AN: Thank you for all the support! It is deeply appreciated!
"Are you certain you don't mind watching Mum while we eat?"
"If you get hungry..."
"Trust me, I am in no mood to eat."
"Very well then."
"You, you'll let us know if anything happens to her, right?" Violet asked.
"I will," Victor promised.
"If Mum takes a turn for the worse, you can handle it, right?"
There was a flash of fear in his eyes, but his voice was firm. "Yes, I can."
"I know you can," Rose replied.
Victor stood up straighter. "Don't worry, Mum is in excellent hands. I won't let anything happen to her."
Violet dug her foot into the ground. "I know you won't, but I'm still terrified for her."
Victor rubbed her back. "I know, I am too."
Violet glanced up at Rose, her eyes watering. "Do we really have to go?"
"Someone needs to be there when Dad awakens," Rose answered.
"I know, but surely Dad would understand if I stayed here."
"He would understand your desire to be here, but he would not understand my desire to allow you to skip lunch."
"I told you, I'm not hungry."
"I know you are not, but Mum and Dad will be disappointed in me if I do not watch out for you and attempt to force you to eat something."
"You could always tell them I refused," Violet's eyes fell on her sleeping mother. "Or better yet, tell Mum and Dad I refuse to eat until they are both awake and in the same room as each other."
"We both know those strategies will not work."
"Do not worry about Mum," Rose took her younger sister's hand. "We will only be gone for an hour at the most."
"What if she wakes up and thinks we've abandoned her?" Violet whispered.
"She won't think that," Victor cut in.
"How do you know?" Violet demanded. "All she'll know is that she's awake and her daughters aren't there!"
"If she wakes up while you're gone, I will tell her that you needed to eat. She'll understand, and will probably just be glad Rose is taking care of you."
"Yes, she will," Rose took her younger sister's hand. "Now, let's see how Dad is doing."
"Okay," Violet choked.
Rose turned to Victor. "Mum is in excellent hands."
Violet squeezed her sister's hand. "Yes, she is."
Victor gulped. "I hope so anyway."
Rose gave him a small smile. "I know so."
With that, she led Violet out of the room. When they reached the doorway, Violet turned around and called, "Goodbye Victor."
"Goodbye Violet, Rose," he responded.
"Goodbye Victor," Rose replied.
With that, the door closed behind them.
Hermione sat in a padded blue rocker, her five year old son on her lap. Unlike his sisters who could only tolerate being on their mother's lap for a few minutes, Victor could stay there for up to a half hour. Sometimes he demanded that his mother read him a story, and other times he only wanted to sit. Regardless, he was always calm and reveled in his mother's attention.
She ran her fingers through his hair as he thumbed through the pages of a picture book. Today he wasn't interested in being read to, but he did still want his mother near. It made Hermione's heart swell with affection.
How did I get lucky enough to have such a sweet son?
She kissed the top of his head. "Happy birthday, my sweet little Ray of Sunshine."
He giggled. "Thank you, Mummy."
She beamed as she held him closer.
His caramel eyes were glistening. "Why did you make me sick?"
Hermione's heart stopped. "Wh-what?"
His face fell. "Why did you make me sick, Mummy?"
"Why would you ask me that?"
"Because I want to know why you made me sick."
"I," Hermione's body went cold. "I would never make you sick."
"But you did," he argued. "You gave me Lynch Syndrome, so now I'm going to get colon cancer and die."
"No," Hermione answered. "It increases your chances of getting colon cancer, but nothing is guaranteed. You may never develop it."
"But you got uterine cancer, and Grandma did too, and you both have Lynch Syndrome, so Lynch Syndrome makes you sick," Victor argued. "It's going to make me sick too."
"You have your dad's genetics too. He has no family history of cancer. You may not have inherited it from me."
"No, I'm more like you than him. I'm going to get sick, and so are Rose and Violet."
Hermione's mouth hung open.
"You made us sick, and now we're going to die just like you!"
"Dear, my problem is that I have dark magic in me, but you don't. You have a much better chance of recovery than I do."
"But I still have to go through chemo and other treatments. I'm going to lose my hair and get weak. How could you do that to me?"
"I would never intentionally get you sick. I love you so much. Surely you believe that."
"If you love me so much, then why did you make me sick?"
"I, I never meant for you to get sick."
"But you did, and now I'm going to die a horrible death."
"No, no you won't."
There was a flash of anger in his eyes. He poked her chest with his finger "Yes I am, and it's all your fault."
Hermione opened her mouth, but before a word could come out a familiar voice broke in.
"Don't be mad at her, Victor. She can't control the fact that she's a filthy mudblood."
Victor fluffed his mother's pillows. "There you go."
She did not move.
"Are you comfortable?"
She glowed once more. It was a shade brighter than the forest green it had been over the last few hours. Any concern was shoved in the back of his consciousness.
"Well, I'm not quite sure what we're supposed to do right now. This has been a depressing birthday to say the least. I honestly thought we'd be eating one of your cakes, opening presents, or looking at embarrassing photos by now. I'm sure you wish that we'd had a better time too."
Her finger twitched.
Victor's heart fluttered. "Mum?"
Hermione squeezed her son closer to her chest. He whimpered, but she only held onto him tighter. She could feel the color drain from her face as well as the slowing of her heartbeat.
The woman before her had a maniacal smile, just as bone chilling as it had been in Malfoy Manor. Her tattered black dress clung to her figure, her black hair as wild and stringy as the day they'd first met.
The woman barred her teeth and hissed, "Why don't you run along little Victor and let Mummy and I talk."
Victor looked up at his mother.
"Stay with me," Hermione whispered. "Mummy will protect you from her."
Victor's eyes were wide.
"I won't let her get to you," Hermione promised. "She can't hurt you."
"Do you actually think I would hurt your little child?"
Hermione snapped, "That's exactly what I think you'd do."
The woman put her hands over her heart. "I'm wounded."
Victor whined. "You're holding me too tight, Mummy."
Hermione didn't loosen her grip.
"Listen to me little boy," the woman hissed.
"Why should I listen to you when you hate my mummy?"
"Because I didn't make you sick, but your mummy did."
Victor locked eyes with his mother.
"Now run along. I'm not going to hurt you, I just want to talk to your mummy. You'll let me do that, won't you?"
"Don't trust her," Hermione whispered. "She's an evil lady who only wants to hurt you. Stay with me."
"How could I hurt you when I never gave you cancer?"
Victor seemed to consider those words.
"You can trust me little Snape. After all, I would never give birth to such a sick child."
"You'd never love a child either."
"If you loved your child, why did you have him knowing you'd pass down your filthy mudblood genes?"
"I never intended for them to get cancer."
"But they will."
"No, we don't know that. We have no idea if any of my children have Lynch Syndrome or if they will develop cancer."
"Even if they don't, they still have filthy mudblood genes."
"Filthy mudblood genes! I'm cursed with filthy mudblood genes!"
Hermione gased and looked down at her son.
He wriggled free from her grasp. "I'm leaving Mummy. You don't care about me, and you made me sick."
He leapt off her lap.
"Victor, do not go near Bellatrix!"
He ignored her.
The glow was pulsating now. Instead of a dark green, it was an almost blinding lime green. Her body was beginning to spasm
"Mum?" Victor asked.
She was frowning. Her eyes were twitching.
Victor pulled out his wand. Somehow I have to contact Rose and Violet. They need to tell me what to do! I can't do this alone!
He opened his mouth, but closed it. How the hell can I think of a happy memory when my mother is in such distress?
Before he could act, four Mediwtiches and two Healers burst into the room.
Victor laughed as he exited the room and strolled down the hallway. Bellatrix smirked before flicking her right wrist. The door slammed behind her.
"Now, where were we, mudblood?"
Hermione gritted her teeth.
"Oh yeah, we were at the part where you finally admit that I was correct about your genetic inferiority," Bellatrix sneered.
Hermione stood. "You need to leave now."
"Not until I make a few things clear," she argued.
"I'm not listening to you," Hermione stepped towards the door.
Bellatrix held out her hand. "Then maybe you'll listen to facts."
"Facts?" Hermione spat. "What would you know about facts?"
"I began to care about facts when you decided to marry Voldemort's second in command and poison his bloodline with your awful mudblood diseases."
"When did you start caring about Severus?"
"Trust me, I don't. He's a traitor who deserves to suffer for his betrayal!"
"Then why do you care about the health of his children?"
"Because it pains me to see one of Voldemort's most loyal followers sire such sickly children. I almost feel sorry for him: it must be difficult knowing your children will die of cancer."
"We, we don't know if they will develop cancer, much less die of it."
"Can you promise them they won't?"
Hermione felt as if she'd been punched in the gut.
"Her dark magic levels are spiking!"
"It's beyond the critical point!"
"Her fever is rising!"
"We need to get her some cura febrā stat!"
"Wh-what is happening to Mum?" Victor's voice was so weak and quiet he had difficulty believing it was coming from his mouth.
"We need to look at giving her a calming draught as well!"
"Might not be a bad idea."
"What is happening to Mum?"
"Let's go ahead and give her ten ccs of calming draught."
"Could someone please explain to me what is going on?"
"What about the febrā?"
"Go ahead and give her 20 ccs of that and hope the dosage is enough."
Victor shouted, "What is happening to Mummy?"
"You filthy, filthy mudblood," Bellatrix snarled. "You pranced around like you were just as good as us. Well look at your diseased body."
Words could not escape Hermione's mouth.
"Look at you: the picture of diversity, the proof that your kind was good enough. Tell me, how did that work out for Severus?"
"Severus and I have a happy and loving marriage," Hermione whispered.
"For now," Bellatrix huffed. "What about when you die? Will he love you then, or will he love the pureblood gracing his bed?"
Hermione twisted her lips.
"Oh don't look at me like that," Bellatrix warned. "Severus may go on about never finding another love, but we both know if he can get over Lily then he will get over you. I would imagine it would only take him a year to realize how bossy, whiny, and all around unpleasant of a person you were. It's only a matter of time before a younger, much more sexually attractive pureblood enters his life. Where will you be then?"
"If she makes him happy then I will watch over them and give them my blessing."
"Oh don't be noble! We both know that deep down inside you want him to love you forever. You enjoy being the first woman he sees and the last one he thinks about before he sleeps He will forget you though. The longer he is married, the more distant your memory will be until the name 'Hermione Snape' means nothing to him."
"Then there's the issue of children," Bellatrix's expression was that of pure triumph. "Oh what beautiful three quarter blooded children they will have! Within a matter of months he will forget all about yours."
"No!" Hermione snapped. "Severus would never abandon his children!"
"Perhaps not," the dark witch admitted. "But that may be too his detriment. If he stays with them, he will watch them deteriorate and die before his eyes. He can watch the cancer ravage their bodies until there's nothing left, a little like it did to yours."
"No," Hermione whispered.
Bellatrix hissed. "Yes."
"Your mother is regaining consciousness," a healer began.
"That's a good thing, right?"
"It would be if her magic was under control," the healer replied.
"The dark magic is overtaking her. We may need to put her into a coma."
"But, but I need my sisters' permission before I do that."
"We don't have time for that! Your mother needs you to make a decision now!"
"Yes," he answered. "Do you consent for your mother to be put into a coma?"
"Imagine Severus, sitting at Rose's bedside, watching her fight for her life, knowing the potions they worked so hard on are completely useless."
Hermione crumpled to the ground.
"Imagine Victor, crying for a mummy who long since died."
"No," Hermione whispered.
"Or Violet, a young lady with so much potential, being cut down by chemo. Why…" She folded her hands and sang, "It's more than Voldemort or I could have ever hoped for! You two being tortured for all your betrayals! Both of you will have to face the fact that mudbloods are inferior to purebloods, and you will not longer be able to deny it!"
Hermione felt the strength leave her body.
"You need to decide right now; do you want to put your mother in a coma so she can heal?"
I wish my mother's arms were wrapped around me.
Victor turned his attention to the Medwitiches screaming orders and casting healing spells.
What the hell do you want, Mum?
Bellatrix pulled out her wand. "Is anything I said wrong?"
Hermione backed into the chair.
"Have I lied? Was I wrong?"
The dark witch aimed her wand at Hermione's heart. "Of course I wasn't."
A bolt of magic tore through Hermione.
"Mr. Snape, can you hear me?"
Victor could still feel his mother's arms wrapped around him. They were sitting in her favorite rocking chair, reading passages from a history held it up and asked, "why did they hurt you, Mummy?"
She bowed her head. "They didn't like who I was."
"Why?" Victor asked. "You're the best mummy ever! Who could not like you?"
"There are mean people in the world, and sometimes they have to bully others to feel good about themselves," Hermione whispered.
"That's stupid," Victor muttered.
"Yes," Hermione choked. "It is."
"How did you survive them hurting you?" Victor asked.
"I remembered the love I felt for my friends and family," she kissed his cheek. "Then I imagined what it would be like to have a son like you and how badly I wanted to live for him."
"You survived for me?" he asked.
"Yes," she kissed him again. "I did. I survived for you and your sisters because even then, I loved you all so much."
"Mr. Snape, do you want to put your mother in a coma?"
Hermione was shaking. The cruses were surging through her. Bellatrix was laughing.
Please make it end! Just make it all end!
"I don't want to put my mother in a coma."
"Her magic is rising to dangerous levels!"
"Listen, with all due respect Mr. Snape, I don't think you understand the seriousness of this situation…"
"I know my mother!" Victor argued. "She can get out of this if we give her five more minutes!"
"She doesn't have five minutes!"
"Then give her four minutes!"
Before the Healer could answer, Victor shoved him aside. He pushed through the Mediwitches and yelled, "Mum!"
The cackling was just as hideous as the last time she'd heard it.
Hermione used every ounce of her strength to keep from screaming. She wouldn't give Bellatrix the satisfaction of her agony.
"Get up you filthy mudblood! Get up and show me how wrong I am! Get up and show everyone how strong you supposedly are!"
Hermione whined as the magic coursed through her body.
Hermione raised her head.
"Mum, you need to wake up now!"
"Victor?" Hermione whispered.
"Come on Mum! You are strong, the strongest with I've ever met! You can do this! Just get up!"
"I can't," Hermione squeaked.
"Please Mum, we need you! Dad, Rose, Violet and I love you! We love you so much! Please come back to us so we can show you our love!"
Hermione felt a surge of power well up. She faced Bellatrix and waved her arm. The dark witch screamed before hitting a wall.
Hermione rose and limped towards her nemesis.
"Filthy mudblood," Bellatrix coughed.
"You may be right," Hermione stood. "Perhaps I did pass this condition onto my children. Perhaps there is nothing I can do to prevent my own death. But by God I will show them how to fight this with strength and dignity! I will show them how loved they are!"
"The magic levels, they're going down."
The glow grew dimmer and darker.
"That's it Mum," Victor began. "Come back to us."
"Now if you'll excuse me." Hermione marched out the door. "My family needs me, and I need them."
With that, she opened her eyes.