Harry was glaring at his parents' backs. He really hated going to Ministry functions with a passion. All those sycophants and boot lickers… Ugh!
He drew his knees to his chest and fell sideways in a foetal position, his sheets covering his slim form. While he loved his parents dearly he hated the fact that they were so well known. Lilly Potter had risen quickly in the Ministry of Magic for her work in international affairs while her husband James Potter rose to the position of Head of the Auror Department. They could not just not attend the functions they were invited to, but the teen hated being dragged with them. His parents did not see the world for what it was. They understood Harry was under pressure, being the Boy-Who-Lived at the tender age of one and then again in his first year at Hogwarts defeating a few left over Death Eaters that wanted to resurrect the Dark Lord. But they did not have to deal with all those people wanting something more of them.
At school Harry had a few select people for friends. The rest of the population either hated or adored him. Many Gryffindor’s and even more Slytherin’s did not trust him; he was after all the first Potter to be sorted into Slytherin House. He was cunning, intelligent and quite devious; traits his mother often told him came from her but were cultivated by Severus. His father was still bitter about this fact but after a long talk with Lily he did not grumble about it so much. Except maybe during Quidditch matches when Harry secured the win for the Slytherin team since he joined as their Seeker.
But Harry loved the House of Snakes. His best friends, Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini were there. He had grown up with the blond and met the Italian boy during his first year. That was not to say he was limited to one House. He spent time with the Weasley Twins from Gryffindor and sometimes their little brother Ronald, Neville Longbottom, with whom Harry spent time growing up as their mothers were best friends, and Luna Lovegood from Ravenclaw, a witty, if odd girl, that understood his moods and never judged him. Unlike the crowd in the function his parents wanted him to attend.
A thought entered his mind and hope bloomed in the teen's heart. He tossed the covers off him and went to his walk in wardrobe.
"It's here somewhere," Harry muttered to himself. The twins had been developing a few new potions and while still in the early stages they had the result he wanted. "There you are!" the teen exclaimed. He had found the pastilles he had been looking for. "Vomit and fever with lemon flavour," Harry smirked as he popped one in his mouth. He had an hour to put up a convincing performance.
Lily was in her bathrobe making up her hair when the house elf popped in to inform her that something was wrong with Harry.
"He's just pouting," James told her. "I'll go talk to him." The bespectacled man left the room only to return back soon looking worried. "There's really something wrong with him! He's sweating and Yin said he threw up twice already."
The red haired witch frowned and dropped everything to run to her son. Soon enough she found the teen in his bed, looking pitiful; he was sweating, his face a pale, yellowish colour, his eyes bloodshot.
"Harry? Oh, you poor baby!" she exclaimed. "How are you feeling?"
"Head… hurts," Harry moaned.
She placed her hand on his forehead and gasped. "James! He's burning up! Stay with him. Yin! I want you to prepare compresses. I'm going to call a Healer."
"Lily," It's probably a simple cold," James told her, trying to calm her down. "Perhaps some pepper up? And rest?"
"No," the witch shook her head. "I heard from Alice there's been an outbreak of summer flu, it can go on for days, even turn to pneumonia."
James winced. "Okay, I get it, call a Healer."
The red haired witch gave him a pointed glare. "I know just the person." She turned around and went to the Floo chamber.
"Lestrange Manor," Lily called out as she threw the powder in the fire. "Emergency call for Rodolphus Lestrange from Lily Potter."
"Bloody hell," James yelled. "Not him!"
Lily glared. "Our only son is suffering. Do you need someone who will fawn and gawk him or someone who can get the job done?"
Cowering under her ire James hurriedly nodded.
"Just go get dressed," Lily told him.
"You'll wait half naked?"
"For Merlin's sake! He's a Healer! But if it bothers you this much…" she flicked her wand and transfigured her robe into a comfortable dress. "See?"
"Fine," James grumbled.
Lily focused on the lit fireplace. It was not long before a tall man was spinning in the emerald green flames and then gracefully landing on the marble floor. The man was tall, much taller than her, broad shouldered, with long black hair, angled face and dark, grey eyes. He had a dark air about him and something that commanded attention. Lily was used to it by now but it took her a while; Rodolphus Lestrange was a rather intimidating wizard.
"Lily," the man greeted coolly.
The witch offered him a strained smile. "I'm sorry to call on you on such short notice…" She noticed he was dressed impeccably in navy blue robes with silver trim, not a crease on the expensive fabric. "Oh, I interrupted your plans."
"You did," he told her. "So you better tell me what is wrong and why you need me."
"Hey! Talk better to my wife!" James called from the door. He was dressed in formal robes but he was restless. "Harry doesn't look good."
"Your son then?" Rodolphus commented.
"Can you take a look at him?" Lily asked.
The wizard nodded. "Just show me to his room."
James Potter was sulking. He glared at the back of the wizard who had entered his home. He really hated having him here. When he suggested he went to see Harry, James really had wanted to protest but his wife squeezed his upper arm.
"Don't even think about it," she hissed at him. With an elegant stride the red haired witch was walking before Rodolphus Lestrange. "Harry's room is this way. Thank you for coming on such a short notice."
"It is no trouble," the mans deep voice had a certain darkness to it. James scowled at Lestrange's back as the small talk between the two began.
He knew the man was a Dark wizard to the last fiber of his pure-blooded hide. He dabbled in the Dark Arts, it was a common secret. After the fall of Voldemort he had offered his services to St. Mungo's, helping with victims of Dark magic or mental torture. He had been a Healer before the war in name only. During the war he had experimented, using funds from both sides. He, his wife Bellatrix and his brother Rabastan were known Death Eaters. James had seen the Dark Mark on the wizard's arm. Yet Dumbledore had vouched for the Lestrange brothers and now both of them walked around free. While James trusted the Headmaster he thought that this was too much even for the old man. He did not care how many years passed, Rodolphus Lestrange gave him the creeps.
James had to give credit to his wife though. Lilly had managed to make tentative friends, despite his distaste over them, out of Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy and, of course, Rodolphus Lestrange. James felt that this was the reason, with the blame lying on Snape, that his son was the first Potter ever to be sorted into Slytherin.
He could only watch as Lily showed the wizard to his son's bedroom and then he and Lily were asked to stay outside.