Chapter 7 : 7 - The Bite
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Perfect CI by Carnal Spiral @ TDA
Severus knew that it was probably more sensible to carry Carla's body by a levitation charm up to the castle rather than with his own arms, but he needed to feel her warmth, needed to know that she was definitely still alive.
It had been foolish of him to follow the wolves into the forest and curse every single one that had touched her. He knew that, but didn't regret it. Dumbledore would doubtlessly be angry for him breaking the truce, but at least Carla was alive.
He stumbled in through the entrance to the west wing, which was closest to the infirmary. When he reached the room minutes later, Pomfrey was already waiting for him.
"Oh my!" she gasped. "Put her down here."
Snape rested her down onto one of the beds and turned to Albus, who was standing to the side of the room looking grave.
"You knew she got hurt?" Snape asked.
"You hadn't returned, and I saw you carrying her up through the infirmary window." He nodded to the window in question.
"I had to... do some things in order to save Miss Hemmingway's life. The truce with the werewolves is broken."
Dumbledore watched Snape with a strange glint in his eyes over his half-moon spectacles. "I'm sure we can come to a new agreement."
Snape was surprised at his lack of anger, and also by the look he was giving him, but decided not to question either, instead turning to Pomfrey.
"How bad is it?" he asked.
She was busy fussing around with some dittany on Carla's neck, which seemed to be bleeding the most. "The main vein in her neck was punctured by this gash," she said. "She's lost a lot of blood. Her ankle will heel fairly quickly with some more of this dittany and some Skelegrow. She's going to be quite weak for a while. Oh, and the concussion should be treating her fine as long as she chooses not to choke on her own vomit."
Severus winced. Pomfrey didn't like him much but that bluntness was uncalled for.
Severus watched silently as Carla's eyebrows furrowed again, her fingers twitching restlessly where they lay atop the mattress. Hawking was nattering away in his ear about Merlin knows what and she clearly was on the point of waking up and wasn't enjoying the noise.
He closed his eyes momentarily before turning to the young man in annoyance.
"Would you do us all a favour and shut up?" he growled.
Hawking's mouth snapped shut and he muttered a few inane comments under his breath before turning on his heel and striding from the room. "I'll just come back when Carla's actually awake," he said as he left.
Snape rolled his eyes. If Hawking had actually been paying attention to the patient he was visiting at all he might have noticed that she was on the brink of waking up anyway.
"What're you rolling your eyes at?" A voice muttered thickly.
He turned in surprise to the bed, where Miss Hemmingway was looking up at him with fresh-from-sleep, unblinking eyes.
"Your boyfriend." He paused, a slight smile playing at his lips. "Were you just waiting for him to leave before you 'woke up'?"
She tried to hide a smirk. "No, of course not." Busted. She sighed. "I've been kind of half awake for a while now, and everything was just flooding back to me. He's not what I need right now."
"He's not what you need ever," Severus muttered.
She eyed him beseechingly before deciding to change the topic. "How long have I been in here?"
"Almost a day."
Tentatively, she reached up to feel her neck. There was a thick bandage where one of the wolves had gotten to her. "I have a werewolf bite!" she said, her voice breaking.
Snape was really not good with crying women, whatsoever. "I told you it was dangerous," he said, trying to lighten the mood a little and stop the tears threatening to overflow.
She ignored him completely, her hand fluttering around uselessly by her neck. "I - I... Do the students know?"
"Of course not."
"What about Peter?"
Snape grimaced at the mention of Miss Hemmingway's beloved boyfriend. "No one but Dumbledore, Pomfrey and I know."
Carla placed a hand on her head. "How is this happening to me?" she moaned, letting her eyes flutter shut.
Her eyes fluttered open again at the sound of Peter's happy voice, and she smiled weakly as he strode towards her.
"I've got to get going," said Severus, standing up from his chair.
"Oh, yeah, sure," Carla said.
"It's about time," said Peter. "He's been here for every single minute since - " He broke off and clutched at his nose, which appeared to have sprouted a rather large, pus-filled boil.
Severus, a little redder than usual, smiled tightly at Carla before striding as quickly as possible from the infirmary.
"He did that!" said Peter accusingly. "He's never liked me much, but now every time I walk past him I seem to sprout an extra limb or grow a wart or change colour. What did I do wrong?"
"What was that you were saying about him?"
"Oh, he's just been hovering over you like a really annoying fly for the past twenty four hours."
"Where'd he sleep?" she asked.
"In this very chair," Peter replied, sitting down. There was a short silence while Carla contemplated the fact that Snape had forsaken his probably very comfortable bed in his chambers to spend the night next to her instead. That, and his blushing at having done it, didn't make sense to her at all.
"I was really worried about you Carla," Peter said. "Trust you to be clumsy and trip over and hurt yourself. When I came in here and saw you for myself I thought you'd been mauled by werewolves."
Carla smiled. He'd hit home without even trying. "Nope," she lied. "Escaped those this time. I don't think I'll be going into the Forbidden Forest ever again though." She shuddered at the thought, even though she knew she might have to go in there this time next month when the moon was full again.
"We missed our date last night. We'll have to rearrange when you're out," Peter said, clasping her hands in his and scooting closer so that he could kiss her once, chastely, on the lips.
"That would be nice," she agreed. "And once I've had a shower too. I bet I smell dreadful."
"You smell like roses to me," he said.
She laughed. "If you say so, Peter."
Madam Pomfrey ordered her to stay that night, even though she felt perfectly fine, and, because she'd complained to Peter about a headache, was threatening to keep her in one more night after that just to be safe.
It was dark in the infirmary now, and completely silent. Feeling on edge and far too awake for the hour that it was, Carla rolled out of bed, steadying herself on the chair beside her before padding lightly across the infirmary's stone floor to it's single bathroom. She turned the light on, eyeing herself disgustedly in the mirror as she ran the cold tap on the sink, splashing cool water onto her face. It was refreshing. Pomfrey had replaced the bandage on her neck so now it was only a large square piece of white fabric held on to the wound with a charm, and she fingered it carefully, taking care not to hurt herself.
Bitten by a werewolf. What was Jeremy going to say? Would he be scared of her? He didn't really know that much about werewolves, he was a muggle after all, but no doubt he'd watched several crappy movies that would have given him a bad impression. Even so, things had changed. She wasn't human anymore. She was a monster.
Peter was delighted in himself the next morning to reach Carla's bedside before Snape did. He sat in the chair beside her bed as Snape strode in, watching over her sleeping form for a couple of minutes in silence before turning and leaving the infirmary. Peter had found it miraculous that Snape hadn't done anything to disfigure him this time, but it was all good to be true as shortly after he had left the room Peter's chair had disappeared completely beneath him and he'd gone crashing to the floor, sending Madam Pomfrey out of her private rooms in a panic.
"What's going on?" she cried.
"Chair disappeared," he grunted, lifting himself gingerly up off of the floor. Carla now had her eyes open and was watching with half-bewilderment, half-amusement.
"Well, be quiet about it next time!" she snapped, pulling her dressing gown tighter around herself and turning back to her rooms. "Carla, dear, I'll be out in a couple of hours to change your bandages!" she added as an after-thought and in a noticeably much friendlier tone. Only when you were under her care did she treat you nicely, otherwise you were seen as getting in the way and being a general nuisance.
As soon as Madam Pomfrey's door closed, Carla groaned. "I need to get out of here, Pete," she mumbled into her pillow. "I need some fresh air."
Peter eyed her doubtfully. "I don't know, Carla. Madam Pomfrey probably wouldn't let you do that."
She smiled mischeviously. "I wasn't going to ask her."
His lips lifted into a grin involuntarily. "You're like a naughty schoolgirl, Carla. I should put you in with my third years."
She snorted. "No thanks. Now please can we get out of here? I just want to go into the grounds..."
He sighed. "Fine. But you're taking the blame if she comes out and scolds us. I can't be held responsible when you've got me under your spell."
"I'm not charming you," she said, giggling as he helped her out of bed.
"Not with magic," he muttered, helping her into her shoes which were placed conveniently at the end of her bed.
They ran from the infirmary as quickly as they dared, stifling their laughs until they reached the outside of the castle.
"Lessons start in an hour or two, so that's all the time I'm giving you," he warned, once they'd stopped laughing.
"That's fine," she said, tilting her head up to the let the early October wind touch her face. "This feels so good."
"Come on," he urged, taking her hand and pulling her further out into the grounds, towards the lake. "We don't want to get ourselves caught."
Carla giggled, following along. "I feel like a naughty student all over again," she said.
"Me too," he admitted, smiling, leading her on for a minute more before abruptly stopping and pulling her into a deep kiss. She sighed against his mouth, wrapping her arms around his neck and standing on her tiptoes so that he didn't have to bend down as far. Carla was kind of short for her age, and this had more disadvantages than advantages.
Peter's mouth explored her jaw, moving down onto her neck. She winced and pulled away as he got near to the bite.
"Sorry," he said breathlessly. "Got a bit carried away, and I'm not used to that being there." He ran a hand through his hair, contemplating kissing her again, when an angry voice suddenly sounded through the still morning air.
"What are you doing?" Snape snarled, striding towards them. Carla bit her lip.
"It was my fault. She hated it in there, so I convinced her to come out with me," Peter made up after a moment of silence. Carla flashed him a grateful look.
"An infirmary is not there to be pleasant, it is there to make you feel better," Snape growled, grabbing hold of Carla's wrist. "Wandering around in the cold out here wearing a flimsy piece of fabric is not going to make you feel better."
Carla eyed her hospital-style nightgown with creased eyebrows. She wouldn't have called it 'a flimsy piece of fabric', but she guessed Snape liked to exaggerate things just a bit.
"I'm fine out here," she said, trying to tug her arm away.
"Really?" Snape said, not letting go. "Not cold? Shaky? Light-headed?"
Now that he mentioned it, she realised that she was all three of those things, but she wasn't about to show it. "I'm fine," she repeated. "I am also an adult, so can decide whether or not I want to go outside."
Snape started pulling her along back towards the castle, not caring that she stumbled a little. "I can't tell if you're light-headed but I can feel that you're cold, and you're shaking from head to toe right now, so I'm not taking no for an answer," he said. Carla flexed her fingers, which were beginning to go a little numb, and decided not to argue any further, though she remained in a stubborn silence for the whole journey up.
The castle was warm and inviting, and Carla swayed a little once stepping over the threshold.
"You're not going to faint, are you, Carla?" asked Peter.
She shook her head. "Just let me... adjust."
Snape let go of her wrist and turned to Peter, who was standing on Carla's other side. "You should know better than to take her out of the infirmary when she's in such a vulnerable condition," he growled a little condescendingly. "You're worse than a student."
"Oh, Severus," Carla sighed. "Leave him be."
Snape's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Get back to the infirmary before Pomfrey notices you're gone."
A/N: Please review! I'd love to know what you think!
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