AN: Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's filled with joy, laughter, and love. Hopefully now that things have calmed down I'll be able to update more regularly, but I can't make any promises.
Thank you for all the support! It is very deeply appreciated!
Victor hated taking his mother to the hospital. He hated the sense of helplessness which came with watching a loved one suffer. Then there were his sick fantasies that this would be the last time he'd see his mum. A shudder ran up his spine as he remembered all the times he would gaze at her during cancer treatments, thinking that if he looked away she would disappear. Still, he could suppress those emotions and memories just long enough to make it through the visit.
What he could not suppress was the irritation which arose from a defiant mother.
The second Hermione had been placed in a hospital bed, she had demanded to return home. She did not want an IV in her arm; she was hydrated enough thank you very much. There was no reason she couldn't take her healing potions to Australia, so it was unclear why she had to take them here. Yes, her pillow was fluffed enough. No, she did not want the most recent issue of The Daily Prophet. She just wanted out of the hospital and back in Australia with her beloved husband.
Victor would've found it romantic if his mother had been able to stop coughing for longer than five minutes. When her temperature was taken it was thirty-nine degrees. He could only hope that her fever would break soon.
So far his mother refused to acknowledge the gravity of the situation. Instead, she was scowling in a perfect imitation of her husband.
"First they want me to rest, and then they ask me if I want anything to eat," Hermione grumbled before running her hand over the sheets. "They need to make up their bloody minds."
"Are you hungry?" Victor asked as the Mediwitch strolled out of the room.
Hermione huffed. "I had chemotherapy less than twelve hours ago, and I still feel like I'm sitting beside a furnace. Food is the last thing on my mind."
He yawned. "I just thought I'd check."
Hermione's expression softened. "I am so sorry you have to be awake for all this. We should have let you sleep."
Victor shook his head. "You needed someone to take you to St. Mungo's, and nobody else could do it. I am always happy to help you."
"It could have waited," she answered. "I could've waited until daybreak to come here, and your father knows it."
Victor glanced at his mother. Her hair was still moist and her face was ashen. The bags under her eyes were more prominent, and she was slouching. Despite her best attempts to wear a mask of irritation, there was a glimmer of fear in her eyes.
Victor blinked as his mind was transported to a passage in a history book. Although the details were vague, he remembered gasping upon reading the Battle of the Department of Ministries. Up to that point, Victor had believed it was a foregone conclusion that Mum would survive the war. Compared to his father, she had relatively few scars. Hadn't she always known she would live?
No, she had not. At one point she had been hit by Dolohov's curse. At one point, she was a small, terrified, teenager yet still determined to fight another day.
He wondered if she felt that way now.
He took a deep breath. "I apologize, Mum. Did you say something?"
"Yes," she answered. "You need to go home and get some rest. I will not be upset if you leave."
"I can't go home. I need to be here with you."
"I will be fine."
He folded his hands. "You don't need to pretend you aren't afraid of being alone in this place."
Hermione shook, though Victor couldn't discern if the cause was her emotional state or another wave of chills.
"I, I'll be fine."
"No, you won't be."
"I can make it through this on my own."
"Mum, you hate this place. I can't blame you. The worst moments of your life were spent here. That's why you shouldn't be alone here."
"I'm your mother. You don't need to watch me like this."
"Yes, I do."
Hermione opened her mouth.
"You need someone you love to be with you. I want to be that person right now," Victor continued.
"I want you to have your own life," Hermione coughed. "All I ever wanted was for you to grow into a good and self-sufficient man."
"I am that person."
"I know you are, but it doesn't stop me from feeling guilty. I mean, I didn't have you so I could have someone babysit me in the hospital."
"Well, this would feel much less like babysitting if you would obey the Healers' orders and ask them for a cup of water," Victor teased.
"Honestly, I am not thirsty," Hermione turned her attention to the IV bag. "I'm getting more than enough fluid from this."
"I'll take your word for it," Victor muttered, his expression betraying his disbelief.
"I mean it," she covered her mouth and began to cough anew. Victor stood, but she gestured for him to sit. "I do not need a drink."
Victor reached over and grabbed a cobalt bell from her bedside tray. "Just in case, I'd like to call one of them and tell them to give you one."
Hermione caught her breath. "I…"
Victor stared at her.
She shrank. "Go ahead and order a cup of water for me."
Victor relaxed. "Thank you."
A tear came to Hermione's eyes. "You are welcome."
Victor held the bell up, but did not ring it. "Mum?"
She gave him a sad smile. "It's nothing, just ring the bell."
"A few weeks ago, you promised not to shut down on me. I'm pleading with you to keep that promise," he put the bell on the bedside table.
"It really is quite silly," she flicked away a tear.
"I highly doubt that."
"I was just remembering when you were a little boy and would wake me up for a glass of water. Half the time, you would watch me cast an 'aguamenti' but wouldn't drink a drop. I always wondered if my water wasn't the right temperature for you."
"No, you're water was fine."
She laughed before coughing. "I remember laying up one night. Your father asked what was wrong. I looked at him and exclaiming 'My parenting skills are horrendous. I can't even make water right for my son! What kind of witch can't make water for her son?'"
Victor shook his head. "Mum, there was nothing wrong with your water. I liked it just fine."
"I loved drinking it."
"Then why did you refuse it so many times?"
He smirked. "Because I was more fascinated with watching it flow from your wand than I was in drinking it."
She raised an eyebrow.
"As a child I loved watching the water flow from your wand into the glass. I was hoping if I watched you do it enough times I could master it. When you weren't looking, I used to wave an empty toilet paper roll and yell, 'aguamenti.' Rose used to laugh at me, but I was determined to make water appear."
"Did you really do that?"
"I sure did."
"I used to arrange my stuffed animals and lecture them on whatever spell I had picked up as if I was at Hogwarts," Victor explained.
"I suppose I should've expected as much," Hermione hummed. "You were the only one of my children to put on his Hogwarts robes early."
"I never understood why Rose and Violet didn't do that," Victor mused.
"They believed your dad when he told them that some things in life are worth waiting for. You on the other hand…"
He gave her a sheepish grin.
"You were always the most like me," some color returned to Hermione's face. "You may have your father's eyes, but I always saw myself in you."
"Good," Victor answered. "Because I always wanted to be just like you."
Hermione relaxed. "I love you so much, Victor Harry Snape. No matter what happens, always remember that I am proud of you."
"I'm proud to be your son," he answered.
"I am glad to hear it," she whispered.
Victor looked at the hallway. Once it was clear, he pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment from his pocket and placed it on the bedside table. After muttering a spell, it morphed into a plastic red cup. Then he pointed his wand at it.
Hermione's eyes lit up.
Another tear came to her eye as the water leapt from his wand into the cup. Once the water stopped, he gave it to his mother.
"You really are my favorite son," she began.
He kissed her forehead. "You really are my favorite mother."
"I'd better be, given that I'm the only one you'll ever have."
"I am more than fine with that."
Hermione took a few sips from the glass. "It's the perfect temperature."
"Good," he answered before returning to his seat. "I'm so glad you like it."
For the first time all evening, Hermione appeared at peace with the world. "I love it, just as I love you."
Victor kissed his mother's forehead again, hoping she would prove resilient once again and overcome this.
"They wouldn't let us in."
Bill stepped inside the Burrow. "We went to Hogwarts and asked where Snape was. The professors told me he wasn't there. When I demanded to go inside, they threatened to hex me."
"Oh my," Molly gasped.
"Why would they want to hex me?" Bill frowned. "What have I done to them?"
"It's all Snape's fault." Molly turned rouge. "He has Hogwarts under his control. Somehow, he's convinced them to hide him despite what he's done."
"What should we do?" Charlie followed Bill inside. "Somebody has got to stop Snape before he destroys the school."
"Oh we'll think of something," Molly slammed the door behind them. "All we have to do find him first, and then we'll alert the aurors. They'll know what to do."
"What exactly will they do to him?" Bill asked.
"Who cares? He killed Dumbledore," Molly argued. "He deserves no mercy!"
"No," Charlie answered "He does not."
Soon Severus Snape, soon you will be brought to justice for everything you've done to my family.