Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns everything.

Shake The Disease

by Logospilgrim

You know how hard it is for me
to shake the disease
that takes hold of my tongue
in situations like these
Understand me

Depeche Mode


"Good morning, Severus," McGonagall said. "Fashionably late, I see."

He ignored her and sat down, his back ramrod straight, his face half-shrouded by his lanky black hair.

"Well, you're as sociable as ever," McGonagall said.

"Shall we dispense with the usual pleasantries, Minerva?" he said with a strained voice, and reached for a cup of black coffee. "I am not at all in the mood."

She sniffed. "I don't know why I even bother trying to be civil to you."

"Then don't. It seems to work for everyone else."

This, of course, is precisely when the Headmaster joined in the conversation.

"How are you this morning, my dear Severus?" Dumbledore said.

Snape inclined his head towards the old wizard but didn't look him in the eyes. "Headmaster."

"You look a little pale. Insomnia again, Severus?"

"No, Headmaster, but when I awoke I wasn't feeling quite well, and so I took a potion before coming to breakfast. Nothing to be concerned about."

Except that his vision was blurring.

"Something rather nasty is going around," McGonagall said. "I've had to send a number of students to see Poppy."

"It is getting cooler," Dumbledore said. "That time of the year-"

Snape suddenly gripped the edge of the table and hunched over it, his breathing fast and shallow.

"Severus? Severus!" Dumbledore said. "What's wrong?"

"Dizzy, just... I'll be fine in a second," Snape said, gritting his teeth. Why wasn't that damned potion working properly?

McGonagall put a hand on his shoulder. "Severus, I'm fetching Poppy."

"I said I'm... I'm fine-"

The students began to notice the singular activity taking place at the Head Table; the rambunctious noise in the Great Hall was dying down and giving way to whispered exclamations.

Then Snape groaned and clutched his waist with one arm; his head dropped on the table. Dumbledore was on his feet in an instant and at Snape's side.

"Get Poppy," Dumbledore told McGonagall, who hurried out of the Great Hall.

Snape groaned again, the sound weaker this time, and shivered.

"Keep still," Dumbledore said. He pushed the hair from Snape's features and discovered that a crimson rash covered the Potions Master's cheek. "Oh, dear."

"Headmaster," Snape said, and lost consciousness.