Harry's Strange Case of Basilisk Pox
Harry, Hermione, and Ron were sitting at the Gryffindor table and eating lunch or at least pretending to do so since Harry was only pushing his food around, one elbow popped up on the table with his head on his hand. "Harry," Ginny hissed over from opposite the table, "sit up properly, McGonagall is just coming over."
Harry gave her a confused glance and moved his head up before he slid his elbow off the table just in time when the professor stood behind him and said briskly, "Granger and Potter, please accompany me to the Headmaster's office."
While Hermione answered, "Yes Professor," standing up immediately, Harry gave his Head of House a curious glance, only receiving a short nod in return. "It'll be all right, Harry," Hermione told him in a calming voice when they followed McGonagall up the staircase to the gargoyle.
"Basilisk pox," the professor mumbled, and the gargoyle let them through.
Harry and Hermione anxiously followed their teacher into the Headmaster's office, surprised to see Madam Pomfrey there as well. "Ah, Miss Granger, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore addressed them, motioning them to sit down. "How good that you were able to join us; would you like a lemon drop?" he asked casually, and Hermione picked a lemon drop while Harry declined.
McGonagall and Pomfrey declined as well, and Dumbledore slowly unwrapped his own lemon drop while he thoughtfully began to speak. "I don't know if you have heard of the news but one of the Gryffindor first years has come down with basilisk pox, a very dangerous magical illness."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a confused look before they turned their eyes back to the Headmaster. "All magical children are normally vaccinated against illnesses like basilisk pox at the age of five, and St. Mungo's is the only place in Great Britain conducting these vaccinations. Normally, when a student enters Hogwarts, Madam Pomfrey receives a copy of their medical history from St. Mungo's, so that in cases like this she can immediately check if all students have received the necessary vaccinations. With Muggle born students it is much more difficult, although normally Madam Pomfrey takes the Muggle born first years to St. Mungo's in order to get the vaccinations. However, that is not always possible. Madam Pomfrey has now looked through her files and has discovered that the two of you are the only students, who have not yet received a vaccination against basilisk pox."
"What exactly does that mean, Professor?" Hermione asked, terrified.
"Calm down, Miss Granger; that doesn't mean anything at the moment," McGonagall replied, putting a calming hand on her student's shoulder.
"The incubation time," Dumbledore continued, "is from five days up to three weeks, quite a long period. Normally, we would have to put both of you in quarantine for that time; however, since you are the only ones in danger to get the disease, Madam Pomfrey and I have decided to spare you the quarantine. However, you have to collaborate and must either go to the hospital wing for a check up each morning and evening…" Ignoring Harry's groan, he continued, "or you have to take your temperature every morning and evening as well as keep an eye on yourselves concerning the symptoms of the illness. Madam Pomfrey has prepared everything you need. If you encounter even the slightest problem health wise, go to the hospital wing immediately."
The Mediwitch stepped over to the students and handed each a thermometer and a few parchments. "After taking your temperature, you have to tap first the thermometer and then this parchment here with your wand in order to get the reading onto the parchment, which is connected to one in my office where your data will appear for me to check. Please read the information on the other parchment closely, so that you know what the symptoms are, on which you will have to keep an eye."
Harry curiously mustered the thermometer in his hand, giving Pomfrey an enquiring glance. "Excuse me, but how…"
"You don't know how to take your temperature, Mr. Potter?" The Healer asked softly.
Harry gave her a small nod before he averted his eyes to the floor. "Did your aunt never take your temperature?" his Head of House enquired incredulously.
"No, Professor," Harry said in a small voice, causing Hermione to put an arm around his back.
"Minerva, before Harry came to Hogwarts, he has never been to a doctor or a Healer," Pomfrey shortly explained to her friend, before she turned back to Harry. "That's all right; just come to see me before curfew tonight and I'll show you, Mr. Potter."
"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey," Harry mumbled, blushing terribly.
"Excuse me but wouldn't it be much easier to go to see Madam Pomfrey anyway as she can easily take a temperature with a wand?" Hermione asked hesitantly. "I mean, I can understand if it's too much trouble…"
"No, dear, it wouldn't be trouble at all," Poppy countered immediately. "However, the problem is that the use of magic on someone, who has caught Basilisk pox, can be very dangerous for the person. Therefore, during these three weeks you may not participate in any practise during which other students do magic on you. I will inform your teachers accordingly."
Seeing that the two students looked very pale, she added, "I don't think that you will fall ill by the way; it is mostly a question of how good a person's immune system is when the person is exposed to the illness, but since neither of you has been in the hospital wing with colds and such very frequently, your immune systems seem to be fairly good; so don't worry please. And even if you got the disease, we would know it very early due to our regular checks, so that I'd be well able to cure you."
"All right, if that's all, I believe it's time for you to head for your classes." With that the Headmaster released them, and Harry and Hermione quietly walked down the stairs.
"I already feel very sick," Hermione mumbled to Harry on their way up to the History of Magic classroom.
"I feel sick enough to just skip the class," Harry countered. "My headache is killing me."
"Do you still have a headache?" Hermione queried in concern. "I just hope you won't get sick. Why didn't you ask Madam Pomfrey for a headache potion?"
"I don't know. I suppose I forgot. Moreover, if they can't magic on us, will we be allowed potions?"
In the meantime, they had reached the classroom and slipped in just in time. Hermione quickly filled Ron in on what they had been told in the Headmaster's office, while Harry put his achy head on his arms on the table and took a nap until Hermione woke him up at the end of the class.
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After dinner, Harry grudgingly made his way down to the Potions classroom for his detention with Professor Snape. "On time for once, Potter," the professor greeted him. "As you seemed fit to take a nap during my lesson…"
"No!" Harry interrupted Severus angrily. "I did not take a nap! I had a splitting headache, which I still have, and just closed my eyes for a blink hoping to get rid of the pain; nothing more!"
"A bit more respect, Potter," the professor sneered but refrained from saying more, taking in the student's pale face and his scrunched forehead. "I want you to clean up the cupboard with the ingredients, without magic of course. If you don't finish your work today, you'll continue tomorrow at the same time. I will release you half an hour before curfew, so that you'll have enough time to see Madam Pomfrey about your headache."
"Thank you sir," Harry mumbled and set to work quickly. Years of doing chores at the Dursleys had made him proficient in cleaning rooms and cupboards, and Harry had just finished when the professor returned to the classroom and dismissed him, astonished that Potter would do such a good job at cleaning the ingredients cupboard. "Good night, Professor," Harry mumbled and slowly walked up to the hospital wing, pondering if it was very awkward that he didn't know how to take his temperature. 'According to Professor McGonagall's reaction it must be,' Harry mused, blushing slightly.
Harry hesitantly entered Madam Pomfrey's office. The Healer made him sit on a chair next to her, and Harry took the thermometer he had received earlier out of his school bag. "Open your mouth," Poppy ordered the boy, and when Harry anxiously complied, she told him, "Now you stick the thermometer under your tongue and close your mouth. Be careful that it stays there until the reading is finished, which you will know because it beeps."
Harry did as he was told and nearly gagged, having the cold glassy thing in his mouth. "Gata gogi," he complained around the thermometer, receiving a stern glare from Poppy.
"Stop fighting it and be quiet," she said strictly and suggested, "You can lean back and make yourself comfortable in your chair, Mr. Potter."
Harry complied and slang both arms around his shoulders as the cold thing in his mouth made him shiver and his head felt as if it was going to explode any time. Finally, the thermometer beeped, and Harry took it out, looking on the numbers that had appeared on the display. Not having a clue what they meant or what they were supposed to be, he shrugged and handed the thermometer to Poppy.
Poppy frowned and asked sternly, "Mr. Potter, what have you been doing this evening? Did you just come from Quidditch practice?"
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Harry gave Madam Pomfrey a shocked look. 'Did she just ask me if I came from Quidditch practise?' he thought confused. "No, um… I had detention with Professor Snape. Oh, by the way, could I get a headache potion please? I had a headache all day, and in the Potions class I closed my eyes for a blink, hoping to get rid of the pain for a moment, but Professor Snape saw me and thought I was asleep, so he gave me a detention." Noticing that he was rambling, he quieted and gave Poppy an expectant look.
"Your temperature is a bit high for my likings," Pomfrey said pensively. "I can't check on you like I would normally do, but let me just cast one spell to see if you've already caught the basilisk pox." When Harry gave her a frightened nod, she quickly waved her wand at him and shook her head in relief. "No, at least not yet." She gave Harry a piercing look, noticing that his cheeks were flushed and pearls of sweat were covering his forehead. "Apart from the headache you feel fine?" she asked, and when Harry confirmed, she made the tip of her wand lit up and peered into his eyes, his mouth, and his ears.
"It's difficult to diagnose something with Muggle methods," she told him finally, sighing. "Maybe you're just coming down with a cold or something. You should either stay here overnight or come back in the morning before breakfast, so that I can check on you again."
"Ah, I will come back in the morning," Harry said quickly and stood up, picking up his bag.
Pomfrey handed him two pills and a glass of water. "As you can imagine, you're not allowed to drink potions at the moment. However, your headache should at least get better with that. Please go to bed immediately."
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In the morning, Harry's condition remained unchanged. His head still hurt, and his temperature was still higher than normal, but the Mediwitch couldn't find anything else wrong with him. 'Maybe my throat is a little bit scratchy,' Harry thought when he was sitting in his Transfiguration class, to which Madam Pomfrey had let him go reluctantly. He unconsciously rubbed his forehead, thinking, 'The Muggle medicine didn't help at all; strange, how can Muggles handle a simple headache if their medicine doesn't work at all?' He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't hear the teacher call him a few times.
Only when Hermione kicked him in the ribs, he noticed that McGonagall was standing in front of him and asked in concern, "Are you feeling all right, Mr. Potter?"
Again rubbing his forehead, Harry replied, "Yes, of course, Professor, I'm sorry."
During the rest of his classes Harry was very careful not to attract any more attention. Glad when all his classes and dinner were over, he sat in the common room with Hermione and Ron to do his homework, unconscious to the fact that Hermione was watching him closely. "Harry, did you read the information that Madam Pomfrey gave us yesterday? I mean, do you know exactly what the symptoms are?"
Harry gave her a horrified look. He had completely forgotten to look at the parchments the Healer had given him yesterday. "No, Hermione because I had to see her anyway," he replied, knowing that it was a lame excuse, especially as Madam Pomfrey had not checked his body for the symptoms. He pulled the parchments out of his school bag and read through the information. 'Long, green pustules with red rings around them,' he thought, feeling very icky at the thought alone.
Seeing that Hermione was still watching him in concern, he promised, "I will have a close look; I'm going to bed now anyway; my headache is killing me." 'And my throat is really sore now,' he couldn't help noticing.
"All right, Harry, and if you have any problems, just give us a shout; we'll be here," Hermione said softly.
Ron, who had been watching his twin brothers testing a few pranks on the first years, who were now spiking green ears and yellow noses, turned back to his friends and said, "Good night mate, see you tomorrow morning."
Harry walked up to the dormitory and headed for a shower, glad that the bathroom was completely empty at this early hour. Afterwards he pulled one of his Weasley sweaters out of his trunk since the dormitory seemed quite cold on that evening and quickly crawled into bed. He was nearly asleep, when he remembered that he still had to take his temperature and quickly sat up again. He stuck the thermometer under his tongue, feeling very awkward and uncomfortable while he waited for the reading to be finished. After what seemed to be an endless time, the thing finally beeped, and Harry took it out, looked at the meaningless numbers, and put the thermometer on his night table, before he tapped it and the parchment next to it with his wand, seeing that the number immediately appeared on the parchment. Taking off his glasses, he lay down and was asleep within seconds.
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Hermione and Ron were still in the common room doing homework when, twenty minutes before curfew, their Head of House entered the common room. After looking around the room, she approached Ron and Hermione and asked sternly, "Where is Mr. Potter?"
The two students exchanged a worried look, and Hermione replied, "He already went to bed more than an hour ago. He didn't feel very well. Why are you asking, Professor?"
McGonagall sighed. "I have to escort him to the hospital wing. Have you already taken your temperature, Miss Granger?"
Hermione gave the teacher a confused look and answered, "No, but I can do it immediately. What's wrong with Harry?"
"He seems to have a fever but didn't show up in the hospital wing as you have been instructed. So I have to take him, but before we go, I'd like to know if I have to take you with me as well."
"I don't think so, Professor; I feel fine," Hermione replied and hurried up to her dormitory. "thirty-six point six (ninety-seven point eight)," she informed her Head of House a few minutes later, following her into Harry's dormitory, where her friend was fast asleep, having a nice dream.
Harry was playing Quidditch, and Gryffindor was well on its way to win the Quidditch cup. He had just spotted the Snitch and was just extending his hand to catch his favourite ball, when he felt a hand on his shoulder, and someone shouted, "Mr. Potter!" Harry turned around so quickly that he lost the grip on his broom and tumbled down to the ground, hitting his head.
'Oww,' he thought and lazily opened his eyes, seeing that his Head of House was standing next to his bed, giving him a concerned look. "What's wrong, Professor?" he asked astonished, letting out a small cough.
"I have orders from Madam Pomfrey to take you to her," Minerva replied sternly.
"Why?" Harry asked, slowly getting upset. "Look, I've already taken my temperature, and I'm tired and my head hurts, and I want to sleep," he added angrily, noticing horrified that his voice was beginning to fail.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, but it's not enough to take your temperature; if you see that you have a fever of nearly thirty-nine degrees, you have to go to see Madam Pomfrey. I thought that would be clear," McGonagall replied briskly. "Anyway let's go; Madam Pomfrey is waiting for you. Take your thermometer with you, please."
"How do I know that nearly thirty-nine degrees is a fever?" Harry croaked stubbornly. "Nobody told me as much."
"Sorry, sweetie; everything over thirty-eight is a fever," Hermione informed him quietly.
Harry gave her a grateful nod before he scrambled out of his bed, shivering violently at the loss of his warm bed cover. He followed his Head of House out of the dormitory and all the way down to the hospital wing, feeling exhausted and just glad to be able to lie down anywhere when McGonagall ordered him into a bed and went to fetch Poppy. The Healer quickly waved her wand at Harry and shook her head, obviously relieved. "No, it's not the basilisk pox," she told her colleague, who let out a relieved sigh.
"Harry, please tell me exactly how you feel," Pomfrey asked as she gave him a sharp look, noticing that his hair was plastered to his forehead in sweat and his cheeks were flushed.
McGonagall made herself comfortable in a chair on the other side of Harry's bed, giving the child a concerned look. Harry looked at the Healer with glassy, green eyes. "My head still hurts; the Muggle medicine didn't help at all, and my throat is a little scratchy, ah… um… maybe is a bit sore, that's all," he then replied honestly.
"All right, Harry, please sit up for a moment. I want to take your temperature once more," Poppy told him and looked into his eyes, mouth, and ears again and stuck the thermometer under his tongue. Finally, she let out a sigh. "Your throat and your ears seem to be infected, Harry. Like I told you it's very difficult to diagnose something with Muggle methods; however, I suspect that it is either just a throat and ear infection or the flu. I have to keep you here under observation." After an infinite time, she took the thermometer back and sighed again. "Your fever is still going up; it's thirty-nine point five (one hundred and three) now; so I am inclined to believe that you have caught the flu. Unfortunately, as you know, I can only give you Muggle medicine."
Pomfrey helped Harry to lie down again and went to fetch some medicine for him, while McGonagall conjured a cool cloth and carefully bathed his flushed face. After taking his medicine, Harry fell back to sleep within seconds.
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In the morning, Harry felt truly horrible. His whole body was sore, he felt hot and cold at the same time, and he was very hoarse and could hardly speak at all because his throat felt so raw. Moreover, his temperature had climbed up to forty degrees, and Harry had started to suffer from fevered dreams. Due to his bad condition Madam Pomfrey was not allowing visitors, and the only exception from that regulation was Minerva as Harry's Head of House. The Mediwitch had put a spell on the area of Harry's bed so that visitors couldn't get the flu – or whatever it was that he was suffering from – from Harry, and McGonagall came to see Harry every day after classes.
For a few days, Harry's condition remained unchanged, and Hermione and Ron pestered the Healer every day that they wanted to see him. However, only when Harry's fever finally dropped a degree on the fifth day, Pomfrey allowed Hermione to visit Harry after dinner and told Ron to come on the next day. Hermione sat down on the edge of Harry's bed and quietly talked to him about their lessons that Harry had missed. However, Harry was still delirious and not able to properly follow her conversation. Glancing at her watch, Hermione asked, "Harry, may I borrow your thermometer for a moment? Somehow I feel as if I was coming down with something too."
"Of course," Harry replied, giving his friend a concerned look, noticing that her cheeks looked a bit flushed and her eyes were much brighter than usual, and handed her the thermometer. "I love you, Mione, don't get sick," he mumbled hoarsely, comfortingly moving his hand around her back, while they waited for the reading.
When Hermione finally took the thermometer out, she gave it a horrified look and mumbled, "Have to see Madam Pomfrey."
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Two minutes later, Hermione came back with the Healer in tow. Pomfrey made her sit down on the bed next to Harry and quickly waved her wand at the child. "Yes, you have caught the basilisk pox," she confirmed quietly and thoughtfully observed the child before she continued, "Normally, we send children with such a bad illness back home, but in your case since your parents are Muggles it would be too dangerous for them, and I believe that it would be in your best interest to remain here, wouldn't it, Hermione?"
"Yes please, Madam Pomfrey," Hermione replied, fear written in her eyes that seemed dull and clouded from the fever.
"You don't have to be afraid; since we got it so early you will be able to make a complete recovery. It will just be a bit uncomfortable and your fever will still go up in the next few hours," Pomfrey said calmingly. She quickly put up a screen around Hermione's bed and told her to undress while she went to fetch pyjamas and a Healing salve for the child that Snape had brewed in advance to be ready when one of the two students caught the disease.
"This salve has to be applied on the pustules every four hours," Poppy explained patiently. "Let me see if you already have any." She gave Hermione a piercing look all over. "Yes," she said then, sighing, "look, it's starting here on your arm. These pustules will hurt a little it is very important that you don't scratch them; otherwise they will get infected, which would make your fever spike even more."
"How do I have to apply the salve?" Hermione asked anxiously.
Poppy looked at her watch, before she answered, "I'm going to take turns with a few teachers, probably Professors McGonagall and Snape, to watch over you during the night, and we will apply the salve for you. You don't have to do anything but try to sleep and get better and be cooperative because we'll have to take your temperature every so often."
"Madam Pomfrey?" Hermione asked, and Harry noticed that her voice was starting to get hoarse, "Can you please take the screen away so that I can see Harry? He's my best friend, and I don't mind if he can see me. I would feel so much better then."
With a flick of Poppy's wand the screen was gone. "Madam Pomfrey, I can also help looking after Hermione," Harry croaked.
Poppy sighed and came over to him, sticking the thermometer into his mouth. "Yes, Harry, as soon as your fever is completely gone, you may help. Don't worry, Hermione will be here for at least three weeks, and you're having another three weeks of incubation time," she answered, giving the boy a pitying look.
"Three weeks?" Hermione gasped.
"Ga git her kogiko getta?" Harry tried to ask around the thermometer.
"Shush, Harry, be quiet or we have to start all over," Pomfrey threatened and adjusted the position of the thermometer. "thirty-nine point eight," she finally stated, frowning. "Are you feeling even a bit better by now, Harry?"
"No, I feel awful," Harry admitted hoarsely.
The Healer's face darkened. "I will talk to Professor Snape tonight. He is doing research in order to make non-magical potions against the fever and against the pain, and I hope he'll find something soon. Now, go to sleep please, both of you; it's already past curfew."
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During the night, Harry woke up every now and then when Hermione was talking deliriously in her fevered nightmares. Harry's nightmares mostly resolved about magical animals chasing him around the Quidditch pitch or falling from his broom if he was lucky; otherwise he dreamed about his uncle. However, listening to Hermione's incoherent rambling, he realized that she seemed to have nightmares about unfinished homework, failed tests, and classes, in which she was being scolded by a teacher.
Pomfrey, McGonagall, and Snape took turns looking after Hermione and him; however, the Potions Master didn't stay at their side like the others but busied himself in Pomfrey's office over a cauldron, in which he was trying to brew a potion for them. Seeing that Hermione was thrashing around, croaking apologies to Professor McGonagall for not making Harry do his homework, Harry scrambled out of his bed and carefully hold on to his night table, feeling very dizzy for a moment. As soon as the dizziness passed, he took the two steps over to her bed, sitting down next to her on the bed. "Hermione," he whispered hoarsely, "wake up, Mione. It's all right, McGonagall is not upset at you; you did all your homework perfectly." Seeing that she calmed down a bit, he took the cloth from her forehead, refreshed it in the bowl of ice-cold water on her night table, and carefully began to sponge her hot and sweaty face, noticing horrified that the large, green pustules had already began to spread onto her face.
Suddenly, Hermione opened her eyes. "Really?" she asked groggily. "Is Pfessor McGonnal not angry at me? I only got ninety-eight points out of five thousand," she explained hoarsely.
"No, sweetheart, you got full points," Harry replied, shivering without the warmth of his blankets. "Get well soon, Mione." He carefully stroked over her bushy, brown hair that seemed as dull as her eyes due to the illness.
"I love you too, Harry," Hermione mumbled, "but we must wait until my fever comes down, it's at," she slowly put a hand to her forehead, "three thousand degrees."
"I know, Mione, I have to go back to my bed now; sleep well," Harry whispered and returned to his bed, glad to be able to lie down under his warm covers.
Only seconds later, Severus arrived with a potion in his hands and looked closely at both students. "Are you awake, Potter?" he whispered, to Harry's astonishment without the traditional sneer in his voice.
"Yes," Harry croaked, slowly opening his aching eyes.
Severus sat down on the chair next to Harry's bed and whispered again. "I just brewed a fever reducer without magical ingredients. Would you be willing to try it out?"
"Yes of course, sir," Harry whispered back. "But wouldn't it be better to give it to Hermione first? Her fever is much higher than mine, and she only woke up from her fever dreams a few minutes ago."
Severus shook his head. "No, she's asleep. Therefore, I'd prefer to test it on you. Please open your mouth since we have to take your temperature before and after you take the potion."
'Strange; he's much nicer than normally,' Harry thought, while they were waiting for the reading. Suddenly, he couldn't hold back a cough any longer and took out the thermometer before he resolved into a coughing fit. His coughs were getting harsher and didn't only hurt his already sore throat but also his chest, and when the coughing fit finally passed Harry was so exhausted that he let himself sink back into his pillows and closed his eyes, the thermometer still in his hands.
"Leave it to a Potter to make a fuss of everything," the professor sneered, and Harry opened his eyes with a jolt.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Professor," he croaked. "I completely forgot about…" He quickly put the thermometer back into his mouth and closed his eyes again.
'Potter doesn't look good,' Severus noticed, taking in the child's pale and sweaty face and his flushed cheeks. "Are you in pain?" he asked softly, seeing how the boy scrunched his forehead.
'Is that Snape talking in such a soft voice? Am I delirious again?' Harry wondered before he opened his eyes again.
Harry mumbled something incoherent around the thermometer, causing Snape to give him a sharp look. "If the fever reducer works, you'll feel better soon, and then we can see to your other ailments." He took the thermometer and put it aside, pointing his wand at the parchment on Harry's night table before he stated, "Forty point six; that's much higher than it should be." With his left hand he lifted Harry's head, holding a phial to his lips at the same time.
Harry swallowed the cool liquid that felt very soothing to his hot and sore throat. He felt immediately that the potion worked wonders, maybe not as much as a magical potion would have worked, but he felt much better. He blinked a few times and gave his teacher a grateful look. "Thank you very much, Professor," he whispered, "that helped immensely."
Snape looked down into the green eyes, realizing that they had returned to their usual brilliant green, just like Lily's eyes had been. "Very well; now let's take your temperature once more, and then I will let you go back to sleep."
Ignoring Harry's groan, he stuck the thermometer into the boy's mouth once more, and while they waited for the result, he began to turn potions ingredients around in his head, already thinking of the next potion the boy would need. "thirty-nine point one; that's much better, even if it is not as good as with a magical potion," he stated and gave the child a piercing look. "What exactly hurts, Potter?"
"My whole body's sore, but my head and throat are the worst," Harry whispered back.
"I can give you the next dose of your Muggle flu pills now, and then I'll go and try to make a salve for your throat," Snape said thoughtfully, handing the boy two pills and a glass of water. He waited until the child's eyes closed and he fell asleep a few minutes later before he hurried back to his cauldron to try out something he had just thought of.
Shortly later, Pomfrey was back in order to check on Hermione and apply the cream to the increasing number of pustules all over her body. Just when Hermione had fallen back asleep and the Mediwitch went over to Harry, Snape came back with his new cream. "He looks much better," Poppy observed, giving her colleague a questioning glance, who told her about his new fever reducer that obviously worked well and promised to brew more of it during his first morning class.
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The next few days continued in the same way. While Harry's condition was slowly improving due to the potions Snape had invented for him, Hermione was very ill. With a constantly high fever of over forty (one hundred and four) degrees, she remained delirious and was suffering from fever induced nightmares all the time.
As soon as Harry's fever came down, the boy started pestering Pomfrey that he wanted to leave the hospital wing and attend his classes. However, the Healer was very reluctant, considering that he still had a bit of a temperature, was extremely pale, and still didn't eat his meals properly. However, when his condition remained constant for three days, she gave in to Harry's begging and allowed him to attend classes but didn't release him. "You are not completely recovered, Harry, as long as your temperature is around thirty-eight degrees, but if you really feel well enough, you may attend classes. Understand me correctly please, only classes. After your last class, you will return here immediately until I allow you to leave again in the morning."
Harry grudgingly agreed, glad that he at least could attend classes, even if he noticed soon that it was very tiring. On the first day, he was even tempted to return to the hospital wing after lunch, feeling completely exhausted. However, he resisted, knowing that the next class was History of Magic, where he could take a nap anyway. When Harry and Ron showed up in the dungeons for their last class, Harry let himself fall into a seat, mumbling, "Thank God, it's the last lesson for today. I'm exhausted."
"Why don't you skip the lesson, Harry? Madam Pomfrey would excuse you immediately; she knows that you're not completely recovered," Ron told him in concern.
"No, I can't miss Potions; and I'm fine, only tired," Harry replied, sighing.
"I do not think that you are only tired, Mr. Potter," he suddenly heard a silky voice next to him, while an ice-cold hand was put onto his forehead. "You are still feverish and unwell, and brewing potions in your condition is very dangerous," the professor continued, having noticed that the boy was shivering and that his forehead felt hot and clammy. "Please return to the hospital wing and rest, Mr. Potter." Unbeknownst to Harry, Pomfrey was very worried about him and had instructed Minerva and Severus to keep a close eye on the child.
Harry gave the teacher a grateful glance and obeyed, glad when Pomfrey didn't make a fuss but only commentated, "Professor Snape is right as usual. Lie down and rest, Harry."
It was late in the evening when the Potions returned with another potion for Harry. He thrust Pomfrey a phial and put a small box with a few others on her desk, throwing a glance into the Healer's exhausted face and suggested, "Poppy, go to bed. I will stay with them for a few hours."
When Poppy agreed Severus walked over to Harry, seeing that the boy's hair was sweat soaked and plastered to his forehead. His cheeks were deeply flushed, and he was tossing and turning around in his sleep. Severus woke him up to make him drink the potion; however, as soon as he touched the boy, he began to whimper, "No, Uncle, please don't; I'll be good."
"Potter, wake up, it's all right; you're safe at Hogwarts," Severus whispered softly, causing Harry to quieten down immediately. "I need you to wake up and drink a potion for me," Severus continued and gave Harry's shoulder a slight shake before he re-considered and bathed the child's flushed face with a cool cloth.
"Hmm, feels good," Harry mumbled and slightly opened his eyes.
Severus pressed the phial against the boy's lips and noticed relieved that the child greedily swallowed the cool potion before he fell back into a deep sleep. He quickly spelled the cloth ice-cold and adjusted it to Harry's forehead before he stepped over to Hermione's bedside to put cream onto her pustules and to take her temperature and give her the medicine. 'I just hope Potter won't get this after all,' he thought while he was listening to Hermione's incoherent rambling. 'His condition is already bad enough after being ill for so long, and I've done enough night shifts to last for the whole school year.'
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Harry's condition improved slowly, and this time, Harry was not able to talk Pomfrey into releasing him as soon as he felt better. "No, Harry," she told him again each time he begged her. "I will only release you when your fever is completely gone and you seem really well to me."
Finally, Hermione's condition began to improve slowly. Her fever came down nearly two degrees, and even if it was still a bit high, she wasn't delirious any more. Harry and Hermione spent much time talking to each other during the next week.
Only five days before the contamination period ended, the Healer finally deemed Harry fit enough to attend lessons again. "We will handle it like the last time for the rest of the week," Pomfrey told Harry sternly. "You may attend classes, but I expect you back here immediately afterwards. If you don't get any more problems, I'll release you to your dormitory on Sunday."
Harry gave the Healer a happy smile. "Thank you, Madam Pomfrey." He was so glad to finally feel better that he didn't mind staying overnight in the hospital wing for another week, especially as Hermione was still stuck in the bed next to him.
When Harry showed up for lunch in the Great Hall on the next day and Fred and George heard that he would only be allowed to eat lunch together with them, they immediately began to make plans how to entertain Harry during lunch on the next day. Harry couldn't believe his eyes when during lunch a day later, small fireworks started along the wall next to the Gryffindor table and spread along the walls around the Great Hall. While everyone was watching the spectacle in awe, the teachers stood up and began to sing a nursery rhyme.
Too soon, lunchtime was over though, and Harry and his friends had to head down to the dungeons for their Potions class. Harry, who still didn't know what to think about the professor as he had been so nice and kind when he was ill, concentrated on his potion very hard. He for once managed to brew a flawless potion, which he bottled and placed on the teacher's desk, feeling truly happy.
At the end of the class, Severus called for Harry to stay behind. 'He still looks pale, and he even has dark rings around his eyes,' he observed worriedly, while his student cleaned up his workspace and came over to him. "Mr. Potter," Severus addressed the child, without any malice in his silky voice. "You have missed very much during the last weeks, and it is essential that you catch up with your classmates, not only in theory but also in practice. If you are interested to learn what you have missed, I am willing to teach you once a week in the evening."
Harry was so embarrassed that he didn't know how to reply. 'What happened to the greasy git, who hated and belittled me every time?' he thought confused and, seeing that the teacher was waiting for an answer, he replied, "I would appreciate that very much, Professor; thank you, sir."
"Then come to my office every Sunday evening straight after dinner. Will that be agreeable to you?"
"Yes, Professor, thank you very much," Harry replied happily.
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However, in the morning, Harry woke up, feeling utterly awful. Only the evening before, Hermione had told him, "Oh Harry, tomorrow I've been ill for three weeks; that means that tomorrow is the last day of your incubation period. You'll be able to return to the dormitory, and you don't have to get your temperature taken every now and then anymore."
"Thank God," Harry had mumbled, already half asleep. 'Oh no,' he groaned now. 'Am I getting it on the last day?'
"Harry!" Hermione suddenly shouted. "You have to get up; classes are going to start." She gave Poppy a questioning look. "Is something wrong with Harry?"
"I don't know," the Healer replied. "Seeing that he won't get up willingly, I'm inclined to believe that something is wrong though," she continued, walking over to Harry's bedside. None of the children was aware of the fact that she had been watching Harry in concern for nearly an hour and had already felt how hot his skin was. She took the thermometer from Harry's night table and tried to stick it into his mouth.
Harry pushed it away and mumbled, "I don't feel good, Madam Pomfrey, I don't want to go to classes."
"No, that's all right, you don't have to attend classes today, but I must take your temperature," she replied softly and resolved to sticking the thermometer under his armpit, causing him to shiver violently as the cold glassy thing touched his hot skin.
'Forty-one degrees, that's bad,' Pomfrey thought and quickly waved her wand at Harry, sighing deeply when it flared red. "I'm sorry, Harry; this time you've really caught the basilisk pox," she confirmed, giving the child a pitying look.
"Don't worry, sweetie, we're all here for you and will take care of you," Hermione added, giving Harry a huge smile.
I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.