Oddly enough, my legs regain movement before my arms do. The paralysis had begun in my extremities and quickly worked its way inward, perhaps the antidote was having a similar effect, albeit more slowly.
Hermione is napping in her chair and I am wishing I had the use of my arms when Minerva McGonagall walks into my room.
"Severus, you're awake! Are you all right?"
"I will be, thanks to Hermione."
The young woman in question wakes up and exchanges greetings with her former student.
"I'll let you two have some time together. I could use something to eat at any rate." Hermione starts for the door to my room, but stops when I flap a hand at her.
In my defense, I'd been trying to lift my arm. My arm did not cooperate. Hermione is a clever witch. She immediately came up to the bed and gave my hand a squeeze before heading out the door.
When I turn back to Minerva, she has one eyebrow raised and both arms crossed on over her chest.
"And what was that. Professor Snape?"
"What was what?" I know playing stupid is not going to work, no matter how happy Minerva is that I'm more myself. That doesn't keep me from trying.
The older witch says nothing, but she gives a pointed look to my hand and then to the doorway Hermione recently used to exit my room.
"Obviously I am grateful to the young woman who has given me a second chance at life."
This earns me a prim snort.
"Which has most likely been intensified by my current situation. Nightingale syndrome, as the muggles call it."
This gets me an actual chuckle. "The day any Slytherin falls victim to Nightingale syndrome is the day I start cheering for the Chudley Cannons instead of the Magpies."
It was a losing battle from the start. "She's intelligent, kind, and attractive. I care for her."
"Understandable. She's returning to Hogwarts when it's repaired to finish her schooling. Any professor who wants to keep company with her there had better be her husband."
"How long until Hogwarts is back in business?"
"No more than three months."
Three months is an eternity to a Slytherin. Certainly I should move quickly. A woman such as Hermione is not going to agree to marriage unless she has been dating the man in question for a suitable length of time and has reason to marry sooner rather than later. If we are seeing each other for a few months, for example, and can only continue to do so if we get married.
Slytherins are as capable of leaping into the fray as any Gryffindor, as long as they have a suitable reason to do so.
"Now, how long do you suppose it will be until you are able to help me with the repairs? Any chance of you getting out of this bed soon?"
"If my progress continues at its present pace, I imagine I'll be up sometime tomorrow. It will take me some time to get up to strength. I've been lying here far too long. A week, perhaps, before I'll be any use to you."
"I think so, yes. And you should get two birds with one stone. Once she is not spending all of her time on me, I think Hermione would jump at the chance to help at Hogwarts."
"An excellent idea. She is young, but quite talented with a wand."
"Faint praise from her head of house. She's a bloody war hero. I think she can manage a few repairs." I could feel the scowl on my face. It's an expression I hadn't used of late, not with Hermione fussing over me.
The mad old harridan had the gall to laugh at me, which made me scowl all the more.
"Tone it down, lad, before your face freezes like that. Now, not that my opinion matters much to you--"
"It does," I admit.
"Now you're sulking. It's quite unbecoming."
"Get to the point, woman."
"I believe that you and Miss Granger will get on quite well."
"Well, thank Merlin for that. Whatever should I have done if my choice of partner didn't meet with your approval."
"Hush, you. What can I do to help? What do you need?"
There is one void in my life that has been weighing on me greatly. "I seem to have misplaced my wand."
"Damn. That is a problem. Do you suppose it was left in the shack?"
"I imagine so. Flitwick thought I was dead. I doubt he would have looked for my wand. Does the shack still stand?"
"So much damage, so many buildings in Hogsmeade lost, and that eyesore wasn't touched. If it's there, I will find it. Any nasty little wards I should be wary of?"
Smart as a whip. I'm lucky the woman seems to have no issues with my pursuing Hermione. "Any member of The Order may handle my wand without fear. I wouldn't try anything other than picking it up, though. My wand is temperamental at best."
"Well, isn't that a shock. Severus Snape's wand is temperamental. Oh, do stop scowling. You must know how thrilled I am to have you around to tease."
She grabs one of my hands then, and I squeeze hers back just as tightly.
"Now then," Minerva says, giving my hand a last pat, "What do you want to teach, Severus? I'm afraid we have quite a few positions available."
"History of Magic."
"What? You can't possibly be serious. I can give you Potions, Defense, even Transfiguration if you want…I'm going to be quite busy. Why in the world would you want to teach history? It's not like Binns is going anywhere."
"No, he isn't, but he should. Our children learn nothing in those classes and they desperately need to. If we had an actual living professor in that class, perhaps we wouldn't be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Once with Grindelwald, twice with Voldemort, Merlin knows who will be next."
"I see your point. I hadn't thought about that before. But I was counting on you to take Potions or Defense. Binns might be a bloody awful professor, but he's at least a professor. Slughorn refuses to teach any longer, and I don't even know who else to ask."
"I can take the higher lever Potions. History won't have the same time commitment and we can make the class size larger since there's no practical."
"True, but who will teach the lower level Potions?"
"Give them to Hermione."
"What? Miss Granger is returning to finish her studies, Severus. Besides, she's hardly qualified to teach a potions class."
"She's more than qualified. Why do you think I'm improving?"
"Really? I assumed the paralysis was wearing off."
"Not at all. Hermione found my notes on the antivenin, developed an antidote, as is curing me. I couldn't have done it better myself and she did it completely on her own."
"She'd do fine with the lower levels then. But what about her classes?"
"School has never particularly stretched her capabilities. Hermione can handle her class work and teaching. She can take her potions newt before classes begin…she's more than prepared."
"That's an idea. I'm certain she could pass her transfiguration beforehand as well. I'll talk to the board and see if we can set up a special testing for her."
"For a student with an Order of Merlin, First Class? They'll do it. That will cut down her classes and give her time to teach. Then next year, when her schooling is completed, you can give her all the potions classes."
"Do you think she wants to teach?"
"I think she would, for a time. Don't count on her for long, though. She'll end up in the Ministry."
"She'll end up the Minister."
"I imagine she will."
Our plots and plans in place, Minerva shortly takes her leave. She's heading straight out to see if she can locate my wand. I hope she finds it. I miss it like I'd miss an amputated limb. The idea of trying to break in a completely different wand is off putting.
That afternoon, when my latest dose of the potion at last gives me the use of my arms, I use my newfound ability to tip Hermione into the bed on top of me. Her mouth is a perfect 'o' of surprise when I kiss her for the first time.
I have not actually kissed many women during my life. I was too awful as a student to attract anyone. In my adult life, most of the women who were interested in a snog were people I actively hated. I find that it is incredibly easy to kiss Hermione.
"Severus?" The expression on her face is a charming mixture of surprise, worried, and happy.
She's an intelligent woman and a Gryffindor; I know exactly which tact to take.
"I admired you as a student, though as a spy for the Order I could not say so. I worried about you while you were on that damned Horcrux hunt. These past few days I've gotten to know you fairly well. I'm extraordinarily fond of you, pet, and once we get out of this place, I'd like the chance to get to know you even better."
"I would like that."
Then I kissed her again. I think the two of us will get on very well. I'm looking forward to it.
That's it for this one. I doubt that there will be another story from the Potterverse from me after this, but never say never! I have so enjoyed coming back for a bit of fun with Hermione and Severus.
I'm working without a beta, so any mistakes are my own.
My novel, Wyrd House, was not selected for publication by Kindle Press, but I've self-published it and anyone who is interested can find it on Amazon and Kindle.
My next attempt at a Kindle Scout campaign is live right now and runs until the 15th of April. The book is Teatime of the Living Dead, and I think it might be the best thing I've written so far. If you want to check it out, you can find it at Amazon[dot]KindleScout[dot]com. Just check under "Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense." I'd love it if any of you have a chance to check it out.
Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed my story.