Happy holidays, juniperus! - A Difficult Patient [HP]
Warnings: Not a one.
Summary: Sometimes even Poppy needs someone to take care of her.
Notes: Thank you to R for the beta. Happy holidays, juniperus!
Poppy woke, surprised to find herself lying in one of the beds in her infirmary. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness as only a few sconces were lit at this clearly late hour.
She tried to sit up but immediately felt dizzy and fell back against the pillows. She didn't remember falling ill after the holiday party the night before, though thinking upon it further, she remembered coming straight back to her office and laying down on the sofa. How she ended up in one of the beds, she wasn't sure.
Taking a deep breath, she tried again to get up but then felt a hand at her shoulder, pressing her back to the bed.
"Drink this," a familiar voice said softly. Though she hadn't realised he was standing there, she was comforted by his presence. She recognised first the taste of a measure of Pepper-Up and then a phial of Draught of Peace.
"Why Peace?" she asked, the sense of calm washing over her in waves.
"For an infirmary matron," Severus said as he poured her a glass of water, "you do not handle it well when the shoe is on the other foot."
Poppy took the glass with both hands and swallowed the cool water gratefully. Setting the glass down, she swung her legs around to the side of the bed and sat up. "I've patients to tend to."
"Nonsense," Severus said, in a voice that brooked no argument. "There are but two boys remaining, sleeping off their over-indulgence of holiday sweets." He stood beside the bed, clearly not planning to let her get up, until she pulled her legs back in and slipped under the blankets.
"This is not how I wanted to spend Christmas," she said, unable to keep a hint of a pout from her voice. Not that she expected any sympathy from Severus.
"You'll be perfectly healthy by morning," he replied. "Admonishing whichever student is foolish enough to admit having finished an entire plate of biscuits and sweets as if there wouldn't be more tomorrow and every night thereafter."
"Christmas is a bit different, Severus," she said. "It's special."
Severus hmphed. Then, in a move which suggested he was taking care not to look like he was taking care, he smoothed the blanket and tenderly brushed a lock of hair from her face.
"Get some rest." He pressed his cool lips to her forehead. "No doubt tomorrow there will be more incidents and accidents that only you can possibly manage with any skill."
"Severus, stay," she said, reaching out and taking his hand. Without even a token protest, he Conjured a leather wing chair and sat down beside her.
Twining his fingers with hers, he kissed the back of her hand. "Sleep, now."
Poppy nodded, eyes already falling shut. The feel of Severus's hand in hers relaxed her. A gentle squeeze and she sighed before finally nodding off.
Someday, perhaps, Severus would be willing to share their relationship with others but for now this would do. It would have to.