Title: Night Detention

Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Harry Potter, during the marauder's last school year

Characters: everyone's favorite Slytherins, and the Marauders
Parings: none, really
Rating: G
Spoilers: read the second and third book at least! And reading my 'Breakfast Time' fic would allow this story to make more sense.
Disclaimer: J.K.R.'s characters and world, and I don't get as much as a cent
Summary: Snape's sick but must serve a detention with a few other Slytherins and our favorite animal friends.

Comments: Yes please!



Night Detention


            "Can't believe we have to spend a whole night in detention," Severus Snape muttered, out of breath from the brisk pace he and Goyle needed to keep up with Malfoy. "Just because we were trying to figure out Potters' secret."  Lucius Malfoy nodded but did not answer because of a few harsh coughs that seized him. But he did not slow his pace a bit as they turned and climbed up yet another staircase out from the dungeon. Goyle simply grunted in agreement between pants.


            Halfway up, Severus had to stop for a moment's rest. He fought to catch his breath and pulled out a handkerchief to make a show out of wiping sweat from his brow in excuse. He heard the footsteps of his companions continue up the stairs, albeit slower than before. And he turned, closing his eyes with the handkerchief raised to his face, giving into the strong tickling sensation that was upon him. "heh-Kemshh! KuhCheshhh! KurCheshh!" He sniffled and dabbed at his nose miserably. But in the silence after his sneezes he noticed the sound of footsteps had stopped completely, to be replaced by a few soft, dignified coughs and a number of harsher out-of-breath ones.


            The bright blond head of Lucius Malfoy popped out from the staircase above and peered down at him. "You all right?"


            "Yeah." Severus tucked the handkerchief into his robes. "Just this ruddy cold you gave me." He sniffed miserably, trying to clear his hooked nose.


            Lucius raised a slim eyebrow, as if to question the accusation. But instead said, "Well, come on, then," rather coldly. But still patted the man's back reassuringly when Snape had caught up.


            They met the rest of their 'party' in the foyer of the great hall; Potter's gang had already arrived. James Potter was pacing between the two great staircases. Peter Pettigrew sat at the very base of the stairs, eating out of a bag of cookies. Remus Lupin was asleep, lying on one of the stairs with his head in Sirius' lap. Sirius Black was sitting on the stairs, hand on Remus' shoulder, head bent down to watch the young man sleep. They looked an odd, quiet, almost surreal group.


            But with the teachers nowhere in sight, Severus knew Lucius would waste no time at all in changing that. Lucius delighted in ridiculing them. And while such exploits never failed to bring a smile to his face, Snape was much more concerned with what secrets the gang had. Secrets they might have found out if Filch hadn't stumbled upon the whole lot of them in the early morning hours. They were serving detention with the herbology teacher, Professor Ovine, an old witch with tinted green skin and a preference for plants over people. The rumor running round was that Professor Ovine was very close to retirement, a suspicion justified by her increasing dislike of her students and increasing harshness towards them.


            But Professor Ovine had not yet arrived. And Lucius seemed to notice just as quickly as Severus had. He stood with his hands behind his back, leaning against the wall, facing Potter. "I suppose you think you're clever for getting us all caught?"


            Potter, surveying his own friends, shook his head. "Of course I don't." Of course, it hadn't been at all clear who was to blame for being found out. Peter had screamed, yes, and Sirius had been pushed nosily against a suit of armor by and Severus,  but Lucius had been coughing when they hid and gave their location away. And truth be told, if Snape hadn't been so eager to go exploring that night, they would not have been caught at all. But if Lucius had to serve detention, he was glad Potter's gang would be in the same misery.


            Goyle strode over to Pettigrew, snatching the bag of cookies from him and beginning to devour them. Pettigrew started to object, but Lucius seized the opportunity for an insult. "Should think you'd welcome a chance to diet a little, Pettigrew Pig." And he sneered. Not a very good insult considering Pettigrew was stout but not a piggy sort of fat, but Lucius was just recovering from a rather strong cold himself and wasn't yet at the top of his game.


            Snape, on the other hand, stayed out of the center of attention completely, albeit uncharacteristically. His cold, rather Lucius' cold he now had custody of, was making things a little difficult to handle. He stood with his side against the wall, turned away from the waiting bunch and pulled his handkerchief out as the tickle in his nose grew. A sniffle preceded them, and he tired to keep them back as long as possible. But in the end, he sneezed. "keh-Cheshuh! Kur-Chushh! keh-Chishhh!" He grimaced, gave his nose a bit of a blow, looked up and around, and was surprised to find that no one was paying any attention to him.


            The reason for this, Severus realized instantly as Professor Ovine's voice, soft and breathy, spoke. "You'll be serving detention outside on the grounds tonight doing some work for me. James, would you please help me with these buckets? The rest of you may all start out the door right now." Severus eyed Potter as the goody-goody graciously picked up the buckets and tottered along behind the professor with their weight.


Black rubbed Lupin's arm to wake him, and Potter's gang was out the door followed by the Slytherins. A strong shiver whipped through Severus' entire body as they stepped outside and the great door behind closed. It was terribly chilly and none of them had cloaks, which was a punishment enough until he realized they'd be on their hands and knees on the damp ground all night.


            Professor Ovine explained. "You'll be doing some special weeding tonight." She walked, tall and lanky, to stand in front of them.. "This," she bent down and ran her hand through the lawn "is grass."


            Lucius snorted. "Oh, the fine learning never ends here at Hogwarts. Even in detention, we get such a fine education."


            Professor Ovine pretended not to hear and continued. "But amidst the grass are a number of weeds you need to notice. These are Pollywags," she pointed out a red, leafy weed. "And these are Rahumas and Fiery Nolups," she gestured at long, stringy green weeds and then small shoots of red and gold. "They must be pulled out by the base to get them completely and preserve the whole plant. The roots are just as important to get for many potions." She then waved a hand dramatically toward the three large buckets. "Pollywags in the red one. Rahumas in the green, and Fiery Nolups in this special black one because--"


            "Yeiiii!" Goyle yelled, holding his wrist with one hand and backing away from a glittering Fiery Nolup.


            The professor shook her head, but with a smile on her face. "If you hold those too long, they will burn your skin. It's only a brief burn and once you get blisters on your hands you'll barely notice. And the Pollywags tend to jump when cornered, so it's best to sneak up on them." She pulled out her wand and conjured up a large bubble with her face shining in it. With this it was evident she would be able to keep close watch on them and still go about any work she had to do inside. "As much as you can all around the grounds until dawn, boys. And there are seven of you so I do expect some overwhelming results in the morning. And she was gone, apparently stretching out on one of the couches in the entryway with a good book. Every few minutes she looked down at them all in the bubble, floating around.


            They all got to work rather quietly, none of them looking at all happy about it. Severus had inspected Goyle's hand at first, to find a few small blisters had appeared only and Goyle insisted he'd be fine. The burns and blisters given by the Fiery Nolups were not only annoyingly painful but pretty unavoidable. And the jumpiness of the Pollywags caused them all to spread out over the front lawn, scampering forward on their hands and knees and lunging and diving on them. But the most frustrating of the three were the Rahumas. They, as Professor Ovine had failed to mention, made noise as they were plucked out.


            In fact Potter and Pettigrew, the stupid gits, had made a game of it for an hour or two straight, trying to find two that made the same sound. There were clucks, shrieks, bells, cracks, crashes, booms, and even meows as they weeded. The constant, unpredictable stream of sound was quite annoying. They did, however, hide the sound of sneezes and coughs from Severus, which he was quite thankful about.


            After a few hours, he noticed Lucius getting slightly worse. He would stop, sit upright, and cough harshly. Or he'd pause to sniffle and rub his nose with the cuff of his sleeve. In the midst of one of Lucius' more strenuous bouts of coughing, Severus rose and addressed the bubble. "Professor," his tone was snide and he tried to sound more needy than frustrated. "Would it be possible to get some water?" In answer, a few seconds later a silver tray with a large pitcher of ice water and a stack of goblets pressed against the bubble from inside and then floated outwards. He poured three goblets full and distributed to Lucius first, who flicked his eyes up thankfully as he shook with coughs, his pale face flushed. Then gave one to Goyle, who poured a bit over his hands before taking a drink or two. He didn't drink much, himself. It felt bloody awful to swallow and the cold water only made him feel colder. He had been shivering on and off since they had been outside. And though scrambling to catch the Pollywags warmed him up, it was not the sort of permanent warmness he longed for. His bed. A fire. Anything was better than a cold fall night outside without a cloak. "heh-KIPshhuh! Keh-Cheshoo!" Nose running, head spinning, shin crawling with goose bumps, he turned back to the weeds and pulled.


            They had all been at it for some time when Severus looked around and realized they were one short. Malfoy and Goyle were far out on the lawn and near him, and he motioned them over, the Pollywags jumping far from him as they came. "Where's Lupin?" he asked with a surly growl. As he thought about it, he couldn't remember seeing Lupin for a long while. Had he gone in? Had he completely skipped out of detention?


            Goyle shrugged in answer and grunted, "Dunno."


            But Lucius grew suspicious, craning his neck, looking around the whole long. "Must be around the corner. Black's picking right there by the corner, and Potter near there, too." Yes, maybe they'd already cleared all the weeds in front here and were moving to the side already. But something didn't seem right about that.


            Leaving Goyle to work, the pair of them made their way over to where Black and Potter were working. Severus felt the tickle in his nose act up again. Trying to be quick, he rubbed the back of his hand against his nose and sniffed a few times.


            Lucius was the one to speak as Black and Potter stopped weeding and looked up at them. "Having a time at that?" he asked snidely.


            "What do you want Malfoy?" Black growled, going for a Pollywag which jumped on purpose in the Slytherins' direction.


            They gave a step back suavely, just in time. And Severus, still feeling sneezey, turned nearly around as he took in a deep breath. "keh...heh-Kepchoo! Keh-Chushh! kehCheshh!" Wishing Lucius had talked to distract them, he rubbed his nose with the handkerchief and turned back around.


            Potter muttered a short, "Bless you." But aside from that, Black eyed him quite briefly then looked back at his weeds.


            Just as Severus was about to peer around the corner and point out Lupin's absence, the missing face appeared for itself. Remus Lupin, looking exhausted, crawled from around the corner with a handful of weeds sounding like knocks on a door. "Forgot which bins were which, have you lads?" he asked with a curious expression.


            Lucius didn't seem to have a god response, so quickly Severus returned with, "Just wanted a better look at your piles. You're right, Lucius. We do have twice as much." And he pulled the man back by the arm with a snort.



            It was nearly four in the morning when Severus started to feel the brunt of the task. His headache was worse with increasing congestion. He was weary, tired, feeling much like Lupin looked but with the addition of a sore throat and runny nose. "heh-Ketchhhh! Keh-Cheshhh! huh...heh..." he panted into his handkerchief.




            "ker-Chuff!" he finished, rubbing his hooked nose and sniffling. "Yeah?" and looked up at Lucius.


            The man crawled close, tossing his handful of humming weeds into a nearby pile. "Are you all right?" Then, quickly, before Severus could reply, "Could you use a short break?" Severus nodded his head quite ardently. Lucius eyed the bubble a moment and pulled out his wand once its head was turned away from them. With a swish and a few soft words, the bubble floated off towards Potter and his gang. "Will float around randomly without turning for about fifteen minutes," he explained, giving a stretch, beckoning Goyle over, and lying back on the ground. "So take a bit of a break." They enjoyed the break with a short nap and some relaxing stillness. When their time was up and the bubble turned and floated back and forth between both groups again, the Slytherins worked with a renewed spirit.


            They took a few more breaks throughout the night, but by the time the sky began to lighten, they were all sore and exhausted. Severus knew it was well against the rules, but as Professor Ovine had forgotten to confiscate their wands and he sorely needed a few breaks, he didn't feel the least bit guilty.


Severus, the worst of them all, was the one to approach the bubble and ask if time were up when he saw the faint hint of sun poking out over the horizon. "It's sunrise, Professor," he said, pointing out over the lawn. They'd managed to nearly circle the castle and, perhaps unconsciously, were on the east side. The bubble popped and moments later, Professor Ovine was out, inspecting the overflowing buckets. They had started out large already, but as more and more weeds were added, the buckets expanded accordingly. Finally, she let them go, warning them that they'd be out there again if they broke any further rules.



            Trudging their way back in and watching Potter's group head up the marble stairs to bed, Severus grew quite glad his common room was down stairs instead of upwards. The dungeons grew cold around him, and he found himself sliding against a slick wall for support as they walked down. His legs were tired, body aching for rest, and his head pounded with fever and congestion. "heh-Kepshhh! KehCheshh!"


            "Bless you," Lucius muttered, his voice hoarse. And although he sounded rough, he sounded more mysterious and harsh than ill. Severus gave a brief hint of a smile and allowed his eyes longer blinks as he let the wall take him down the staircase.


The warm, green glow of the common room caused him to open his eyes again with a yawn. His dormitory room seemed so much further away, and the couches in front of the hot, healthy fire looked so inviting. Without a second thought, Severus flopped onto one, head on a cushion with a silver snake embroidered upon it. He coughed and pulled his arms and legs into himself for warmth. His eyes closed with fatigue and the entrancing green flames of the fire. His nose felt runny, but by now he hadn't even the energy to lift his arm to retrieve his handkerchief. "huh...kehChushh! Chishuhh! hehKetchhh!" Miserably, he rubbed his nose on his shoulder as well as he could.


            He heard his name being muttered, "Severus..." and pried his eyes open to find Lucius draping a thick blanket over him, and pushing a pillow under his head.


            "Mmm," Severus answered drowsily, feeling the blanket tucked snugly around himself. "Thanks." His nose tickled again, fiercely and he buried his face in the corner of the pillow, body shaking weakly. "heh...heh-Krushh! Keh-Cheshuhh!" He paused a moment, raising his head just slightly, panting, eyes tightly closed. "heh-KehCheshh!" He snuffled and coughed to clear his voice.


            "Bless you," Lucius said again, giving Severus a soft pat on the arm. "I, uh..." he paused long enough to give himself a second thought, then started over again. "Will you be all right?"


            Severus, realizing that this was as close as Lucius would ever come to an apology, acknowledged it with a "Yeah. It's ok." Lucius gave him a nod and went off to bed himself. Severus knew it would be time for breakfast soon, and could hear faint sounds of his fellow Slytherins getting up to dress and take showers: Rosier, Wilkes, Avery, Crabbe and the rest. They'd be clumping through the common room in no time. But with the fatigue Severus felt, he was sure that as soon as he fell asleep there would be no awakening him for anything.