SSJP Fan fiction
Summary: James gets ill with 'Flamouriadesis', colloquially known as 'Cinis', and has to rely on Severus making him a potion each weak to keep him alive. However, Severus only does things at a price, and his price is James' humiliation! Sub!James and Dom!Sev.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, I'm not making any money from this.
It was hot. Not just beach hot, or 'shower too hot' hot, but so hot that it truly felt like the fires of hell had burst out of their underground cavern and had infiltrated his bedroom. The throbbing headache and aggravating pins and needles on the base of his feet were mere agitations: nothing compared to his fever. All he wanted was to get rid of the thick quilt that was covering him, but as the 15-year-old turned over in pain and shoved the covers off himself with a moan, they were just pulled back up with a heartfelt sigh from the man sitting next to his bed. He was tall; impressive; with short dark hair and warm brown eyes, but worry was etched deep into his features.
"Sorry son, you've got to keep them on." The man explained, trying to tackle his teenage son back under the thick covers. "I'm not doing it to be mean." His voice was rough, suggesting he hadn't spoken in a while. The boy in the bed simply moaned.
"… Yes you are." He whimpered. He probably hadn't meant it to be a whimper, but it was difficult to speak and everything came out soft and pathetic. The father sighed again; he too was having trouble stopping himself from taking away the covers, as he could see his son was in a lot of pain. However, it was common knowledge that the best way to get rid of a fever was to sweat it out. He hated that his son thought he was being cruel for the sake of it, when he was only doing it because he cared. He looked across the room as the door creaked open and his wife entered. She too had worry plastered all over her face. Their son had been ill before, but he had never been affected like this. Generally, he was a strong boy, and he very rarely complained.
Behind his wife followed a Healer from St. Mungo's; an average sized man with honey blonde hair and arms that seemed too long for his body.
His wife sat down next to him on the bay window seat, and the Healer held a steady hand to the teen's sweat covered forehead. The teen was trying to concentrate on his parents but, thanks to his fever, was failing miserably. The Healer dragged off the covers, to which the boy gave a happy, contented, little noise - as if that was all he had ever asked for in the world, and the long armed man cast a few spells over the boy's body.
Soon the heat was too much – that of the fever, and that of the spells cast over him combined and the boy gave in to the sleep that was calling him. His breaths came out shallow even then, betraying how much pain he was truly in. The Healer stroked his greying beard, brow furrowed as he swished his wand in front of him and seemed to physically read the magic that it expelled, as if results from tests. He leant down, opened the teen's mouth and took a swab of saliva on the end of his wand.
"What are you going to do?" Asked the only female in the room, standing up. Her voice was shaky with a panic that can only be found in a mother with a sick child.
"Just a quick test to see if my suspicions are correct- although I hope they aren't." The healer replied, not entirely concentrating on her question. He'd never exactly been known for his bedside manner, and probably didn't even notice that his words had greatly affected the terrified parents. He was too busy concentrating on the healing.
The lady sat back down, now even more worried than before. The Healer tested the saliva then turned to the parents and sighed. Both parents stood, knowing from the look the Healer was giving them that the next thing he said would be bad news.
"Your son has Flamouriadesis." He said softly, but was only met with blank expressions. It was understandable, the disease was very rare. He had only heard of one other case in the UK in his medical career. "It's a disease which sends some of the cells in the body into overdrive – creating outward symptoms; such as loss of appetite and mood swings, but the worst is the fever, if left alone… Flamouriadesis literally translates to 'Ash Binding'… it would burn him from the inside."
The other two adults in the room stared at him, horrified.
"He's going to spontaneously combust!?" Asked the incredulous father, he couldn't believe it, but he was still pushed to ask: "What can we do?"
"It's not spontaneous, it hasn't reached its worst stage yet." Believe it or not, the Healer thought, looking down at the suffering teenager. Flamouriadesis was such a violent disease – once it did reach its worst stage the flames would completely consume him. "The illness will only ever lay dormant for a week at a time. Given the right potion at the right time, it's possible he could live a normal life. However, he'd need to have the potion at least once a week." He explained as evenly as he could. He almost smiled as the mother gave a heartfelt sigh of relief.
"That's not so bad." She said.
"Of course there's a potion." The father responded, a weak smile about his features. He wiped the back of his hand over his brow.
"Hmmm… but the original creator died recently, and he only taught one other person how to do it. The potion doesn't take long to create, but it's very complex." The Healer pondered. "It's possible he can do it in time to save your son, but it's going to be a close call…"
The father stood angrily.
"Then call them already!" He shouted. "He's my son."
James Potter sat at the feast in silence. The sorting had gone off without a hitch, and all around him there were other Gryffindor's laughing and joking, congratulating the new 1st year recruits, and catching up with friends they hadn't seen over the summer. The first of September always brought news of holiday romances and worries of exams they had to sit that year. He looked at his own friends as point and case – Sirius was animatedly telling everyone between mouthfuls of roast chicken about a muggle girl he'd had his summer fling with, and Remus was fretting over notes already.
"Oh Honey-pot, will you stop already – we've not even started lessons yet!" The Black heir laughed, punching his sandy-haired friend on the arm. Remus spared him a glance, but it was obvious that the assault had barely been noticeable in terms of any physical pain it may have caused.
"We have OWLS this year, in case you cared." He replied, a little tetchy. James watched him shovel peas into his mouth, and felt his stomach lurch at the idea. His own plate was pretty full – he'd been pushing his carrots and asparagus around half-heartedly since it had magically appeared in front of him, and he knew from experience it was likely to stay being pushed about until it was magically taken away again. As he pondered on how hungry he hadn't been feeling yesterday he felt a cool, soft hand on his shoulder, and turned to see who it was.
"Oh, hey Lily." He grinned, hand instinctively coming up to run through his hair. In front of him stood the tall, slim, red-headed perfection that was Lily Evans. "Have you come to your senses and want to tell me how you're desperately in love with me?" He asked. He heard a brief snort behind him at his advances, and resolved later to find out which marauder thought he was funny.
"Really clever Potter." Lily replied, placing a hand on her hip delicately. "If it wasn't for the fact that out of the two Gryffindor prefects I'm apparently the only one with some sense of responsibility – I wouldn't be here at all."
Remus looked up from his books. He had a habit of getting too engrossed in them and forgetting he had other arrangements.
"Did I miss something?" He asked. Lily rolled her eyes.
"You were supposed to be at the front of the train on the journey here so we could be filled in on our duties!" She replied heatedly. Remus grimaced.
"I'm sorry Lils," He fretted, "I hadn't seen these guys all summer and I've been a little under the weather." He attempted to excuse himself.
"You are quite an ill person… just make sure it doesn't happen again, you'll have to help pick the password with me in a minute. Jeez, I don't know what Dumbledore was thinking, giving prefect duties to anyone in this stupid little gang." She muttered, then she remembered she was over there for a reason: "Potter, you're wanted in Dumbledore's office after the feast is over."
And with that, the red head walked away.
"Hell Prongs, what could the old coot want with you already?" Pete asked, watching her retreating back. James shrugged in response, but Peter smirked. "Well, maybe he's suspicious – you have been unusually well behaved."
James let the others finish the rest of their feast whilst he sat in relative quiet. He could feel a pool of heat settling at the bottom of his stomach. He'd not been right all week – he'd barely had an appetite and his mood was all over the place. Sometimes he wanted to dive into the lake near his home in a bout of spontaneity, and other times the mere suggestion of him going outside by one of his parents was enough for him to ill wish them. Barely a week ago he had been toned – the type of physique one would expect from a Quidditch Chaser – but now he'd lost so much weight from not eating, and he felt physically weak.
He trudged up to the stone gargoyles outside the headmaster's office in thought of his recent mood swings, so that it wasn't until the last second that he realised he had no idea of the password. It was of course a mundane point as the gargoyles sprung aside at the sight of him – as if they'd been expecting his arrival. He knocked heavily on the door, and when he was ushered in he was met with Dumbledore sat behind his desk, and none other than Severus Snape.
Severus Snape; with his lanky hair, large nose, pale skin and all, was looking just as bored as James was confused. It seemed Snape knew why he was here, which only served to aggravate James more. He couldn't help but notice the headmaster surveying them both through his half-moon spectacles. James couldn't tell whether he was amused or deadly serious, but the familiar twinkle was there, and that calmed his nerves somewhat. Snape was looking anywhere but at James, but the fiery pool at the pit of the Chaser's stomach was dancing about, making James feel queasy and on edge in the Slytherin's presence.
"You may or may not be aware, Mr. Potter." Dumbledore began, "But you came very close to death this Friday just passed."
James looked at his feet. He remembered being really hot, and he remembered passing out, just after a Healer came. His parents had been wooly on the details, and he hadn't thought to ask. Later, when he had thought to ask he was too busy being angry at the world to bite his tongue and request the information. His memories of the entire event were hazy at best and he would rather not think of a time when he had been pathetically claimed by an illness. He glanced towards Snape – did they really have to discuss this in front of Snivellus? He didn't want the dungeon bat having any material to pester him with.
Dumbledore nodded his head solemnly.
"The illness you suffered from is called Flamouriadesis, but is often referred to as Cinis for short… and it will return, if you do not drink a specific potion…" He stopped, glancing at Snape. "I mean Elixir - once a week, on a Friday at eight pm, as that is when you took your first."
James furrowed his brow.
"But I didn't…" He started, but Dumbledore interrupted – knowing his unsaid words.
"Yes you did- you just don't remember."
James chewed on this inside of his cheek thoughtfully, suddenly wishing he could remember more, or had been bothered to find out more from his parents. Dumbledore had just told his enemy that he was suffering from memory loss, and with his new weakened state he didn't revel in the idea of Snape knowing he was ill. After all, it would be the perfect time for the Slytherin to take revenge if he knew James was weak and couldn't fight back.
"And where do I get this potion from?" He muttered.
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled a little more dangerously, so naturally James grew more suspicious. It was impossible to spend as much time in the Headmaster's office as the marauders did without getting to know how to read Dumbledore. Something interesting was about to happen.
"It's called the 'The Glacier Elixir' and Severus is the only person alive who can brew it successfully." Was the old man's response, with an almost proud wave of his wrinkled hand in Snape's direction.
James' eyes went wide and he glanced at the lanky haired boy again, who was examining Fawkes with a polite interest, and decidedly looking nowhere near James.
"I'd rather be sick for the rest of my life then depend on that greasy bat." He mumbled spitefully. Snape turned his head, looking over his shoulder to give him a bored look, as if he found James to be an overreacting child.
"I am afraid you don't understand James." carried on Dumbledore, ignoring the teens comment, and Severus' patronizing stare. "If you don't take the potion, every week, then there is no way you would survive past next Friday."
The headmaster looked way too serious for that to be some kind of elaborate joke. James gulped. He didn't want to believe his life was on the line, but the gravity of the situation was catching up with him. He hadn't even considered dying until he had great-grandchildren.
"You mean my life is in his hands?" he asked, jerking a thumb at Snape, who was still observing Fawkes. Dumbledore nodded somberly, and James was already mapping out his will in his mind. Snape had probably been waiting for a chance like this, the greasy teenager was only there to watch James die – preferably screaming in agony and begging to be saved. James resolved then and there not to given him the satisfaction. However, Severus chose that moment to finally speak.
"I'll make the Elixir for you to drink each Friday."
James head snapped up and his jaw fell down, which was a painful combination he reminded himself not to try again.
"Excuse me?" He all but choked out.
"I'll make it." Severus confirmed, "Of course, that is, if you can pay me."
James looked at the floor, whatever price Severus named he probably wouldn't be able to afford it. He felt the heat in the bottom of his stomach climb up and start licking painfully at his ribs. He could hardly rely on his parents for financial support; they were struggling to build back up the Potter Empire that had fallen thanks to his grandfather's gambling problem. He highly doubted the two galleons and fourteen sickles he had in his pocket were going to cut it.
"I don't have any money." He admitted, unable to stop the defensive tone that slipped through in his voice.
"Actually, I was thinking something a little bit different from money." Was the Slytherin's reply, in a cool, amused tone. Snape smirked at him – a cruel twitch of the lips that should have been ugly, but somehow wasn't.
James' heart skipped a beat.
He wasn't sure he wanted to know what type of payment Snape was trying to suggest. If this had been a private conversation he might have just jinxed the potion out of the other teen, or at least landed a decent punch – but Dumbledore was watching them closely. The heat in James' stomach rose a little further, and seemed to pierce his lungs with a sharp pinch. He thought for a moment he might be able to use his little knowledge of the unforgivable curses and land an Imperio on Snape, but Snape was still smirking, and for a moment, James only felt afraid.
"One order a day. Whatever I chose to be your task for the day, you must do to the best of your ability. In return I'll make the Elixir for you each week." Snape negotiated calmly, taking some form of sick amusement in the internal struggle that was so obviously going on inside the Gryffindor.
"Orders?" James asked quietly, shifting from foot to foot nervously. He was wary of the idea of being controlled by the Slytherin. What would the orders be like? "What do you get out of it?" he carried on, mumbling as he cast distrustful eyes towards the other teen.
"Watching you humiliate yourself." Severus replied without a blink; triumphantly. James attempted to glare at him, but he didn't feel as confident as he hoped he looked. He took a slow deep breath in an attempt to calm himself down.
"Seven orders for one potion?" he asked, trying to sound indignant and confident.
"No." Came the reply "Seven orders for your life."
The messy haired Quidditch player looked to the headmaster for some help.
"Can't you do something about this?" he asked, but Dumbledore shook his head ruefully. James didn't miss he too was sending suspicious glances towards the Slytherin.
"As bad as it sounds when said out loud, your life has nothing to do with the school, unless you are killed by something directly related to Hogwarts, like another student." He stated. "It effectively means that your death, and any arrangements to do with it, we have no control over. Cinis doesn't come under our jurisdiction. The deal is between you and Mr. Snape, and therefore the matter of payment should be sorted out between the two of you."
James growled gently in his throat; he was angry beyond belief at the headmaster's statements, but more than anything he was worried about what Snape might do. He directed his next question to the boy who seemed to now have complete control over his life.
"If I agree to this" He started carefully, "You can't really force me to do anything, can you?" He asked, hating himself for the insecurity that had slipped into his tone.
Snape raised an eyebrow, suddenly thinking about what type of 'anything' James might be referring to. He wrinkled his nose when unbidden images of forcing Potter into indecent acts ran wild in his head, unwanted and not asked for. Did the Gryffindor honestly think he was sick enough to enjoy something like that? It suddenly struck him that James might be genuinely scared about what things he might be forced to do; and that thought amused Severus greatly. He had no desire to calm the boy who had bullied him for so many years, and opted instead for an ambiguous answer. After all, Potter deserved to be uncomfortable for a little while.
"That depends on whether you care about your life or not. You don't do the order; I don't make the Elixir."
The heat that had started in James stomach and had made its way into his ribs and lungs finally found its way into his heart, and seemed to push up, physically expelling itself through his throat in a vomit of angry words.
"It's my LIFE you disgusting bat, how the fuck can you play with someone's life like that? You're no more than scum!"
Snape's eyes darkened and a scowl took over his features. He hadn't wanted to lose his façade of cool, calm and collected, but the Potter heir just made him so angry. Even being in the same room as the boy made him want to instinctively send curses and jinxes in the messy haired boy's direction. James didn't even have to speak – as soon as he caught sight of the brat's birds-nest that he called hair, Severus was an uncontrollable mass of rage. How dare Potter accuse him of taking the matter of someone's life lightly, when he and his little marauder friends had been the ones to destroy his?
"You and your little marauder buddies have made my life a living hell since I came to Hogwarts. Do you seriously believe I actually care whether you live or die?" He shouted back. He pulled the boy forwards by the collar of his robes threateningly, unheeding the cough of protest from Dumbledore. The next thing he said was a whisper, directly into James face, making sure to pronounce every word so that the Gryffindor's face was sprayed with little bits of saliva as he talked. "To me, this is nothing but a business deal, do you understand?"
James gulped again, and nodded. Snape didn't miss him trying to stop himself from shivering. James was definitely scared, but then again, who wouldn't be if their life was in danger? He gripped a little tighter when Potter didn't verbally respond, until the Gryffindor – courage obviously failing him – averted his eyes and mumbled that he did.
"W-What if you forget to give me an order?" He asked quietly, not daring to look up. Severus roughly let go of his captive and watched as James stumbled to right his balance.
"I won't. I may choose not to, but I won't forget." He spoke calmly, running a hand through his own hair in a very James like fashion. It was greasy again, thanks to the fumes from the potions he had been working on. "If I choose not to then that's my decision and you'll still get your potion." He added, spitting out the word potion as if it pained him to say it. James had no doubt he'd only swapped from his careful choice of saying 'Elixir' because 'Potion' was easier to say in an intimidating way. James also couldn't deny that it had worked.
The Gryffindor nodded again as Severus left the room as if the matter was closed. In James' mind the matter was not closed – it was very far from closed – but he had no wish to anger the Slytherin further, especially knowing that Severus had his life hanging on a thread. He turned to leave as well, but stopped at Dumbledore's next words.
"Don't test him Mr. Potter, and please try to get your deal written down on paper. Make this official."
James gave a nervous laugh.
"He wouldn't actually let me die would he?" He asked, but he knew as he said it that the snake would.
Dumbledore looked grim. "Make this official and probably not." he sighed, eyes drifting over James shoulder as if he was watching a movie that was invisible and silent to the rest of the world. "Do you remember Alex Kemp?" He asked, his voice filled with regret.
James thought about it, and then;
"That Slytherin that disappeared a few years ago?"
"He also suffered from Cinis. Severus struck up a deal and began making the Elixir for him." He explained, and in that moment he looked impossibly old. "Not long after they struck up the deal Severus found out that Alex had joined Voldemort's ranks… He simply stopped making the potion."
James eyes widened, even as a shiver ran though him at the sound of His name. It was stupid he knew, but the name was cursed.
"Couldn't he get done for that?" he asked "It's basically murder!" he continued to protest. He felt a rush of understanding for the Slytherin he had never actually met. They were inexorably linked through their illness, and the fact that Severus had agreed to become their savior – even if only briefly.
Dumbledore shook his head.
"The deal was never made official, therefore Severus never had to make the potion to begin with. He wasn't murdering him, he just wasn't helping him." he looked straight into James eyes, and the Gryffindor got the distinct impression he'd just had his mind read. Dumbledore would know just how scared James actually was, no matter how much he protested. "Which is why I urge you to get this down on paper. Make this official. I couldn't say anything before, while Severus was here, because the boy doesn't trust me. But any way you can, please try and get written confirmation."
James felt faintly sick. He never thought Snape would just let someone die - even if that someone was a death eater. Besides, the way Snape acted James thought Snape would end up on You-Know-Who's side anyway. He shivered and left the room without another look back; making his way up to Gryffindor tower deep in thought. When he made it to the dormitory he saw the other marauders had waited up for him.
"So, what did the old coot want?" asked Sirius from his spot on Remus' bed, where the two were playing a game of Wizards chess that Sirius was losing badly. The Black heir looked down at his pieces, where one of Remus' knights was beating the daylights out of his castle, and let out a puff of air in dismay. "Cuddle-pops, why do you do this to me?" He asked the Werewolf. Remus simply rolled his eyes, and then all eyes were back on James.
The boy in question snapped out of his thoughts.
"Oh… he, um… he just doesn't want any more fights between us and Snivellus this year. He's really gunna be cracking down on it." He lied easily.
"Oh, well that sucks."
"Yeah." said James, "Tell me about it."