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"How in the seven levels of Hell did you manage to infect the majority of the student body, Black, when you're not officially a part of it anymore?" Severus asked in a tired voice. He pulled off the drying towel from the forehead of the young man shivering on his bed.

Regulus moaned, shaking so hard the new warm compress on his forehead slipped to the side. "I d-d-don't kn-n-now. I only ever talked to you and L-L-Lestrange and Malfoy…" His teeth chattered quickly and his shaking increased before he could speak clearly once more. "I couldn't go home, Seh-Severus," he forced out between clenched jaws, "Mother would send me back to You-Know-Who and B-B-Bellatrix is a bloody craz-crazy bitch all 'round."

Severus looked at his young friend and former housemate. The boy's eyes were fever-bright and glazed, his skin splotchy with scabrous pustules that could only be effectively drained by something other than the sharpened knitting needle Severus had Transfigured into a four-inch syringe, and he was beginning to babble—something Severus knew couldn't be tolerated or ol' Slughorn would have both of them before Dumbledore, and then where would they be?

"Reg, I have to get help. Yaxley's sister is a mediwitch—"

"No, no, no…" Regulus wheezed out. "She'll t-t-turn me in, damned moneygrubber. 'Sides, I don-don't want to honour the mar-marriage c-c-contract with them." He shivered again, this time almost knocking the headboard into the wall. "Have you suh-seen her?" He shook even harder, his laughter broken by a wheezing moan.

Severus barked out an involuntary laugh even as he held Regulus on the bed. "Damn it, I can't keep taking care of you. It's been three days and I have to sleep some time." Severus glanced at the two bowls on his bedside table, one filled with warm compresses magically inert until needed and the other heaped with used ones. He raised a shaking hand to his own face and felt the bumps forming on his own cheek. He scowled down at Regulus. "I'm going to have to get us both help, you berk. Now I've got Pernicious Pestilence, too!" He sneezed, and a row of pustules bloomed around the curve of his left ear like desert flowers after a decade-long drought. "Bastard."

"Doh-don't know...puce sue-suits you, S-S-Sev..."

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When the note slid under her door, Poppy Pomfrey had just lain down for the first time in two days. The Ministry had finally sent her more help—since they finally decided that Hogwarts was experiencing an outbreak of Pernicious Pestilence after the Minister of Magic's nephew gave it to the Minister—and at least now there were three mediwitches and –wizards in rotation instead of just her alone soldiering on until Minerva or Pomona could come in, which wasn't as often as it should have been.

Merlin, I'm bloody tired…

The sound of something sliding under her door woke her from the doze she was falling into and she literally jumped from the bed, unsurprised she hadn't even changed her robes before lying down on the top of the coverlet. Still, a mediwitch's work was never done until her last patient was returned to health and discharged, so Poppy cast a Breath-Freshening Charm and an Unwrinkling one on her robes before she raised the dimmed flames enough to see a folded piece of parchment just inside the room, inches from the door.

She walked over and gingerlybent down, her wand tiredly swishing over the parchment to open it and then turn it so she could read the contents:

Madam Pomfrey,

I must ask, upon your most solemn oath of giving aid to those who need succour and relief, that you will help me without question. If you will do so, please touch the tip of your wand to the blue square below. If not, please touch the red circle.

If you decide against giving aid, this message will vanish and no more will be said. If you decide to be of assistance, I will administer a Binding Oath of Secrecy upon you before I can reveal the extent of my extremity.

A Most Needful Student

"Suspicious Slytherin, just has to be," Poppy murmured before she lightly tapped the blue square. Hidden writing appeared and flowed across the page, the letters wavering a bit as they formed.

Thank you for adhering to your calling, Madam Pomfrey.

I will meet you just outside the doors to the infirmary at quarter past midnight. Once the Oath of Binding Secrecy is completed, you may minister to those needing your talents.

There was a sketch of a clock face, the hands creeping toward midnight.

Poppy huffed at the drama of it all even as she sat on the bed and tugged on her half-boots. "Overly dramatic Slytherin, just as I thought. The poor dear." She glanced at the sketch and saw two minutes had past, but she had enough time to detour to the kitchens and then to the infirmary doors if she hurried. "Never enough time to eat or sleep," she muttered as she hurried away.

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Severus leaned against the wall across from the infirmary, focus making his brows furrow as he maintained a Cloaking spell over Regulus. He felt drained as he concentrated on sustaining the spell and not scratching at the latest batch of Pernicious Pestilence Pustules. He stood away from the wall, slowly, when he noticed MadamMadamPomfrey coming around the corner, her mediwitch's robes a bit wilted, as if she'd been sleeping in them.

"Severus, dear, is that you? Oh, you poor thing. Come right into the infirmary with me." Poppy put out her hand, but Severus shook his head.

He blinked rapidly, wondering to himself how she'd approached so silently. "No…no, thank you." He coughed a bit, waving away another attempt to steer him into the infirmary. "I need you to swear a Binding Oath of Secrecy, MadamMadamPomfrey." He looked into her eyes, willing her to just swear to the damned thing so he could get on with his life.

"If that's what it will take, I'll do it, but not here." Poppy curled her hand around Severus' elbow and led him toward a nearby tapestry of Aeschylus and his healing snakes. With a small smile, she tapped the right hand snake on the head with her wand and the tapestry rolled itself up to reveal a heavy oak plank door with an ancient lock on it. Poppy reached into the pocket of her outer robe and drew out an equally antique key, covered with swirling lines that slowly shifted under her fingers. With a nod, she pushed the key into the lock, gave a half-turn to the right and a two-thirds turn back to the left; the lock clicked and the door opened on silent hinges.

Stepping aside, Poppy waved him in before her. "Bring your friend, Severus. Then I'll swear your oath."

"How…how did you know?" he asked tiredly as he ushered the still hidden Regulus inside. He sank into a chair after guiding Regulus down onto one of the beds in the hidden room. When Poppy said nothing, Severus administered the Binding Oath of Secrecy, sighing when he felt the oath take hold.

"There, now that that's out of the way, why don't you reveal your companion? Even without knowing who it is, I can tell it's a very ill young person." Poppy turned and fussed with a medicine cabinet, pulling out several vials and even a squat green glass jar before turning back to Severus with an enquiring look on her face.

"Ah…yes…Revelio!" he said with a small flourish and a cough. More pustules erupted on his neck and he winced as one popped with a flare of pain and a flash of pink lightning.

"Young MisterMister Black, not the way I'd have liked to welcome you back to Hogwarts, young man." Poppy shook her head, but opened the squat green glass jar without taking her eyes off of Regulus' flushed, boil-covered face. He was barely able to open his mouth when she directed a thermometer into it. Biting her bottom lip, she huffed a bit, and then slathered the iridescent goo from the squat jar all over Regulus' face. He seemed to melt into the bed, his muscles going lax after a few seconds of Poppy covering the entirety of his features, even working the goo into Regulus' hair, which seemed to lull him into a restful doze under Severus' wondering eyes.

"You know you'll have to go into the infirmary, Mister Snape, don't you?" Poppy looked over at him with a stern look. "Young Mister Black has been gone for several weeks, but you haven't, and you know Professor Slughorn would have to report you absent if I kept the two of you here." She spelled her hands clean and then tugged the thermometer out from between Regulus' slack lips. "Mercy, 107° Fahrenheit! It's a credit to your care, Severus, that Mister Black got to me in time…I may call you Severus, mayn't I?" Without waiting for an answer, she continued as she turned her wand on Severus next. "And you, young man…you're almost as bad, which I can see without sticking in a thermometer."

Poppy bustled around the bed, raising Regulus into the air with a muttered spell as she magically turned down the covers and then slipped him under them as Severus slumped onto another bed. "Just hold on, Severus…I'll get Mister Black—"

"Just call him Regulus, Madam Pomfrey. All those Mister Blacks are making my head hurt," Severus mumbled as he absentmindedly scratched a cluster of persimmon-coloured pustules under his chin.

"Severus, don't do that. Popping those boils will only make things worse," Poppy chided him as she dripped a violently yellow potion onto Regulus' dry lips, watching intently as it was absorbed. Once she was satisfied enough had been taken in, she corked the vial and set the yellow potion on the bedside table. "There, that should hold him for a few hours while I see to you, young man," she said softly as she roused Severus from his light doze and onto his feet.

"Come along, Severus. We need to get you across the hall...Severus? Severus? Oh, dear..." Those were the last words Severus heard before he fainted dead away at the mediwitch's feet.

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Severus woke up in the infirmary, hands immobilized at his sides and groaning at the itchy, hot feeling of the damned pustules. He bit his lip, trying to stifle his moans, but turned his head when he heard someone else's pain. Black! Sodding Sirius Black!

"Severus? Severus, dear boy, I need you to look at me."

He turned away from the pleasing sight of Sirius Black's handsome face—inside his head a voice that sounded like Regulus was shouting 'No, no, horrible, inbred, anything but handsome'—screwed up in agony and toward Madam Pomfrey. She stood at his bedside with a trolley laden with a bowl of steaming poultices and an empty bowl, a large brown bottle with a red cork in it, and tub of something that smelled as if it had an aloe vera base and a chamomile component.

"Oh, poor thing," she said softly as she took a long look at him. "I know you don't want sugar-coating, so I'll tell you true, Severus. You and the other young Mister Black are my worst cases of Pernicious Pestilence. I don't know why or how, but you two have nearly four times the infection, meaning more of your body is involved. You have pustules in your mouth, so I'll not be hearing you even attempt to speak for the next week." She tapped the brown bottle with a spoon. "You'll be dosed with this every day, every four hours, for the next five days. It will sooth the pain from popping pustules and dampen the lightning strikes, coating the vocal cords and the throat with an anti-electric layer. Now, nod if you understand."

Severus nodded and then turned his head toward Black's bed. "Yes, you and he are quarantined from the others in the infirmary. I'll be by to administer medicines every four hours, and," she pulled a bell out of her capacious apron pocket, "you can call a house-elf with this just by pointing your right index finger at it if you need anything at any time. If you're in distress, they'll come straight away and get me."

Severus' fingers twitched under their magical restraint. Poppy noticed and patted them. "Ah, yes. You'll be able to write soon. I can't risk you scratching any pustules as you're so infected. And, before you wonder, the tub of ointment on my cart has a refilling charm on it since I'll be slathering it on you and Sirius until the pain and infection die down." Severus blushed at the idea that she'd be slathering that salve all over. He flushed with mortification at the thought of sporting wood due to the mediwitch's touch...and in the presence of that god-awful Black!

"Don't worry, Severus. I've buried two husbands and taken care of students for yonks years. You've nothing I haven't seen before." She busied herself with uncorking the large brown bottle. "Now, open your mouth carefully so I can tip in a spoonful of this."

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Severus woke up to rustling sheets and Poppy admonishing Black in faintly hissing tones. He carefully turned his head, a particularly pernicious pustule on the curve of the left side of his jaw making him cautious. He watched from narrowed eyes as she flipped back the sheet covering the insensitive git. What he hadn't expected was Black's body to be so...so naked!

The pernicious pustules covered his torso and legs. For a Sixth Year, he was more muscular than expected, certainly better formed than Severus by any means, with a cock that warranted a closer look—if Severus was so inclined, and he wasn't. Oh, no, he wasn't! Really...he...he wasn't....was he?

Still he looked as Poppy slathered on the ointment meant to sooth their inflamed skins, noting her detached manner and clinical attention to detail as she rubbed the salve carefully around flat nipples and through sparse chest hair. He absentmindedly catalogued the paths her fingers traced, squirming slightly in his bed as she finally, finally reached Black's penis. She lifted it between forefinger and thumb to raise it from where it had nestled in coarse, black curls. It was longer than Severus had first thought, ruddy with its natural reaction to touch but still relaxed as she held it, then she stroked on some of the greenish gel—an action that made Black stifle a different type of groan—and Black's penis began to stiffen in Poppy's gentle hold, causing an involuntary, unwanted reaction in Severus.

Severus' chest burned. He wanted to stroke himself as Poppy was touching Black, small circles at the base of his cock, as if coaxing the blood up and into it, the ointment slick enough to make a slippery sound as she rubbed it into the reddened, rough skin. Then he wanted to gouge out his eyes and stuff the orbs down Black's throat to throttle him for making Severus' body betray him. He tried to look away, faintly disgusted at how excited he was becoming by watching one of his nemeses being seen to, Medically seen to, he corrected himself mentally.

After fifteen minutes Poppy moved on to the Gryffindor git's legs. They weren't knobby at all like Severus'; they were leanly muscled and long...long enough to wrap around one's hips during a proper seeing-to. Severus felt the burning in his chest become a raging conflagration at the image, his cock now at attention if hidden under his own sheet He forced himself to turn away from the sounds that had taken on an obscene echo as Black sighed and practically cooed under Poppy's ministrations. He hated those sounds, despised the images they incited in his mind. All of it was making Severus want so desperately to bring himself off—even if it was Sirius Sodding Black at the root of it all. Hell, he told himself, he'd fallen into a deep pit of Hell.

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The next day Severus was mortified to hear Black's snickers as Poppy pulled down his sheet and began coating his skin with the ointment. The snickers died away when Poppy tugged the sheet down farther and revealed Severus' own reasonably sized cock and bollocks. Severus stoically stared at the ceiling, trying to ignore the sensation of cool fingertips circling and gliding over his sensitive skin, gently brushing over the pustules dotting a portion of the large vein on his cock and setting off a strange storm of awareness along his nerves. Severus' eyes fluttered rapidly as he fought to keep from looking down his own body or toward Black.

He choked out a gasp as Poppy's fingers encircled his cockhead, carefully dabbing gel at the slit as there was a pair of pustules near there. He tried, oh, Lord, how he tried to keep his cock from twitching in Poppy's hands, biting his lip so hard he drew blood before she moved onto his bollocks. They were nearly hairless, but oh so bloody heavy, and she was very careful as she joggled them to coat them with the salve. Unintentionally, his toes flexed as Poppy touched him while Black's breath was stuttering to his left. Severus was calling himself seven kinds of a fool for having such poor control of his body.

Suddenly, Poppy was patting his stomach—his sheet-covered stomach—and telling him he'd done a marvellous job keeping still. He glanced up at her, noting her slightly scathing look toward Black as she said, "Unlike some young gents I could mention." Poppy smiled at Severus as she wiped off her hands. "Now that's out of the way, time for your tonic. I'll come by in an hour with some broth and chamomile tea, and we'll see how you're both doing." She turned away, pushing the medical trolley out past the magicked curtains quarantining them from the other students.

"Merlin's bollocks, Snape, where have you been hiding that tackle of yours?" Black gasped out in a rush. His voice sounded oxygenstarved and admiring, which it couldn't be because this was Severus he was talking about. "Bloody impressive for such a short git like you."

Severus didn't deign to answer Black, pointedly turning his head toward the curtains. He ignored Black's comments and salvos as he fell asleep, only to dream of the loud-mouthed toe-rag...and Poppy's hands rubbing all over the prat's own impressive cock as Severus looked on.

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The torture went on for a week. Severus' lip was nigh bit through by how hard he tried to stifle his groans of impending orgasm whenever one of them was touched, put on display for the other, as Poppy ministered to them.

Four days in, Severus was still constrained from speaking. He could wheeze, grunt, or make enquiring noises, but he hated himself every day when he woke up brokenly moaning due to a wet dream based on the sight of Black, arse in the air as Poppy levitated the other boy over his own bed and rotated him so his cock and bollocks hung down toward it. She spoke matter of factly about goings-on in the school and the other students as they grew healthy enough to leave the infirmary, but Severus' attention was on Black's cock, swelling due to her rubbing and circling motions at the top of his buttocks and down his crack, and of course, gravity. He couldn't help himself...it was a bloody lodestone of testicular pulchritude. He was almost beside himself with loathing.

With every stroke of her hands, Severus saw Black pursing his lips tightly, his buttocks clenching and unclenching until Poppy dipped one slathered finger between them, causing the Gryffindor to shudder in midair. "Now, Sirius, this may be uncomfortable, but my recent scan showed the presence of pustules along your perineum and around your anus. Just concentrate on the latest Quidditch game and you'll never know what I'm doing back here."

Severus knew! Severus could see everything Poppy was doing since she was on Black's far side. The only saving grace was that her attention was so centred on Black's needs that she didn't notice Severus' slightly glassy gaze following each touch, each dip of her fingers until it was sharply focused on the curved metal rod with a small ball at either end that she had thickly coated with ointment and how, with excruciating slowness, she wriggled inbetween the spread globes of Black's arse and then just as carefully pushed into him. Black bucked and whimpered a bit in response. Severus savoured the sounds; they were like rewards for being such an involuntary voyeur.

"It's...I'm sorry, Poppy...Quidditch was never like this," Black babbled as he fought his body's responses, bobbing wildly in the air.

Severus swallowed thickly as he saw Poppy's hand let go of the rod sticking out of Black's arse. She tapped it twice with her wand tip and bustled around her trolley. The rod began rotating slowly and then slipping into Black's arse for four inches and then pulling out the same four inches, over and over and over. Severus was almost mesmerised by the movement, his attention on that, and that alone. He was so enthralled he missed Poppy's change of attention.

"Severus, dear boy, your turn."

Severus' turned his head so swiftly he almost twisted it off, a dark flush of shame on his face at being caught out.

"It's all right, dear." Poppy leaned forward and whispered, "It's natural to be curious, Severus. I made certain your young friend would have his own partner in misery, and rest assured, they won't be telling anyone about it, just like you two." She straightened up, taking his veiling sheet with her and levitated him over his bed, gently guiding him through the air until he was floating above his mattress. "Now, since you aren't all that mad about Quidditch, why don't you think on the latest Most Potente Potions article about the distillation of Mugwort and Echinacea for the treatment of Belly-Blast Gaseous Release, also known as Silent but Deadly Farts."

He tried to do what she'd said. He tried to work out a distillation progression in his mind, but the gel was so cooling on his parched, heated skin, the faintly painful yet enticing hint of electricity sparking along his nerves when she brushed a particularly sensitive pustule. Even the faint huffs coming from his right were distracting...Black's breath was huffing faster as Poppy readied another balled rod, this time gently screwing it down against Severus' anus until it popped through the tight muscles. Then, he felt it, the rod vibrating and spinning before it began shallow thrusts inside him, wrenching deep groans from him as it encountered his prostate. He thrashed in the air, startling when Poppy's cool hands began rubbing ointment on the backs of his legs.

"Hush, Severus. It's only twelve minutes and then I'll pull the rod." Poppy's hands left Severus' legs and he tried to swallow his pleasured, relieved groans. A tinkling bell rang. "I'll return shortly, boys. The rods will cease moving in twelve minutes." She lowered Black and Severus to their respective beds and walked through the curtains.

After a minute of muffling their groans in their pillows, the two boys began humping the mattresses, mimicking the actions of the rods in their arses. Severus didn't so much ignore Black but took in his whimpering groans, turning them into fodder for the hellish fantasy he was living.

They orgasmed within minutes of each other, gasping into their pillows just before Poppy stepped back into their quarantine area. She bit back her smile seeing as the boys had turned their faces toward each other, ignoring the pustules that were along their jawlines. She carefully cast a numbing spell on them, paired with a sleeping charm. Then, she removed the rods and levitated the boys once more in order to change the sheets and lastly, she put them down on their backs, gently covering them with medicated sheets she'd had specially created for them.

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Severus woke up nine days after he'd first woken up in quarantine and yawned. He felt along his gums and the roof of his mouth with his tongue and felt flattened pustules, but no pain. He touched his cheek and belatedly realized his hands were no longer immobilised. He sat up and only winced a bit as he felt scabs and crusted-over pustules snag on the sheets. He ran his hands over himself and wondered at the salve Poppy had been using when he inadvertently pulled a scab off and it revealed healing, pink, smooth skin.

He turned to look over at Black, slack mouth pressed against his pillow, a bit of drool making it obvious he was a fool. Severus shook his head and winced at the tightness of the scabs along his hairline and the back of his neck, yet revelling in even that limited movement.

"Ah, Severus, you're finally awake. You had us worried, my boy." Poppy pushed a medical trolley next to Severus' bed. She took a small brown bottle and a spoon from it. "Your last dose of tonic, Severus. I'm certain you're very happy for it. I know I am. It was quite a bit of work to get it down you the last eight days."

He opened his mouth to ask what she was talking about when she stuck in the spoon loaded with the tonic. "You and Sirius were our worst cases. Both of you were so ill that you were experiencing hallucinations and delirium. But you did give me some ideas as you moaned and muttered, and Albus and I used them to enhance the tonic and get more medicine where it needed to go." She leaned forward and whispered, "I do apologize for the anal thermometer, though. You and Sirius just couldn't open your mouths without a lightning storm and screaming, so we had to do what we could." She stood up, a flush along her cheekbones. "And, in case you're wondering, Healer Angus MacCool took care of you boys to preserve your modesties."

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Severus never asked with whom Regulus had shared his sickroom once they both were considered healthy enough to leave the infirmary. He avoided Poppy Pomfrey like the plague for the rest of the school year. He even went out of his way to avoid any confrontations with the Marauders for several months.

It was only at night, under the veil of darkness and heavy Silencing Charms that he'd replay those memories, those fever dreams. He hated himself every morning after, when he had to clean his sheets before the house-elves got them.

If he ever had the chance, he'd make Sirius Black pay dearly for making his cock twitch!

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~~~ En Fin ~~~