AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Why on earth would you blame yourself for my episodes?"
Tears filled Hermione's eyes. "Because I helped you create a potion without testing its long-term effects."
"The lycanthropy cure."
Severus shook his head. "Why would it cross your mind that the lycanthropy cure is connected to this amnesia?"
A tear trickled down Hermione's eye. "Because these episodes are very similar to a lycanthrope transformation."
"Please explain," Severus answered.
"When your episode began it was like," Hermione swallowed. "It was as if you were undergoing a physical transformation. Everything from your posture to your expression changed."
"I suppose the way I present myself now is different than I did then."
"The changes reminded me of Remus Lupin becoming a werewolf."
"Perhaps the transformations are similar, but I fail to see the connection between lycanthropy and my current condition."
"While you were gone, I looked over the list of amnesiac victims. Then I went downstairs and dug up the receipts for the lycanthropy cure," Hermione replied. "Every victim I had listed was attacked by Fenrir and his army. Each one had received a cure from us."
"Did you review every victim's name?" Severus asked.
"I did not have the opportunity to do so last night. I was too exhausted to see straight around midnight, so I decided to get some sleep."
"You needed your rest."
"No, I need to find a cure so our lives can return to normal."
He rubbed her shoulder. "Love, this may all be one coincidence."
"Perhaps, yet when I reviewed the memory of Rose discussing the case with Arthur, all I could think of was the night of her kidnapping. I still," she shuddered. "I can still see you using the last of your strength to pop open the cap of that potion and drink that potion."
He lowered his hand.
"Then," she continued. "I remember the Order demanding that we provide wolfsbane for Arthur, Bill, and Charlie. They were bitten by Fenrir, as were you and the other victims."
He raised his head. "Fenrir and his lycanthropes bit thousands of people. It could be sheer coincidence that the victims of these episodes are the same as those bitten by Fenrir."
"What if it is not a coincidence?"
The tears flowed from Hermione's eyes. "We need to start looking at things from a more scientific point of view. These attacks happen during the full moon, just like a werewolf transformation. The amnesiacs lose track of themselves and their sense of time just as the werewolf would. The amnesia concludes come the dawn, as does a werewolf transformation."
"True, but Fenrir's attacks occurred seven years after the war. Why would the victims believe they were fighting in the Second Wizarding War and not when he was still running amok?"
"The Second Wizarding War occurred earlier than Fenrir's attacks," Hermione answered. "If a werewolf transformation is about returning to a more animalistic state, then perhaps the memory loss is in some ways the mind returning to an earlier time. The body cannot transform because our potion prevents it from doing so, but the mind can still devolve into the past."
"We were in such a rush to cure lycanthropy that we never considered the long-term effects of our creation. The cure was administered en mass within only a few months because nobody died during the initial tests. Nobody ever considered what would become of the lycanthropes twenty-five years into the future," Hermione continued.
"How could we have behaved any differently?" Severus asked. "We wanted to cure lycanthropy so desperately, and Fenrir was gaining power. The cure needed to be mass produced immediately."
"So we created a potion with no thought to its long-term effects," Hermione concluded.
"What would you have had us do?" Severus asked. "Fenrir was attacking at that moment. He was on the cusp of enslaving the entire Wizarding World. We couldn't afford to wait twenty-five years to understand the full effects of the potion. The cure needed to be administered at that moment."
"We did what needed to be done," Hermione scratched her arm. "Yet, it may have permanently altered your memory."
"I administered that potion along with you. If the potion is the cause of the amnesia, then I am as much to blame as you are."
"No you aren't to blame for your condition, I am!"
"I am still unclear as to how you could say such a thing."
"Because I, I put you in this position," Hermione answered. "I should have fought Fenrir face to face with you."
"No," Severus replied. "You needed to remain with Rose to ensure that Fenrir did not recapture her. You did the right thing in hiding under the invisibility cloak."
She gasped for air. "I could have done more for you. Somehow, I should have found a way to do more to protect both you and Rose."
"I needed to know that Rose was safe. That is all I required from you," Severus replied.
Hermione broke down and buried herself in his chest. "You, you were right to be wary of leaving her at home. I, I should not have insisted on a babysitter that night. I..I should have…I should have taken her to that blasted press conference. You, you…you would have been safe then! Fenrir, he never…he never..."
Severus massaged her back once the gasps prevented her from breathing. Several times he whispered, "This is not your fault. My condition is not your doing."
"I am so sorry," Hermione wept. "I am so sorry for all of this."
"There is nothing for which to apologize."
"Yes there is because I put you in this situation."
"We did what we thought was best at the time," Severus whispered. "Nobody can blame us for acting as we did."
"I should have filed a restraining order on Ron. We should have had a restraining spell placed on Rose which would have prevented him from taking her."
"It takes months and a lengthy court battle to implement such spells."
"Damnit we could have tried though."
"No, what we needed were stronger wards. I could have discovered and cast them, yet I did not. I failed to protect Rose."
"I failed to protect Rose, and now you're paying the price."
He kissed the top of her head. She took a few shaky breaths before raising her head.
"I do not blame you for this," he replied.
"None of this is your fault."
"I am not convinced that yo have discovered the true source of my amnesia, but let's assume for a moment that you have. If our lycanthropy cure did cause this disease, then we will find a cure."
"I do not know," Severus admitted. "All I know is that if we discovered a cure for lycanthropy, then we will discover the cure for this."
"I know we will," Hermione answered. "It does not eliminate the guilt I feel though."
"Do not feel a moment's guilt over this," Severus ran his fingers through his hair. "If given the choice to act differently, I would not."
Hermione wiped her face.
"Now," Severus rubbed her left arm. "Please relax, Love. We will resolve this problem."
"I should be telling you that," Hermione noted.
"Then you may say it to me," Severus answered.
Hermione gave him a small grin. "Please relax, Love. We will resolve this problem."
"Yes," he whispered. "We will."
Hermione smiled, before scratching her arm.
Severus' eyes fell on her left arm. "How long has it been itching?"
She gulped. "I have been scratching it on and off since midnight"
He raised it and examined it. So far, the only marks were those created by her fingernails.
"I will be fine," Hermione choked.
"I will be fine," Hermione repeated. "We still have time."
"Yes love," Severus answered. "Both of us still have time."
As soon as the words left his mouth, he hoped they were true.