SeverusSnapeGal, aka CRMediaGal (pename), since August 2011. Proudly Shipping Snamione (OTP!) and Snucius, and occasional Snarry. Don't like? Ye be warned. Proudly plugging SS fan art and videos.
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Unquestionable Love: The Prequel
Chapter 39: Against the Odds
As her eyes adjusted, she took in the sight of Severus’s lean form lying beside her in bed, still fully clothed and facing her. He didn’t look nearly as refreshed as she, herself, felt, which turned her smile of greeting upside down.
“Good morning,” he offered, his voice sounding incredibly worn and tired.
“You haven’t slept at all, have you?”
“Of course not,” he grumbled, ignoring her concern. “You received a serious hex to your back—you’re lucky it wasn’t your head, mind you—were splinched while Disapparating, held in captivity for several days without food or water, and were cursed by the Dark Lord three separate times. What do you expect me to do, sleep on it?”
Hermione cracked a small smile and inched closer to take possession of one his hands, planting a few tender kisses upon it as he looked on, fascinated, as he always was, by her attention. “You’ve done more than enough for me, Severus,” she reassured him in a soft whisper. “Thank you. I’m fine now and am feeling a lot better. You should rest.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s morning.”
“What time is it?”
Hermione’s awakening mind alerted to her friends. “Has anything happened? Is Harry—”
“He’s fine, as far as I know. He and Weasley haven’t been caught.”
Hermione was more than a little relieved to receive that bit of news. She had no idea what her friends were up to, and then the realization hit her like a ton of bricks: she had been missing for days. What must the boys be thinking? Were they looking for her? Had they diverted from their mission finding Horcruxes to search for her instead?
Merlin, I hope not!
Unable to stop himself from reading her mind, though her expression was easy enough to decipher, Severus interrupted her thoughts. “I can help you locate them.”
“Yes.” He paused. “They stole the cup from Bellatrix’s vault.”
“What?” The reminder of Bellatrix’s threat whilst being held hostage came back to Hermione in a flash; she hadn’t a clue what the woman was talking about at the time and simply told her she didn’t have it. “The Horcrux?”
The conversations she and Severus had had in the past slowly seeped back into her mind. “Right… From, wait… Gringotts?”
Hermione’s mouth fell open. How the heck had her friends managed to break into Gringotts?
“Mmm, yes. She only realized it was missing recently and figured it was all of you.”
Hermione shifted her head, giving Severus’s face closer inspection. “Just a minute…” Detecting the very faint glimpse of a smile at the edges of Severus’s mouth, her eyes widened in shock. “You? You stole the cup! When? How?”
“Easy, lioness. One question at a time.”
Hermione drew up onto one elbow, ignoring the soreness of her back. “Severus… How on earth did you do that?”
“About a week ago. I finally decided to give a tip off to Bellatrix for the personal satisfaction of seeing her squirm. I told you about the cup before; how I knew it was in her possession. It wasn’t easy. Goblins are remarkably clever creatures, but, well, I managed with a minor hiccup or two…”
“Wh - When did this happen?”
“Right after I… I left you.”
Hermione’s stomach knotted at seeing the flicker of pain on Severus’s face. She decided to ignore him and push for more answers.
“Where is it now?”
“My office, and I’d like you to take it with you when you return to Potter and Weasley.”
“Of course,” he laughed quietly. “It will make for a good excuse for your absence, won’t it?”
Hermione’s face softened. How had he figured all of this out, and all by himself without any help?
Not even from… Me, she reflected with tremendous guilt.
Hermione took a moment to thoroughly examine the wizard lying next to her. He was slouched with his knees propped up and clearly struggling to stay awake. His eyes—bloodshot and heavy—continuously fluttered, fighting off what he had prevented his body from having for days. And, she reflected with further remorse, all on her account.
That conscience-stricken feeling only grew worse when Severus said, in a very soft tone, “You scared the hell out of me. When I saw you get hit with that hex, I thought you might be…”
When he didn’t complete his sentence, only closed his mouth, Hermione leaned in to kiss him; she had missed the his taste, the comforting warmth of his supple lips mixed with hers, and welcomed the feeling back like a comforting form of security.
“I’m so sorry,” she apologized once their lips parted.
“As am I…”
“Don’t be, Severus. This wasn’t your fault. I chose to follow you. I made the decision to go after you, knowing the consequences. Please try to understand—”
“You don’t have to explain.” Severus let out a weary sigh and closed his eyes. “I should have anticipated it. I wasn’t thoroughly prepared for this, and I should have been. I should have protected you. I should have told you sooner. I should have done a lot of things differently. I…”
Hermione shushed him by putting her hand to his mouth. She inclined her head to sweep her lips over the bridge of his nose and detected a faint shudder that her small bout of affection provided.
“We were both pretty foolish, you have to admit.”
She was relieved to hear him chuckle, even if it was brief. “Indeed.” He opened his eyes and stroked the side of her face. “We make quite the simpleminded pair.”
“Yes, very simpleminded.”
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