!" He pressed two fingers beneath his nose then burrowed under the blankets and pillows. "h'chmmmph! Shmphhh!" He sniffed and blindly reached out towards his nightstand. His fingers found the edge of the table then bumped the side of the tissue box. Straining, he took hold of the box. He immediately pulled it underneath with him and grabbed a few tissues from it. "hahhhh..." His eyes closed as he held the tissues to his nose and blew hard. The urge to sneeze disappeared as he blew repeatedly. He sighed deeply and relaxed.
It was warm there, under the blankets. Harry was tempted to stay but needed some fresh air. He poked his head out and it sank into the feather pillow. He was asleep in mere seconds.
Harry slept straight through breakfast. He had an inkling that someone tried to wake him up for it, but whoever it was must not have been tremendously persuasive because he couldn't even remember opening his eyes and considering the notion.
When he woke it was just around lunchtime, but he wasn't particularly hungry then either. He was supposed to meet up with Ginny in an hour or two for a teatime picnic out by the lake, anyway. She had insisted upon taking care of the arrangements and he was sure she was employing a trick or two from her brothers, the twins, in order to sneak food out of the kitchens and out onto the grounds. She'd been so excited about the event and he was looking forward to it as well. He'd never picnicked with anyone like this. Certainly not with a girl... a girlfriend... just as though he were normal and not The Boy Who Lived.
"hahh-hahhhChihhh! hahhChooo!" Except that the problem was that he was feeling especially ordinary now. The sort of ordinary wherein it was easy to catch one's best friend's head cold. "ahhh... hahhhhChooo! hahhh-Shoo! Sniff!" Sniffing hurt, as his nose already felt full and throbbed with pressure. "hahhChuhhh! hahhShahh!"
Holding the back of his hand up to his nose, Harry reached under the covers and felt around, searching for the tissue box. "hahhShoo! K'Shooo!" His nose dripping, he groaned, his hand feeling nothing but blankets and sheets. "Where is it? Sniff! Sniff! huhhhh!" His eyes closed but he found the box. One side was smashed in and the whole thing was squished, but the tissues were still good. He pulled several out and cupped them to his nose. "hah-Schhoo! hahhhShuhh!"
Harry sighed and sat up in bed. Either everyone already knew he was sick and were politely keeping silent on the subject, or all of his roommates were out for the day. Harry reached up and pulled back on his curtains to look around. He was most definitely alone.
"hah!" His mouth dropping open and his eyes closing, he grabbed a new tissue. "hahhhShoo! hahhChoo!" Taking a very deep breath, he blew his nose hard. Over. And over. And over again. He blew until it went from wet to dry and until the pressure he felt in his nose was relieved a little. Then he took another deep breath and let it out slowly.
His nose tickled again, as did his throat. He immediately went for more tissues. "HAHShoo! H'Shoo! Snuffffff! Sniff-sniff! HihChoo! hahhhShoo!" Harry blew his nose again, repeatedly, then balled the tissues up and dropped them into his lap.
He leaned back against his headboard with a sigh. He felt sick. And sneezy. And stuffed up. And a bit achy. Everything in him said he was sick and if that was the case then he shouldn't even be thinking of getting out of bed. However, that date with Ginny was still on his mind, and if there was anything in the world that could possibly cheer him up, it was that.
Feeling another pair of sneezes coming on, Harry slowly pulled another tissue out of the box. He planned to head them off for a moment with a strong blow. His nose still tickled and ran just as much, though. Perhaps even more. It was as if the blow had irritated his nose so much that the sneezes came more easily. "hahChooo! Hahhh-Chahhh!"
However, it was not as though he could keep from blowing his nose. Apart from tickling, it was also stuffed-up and running. He tried just pressing a handful of tissues to his nose, but eventually the urge to clear his nose overpowered him. And, as soon as he did, he snapped forward with more sneezes. "hahCHOO! hahhShooo!" Afterwards, with his nose streaming, he had to blow his nose again.
And so began the repetition of blowing and sneezing which went on far longer than Harry could have imagined. He stayed in bed for an hour, then slowly rose and dressed. He kept the tissue box, which was quickly being depleted, close at hand. His hand dove back towards it after nearly every item of clothing was taken off or put on. When he was finally dressed, he sat back down on the edge of the bed and blew his nose heartily. It was starting to feel sore from all the attention, and his whole head felt stuffed, starting with his nose.
Harry knew a shower would probably help him, right about now. If he had a knut for every time he'd told Ron to go take a shower because it would help... well, then he'd have a couple handfuls of knuts. But he did not have enough time to take a nice steamy shower if he was going to meet up with Ginny and be on time. He didn't want to risk being late and having her yell at him for sleeping all day.
So Harry laced up his shoes, loaded his pocket with tissues, gave his nose a final rub, and headed out. Luckily, he didn't meet up with anyone on the way. He passed Peeves circling Mrs. Norris, who was batting at him, trying to catch him to no avail. Her hisses were sure to attract the attention of Filch, however, so Harry did not want to linger. Instead he hurried along down the stairs and hallways until he was out of the castle.
The spot by the lake where they'd agreed to meet was not far from where had had saved Sirius years before. They'd selected it because it was out of the way and surrounded by trees on one side.
The bright blue blanket spread out on the ground immediately drew his attention. Harry quickened his pace in anticipation. Ginny knelt upon it, a picnic basket at her knees. She was slowly taking out its contents, which were small sandwiches and cookies thus far. Harry still didn't feel very hungry, but he smiled at the mere sight of her. His nose tickled, and he pulled a tissue out to haphazardly wipe it, but he did not pause in his walking for a moment.
"Hi, Ginny," he said, paying attention to his nose and deliberately trying to pronounce her name without sounding too stuffy.
She looked up and over, smiling warmly at him. "Right on time," she replied. Then she patted the spot next to her on the blanket. Though there was a huge vacant area of blanket in front of her beyond the basket and only a small spot beside her, he sat down right where she'd told him to.
Immediately Harry wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her against his side. She tilted her head, resting it on his shoulder. In doing so, her hair came to brush against his cheek and, much to his dismay, his nose. He sniffled and then his breath caught. His hand shot up, pressing a finger beneath his nose. It was slightly sore to the touch, but worth such a minor pain. It worked for the moment, but Ginny heard his unusual breath and pulled away to look at him. Naturally, he dropped his hand back into his lap, not wanting her to see how silly he must have looked. That was all his nose needed. "HEHHHShooo! HahhhChooo! Sniff! hah-hahhChooo! ahhhChoo!" Reluctantly he dug the tissues out of his pocket and rubbed his face into them, sniffling and wiping at his nose.
"Harry?" Ginny said, sounding curious.
"Yes?" he replied, lifting his head and trying to meet her gaze. But a second later his nose tickled and he was right back in the tissues again. "HahhhhShooo! hahhhSHOO!"
"Oh, Harry!" Ginny exclaimed, pulling back a little more. "You're sick! You've caught what Ron had!"
Harry nodded. "It's jusd a liddle code id by dose. Snniiiiifff!" Harry really hadn't meant to sniff like that. He knew she wasn't so keen on the sound, and he did have tissues right there to blow his nose into. He would have done so if he didn't think it would make him sneeze more. The talking had made his nose tingle a little and run and he just couldn't help but sniff. He hoped she'd rather have him sniff than see his nose run. But, either way, he wiped his nose again and began wishing he'd brought the whole crushed tissue box along rather than just a handful. "hah-hih-hahhh-AHHShooo! HahhhChooo!" He gave his nose just a little blow.
Ginny narrowed her eyes at him. "That is not just a little cold. That is a very big cold." She folded her arms over her chest. "Harry, why are you here?"
He snuffled into the tissues. "Ah, because we had a date?" he answered, trying to gauge by her reaction if that was the proper answer. From what he saw in her eyes, it didn't look like it. "I bead, because I wadted to see you. Dot eved sdeezes could keeb be frub you." He knew it sounded childish and cheesy, but maybe she would buy it.
She didn't come close to buying it. "Harry James Potter! You knew you were sick and you wanted to come down here to see me? Why? What in the world were you thinking?"
"Well... we were subbosed to..." He tried to give her a sweet, charming smile, and for that he dropped his hand with the tissues into his lap and resisted the urge to sniffle again. "Well, we haved't had a chadge to sdog broberly id quite a while..."
Ginny inched back on the blanket, pulling a face. He got the message, and his heart sunk. "It's not that I don't want to snog you," she told him. "It's that you're quite obviously sick. It's not that I don't want to be around you, it's that you should be up in bed right now. You need to rest in order to get better."
"I dow," Harry said, nodding. His nose twitched and he had to turn his head quickly, unable to raise his hand in time to block the sneezes. "hehhhChooo! Hah-Choo!" Ginny reached into her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief for him. It was thin but dry and certainly softer than his tissues. He rubbed and blew his nose into it appreciatively. Then he addressed her again. "I thought cubig here would helb be feel better, too. Beig with you sure beats sittig id bed sdeezig by head off. Sniff! You could kiss be add bake it all better."
She shook her head. "You're not going to get as much as a kiss on the cheek out of me," said Ginny. "In fact, you're going to get something quite different if you don't head right off to bed this instant."
"Giddy..." Harry sighed, trying to stall while he figured out what to tell her.
"Uh-uh." She pulled her wand out. "You're sick. I don't even want you thinking about getting up and out of bed again until you're feeling better." She sounded just like her mother at the moment, only possibly scarier, what with the way her eyes were staring him down, making him feel ashamed. "If you don't go right now, I swear I'll hex you!"
Harry knew that Ginny Weasley was not one for idle threats. Quickly he stood. "Fide! I'b going!" he snapped, then stormed off back towards the tower.
Harry wasn't really mad at her. He was mad at himself, if anything. He knew she was right; he should have stayed in bed if he knew he was under the weather even a little. But he also felt that she could have shown him a little more sympathy. "hahhh-Chuffff! hehhhShuffff!" Apart from giving him her handkerchief, of course, which he had made great use of on the walk back. It hadn't even made it to his pocket, he used it so frequently, keeping it at chest level and at the ready.
Though he knew he was risking a bad hexing from Ginny, Harry did not go straight to bed. Instead he went to the boy's loo. He emptied his pockets of the soggy tissues and stripped off his clothes on the way into the shower. The bathroom was deserted, not surprising as it was the middle of the day and his fellow Gryffindors had better things to do around the castle. He was glad to have it all to himself, especially as his singing voice wasn't up to par at the moment.
But that was all right. Harry didn't feel much like singing in the shower. He was much more concerned with the hot water and steam. Within five minutes, the pressure he felt in his sinuses was already improved. His nose still felt tickly and stuffy, but even it felt soothed by the warm steam. Harry stood in the shower, breathing deeply and letting the hot water rush over him. Occasionally he sneezed but even those sneezes felt freer and more relaxed.
He had intended to stay in until his fingers were all pruney, or longer if possible. But after a while his nose really started to run and the sneezes came more often. Rubbing at his nose and putting his head right under the spray did not help as much as he'd hoped. So, reluctantly, he turned off the water, toweled down, wrapped a towel around his waist, and ventured out of the shower.
He went straight for the tissue box on the counter beside the row of sinks. But it stuck to and then fell apart in his wet hand. He pulled tissue after tissue out until he had enough layers to be useful, and then he blew his nose a little on his way back to his dormitory room. His nose felt sore as he rubbed at it with the tissues, and the pressure was starting to build back up again already.
When he got there, he went towards his trunk. Squatting there, shivering and dripping, Harry rifled around in it for a few minutes before finally extracting a handkerchief. Then Harry pulled on his pajamas and climbed into bed for some rest. He had the sorry-looking box of tissues on one hand, which he intended to use only to blow his increasingly sore nose, and he had his handkerchief ready in the other. He was certain that if he kept blowing his nose like earlier, he would sneeze as much as earlier, and then he wouldn't be able to get to sleep. So he simply kept his handkerchief pressed to his nose to catch the runs and apply just enough pressure to keep his nose from tickling too badly.
All too suddenly, Harry realized he'd forgotten to pull the curtains closed around his bed. Harry opened his eyes and looked up to see Ron hovering over him from beside the bed.
"I ran into Ginny," Ron said. "She told me what happened. So sorry you're sick, Mate."
Harry shrugged, a gesture which could not be seen under the covers. "It's all right. Dot your fault. Sniff! Was Giddy really agry whed you saw her?"
Ron nodded, his eyes wide to convey the extent of his emotion. "Ohhhh yeah. She called you a git and said you must be mental to go out there when you were sick. She kept going on about how she'd had it all planned out and set up and how much she'd been looking forward to being with you..."
"I dow!" Harry moaned. "That's why I thought I should show ub at least. Sniff! Add dow, sniff, sniff, dow she's bad at be."
"I don't really think she's mad at you," Ron said, his tone sounding sympathetic now. "I think she was just annoyed that you happened to get sick. I think she's just disappointed and took it out on you the wrong way." Ron sighed. "Women. I'll never understand 'em."
Harry nodded in agreement and snuffled into his handkerchief.
"Anyway, I just wanted to check on you and all. You look tired."
"Sniff! Sniff! I ab," Harry replied. "Thig I'b goig to try add get sub rest." He closed his eyes.
"Good for you. I'll just leave you alone then," Ron nodded. He slid the curtains over on two of the three sides of the bed to give Harry privacy, then paused in the open space by the third side. "Oh, and Harry?"
Harry looked up. "Sniff! What? Sniff, sniff!"
"Blow your nose, would you? That really is annoying." He said it with a playful smile, and a smile appeared on Harry's face as well. He chuckled to himself as Ron closed that curtain as well and left the room altogether.