AN: Thank you for all the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Every perfect day must end.
Hermione bit her lower lip and reread the parchment for the fourth time. The letters remained the same, the words just as gut churning as the last time she scanned them. After a fifth glance, she set it onto her dresser.
Severus moaned and reached over to her side of the bed. The only thing he grasped was cold sheet. He snorted, but otherwise did not stir.
Hermione shook her head and strolled over to the master bathroom. Behind her, the owl hooted. She gave it a quick glare, silencing the bird. Then, she opened the bathroom door and pulled her bathrobe off of the hook. She threw it on over her silky black nightgown.
She stepped into her bedroom. "Yes, Love?"
"What time is it?" Severus muttered.
"It's about eight-thirty," Hermione replied.
He groaned. "Did you open the window earlier?"
"Yes, there was an owl."
"Who would send an owl at this ungodly hour?"
Hermione approached the bed. "St. Mungo's."
Severus opened his eyes. "St. Mungo's?"
She gestured for him to move. He slid onto his side of the bed, allowing her to sit beside him.
"What did the owl say?" Severus asked.
"It reminded me that my next appointment is in two days," Hermione answered.
"At what time?"
Severus sat up. "Noon."
"Yes," Hermione replied. "But they want me there a half hour early. Apparently I need that much time to put on a hospital gown."
"Apparently," Severus mumbled.
She grasped his right hand. "I'll be okay."
He raised her hand and kissed it. "You should be more than okay."
She swallowed. "So you've told me."
Silence fell between them.
He whispered, "I suppose we needed to face the reality of your situation at some point."
"It isn't going away," Hermione kissed his nose. "Still, I wish we'd had more days like yesterday. It was perfect for me."
"Yesterday was the perfect birthday," Severus gave her a small grin. "Every perfect day must end though."
Her lips curled up. "That's the first thing I thought when I got the letter."
He rubbed her hand. "I suppose they want you to answer and confirm that you will be there."
"They want an answer within the next hour," Hermione frowned. "Otherwise that owl will begin to tear up the curtains."
"We cannot have that, now can we?" Severus asked.
"I would prefer not to replace them anyway," Hermione answered.
Severus released her. "While you write that letter, I will make us some breakfast."
"You don't need to do that."
"Perhaps I want to."
"Now, would you like french toast, pancakes, or something else?"
"Can you make me some chocolate chip pancakes?"
Severus raised an eyebrow.
"Why are you giving me that look?" Hermione asked.
"Did you really just ask for chocolate chip pancakes?"
He raised his eyebrow higher.
"You asked what I wanted, and that is what I am in the mood for," she replied.
He grinned. "And here I thought if we indulged in sweets our teeth would rot out."
"There's a difference between two chocolate chip pancakes and three kilograms of jellybeans," Hermione argued.
"So now you want two cavity-inducing pancakes instead of one?"
He brushed his lips against hers. "I will make you two chocolate chip pancakes, but I will make mine plain."
"After all these years you still don't like chocolate chips in your pancakes?" Hermione teased.
"No, I find pancakes and chocolate chips to be an unnatural combination and refuse to eat them."
"I think you like chocolate chip pancakes just fine, but you're too much of a grump to admit it."
"I know very well what I like and do not like," Severus argued. "I do not like chocolate chip pancakes."
"Sure," Hermione drawled.
He chuckled before kissing her on the cheek. "I should have your disgusting, revolting, sugary breakfast ready within twenty minutes."
"Thank you," she whispered.
Severus kissed her on the forehead before slipping off of the bed. As he put on his night clothes, Hermione grabbed the parchment from the bedside table.
It was time to begin the day.
"The minute the full moon is over, we gotta leave."
Violet sipped her cup of earl gray tea as she sunk further into the brown padded chair. Merlin love Hagrid, but his chairs really were too big for her or anyone else.
"If all yer research is righ', then it shouldn' take us long to fin' Fawkes, but there's no guarantee he hasn' flown away yet," Hagrid continued.
"For all we know he's already found a home somewhere else," Violet admitted.
"Maybe," Hagrid took a deep breath. "Still, we can try to fin' 'im. There's no harm in spendin' a few days camping out anyway."
"No," Violet answered. "Mum went camping at my age and she survived with few injuries. She went for months not knowing how her parents were, and she was fine. I can do the same."
Hagrid scratched his beard. "Yer still worried about her though?"
"Wouldn't you be if you were me?"
"It's complicated because Mum would want me to pursue my dreams," Violet began. "If we find Fawkes then not only am I almost guaranteed to get into any magizoology program I want, but we can restore a piece of Hogwarts history to the castle. Dad will have the closure he needs for his time as headmaster, and Mum would love to see her old friend again. You can finally give Dumbledore's portrait the peace of knowing where his phoenix is, and perhaps it would give Headmaster Longbottom a little extra confidence, not that he needs any."
"But none of that will make any difference to yeh if somethin' happens to 'Mione," Hagrid answered.
"No, it isn't worth my mother."
Hagrid folded his hands.
"Still," Violet choked. "Am I a bad daughter if I'm excited about going camping to find Fawkes?"
"No," Hagrid leaned closer to her. "It means yer honorin' yer mum by livin' yer life and fulfilin' yer dreams."
"What if something happens to her?" Violet whispered.
"I don' know," Hagrid admitted. "We can try to contact Professor Rose every night an' ask how yer mum is."
"But if Mum is in the hospital the owl may not find Rose right away. Even if it does, it will take hours for it to get back to her."
Violet gulped. "I don't know what to do. I really want to do this. I feel like I need to do this. Yet every time I get the least bit enthused about this I feel guilty."
"I can' imagine what it's like to be in yer position," Hagrid admitted. "I wish there was somethin' I could say to help yeh, but there is nothin' that'll make yeh feel better or help you decide what yeh should do."
Violet's lower lips quivered.
Hagrid leaned over and touched the girl's chest. "What is yer heart tellin' yeh?"
"I don't know," she replied.
"Take a momen' an' thin' about it," Hagrid answered.
"No," he interrupted. "I love yer mum, but this isn' about what she needs. Yeh are the only person yeh should be thinkin' about. What do yeh need?"
Violet closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. After a few moments she replied. "I need to do this. I need to find Fawkes."
"Then fin' 'im we will," Hagrid replied.
Her eyes fluttered open.
"Now," Hagrid picked up his cup of tea. "Yer goin' to need to study yer other subjects in advance. Ask Headmaster Longbottom what work yeh'll be missin' an' look over the syllabi. The bes' thing you can do righ' now is work ahead."
"I will," Violet replied. "I'll spend all these next few weeks studying so I'll have two months worth of work done."
"Well, I don' know if yeh need to do that much. I only plan to be gone a couple of weeks," Hagrid replied.
She scratched her leg.
"Then again, yeh are Hermione's daughter, so I suppose workin' ahead is in yer blood."
"Now that we've settled that, we'll need to make some preparations," Hagrid began.
"Agreed," Violet replied.
"Now, since this is yer project, yeh tell me what we'll need," Hagrid began. "If I think yer forgettin' anythin' I'll let yeh know."
"Well, first we'll need my mum's old map. Good thing Rose gave it to me before I left for the break."
"Does yer mum know you have it?"
"No, but if she asks I'll tell her I'm writing a report with it."
Hagrid shrugged. "I guess that isn' too far from the truth."
"The next thing we need is to find a source of water. Mum's map showed me where the rivers Wye and Severn were, as well as the lake…"
Hagrid leaned in closer and suppressed a smile.
He'd never been more confident that he'd find Fawkes.