AN: So I've made a habit of posting a chapter on important holidays. Since today is the 4th of July I decided why not? So even if you don't celebrate Independence Day, have a safe and restful day!
As always, thank you for the support! I appreciate it deeply!
This morning should have been perfect.
Hermione ran her fingers through Severus' hair. There were a few stray strands of gray present, but nobody aside from her would notice them. His muscles were relaxed, almost as if he had never feared losing his memory. She kissed his forehead.
God she loved this wizard.
Her chest ached as she rolled up her long, black eyes fell onto her forearm. A chill ran up her spine, leaving her body cold.
Boiling tears filled her eyes as she allowed her nightshirt sleeve to fall, covering her arm once more.
Why can I not enjoy one minute of uninterrupted bliss with my husband?
Severus pried his eyes open. "Love?"
"I'm here," Hermione whispered.
He yawned. "Did I wake up last night?"
"If you did I was not aware of it."
He gave her a half grin. "I am glad to hear it."
She pressed her lips against his.
He moaned before pulling her closer. "I love you."
Her body melted into his, just as it had so many times before. "I know you do."
Severus smirked before reaching over to the nightstand and grabbing his wand. He aimed it at the door and muttered a few spells. The door gave off a green glow for a moment, only to dissipate.
Hermione burst out laughing. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," he growled before casting a muffliato.
"Come here," He assaulted her lips.
"Severus," Hermione gasped. "Stop."
He released her.
"Let's be reasonable. One of the children may try to enter and check on you."
"Trust me," Severus smirked. "When they hear the buzzing outside of the door they will know that I am more than well."
"Fair enough," Hermione blushed. "Still, it seems rude to lock ourselves in the room and at least not tell them good morning."
"This is our mansion. We can do whatever we bloody well please."
"Have been in the mansion before when we've done this."
"I suppose so, but they were much younger then."
"Sure, I suppose they were older at certain times, but for the most part we don't engaged in this type of behavior when they are home from Christmas break."
Severus kissed her collarbone and whispered. "That was not true last year." He kissed her higher on the neck. "Or the year before that," he kissed her chin. "Or the year before that."
She sighed as he captured her lips. "I suppose we do have a nasty habit of sneaking behind their backs."
"It is almost as if we are the teenagers, and they are the over-protective parents," he whispered.
She chuckled. "Well, I always did enjoy a secret rendezvous"
"As do I." he purred before grabbing the hem of her nightshirt.
Severus released her clothing. "What is troubling you?"
She said nothing.
"Hermione," Severus' voice was louder. "What are you not telling me?"
She took a shaky breath.
"Did I do or say something to you last night?"
She shook her head.
"Is something wrong with one of the children?"
She shook her head again.
"Then what is wrong?"
Hermione rolled up her sleeve. Severus stared at the light markings on her arm. He held his breath.
"I noticed the markings today," Hermione began. "I reached over towards you, when I saw them."
"So you did," Severus replied, his voice distant.
"It doesn't hurt. Granted it didn't hurt last time, but I am in no pain."
"Do you feel as if your magic is flaring up?"
"I don't know. I haven't tried to cast any spells since last night. Still it's still early."
"We may have time then." Severus slid away from her.
"We do," Hermione answered.
"This may not be a dire situation," Severus began. "Perhaps all you need is more of my potion. Perhaps you could go onto a higher dose."
"It might not work," Hermione answered.
"No, but it could work."
"There is no guarantee that it will."
"Yet it could work."
Hermione covered her arm.
"How can you only say, 'perhaps?'" Severus asked. "Do you have no faith in me?"
"Of course I have faith in you. Even when you were my snarky professor I never had anything but faith in you," Hermione answered. "That doesn't mean I'm not realistic about my situation though."
"You aren't being realistic," Severus argued. "You are giving up."
"No, I'm not," Hermione answered.
"Severus," Hermione took his hands. "This could be the end."
"No," Severus argued. "It is not the end of you. We just need to find you the right treatment."
"We knew," She glanced at her arm. "We knew this day would come. Both of us knew your potion would only last for so long."
"We did," he admitted.
Hermione locked eyes with him. "It is time to accept reality. I could very well be dying soon."
"You cannot give up."
"I'm not giving up. I'm trying to prepare mentally prepare myself for the worst case scenario."
"You cannot assume the worst though. Rose and I will work harder on your cure."
"Rose and I will not rest until you are well."
"Rose needs to teach, but I can research while she teaches. I still have my old research notes. I can perfect my potion."
"What?" he snapped.
"I need you," she whispered.
He closed his mouth.
"I know you want a cure, and I would like one too," Hermione began. "Still, that may not be possible. If it isn't possible, if this is the end…"
"It isn't the end," Severus' voice was louder.
She held up her hand. His expression softened.
"If this is the end," Hermione continued. "Then I want to spend as much time with you and the children as possible."
"Please understand where I'm coming from. I'm not afraid of dying," she answered. "I've known happiness, in large part thanks to you."
"You've made me happy as well," he answered.
"I do fear spending my last months away from you though," she continued. "I fear you locking yourself in you potions lab and in our library while I go through medical treatments alone."
"I will never abandon you," Severus promised.
"I know you wouldn't intentionally abandon me, but you could withdraw into your research. In the process of trying to preserve my future, you may neglect me in the present."
"I would never neglect you intentionally," Severus argued. "Yet you must understand, I cannot watch idly as you waste away. I cannot allow you to give up on yourself."
"I won't," Hermione promised. "Still, I need you with me. I need Rose, Victor, and Violet with me. I need," her voice grew quiet "I need my family."
Severus wrapped her in his arms. "You have us. You will always have us."
"I don't want to leave you," Hermione sobbed. "I don't want to leave you or our children."
"I know," he began stroking her hair. "I know, Love."
"I don't want you to be lonely, nor do I want my children to grieve for me," Hermione sniffed. "I don't care what happens to me, but I do care what happens to all of you. My greatest fear is that in your grief, all of you would drift away from each other."
He squeezed her tighter.
"Whatever happens, you need to promise me that you will be happy," Hermione answered. "You need to promise me that you will be happy, and that you will help the children find happiness as best you can."
He kissed her on the cheek.
"Promise me, Severus."
" I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that the children are happy." He released her and gazed into her eyes.
"Do not misunderstand me, though," he continued. "I cannot promise that I will be happy because I am only happy when I am with you."
She swallowed. "I suppose that is the best I can get from you."
He rubbed her tears with his thumbs. "It is."
She took a shaky breath. "I love you so much, Severus."
"I love you as well, Hermione."
He pressed his lips against hers once more. She fumbled with one of his nightshirt buttons. He paused. She nodded. Once more, he grabbed her nightshirt and began to pull it off.
Their caresses were no longer wild and carefree, but were thoughtful and slow. Every kiss was tender, every touch soft. Desperate, they clung to each other.
Then, they made love.