“Severus!” Hermione shouted, staring at the limp figure next to her in panic. This couldn’t be, this couldn’t be , she thought, her mind repeating those same words over and over again like a mantra.
Somehow her whole world had narrowed down to him and just him; the people around her forgotten. The only important thing right now was his hand, which was limp but still warm within hers. She would not let it go, she mustn’t. She had promised it to him, after all.
Hermione was only marginally aware of her name being called, not reacting to it, at all. Then there was a shuffle of movement around her and after a while, she could feel Severus being lifted into the bed in front of her. She allowed it but did not let go of his hand, even though it probably would have been more practical if she had. Hermione did not care, as she could feel an inexpressible sadness swallowing her up and pulling her down. What was she supposed to do now? Was there even something she could do or would she witness Severus’ slow death with her being unable to do a thing for him? No, this could not happen. She would not allow it.
Severus Snape was her Kindred Spirit, the man destiny had appointed to her. She would not let him go, she would find a way to save him and work the miracle her friend had been asking for.
Albus looked at the girl at Severus’ side with a sad smile, before he carefully levitated Harry out of the room. The boy was waking up, but Albus was pretty sure he still wasn’t fully aware of what was happening around him. Good. He would give Miss Granger and Severus all the privacy they needed, because if there was somebody able to save his… friend , then it was this girl. But it would be a close call.
Still, what he saw let him hope that the girl truly cared about Severus and his boy did not deserve any less.
“Professor Dumbledore, what happened?” he heard Harry ask him groggily from the bed he had settled him in. The boy was back to the public ward, which would make it possible for him to receive visitors, as soon as Albus had found out what had happened to him.
“Harry, my boy. How are you feeling?” he found himself asking, focussing his most kind smile and his whole attention on the boy in the bed.
The teenager looked at him with a tired smile. “Horrible, like I was run over by the Knight Bus or something.”
Albus smiled at the boy’s comparison. “I can imagine. Somebody attempted to murder you, after all. Do you remember who attacked you, Harry? Or anything else for that matter?”
Harry looked at him with a shocked expression, before his gaze turned contemplative. “The last thing I remember was going to Hogsmeade. I was alone because… well, Ron took Hermione on a date, which is fine. I am happy for them.”
Well, this was indeed unfortunate news, but he’d deal with that information and the eventual fall-out later. For now he patiently waited for the boy to continue his story.
“I followed Malfoy, because, well... he has behaved somewhat suspiciously this year,” Harry continued, his forehead wrinkled in concentration . “I wanted to keep an eye on him, Sir, just in case he was meeting someone or planning something. But he disappeared around a corner and a moment later I was attacked from behind. I didn’t see who did it, though.”
Albus nodded seriously. “That is unfortunate. Someone tried to kill you, Harry, and he almost succeeded. Do you remember hearing the person speaking the curse? Or was it done silently?”
“I don’t know, Sir. I don’t think I heard anything, to be honest,” Mr Potter confessed, his face taking on a lost expression. The boy was probably still in shock. Maybe he would remember later.
Albus sighed. He was slowly starting to get too old for this. “Very well. Then I will let you rest now. I will come and visit you again in the morning.”
The boy nodded, even though Albus could tell he still had plenty of questions. But those had to wait. He had to call a staff meeting and inform his Professors about the attack. Later, at dinner, he would have to make an announcement in the Great Hall. That was something he did not look forward to.
Hopefully, Severus would get better under Miss Granger’s care. He could not help but feel that he would terribly miss the other man otherwise. Over the years he had gotten used to Severus’ wit and his insightful perspective.
Later that evening Albus crept back into the private room he had provided for his former spy and his bond mate. Already from the door he could see the girl had fallen asleep, resting her head on his Professor’s unconscious form. But what really caught his eye was that both of them had started glowing in a strange bluish light, a thing Albus had never seen before in his life. What kind of magic was that? Was this how it looked when a Kindred Spirit healed one's bond partner? He did not know what else it could be.
A wave of his wand and some analytical spells confirmed his suspicions. Yes, there was definitely something happening there, what exactly he could not say as this form of magic seemed completely raw and unrefined to him. But it did not matter, because Severus Snape was definitely improving. Compared to before, when his body was even more vigorously attacked by the curse than Harry had been, things had looked... bad. Now it suddenly seemed like there was a good chance of the man recovering. It was a miracle, but then again it was not. Albus had always known what a powerful force White Magic was, if one knew how to use it. For many years this form of Magic seemed lost to him, but suddenly things seemed to look up for their side of the war. With Miss Granger and Severus suddenly being able to use this rare form of magic, they now suddenly had a way of defeating Tom. He just needed a way to bring those two even closer together and then teach them what to do with their newly-awakened powers.
Severus felt warm and cosy when he slowly drifted back into consciousness. For a moment he wondered if he had finally bitten the bullet and ended his pitiful existence, but a moment later he became aware of the feeling of one small hand cradled into his and a scent in his nose he knew only too well. Hermione! And suddenly the memory of what had transpired in the hospital wing came rushing back to him. Merlin!
She was still there, Hermione had not left him. Instead, she had kept her promise and stayed at his side. But more importantly: she had done it. She had pulled him back from death’s door. This wonderful, brilliant, kind witch!
Before he felt the desire to open his eyes, his hand twitched in the attempt to hold Hermione’s hand even tighter. It seemed enough to alert the girl, as her hand immediately reacted to his touch, her voice whispering:
Her voice was somewhat slurry, indicating that she had not been fully awake herself, but it was also so full of hope and other raw emotions, that it made his heart ache.
Severus opened his eyes and squinted them against the darkness of the room. Obviously it was night, but he could see Hermione’s delicate form hover over him, studying his face with huge, concerned eyes.
“Severus! You’re awake! Thank god! I was so worried! I thought I’d lost you!” she whispered, one of her hands gently touching his forehead. “I am so so sorry to have put you into this impossible situation. I had no idea but the thought of losing you… forever… please forgive me.”
He looked at her with a soft look in his dark eyes. “We were both thrown into an impossible situation, Hermione. There is nothing for me to forgive. Just… don’t do this again.”
“ I swear it. Are you in pain? Shall I call for Madame Pomfrey?” she asked, her voice sounding panicked and excited at the same time.
He could not help the dazed smile forming at his lips. “ ‘m fine,” he mumbled, his eyes focussing on her, taking her in. “You fixed me, Hermione. Your presence here is all I need, right now. Don’t want that old hag fussing over me and shooing you away.”
It was the most unguarded he’d ever been with her and he attributed it to the fact that he had just escaped death. Propriety be damned, he wanted her to know that he wanted her here, that he cared about her.
Hermione looked at him scoldingly. “Madame Pomfrey is not an old hag, she’s always very kind. But, well, I guess she would tell me to go, now that you’re awake.” The girl smiled shyly. “And I’d rather stay a bit longer.”
“Good,” Severus mumbled, pressing her hand softly.
For a while they fell silent, Hermione watching him attentively. He wasn’t sure if she was afraid to disturb him, or just uncomfortable talking to him after what had happened and he decided to find out. “How long have I been out?” he asked, his voice still sounding raw with sleep.
“A few hours,” she replied seriously. “It’s probably only a bit longer until breakfast.”
He nodded. Good, at least he hadn’t been unconscious for days. That would have fuelled the students’ gossip mill. “I guess I’ll have to skip breakfast then,” he said, a rueful smile on his lips. “I don’t imagine Madame Pomfrey will let me loose on the students today. Pity. Would have taught your class today, but then again I don’t see you going to classes today, either.”
Hermione smiled back at him. “Yeah. I feel terribly drained, to be honest. Whatever I did to heal you must have drained my magic pretty thoroughly. Do you think the Headmaster will excuse me from classes today?”
He could not help but snort at her obliviousness. “He’d excuse you for the rest of the year for what you did. Apart from that, there’s probably not much you haven’t taught yourself by now, anyway.”
The girl looked at him in disbelief. “You really think so? You think I could skip the whole year?”
Severus replied with a chuckle. “If you wanted to? You’d be ready to take your NEWTs in a few months if you wished to do so. But knowing you, that is not what you want to do. You enjoy studying way too much for that, which is fine. Just do not stress yourself if it takes you a few days to recover, all right?”
Hermione did not question him. She just smiled. “All right.”
She must have fallen asleep again, Hermione realized, because when she became aware of her surroundings again, it was already daylight outside. Her head was resting on Severus’ bed again, her hand still laying in his, their fingers entwined.
For a moment she simply stared at their hands, taking in the strange sight. Holding him like this felt right in a way that it should not. Severus was still her Professor, which should have made things awkward. Only that they weren’t. Was it the consequence of being bonded to him, the knowledge that they were in a strange way “meant to be”? It sounded totally cliché when she put it like that.
“Good morning,” Severus’ voice pulled her out of her musings and she lifted her head with a smile.
“Good morning, Professor,” she mumbled, studying the man’s face. He looked better than a few hours ago, Hermione realised in relief, his face looking less waxy and almost back to its normal colour.
“Are you back to calling me Professor now?” he asked, his mouth twitching in amusement. “Well then I should probably also go back to calling you Miss Granger,” he said, his voice imitating the tone he wore during their lessons. She could not help but chuckle at how ridiculous that suddenly sounded, considering that she had just spent the night at his bedside, holding his hand. He was right, they were definitely more than just Professor and student now. Only... she could not say exactly what they were.
“Better not,” she answered with a smile. “Otherwise I shall feel inclined to wave my hand again, before I dare to address you. And I don’t see you appreciating that .”
Severus chuckled. “I wouldn’t. So better call me Severus then.”
Hermione planned on giving him an answer, but their moment was disturbed when the door opened and Professor Dumbledore strode inside with a wide smile on his face.
“Ah, I see you are awake. Excellent!” he said, his blue eyes looking at them with a happy twinkle. “Miss Granger, I must congratulate you. You did what Severus deemed impossible only hours ago, which is saying you worked a miracle.”
Hermione heard Severus grumble something unintelligible, but she himself looked at the Headmaster with a small smile. “Thank you, Sir. I was glad I could help, even though I would have appreciated being told your plan and the associated risks directly. I do not like being manipulated, Sir, nobody does. And most of us would still help, even after having all the facts.”
I understand, my dear, and I appreciate your willingness to save your friend. Not everyone would have been so selfless,
you’re being too modest
, my dear,” Professor Dumbledore said, while looking at her with a kind smile. “How are you feeling?”
“Tired,” Hermione replied truthfully, letting go of the man’s other comment .
At that, Severus rolled his eyes. “She’s drained her magical core, Albus. She’ll need at least a full day of rest and a few good meals. See that she gets it. Maybe she should also move back to her private room, for the time being. I can imagine Miss Granger is still too tired for being questioned by a horde of over-excited Gryffindors. What did you tell them, by the way?”
At that Professor Dumbledore looked at them with a serious expression. “That Mr Potter was attacked and seriously wounded by an unknown wizard while visiting Hogsmeade. I also mentioned that you are currently working on a cure for him and therefore will not be available for quite some while. I cannot say the students were disappointed, that I will in the meantime substitute for you.”
“You’ll be teaching DADA today, Sir?” Hermione asked, suddenly feeling disappointed that she could not attend the lesson. Professor Dumbledore would surely teach them so many amazing things!
At that, she saw Severus roll his eyes dramatically. “And here I thought you liked having me as your Professor.”
When Hermione entered the Great Hall after having not been seen for over a day, agitated whispers erupted in the room. Severus, too, was back at his place at the teacher’s table, even though it had taken some convincing for Poppy to let him go. But considering the circumstances Severus felt fine , definitely good enough to join meals in the Great Hall and see Hermione again. Because yesterday she had not come visiting him again.
Severus clearly felt her absence from his side, felt the old longing to be close to her - a longing that a shared meal in the Great Hall would not be able to fulfill. The pull he suddenly felt towards her was even stronger than what he had felt at the beginning of their magic forging this connection. He realized that this probably meant that their bond had strengthened again. And even though that meant they would have to see each other more regularly again, he could not help but feel thrilled at the prospect of spending more time with the girl. The only problem was how they should explain this fact to anyone other than Dumbledore, as people would surely wonder. He would have to discuss the problem with the Headmaster, because he did not want to run into problems when they were discovered. The last thing he wanted was somebody assuming they had a torrid affair and therefore ruin the girl’s reputation.
Hermione had barely made an appearance at the Gryffindor table, as her two male friends jumped from their seats, attempting to pull her in their arms. She permitted it, but Severus could see her stiffen nonetheless, especially as Weasley tried touching her. As the red-head tried approaching her, Severus could feel an unpleasant tingle through the bond and going by the grimace on Hermione’s face she had felt it, too. It appeared that now with their bond strengthened, her magic started rejecting every contact it deemed hurtful to their connection. Severus did not know if he should feel delighted or panicked on the prospect of the girl feeling discomfort when facing her boyfriend. He definitely felt sorry for her, as this would make things incredibly difficult, especially as he could not see Weasley taking her rejection well. But on the other hand he was pretty sure the boy would not be a problem for him any longer and Severus could not help but feel smug about it.