Snape jumped to his feet instinctively when Covey cried out. Her hands, which normally rested gently upon Potter's body, had a death grip on Potter's skull as if she was trying to hold it together. The next moment, Potter was screaming in agony.

Poppy was on her feet, gathering potions.

"Give him a calming draught," Snape demanded.

Poppy put the potion to his mouth, but Potter was inconsolable and refused it.

"Spell it into his stomach," Snape urged.

Clearly Poppy'd had the same idea, as she was already doing it.

Snape knew the second it hit Potter's stomach because Potter instantly expelled it, spewing vomit everywhere.

Covey made a sound of such desperation that both Poppy and Snape gaped at her. She was shaking her head as if in denial of whatever was happening inside Potter's body. Tears had gathered on her lashes, her eyelids still firmly shut.

"Covey, what's going on?" Snape demanded.

Still shaking her head, Covey managed to whisper, "Gotta focus… canna talk."

"His blood pressure's dropping," Poppy announced, notified by her monitoring spells.

"Merlin's balls," Snape muttered, looking at Potter in horror. The boy's head and face had deformed, his jaw hanging to the left, the right side of his head bashed in. Blood poured from his nose, his mouth, his ears. Just when Snape thought it couldn't get any worse, Potter started seizing and choking on his own blood.

"Anapneo!" Snape barked, clearing Potter's airway as Poppy frantically cast spell after spell from her side of the bed. Suddenly, Potter went limp.

"I'm losing him," Poppy shrieked.

Snape glanced at Covey, who seemed to be deep in concentration, her hands now gliding urgently around the boy's face and head. As if mesmerized, Snape literally saw Potter's head swell and shrink, indentations come and go.

"Severus!" Poppy cried out. "His heart stopped. I can't restart it. And he's not breathing." The tone of her voice matched the terror Snape felt.

"Out of the way," Snape shouted. He started doing Muggle chest compressions. If magic wasn't working, it was the only other thing he knew.

"Stop the bleeding in his mouth and nose," Snape instructed Poppy. "Then support his neck and tip his head back." He spared a brief glance to make sure Poppy was successful in following his directions.

Frantically, Snape pumped Potter's chest. "When I say so, cover his nose and mouth with your mouth and breath into him. Two big breaths." Snape said. "Now," he commanded, pausing momentarily.

Poppy did as instructed. Snape watched Potter's chest rise and fall with each of her breaths.

Restarting the chest compressions, Snape said, "Monitor his heart and breathing and let me know the moment one or both come back."

"Severus, we need the headmaster," Poppy said.

"Lina," Snape called.

Instantly, a house-elf appeared by his side. "Master called Lina, sir."

Although Snape didn't have time to spare her a glance, he imagined her eyes would be bulging at the sight before her. "Get the headmaster," he demanded.

"Now, Poppy. Two more breaths," Snape directed, pulling away from Potter. As soon as she was done, he went back to the chest compressions. Sweat broke out on his forehead and the muscles in his arms were beginning to protest.

A brief look at Covey told him that she was working equally as frantically. One of her hands was on his broken jaw, the other where his head had been bashed in. Tears streaked her face.

The headmaster came running from Poppy's office, Professor McGonagall right behind him; they must have Floo'd in.

"What has happened?" Albus demanded as Minerva gasped and covered her mouth.

Poppy spoke up. "We aren't sure, other than he was bleeding profusely about the head and his heart and breathing stopped. He's not responding to magic," Poppy said helplessly, motioning to Snape.

"Now," Snape said, and Poppy promptly exhaled two more breaths into the boy.

"If he dies Albus," Snape said through gritted teeth, "it's on your head!"

"What… what does that mean, Severus?" Minerva demanded.

Snape sneered, still pounding Potter's chest. "I told him…" Snape spat out, breathing heavily now from exertion, "Potter was breakable… but he … wouldn't … listen."

"Albus," Minerva cried.

"Poppy, now," Snape said, and Poppy, who was running constant diagnostics, bent over to give Potter another two breaths.

Snape heard Dumbledore say something, but the headmaster was the least of his concerns at the moment. "Poppy," Snape gasped, "try the… cardiac spell… again."

"Cardio-enervate!" Poppy shouted.

They waited with bated breath.

Snape cursed. "Breathe for him Poppy," he said, starting chest compressions again the moment she finished.

"What is that you are doing to him?" McGonagall asked.

"Muggle CPR," Snape breathed.

"Cardiopulmonary resuscitation," Poppy clarified. "Muggles use it. We only use it when all else fails."

"Last… ditch… effort," Snape choked out. "Poppy, now."

Poppy gave two long breaths.

Snape's arms began to shake. Covey was still frantically working over Potter. Potter's jaw looked normal again, the bashed in side of head now only dented.

"Now," Snape rasped out, and again Poppy breathed for him.

"Severus," Albus called.

"Not. Now," Snape jerked out, his arm muscles screaming in protest.

"Poppy." Snape paused and wiped his brow as Poppy breathed into Potter's mouth and nose.

"Try. Enervate." Snape rasped.

Three "Enervates" resounded around the room. Snape looked up to see that not only Poppy, but also Minerva and Albus, had all cast the spell at the same time.

Both Minerva and Poppy cried out when the boy gasped and his chest rose of its own accord. The monitor once again showed a steady heart rythmn. Severus promptly fell into a chair, panting heavily. "Merlin's fucking balls," he muttered under his breath, hanging his head as he tried to steady his breathing.

He felt Albus's gnarled hand on his shoulder. "Well done, my boy," Albus praised, and Snape didn't even have enough energy to tell the man off.

As soon as he got his bearings, Snape went to Covey. One of her hands was now on Potter's head, the other, on his chest. He stood behind her and put his hands on her hips. "It's me," he whispered. "I'm here for you."

Although her hands never wavered, he felt her lean back into him, silently accepting his support. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, still breathing heavily as he leaned his head against hers. "You are doing an amazing job," he breathed into her ear. "Just a little bit longer," he encouraged her. "You're almost done."

Snape had no idea if what he said was true, but he knew she must be even more drained than he was. He knew that, all too soon, the adrenaline would fade from his body and he'd be dead on his feet.

If anyone was surprised to see Severus Snape hugging the Healer from behind, they didn't say so. And frankly, he didn't care. The only two things he cared about at that moment were Covey's warm body pressed against his, and the steady beat of Potter's heart being played out on the monitor.

It was a quarter of an hour later before Covey's hands finally drifted to Harry's chest to seal the healing, signaling the end of the session. When her hands finally slipped from Potter's chest, the Healer collapsed. Had Snape's arms not already been around her, he wouldn't have been able to catch her. As it was, he was caught off guard, and the best he could do was ease her onto the stone floor. Covey was trembling in his arms. "She needs a blanket," Snape called out.

"Let's get her into a bed," Dumbledore said, squatting beside Snape.

"I've got her," Snape said, lifting the trembling witch in his own shaking arms. Albus summoned one of the beds closer and Snape set her gently atop the mattress, throwing the blanket Minerva handed him over her. "Covey?" he said, as he stroked her hair. "Can you hear me?"

She nodded her head as tears slid down her cheeks.

"Shhh," Severus soothed her. "It's over now. Whatever happened, it's over now."

"He should've died," Covey moaned. "He was only nine and he shouldna lived."

Snape sat on the bed beside her, holding her hand and wiping the tears from her tender skin.

"What do you mean, Coventry?" Albus asked.

"No one could have survived what they did ta him." Covey gulped in air. "The only reason he lived was because o' his magic, ye ken?"

"It's all right," Snape said again. "He's alive. His heart is beating and he's breathing on his own. He's fine now."

"But I donna know that he is," Covey lamented. "I donna know if he'll ever be fine again. So much damage," Covey whispered, turning her face into the Snape's caressing hand and weeping.

Choosing not to touch on this subject just yet, Snape asked gently, "Can you tell us what happened?"

"His magic saved him, aye, but he was so badly off, that all he could do was bind himself together by the smallest magical thread. And when I released his magic, when I released it…" Covey put her hand over her mouth to cover her sob, "he just fell apart."

He left Potter in Poppy's capable hands with strict instructions to contact him immediately if anything in Potter's condition changed. Then he scooped up Covey and carried her in his arms to Poppy's office where he Floo'd them both directly to his quarters.

He held Covey close until they reached his bedroom where he set her on the edge of the bed. Her eyes were closed and tears still seeped from them as she leaned against his shoulder for support. Snape's heart ached for her.

Murmuring words of comfort, he gently laid Covey back onto the mattress and kissed her on the forehead. Then he got to his feet and pulled his robes off, throwing them over a chair as he made his way to his private potions stores. He returned a moment later with four small vials.

Slipping his hand under Covey's shoulder and neck, he raised her up slightly. "I have two potions you need to drink," he instructed her gently. "One is a nutrient potion, and the other is a restorative draught."

Clearly too tired to object, Covey obediently drank both, a grimace on her face at the taste. Snape laid her back down and banished her robe and her shoes to the same chair his were tossed over. "Do you want me to undress you?" he asked. She nodded.

He could have done it with his wand, but it seemed too impersonal. Instead, he carefully unbuttoned her slacks and slid them down her slim, shapely legs. He then helped her wiggle out of the light sweater she wore. Lastly, he unclasped her bra, slipped it off one arm, and then pulled it through the other side; a trick he learned years ago from watching Lily do it. That left Covey in a purple cotton tank top, turquoise knickers, and white ankle socks.

He smiled at the sight of her. As exhausted as he was, which was surely nothing compared to Covey, he could still appreciate the sight of her beautiful, womanly figure. With a twinge of regret, he pulled the sheets and blankets up over her, hiding her from his view, and kissed her brow. "I will join you in a moment," he murmured.

Snape downed his nutrient and restorative potions in one long gulp and took a quick shower. He Floo called Poppy to make sure Potter's condition was still stable, and then, wearing only his smalls, he slid into bed beside Covey and dimmed the lights. It was only 7 pm, but he had no doubt they would both be able to sleep until morning, or until duty called.

"Come here, you," he said huskily as he slid beneath the bedclothes. Earl Grey jumped on the bed and sidled up to him. "Not you, ya daft cat," he muttered, shooing Earl Grey away. Lying on his side, he scooted closer to the center of the bed, pulling Covey to spoon against him.

She was curled on her side as well, and they fit together perfectly: her legs curled around his, her bum nestled into his crotch, her back to his chest.

He buried his nose in the sweet scent of her hair and inhaled deeply. He slipped his lower arm under her neck and wrapped his other arm around her, splaying his fingers across her warm, flat stomach. She made an appreciative sound and snuggled closer, her breathing slowly evening out, signaling that she'd fallen asleep. Snape closed his eyes, blissfully following her mere moments later.


Snape came back to bed, sliding in beside her.

"Everything's fine," he assured her. "I just went to check on Potter. He's resting comfortably."

"Good," she murmured. "What time is it?"

"Half four in the morning." He kissed her softly on the lips. "Go back to sleep, love, everything is fine."

"Aye," she said. She rolled over to face him, pushed him gently on the shoulder to signify that she wanted him to lie on his back, then settled herself partially atop him, an arm and a leg straddling him as she lay her head in the crook of his shoulder. In the next moment, she was fast asleep.

Snape smiled, kissed the top of her head, and let slumber claim him once more as well.

Snape woke a few hours later to the feeling of fingers tracing over his boxers. He sighed in contentment and put his arms over his head. "This is a nice way to wake up," he murmured.

Covey winked at him and then raked her teeth over his nipple, sending desire straight to his groin.

Snape groaned as Covey continued her ministrations. When her mouth joined her fingers, his world unraveled in a tidal wave of pleasure.