Precious.

Severus couldn't take it anymore; he was hot. He wanted to strip off his school robes and lay on the dungeon floor. It was just too warm. He was so warm that it was becoming difficult to see and breathe.

"My boy, are you alright?" Slughorn asked, placing his hand on his best student's shoulder.

"You're burning up. Miss Evans, please escort Mr. Severus to the hospital wing would you," Slughorn instructed, vanishing Severus' ruined potion at the same time. Severus could do nothing but sit where he was and pant for air that the heat denied him.

Lily Evans quickly vanished her own potion and crossed the aisle to help Severus stand up. Severus allowed Lily to pull him up and start him towards the door. As soon as the door closed behind them Severus collapsed to his knees. He couldn't help it- the heat made him feel shaky and weak.

"Come on Severus, I know you're tougher than this. Please, get up," Lily pleaded with her friend. They had been friends for years and she refused to let house rivalry separate them. Severus tried, he really did, but he couldn't get up. His throat was dry and he gulped to moisten it.

"S-sorry."

"It's alright- just hold on." Pulling one arm over herself, Lily dragged Severus off the floor to rest against her shoulders, and started the long trek up to the hospital wing.

When they reached the hospital wing, both were panting and sweatin. The only difference was Severus was no longer seeing straight and his back ached as if he had cracked it.

"Madam Pomfrey!" Lily shouted as loud as her polite personality would allow. Poppy Pomfrey came bustling out of her office with her wand held to her chest and four potions sticking out from her apron.

"Lily dear, what- oh Severus." Coming right up to the pair, Poppy placed her hand on Severus' check before moving it down to his neck. "Take him to the last bed on the left please dear. I have a bone to regrow then I'll be right there. Poor dear."

Lily nodded before dragging Severus to the directed bed, while Poppy rushed off to the other side of the room. As soon as they reached the bed Lily collapsed, sending both of them tumbling onto the bed. Severus moaned in pain and curled into himself. Lily quickly scrambled off the bed and placed a gentle hand on his forehead, brushing off a few strands of stray hair.

"Oh Severus you're burning up. What's wrong?"

"Hot..hurts." Severus panted out, blinking in an attempt to wake himself. Lily could have sworn, if she had been asked, that in that moment Severus grew three shades paler.

"Where? Where do you hurt Sev?" Lily asked gently, stroking Severus' hair in hopes of distracting him from his misery.

"Bu-bucket!" Great, just what he needed. Severus could feel the bile rise in his throat. He didn't need this along with the heat and the pain and the weakness, not to mention all that in front of his friend- his best friend. He didn't want to throw up, not now and not in front of her. Lily quickly looked around in an attempt to find anything Severus could use. Seeing nothing, she quickly transfigured a nearby flower into a bucket and passed it over.

"I thought you were going to say butt for a moment." Lily giggled in an attempt to brighten Severus' spirit. Instead he just rolled over, heaving into the bucket. Lily gasped and crawled onto the bed, holding back Severus' shoulder-length hair.

"Poor dear," Poppy said, rubbing Severus' back- much to his displeasure. Once he was done, Poppy handed him two potions. One he recognized as a nausea suppressor and the other as a sleeping potion. Taking both, he instantly felt their effects but not in the way he should, but he couldn't say anything as he passed out.

"He'll be fine now dear. Should I write you a note?" Pomfry asked Lily once she had climbed off the bed.

"No thank you, Professor Slughorn knows."

"Then off you go dear, no need for you to catch the bug too. If you feel ill at all come back right away." Lily nodded before getting shooed back to class. Poppy was already fully aware she wouldn't be back for a check-up. It wasn't a bug Severus had.

*o*o*

"Regulas Black- good that's everyone." The blonde prefect finished the roll call. They all hated it but with so many people hating the Slytherin's, it couldn't be helped. They had to make sure everyone was accounted for.

"Narcissa let me see that list."

Narcissa smiled sweetly as she handed Lucius (the other Prefect) the list, making sure their fingers brushed. Lucius ignored it for going over the list.

"Where's Severus Snape?" Lucius, being in his seventh year, had learned almost everyone below him, but Severus Snape had easily stolen his full attention. The boy was thin, and small for his age, with long black hair against moon white skin and a complete loner. Sadly, this made him a shining beacon for bullies. Meaning Lucius had stepped in as the boy's protector.

"He was taken to the hospital wing during Potions," one of the fifth years said. Agrenda Finekle if he remembered correctly. No matter, turning to Narcissa he found her shifting through a magazine.

"I'll go check up on him," Lucius said. It wasn't the first time he'd had to go check upon one of the little snakes. Narcissa waved dismissively as he left. He didn't want to go check on his little snake, but he had been feeling hot all day and was wondering if Madam Pomfry could help him out.

Opening the double doors, Lucius strolled in and went to the back, easily knowing where Severus would be. The closest bed to her office. Walking past the closed curtains, he saw Severus curled on his side, drenched in sweat, eyes closed, with his arms wrapped around himself and his fingers digging into his stomach. His shoulders were shaking and he was breathing shallowly. Placing a gentle hand on Severus' forehead, he felt the heat that he himself was feeling.

"Mr. Malfoy."

Lucius would have jumped if he were anything but a Malfoy. Instead, he simply pulled his hand back and turned to the medi-witch.

"Come to check on young Severus?"

"Yes ma'am. Has he been like this all day?" Lucius asked sweetly. It usually got him what he wanted.

"Oh yes he'll be fine tomorrow. Don't you worry dear." Madam Pomfrey said, her hands twitching- the sure sign that she was getting ready to shoo.

"Madam Pomfrey, did you know it's his birthday?"

Pomfrey's eyes widened in surprise before settling into a sympathetic gaze, that Lucius would have laughed at if Severus had seen it (his face surely would have been an amusing one).

"Well that would explain some things." Pomfrey mumbled under her breath, but Lucius heard it.

"Yes, like the wings coming from his back." As soon as Lucius said wings, Pomfrey whipped around, pulling the blanket off Severus' back. There sat two little black wings slowly getting larger.

"They weren't that big moments ago!"

Knowing the look on Poppy's face Lucius grabbed her arm. "It's fine, he will be able to control them once it's done. Could you also stop giving him the sleeping potion and the fever reducer? He would be done if not for those."

"But the sleep potion prevents him from acknowledging the pain," Pomfrey protested.

"Obviously not. But he needs to feel it, it will help him later."

"You seem to be very concerned, and knowledgeable about him, Lucius. Should I start to wonder if he's yours?" Poppy questioned, raising one eyebrow in a very suggestive way. Lucius couldn't help but blush. He had suspected it for some time but he hadn't known till a few moments ago.

"So is he?"

Lucius nodded sharply.

"Then why don't you take him back to your room? I'm sure being around his mate will help him," Poppy suggested. Lucius agreed, scooping Severus up and carried him bridal style to his own chambers. The boy had stopped shaking at Lucius' touch.

*o*o*

When Severus woke, he could still feel the echo of the pain in his stomach but the pain in his back stabbed at him repeatedly. Groaning, Severus rolled onto his side before attempting to go back to sleep- he could skip a day of school, he was smart enough.

"Come on Severus- it can't hurt that much. Now get up." Lucius prodded at Severus' side to wake the new Veela more.

"Go away Lucius," Severus mumbled, pulling the covers up higher over himself. But Lucius would be having none of that. He ripped the covers off Severus, quickly placing a bucket beside him.

Severus shot up as his covers were ripped away in an attempt to snatch them back. Sadly his stomach didn't agree and it also shot up- and right out of Severus' throat.

"Yes, you may be feeling ill for a little while- what with all that shifting your organs did," Lucius explained, rubbing Severus back between his wings (now fully grown to look like black angel wings).

"What do you mean shifting organs?" Severus asked when there was a break in his heaving.

"Well, they had to shift so your uterus and ovaries could form and sit comfortably inside you." It took a minute or so before Severus' sleepy mind caught up what Lucius was saying.

"WHAT? You're telling me I'm now a hermaphrodite?" Severus screamed, panicking. Lucius just chuckled.

"No- you're my submissive." If it were possible, Severus' eyes became even larger. Lucius couldn't help it- he laughed at his poor submissive. He knew Severus was shy, hiding everything from everyone, and having Malfoy (one of the most flamboyant people around) claim him, scared Severus but Lucius knew he'd get over it. Maybe.

"I'm no one's property. I won't just give myself up. Just 'cause you say I'm a submissive doesn't mean it's true." Severus had been shocked when Lucius claimed him. Not because Lucius had claimed him but because of the warm feeling that spread through his body at that simple, demanding claim. It made him feel safe, warm and protected, and even loved, not that he would admit to any of that. It had to be a trick, maybe it was because he had the fever and someone other than Madam Pomfrey was looking after him, so they had heard his mumbling about the man of his dreams. He had to deny it until he was certain it wasn't a very cruel joke.

"Well, according to Veela law you are my property, but I promise you I won't treat you as such. I enjoy that fire you have too much to try and break it. As for giving yourself up- you will, but only to me." Lucius purred at the end, leaning in till his lips brushed Severus' cheek. Severus shivered, not just at the touch but the words, they were so certain and possessive. Severus could feel himself giving in. He wanted nothing more than to turn to Lucius and cave. Give the blond whatever he wanted to take.

Severus sucked in a breath in an attempt to gain control over himself. He would not let Lucius use his Veela side- which reminded him, had Lucius implied that he was a Veela? At the thought, Severus' stomach flipped and as he let out the breath he had used to collect himself, his stomach contents went with it.

Lucius waited till he was done before conjuring a glass of water for Severus. As Severus rinsed his mouth out, Lucius wiped the tears off his cheek before letting Severus collapse onto his side.

"Perhaps it is too soon. Sleep, you'll feel better later. And when you wake I'll teach you how to retract your wings," Lucius said as he brushed a few stray strands of black hair back off Severus' face.

Well that would explain why his back still hurt. Sighing, Severus nodded. He would freak out about it all later. Right now he was too tired. With that thought, Severus fell back asleep. At seeing his mate fall asleep Lucius kissed his forehead before hurrying to class. He was already late for second period.