AN: Thank you for sticking with this! I really appreciate it!
I hate everything about this place. I hate the aroma of the disinfectant potions, I hate the murmurings of the healers, and I hate the smiles plastered on the Mediwitches' faces.
Everything about this place is detestable.
Hermione stared at the empty cot before her. The white sheets were stark, as if they had just been removed from their package. The cot was manufactured to perfection, just like every other cot in the ward. On the wooden door there was a clipboard with all the medical information one would ever want to know about her husband. All that was missing from the room was Severus himself.
What is taking them so long? Why hasn't anyone told me what's become of my husband? Did they need to sedate him because he was being too big of a git? Is he frightened, or is he merely upset?
Does he still hate this place as much as I do?
Hermione slid onto the examination table. "I don't know why you insisted that I come here."
"I am perfectly healthy," Hermione continued, her eyes resting on the ink pot and quill across the room. "Or so I think I am."
"You have been complaining of discomfort for some time now."
"It's a minor inconvenience really. Whatever I have will pass," Hermione replied. "The only productive thing to come out of this appointment will be a discussion of how likely it is that I can give Violet a little sibling."
Severus raised an eyebrow.
"While I believe Violet enjoys having us to herself, it would be nice for her to have the experience of having a sibling in the home with her while her brother and sister are off at Hogwarts," Hermione continued. "We should focus on that, and not on some ache I have."
He kissed her on the cheek. "Whatever happens, I assure you that Violet will thrive."
"I know she will," Hermione replied.
"She's a strong witch, just like her mother," Severus answered. "If she must, she can go without a younger sibling."
Hermione cracked a smile. "I'm certain she can."
The door burst open. "Hermione Snape?"
Severus backed away from his wife. Hermione sat up. "Hello Healer Branigan."
"Hello Mrs. Snape," the Healer shook her hand before turning to Severus. "Hello Mr. Snape."
Healer Branigan sat down on a medical stool. "I hope everything is going well."
"It is going as well as can be expected given the circumstances," Hermione answered.
"Yes," Healer Branigan reached over to a table and grabbed a clipboard. She skimmed the page before stating, "I heard that you were suffering from a little bit of pain in your pelvic area."
Hermione nodded. "I've been experiencing some non-menstrual related spotting as well."
Healer Branigan grabbed an ink pot and dipped a quill into it. "When did your symptoms begin?"
"The pain began about a week ago, and it's only intensified. As for the bleeding," Hermione swallowed. "I noticed it yesterday."
The Healer jotted down a few notes. "And you aren't menstruating?"
"No, I am not."
Healer Branigan tapped the feather against her chin. "Well then, let's try and see what's going on and get it resolved in a timely fashion."
A chill ran through Hermione's body. "Yes, let's."
Healer Branigan stood up and set her items on the table. Then she pulled out her wand, approached Hermione, and uttered an incantation.
"Okay," Healer Branigan began. "I'm not detecting a pregnancy."
"What about a miscarriage?" Hermione asked.
She whispered another spell. "No, there's no sign of a miscarriage."
Hermione released the breath she'd been holding.
The Healer cleared her throat. "Now, I only ask this in the interest of the medical knowledge, but you two have had a monogamous marriage, correct?"
"Of course we have," Severus growled.
"Yes," Hermione answered in a gentler voice. "We have remained faithful to each other."
"Okay," Healer Branigan pointed her wand over Hermione's womb. "I always ask in cases such as this to eliminate any possible conditions."
"I know," Hermione replied.
Severus muttered something under his breath, but Hermione didn't ask what had been said.
Healer Branigan whispered a few more spells. Each time, the wand turned red. She frowned.
"Is anything showing up?" Hermione asked.
"Not yet," the Healer muttered.
Hermione's stomach sank.
"Before I continue, I must ask if you have a family history of cancer."
"My mother developed uterine cancer shortly after I was born."
"Do you know if she has Lynch Syndrome."
"She does, have it. Why do you ask?"
Healer Branigan whispered, "Are vteri."
The wand glowed blue.
"I apologize," a Mediwitch crept into the room.
"No, you're fine," Hermione replied. "H-how is my husband?"
"At the moment we're interviewing him to see what exactly he remembers and when his black outs began," the Mediwitch answered.
"What have you discovered?"
"From what we're gathering, he's woken up disoriented in your bedroom for the last two nights."
"Has he said anything else?"
"He's convinced that you are either a Death Eater or a test from Dumbledore to prove test his loyalty to the cause of the Light."
Hermione stifled a chuckle. Nobody but Severus would accuse me of being beautiful enough to seduce a double agent.
"So far, we haven't learned much else from him," the Mediwitch concluded.
"Is there any chance he could recover from this?"
"We don't know. Perhaps he will recover come daybreak as he has been, or perhaps his state is permanent. At this moment, we don't know."
The Mediwitch wrung her hands. "In the meantime, would you like me to get you a drink, perhaps a tea or a gillywater?"
"No." Hermione waved her away. "At the moment I'm fine."
"Would you like a snack? We have crackers and cookies."
"I am not hungry."
"Would you like me to transfigure your bed so you can get a few hours of sleep?"
"I am not tired in the slightest."
"Well," The Mediwitch replied. "If you need anything, please let us know."
"I will," Hermione promised,
The Mediwitch scurried away. Hermione took a ragged breath and rubbed her face.
I promised myself years ago I wouldn't fall asleep in another hospital room. Tonight I have no intention of breaking that promise.
Hermione pried her eyes open. Although her vision was blurred, she could make out the voices from across the room.
"We were unable to perform the hysterectomy vaginally," a woman's voice began. "The tumor was in such a position that the only safe way to perform the surgery was to perform an abdominal hysterectomy."
"What does that mean?"
"Severus," Hermione rasped.
"It means that she will be in the hospital longer than anticipated. She will also have to wait another week or so before beginning treatment. Otherwise she runs the risks of developing an infection," the woman continued.
"I'm aware of the complications of the potions she will be taking," Severus answered.
"Then I don't need to explain them."
"No, you do not."
"Severus," Hermione whispered.
"There, there was another complication," the woman's voice was softer.
"Yes?" Severus drawled.
The Healer cleared her throat. "When we performed the wand scans, we detected a high level of dark magic. Now, most cancers in magical beings are accompanied by an uptick in dark magic, but your wife has elevated levels even for people with her condition."
"What are you saying?" Severus asked.
"Hermione," Severus snapped. "Her name is Hermione."
The woman coughed. "Excuse me, Hermione, was exposed to quite a bit of dark magic during the Second Wizarding War. From what I understand she endured torture for an extended period of time at one point."
"She did," Severus answered.
"Anytime someone uses dark magic, a residue remains within the victim. Normally it's negligible and the body can overcome it. If the body becomes out of whack so to speak, though, then the effects of the dark magic can flare up once more."
"Stop dancing around the issue and tell me: what are Hermione's chances of a full recovery."
"Unless we reduce the amount of dark magic in her body, any treatment will simply buy her a few more months."
Severus' voice cracked. "Months."
There was silence.
"Mr. Snape, I know…"
"No, you do not know. Do not insult my intelligence by pretending you have any idea as to what I am enduring."
"Severus?" Hermione croaked.
Her husband ran over to her side. "Hello, Love."
Hermione rubbed her eyes. "What, what's happening?"
"Mrs. Snape," the Healer began.
"Are you in any pain?"
"Good," the Healer replied. "The potions are working."
For the life of her she couldn't remember the Healer's next words. All she could meditated on was that she had another scar on her body, and that from the corner of her eye she could see the faint words "mudblood" on her arm.
"How did you get him to fall asleep?"
The Mediwitch adjusted the sheets over Severus' body. "While we interrogated your husband, we lit a candle charmed to make those around it drowsy. We are used to its effects, but your husband is not."
Hermione gave her a half smile. "That was quite clever."
"It's a standard tactic," the Mediwitch answered. "He is not the first patient who's refused to be put to bed, and he will not be the last."
"No, he will not be," Hermione replied.
"He should be asleep for the next few hours or so. If you would like we can get you a cot…"
"With all due respect Mrs. Snape, you appear exhausted."
"I am quite awake." The tone of her voice warned the Mediwitch not to continue any further.
"Okay," the Mediwitch replied. "If you need anything, feel free to call us."
I need to leave this place and never return.
"Yes, I heard you," Hermione replied. "I promise that if anything comes up, I will contact you immediately."
The Mediwitch scurried into the hallway.
It was said as such a statement of fact, in such a detached voice, that even Hermione was shocked it had come forth from her lips.
Severus pulled the blankets over her. Then he straightened out the sleeves of his nightshirt.
"I am going to die." Hermione pulled the covers up to her chin. "Within the next year…"
"Don't say another word," Severus warned.
"Love," Hermione removed a stray clump of hair from her head. "I understand what the Healers are saying. I know I am not progressing as they would like. I, I'm dying."
"No," Severus slid into bed beside her.
"It's time to start facing reality."
"I am facing reality. At the moment I have several promising leads into a potential cure for the dark magic flaring inside your body. If we can control that magic we have a fair chance of destroying the tumors."
"We," Hermione turned to him. "No, you need to prepare for what your life will be within the next few years."
"What do you wish your life to be within the next five years?" Severus asked.
"I want you to be happy."
"I am happy with you."
"You won't be with me."
"Yes, I will. This potion will be created, and I will be by your side for the next century or so."
Hermione choked. "Severus, you have done the impossible on numerous occasions, and I am in awe of your intellectual capacities. Still, there are limitations to what you can accomplish."
"No," Severus argued. "We are going to fight this together. You, you will not give up on fighting."
"I won't give up if you make me this promise."
"I will promise you anything."
A tear came to Hermione's eye. He brushed it away with his thumb.
"If anything were ever to happen to me, if I perish before you," she took a ragged breath. "You need to remain open to happiness, even if that means moving on from me."
"Moving on?" Severus asked.
Hermione draped herself over him. "I know you, Severus. You will always be emotionally available for the children. No matter what happens, they will always know how they loved because of you. Other people are a different matter altogether."
"Most people are too tedious to warrant my attention," Severus answered. "I will never regret being more discerning than most."
"Trust me, I am happy you are so discerning. It makes the guest lists at dinner parties much shorter, which I tend to appreciate."
"Indeed it does."
"That being said, you deserve happiness," Hermione replied. "If I perish, and you find yourself falling in love again, know that you are not disgracing my memory. I want you to find joy in life, not spend your entire existence grieving over me."
"I won't fall in love again because there is only one woman I will ever love, and she is in this bed with me," Severus answered.
"Hermione," Severus swallowed. "I may not have gone into this marriage with the most romantic of intentions, but you did prove to be the perfect wife for me. Nobody will ever be you, and for that reason alone, I am fine with remaining a hermit after you perish."
"Now Severus," Hermione grinned. "You said you would grant me my wish."
"I should have clarified," Severus answered. "I will grant you any wish within reason."
Hermione gave him a playful huff.
"Thus I propose a new deal."
"I will find a way to be happy if you promise to fight for your life," Severus answered.
Hermione sniffed. "I will."
They sealed their agreement with a kiss.
Hermione watched Severus' chest fall and rise. It was as if the last few hours had never occurred. He was at peace.
When I was sick, he fought so hard for her health. Even now, he and Rose are slaving for hours in end for some cure to my condition. If there is one man worth fighting for, it's Severus. Still, how can I fight for someone who doesn't remember me, much less want me around?
She stepped closer to Severus and whispered in his ear. "I love you Severus. I will always love you. Somehow, we will get through this together. I swear my life on it."
Severus' lips twitched upwards