AN: Thank you so much for all the support! It is deeply appreciated!
How can I work under these conditions?
"Thank you all for coming," Headmaster Longbottom began. "I know how difficult it is to take time out of your lesson plans for a faculty meeting, but with the chaos of the new year upon us I felt we needed to discuss a few things."
Rose glanced around at her fellow professors. Scorpius leaned forward in his chair, his hands folded on the table. The other professors sat upright, their undivided attention focused on their leader. In contrast, Rose slouched in her chair and prayed the circles under her eyes were not too noticeable.
"Firstly, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome Arban Khan as Rose's teaching assistant," Neville continued.
Rose's weak claps were in stark contrast to the enthusiastic applause of her colleagues. With all her might, Rose forced herself to smile. Regardless of her reputation, she truly did want her new assistant to feel welcome.
Besdies, it wasn't Ms. Khan's fault that this meeting couldn't have come on a worse day.
"Ms. Khan's duties will include teaching certain potions classes. She will most probably teach those who have not taken their O.W.L.S. yet. Is that correct, Professor Rose?"
"Rose," Neville began.
Rose jerked up. "Huh?"
"Do you plan on allowing Ms. Khan to teach those who have not taken their O.W.L.S. yet?"
Rose bit her lip.
The Headmaster gave her a soft smile. "I suppose you haven't had much time to discuss certain matters."
"No, no, I know what I want her to do," Professor Rose answered. "More than likely she'll teach those who have not taken their O.W.L.S. I want to teach the more advance students for the sake of consistency and for helping those who wish to graduate and go onto a university."
"Thank you for confirming that," Arban answered.
Rose shook her head. I am coming off as incredibly rude. I should at least appear grateful for her presence. Merlin knows I am. Still, if they knew what was happening to Mum right now, if they understood where she was and what she is going through…
"For minor disputes, the Slytherins are to report to Ms. Khan," Headmaster Longbottom continued. "If a severe infraction is committed, or if a problem seems unmanageable, then they are to report to Professor Rose."
"Yes, they will report to me," Rose added.
"Good," Headmaster Longbottom began. "Now, I would like to discuss the latest security measure we are implementing for the students. In light of the recent amnesiac attacks…."
Rose's chest burned. Her mind wandered to a well-lit, sterile hospital room. In the center, on a bed, was a woman with bushy hair surrounded by her husband and youngest daughter.
Why did Mum insist I remain here and not join her at St. Mungo's?
"You don't need to be here," Hermione adjusted her hospital gown until the strings no longer constricted her neck. "Nobody would fault you for spending the last days of your break at home, or going to your grandmother's to watch Stanley's Corner. Surely you want to know how Zach and Kendall's reunion is coming along, assuming they are in the midst of one."
"How can I sit around and watch TV or care about some soap opera couple when I know you're here?" Violet asked.
Hermione lay onto the examining table. She shivered. "You need to be living your life, just as your brother and sister are."
"The only reason Rose and Victor aren't here is because Dad threatened them," Violet argued.
"I did not threaten either one of them," he argued. "I simply pointed out that they had other matters to attend to and encouraged them to go about their business."
"You were quite stern about it," Violet argued.
"I merely pointed out that they will see your mother when the procedure is over," Severus replied. "There is little reason to sit in through the whole thing."
"We want to be there to support Mum."
"I know, but sometimes the best support is to go about one's life."
"I'm not going home."
"You have made that abundantly clear."
Hermione rolled over and faced her daughter. "I don't need a crowd surrounding me, but I do appreciate you being here very much."
Violet grinned. "I don't want to be anywhere else."
"That being said, you do understand that this will hopefully be the last time you sit in on this," Hermione continued. "The second you return to school you will need to focus on your classes, not on these treatments."
"I'll try to focus as best I can," Violet promised.
"No, you will devote your attention to your courses," Hermione answered.
"I don't want your entire academic career derailed because of my illness."
"Petal, you need to live your life. You should be focusing on having fun with friends, discovering new species with Hagrid, and driving your sister crazy with your antics. You should not spend your life obsessing over my illness."
Violet was quiet.
"You need to promise me that regardless of what happens, you won't put your life on hold for me," Hermione concluded.
"I will live my life as best I can," Violet replied.
Hermione exhaled. "I suppose that's all I can ask of you then."
Violet crept over and kissed her mother on the right cheek. "I love you, Mum."
She leaned over and kissed Violet's cheek. "I love you too."
A click echoed throughout the room. Violet backed away from her mother until she hit a chipped, lilac padded chair. She sat and swallowed.
The door opened.
The Healer strolled into the room and extended his hand. "It's nice to see you again."
Hermione shook it. "It's nice to see you again as well, Healer Wu, all things considered."
"Indeed " He spun around. "Mr. Snape, it is lovely to see you again."
Severus shook his hand and muttered, "Hello."
The Healer's eyes fell on the teen. "Who is this young witch?"
"I'm Violet," she extended her hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to finally meet you as well," he answered. "I've heard so much about you."
He nodded. "You're at Hogwarts, correct?"
"I am," Violet replied.
"I'm in year seven."
"Oh, so you're ready to go to the university soon then."
She took a shaky breath. "I would like to go someday, though I don't know when."
Severus raised his left eyebrow.
"Where are you thinking about going?"
"I was thinking maybe the Wizarding University of Brighton, or perhaps the Wizarding University of Sterling."
"Those are both fine schools. What do you hope to major in?"
"I have always enjoyed Care of Magical Creatures."
"Are you hoping to be magizoologist?"
"Where do you hope to work?"
"I am hoping to work at a zoo," Violet's eyes sparkled. "If I'm lucky, I may be able to run one someday."
"That sounds great," the Healer replied. "Good luck with everything."
The Healer turned to Hermione and took a deep breath. The light in his eyes faded. He put a hand over the wand in his right pants pocket. "Are you ready to begin the procedure?"
Hermione gulped. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
"Good." The Healer pulled out his wand. "Now remember, this will only reduce the amount of dark magic in your system. It will not have an immediate effect on the size of your tumors, just make them easier to treat."
"I understand," Hermione whispered.
"Okay then," the Healer whispered.
Hermione rolled onto her back and stared at the chandelier hanging from the wall. The Healer put the wand over her abdomen and began to mutter, "Magia intunecata."
Black wisp flowed from her body onto the wand. Hermione squeaked, but the Healer only chanted louder:
"Magie intuneric parasti pe pacientul meu."
He intoned louder, "Magie intuneric , magie intuneric parasti pe pacientul meu."
The wisp was now a billow of smoke billowing from Hermione's abdomen up to the Healer's wand. She began to spasm.
"Magie intuneric, magie intuneric parasti pe pacientul meu!"
Hermione gritted her teeth and let out a whine.
"Magie intuneric, magie intuneric parasti pe pacientul meu."
Violet shook until she began to gag. She covered her mouth. Severus massaged her back, but did not remove his eyes from his wife.
His voice was barely above a whisper. "Fi plecat, fi plecat."
The black smoke dissipated.
Tears ran down Hermione's eyes. She moaned.
"Okay," the Healer's eyes were bright, as if he was unaware that dark magic existed. "That should be enough treatment for the next two weeks. When you come back we'll perform the spell again and start giving you some of the chemo potions."
She turned towards him, but made no move to rise.
"Remember to abstain from magic for the next twenty-four hours, and for the next twenty-four hours after that only use magic when necessary," he continued.
"Yes," she rasped.
"Do you have any further questions?"
Hermione shook her head.
"Okay," the Healer turned to Severus. "You can take her home via the floo. You can find on just down the hallway to your right. Take as much time as you need to change and get out of here."
"Thank you," he answered.
The Healer looked at Violet. "It was nice meeting you young lady. Best of luck in your studies."
"Thank you," she replied.
He gave them one last glance before gliding out of the door.
Severus stepped over to Hermione. "Do you think you can walk on your own?"
"In a couple of minutes I can," she answered. "Just give me a couple of minutes."
He ran his fingers through her hair. She attempted to sit, but collapsed onto the bed.
"Just relax, Love," he whispered. "We are in no hurry to leave. Only get up when you have the strength to do so."
She grasped his hand and gazed into his eyes. "I'll be fine."
"I know you will be," he answered. "All of us will be fine."
Violet's stomach sank.
We are anything but fine.