Hermione Granger looked down at the grey head of her husband, resting peacefully in her lap. Not many would have thought this man capable of such vulnerability, not even now days, when he had softened from the hateful, spiteful potions master into a quiet man of research. The years had been good to him, she reflected as her hand brushed his cheek, good to both of them considering what they could have lost. They were indeed blessed.

She stared into the fire and tried not to remember the long and lonely years of the war. It was all but forgotten now, but that was only natural. It had been best that they forget.

Forget. How she hated the word. Memory had been all she had, for so long, and now it seemed she was losing it again. She couldn't, and wouldn't complain, not after the many years they had had together, not after the joys they had known that had grown from darkness. But it seemed so unfair. So many years without memory, and now the mediwizards - and the doctors, she had insisted that he check with doctors as well - were telling them that he had years merely, not the decades they had expected, and that his memory would slowly be leeched from him as though someone had punctured a bucket of water.

It was hardest on him, and hardest for him to accept, of course. He had always felt bad that it had been she who had been forced to carry their memory, she who had had all the burden. Now it seemed it would be that way again. But she felt in her heart that such penance was only justified, for what if...? What if it had been her spell that had brought this terrible fate down on him? What if it had been her faulty calculations, her own stupid insistence on bringing them back, the 'them' that existed only in her brain, that had caused this terrible disease?

She hadn't known that wizards, as well as muggles, suffered from it.

She straightened her back and stared harder into the fire. There was no room for regrets now. They had a year, maybe eighteen months, to research and find a cure. And it could be done. She would see it done, if it killed her.

Better than dying another slow death without him by her side.

Pretend that you owe me nothing

And all the world is green

We can bring back the old days again

When all the world was green

The face forgives the mirror

The worm forgives the plow

The question begs the answer

Can you forgive me somehow

Maybe when our story's over

We'll go where it's always srping

The band is playing our song again

And all the world is green

-Tom Waits, Blood Money