Title: A Valid Excuse
Fandom: Harry Potter (post-series)
Disclaimer: Clearly, I'm not JKR. This was only written for fun, not money or any of that.
Summary: Harry has a headache.
Notes: Written for Weekly Hatching #159 General (Opening line: Please, just let me sleep; my head is killing me.) Estrelleta mentioned wanting to read a Harry story. So this fell out.
A Valid Excuse
“Please, just let me sleep; my head is killing me,” he pleaded. Harry pushed away the hands that groped at him. Then he clapped a hand to his forehead, over the area once marked by magic. If only there were a spell to do away with headaches. Potions were prohibited during this stage in his Auror training, as all things needed to be endured to prove strength. It was all hogwash, as far as Harry was concerned. He'd proved himself bloody well already, and there were some things he simply could not put up with. “I mean it.” He pushed the persistent hands away.
“Oh, Harry. You're not really trying that again, are you?”
Harry blinked, startled by the question and in too much pain to argue further. Without another word, he yanked the comforter up and bolted from the bed.
Earlier… that afternoon
Harry scraped the tip of his tongue against the roof of his mouth and that made the itch turn to soreness, turning bad into worse. He winced as he felt the pain shooting through not only his throat but his temples. He set down his quill and reached for his goblet, drinking in cool gulps that helped only in the moment before he swallowed. He had had so much to drink already that this round of gulps drained his supply of water.
He was just about to get up from his desk in the Auror school study to refill his cup when he heard a familiar hoot. He looked up, past the floors and floors of book stacks, to see Hedwig soaring down towards him.
She perched on the end of one of his books and pecked at his empty goblet. He whispered an apology and told her she would get some water at home. He took the small scroll wrapped around her leg and read it over. It was a short note but required two reads as the throbbing pain in his head made the handwritten words appear doubled for an instant.
Shaking his head, he picked his quill up again and penned a response:
A drink at the pub after work with you sounds lovely,
but not tonight. My head is killing me.
He spent no extra time reading it over, just attached it to Hedwig and ushered her away immediately. She looked affronted, pecked at the empty goblet once more, and then took off.
It pained Harry to refuse Ron outright, but that did not hurt as much as he hurt already. He knew his answer was his only course of action. He simply hoped Ron wouldn't be sore about it later. Harry grimaced and got up for more water.
Harry pulled the thick, down-filled comforter tightly around himself as he walked down the stairs. He made his way to the living room and, in a quick burst of energy, jumped onto the couch while turning horizontal at the same time. He landed with an “Ooof!” and a bounce on the cushions, facing the back of the couch. Then he snuggled into the cushions, moaning softly as the pain in his head intensified in punishment for the quick movement.
Alone now, he didn't hesitate to vocalize his pain, and he whimpered with discomfort and cold. It took a few moments for the feathers to do their thing, and then the comforter did its thing. He curled up so that the blanket covered every bit of Harry up to his ears. He closed his eyes, hoping to fall to sleep quickly without the distraction of sex to get in his way.
He had not counted on needing to sneeze. The sensation came upon him slowly but persistently, making his nose first itch and then tickle. The feeling was deep in the back of his nose, so taking his hand off the blanket he was hugging to his chest in order to rub at his nose did no good at all. Along with the tickle came runniness, and he sniffed against two fingers he had pressed to his nostrils. A headache and sore throat were miserable but bearable. A full-blown cold, however, was something he loathed.
Harry considered getting up for a dose of Pepper-Up potion, but knew he shouldn't. He also considered getting up for tissues and another tall glass of water, but new he was too cold and tired to move. Besides, “I can't move. My head is killing me.”
There were, however, movements he could not control. “ah-hahh-ahhh…” His nostrils twitched against his fingers. “ahh-Hahchooo! H'choo!” Though his nose was a little wet with runs, thankfully the sneezes were not so wet. A quick swipe with the edge of the blanket took care of it. He felt another tickle almost immediately and pinched his nose. Before he knew it, he had fallen asleep in that position.
Earlier… that evening
“What do you have planned for dinner?” asked Hermione, taking his arm as they strolled down a sidewalk together. The crisp wind struck his cheeks and hands, making him shiver and sniffle, though he'd already been chillier and snifflier than usual for a few hours.
Harry winced at the thought of food and the recollection that it was his night for dinner. Last time he had made a quick pasta dish; he couldn't possibly do that again. But he couldn't even fathom spending much time cooking tonight. “I thought we would get some takeaway. Chinese or Indian maybe.” He sniffled and rubbed his nose.
“Oh, Harry. Not takeaway again.”
Hermione's disappointment in him did not sit well with Harry, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. “I'm sorry. I'd like to cook but I can't tonight. My head is killing me.”
Hermione smirked. “Is that your excuse this time for being lazy?”
“I'm not being lazy,” Harry insisted. He scratched the roof of his mouth again with his tongue and felt his stomach sit uneasy at the thought of food.
“Of course not,” Hermione said, looking as though she were trying not to laugh.
Harry grumbled to himself and thought only about getting home to another cold glass of water and maybe a hot, steam shower.
Harry woke mid-snore, disoriented for a moment to wake alone and somewhere other than his bed. He felt the warmth of the dawn against the back of his head but he kept his eyes shut. He knew he really should wake up and put on robes, since he had to head to training within an hour. His stomach felt worse this morning, so he wouldn't have to bother with breakfast. His throat felt raw and his nose was all sniffly now. So long as he grabbed a bottle of water and a hanky or two, he'd probably be good for the day. Assuming his head improved a little.
Sighing, Harry squeezed his eyes shut more tightly. “I don't have energy for an argument right now. Sniffle! Sniff-sniff! Just let me alone. My head-”
“Is killing you?” Ron finished, putting a hand on Harry's back in a comforting sort of way.
Harry nodded. It really was. All across the base of his neck was an intense throbbing and everywhere else on his head was a sharp, stabbing pain. If it were this bad with his eyes closed, he could only imagine the pain he would feel when he opened them. “Yes,” he whispered back. “Sniffle, sniffle!”
“Why didn't you tell us that?” asked Hermione, reaching over him and pressing a cool cloth to his forehead.
Harry felt outraged, desperate to explain but unable to. It was completely pointless to insist that he'd tried to say something several times. It wasn't in him to complain to someone- especially not his two someones.
He felt kisses touch his cheek from one set of lips and then the other. “It's all right,” Ron said, rubbing a hand up and down Harry's back through the comforter. “You just lie still.”
“That's right, Sweetheart,” Hermione agreed. “You should try to go back to sleep.”
“Can't.” He shook his head and coughed a rich, harsh cough that surprised him. A moment later, his nose tickled. “hih-hih-hahChoo! ahhShoo! Sniff-sniff-sniff-sniff!”
“Can.” Ron handed him a crisp, clean pocket square, and Harry sighed happily as he blew his nose into the folds. “We already sent Hedwig over with a note about taking a personal day. I know you can't be sick right now, but we need you to stay home and take care of us.”
“We're worried about the man we love.” Hermione petted his head, his messy hair, and then reached down, rubbing his nose for him. Harry twitched his nose, sniffed more, and was grateful for the rubs as the tickles backed away. “So we're going to brew some tea and all stay home today to take it easy together.”
Harry lifted his head and opened his eyes, despite the intense pain. He squinted at his Hermione then over at his Ron. Their caring was touching, and in any other circumstance he would find himself visibly moved. But now, all Harry could manage was a soft smile and another plea. “Please, take me up to our bed; my head is killing me.”