Severus' Weekend of a Gryffindor Nightmare
by Healer Pomfrey

All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.

Hermione was sitting next to Harry in the first row of the Potions classroom on a rainy Friday afternoon in May of their seventh year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was eagerly brewing her potion, glancing at the teacher from time to time. Somehow, he was behaving out of character today. While he normally used to walk around the classroom all the time, breathing into the students' necks and scaring the wit out of them, today he remained seated at his desk, watching them quietly.

'I wonder what's wrong with him,' Hermione mused as she tried to concentrate on stirring her potion correctly, before it had to simmer for seven minutes. She once more turned her eyes to the teacher, noticing that his cheeks were deeply flushed and his beautiful obsidian eyes seemed dull and glassy today. Her eyes wandered up the teacher's face until they reached his forehead that seemed to be covered with beads of sweat. 'He definitely looks ill,' she thought in concern.

Knowing that Harry was attending a Healing course that Madam Pomfrey taught a few seventh year students, she whispered to her friend, "Can you unobtrusively take Snape's temperature for me? I think he might be ill."

"Are you delirious? Since when does it concern you if he is sick," Harry hissed back but seeing that his friend really seemed to be worried, he complied. "38.8," he whispered after a few seconds.

"Thanks Harry," Hermione replied and returned to her potion, still watching the teacher closely. When Severus dismissed them, Hermione told Harry to go ahead and stepped over to the professor. "What is your next class, Professor?" she asked softly.

"Why would an insufferable know-it-all need to know such a thing?" Severus sneered in a slightly hoarse voice, raising an eyebrow at his student.

"Because you're ill and in no condition to teach, sir," Hermione replied sternly, quickly extending a cold hand to the man's forehead before he could shake it off in an annoyed huff.

"Miss Granger, don't you think it would be better if you concentrated on your studies than on your teachers' conditions?" Severus hissed, not used to the unexpected concern. 'No one except for Albus and Minerva ever cares about me,' he thought in confusion.

"You have a fever and should lie down; if it's one of the lower classes that you have to teach, I can take over the class for you; otherwise I'm going to call Madam Pomfrey, so that she will cancel your class," Hermione replied in a still soft voice, looking straight into the teacher's eyes.

Feeling too unwell to further discuss with the annoying girl, Severus gave in. "The Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff first years," he replied hoarsely, pointing to the notes that were lying in front of him on the table. "I shall be in my private quarters. I'll leave all doors open in case you need me."

Severus dragged himself into his bedroom, took off his robes, and lay down, sighing in relief when his achy head made contact to the pillow.

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An hour later, Hermione hesitantly entered the teacher's private quarters, glad to see that the professor had been reasonable enough to go to bed. Carefully feeling his forehead she noticed that he seemed to be warmer than before.

"Oh no; it's you again," the professor sighed, waking up with a jolt at the icy touch to his forehead.

"Professor, you seem worse than before and I'd like to take your temperature. Do you have a thermometer?" Hermione enquired, taking her hand back.

"In the bathroom," Severus replied lazily. "But I don't see why my temperature should be your concern," he added quickly, suddenly becoming aware of the fact that it was a student, an annoying Gryffindor student at that, who was trying to take care of him.

"Would you prefer if I called Madam Pomfrey?" Hermione enquired softly, causing the teacher to slightly shake his head. "Where is your bathroom, sir?" she asked politely, quickly fetching the thermometer when he pointed to a closed door. "Now, can you open your mouth please," she ordered the teacher and carefully stuck the thermometer under his tongue, before she conjured a cool cloth and softly began to bathe the man's hot face.

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Severus sighed in relief. 'Feels good,' he thought, unconsciously leaning into the cold touch. When he had woken up with a sore throat in the morning, he had hoped that it just was a cold that would go away during the day. However, during the first afternoon class he had begun to feel absolutely dreadful, and now he knew that he had either caught a throat infection or some kind of flu. 'Her hand feels so soft and nice,' he thought, wearily glancing in the girl's face that seemed strangely blur to him. Nevertheless he noticed her warm brown eyes that were looking at him in concern.

It seemed to take a very long time until the thermometer finally beeped and the girl took it out, letting out a small gasp. "39.2, Professor, that's quite high. Do you know what is wrong with you, or should I ask Madam Pomfrey to check on you?" her soft voice penetrated his ears.

"No, don't call Poppy; it's either a throat infection or the flu," Severus mumbled. "Can you get me a fever reducer, please? It's the light blue potion on the right side of the second shelf from the top in my private lab. The green door," he added hoarsely.

He wearily noticed that Hermione left the room only to return a few minutes later with a phial. Severus greedily gulped down the cool liquid, sighing in relief when he felt his body cool down a bit. "But how will we know if it's a throat infection or the flu? If it's the wizard's flu, a fever reducer won't be enough," he heard the student ask, her voice laced with concern, while she gently helped him to lie down again.

"I will know when I take my temperature again in a few hours; if it's the flu it will probably exceed forty degrees," Severus croaked hoarsely, closing his eyes.

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When she was sure that the teacher had drifted off to sleep Hermione sat down on the edge of his bed, watching him in concern. She put a refreshing charm on the cool cloth she had used before and once more bathed the professor's flushed face. Every now and then she carefully felt his forehead, glad that he didn't wake up although he seemed to enjoy the cold touch and unconsciously tried lean against her hand. "It's all right, you'll feel better soon," she whispered soothingly, trying not to think about the fact that the gorgeous looking man, on whose lips a small smile began to play when she softly stroked his fevered cheeks, was her Potions professor, who would never admit that she was able to make him feel better if not for the high fever he was spiking.

In spite of her efforts to get his fever down, she could feel that he became warmer each time she felt his forehead. Finally becoming very worried, she waved her wand at the man and transfigured his clothes into light black pyjamas with a wide neck that she could easily pull down over his shoulder to stick the thermometer under his arm. She carefully tucked him in again and sat back to wait until the reading was finished. '40.8,' she read, looking at the display of the thermometer in horror. 'Wait, Hermione, don't panic,' she told herself and hurried to the professor's lab to search for a flu potion. Fortunately, she was adept enough at Potions to find the potion within minutes. Not wanting to wake the professor, she spelled the potion straight into his stomach.

Noticing in relief that his traits seemed to relax a bit when the potion took effect, she once more returned to the lab and searched through the books in order to know how often she could give him the fever reducer. 'Every four hours,' she found out and returned to the teacher's bedroom, taking a few phials of both potions with her. Remembering how her mother had always cared for her when she was really ill, she went to the bathroom to retrieve a few towels and carefully put a cold compress around the teacher's legs, changing it every thirty minutes. However, during the next few hours, Severus' fever still continued to rise.

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Severus woke up to something icy touching his shoulder. He noticed a blurry figure sitting very close to him, putting something equally icy under his arm. "Too cold," he croaked, shivering vehemently.

"I know, but it will be better soon," a soothing voice reassured him, while gentle hands pulled his covers up to his chin and wiped his face with something really cool.

"Feels good," he mumbled, gripping the gentle hand in his own, holding it against his burning cheek.

Only when the thermometer beeped, the hand gently pulled out of his grip and fingered at the neck of his pyjama top to take the thermometer out. "Can you sit up to take your potions, sir?" he heard and felt the person help him to sit up just enough to drink two potions.

Even in his delirious state, he could recognize the potions as a flu potion and a fever reducer. "Water?" he croaked hoarsely, glad when he felt a glass being pressed against his lips a few seconds later.

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Hermione sighed in relief when the professor fell back to sleep. 'Thank Merlin he was too delirious to notice who I am; otherwise he would have thrown me out,' she mused, smiling a bit. 'Somehow, he is cute in this helpless state.' She slowly moved her hand around the teacher's face, taking in how gorgeous he looked in spite of being so ill. 'However, if his fever goes up a bit more, I will call Madam Pomfrey,' she vowed, remembering that the display had shown '41.6.' During the next few hours, she took the temperature every two hours, but in spite of making leg compresses for him and bathing his face every now and then his fever remained dangerously high. Only in the morning, after the third dose of the flu potion, the display showed a much lower '40.5,' and even if it was still very high, Hermione let out a relieved sigh.

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When Severus woke up the next time, he felt much better. He threw a glance to the night table to assess how late it was and nearly flinched back in shock when he noticed a head with bushy brown hair lying next to his chest. 'What happened?' he tried to remember and recalled someone being there for him trying to make him feel better during the night. Without thinking he moved his hand over the brown curls, making the girl wake up with a jolt.

"I'm sorry, Professor," she said, sounding very tired.

"No, I'm sorry; I didn't want to wake you up," he replied remorsefully.

"Oh my, I slept for nearly four hours," the girl gasped. "It's already time to take your temperature again, and you need to drink the next dose of your potions, sir," he was told and grudgingly opened his mouth to comply.

When Hermione gently helped him to lie down and even tucked him in after making him drink his potions and a few spoons full of chicken broth, she told him that his fever was still at 39 degrees and he should try to sleep some more.

Feeling even more alert after his new dose of the flu potion, Severus glanced at the girl and told her, "Miss Granger, I'm very grateful for what you did for me, but I'm all right now, and you should better return to your dormitory to get some sleep as well."

"No, sir, I will stay with you until you're really better," the girl replied stubbornly, adjusting the cool cloth to his forehead.

Severus sighed, glad to know that she would still keep him company as long as he felt so miserable even if he'd never admit that to anyone, and when he drifted off to sleep, Hermione noticed in awe that again a small smile was playing on his lips.

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Hermione spent another night sitting on the edge of Severus' bed, looking after the man. From time to time, she put her head onto the bed, drifting off to a light sleep, always waking up in time for his next potions. On Sunday afternoon, she had just laid her tired head on the bed, when Severus extended his arm in his sleep, pulling her close into his arm. Too tired to resist, Hermione nestled deep into his warm touch.

Only when the teacher woke up a few hours later, Hermione lazily opened her eyes. "I'm sorry, sir," she apologized horrified, seeing that the teacher was giving her an appalled look.

"I believe it's not only you, who has to apologize," Severus replied, sighing. "All right, Ms. Granger, I really have to thank you for what you did for me, but I can assure you than I'm fine and well enough to spend the next night alone in order to teach my classes tomorrow. You may return to your dormitory and see that you get enough rest. Since I didn't have the opportunity to make any preparations, we will do a pop quiz during your class. Good night, Ms. Granger."

Noticing that the professor didn't feel any warmer than her own hands any more, Hermione admonished him not to forget to continue taking his potions and left the professor's quarters. She quickly returned to her dormitory and went straight to bed, falling asleep in a blink.

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Severus spent the night recalling Hermione's soft touch to his cheeks, still sensing the scent of her perfume hanging in the room. Normally, he would have been disgusted, but somehow, the memory of her spending the day in his arms was a blessing for his soul. 'Oh no, please don't let me fall for a Muggle born student, an insufferable know-it-all at that,' he mused, smiling when he felt her soft touch in his thoughts.

On Monday morning, Severus watched the students taking their pop quiz, not able to prevent his eyes from returning to a bushy brown head every now and then. How he longed to touch her cool hands and see her warm brown eyes looking into his obsidian ones in concern like she had done so often during the weekend. Only when she pushed her parchment away and put her quill down, she turned her eyes to him, and obsidian eyes looked straight into her brown eyes that were dull and glassy, looking glazed over from a fever.

"Miss Granger, stay behind for a moment," Severus spoke up, still slightly hoarse, when he released the students at the end of the class.

Hermione gave the teacher a short nod and motioned Harry to go ahead, before she stepped over to the teacher's table, looking questioningly at Severus. "Are you feeling better, sir?" she asked softly and looked into his eyes, noticing that they were nearly back to their normal appearance.

"I am feeling adequate," Severus replied hesitantly, "but what about you, Ms. Granger? You look feverish." He glanced around, seeing that they were alone, and added, "Did you find it necessary to not only share my bed but also my illness?"

Hermione gave him a shocked glance, before she quickly averted her eyes to look at the floor, unconsciously shivering a bit. 'How did he notice?' she thought in surprise, 'I took the Muggle fever reducer and flu pills right before heading to the Charms class; it shouldn't have worn off yet.'

A cold hand touching her forehead pulled her out of her reverie. She heard the teacher let out a sigh, and a soft, silky voice penetrated her ear. "Miss Granger, I still have a slight temperature; therefore, my hands are still a bit warm, but even to my warm hands your skin feels hot. Please follow me into my office and let me take your temperature. If I'm wrong, I will of course let you go immediately."

"No, I'm fine," Hermione replied, noticing that her voice was starting to become hoarse. "Moreover, I don't have time to be sick, Professor. The NEWTs are going to start in a week."

"Maybe you should have thought of that before getting yourself sick by taking care of me," Severus replied softly and ushered her into his office.

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'She definitely looks ill,' Severus thought and motioned her to sit down, taking in that her hair and her forehead seemed sweaty and her cheeks looked flushed in her too pale face. And even if he wouldn't know that she was ill from all these signs, her eyes were talking a story to him. 'I don't even have to use Legilimency on her; her eyes are telling me that they're achy and feverish,' he thought, smirking as Hermione turned her eyes away from his sharp look.

Severus went around his desk and took a thermometer out of the drawer before he pulled a chair next to Hermione's and sat down beside her. "Provided that you do not prefer to go to Madam Pomfrey, I wish to take your temperature," he told the girl in a soft, silky voice that caused her to open her mouth automatically.

Seeing that the girl began to shiver vehemently as soon as the cold glass found its way into her mouth, Severus carefully put an arm around her shoulders, allowing her to lean on to him. 'What am I doing?' he wondered. 'She is my student!' 'Only for three more weeks,' a small voice in the back of his mind spoke up. 'But she is twenty years younger than I, that's too much,' he thought until the small voice told him, 'What are twenty years in the magical world?'

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Hermione leaned into the professor's warm robes and tried to relax in spite of having the annoying icy glass in her mouth, noticing that she was beginning to feel really sick. 'I cannot just spend a few days in bed,' she thought, getting upset. 'I have to study for the NEWTs.' She wearily noticed that Severus was calmingly stroking her hot cheeks. 'You're falling for your professor,' a small voice in her mind informed her, but she was feeling too awful to care. Glad when he finally took the thermometer out, she nestled deeper into his robes, until his silky voice penetrated her mind again. "Miss Granger, you're ill and will have to spend a few days in bed. I'd suggest that you remain here so that I can return the favour and look after you, but if you prefer to stay in the hospital wing, I'll take you there."

"No," Hermione replied simply and suddenly felt herself being scooped up in two strong arms that carried her over into his bedroom, carefully putting her down on the bed. 'That's his bed,' she thought, suddenly feeling very anxious. "I don't want to become a burden, sir. Maybe it would be better to go to the hospital wing, so that you can have your bed for yourself, especially as you're not even completely recovered," she whispered and tried to look into his eyes, but everything was becoming completely blurry in front of her eyes.

"You're not a burden, my dear, and if we could share the bed during the weekend we can do now, provided that you don't mind," he replied softly, but his voice sounded like from far away.

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'I have to Floo-call Minerva and explain that to her,' Severus thought. He quickly transfigured Hermione's school clothes into light beige summer pyjamas, made her drink the flu potion, a fever reducer, and a nutrient potion, before he helped her lie down again and tucked her in carefully. Lighting the tip of his wand, he closely examined Hermione's throat and looked into her ears and eyes as well, before he gently placed a cool cloth on her forehead and said, "I will speak with your Head of House and explain your presence in my quarters for the next few days. Try to sleep for a while; I will come back and look after you as soon as my next class is over."

Severus headed to the fireplace and called his older colleague. She already knew that Hermione had spent the whole weekend in his quarters looking after him and therefore easily accepted that Severus wanted to return the favour and look after her until she was back to heath.

"All right, Severus. If you need any help, just call me please, especially since I cannot imagine that you are already completely recovered," Minerva offered softly.

"Thank you, Minerva. If I really need help, I will call you, but I'm fine. I only have a cough and a slight temperature that will probably be gone tomorrow."

'Minerva is really nice, but why does she always have to make such a fuss about me?' he thought when he hurried to his first afternoon class.

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Hermione was lying in Severus' bed, quietly thinking about what had happened since she had taken the Potions test. 'I have to study while I'm still able to do so. If my fever goes up as much as the professor's did, I won't be able to study at all during the next two days; so I better start now,' she thought and scrambled out of bed to fetch a book from her school bag that Severus had placed on a chair at the opposite wall. She fetched her seventh year Potions book and read until she heard the professor enter his office, closing the door to his classroom behind him; then she quickly put the book under her pillow and lay down, trying to put up a relaxed expression.

However, she soon had the impression as if her heart was suddenly beating faster, when the professor sat down on the edge of the bed and gave her a sharp look. Due to the potions she had been fed, she could even see the details of his face that had been all blurry before. 'He really looks gorgeous,' she thought amazed and gave him a small smile.

"How are you feeling?" he asked softly, unconsciously rubbing his forehead.

"I would like to ask you that," Hermione replied, seeing that the professor's eyes were slightly glazed over again. "You still look a bit feverish."

"I know that, but I still have one class to teach, and then I will lie down as well and rest. However, my question was concerning your condition and not mine in case you misunderstood me," Severus replied sternly, placing a hand on her forehead, before he refreshed the cool cloth and gently placed it back on her forehead.

'Ah, it feels good when he's taking care of me,' Hermione thought happily.

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During his last afternoon class, Severus couldn't concentrate at all. 'Is it because my temperature is going up again or because the most annoying girl of Hogwarts is currently lying in my bed?' he mused and finally dismissed the students, who couldn't believe their luck, ten minutes early.

Severus did not notice that Hermione quickly hid a book under her pillow and lay down as soon as he entered his quarters. He sat down next to her asking, "How do you feel? And I really want to know this time," he added as an afterthought.

"Well, my head and my throat are really sore, and you seem a bit blurry," Hermione croaked, sounding very hoarse.

"All right, let me take your temperature," Severus replied, picking up the thermometer from the night table.

"No sir, we are going to take yours first," Hermione contradicted vehemently and motioned Severus to stick the glassy thing into his own mouth first.

Knowing that he would have to obey to make the girl stop talking about it, he grudgingly complied. "38.2," he told her a few minutes later, and as soon as she opened her mouth to commentate the result, he proceeded to take her temperature that was nearly two degrees higher.

Severus made her drink her potions, gulped down one of each as well, and watched the girl slowly drifting off to sleep. After wiping her sweaty face for a while, he set his alarm clock in time for her next potions and lay down next to her in order to sleep too, knowing that he had to rest as much as possible, while her temperature was still not spiking too much yet.

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Hermione was captured in fevered dreams about her NEWTs and the gorgeous man, who was lying in the same bed together with her. Late in the evening, her fever began to get dangerously high, and she cuddled close to Severus, trying not to wake him up by the chattering of her teeth. However, Severus woke up by the heat she radiated and got up, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her in order not to fall asleep again. She didn't notice that he carefully slid the thermometer under her arm, confirming that she had a fever of more than 40 degrees. She only woke up, when Severus, utterly shocked at her high fever, transfigured his bed into a bathtub in order to cool her down at least one degree. During the rest of the night, she woke up frequently, only wearily noticing that he was at her side, taking her temperature every now and then, bathing her hot and sweaty face, and making leg compresses for her like she had showed him how she did it before.

In the morning, in spite of feeling absolutely horrible, Hermione was worried about Severus. Although he had a fever, he spent the whole night at her side after teaching a whole day of classes. "Are you really well enough to teach classes?" she croaked hoarsely, when she saw that Severus was beginning to get ready for class. 'He looks nearly as sick as I feel,' she thought in concern.

"Miss Granger, let me assure you that I'm well able to teach my classes. Moreover, your only concern should be trying to improve your own miserable health condition."

"I'm already so much better, thanks to you, and like I told you yesterday, we must study hard today; otherwise we'll both fail our Transfiguration NEWTs. Professor McGonagall will be so disappointed," Hermione gave back sternly.

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'She's delirious,' Severus thought in concern and sat down on the edge of the bed, carefully putting a calming hand on her shoulder. "Shush now, it's all right, dear, we won't fail any tests. Don't you remember that we studied a lot before we fell ill? You'll see; everything will be all right."

"Are you sure?" Hermione asked, while a flicker of hope appeared in her glassy eyes. "You're the nicest man I ever met. I love you," she mumbled, tiredly closing her eyes.

Severus watched her fall asleep. 'Her condition is still so bad that I really should stay with her instead of teaching classes. But I cannot easily cancel my classes, and Poppy will have to do other things than to teach my classes,' he mused. 'But you're still not well,' a small voice in his mind popped up. However, Severus dismissed the thought immediately and absentmindedly stuck the thermometer under the girl's arm, glad that she did not wake up when he pulled down her pyjama top over her shoulder.

Severus was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't hear the fireplace flare and was surprised to say the least when suddenly Minerva stepped into his bedroom.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, Severus. How is Miss Granger?"

Severus sighed. "She is delirious. She told me we had to study hard today so that we won't fail our Transfiguration test, otherwise you'd be disappointed," he explained, smirking, before he took back the thermometer and sighed. "40.5; it should come down a bit in a few hours I believe." With a flick of his wand, he spelled the three potions into her stomach, noticing that she sighed in relief when the potions took effect.

Suddenly, he felt a cool hand on his forehead and heard his colleague say, "Please take your temperature as well. You don't look good, and you feel very warm to the touch. You cannot possibly teach classes and look after a sick student if you're ill as well."

"I'm fine," he replied slightly upset, hating how hoarse his voice still sounded. "I have a bit of a headache, otherwise I'm fine."

"No, you're not," his older colleague shook her head. "You can either comply, or I'm going to fetch Poppy, who will certainly keep you in bed for at least a day or two."

"Miss Granger was trying to make me stay in bed too," Severus told his colleague, feeling annoyed by all the fuss, but Minerva merely gave him an understanding smile. Knowing that he didn't have a chance to fight the stubborn Scottish woman, Severus grudgingly complied, impatiently waiting for the reading to be finished, so that his annoying colleague would leave his quarters.

"38.5," Minerva read from the display. "Severus, I will cancel your classes for today and tomorrow. Go back to bed and properly look after the two of you. I will come back in the evening, but if you need me, you know that you can call me any time."

Severus couldn't help feeling grateful towards the woman when his achy head hit his pillow. In spite of the potions he had just gulped down, he still didn't feel completely well. He carefully put an arm around Hermione's shoulders and pulled her close, seeing that she made herself comfortable in his arms, contentedly mumbling something incoherent like "Look, Severus, I told you so."

"Yes, you were right, Hermione," Severus mumbled back, adjusting the cool cloth properly on her forehead, before he closed his eyes, lured into sleep by the warmth of her body that he could feel through his light pyjamas.

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At the same time, Minerva entered the Great Hall, where everyone else was already having breakfast. "Severus is still ill, and I cancelled his classes for today and tomorrow," she informed the Headmaster, who immediately nodded his agreement.

"Should I go and look after him?" Poppy enquired worriedly.

"No Poppy, he'll be all right, and I'm sure that Miss Granger will make him look after himself in spite of being very ill too. By the way, Albus," Minerva turned back to the Headmaster. "I believe that it is time to make Professor Binns retire from his position as the History of Magic professor.

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When Hermione woke up she noticed in surprise that he was lying in Severus' arms. 'I thought he was going to teach classes. Maybe he's feeling worse after looking after me during the night,' she mused in concern.

Not aware of the fact that Severus had checked on her and spelled her potions into her stomach only twenty minutes ago, Hermione thought that her condition had already improved and decided to study while Severus was asleep. She scrambled out of the bed, wondering why she felt so dizzy for a short while, and fetched her Transfiguration book, which she read for the next two hours until Severus woke up. A few times, the teacher stirred next to her, and she quickly put the book away, somehow knowing that he wouldn't appreciate her studying in the least. By the time he really woke up, she had been considering to stop reading anyway, noticing that her headache was back full force and that the lines were becoming blurry.

"You are supposed to sleep so that your fever comes down," Severus said, frowning at the girl, and carefully laid a hand on her forehead that felt burning hot even to his warm hands. "I suspect you don't feel better yet?"

Hermione slightly shook her head, wincing a bit at the pain the small movement caused. "I feel a bit dizzy," she croaked, still wondering why the professor was there, and continued, "Why are you here, sir? Are you feeling worse?"

Severus sighed. "No, I only have a bit of a headache and a fever, but your Head of House saw fit to cancel my classes and order me to stay in bed for another two days."

"Professor McGonagall was here?" Hermione asked astonished. 'I didn't notice that, but well, it's good that she told him to stay in bed; he really seemed unwell after staying the night up to look after me.' She nearly chocked when Severus stuck the thermometer under her tongue and lay back, putting her achy head on the arm of the professor, who proceeded to bathe her hot face and neck with a cold cloth he held in his free hand.

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'She seems to be quite alert, considering how hot her skin still feels to the touch,' Severus mused, continuing to caress her face with his hand. 'I never noticed how beautiful she was,' he thought, inwardly scolding himself immediately. 'She is my student, and she is ill,' he told himself strictly, while he gently pushed an errand strand of hair back from her forehead, noticing that the girl seemed to try to smile at him around the thermometer.

"40.2; Miss Granger, you're not better at all yet," Severus sighed and handed her the potions, followed by a glass of water. "Drink slowly," he admonished her softly. "And now try to sleep please, otherwise I will force a sleeping potion down your throat," he threatened, helping the girl to lie down again. He stood up and refreshed her leg compresses, before he tucked her in carefully and adjusted the cool cloth to her forehead.

"Lie down with me, Sev," Hermione mumbled, while she was slowly drifting off to fevered dreams. Severus obeyed, taking the girl into his arms, so that he could try to make her feel better, while he listened to her talking in her dreams that mostly revolved about her tests and himself.

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During the rest of the week, Hermione's fever remained dangerously high, causing Severus to look after her day and night, only sleeping for short periods, mainly in the morning when her fever used to be a tad lower. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep prolonged his recovery, so that Minerva cancelled his classes for the rest of the week. She came to look after them twice a day, mainly because she didn't trust Severus to properly look after himself, and Hermione was too ill to care for him. Severus already considered calling Poppy to make her check on Hermione, when he suddenly discovered the reason for the delay in her recovery.

Whenever Hermione was awake, mostly after taking her potions in the morning, which was exactly the time Severus used to sleep, she took her school books and tried to study for her tests until everything became blurry after a while. One day, she was so engrossed in her reading that she didn't notice Severus waking up, who couldn't believe his eyes seeing her lying next to him, totally absorbed in her Potions book.

"What do you think you are doing?" he asked, completely annoyed, taking the book out of her hands.

"I have to study; the NEWTs are going to start in a week," Hermione replied upset.

"If you continue worsening your condition by studying while you're ill, you won't even be able to participate in the tests. As the insufferable know-it-all that you are, you already know everything anyway, don't you?" Severus asked, smirking, before he continued in his soft, silky voice, "Shush, it's all right; that was a joke, you're neither insufferable nor a know-it-all; however, you do not have to worry about the exams; you'll be able to manage everything without problems. But as long as you're not completely back to health, you may not touch a book; is that clear?"

"Yes," Hermione sighed, unconsciously shivering at the teacher's stern voice he used in the last sentence.

"It's all right, Hermione," Severus tried to reassure her once more, pulling her close into his arms. Let's try to sleep for a while."

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Hermione nestled deeper into the covers, enjoying being so close to Severus. 'Thanks Merlin he isn't angry,' she thought, 'I will stop studying until he allows me to read again. If he thinks that I'll manage to do the tests, then it'll be all right. I don't want to disappoint him; I love him.' She glanced at the blurry, dark figure she was cuddling against and let out a relieved sigh.

"Is everything all right? Are you feeling unwell?" Severus asked concerned.

Hermione threw him a small glance and croaked, "No, I'm just very happy." She leaned over to Severus and placed a kiss on his cheek. Lying back into his arm she suddenly became aware of what she just did and thought, 'Oh my, what have I done now? He is my professor.' Instantly, a wave of heat overcame her, and she wished she could hide in a mouse hole.

"What's wrong?" Severus enquired, watching the girl in concern.

"I love you," Hermione blurted out hoarsely. "But that's not all right, you're my professor."

Severus noticed worriedly that tears were welling in her eyes. He began to softly stroke her burning cheeks and told her in his soft, silky voice she loved so much, "If you still think so when you're not delirious from a high fever, we will speak about that again. I have feelings for you as well, but you're in no condition to discuss such things at the moment. Try to sleep for a while."

"I'm not delirious," Hermione whispered, trying to suppress a shiver.

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Severus sighed and pulled her close, softly cuddling her until she drifted off to sleep. 'She is absolutely beautiful,' he thought, closely examining the traits of her face. 'I wonder if she really means what she said. I can't deny that I definitely feel attracted to her.'

Hermione's harsh coughing pulled him out of his reverie. He quietly helped her sit up, so that she could breathe properly. Not wanting to bother her unnecessarily, he waited until she fell back asleep, before he carefully slid the thermometer under her armpit. 'Still over 40 degrees,' he groaned inwardly, thinking if there was any potion he could brew that might her get well faster. The only thing he could do was trying to improve the flu potion, but that would probably take at least several days, or to brew a stronger fever reducer; however, Minerva had given him strict orders to stay in bed since he still had a slight fever.

On Saturday morning, Hermione's fever finally broke. Severus sighed in relief when the thermometer showed a much lower '39.0.' 'Thanks Merlin,' he thought, 'I really need to sleep a few hours at once in order to get my fever down. The only problem is how I can prevent her from studying, so that she won't aggravate her condition again.' He decided not to take a risk and resolved to speak with Hermione the next time she woke up.

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As if she had been able to sense his thoughts, Hermione stirred and lazily opened her eyes when Severus adjusted the cold cloth to her forehead. "How are you feeling?" his silky voice penetrated her ears. "I feel much better," she replied, looking up into the obsidian eyes that were so near her to her own that she couldn't resist pulling the man's face closer, so that her mouth could find his, leaning into a long kiss.

When he finally pulled away to lie down next to her, she turned to the side, so that she was still facing him. "I love your scent," she whispered hoarsely, "It's the scent of herbs."

"I like your scent as well," Severus replied, sounding very exhausted.

"Severus, are you feeling all right?" she asked worriedly, instinctively putting up a hand to his forehead. "Do I still have a fever?" she asked, noticing that his forehead felt about the same temperature as her own hand.

"It was 39.5 before I gave you the potions; you have to rest to get your fever down," he answered hoarsely.

"All right, but not before I take your temperature, Severus," she told him determined, reaching for the thermometer.

"No, it's all right, I just need to sleep for a while; can I trust you not to do any work while I'm asleep and to wake me up if you have problems?"

"Yes, of course, but nevertheless I believe that you have a fever and would like to check on you first."

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"Exactly," Minerva agreed, who entered the room at that instant. "Are you feeling better, Miss Granger?" she asked while she walked around the bed, forcing the thermometer into Severus' mouth.

"Yes, I feel much better," Hermione replied, causing Severus to mumble something incoherent around the thermometer.

"Nevertheless, you're still very ill and in no condition to read or study," Minerva told the girl sternly and sat down on Severus' edge of the bed to wipe his flushed face with a cool cloth. "I would like to suggest something to you, Miss Granger. Professor Dumbledore has agreed to my suggestion making Professor Binns retire if you were interested in becoming our professor for History of Magic from the next school year onwards. You don't have to decide anything now, but I'd like you to think about it."

Minerva leaned over to Severus, taking the thermometer out, and gave it a horrified look. "Severus, are you feeling worse today? Your fever is a degree higher than yesterday," she spoke to the man in a very soft voice.

"I wouldn't want to play Quidditch today," Severus sneered hoarsely. "I need to sleep for a few hours.

"It's all right; I'll look after him," Hermione promised Minerva, coaxing Severus into swallowing a flu potion at the same time.

"Thank you, Miss Granger. However, don't forget to look after yourself too. I will come back in the evening to check on you both. If his condition worsens, I want Madam Pomfrey to check on him. Maybe he has a relapse," Minerva added in concern and left the room.

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Hermione lay back into Severus' arm, bathing his face and neck, while the man slept. Now that she was feeling a bit better and more alert, she could really enjoy being together with the man, whom she loved, day and night. 'Why was it only now that I noticed I love him? I've already known him for nearly seven years,' she mused, giving Severus a fond look. After a few hours, she became worried at the heat he was radiating and carefully took his temperature, only to confirm that his condition had worsened rapidly. She quickly got up, holding on to the wall to fight the dizziness that reminded her of the fact that she was sick too, and dragged herself to the fireplace to call Minerva.

"I will send Madam Pomfrey over to check on him," Minerva promised, and after giving Hermione a sharp look, she added, "Please stay where you are, and Madam Pomfrey will help you back to bed."

"He has a relapse; however, I think that it's not as bad as it was the last time. I will give both of you a sleeping potion that will make you sleep until the morning. In the meantime, I will come a few times and look after you," Poppy told the girl sternly after checking on both of them.

In the morning, Poppy informed both of them that they were not allowed to attend any classes for another week. "I trust you will be able to take care of each other; this time, I want both of you to stay in bed until your fever is completely gone."

During the next two days, both of them slept a lot. Whenever one of them woke up, they quietly took the other's temperature and magically fed each other the potions, before they went to sleep again. Unbeknownst to the other, both of them also spent a lot of time watching the other closely.

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On Tuesday morning, Hermione woke up when Severus carefully stuck the thermometer under her arm. "Hi Severus," she mumbled tiredly.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't intent to wake you up," Severus apologized and asked in his soft, silky voice, "How do you feel, my dear?"

"Much better and you?" she replied, tiredly leaning over to him to place a kiss on his cheek.

"Be careful," Severus admonished her lightly, before he reached over, readjusting the thermometer into the correct position. "38.6," he announced a short while later, placing the annoying thing back onto the night table.

"Don't even think about it," Hermione admonished him at once, giving him a glare that made him pick up the thermometer and stick it under his own arm. "I take that as an invitation," Hermione commentated and leaned over, pulling him into a long kiss that was only disturbed by a beeping noise.

"Hermione," Severus gasped, breathing heavily when they separated. "Hermione," he repeated, while she fingered to take the thermometer back, causing her to freeze and look straight into his obsidian eyes, "I love you, and I want you to stay with me forever."

"I love you too, Severus," Hermione replied, finally pulling out the thermometer and throwing a glance at the display. "However, seeing that you have a fever of 39.2 degrees, I have to assume that you're delirious. However, I promise if you still feel the same way after your complete recovery, I'll be willing to speak about it."

Severus groaned. "You know exactly that I'm not delirious," he began but was interrupted when Hermione pulled him into the next kiss. 'Did he really mean that?' she mused. 'Was that a proposal? But I'm only eighteen, and I haven't seen anything but Hogwarts in my life.' The small voice in her head threw in, 'But you love him, and Hogwarts is already more or less your home.'

"We need to take our potions," Severus interrupted her thoughts, pulling back from the kiss. "Maybe afterwards we'll be able to speak about your plans for the future." They both gulped down their potions, feeling better at once, and spent the rest of the day cuddling and kissing.

None of them even noticed Minerva enter the room to check on them, leaving immediately with a huge smile on her lips.

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In the morning, Severus woke up by Hermione's harsh coughing. "Are you all right? What happened?" he asked, worriedly noticing that her eyes were puffy, apparently from crying. "Are you feeling worse?"

"No, it's just... I'm so worried because of the NEWTs. You know they start on Monday, and today is already Wednesday. I still have a headache and feel too dizzy to sit up for a longer time. Moreover, I didn't study anything during the last ten days. How am I going to take my NEWTs?"

Severus sighed."First of all, you must stop crying or you will aggravate your condition even more," he said sternly. "Concerning your studies, you don't have to worry at all; you will be able to take your tests without any problem. Concerning your health, we have to continue resting until we're better. Believe me, this is the first time in my life that I had to cancel classes for two weeks, and I'm going to try anything to be up and about again on Monday. So will you; we will try together. You're not alone."

He motioned her to open her mouth trying to take her temperature; however, Hermione shook her head, waving her hand in the direction of her shoulder, pressing her mouth shut at the same time. Severus sighed and held the thermometer out for her, but Hermione didn't take it but guided his other hand under her pyjama top, making him feel her body, and sighed relaxed when he carefully moved his hand around her breasts. Closing her eyes in pleasure she pulled his head close into another long kiss.

When Hermione pulled off after a while, she gave him a weak smile. "I'm sorry, but I have a splitting headache."

"You probably worsened your condition by crying earlier. You feel very warm to the touch," Severus replied and stuck the thermometer under her tongue. Then he picked up the cool cloth from the night table and carefully adjusted it to her forehead. "Close your eyes, sweetie, and try to relax. I'll take care of you," he whispered soothingly, before he lay down next to her pulling her into his arms.

They spent most of the day quietly lying next to each other. Knowing that Hermione wasn't feeling too well and had quite a fever, Severus tried hard to resist the urge to move her hands and his mouth around her body and contented himself by watching her fondly, telling himself that they'd have lots of time to cuddle when she felt better.

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On Saturday morning, apart from having a slight temperature and feeling a bit weak, both of them were fine and decided to get up for a few hours. They spent the morning sitting close to each other in a comfortable chair in front of the fireplace.

"Have you already thought about Professor McGonagall's offer to become the History of Magic professor?" Severus asked softly, giving the girl a curious look.

"Yes, I have thought about it," Hermione replied, smirking. 'Of course, I had lots of time,' she thought. 'I also thought about your question. Please repeat it for me.'

"And? Did you achieve a decision?" Severus enquired, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, provided that I won't fail all my NEWTs..." Hermione began uncertainly and slowly trailed off. "You asked me another question a few days ago. However, that was when you still had a high fever, and I would like to know how you think about the matter now," she whispered hesitantly.

"Do you think in a different way from the time when you were delirious?" Severus gave back, smirking.

"No, of course not. I know that I told you I love you, and I still love you, even without being delirious," Hermione replied, looking straight into his dark eyes that were not dull and glassy anymore but finally held their normal shine.

Severus returned the look, extremely happy to see that her beautiful eyes, which he adored so much, were back to their usual warmth. "I love you too, Hermione," he replied, leaning forward to search her lips with his mouth.

"And I meant every word when I asked you to become my wife," he continued after finally pulling his mouth of to catch his breath.

Hermione nestled deeper into his pyjamas and began to cry. "Sorry, but I'm so happy," she sobbed, until her sobs turned into coughs.

"Shush, don't cry, Hermione," Severus replied softly, when he raised his hand to carefully brush away the tears from her cheek. "You don't have to reply right now," he added calmingly.

Hermione glanced up, feeling herself being magically lured to look into his beautiful eyes, and breathed, "YES," before she felt her mouth being captured again by his lips.

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When Minerva stepped out of the fireplace to look after Hermione and Severus she found both of them cuddled against each other on the sofa, fast asleep. However, Severus had heard the fireplace flare and lazily opened his eyes, letting out a sleepy "Minerva."

"I'm sorry to disturb you," the older teacher apologized. "I just wanted to look after you."

"You're not disturbing us," Severus replied, carefully placing Hermione's head on his lap as he straightened himself to an upright sitting position, motioning Minerva to sit down on a comfortable chair. "As you see, we're much better today."

"That's good to know," Minerva replied relieved. "In that case, I'll leave you alone..."

"No Minerva, stay for a moment. I believe Hermione has to tell you something," Severus interrupted her, carefully stroking Hermione's cheeks, making her open her eyes in confusion.

"Professor," she gasped, horrified to see her Head of House sitting at the other side of the fireplace, and sat up immediately.

"It's all right, sweetie, we're going to tell her everything," Severus told her in his soft, silky voice, making her calm down immediately. "You wanted to tell Professor McGonagall your answer concerning the History of Magic position, didn't you?"

"Yes, but I don't even know if I manage to pass my NEWTs," Hermione replied hesitantly, looking up into his eyes, noticing how the feeling 'nothing matters as long as these eyes are watching over me' spread over her soul and mind.

"Of course you will pass your exams," Minerva told her gently, patiently waiting for the girl to reply.

"If I pass, I would like to take the position, Professor," Hermione replied, averting her eyes to her Head of House.

"Shall we tell her about your other decision as well?" Severus asked softly.

Hermione shot him an anxious glance, before she said uncertainly, "Yes, it's all right for me if Professor McGonagall knows, but I don't want anyone else to know before the end of the school year."

"I believe that Minerva is fully capable of keeping our secret, don't worry," Severus whispered soothingly, before he turned to his old teacher. "Can you please ask the house-elves to connect the History of Magic office to my private quarters and tell them that the former History of Magic professor's quarters won't be used anymore?"

Seeing that Minerva gave them a curious look, he explained, "A few days ago, I asked Hermione to become my wife, and this morning, after confirming that our feelings towards each other weren't only due to our delirious state during the past week but are still the same, she finally agreed."

Minerva couldn't manage to feign surprise after watching the two cuddling and caring for each other for two weeks. She looked at them, smiling, and replied, "Of course I will keep this a secret as long as you want; let me just tell you that I'm very happy for both of you. Congratulations, Hermione, Severus!"

Hermione smiled back happily, "Thank you Professor," before Severus once more captured her mouth with his lips.

THE END