AN: My loyal and dearest followers, as promised a couple of weeks ago, here is a new story. It will hopefully be to your liking, but even if it's not, please let me know with a review if you have a moment to spare. As my studies are getting a bit crazy, I will be posting mostly once a week, twice if I have a free moment over the Easter holidays for you. Anywho, here it is, and I wish you happy reading to this introductory chapter.
Hermione sat in the dusty armchair at 12 Grimmauld place for the whole of 2 minutes, enjoying a moment of peace before a distraught baby cry shook her out of her lethargic thoughts. She stood up slowly, groaning as her body was begging her for some proper rest, and started on her way up to the third floor. The past weeks had been a complete hell. The final battle alone lasted almost 30 hours, with great losses on both sides of the field, but Voldemort finally went down along with his most trusted Death Eaters. It was a magnificent display and for a while she had worried about Harry's life, but when she saw the young man she considered a brother stand victorious, all in the world suddenly seemed brighter.
She leaned against the wall for a moment as she thought of all the lost lives. Mad Eye, Hagrid, Tonks, Professor Flitwick, Dean and Seamus, the Creevey brothers and not to mention the Weasley family. Molly was in tears most of the time after losing both of the twins to Dolohov and Ginny to Bellatrix Lestrange. Ron was dealing with the loss of his closest siblings in his own way, by enjoying his fame, distancing himself from his two best friends and finding comfort in none other than Lavender Brown. As much as Hermione couldn't stand the blond twit, she would not begrudge her old friend what he needed. They both knew their heated kiss when the battle was reaching its peak was merely a moment of desperate need to find reassurance in case something happened to them. There was no romantic love lost between them and for that she was grateful, for after thinking about it in the clear light of day Hermione realised they were simply not meant to be. Due to Ron's behaviour, their friendship was pretty much in tatters but she was glad to have had him in her life until that point. Harry had always been the one she followed and supported, and that would not change even now that the war was over. If Ron wished for his own path, they would both respect it.
Another distraught cry had her moving again as she contemplated how much longer she will be able to run on the cocktail of adrenaline and pepper-up potions. After the battle, she spent the first couple of days helping out Poppy in the hospital wing with the most critical cases as St. Mungo's was filled to capacity, only to return home in the evening to stay up most of the night as well. One thing she was grateful for though, and that was being at the right place and the right time not once, but twice. They witnessed Nagini bite Snape, tearing his throat open and filling his veins with deadly venom as they feared for the potion master's life. Once Voldemort disappeared, they moved quickly and cast complicated statis charms over the man's body to have at least the smallest of chances at saving his life. And were successful. If they stalled only a few moments later, the damage to his body could have been irreversible.
She surfaced from the memories when she reached her destination on the third floor, Remus' rooms. That had been their second lucky stunt that fateful night. Remus and his wife had been fighting valiantly side by side surrounded by Greyback's blood-thirsty pack, but there was simply too many of them to handle. They were too late to save Tonks but they ensured that Teddy will grow up knowing at least one of his parents. And even though Remus did not agree with them in his grief, he soon realised Teddy was worth living for and a couple of days after the battle begun taking proper care of him. Now he was a stay at home father and glad for it, as it gave him time to come to terms with his loss.
She knocked gently and waited a few moments until a highly dishevelled Remus opened the door, a crying Teddy on his hip. It became an unspoken agreement between them that Hermione would come round and help him with the babe. The young witch simply took Teddy in her arms and cuddled him close to her warm chest, before moving inside to not disturb the other occupants of the house for too long.
"Hey there little cub." she started talking in soothing tones as she walked around the living room space. "Those icky teeth are giving you no rest, are they? Is that why your daddy looks like he is about to tear his hair out?" she chuckled as Teddy instantly calmed down, listening attentively and snuggled closer into her arms. "You know we can't allow that. All the other wolves wouldn't want to play with him if he has bald spots!" she chuckled as Remus groaned at her sense of humour, and continued swaying until she got to the crib in the bedroom. "Now, what shall we sing tonight? How about your favourite about the moon rising in the skies? Would you like that Teddybear?" she smiled as he squirmed a bit, looking up at her with his large golden eyes. It was thankfully the only trait he had inherited from his father, the bright eyes marking him the son of a werewolf. But each day Remus had a reminder of his wife before his eyes, as the babe's hair continued to change colour.
She sang the soft tunes, humming gently until Teddy's eyes dropped and he fell asleep contently. In her haste to put Teddy down and get some rest herself, she had completely forgotten about Remus who was leaning against the door frame watching them. She motioned for him to step outside and closed the door quietly, in order not to disturb the peacefully sleeping cub.
"Thank you." came a soft whisper from the older man. "I have no idea how you do it, but I couldn't do this without your help." he added and just noticed his shirt was only halfway done, revealing his scarred chest. He finished buttoning it up hastily before continuing their conversation.
Hermione just waved him off. "He misses his mother, just as much as you miss your wife, it is only natural. I do what I can. This reminds me, the wolfsbane is almost ready for the upcoming full moon. Don't worry about Teddy, he will be safe and sound with me for the night." She smiled encouragingly. She was the one currently making the potion for the wolf, considering the ones on the market were usually of a lesser quality and much too expensive still.
Remus nodded his head in acknowledgement and thanks, trying to deal with the loss of his wife on top of everything that was coming his way. After a moment of comfortable silence, Hermione patted his shoulder in comfort before leaving for her own room to get some much needed and desired rest. Finally, she had a free weekend and could sleep as much as her body needed her to. She cast locking and silencing charms, too tired to even contemplate a shower, and after shucking her clothes crawled underneath the heavy duvet and fell asleep in moments.
"...Conclusively, Master Hernandez' research did not prove valid, and any further studies into the properties of unicorn blood have been postponed for the time being." Harry closed the Potions Weekly and looked at his silent companion and patient. The one life he did not have on his conscience, even though so many were already weighting it down.
Severus Snape, potions master extraordinaire was lying on the crisp sheets, his wounds healing slowly but steadily as his pale body recovered from Nagini's venom. The first few days had been excruciating since no matter what they tried to stabilise him, the man kept slipping in and out of coma and they feared permanent damage to his brain. As it turned out, they needn't feared. Hermione used exceedingly more complicated diagnostic spells to see what was causing their failure, only to get one of the biggest surprises in her life. One of the scans showed an anomaly only occurring in born vampires. Apparently Eileen Prince was not all she seemed to be and it would certainly explain the slight strain between Snape and Remus. Harry would have burst into peals of laughter at the irony, for all the years of calling the man the 'dungeon bat' without knowing how close he was in his assessment was almost ridiculous.
No wonder the blood replenishing potions did no good. A severely wounded vampire could only be cured by fresh human blood which they have not administered. So the boy-who-lived-to-kill-the-big-bad did the only thing he could think of and slit his wrist. As the blood started dripping onto the wound and in the man's mouth, they watched dark green venom slowly seeping from the wound until every last drop was gone and the flesh begun naturally knitting itself together. A low growl was the only warning Harry received before onyx eyes met his, a weak hand grabbed his wrist to pull it closer and sharp teeth sunk into his yielding flesh like knife into butter. He hissed in pain at the hungry gulps the man was taking but let him take his share until light-headedness overcame his body. Hermione separated them as gently as possible, sealing his wrist closed and made him lie down after giving him a few blood replenishing potions to get his own much needed rest.
Since then, Harry has been feeding the man his blood each evening without a comment. The potion master remained silent and accepted the offering every time, saving his energy to fully regenerate. The second and more unfortunate possibility was that they would have to further examine his throat for any damage to the vocal cords, and he remained silent not to aggravate it any further. Vampires may be eternal under normal circumstances, but their bodies could not always heal all. Every day Harry would sit with the man, redress his bandages and read to him to keep their minds from stagnating. Severus was still a moody and sometimes unpleasant man in his glares and impatience to get out of bed, but the truce they have established before the battle lasted through it, and Harry became much more comfortable in the man's presence.
Suddenly he felt a surprisingly warm touch on top of his hand and looked up at the resting man who was watching him. A dark brow furrowed slightly as if he wondered why Harry suddenly went quiet, the onyx gaze searching his face for any clues. Harry simply shook his head and got the knife from the bedside table before opening the healed wound on the wrist and offered it to the man as became their evening routine. Severus gripped the wrist surprisingly gently before sinking his fangs into the source of coppery delight. Harry closed his eyes, no longer wincing at the light pain of entry and let the gentle suction sooth him. He would usually use a simple healing charm to close the wound, not minding the small scar it left behind as he knew he would only renew it the next night. This time however as the older man pulled away, his tongue darted out and licked the wound, sealing it without as much as a scratch. Harry gasped softly but nodded in gratitude. After drinking a couple of blood replenishing potions, he opened the door and turned towards the man.
"Good night, sir. I hope you rest well." he said softly, the words sounding almost loud in the silent room, before closing the door gently and heading for his own room for the night.