A/N: Many thanks to my beta, Juno_Magic, whose sharp, shiny sword ran through Purple Prose, and to my dear friend, Zauza, who read me a very interesting lecture on the nature of the main subject matter. Lastly, to natasnape, thank you for the fun prompts. I hope you like your gift.
1/ There is a magical disease with a long incubation period and/or it is actually pleasant in the beginning. So, by the time the Healers notice there is a disease, the majority of the magical population is infected. The disease doesn't kill, but it changes lives. Who is infected and how do they live? It is up to the author if the story finds a cure or the wizarding folk learn to cope. Extra points if neither SS nor HG are Healers.
3/ Priapism hits the wizarding population. The Ministry, in all its wisdom, deals with the situation by assigning coupling orders to affected wizards and witches. These might be permanent or one-time events.
Draco didn't know what the house-elves had been putting in his orange juice for the last few days, but quite frankly, he didn't give a Hippogriff's arse so long as they allowed him to keep delivering the goods.
Though he had never seen himself as much of an Arithmancer, Draco had taken to, uh, timing himself during his bi-weekly dates with Astoria. To further his research, he later added sessions with Candy.
The results of his experiment?
There was no longer even a shadow of doubt in the younger Malfoy's mind that someone or something up in the sky was looking after him. With each day, no, with each encounter, he would add a few minutes to his staying power. It was getting to the stage where he sometimes felt like there was no end in sight. He could literally go for hours. It was bloody fantastic!
Handsome, rich, and an absolute demon in bed, the only thing Draco grumbled about in his semi-charmed life was that very recently, the girls had not always seemed quite as inspired by his skills as they should be. Shrugging it off, Draco decided that Candy had probably just had a few too many that day, while Astoria was now confirmed in his eyes as a spoilt weakling.
Maybe I need to widen my horizons a little more. I'm just too much of a man for them both…
When Harry started clumsily fondling her breast for the third time that night, Ginny wondered what in Merlin's name had got into him lately. She knew that they'd just decided to try for a baby, but this enthusiasm seemed to be above and beyond the call of duty. Even more odd, she simply couldn't understand whereHarry was finding the stamina. Once or twice every few days was usually enough to turn the Boy Who Lived into the Man Who Slept.
Ordinarily, Ginny would not be complaining. She liked a good romp between the sheets as much as the next woman disgustingly in love with her man, but this was getting ridiculous! She had to be on a broom at nine o'clock in the morning, for Circe's sake!
Slapping Harry's hand away, Ginny turned on him and hissed fiercely, 'Hands off, Mr Potter, or you'll be sleeping on the couch for the next week. I need to rest properly every night until the final on Saturday. It's my last season with the Harpies, remember?'
'Sorry, love,' Harry mumbled sleepily, obediently removing his hands from his wife's person. 'Don't know what's got into me lately.'
Taking a closer look at her husband, Ginny noticed that he looked as tired as she felt.
Sighing, she gave him a light kiss on the forehead before closing her eyes and willing herself back into slumber.
Things had been busy at the Ministry lately as some of the less serious war criminals were being released from Azkaban soon. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that Harry's anxieties had manifested into a need to show and receive physical affection…
When his morning erection came back again, despite two apparently successful attempts to make it go away, Severus sighed heavily. Leaning against the wall of his shower stall, he looked the picture of abject misery, eyes closed as he tried to work through his confusion and irritation.
Attuned closely enough to his body's normal rhythm to know that this was neither a gift from the Gods, nor a reaction to stress and overwork, Severus quickly did some mental calculations and decided upon a plan of attack that would not unduly affect his plans for the next week or so. The potions for export to the States could not wait, nor could the rush order of several elixirs for St Mungo's stores. He would deal with whatever this was only afterhe was on top of his business affairs.
It hardly seems life threatening…
Doing a mental inventory of the ingredients he had on hand, Severus scowled when he realised that he would also have to suffer going out into Knockturn Alley for the second time this week for yet more. Bargaining with the hag who owned the shop always took a lot out of him physically. She liked to jump around and try to rake him with her disease-infested nails whenever he threatened to collect the ingredients himself if she wouldn't lower her prices. It took excellent reflexes and complete concentration to avoid losing a limb and thus make the threats empty by default. If she didn't truly have top quality products at slightly-less-than-ridiculous prices, he honestly wouldn't bother with her.
Damned hag, I probably got whatever this is from being within a two-metre radius of her…
Going into business after twenty years in education had not always been smooth flying. As it was, though Severus had managed to strike a fairly comfortable balance between research and more mundane production, he did not have a significant amount of spare time. In this case, he would not create a serious backlog of orders out of conscience. Day by day, St Mungo's ran more quickly through their top-quality, high-concentration painkillers and muscle-relaxants. So far, they'd been mum on the reason why, but Severus knew that whatever situation they were hiding in there would eventually explode in their faces.
Things like that always did.
A few weeks after he had first noticed his odd symptoms, now suppressed with one of the strongest impotency potions known to wizardkind, Severus found himself preparing to leave his home on yet another unexpected and inconvenient outing, this time to St Mungo's itself.
Though the short note sent by one of the Healers (signature too messy to read) had not been specific, it almost exuded a general impression of chaos and disorder which only served to add to Severus' feeling of unease about the whole situation. Though he hadmanaged to brew all the potions asked for, he knew that unless St Mungo's planned to knock out the entire magical population of Britain at once, they could not possibly need more for at least another few months.
Eager to assure himself that he was supplying a well-known hospital, not a drug lord's den, Severus was actually not as annoyed as he usually would be at the 'invitation' to deliver the goods himself this time. It did not really matter that the reason given for this change in their arrangement – lack of able-bodied hospital personnel – seemed absolutely ludicrous in light of the fact that St Mungo's had more employees than the two largest Ministry departments combined.
Shrinking his rather large box of potions so that it would fit easily in the palm of his hand, Severus Flooed to St Mungo's with the clear intention of doing some quiet snooping to find out what the problem was. However, on arriving at the waiting room, the scene that confronted him was one of total chaos.
It now seemed completely believable that St Mungo's had absolutely not one spare pair of hands to pick up a delivery of potions.
The tumult that assaulted Severus' ears automatically sent his mind back to darker times. It had been a long time indeed since he had seen a Cruciatus torture, yet here it was in front of him, or something close to it. Just like the old days. No blood, no vomit, no urine. Just writhing bodies, shouts of sharp pain and moans of bone-deep agony. For a split second, Severus wondered why he was bringing potions. Only years of rigid self-control stopped him from dropping the delicate parcel and whipping out his wand.
When will these idiots learn? The best way to counter the Cruciatus is to incapacitate the caster!
Fortunately for the occupants of the waiting room, Severus was still anchored in the present firmly enough to note that something was wrong about the picture in front of him. Frantic looking female Healers tried to be everywhere at once, their unflattering lime-green robes actually acquiring some very impressive billow as they flitted from patient to patient, handing out what Severus immediately recognised as his own potions. However, there were also other bottles by other makers. Marks that took Severus a while to recognise.
Bridges, Anderson, the usual culprits. Slughorn? That old rat bastard charges a mint for his brews. Gerard Touvenot! Do they regularly employ every Potions Master from here to Paris?
Severus' anger at himself over why he hadn't come here and demanded an explanation for the huge order two weeks ago was abruptly cut off by a strange realisation. The absolute bedlam didn't end with the tired-looking, over-worked Healers. Adding to the noise, crowd and general chaos were inordinate numbers of tearful, panicked wives, mothers, sisters and other lady companions. The atmosphere of the whole room positively reeked of the sort of frantic edge that only combined female hysteria could produce.
Will he be all right, Healer?
How long will the potion last? Can we brew it at home?
I would have brought him in sooner, but I just didn't think it was something to worry about. Teenage wizards, you know?
Through the chatter and the confusion, only one thought rang clear through Severus' mind.
Every last one of the patients was male.
Thinking it might be best to make himself scarce as soon as possible, perhaps isolate himself on some unnamed island in the Pacific somewhere, Severus' indecision as to whether he could just leave the potions on the desk of the presently-absent Welcomewitch, or shove them into the hands of a Healer was taken care of when one of said Healers started tugging on his sleeve to get his attention.
'You're here with more potions, Professor?'
Severus tried hard to repress a rather malevolent glare and failed. Yes, it was likely that half the people in this room were his ex-students, but he was no longer a teacher, and war hero or not, he was certainly not proud of some of his actions towards the end of his Hogwarts career.
'Obviously,' he bit out, promptly placing the shrunk potions in her outstretched hand. The black-haired girl wasn't even looking at him, he saw, but was busy firing questions at a man in a seat close by.
'So how long has it been painful? Have you tried to relieve the pain yourself?'
Not caring to hear the man's whimpered responses, Severus sharply tapped the Healer on the shoulder. He wasn't about to leave before she had affixed her magical signature to the standard receipt he had prepared.
'If you please,' he snapped, not at all politely.
Hurriedly fumbling her wand out of her belt, Healer Chang glared at her ex-professor and moodily jabbed it at the roll of parchment before looking at him in a more appraising way.
'Have you had any trouble with your penis lately, sir?'
Insulted and taken aback by the unexpected and unceremonious reference to his bits, which he would never deign to discuss with any woman, medical professional or not, Severus turned on his heel and Apparated home without another word to the impertinent Miss Chang.
Or is she now Mrs Davies?
Storming around his house, muttering about the indignity of being asked such a question by a young, relatively attractive Healer, it took a few moments for Severus to fully realise the quandary he was in.
Well. If St Mungo's is treating bloody-whatever-this-is with pain-relievers and muscle-relaxants, I can bloody well brew my own right here, and I won't set foot out of doors again until I hear that one of their idiotic researchers has hit on a cure. It will probably be weeks.
Damn them all to hell!