Disclaimer: I don't own anything. The characters belong to JK Rowling and Warner Bros.
Severus sighed nervously as he prepared the final components on the potion. It felt like he had been away from Minerva for days. He needed to get this potion to her as quickly as possible.
"I'm coming Minerva," he whispered, securing the lid on the flask. He tucked it safely into break-proof container and placed it on the inside of his robes. Now he would take the Floo network back to Grimauld place—and finally, Minerva would have her cure.
The scene Severus arrived to was shocking to say the least. He arrived on the main floor, finding it dark and deathly quiet. Pretty much no one but Lupin, Sirius, Minerva and himself had occupied the house, except for Kreacher and those dreadful wall paintings.
A slight whimpering alerted him to activity on the second floor. Severus's heart began to pound as he rushed up the stairs, running down the narrow corridor to that dreaded room, the one Minerva had spent the past three days ill.
He pushed open the door to find Lupin lying on the bed, half sitting up, holding Minerva in his arms. She was wrapped in several blankets, but still shivered uncontrollably. Sirius sat beside the bed with a sullen look on his face. Severus agreed with Sirius that he had a reason to be sullen. Minerva was deathly pale, paler than the last time Severus had seen her.
She shook as she gripped Lupin's arm and squeezed it, her eyes wincing in pain. "Lupin, I can't take much more of this." She gasped loudly, tears rolling down her cheeks. "Please, make it stop, Remus, end this!"
Lupin reached his hand out and stroked it softly over her cheek and through her hair. "Ssh, just rest, Minerva, you're going to be fine. I'm promising you that."
Severus couldn't stand seeing Minerva in such pain anymore, and stepped forward from the shadows. "It's alright Minerva, I'm here."
"Severus," Minerva whispered. She had a look of happy shock on her face as she pulled away from Remus and stretched her arms out to Severus.
Severus sat on the bed and pulled her into a tight embrace. "It feels so good to hold you," he murmured softly in her ear. He pulled back his head and kissed the back of her jaw just where it met her ear. He let his lips linger there, savoring the physical contact and the feel of her soft skin against his lips.
Minerva's arms were wrapped tightly around his neck, her hands gripping the back of his robes.
Severus pulled away only for a moment to look into her large green eyes. He cupped her faced in both hands and placed a soft long kiss on her forehead, before taking her back into his arms and pressing her protectively against his chest. "I'm here," he whispered once more. "And I've got something for you."
He reluctantly released her from his arms and laid her back against the pillow. Lupin, who had retreated to the area of the chair where Sirius sat, glanced eagerly as Severus reached into his robes and pulled out the container. He took the flask from the package.
"Just drink this, Minerva." Severus held the flask to her lips as she swallowed back the potion, gripping at the awful taste, but taking it all back.
"There, now you're okay. You're okay Minerva." Severus smiled down at her, caressing the side of her face.
"How long will it take to take effect?" Sirius asked.
Severus turned to look at him. He had all but forgotten about Sirius and Lupin being in the room. He had finally given Minerva her potion, he had saved her. The woman he loved was saved and safe—that's all he was thinking about.
"About three hours for a full effect, but it starts to take effect immediately."
Severus could indeed see the change in her already, as he watched her sleep softly against the pillows.
"Now all she needs to do is sleep," he sighed. "And so do I." He kicked off his shoes, removed his robe, tossed it to a surprised Lupin, and slid under the covers next to Minerva.
Minerva seemed to feel his presence even in her sleep. She turned to face him and slipped her arms around his waist, pressing her cheek against his chest. Forgetting about Sirius and Lupin again, and just overjoyed to have a recovering Minerva with him, Severus returned her hug feverishly.
Lupin and Sirius left the room quietly, leaving Severus and Minerva in the quiet, candle-lit room.
"I love you, so much, Minerva." Severus whispered gently. He knew now that she wasn't under any spell anymore, and this was it, his moment of truth. Did she really love him? He didn't know.
"I know you do, Severus. All that time, when I was sick, I remember you saying it. And I was never delusional when it told you that I also love you. I truly love you Severus, I'd be lost without you." She whispered weakly, her throat drying up, causing her to cough.
"Oh God, my Minerva…" Severus gasped, tears of happiness spilling down his cheeks. No one had ever made him feel as happy as this women in his arms did.
"Severus? Are you—crying? She wiped the tears from his cheeks and kissed his eyes. "Ssh, it's alright, I've got you." She tightened her arms around him, feeling him sigh deeply.
Severus couldn't hold back his tears. No one in his life had loved him like this women was right now. But he forced the tears to stopped, clearing his throat. "I'm okay, it's you that needs to be taken care of. Just sleep and know I'll be here in the morning."