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Hungry Like the Wolf

Chapter Text

James’ perspective

It’s been six days since the Hufflepuff vs Slytherin Quidditch match and almost a half of the castle have fallen sick with some illness. Al and several students have been helping out in the Hospital Wing. While the advanced potions class were asked to keep the Hospital Wing supplies stocked. Chloe fell ill on the initial Saturday and John and Oscar succumbed on Sunday and Monday respectively to the illness. This has meant that only Maya, Charles and I are left to restore the supplies.
“Egh why are we still making all these potions” Charles complains “I mean if Slughorn can’t even be bothered to show up, why should we. I for one have much better things to do than make rash cream and potions for dizziness, drowsiness and Salazar knows what else, because I’ve lost track.”
“Oh, shut up!” he really gets on my nerves. “Have you been in the Hospital Wing since this whole thing started?” he shrugs “Well most of my family are in there and every time I visit them they are struggling for supplies even with us and St Mungos brewing. Each patient has to take two different potions every four hours and have the cream applied to the rash on the body twice a day. Now I bet you haven’t seen the rash. But let me tell you it’s not nice, it's purple with bright green puss. Can you imagine having to apply the cream to someone when they are a dead weight. So, what if while the rest of the school has time off we’re down here brewing. At least we’re not run ragged in the Hospital Wing, get over it.” Thankfully before he can say the door opens. Professor Graham stumbles into the room looking exhausted.
“Sorry but Professor Slughorn has been taken ill. Now as we no longer have a master potioneer, I need you to be honest with me. Do you feel confident enough to continue to make the potions needed without Slughorn’s supervision?”
“I’m happy to continue” Maya says instantly. Well some days I think she’s better at brewing potions than Slughorn. And while I’m not as good as she is, but I trust her to not let me go wrong.
“I’m in.” I decide. I can at least try after all and Slughorn hadn’t rejected any of my potions yet. We all turned to look at Charles.
“I’m sorry to say that I don’t think that I can continue to brew these potions. I’m not as good as these guys and I wouldn’t want to risk it.” Charles declares. Professor Graham nods rubbing his eyes.
“Ok thank you for being honest you can go then” he sighs. Charles quickly packs up his stuff and leaves the room. “Right, is there anything you need? Because whatever you need I’m here to help.” He smiles but his eyes look exhausted.
“Well…” Maya starts softly “We’ll need to do an inventory to see what’s left.”
“If we could get lunch brought to us we can eat while the potions are simmering.” I suggest
“Actually, if we do that then we’ll be able to brew the potion in larger batches. We’ll need to work out the timings but that’s fine I know how to do that.” I can see Maya’s mind moving at a mile a minute as she has already started to calculate the timings for the potions.
“Ok I can do that.” Professor Graham stands up wobbling slightly as he moves.
“Are you ok Sir?” I ask.
“Don’t worry I just didn’t get much sleep last night. Professor Reid was taken ill last night and I was keeping an eye on her as she’s in her own room as the Hospital Wing is full.” He yawns loudly “But I’ll get straight on that food while you guys start the inventory.” With that he stands and rushes from the room to go and sort the food.
“ok so how do you want to do this?” Maya ask
“Well how about you calculate the timings for the longer batches and I’ll do inventory?” I suggest.
“Sounds good.” I move to my bag and pull out my parchment, ink, quill and the recipes. After jotting down all the ingredients we need for the potions. I make my way into the store cupboard and collect all of the jars of each ingredient and dump them onto one of the benches. The room is silent except for the scratch of our quills and the clink of jars as I move them. I can hear Maya muttering under her breath nodding her head to some beat that I can’t hear. I turn back to the ingredients before me, we have plenty of knot grass and doxy eggs, but after today we will have run out of most the other ingredients.
“Shit.” I mutter apparently louder than I thought as it causes Maya to look up. “Sorry, we’ve only got enough ingredients for today.”
“Fuck!” I’ve heard her swear before but it always surprises me how open she is about it.
“I don’t suppose you would know what the store cupboard would look like when fully stocked?” I have no idea I only go into the store cupboard during class and if I need some unusual ingredients for a prank.
“Well… let’s see” She leans back stretching her arms above her head causing her t-shirt to rise a little “The ingredients that need to be fresh he orders around the time that a class needs them in various quantities. The rest he buys in mass at the start of the year. Obviously, he buys more of the common ingredients, about ten jars of each. But unfortunately for these potions there are multiple uncommon ingredients, he only tends to have about four jars of each. That’s why we've run out of so many ingredients.”
“How the hell do you know all that?” I mean seriously what the fuck! She’s gone back to calculating the timings.
“What?”
“How do you know what Slughorn's ingredients orders?” I repeat
“Oh, he buys them from my mum. How do you think I'm so good with potions?” shaking her head she turns to face me “She has a potions shop. We sell ingredients and pre-made potions. I’ve been helping out there for years. Dad likes to say that I was chopping ingredients since before I could talk.” She suddenly stops talking “Sorry rambling.”
“No, it’s ok. So, what should we tell Graham to order?” I she clearly has a better idea of the school supplies.
“Well should we say two jars of the common ingredients, and three of the uncommon ones?” She suggests.
“Sounds good.” I quickly jot down the quantities we need on the parchment.
“Ok I’ve got the timings.” Announces spinning back around a couple of seconds later, brandishing her piece of parchment. “It’s going to take a little bit more than double the time to brew three times the amount in one go. Can I see your ingredients list?” She asks, after a couple of minutes “Well we have enough ingredients to make all the potions in these quantities today but we won’t be able to make any more till we get the fresh stuff in.”
“Well, that was going to happen either today or tomorrow either way so we might as well get tomorrow off.” I mean we’ve been brewing none stop practically for the last four days.
“Well let’s get going then.”

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3 days later

“Hey, I’ve got the new batch of potion.” Al turns at the sound of my voice and looks visibly relieved.
“Thank Godric! We’ve just run out of the batch that you brought this morning.” He wipes his forehead with his sleeve before walking towards Madam Pomfrey’s office. The Hospital Wing is a mess. All the beds are taken on my way here I passed a couple of rooms that have been turned into overflow wards that are now also full. Inside Madam Pomfrey’s office there are multiple students and healers either taking a quick nap, eating or researching the illness. They still don’t really know what it is which is why they are burning through the potions so fast. “Good news we have a fresh batch of potion.” This is met with tired cheers. St Mungos’ is also sending potions daily but they can’t focus all of their efforts on the potions we need. I place the potion phials down, after my first visit to drop off the potions I found out what dosage the potions were being given in so that we could save them at least some time. Steadily the students and healers grab the phials that they need and leave the room. Only a couple of people remain in the room most are still asleep or look like they will be any second. One of the healers walks over to me, Al having already left to hand out the potion.
“Thank you for doing this. I know most people are hiding in their dorm trying to avoid infection. But honestly I think the whole school would be ill by now in it wasn’t for you.” She stretches her arms up over her head with a groan.
“Well, it’s not just me. I couldn’t do it without Maya.”
“Either way. You’re doing brilliantly. You’re not feeling ill at all, are you?” she asks worriedly.
“Nope, I feel fine. Maybe because of being round the potions so much.” I suggest, to be honest I’m just happy to be health.
“It’s nice to be back at Hogwarts even if they are stuck in their ways.” I raise a questioning eyebrow at her.
“All the beds are full and there was a discussion on where to expand to. There was the suggestion of the dorms but Pomfrey squashed that idea thankfully. I mean we can’t risk the spread of infection. So, someone suggested mixing the dorms but that was put an end to faster than the last. Flitwick refuses to let Ravenclaws secrets be discovered, and Hufflepuffs head… what’s she called... Crowther that’s it. Well, she also disagreed and her house has defences against ‘intruders’.” She starts counting how many phials remain. “Anyway, they eventually concluded that as the Seventh years were hit the hardest by the disease that they should sleep in their own rooms. Hmm, maybe. Anyway, I should go see to my patient.” And with that she’s gone. I head towards one of the closer beds. In it lies Rose her face is the same colour as the sheets around her, on her neck I can see the purple rash creeping higher. She was one of the first to be diagnosed with the disease. In the bed, next to her Scorpius is led, as pail as he was in first year. He apparently collapsed later than most do, they healers believe that it is due him trying to get Rose to the Hospital Wing. Whatever the reason was after he collapsed all the symptoms appeared very quickly. I visited Lily and Hugo this morning, and Louis, Roxie and Lucy yesterday when I came to drop off the potions. I feel bad but I can’t help but feel great full that Fred hasn’t gotten ill, just so I have someone I can talk to properly. After a couple minutes of watching the pair I leave the Hospital Wing. It tends to get a bit creepy if you sit there and watch people for too long.

As I walk through the corridor I can’t help but notice how quiet Hogwarts is. The ghosts have taken to patrolling the corridors and telling the teachers if they have seen anything wrong. Peeves has been calmer, rather than pelting people with fruit or something that the Wolf has given him, he’s been juggling the flaming torches for some first years. I’m practically dragging my feet as I arrive at Dave’s portrait.
“Ooh you look knackered. Come give me the password and go on up to bed.”
“Doctor, doctor give me some news I’ve…” a massive yawn escapes me “I’ve got a bad case of loving you.” Normally I would have a bit more fun with the password, one day I said it to Fred like I was in some soap opera that lily loves. But today I’m just ready to drop.
“Go on. Off to bed with you.” Dave says before he swings open.

I stumbled through the portrait hole to find Fred sprawled out on the bean bag, working on some homework we had been given before all this started. Maya’s curled up in the arm chair scribbling in her notebook. I’m barley two steps into the room when Fred and Maya raise their heads in sync to look at me, it’s actually a bit creepy.
“Please tell me there is some good news from the Hospital wing.” Maya practically begs. In that last couple of days, we have been brewing none stop in the larger quantities. Brewing all the potions has me drained, never mind Maya she’s been watching the potions and keeping an eye on me. She keeps insisting that I’m the one to take the potions to the Hospital Wing and that I take my time so that I can visit my family. She has probably go no idea how great full I am for that.
“Sorry, only bad. They’ve already run out of beds again. So, they’re talking about having the seventh years moved into their rooms.”
“Why don’t they have the ill lower years in their dorms so they don’t have to traipse across the castle?” Fred asks
“According to one of the healers there was a bit of an argument about that. Pomfrey refused to have the sick mixed in with the healthy in case they catch whatever this disease is. Next someone suggested that the houses should mix so the ill could be in one room without the possibility of contamination. But Flitwick and Crowther both refused in case the other houses find out the secrets of Ravenclaws and Hufflepuff common room, and corrupt them or something.” I faceplant onto the sofa “So yer thanks to them the Hospital Wing is going to be stretched even further.” I sigh rubbing my eyes.
“Imbeciles, anyway I think everyone knows by now that it’s just a riddle to get in Ravenclaw. They aren’t even that hard.” Maya mutters. WHAT?
“Oh, Sinistra’s ill as well now.” Fred announces, I don’t think he heard what Maya said, but he’s got my attention.
“Shit! How many teachers are left now?” I’ve lost count, it’s got to be about seven.
“There’s only five left now.” Maya supplies.
“Fuck! Some of the St Mungos’ healers have gotten ill as well there’s talk of quarantining the school if they can’t cure the disease soon.” Fred adds.
“I mean they already refused to let parents in to see their kids in case they get infected or spread the disease.” The schools practically on lock down, I’m starting to worry that illness isn’t going to clear.

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“Annnnd time to relax.” I announce. This is currently the best part of my day; my potion has to gently simmer for an hour meaning that I can sit down and not think about everything for a bit. Maya’s carefully adding ingredients to her potions, it’s more complex than mine as she’s the better potioneer. Since the illness, I haven’t been able to really think about the year’s pranks, we normally would have pulled a prank around this time of year. Now there’s only enough time for two maybe three pranks. Luckily Fred and I have already organised the prank for Valentine’s day. Fred and I aren’t the biggest fans of Valentine’s day, personally I’ve never got what the big deal is. But are some minute details on the prank that still need work.

I’m just getting ready for the next step of the potion, I start to hear some sort of murmuring in the corridor outside our classroom, the noise outside steadily gets louder and louder. A sort of drumming can also be heard that I soon realise that it’s the sound of running feet. I have about half an hour before I need to do anything with my potion. I’ve barely started to step towards the door when it bursts open, and Fred tumbles in.
“THEY’RE AWAKE!” Fred pants “THEY’RE ALL AWAKE!”
“WHAT!” he can’t mean what I think he does.
“Everyone that’s ill they’ve all woken up, in the last half hour.” Fred smiles “They’re back.” I can’t quite work out how to respond.
“I can look after all this.” Maya says cutting through my thoughts. “Go on. Go see your family. I can handle it in here.”