Title: 2005 Gift for circe

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter

Rating: PG13

Pairing: Harry/Snape

Disclaimer: These characters and their world are not mine. I've no rights and no money.

Summary: Harry returns to Hogwarts, and to Snape, with a head cold

Notes: Written as a gift fic for circe during the 2005 holiday season.



2005 Gift for circe

     The chorus of voices spoke with asynchronous, mismatched words. Snape sighed and resisted the urge to smack his hand against his forehead. "No," he said, shaking his head in frustration. "Listen more closely to the pronunciation and intonation. Petrificus Totalus!" He looked around and his eyes widened. "Mister Arnot! What part of 'wands at your sides' did you not understand?"


     At Snape's tone of voice, Rogert Arnot quickly lowered his wand.


     "Good. Now... altogether..."


     "Petrificus Totalus!" It wasn't entirely perfect but it was a definite improvement. He had expected more out of fourth years, however, when he had decided to put dueling on the lesson plan.


     "All right. Everyone is paired up?" He glanced around, seeing pairs and nods. "Half of you will practice disarming and the others will practice freezing. Ready? Watch your pronunciations. Wands up, as I showed you. One... two... three!"


     There were spells shouted, though only about half were actually correct. Snape covered his face with his hand and resisted the urge to sink down into his seat. A few select students had actually been able to disarm their opponents but none had managed to properly freeze their partner. He shouldn't have been too surprised.


     "Um, professor?" a boy called worriedly. Snape turned his attention towards one young girl who looked frozen, but not from a spell. She was standing with her wand up and her eyes wide with shock. Standing a few feet in front of the girl was a boy whose neck had been extended considerably. His head had shrunk, his legs were thin and elongated, and his torso was round and covered in white and black feathers. The boy had been turned into a human ostrich.


     Snape stared at him around the fingers of his hand and sunk into his chair. "Class dismissed," he muttered. "On my desk on Monday I want two feet on the importance of pronunciation and intonation in charm and spell casting during dueling. And I expect you all the practice and perform more highly on Monday when our guest professor will be here." They were all only half listening to him as they packed up and cleared out of the classroom.


     "Mister Winthrop, would you please see Miss Mullens and Mister Luckson to the hospital wing?"


     Arnold Luckson blinked and then honked and shook his wings. Feathers went everywhere. Snape rubbed a finger against his nose. "Preferably before he molts all over my classroom?"


     His nose twitched as the the students and bird passed by him. He pressed his finger against his nose as inconspicuously as possible. If he could just keep his allergies from kicking in, he'd be fine. But the very last thing he wanted to do today or this weekend was to spend it sneezing.


     Even though he was holding back the urge, he still waited until his classroom had emptied completely before waving his wand to clean up the mess of shed feathers. He pinched his nose at the bridge as he did so and waited until the tickles had definitely passed before relaxing.


     This hadn't been his most successful class of the day, but he was exceedingly glad it was the last.


     Though his permanent teaching position was as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, he still kept his room in the dungeons. He liked the privacy and the atmosphere. He liked his room and liked his bed. And today he especially liked what he found in his bed.


     The covers had been pulled up until they met the pillows, but a bit of unkempt black hair stuck out between the two. Snape smiled and shut the door behind him so that it locked. He took a step forward, leaving his robes behind on the floor. Feet helped shoes and shocks off as he walked and he crawled under the covers at the base of the bed. He stretched out on the far side of the bed, beside the wall, and he wrapped his arm around the warm body in front of him. "Hullo, Potter," he said, practically spitting the last name with affectionate mock distaste. "Been a bad boy and fell asleep in my bed, didn't you?" His hand slowly slid up and down Harry's chest. "Fell asleep fully clothed in my bed. Tisk, tisk. You should know better."


     Harry was asleep. Deeply so. He hadn't flinched at the movement beside him, even as Snape pressed himself into Harry's back and he hadn't woken at the words. His breathing was slow and steady, and Snape knew what it would probably take to wake the man.


     He nuzzled his face into the back of Harry's neck. "Harry..." he murmured. "Wake up..." as suspected, Harry did not stir. So Snape cleared his throat and, in his angriest voice, boomed out, "Mister Harry Potter!"


     "I finished the potion!" Harry woke with a start. Luckily for him, Snape was still holding him so he could not tumble off the bed. It took him a moment to remember where he was and who he must be with. He reached up and placed his hand over the one that lay on his chest. He recognized it as Snape's immediately. "Welcome home from class."


     Snape held him close. "Welcome home from Bolivia. You've returned early."


     Nodding, "The job was easier than I'd expected. I was able to leave a half a day ahead of schedule."


     There was silence for a few moments, then, "And how long have you had this cold of yours?"


     Harry followed that with a deep sigh and some chuckling. "What did you do, read my mind?" There were certain drawbacks to having a lover skilled in Legilimency and Occlumency.


     "No," Snape snapped back at him, insulted by the accusation. "It's simply that every time you go to Bolivia, you return with a head cold. And I know you so well I can hear it in your voice. So how bad is it this time?"


     Harry seemed to have ever intention at giving a proper answer. But the timing was terrible. "HAHShooo! Huhh-huhh-hahhh-Chooo!" He sniffed and wheezed. Then he sneezed again. "AhhhhChuhh! HahhhhChoo!"


     Snape squeezed Harry's hand. "That bad?" Harry hesitated then nodded. Snape sighed and pulled back a little. "Fantastic. You're in and out so often and now that you're here you're sick."


     Harry dropped Snape's hand immediately. He moved forward, out of Snape's grasp and out of the bed. He stood in the center of the room, shivering. "If that's the way you feel, I can just go to my room."


     As a periodically visiting professor, Harry had a room of his own in the castle. It was kept neat and pristine, as it was practically never used. While on the road as an Auror, he lived out of his trunk, when lucky. But, at Hogwarts, his trunk and things had their places in Snape's room. He had his own drawer and side of the wardrobe, a few shelves on the bookcases, and a small desk in one corner. It was cozy to share living the living space, and it was nice to have company. However, his own room certainly had things that this one did not.


     Like the lack of company. "hahhShooo! HehhhSchooo!" Harry glanced around the room and spotted the tissue box on Snape's nightstand. He walked over and pulled a few tissues out, rubbing them at his nose as he spoke. "I'd rather go suffer alone in my room if the alternative is you being bitter because I happened to accidentally catch a sniffle while I was away fighting evil." Harry did not often promote the fact that he was an Auror. He knew Snape's passion was not, and had never been, in teaching. Had he been younger and less weathered from the wars, he might have made a decent go at being an Auror. Harry knew he fostered some resentment at the fact that Harry had a job that Snape wanted. Once in a while, Harry used that fact to his advantage.


     Grumbling, Snape got up and out of bed, pulling a blanket with him to cover his front. He wrapped the blanket haphazardly around himself as though it were a badly-constructed toga. "Harry," he said, his tone much softer than usual. "Come back to bed."


     Harry shook his head, looking unsure. He ran his hand through his hair and ruffled it. "Why should I?"


     Snape sighed. "I'll make it worth it to you," he said begrudgingly.


     "How?" Harry asked quickly, forcing an immediate answer. He shook with a violent shiver.


     Snape walked over, his upper arms pinned to his sides to keep the blanket in place but his hands gripped Harry's. He looked into the younger man's green eyes. In a menacing tone, "Just get back into bed."


     Harry shook his head again. "No. I want you to... hahh... explain. Hahhh-Choo! ahhhChoo!" Harry sneezed into his hand, as Snape was right in front of him. He flipped his hand over afterwards and rubbed at his nose. "Will you stay with me while I sneeze and cough?"


     "Of course." He wasn't particularly fond of the idea of listening to Harry sneezing all night long, but if that was the price to pay for him to stay, so be it.


     Harry narrowed his eyes. "That didn't sound very genuine. How about food? Will you bring me food in bed when I feel too sick to get up and go downstairs to eat in front of the whole school?"


     His eyes darted from Harry to the bed and back. "Yes I will." He wasn't about to play the house elf and wait on Harry hand and foot, but he wasn't opposed to the idea of sharing a meal or two in bed.


     "And when I don't feel like doing anything but sleeping, will you not complain?"


     Harry's nose twitched as he stared back at Severus Snape. Snape did not answer right away. This seemed a bit too much to ask for.


     Rather annoyed, Harry took a step back. He cupped both hands to his face as his breath caught. "hahhh... hahh-SHOO! ahhhChoo! Sniff! ahhChoo! ahhhShoo!" Harry shuddered with chills and swayed weakly from the sneezes when he tried to step towards the nightstand where the tissue box was still displayed.


     Snape reached over and wrapped his arms around Harry. "Back to bed." Harry tensed up. "All right. I promise not to complain," Snape said through gritted teeth. "Now get back into bed for me." As Harry leaned into him, he directed Harry over to the bed and sat him down on it. It took a moment for the room to stop spinning around Harry, allowing him to relax a little. Snape took the opportunity to press the back of his hand to Harry's forehead. "How long have you had this fever?"


     Harry shook his head and shrugged.


     "Well no wonder you are shivering. After you are settled, I shall brew you a potion to help lower your temperature."


     Harry coughed and shook his head. "I can just stop by the hospital wing," he said, rubbing at his nose. He reached over and retrieved tissues, just to be prepared.


      "Do you think I'd let you take one of those bottled remedies?" Snape gave a laugh. He ran a hand up and down Harry's back. Then he lay down on the bed, against the wall, and patted the bed beside him. "Now get back into bed with me... and please note that clothing is optional." Carefully, he slithered beneath the covers such that his body stayed hidden behind and beneath blankets.


     Harry smiled, even though it looked as though he needed to sneeze again. He hunched over, cupping the tissues to his face as his chest filled with several deep breaths in. "hahh-hahCHOO! hahhShooo!' He blew his nose and stood, clearing his throat. He stripped off his clothes. Unlike Snape, he was not at all ashamed to show his body, even when sick. Shivering, he headed back to bed, slipping beneath the blankets.


     Snape's bare body pressed into his on one side as Harry lay on his back. Snape pulled the covers up to their necks. He reached up with one hand, pushing black bangs away from a warm forehead. Most stayed where Snape had put them, but a few fell back into place. Snape watched them, and tried again, with a gentle petting motion.


     "Keep this up and you'll catch this head cold from me," Harry said.


     Snape did not answer right away. He reached over Harry to the nightstand and grabbed the tissue box. He pulled it onto the bed with them, then he draped his arm over Harry's warm and now bare chest. Settling in, he was satisfied remaining there, in bed with Harry, for a long while. "I can think of many worse ways to spend my weekend."