AN: Thank you for all the support! It is very deeply appreciated!
Hermione gazed upon her husband as if he was love itself. Severus' expression was just as serene, as if he had finally returned home from an arduous trip. He ran a finger along her cheek before kissing her forehead. She hummed before spooning herself into him.
Neither noticed the six pairs of eyes spying on them from the doorway.
"They wouldn't last a day without each other," Violet whispered.
"No," Victor replied, "They wouldn't."
Severus cupped his wife's chin into his hand and brushed his lips against hers. Her eyes glistened as she pulled him closer.
A smile crept across Rose's face. "There is something beautiful about their love."
"As imperfect as they are, they know how to love each other," Rose continued.
"Yes, they do," Victor answered. "I envy them."
"If the Wizarding World understood how in love they truly were, then I'm sure everyone else would envy them as well," Rose replied.
"Yes, they are enviable," Violet sighed. "Which almost makes me feel terrible for wanting nothing more than to interrupt them so I can speak with Mum."
"You'll get your chance soon," Victor promised.
"I know," Violet raised her voice. "But I have spent all morning watching my comatose mother, and since she has been awake she has not so much as hugged me."
Hermione turned to the doorway. "Rose? Victor? Violet?"
"Yes," they answered.
Hermione sat up. "Please come in."
Violet dashed into the room and embraced her mum. Hermione took a deep breath as she wrapped her arms around her. "I'm so sorry little Petal that I haven't had the chance to tell you hello yet. You have no idea how desperately I've wanted to see you."
"You mean it?"
Hermione squeezed Violet tighter. "I would not lie about something so important."
"I love you, Mummy."
"I love you too, Petal."
While Hermione and Violet talked, Rose and Victor crept towards their mother.
Severus slid off the bed and cleared his throat. "How long were you three standing outside?"
"Long enough to know you have no sense of decorum when it comes to Mum," Rose replied.
Severus smirked. "If your mother was healthier and I was in better spirits I would show you exactly what lack of decorum looks like."
Rose's eyes grew as the color was drained from Victor's face. Severus chuckled. There were few things more entertaining than using the love he had for his wife to rattle the children.
"Mummy, I was so scared for you," Violet released her mother.
"I know," Hermione ran her fingers through her daughter's silky hair. "I'm here now though, and do not plan on going anywhere."
"Yes. Somehow, someway, I am going to overcome this illness. I plan on being in your lives for a very long time."
Severus exhaled. "Love, please do not feel that you must have unfettered optimism around us."
Hermione shook her head. "I am not overly optimistic, I simply have faith in my husband and daughter to create a cure."
"Mum, we may not be able to do anything," Rose warned. "You have to be prepared for that possibility."
"I know," Hermione removed her hands from Violet. "Perhaps you will not be able to find a cure at the moment, but I plan to fight as long as I possibly can, giving you time to discover one."
"Mum," Rose began. "You don't need to have such blind faith in us."
"No," Hermione answered. "You cannot give up on us or on this family. I refuse to, and you need to follow my lead."
Rose closed her mouth.
"Mum, where is this sudden attitude adjustment coming from?" Violet asked.
"It's very difficult to explain, but when I was waking from my coma, I realized how desperately I needed all of you. Yet I felt so helpless against the disease. I did not know if I could be the person you need me to be. Then I realized I had more strength inside of me than I gave myself credit for. For Merlin's sake, I was the woman who endured hours of torture at the hands of Bellatrix and lived to tell the tale! If I can do that, then I have the strength to accomplish almost anything!"
"True," Severus muttered.
"As I started waking up, I decided to stop making plans for when I die and start making plans for when my cancer is in remission," Hermione announced.
Severus' eyes misted. "That sounds like an excellent idea, Love. I only hope your faith in us is not misplaced."
"Believe me, it is not," Hermione promised.
"Very well then," Severus answered.
"If we cannot find a cure, will," she swallowed. "Will you be able to forgive us?"
"There will be nothing to forgive. If I perish, I will be grateful that your research could lead to a cure, if only to demonstrate what does not work. If I can prevent someone from going through this pain, then my life has been worthwhile."
"Very well then," Rose answered.
"All that being said," Hermione's eyes lit up. "Rose, I want you to find my coat pocket and pull out my wallet. Then I want you to find Finn's Bakery and pick out a chocolate cherry cake."
"Mum," Victor began as Rose picked up her mother's coat from one of the nearby chairs. "You don't need to do this."
"Yes I do," Hermione replied. "We need to have cake."
"We're in a hospital," Victor protested. "Surely you want to celebrate my birthday in a place which isn't so, uh, sterile."
"I'm positive. Now, Severus." She pointed to her husband. "Go home and get the presents. You know where they are."
"I certainly do."
"Violet, don't think I've forgotten about you," Hermione turned to her youngest daughter. "I want you to go to the cafeteria and pick out some plates, forks, and knives. Once you take them up here, I want you to go down to the gift shop and find some festive decorations."
"Yes, Mum," Violet saluted before scurrying off.
Before Victor could respond, his father and older sister had disappeared as well.
Hermione gave him a half grin. "You really thought you could get out of seeing our Easter pictures, didn't you?"
Victor groaned. "Mum, I thought we'd all be focusing on you living, not on my bloody birthday."
"Why don't you want to celebrate your birthday?"
"It just seems like we should be focusing on you, not me."
"Don't be like your father. Enjoy your birthday and hand me that photo album."
Victor laughed and complied.
"Now," Hermione flipped through the pages until she found where they had left off. "Here is the first Easter photo we took with all of you children. Your grandparents wanted a picture of you, so we decided Easter would be the perfect time since we didn't have many spring pictures. Of course Rose pitched a fit at the idea of wearing pink so here she is in black."
A young girl of seven smirked as she stared into the camera, her black dress accentuated by her black cape. Her father put a hand on her shoulder, not bothering to hide the spark of pride in his eyes.
"You seemed happy with your lilac suit," Hermione continued. "At least until I told you that you couldn't run around in the mud with it on. Then it became far less appealing."
A young boy of six flashed a grin in front of the camera, not caring that his two front teeth were absent. Then he looked up at his mother, as if to seek her approval. She gave him a warm smile before readjusting the squirming emerald clad infant in her arms.
Victor would never admit it out loud, but it was one of his favorite family photos.
"Mrs. Malfoy, I don't understand your father's symptoms at all."
Violet paused mid-step. She turned to her right.
A Healer tapped his quill against his notepad. "No, they just make little sense to me."
"How exactly did he get in here?" Ginevra asked.
"He came in for monitoring in preparation for an amnesiac episode. At the time he had only a minor cough, yet now he's having fits and can barely stand."
Violet hid into the corner where the hallway to the front desk and the hallway to the patient rooms met.
"Indeed," the Healer replied. "We are running tests on him, but nothing is showing up. Still the cough persists."
"What should we do?" Ginevra asked.
"Well, we can give him a room for the night and watch him for signs that his cough is developing into something more serious."
Violet pursed her lips together.
"That does not sound like a terrible idea," Ginevra answered.
The Healer sighed. "I just wish there was more that we could do."
"Well, you're doing your best. In the end, that's all we can ask for."
"Yes, and I will try to contact George again. Hopefully he will answer my floo call this time."
"I'm sure he just away from his fireplace."
"In the meantime, you may want to contact my other brothers. I'm sure Bill and Charlie are worried sick about Dad."
"Well," the Healer looked up at the ceiling.
Ginevra paled. "Is there something I should know."
"Yeah, there is!"
They spun around towards their eavesdropper.
Violet emerged from her hiding place. "Bill and Charlie tried to arrest my dad, and they almost killed my mum!"