AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Rose stretched out her legs and her arms. She pried open her eyes and moaned. Weren't the lights on when I went to sleep? Wasn't the television droning on about something?
"Oh good, you're finally awake," Muriel began.
"Finally?" Rose yawned.
"Yes," Muriel approached the sofa. "Your grandfather and I thought you were going to sleep the entire day away."
"I guess I did take a bit of a nap."
"That you did."
Rose's stomach sank. "Where is Mum?"
"She went home after you fell asleep," Muriel answered.
"Did Dad come in to check on me?"
"No, he hasn't stopped by yet."
"How long ago did I doze off?"
"It's been several hours."
Rose shot up. "Oh shit."
Muriel shook her finger at Rose. "Watch your language."
Rose gulped. "Oh unicorn dung."
Severus groaned and rolled over. He buried his head into the pillow, yet sleep did not return.
"Did you have a nice rest?"
Severus moaned, pried open his eyes, and raised his head.
Before him, the walls were a stark white. The odor of sterilizing potions was almost strong enough to cause him to gag. From a few meters away, he could hear voices mumbling.
"Are you feeling well?" a familiar voice asked.
He turned his head. Upon seeing the woman to his right, his stomach churned.
Hermione lowered the parchment she'd been reading. Her eyes were fixed upon him, as if she was unsure of who he was at the moment.
Severus' throat dried.
"Who am I?" Hermione asked.
"Hermione Jean Snape nee Granger," Severus replied.
"How old am I?"
"You just turned fifty."
"On September 19th."
"Who is my spouse?"
Severus bowed his head. "Me."
Hermione rushed over and embraced him. "Oh thank God, thank God it's you!"
"Indeed, I am here," Severus choked before pulling her into his arms.
"I didn't know if you'd remember me," Hermione cried. "The Healers thought you would recover, although even they weren't entirely confident of that. They didn't know what was going on. Nobody has been able to explain any of this to me."
"I'm here Love," Severus whispered. "I am here now."
Hermione pulled away from him and wiped the tears from her eyes. "I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am that you remember me."
"I am relieved to remember you as well," he replied.
Hermione embraced him again. "I love you, Severus, I truly do."
"The feeling is quite mutual," he answered.
Hermione pulled away. Then the light in her eyes died. "How long have you had these nightly memory lapses?"
Severus gave her a blank stare.
She frowned. "Severus, how long have you had these symptoms?"
"Love," he began. "My episode has concluded. Perhaps it would be best to enjoy the present moment and ignore the past."
Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. "This isn't your first episode, is it?"
"You had one the night we were supposed to travel to Brazil, didn't you?"
He twisted his bottom lip.
Her voice betrayed no emotion. "You lied to me."
"I did not intend to deceive you."
"What did you intend to do then if you were not attempting to deceive me?"
"I was trying to protect you."
"Protect me from what?"
"I did not want you to fear for my safety."
"Did you not think I would eventually discover that you were ill?"
"I did not know the origin of this memory loss or how frequently it would occur. For all I knew it would only occur one time," Severus argued. "I did not want to cause you any undue stress so I decided not to disclose it that first night."
"But you disclosed your condition to Rose," Hermione replied.
"I did not disclose my condition to my daughter."
"Don't insult my intelligence," Hermione snapped. "When I found you three nights ago you were with Rose. Last night Rose was desperate to keep me in Australia as long as possible. Before you left I remembered you whispering something in my ear. You wanted her to distract me, didn't you?"
Severus' expression said it all.
"So not only did you lie to me, you also enticed my daughter to deceive me as well."
"It was meant as an act of love, not of deception."
"An act of love?" Hermione spat.
Severus wrung his hands.
"How could persuading my children to lie to my face be an act of love?"
"I have already explained that to you."
"You asked Rose to," Hermione shuddered. "H-how did Rose get her concussion?"
"Neville told me there was a legion of amnesiac aurors heading for the Slytherin Dungeon. She managed to talk most of them down, but a few of them were defiant. She was injured in the midst of the ensuing combat."
"So there was no potions accident?"
"And you're positive that you…"
"Gods no!" Severus exclaimed. "I do not know who injured her, but if I did I would hex that person into oblivion immediately. Even as an amnesiac I never threatened Rose, not that she wouldn't have been able to defend herself. She's the only person who was ever able to sneak up on me and stun me."
"When did she stun you?"
"During the first episode."
"So, even when you were at your surliest, Rose was able to overpower you?"
He couldn't suppress his grin. "Indeed, my daughter is powerful and cunning enough to cast a stunning spell when my back was turned."
Hermione gave him a half smile. "You've trained her well."
"We've trained her well," Severus answered.
Hermione exhaled. "Why didn't you just tell me what had happened? We would have worked through it together."
"I was terrified of you becoming overly stressed."
"I am not a china doll."
"I know," Severus replied. "Still, if this was only to happen once, and you became overly distraught about it…"
"I would have found a way to calm myself and solved the problem to prevent it from happening again," Hermione concluded.
Severus nodded. "Indeed you would have."
"I need to be your partner, Severus," Hermione replied. "I want to be your equal in everything."
"I know," Severus replied. "From the bottom of my heart I apologize for deceiving you. It was wrong of me to do so."
Hermione kissed him on the cheek. "Apology accepted."
"Now," Hermione strolled over to the chair and picked up her parchment. "I've been going over every memory spell I know and determining they're efficacy, duration, and strength."
She handed him a two meters long parchment. Severus hummed. "You have been quite busy."
"Well if anyone would know about memory altering spells, it would be me," Hermione answered.
"Indeed," Severus replied.
"Now," Hermione answered. "I only used charms on my parents because I was unaware of any potions which could cause amnesia. Still, a charm couldn't be this widespread."
"What is your suspicion then?"
"I suspect someone has created a potion which causes amnesia."
"Yet how could a potion affect some, but not others?" Severus asked.
Hermione sighed. "I've been trying to work through that very problem with little success."
"A potion would need to be distributed somehow, yet how could anyone give it to so many people?"
"I wish I knew."
Severus set the parchment aside. "Perhaps you need a partner to help you in your endeavor."
"Perhaps I do." Hermione's eyes glistened. "I need an esteemed potions master to help me. Someone who knows the dark arts well would be of great use as well."
"Those would be useful skills at a time such as this."
"Is there anyone you'd suggest then?"
He replied. "Lucius Malfoy."
She raised an eyebrow. "Lucius Malfoy?"
"Indeed, he could aid you."
"I had a much more qualified and much more handsome applicant in mind."
"No, he is not tall enough for my liking, and he doesn't wear enough black. I love a black-clad man."
Severus captured her lips. "When do we start?"