"I'm sorry. There's nothing more we can do. She's sustained severe damage to her skull and exposure, so there's really no way to tell if she'll make it."

"What do you mean there's nothing you can do?! Please, there must be something, anything you can do. She can't die, not like this. Not now. Please!" He desperately pleaded with the Healers, begging them to return her to him. He hadn't even told her how he felt.

"I'm sorry, sir. There's nothing to do but wait and see if she pulls through. If she survives the night, she's in for a good chance of recovery, but I can't make any promises." The Healer's face was sympathetic, but Severus completely despised the man. How dare he suggest that she might not live?

All he wanted to do was cradle her in his arms, protect her fragile body from anything that could harm it. Not even joining Voldemort had inspired such regret in him. This was all his fault; she was losing her life because of him, and his undemonstrative ways. Gods, but he loved her. Severus thought she had understood his actions, Merlin knows he lacked the proper words to describe how much he adored her. But no. He had failed, and she was going to die because of it.

He collapsed into a chair at her bedside, burying his face into his hands as the first hot tears began to fall, his mind going back to the cause of her situation.

"Do we actually have a future?" She asked softly, the look in her eyes almost hopeless.

"Hermione, you know how it is between us." He sighed. They had had this conversation many times before.

"Severus, please. I need to know if you actually care, I'm tired of just being treated like a fuck buddy!" She exploded.

"What more do you want from me?!" He bellowed at her. "You bloody well know how I feel!"

"I want you to stop distancing yourself from me! You have my heart! I've only ever given to you, unreservedly, the least you could do would be to try and extend me the same courtesy!" She screamed.

The chit had really raised his ire now. "You knew before we begun this foolish endeavour that I am a cold, cruel man, and yet now you expect me to change? Perhaps you are expecting too much." He scowled blackly.

"Do you really believe that, Severus? That this whole relationship was foolish, that I was a mistake?" Her voice had dropped to a whisper now, her amber eyes widening.

"Yes! Clearly, you are better suited to men like the Weasley oaf, who can shower you with compliments and affection and tell you all their little secrets. Well I can't do that! I've tried, and I can't! Nothing I can do is good enough for you. Maybe I'm just not good enough for you at all." With a billow of robes, he turned and strode out into the storm, slamming the door so hard behind him that the windows rattled.

Unbeknownst to him, Hermione ran after him clad only in her nightdress and slippers, her wand lying forgotten on the kitchen table. Instantly blinded by the heavy rain, she collapsed on the ground, raising a hand to shield her face from the onslaught of tiny bullets. A loose tile buffeted by the gale slipped free from the roof, tumbling through the air to land squarely on her head. She was immediately knocked out cold, her unconscious form lying on the ground as the rain continued to pummel the ground around her.

He arrived back at their little cottage a scant two hours later, full of remorse for the things he had said, to find her body lying prone in the mud. Rain still battered her slender form, mixing with her blood to matt her curls. Falling to his knees in horror, he took her into his arms as his tears blended with the rain pounding into his face. Clutching her close to him, he apparated them both to hospital, praying to all the gods he didn't believe in that she could be saved.

But it appeared that his prayers would go unanswered. He sat there, caked in mud and Hermione's blood, holding her hand like a lifeline as he stared at her. She was still breathing but it was definitely shallow, her chest barely moving with each inhalation. Severus refused to believe that she would die, that he would lose the only thing in his life that made it all bearable. For now, he would just hold her, and pray that the woman he loved pulled through.

Hermione felt trapped. Her whole body felt heavy and cold and her limbs refused to respond to her commands. Even opening her eyes was impossible. However, she could hear, even if it was patchy and mainly came through as periods of low buzzing rather than actual words. Nevertheless, she could tell that someone was trying to talk to her. Again, she tried in vain to answer, but her body remained limp and pathetic while her mind raged.

Slowly, she became aware of an awful pain in her head, assuming that whatever pain relief she had been given was wearing off. By now, she had realised that she had been injured somehow, and had obviously been taken to hospital for treatment. The pain became worse, feeling like nails were being driven into the back of her skull, as she cried out internally. Hermione had no idea of how much time had passed, but she had a feeling that it was a lot.

Finally, the sweet relief of a pain potion flooded her system, taking the terrible sensation from her head. At the same time, she felt one of her toes twitch. Utterly delighted with this new development, she attempted to move it again, with limited success. Despite this, he was completely focused on her new task; seeing how many of her limbs she could convince to move after such a long period of inactivity.

Severus Snape sat up straight for the first time in a fortnight. He could have sworn he just felt her hand twitch within his, although it could have easily been a figment of his desperate imagination. Much to the Healer's chagrin, he had barely left her side all this time, just leaving to go to the bathroom and feed himself. Consequently, every muscle in his body ached fiercely from his awkward position, but he would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant that she would wake.

No, that time it was definitely movement. Startled, he peered closely at her face, pushing her mad curls up from her forehead to inspect her closed eyes. They fluttered. Heartened beyond belief, he crooned soft words to her, begging her to open her eyes for him, and telling her in no uncertain terms just how much he loved her.

After so long, he had almost given up on seeing her eyes again, but there they were. Bright amber pools that blinked up at him as her lovely face creased into a smile.

"Se-" She started, her voice breaking. He quickly conjured a glass of water, gently pouring it into her mouth as she drank gratefully. "Severus, thank you." Hermione gave him another heartbreakingly beautiful smile as his dark eyes glittered with unshed tears.

"You came back." He announced stupidly.

Smirking, she replied. "I never left. I heard everything you said, including all of those delightful threats to the Healer."

Severus had the grace to look slightly ashamed. "Everything?"

Nodding slowly, she confirmed, "Everything."

"So now you know. All of the things I said that night weren't true, my sweet witch. I love you. I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am for the things I said, and not telling you before. I truly believed that my actions would be adequate; that you would see that I loved you by the way I acted. I know it's not sufficient now, and I will spend the rest of my life doing my upmost to make you happy."

Hermione looked at him, tears rolling down her face. "Gods, I love you Severus."

"And I love you, Hermione." He replied softly, caressing the side of her face before taking her hand in his.

They were going to be okay.