Harry's Strange Headache
Harry woke up in the morning, noticing that he couldn't move his head because of a splitting headache that was worse than any pain he had ever experienced. A short try to open his eyes led to unbearable pain, and Harry groaned in agony.
"What's wrong mate?" Ron's voice suddenly penetrated his ears.
"Headache," Harry breathed. "Can you shut the curtains please?" he pleaded, moving his lips the least possible, hoping that his friend would understand.
"Wait; I'll get Hermione," Ron promised and quickly dashed away. To Harry's great relief, he remembered to shut the curtains to keep the sunlight out that seemed to aggravate his headache even more.
Shortly later, he noticed that someone sat down on the edge of his bed. "Harry, what's wrong?" Hermione's concerned voice penetrated his ears, and he felt an icy hand on his hurting forehead.
"My head," he whispered. "It hurts, and I can't move it; hurts so much."
"You seem to have a fever as well, Harry. Shall we get Madam Pomfrey for you?"
"No, just leave me here," Harry groaned.
"All right," Hermione agreed. "But we will tell Professor McGonagall that you're sick, and if you don't feel better at lunchtime, we'll call Madam Pomfrey."
"Okay," Harry mouthed, feeling too bad to fight with anybody.
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Harry spent the next few hours half asleep, until he couldn't hold the urge to go to the toilet back anymore. He slowly got up but felt so dizzy that he couldn't make it out of his dormitory in an upright position and finally had to crawl into the bathroom. When he was finally back in his bed, he fell in an exhausted slumber, from which he only woke up when someone sat down on the edge of his bed at lunchtime.
"Mr. Potter, what's wrong with you?" the stern voice of his head of house suddenly penetrated his ear.
"I don't know," Harry replied, gritting his teeth to get the pain in grip. "I have a splitting headache, so bad that I can hardly move my head, and I feel too dizzy to get up."
The teacher placed a cold hand on his forehead. "You seem to have a fever as well. I will take your temperature, and then we'll see what we can do. The problem is that Madam Pomfrey is at St. Mungo's for the day. Does anything else hurt? Your throat, your ears, or anything?"
"No," Harry whispered miserably.
The professor conjured a cool cloth, which she gently adjusted to Harry's forehead, noticing in slight relief that he mouthed, "thanks; feels good."
"Hold on, Harry, I'll be back in a minute," Minerva told him in a soft voice and quickly left the room. Down in the common room, she turned to Harry's friends, who were waiting for her to allow them to keep Harry company. "You cannot see him at the moment. Go to the Great Hall, eat lunch, and please ask Professor Snape to come up here and help me assess what's wrong with Mr. Potter."
"Snape?" Ron asked terrified.
"It's 'Professor Snape,' Mr. Weasley, and yes please; Madam Pomfrey is not available at the moment," Minerva replied briskly and hurried to the bathroom to fetch a thermometer. Back in the dormitory, she stuck the thermometer under Harry's armpit, seeing that it even seem to hurt him to open his mouth.
"Did something happen, or did you just wake up like this?" Minerva asked softly.
"I just woke up like this," Harry mumbled miserably.
"Unfortunately, Madam Pomfrey is not here at the moment; therefore, I have asked your friends to call Professor Snape. He has a lot more expertise in healing than me," the teacher explained in a soft voice, ignoring his groan at the mention of the professor's name, while she took the thermometer back. "39.1," she read, sighing.
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A few minutes later, Severus entered the dormitory. Minerva quickly filled him in, talking in a very small voice, causing him to wave his wand over Harry a few times.
Harry nearly jumped in fright when he suddenly felt the professor's cold hands feel around his neck and on his forehead. "Potter, open your mouth for a moment," he was told and complied, trying to ignore the pain that every small movement of his head caused. The professor lit his wand and examined the back of Harry's mouth as well as his ears and even looked in his eyes, before he stood back and threw Minerva a thoughtful glance.
"There are two possibilities," he finally stated. "Potter either has caught some kind of illness, which I am not aware of, or he has been hit by a dark curse. I can give him a headache potion and a fever reducer, but if they don't work, we'll have to call Poppy back from St. Mungo's. This headache likely causes as much pain as the Cruciatus curse."
Minerva gasped and threw Harry a worried glance, while Severus pulled two phials out of his robe pockets. "If you help him sit up a bit, I will make him swallow these," he said in a voice that to Harry's astonishment absolutely held no malice.
A few minutes later, Harry lay back, noticing that the headache potion only helped a bit. Minerva once more adjusted the cool cloth to his forehead, while Severus conjured a light bottle with water and a straw, which he pressed into Harry's hand. "Here, Potter, you'll be able to drink this in your position. It's important that you get lots of fluid."
"Thanks Professor," Harry mouthed, wondering why the professor was so kind all of a sudden.
"Mr. Potter, we will ask your friends to stay with you during the afternoon. We both have to teach classes, but we'll be back right afterwards," Minerva told the boy in a soothing voice.
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Hermione and Ron quietly sat on the edge of Harry's bed until the professors came back as they had promised. Seeing Minerva enter the room, the students immediately vacated the spot and retired to Ron's bed, hoping that they wouldn't be thrown out if they were out of the way.
"Do you feel any better, Mr. Potter?" Minerva enquired softly, proceeding to take his temperature.
"No," Harry mouthed, his face scrunched in pain.
Minerva had just taken the thermometer back, noticing that his fever was slightly higher than before, when Severus strode into the room. "How is he?" he enquired busily, pulling his wand and an empty phial out of his robe pocket.
"Slightly worse," Minerva explained, giving her colleague a questioning look.
"When is Poppy due back?"
"Only very late tonight I think. Shall I call her?"
"Yes, call her please, and I will take some blood to check for poison," Severus replied and took Minerva's place on the edge of Harry's bed, while the older woman hurriedly left the dormitory. "Mr. Potter, I'm going to take a few drops of blood. I'll do it magically, and it won't hurt, but I need you to make a fist," Severus told Harry in a soft, silky voice that made the child obey automatically. As soon as Harry complied, three drops of blood dropped down from his fist into the small phial.
Severus stood up and turned to the students. "Tell Professor McGonagall that I'll be back in about an hour." Then he left the dormitory, his robes billowing behind him.
Hermione and Ron had just returned to Harry's side, when Minerva came back, Poppy in tow, who shooed them away instantly. Poppy waved her wand over Harry several times, before she pocketed her wand and gave Minerva a pensive look.
"Apart from a splitting headache and a very high fever I can't find anything wrong," she said apologizing. "I have no idea what causes his problems." After a minute of silence, she continued, "Normally, I would take him with me, but since I won't be back until around midnight, I believe that he'll be better off here for the moment."
"I will look after him," Minerva promised. "Severus is just checking his blood for poison, and he assumed if you didn't find an illness, that it might be a dark curse."
"If he doesn't find any sign of poison, you'll have to ask Albus to come and check on him. Maybe he'll be able to find something out," Poppy replied thoughtfully. "If there is anything I can do, call me at any time," she told Minerva and left the dormitory, muttering to herself.
"Did Professor Snape say something when he would be back?" Minerva turned to the students, who had followed the conversation from Ron's bed.
"He said he'd be away for an hour," Hermione replied, her voice laced with concern.
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When Severus returned, the headmaster was accompanying him. "It's definitely not poison," the headmaster began. "Therefore, we believe that either someone cursed Harry or that Voldemort sent a curse directly through the connection over Harry's scar. Unfortunately, there is only one way to check that out, if it's possible to find out anything at all. Legilimency," he stated. "We need Severus to have a look in Harry's mind to see if he can find anything that matches our assumption."
"But Professor!" Hermione spoke up in a very upset voice.
"You can't let someone, who hates him, access his mind, and..." Ron started boldly, but was interrupted immediately by his head of house.
"Mr. Weasley, behave yourself. If you can't be quiet, Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, we'll have to ask you to leave," Minerva said sternly, only to add calmingly, "We'll do all we can to help Harry."
"Mr. Potter, did you hear what Professor Dumbledore explained?" Severus asked softly, hesitantly sitting down on the edge of Harry's bed.
"Yes, sir; it's all right," Harry replied evenly.
"I will try not to hurt you; if the pain becomes unbearable, you need to tell me. All right, Mr. Potter?"
"All right," Harry replied and hesitantly opened his glassy, green eyes, trying to concentrate on the obsidian eyes of the professor that seemed strangely blurry to him. He wearily noticed how the teacher entered his mind and was surprised at how careful the man was not to aggravate his condition. After an infinite time, he finally felt the presence leave his mind. He let himself sink back in his pillow and closed his eyes.
"I found something," Severus announced. "It is the Dark Lord's doing. He seems to have attacked Potter straight through his scar. The only way to prevent this is Occlumency."
Harry groaned inwardly as memories from last school year came into his mind, but he remained quiet. "If that is so, then I need you to teach him once more," the headmaster said pensively. "However, as he is in no condition to learn Occlumency at the moment, I suggest that we let Mr. Potter return to his relatives for a few days until he is recovered from his current ailment. There, he will be safe from Voldemort, and his aunt will well be able to look after him."
"No!" Harry blurted out horrified, trying to sit up, pure panic written on his face. "Please Professor, I'll do everything what you want me to do, but please let me stay at Hogwarts. Don't send me back to my relatives."
"It's all right, Mr. Potter; don't let yourself get so upset," Minerva said soothingly, softly pushing him down again.
"Why not, my boy? The only other reasonable place for you to stay would be with Professor Snape, since he is the only one, who could help you if you were attacked again," Dumbledore turned to Harry, who sighed in relief and hesitantly averted his eyes to Severus.
"Do you prefer to stay with me than to return home?" Severus asked unbelievingly, giving the child a piercing look.
"Yes sir," Harry replied pleadingly before he mumbled, "Hogwarts is my home anyway."
"All right, Severus," Minerva said crisply, standing up from Harry's bed. "I will look after him every evening if you don't mind."
"We'll see," her younger colleague replied, before he turned to Harry. "I will take you to my quarters through the internal Floo network. This might be uncomfortable, but it's the easiest way and safest way. We don't need the Slytherins know that you're staying with me." He scooped Harry up into his arms and carried him down to the common room, pulling the boy close as he stepped into the fireplace.
I am not a native speaker of English. So please excuse my mistakes!
All recognizable characters belong to Mrs. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.