AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
"I assure you that the Ministry is keeping abreast of all the latest developments surrounding this epidemic."
Severus rolled his eyes. "Of course it is."
Hermione ran her finger along the front page of The Evening Prophet. She cleared her throat and continued reading. "Barnabas Cuffe askes, 'Mr. Weasley, the Ministry is being accused of gross negligence in not informing the public of this amnesia epidemic much sooner. Your political opponent is demanding increased transparency of the Ministry and widespread reform. How would you respond to your detractors?'"
"I was too busy covering my arse to care about a silly thing like aurors endangering innocent lives," Severus muttered.
Severus scratched the arm of his recliner. "What pathetic excuse did Percy give for his oversight?"
"His answer is as follows," Hermione coughed. "First of all, I want to make it clear that the Ministry has always acted in the best interests of the people. Every action we took had only the best of intentions. When this epidemic began, we were unsure of what had occurred. When the patients recover their health in the morning, we feared creating a panic. After all, errant spells have been cast before, and magical illness have ways of resolving themselves. We remained silent not to ignore the plight of the people, but because we wanted to prevent an unnecessary scare."
"Was attacking Hogwarts not enough to cause a scare?" Severus spat.
"Apparently not," Hermione replied.
"The Ministry wanted to ascertain the cause of this amnesia so we could begin creating a cure which was to be administrated promptly. We had already contacted the best disease experts on the face of the planet, and were hard at work discovering the cause of the amnesia as well as a cure."
"You'd think we would've received some notification from the Ministry given the success of our lycanthropy cure."
"According to Percy Weasley, anyone who bears the name Snape must be wrong about everything; hence we were not worth contacting," Hermione replied.
"Now, Love that is quite uncharitable," Severus smirked. "I think our invitation was merely lost in the mail."
"Those owls are liable to lose letters every now and then."
"Indeed they are."
Hermione straightened the paper. "While I appreciate my opponent's call for transparency, I fear he may have created an unnecessary panic. Right now, we have no real solutions to offer, so discussing this epidemic only leads to unresolved anxiety. Rest assured though, we are hard at work on a cure."
"What tripe," Severus muttered.
Hermione skimmed the paper. "The rest of the article is him pandering to his supporters. A few times he goes on about the glories of the Ministry, and…"
Hermione shook her head, "I wish my opponent, Draco Malfoy, the best of luck in his campaign. I hope he remembers how important family is. I know his wife and children will."
Severus scowled. "I'm sure Ginevra will appreciate reading that."
"I'd imagine that at this point she is so accustomed to her family's taunts that she won't react at all," Hermione replied.
"Indeed," Severus replied. "Did Percy ever mention his role in the Ministry during the war?"
Hermione ran her finger along the front page. "Not that I can tell."
"Good," Severus answered. "Draco could exploit it if necessary."
"He could," Hermione replied. "Though I would appreciate it if someone ran a clean campaign."
"Do you honestly expect Percy to run a clean campaign?" He asked.
She sighed. "No, I suppose not."
"Draco needs to brace himself. The Weasleys are still part of the Order. While their political power has greatly diminished, they are not without connections."
"It was wise for Draco to discuss his past preemptively, Percy won't rest until he uncovers some type of scandal and drags Draco through the mud. It is best to get as much out in the open as he can now instead of waiting for Percy to dig it up later."
"Still, Draco won't be alone. Lucius is just as devious and relentless as any campaign manager. I suspect that they will be able to overcome whatever scandal Percy attempts to create."
"Indeed they will." Hermione's lips curled up. "Also, Draco has the two best researchers in Britain resolving this amnesia crisis. That alone should give him more than a chance to fight Percy."
Severus gave her a grin. "Indeed he does."
Only the sound of the falling rain could be heard.
"You may hide amongst the bookshelves at any moment. There is no need to watch me deteriorate before your eyes," Severus began.
Hermione shook her head. "I told you, I need to get a full view of your transformation myself. I'm staying."
"You can view my memory of the transformation. There is no need to witness it first hand."
"No matter what we did, we couldn't obtain any memory of your last three transformations. I have every reason to suspect that we will not be able to obtain a memory of this transformation."
Severus clenched his jaw. "We can try putting my memories in the pensieve once more. Perhaps the image will not be as hazy this time."
"If we couldn't get a clear picture from your memories on our fourth try then what makes you think we'll get it on the fifth try?" Hermione asked.
Thunder resounded through the room.
"You need to leave," Severus answered in a low voice.
"I cannot leave, and you know it," Hermione argued.
"Yes, you can," Severus replied. "And you will."
Hermione dropped the paper onto the floor. "Why should I be forced to leave when staying would provide me with invaluable insight?"
"You are not observing some random patient: you are observing your husband."
"Which gives me all the more incentive to see what occurs for myself."
"The emotional stakes are too high."
"What emotional stakes?"
"To begin with, I treated you horrendously at St. Mungo's," Severus replied.
"You were not in your right mind," Hermione answered. "I hold none of it against you."
"Next time I may be even more derogatory towards you."
"I can handle it."
"No," Severus' voice was more forceful. "You need to leave."
"I'm not going anywhere," Hermione answered.
The thunder rumbled.
"Please Hermione," Severus' voice was almost a whisper. "Don't give me a chance to hurt you again."
Hermione picked a piece of lint from her arm. Severus winced.
"It's fine," Hermione whispered. "My arm doesn't itch at all."
"I am more than pleased to hear it," Severus answered.
Ran spattered onto the window.
"Please Hermione, do not put your health at risk for me. Leave before I say or do something which hurts you," Severus pleaded.
Hermione stepped over to him. "I've told you several times over the years, you aren't getting rid of me very easily. If you wouldn't leave me when I was sick, then I won't walk out on you now."
"I suppose there's nothing I could say to dissuade you."
"No, there is not."
Severus scooped her into his arms. "And your arm is not itching?"
"It feels no different than usual."
"Has there been any increase in your magic?"
"It feels as it does every day. The dark magic levels don't seem to be spiking."
Severus kissed her cheek. "If you become too ill, please do not feel pressured to continue searching for a cure. If you must care for yourself…"
"You will be by my side whether you like it or not," Hermione interrupted.
"Will I still be beside you if I cannot remember your name?"
"You, you came back once. I have every confidence that somehow you will remember me again."
"Do not be such an optimist."
"We do not know if my condition could become permanent," Severus warned. "If one morning I awaken and cannot remember a thing about the last two decades, then please, seek out your own happiness. Finding a wizard who will love you should be no difficult task for you, not after the world realizes how amazing you truly are."
Hermione ran her finger along his chin. "I'm not going to stop fighting for you. Even if it takes my dying breath, I will ensure that at the very least you will remember your children."
Her captured her lips. "I love you."
She deepened the kiss. "I love you too."
The rain pounded against the window.
After a long moment, Hermione pulled away. "Now that we've settled that, we need to determine how to spend our evening."
Severus raised an eyebrow.
"Well, we need to think of some way to kill time. We cannot very well spend all night sitting around and staring at each other."
"I suppose we cannot."
Hermione reached into her pocket and pulled out a small bag. "Care for a game of Gobstones?"
"Gobstones?" He asked.
"What in Merlin's name inspired you to bring Gobstones?"
"I thought we could use the distraction, and I believed you would enjoy being defeated once more."
He purred, "I've won the last three games."
"But I won the four before that," she replied.
Severus released Hermione. "Get out the marbles."
Outside, the rain continued to batter the window.