Chapter 3 : The Sickness
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The Quidditch game didn't last very long. Soon after it started, everyone was complaining about the heat, humidity, and their thirst. The game ended with Ron and George in the lead by twenty points. Ginny was agitated, but too hot and thirsty to care too much. Mrs. Weasley led her children and Hermione inside and gave them each a tall glass of lemonade. Everyone's tempers (and hair) seemed to go down once they had all cooled down.
Hermione's head was pounding, her stomach was gurgling in all the wrong ways, and it seemed as though everything anyone was saying was irritating her. Once or twice a week since the summer began, she'd start feeling like that. George would always say, "Watch out for Hermione, The Sickness has got her." The name eventually stuck.
She was hoping sincerely that The Sickness would spare her the day Harry came, but it probably didn't help her cause to sit in the heat with nothing to drink for about an hour. Hermione closed her eyes and rested her head on her arms, which were crossed on the table, determined not to let The Sickness ruin the day she'd waited for since the end of last term.
Ron tapped her on the elbow. "What's up with you?"
"Nothing," Hermione unintentionally snapped. Dammit, be nice, she thought.
"Well, someone's moody."
"Uh oh," said Fred, "looks like we've got a case of The Sickness."
"I'm fine." She sat up to smile at them, but the twist of her stomach turned it into a grimace. Fred and George caught each other's eyes and grinned.
"Here," Mrs. Weasley said to Hermione. She cast an Engorgement Charm on her glass of lemonade, making it a little less than a foot tall and four inches wide, and filled it to the top with a fresh batch of lemonade. "Take this upstairs and lie down for a bit."
Knowing Mrs. Weasley just wanted to get rid of her before she got into a really bad mood, Hermione accepted the large glass and shuffled upstairs to her bed in Ginny's room. She brushed her hair and put it back into a ponytail, then fell onto her bed. Within minutes, Hermione was asleep.
There was a lot of noise and excited chatter coming from downstairs. Hermione thought it was extremely inconsiderate of the Weasleys to be making so much racket. Certainly someone had come upstairs to check on her and saw that she was asleep. She sighed and shut her eyes, willing herself to go back to sleep. She then heard heavy footsteps bounding on the stairs and wanted nothing more to run out and strangle whoever was doing so.
Then Hermione remembered it was just The Sickness thinking for her and whichever Weasley she strangled probably wouldn't be too thrilled with it. Trying to suppress her anger, Hermione rolled over, away from the door, and stared at the wall.
"Hermione!" Ginny whispered. "Hermione! Wake up!" Hermione pretended to still be sleeping, in hopes Ginny would leave her alone. "Hermione!" Ginny shouted this time, hitting her with a pillow as Ron had done hours before. "Get up!"
That sent Hermione's temper over the edge. She snatched the pillow away from Ginny and chucked it at her head, giving her a look oozing with hatred. "Are you mad?"
"It's just your Sickness talking," Ginny said dismissively, flattening her hair where the pillow had hit. "Come on, get up."
"You'll see, just come downstairs." She grabbed Hermione's hand and dragged her out of the bed, knocking over the glass of untouched lemonade. "We'll clean it up later." She jerked on Hermione's hand again and pulled her down the stairs into the kitchen.
Hermione couldn't see what was so great. All the Weasleys (with the exception of Ron and Fred, who were standing side by side at the far end of the table) were sitting around the table just like she'd left them, only this time they had some sandwiches to go with their lemonade. They all turned to look at her with bright smiles on their freckled faces. Their happiness sickened her. She wanted to concoct some spell that would permanently make them frown.
Then Hermione remembered it was just The Sickness thinking for her and the Weasleys wouldn't be too happy frowning all the time. She took a deep breath to clear her head, crossed her arms, and turned to Ginny to give her a "what-did-you-bring-me-down-here-for" look. Ginny ignored it and nodded vigorously to Fred and Ron, and they stepped aside to reveal Harry.
The surprised part of her wanted to scream. The Sickness told her to get her wand and hex them all. The excited and happy part of her wanted to jump over the table and tackle Harry in a hug. The embarrassed part of her wanted to run upstairs. The relieved part of her wanted to break down and cry. The angry part of her - the anger that had nothing to do with The Sickness - wanted to march over there and hit Harry repeatedly. Then there was some part of her she couldn't quite place her finger on that wanted to kiss Harry. A lot.
Hermione didn't know which feeling to give in to (certainly not the random one where she wanted to kiss him), so she stood stony faced, gaping at Harry. He nervously raised his hands and said, "Surprise?"
Hermione felt tears well in her eyes at his voice. She didn't know whether they were out of anger, shock, sadness, or whatever else she happened to be feeling. Before she could make any more of a fool of herself, she turned and walked outside, leaving the Weasleys and Harry confused.
"It's just The Sickness, Harry," Hermione heard one of the twins say, "Don't worry about it."
Sorry for the wait, but I hope it was worth it! Thanks for the reads and reviews in advance :) It means a lot.
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