AN: This was written for HealerPomfrey's writing challenge! It is set during Harry's third year at Hogwarts. Please read and review.
J.K. Rowling still owns everything.
"Good Morning Severus,"
"Good Morning, Minerva. Did you need something?"
"Please pass the strawberries, Severus."
"Certainly, Minerva, if you wipe that smug look off your face."
"Now, Severus, why would I be smug?"
"Maybe because Potter once again beat the Slytherins yesterday?"
"Jealous Severus? Can I please have strawberries now?"
"Fine," Severus growled, and passed the strawberries.
"Behave now, children," the Headmaster chided gently.
The rest of breakfast passed peacefully and the two Heads of House left together. Once they were out of range of the Headmaster, Severus motioned to Minerva to a small alcove.
She raised an eyebrow at him, silently questioning him, but followed nonetheless.
"What do you say to a seeker's duel? Release the snitch and whoever catches it first wins gloating rights?"
"You're on, young man!" she eagerly agreed.
"I am not a young man! I am thirty five year old professor…"he protested.
"And I am twice your age, that makes you a young man. I taught you, or do you not remember anything from those seven years? Do you have time for this proposed plan?"she smirked at him.
"Midnight, but not at the Quidditch pitch, since the Headmaster can see that from his office," Severus said thoughtfully.
"How about the field down by the lake? Shall I bring my snitch?" Minerva offered.
"As long as you don't tamper with it! But you are Gryffindor, so I shouldn't worry about cheating. The field sounds good. See you at lunch," he said, and then with the trademark billow of his robes, he was gone.
She sighed to herself and then headed to her classroom to prepare her lessons for the day.
"I am going to beat him, he won't know what hit him!" she mused as she thought about back to the last time she had played Quidditch. It was last year, during the summer at McGonagall Manor. She had played with her nieces and nephews on the Quidditch field that was on the property. Her position at school had been seeker and she continued to play every summer, trying to hone her skills.
Severus was having similar thoughts as he prepared his classroom.
"I bet she hasn't played Quidditch in ages. Did they even let girls play on the Quidditch teams when she went to school here?" He too, had been on his house team, but as a reserve seeker. Still, he had the training and the love of the sport.
At lunch, the Headmaster watched his two teachers closely, for any sign of animosity. While they were both friendly with each other, they both took the House rivalry to extremes.
"Minerva, Severus, there will be a mandatory staff meeting after dinner to discuss the dementors and the latest sightings of Sirius Black," Albus informed them as they prepared to leave the Great Hall.
They both nodded to him and went their separate ways.
At the staff meeting, Poppy informed the rest of the staff that the merpeople had reported that Grindylows were breeding in the lake. Thus, anyone who falls in the lake was likely to catch Grindylow Pox, a serious illness that involved green small pox to appear on the inside of a person's mouth and throat. Most of the staff weren't planning on taking a swim in lake anytime soon, however, they all promised to keep an eye out for any student who came down with the symptoms.
"Lastly, we would like to congratulate the Gryffindor Quidditch team on their victory, a job well done," the headmaster said, as he concluded the meeting. Snape just glared at Minerva.
"Finally!" Snape thought at 11:30 that night, as he looked up from the bench of his private lab. He had spent most of the evening working on potions for the Hospital Wing, including a batch of salve for any students who were stupid enough to catch the pox from falling in the lake.
"Knowing the dunderheads, at least one or two of them will catch it," he thought to himself as he donned his ancient Slytherin seeker robes and grabbed his Nimbus 2001.
Minerva also donned her Quidditch Gryffindor robes, although they were of a completely different style from the modern ones. She grabbed her Firebolt, a gift from the head of the house of McGonagall, her brother. She had tucked the snitch that her nephew had given her into her robes, preformed a glamor charm and a concealment charm so that no one would see her wearing her Quidditch outfit.
"Severus," she greeted when she saw him stalking down towards the field. It was obvious that he also had concealed his broom and Quidditch robes. It was a dark, moonless night and the dementors guarding the school made the air feel even cooler.
"Minerva. Ready to lose?"
"Honestly, Severus, that was the most childish response you could have come up with!"
"Umph," was the only response she got.
They both canceled the charms and mounted their brooms. Minerva had put a very faint lumos charm so that they would have a hope of seeing the small ball, before she released it. Once the ball was gone from sight, Severus sneered at her and he too was gone, off in search of the small ball. Soon, both professors were absorbed in the game and only stopped momentarily to size up their competition. They both saw a flicker of light and dove for it, unfortunately, they were right above the lake.
Remus Lupin, Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, was sitting at his desk staring at the Marauder's Map. He had no idea how Harry had gotten it but he was furious at the boy since he had confiscated it the night before. After all they had gone through to protect the boy – this map would be the absolute perfect tool for Sirius, and Sirius knew all the secrets of the map. His eyes roamed over the open map. He curiously watched as the names M. McGonagall and S. Snape which appeared to be chasing each other outside by the lake.
"What are those two up to? Do I want to know?" Since Remus couldn't sleep anyway, he decided to get some fresh air and see what all the excitement was about. He made his way leisurely about of the castle and when he got closer to the lake, he noticed that they weren't on the ground, wherever they were. Upon feeling a whoosh of air, he looked up and saw the feared Potions Master in Quidditch robes on the heel of the stern Transfiguration teacher on brooms.
"What the --?" Remus started thinking but just then Minerva attempted to pull out of the dive but failed. She went straight into the lake. Snape also attempted to pull out of the dive, but he too was going too fast and he managed to go straight into the lake also.
Remus immediately cast the lumos spell to give them some light. Minerva came up spluttering and a few moments after her so did Severus.
"Minerva? Severus? Are you two all right?" the DADA professor called.
"Remus! Thank goodness you are here!" she replied back, before gracefully swimming the lake.
"Werewolf! What are you doing out here? Spying perhaps, for your dear friend?" Severus sneered as he began swimming to the shore.
Rolling his eyes at Severus' antics, Remus conjured fluffy towels for both of them and helped Minerva out of the water.
"Are you both okay?" Remus asked, holding his wand up to examine them.
"Yes, Remus, thank you," she said.
"Fine!" Severus said gruffly, but he still accepted the towel.
"Do either of you need to see Madame Pomfrey? It wouldn't be good to get sick after a cold dunking the lake," he offered.
"I don't need your advice on how to take care of myself!" Severus snapped before stalking away in the night, summoning his drenched broom to him.
"What were you two doing up there, Minerva?" he said as they started their stroll towards the castle.
"Being foolish," she commented wryly.
"I suppose that's the only answer I am going to get out of either one of you," he said when they reached the castle gates, "Good Night, Minerva."
"Good night, Remus, thank you for your assistance."
When Snape woke up the next morning, he immediately noticed that he didn't feel well at all. His head was pounding, and his mouth and throat were sore.
"I don't want to get up, I don't want to! Well, life doesn't stop because I have a cold. I will just take Pepper-Up, then I will be perfectly fine," he said to himself, as he rolled out of bed. He tiredly searched for a vial of Pepper-up, before downing it. Next, he jumped in the shower, confident that between a hot shower and a Pepper-Up, he would feel fine by breakfast.
Minerva also woke up not feeling well. When she opened her eyes, she felt like she was being blinded. Swallowing seemed particularly painful.
"Oh no! I must have caught a cold from that dunk in the lake. I sure hope Severus is sick too! What am I thinking, wishing suffering on a colleague?"
When Severus jumped out of the shower, he still felt awful. Knowing that Minerva would gloat and Poppy would drag him off the Hospital Wing the moment he noticed that he was ill, he applied a glamor charm to conceal how sickly he looked. Next went on a concealment charm to ensure that he didn't sound hoarse or feel warm to the touch.
"I feel like a teenage witch, applying make-up before breakfast!" he grumbled to himself.
"A hot shower will fix this in no time, especially if I take Pepper-up" his colleague thought to herself as she stretched and went towards her private bathroom. After her shower, felt worse and was rapidly becoming weary of standing for long periods of time because she was so dizzy.
"What is wrong with me? I haven't felt this sick in a long time. Well, I don't have time to be sick right now, not with midterms coming up and Sirius Black on the loose" she thought as she applied charms so that she appeared, and sounded, perfectly healthy.
When the two met up in the Great Hall, Remus greeted each of them. Neither one noticed that they both only had tea with honey for breakfast. When they both excused themselves early at the same time, the headmaster and Remus exchanged curious glances.
"Remus, my boy, you wouldn't know anything about why our two esteemed professors didn't eat anything this morning, do you?" the Headmaster said with a curious twinkle in his blue eyes.
"No idea, Albus, no idea."
"Did they really not eat anything?" Poppy asked from Remus' other side in alarm. "I sure hope they aren't sick and are avoiding me! There is a very nasty flu going around and if one of the teachers managed to catch it, we could easily have an epidemic on our hands!"
Both Remus and Albus just chuckled to themselves.
Harry and Ron made their way down to the dungeons for their Potions lesson with Snape. Harry knew that Snape hated him, but he wasn't sure of the reason. After Saturday's Quidditch match, Snape was likely to be a very cranky professor.
"Why did we have to double potions first thing on Monday?" Ron whined as they sat down.
"Wands away, parchment out!" Snape said in his silkiest, scariest voice, as he strode towards the desk at the front of the room, his robes billowing behind him. This was the third year Gryffindor and Slytherin class, so he knew he would have to watch everyone very carefully, especially after the Quidditch match over the past weekend. To Harry's and Ron's surprise, Snape didn't start the class with threatening to take points from Gryffindor for being slow.
As he dictated the notes for the class on the ingredients of the calming draught, Severus noticed how dry and scratchy his throat was. Once he had given them their instructions he sent them all off to fetch their ingredients.
"I bet I caught the Grindylow Pox when I went into the lake last night. Now what am I going to do?" he mused to himself as he watched his students prepare their ingredients. Unfortunately, he wasn't watching them closely enough and Crabbe managed to throw a random ingredient into Harry's potion without being noticed.
The Gryffindor seeker's potion began to bubble ominously, and turned a deep purple color. Soon, thick smoke filled the room and Snape had to shout to be heard over all of the mayhem.
"Silence! I want everyone to get out of this room and wait for me. If I catch one on you not there, everyone is losing points! Now scram!" he yelled, despite his throats protesting.
"Stupid brat! Can't even get a potion right! I have no clue how he manages to focus long enough to catch the snitch," he said to himself.
Using his wand, he easily found the origin of the smoke and vanished the remnants of the potion. Peering into all of the other cauldrons, he noted that they because of the delay in adding a couple of crucial ingredients, all of the other potions were also ruined. With one big sweep of his wand, all of the cauldrons were now empty.
Using all of that magic had drained most of his energy. He slumped against the wall in exhaustion, his head spinning, and complete forgot that he had a class of students waiting for him outside. He was making his way towards his office, which led to his private quarters when he heard a small voice ask, "Professor?"
"What?" he snapped, but he turned to face the voice.
"Is everything okay?" she timidly asked, unsure if the classroom was safe but unwilling to stand in the hallway with Malfoy and his buddies any longer.
Groaning to himself, he unsteadily made his way towards the hallway.
Upon seeing that everyone was there and that no one appeared to be injured, he yelled, "Class is dismissed! I want a two foot essay on the calming draught! What are you all waiting for? Move!" He slammed the door the classroom and rested on it. Using the wall for support, he slowly made his way over to his office. Unable to go on any further, he slumped into his office chair and rested his aching head on his arms.
"Merlin! I haven't felt this bad in years!" he thought to himself, "If I could just make it into my living room, I could easily stretch out on the couch and take a quick nap. I have a double period off now."
With much effort, he managed to get himself out of the chair and walking towards his private quarters. He had to steady himself on his desk and bookcases before he reached the bookcase with the magical entrance. First, he wearily unlocked the wards. Pulling a copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet, which had been disillusioned to look like a potions reference book, allowed Severus entrance into his personal quarters. As soon as his was close enough to the couch, he flopped down ungracefully on top of it. He forgot to reapply the wards guarding the entrance.
"Ophelia!" he hoarsely called, his magic failing to keep his concealment charms up any longer.
"Yes, Master Snape?" the house elf squeaked as she bowed to him.
"Can you please retrieve a fever-reducer, and some of the Grindlylow Pox salve?" he managed to say.
"Right away, Master Snape" she answered, giving him a concerned glance before she popped out. She, however, did not do as he wished. Ophelia, as with many of the house elves at Hogwarts, were assigned to work with a specific professor but their actual master was the Headmaster.
She popped in to the Headmaster's office knowing that he was alone through her elf magic.
"Master Albus?" she hesitantly called to bring him out of his work.
"Yes, Ophelia? What brings you here?" he said kindly, his blue eyes twinkling as usual.
"Master Snape is being very ill. He was asking for the Grindlylow Pox salve," she said, her ears flattening.
Sighing to himself, Albus rolled up the parchment he had been reading.
"Thank you for notifying me. Where is he?"
"He is being in his personal quarters."
"At this time of the day? Do you know what happened to his class?"
"No, Master Albus," she squeaked.
"Thank you, I will see to him," he said. She then popped back out.
The headmaster picked up a handful of floo and called out, "Severus Snape's rooms!"
Severus, with glazed eyes, turned his head and watched his floo turn green. When the Headmaster's head appeared, the Potions Master scrambled to sit up.
"Severus, my boy?"
"I am coming through," and before Severus could react, the Headmaster was standing in his living room.
"Severus! How in the world did you contract the Grindylow Pox?" the astonished Headmaster asked when he got a look at his professor.
"Headmaster, I am fine--"
"No, you aren't Severus. Now just lie back down while I call Poppy," he said in tone of voice that left no room for arguments.
"Must she be involved with this?"
"Sorry, my boy, but yes, she must."
Turning back to the floo, the Headmaster threw some powder into the fireplace and called out "Hospital Wing!"
"Oh, Headmaster! How are you today?"
"I am well Poppy, however, I believe I am need of your assistance in Severus' quarters," he said before Severus yelled over his shoulder, "I am perfectly fine, Headmaster, I don't need your assistance or anyone else's!"
The Headmaster and Healer shared a knowing look and she promised to come right down.
However, just then a sixth year Hufflepuff came running in to the infirmary.
"Madam Pomfrey!" she yelled breathlessly, "Professor McGonagall fainted in class! Then all these green spots appeared all over her face, it looked like a glamour failed."
"Thank you, Amelia," she said as she grabbed her emergency medical bag and went running down the hall towards the Transfiguration classroom.
When she reached the classroom, the group of sixth year Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were huddled around their teacher.
"Move!" the usually kind Medi-Witch yelled and they all backed away, allowing her to work.
"Minerva, are you alright?" Poppy said, when she saw the witch's eyes begin to open.
"Poppy, what happened? Why is my head pounding?"
"I am not sure what happened, Amelia said you fainted in class. What's the last thing you remember?" the Medi-Witch asked as she performed a diagnostic charm.
"Chasing the snitch, crashing in the lake with Snape," Minerva said sluggishly, unaware that she had let it slip about her Seeker's duel with Severus, "Why was I teaching, it's the middle of the night!"
"No, Minnie, its morning. I am going to have to put you on a stretcher and bring you to the Hospital Wing, you are too weak to make it by yourself. You caught Grindylow Pox and you have a very high fever, plus it seems that you have a concussion from when you fainted" she said softly.
"My head hurts," the normally stern professor said, not caring about how she sounded.
"I know, when we get to the Hospital Wing, I have can give you a potion to make you feel better," she responded, trying to soothe her friend, "and we can discuss what you were doing in the lake with Snape," she added to herself.
With a little help of magic, a few minutes later Minerva was tucked into a bed in the Hospital Wing, her teaching robes transfigured into a nightgown and all of her classes for the day canceled.
"Will you alright for a minute, Minnie? I need to go assist Albus for a minute," the Medi-Witch asked, as she spelled a fever reducer into her friend's stomach.
"Yes," Minerva responded before she succumbed to a healing sleep.
The Medi-Witch picked up her medical kit and proceeded to make her way down to the dungeons. As the school Medi-Witch, she had a password that would let her in to any of the common rooms or the teacher's personal quarters. When she reached the portrait of Salzaar Slytherin, she said, "Rememdium" and it swung open to reveal the Potions Master's living room. The headmaster was sitting in a wing backed chair, his hands steepled as he stared at the couch.
"Headmaster," she greeted as she made her way into the room.
"Poppy! What held you?"
"Minerva has come down with a bad case of the Grindlylow Pox, and she fainted during class," she answered, before she looked at the couch where Severus was resting, "Severus Snape! How could you let yourself get this ill! You should know that when you crash into the lake, you can get seriously ill!" she exclaimed. She whipped her wand out and began performing a diagnostic charm.
"How did you know about that? I bet the werewolf ratted us out!" he said, almost frantically
"No, Minerva fainted in class and had no idea she was in class when she awoke. I am going to put you on a stretcher and bring you up to the Hospital Wing."
"No! I will walk!" he protested, he knew it was useless to protest going to the Hospital Wing but at least he could do it with dignity.
"And, how do you propose to do that when you are barely able to stand?"
"I'll make it!" he said hoarsely but determinedly.
"If you think you can make it, go ahead and try but I will be right beside you. If you collapse just once, your butt is going onto that stretcher."
"Yes, Poppy," he conceded.
"I will see what Remus knows about this 'Seeker's Duel'," the headmaster said, "and then I will come up to the Hospital Wing." With a flick of Albus' wand, a note was posted outside the dungeons announcing that all Potions classes were canceled for the day.
Surprisingly, Severus made it to the Hospital Wing without collapsing, although he did lean heavily on Poppy towards the end.
She tucked him into bed and spelled some potions in his stomach.
Minerva woke up momentarily when they came in and thought to herself, "At least I am not in here alone."
AN: Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you think of it. Please hit the review button and make my day! :-)