Title: The Living Dead
Rating: PG13-R
Pairing: SS/HP (and probably others in future chapters)
Genre: Action/drama/angst/romance
Warnings: Slash, violence, torture, death.
Chapter 7 summary: Snape's not feeling well and Harry doesn't know why. He calls his friends for help.
Disclaimer: HP characters belong to the talented JK Rowling. I'm only borrowing them for fun. Original characters are mine, though.

The Living Dead
Chapter VII – Cursed

Three days had passed since the day Snape told Harry about how they got out of Azkaban. He was confused, but tried his best to conceal it from his friends. Ron and Hermione kept visiting him a few times during the day, and they even did some shopping for him, since he wasn't allowed to get out of the house, because Death Eaters might be around.

Snape had locked himself in his room and got out only to go to the bathroom or to eat. He had stopped talking to Harry since the night before and Harry wanted to know the reason. He also wondered about what was Snape doing in the room, but the door was always warded. He tried to eavesdrop but found out that there was an anti-eavesdropping charm on the room. The wards and charms were lifted only when Snape left the room, and that's when Harry sneaked in, but even so, he couldn't find anything suspicious inside.

Inside his own world, Severus Snape was struggling from strange feelings. His muscles ached and he felt dizzy all the time. He kept himself lying in bed all day because he didn't want anyone to know that he was feeling sick. Someone in the back of his mind kept talking to him. He didn't recognize the voice, but it was a man's voice. He tried to ignore it, but it kept talking. It was in ancient Latin. He was supposed to know ancient Latin, but for some reason he couldn't understand what the voice was saying. He tried to shake it out of his mind, but he kept failing to do so. It's been almost a day since it started, and Snape was already becoming edgy and sensitive to every other sound he would hear.

Harry noticed the change in Snape's behavior. That night before going to bed, he tried to talk to him, but Snape didn't let him. He told him that he's tired and needed some sleep. Harry didn't believe it at first, but then he noticed how red Snape's eyes were. A sign of being awake the night before. Harry wanted to know why, he wanted to help, but Snape wouldn't let him.

When Snape finally returned to his room, Harry went to the kitchen and picked up the floo powder and threw it into the fireplace, and he put his head inside and called for the Burrow.

"Ron!" Harry called. "Ron are you there?"

Ron came running as soon as he heard Harry's voice. "Harry! What's wrong?" he knelt in front of the fireplace.

"It's Snape. He's not talking to me, and he won't leave his room unless to go to the bathroom or to eat. Something's wrong, Ron. And I think he hadn't slept since last night. His eyes are red." Harry said.

"He's still locking himself in his room, then?" Ron asked and Harry nodded.

"I don't know what to do." Harry said. "Something is not right, and I know it."

"But what can you do about it?" Ron asked. "He won't let you in."

"Maybe Hermione can convince him to open the door?" Harry asked.

"Probably. We'll be there first thing in the morning." Ron replied and yawned.

"Thanks, mate." Harry said. "You go to sleep now. I'll wait for you in the morning."

"All right." Ron said and got up after bidding Harry a good night. He went straight to his bed and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Harry took his head out of the fireplace and he sat at the kitchen table. Snape's sudden change in behavior didn't promise any good, and that made him think of one person who could be causing it: Voldemort.

Back in Azkaban, Voldemort was standing in front of a rectangular mirror, his wand held high and pointing at the mirror. He was chanting and moving his wand in circles at the length of the mirror. The mirror's surface was pulsating at each word he said. It was like the mirror was gaining life from the incantation. Voldemort was alone in the room and he had the door locked. He didn't want any of his followers to witness the curse he was casting.

The Death Eaters had failed to find Snape and Potter. They had magically disappeared as soon as they were back in London. And that was the main reason that Voldemort decided to use ancient dark magic. Mirror magic was the only way he could cast a strong curse that would reach its destination no matter how well hidden the target was.

And his first target was Severus Snape.

Ron and Hermione arrived at Grimmauld Place in the morning. Harry invited them into the kitchen for breakfast. Ron didn't reject the invitation, but Hermione went straight to Snape's room. She asked Harry and Ron to remain in the kitchen and not disturb her. She stood in front of the room door and knocked lightly. When there was no answer, she knocked again.

"Professor Snape?" she called, her voice a bit low. She wasn't sure if he was awake or not.

A click sounded from the door, which meant that the door was unlocked. She waited until the door was opened and Snape stood there, wearing a dark olive silk robe over black silk pajamas.

"May I come in, Sir?" she asked.

Snape nodded and went to lie down on his bed.

Hermione closed the door after she walked in, and then she conjured a chair for herself and sat next to the bed.

"Tell me what's wrong, Sir." She asked. "Harry said that you are keeping yourself locked in this room."

"I am thankful for your concern, Miss Granger." Snape said. "But there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I'm just tired and I need to rest."

Hermione rolled her eyes and took out her wand. She pointed it at Snape's chest and muttered something that Snape couldn't hear because of the voice talking in his head. He just closed his eyes and sighed.

The tip of Hermione's wand glowed in orange. She gasped and quickly pulled her wand away. Feeling the sudden movement, Snape opened his eyes and saw the look of panic on Hermione face. He sat up and stared at her.

"What did you find out, Miss Granger?" he asked.

"You're under a spell." She said.

"A spell?"

"The wand glowed in orange." She said, pointing it at his chest again and saying the same incantation she used a moment ago. The tip of her wand glowed in orange again.

Snape sighed again and lay back on the bed and closed his eyes. "I hear a voice." He said.

Hermione adjusted herself in her seat and had a look of concern on her face, which also meant that she was memorizing everything that Snape was saying so she would start her own research of the subject.

"He keeps talking to me all day. I can't make him stop." Snape said. "He stops talking at midnight, and then my whole body starts hurting. I can't sleep at nights, I feel like something's missing and I couldn't go to sleep without it."

Hermione conjured a quill and a parchment and started taking notes as she continued to listen carefully.

"Then in the mornings I start feeling dizzy and the voice returns. He's talking right now, and there's nothing I can do about it." He put his palms at his temples and squeezed. "If I could only make it stop."

Hermione gently put her hand on one of his hands and he opened his eyes and looked at her.

"We'll help you, Sir. Ron, Harry and I will do our best to help you." She said and smiled at him.

Snape smiled back at her and let his hands drop by his sides. He wanted nothing more that to stop the voice in his head.

Hermione got up and left the room. She closed the door after her and went to the kitchen.

"So?" Harry asked as soon as he noticed Hermione entering the kitchen. "Did he tell you what's wrong?"

"He's under some sort of spell." She said. "We need to help him."

"I say we leave the git to solve his problems on his own." Ron said, which earned him a death glare from Hermione.

"We have to help him." Harry said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here today."

"Good point." Ron said. Harry had told him and Hermione everything that Snape had told him about how they got out of Azkaban, but he made them promise him that they won't tell anyone about it, and they wouldn't even mention it in front of Snape.

"We need books." Hermione said.

"I say we go to Hogwarts." Ron said. "It has the biggest library after all."

"And since we're not students anymore, I'm sure Professor McGonagall would allow us to search in the Restricted Section as well." Harry said.

"Aren't we supposed to ask Madam Pince?" Ron asked.

"No. We need permission from the Headmistress first. And not being students anymore might be enough reason for her to reject our request to enter the library at all." Hermione said.

"She won't do that. She's a member of the Order!" Ron said.

"Still, she might say no because we're researching for Snape." Hermione said.

"Bullocks." Harry said. "Let's go there now."

"Let me cast an invisibility charm on you first." Hermione said. "We don't want you to be seen, yet."

Harry nodded and Hermione took her wand out and cast an invisibility charm on him. When they were ready, they apparated to Hogsmeade and walked to Hogwarts.