Listen to his breathing, Lily.

Sev was weak. He was weaker than she had ever seen him before, and it frightened her to no end. Madame Pomfrey had already been down to see him twice. She had given Lily potions to relieve his pain, told her to watch every breath he took, but nothing more. It had been three bloody days since he'd crumpled to the ground after what, she assumed, was a horrible torture session. He hadn't spoken much besides simple groans for water or small whimpers of pain between hours of restless sleep and short walks to the loo. She was getting desperate for any sign of improvement from him.

Why hasn't Dumbledore come?

The fact that the man who had put him through all this hadn't even bothered to check on Sev had angered her to no end. She was beginning to think that Sev's lack of respect for the old Headmaster may not be as completely ungrounded as she had previously thought. I mean, if he couldn't even visit a man who had endured endless pain on his orders, he wasn't deserving of much respect in her book.

Madame Pomfrey had helped her get him into bed. Lily had assisted him to walk shakily to the restroom so he could relieve himself when he needed to. It was horrible for him, she knew, but he couldn't complain much because he needed her help so badly. In fact, he hadn't complained about it at all. This was rather surprising considering he usually took help from no one willingly.

Lily sighed, stirring the cheesy potato soup she had been making for supper. She refused to go to the Great Hall and didn't much like having the elves cook for her either. She enjoyed the relaxation that her cooking gave her. The sound of Sev's breathing could be heard anywhere in the small dungeon room. She had put an amplification charm on it knowing that, despite her desire to be by his side every moment, she would not be able to. She had been busy the entire day. She'd cleaned and dusted, scrubbed years of neglect and potion stains off of the walls and floors. She had dusted multicolored bottles of elixirs and dark smoky poisons. She had organized dragon scales, ground unicorn molars, and beetle legs. She had lit a fire in the hearth and was pleased as the flame warmed the cold and drafty dungeon. The little gray room was looking brighter with every hour, and as the smell of cheese and potato drifted through the room, she was becoming content with her surroundings. It felt like home. She smiled slightly to herself, humming the Hogwarts School song softly to herself.

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest...

"And learn until our brains all rot." Lily's eyes widened and she looked behind her, her lips turned up into a smile as she saw him. Sev was sitting up halfway, smiling weakly at her as she stopped stirring and ran to his side. She leaped up onto the bed, her eyes alight with happiness. She noticed his breathing had quickened, the sound unnaturally loud from her charm, and she quickly whispered the counter spell as she climbed onto the bed beside him. She kneeled In front of him, grinning from ear to ear, and ran a hand through his hair, over the gentle curve of his jaw, down the strong flat plane of his chest. She could feel his pulse quicken and he even blushed a little which she found completely adorable.

"Sev, oh Merlin, Sev!" she cuddled up beside him and peppered his cheeks with short soft little kisses. She could feel his smile widen as she did, and he squeezed his eyes shut, which made his expression so young-looking and vulnerable that she had to give him a proper kiss. As she pressed her lips to his gently, she felt his muscles stiffen, then relax greatly as he kissed her back. His arms wrapped around her, and she felt his weakness, but smiled against his lips anyways and when she pulled away she heard the soft sigh that escaped his lips. It made her happier beyond anything since she'd lost her family. He blinked slowly at her, then spoke in the hoarsest of whispers,

"Lily... I- I love... you..."

Her eyes filled with tears as she sniffled quietly. She looked down at him and nodded as she whispered back,

"Sh, Sev. I don't deserve it. I don't deserve you. I- I-" He shook his head quietly, and she knew the effort of speaking was taking its toll on him

"Yes. Yes you do... I- I love you so much." She couldn't help but pull him close for another kiss.

"Ok. Ok, shh... Quiet, love. Save your strength." She bit her bottom lip as she looked at him and brushed a bit of hair out of his face. "Here, let me get you some soup, ok? You need to eat something." Before he could say anything to the contrary, she hopped off the bed and went to the stovetop. Carefully, she ladled him a bowl of soup and poured him a glass of milk before slowly returning to his side, being sure not to spill any on the newly cleaned floor and bed sheets. He looked up at her steadily and allowed her to feed him. The soup disappeared quickly as he was particularly famished after hardly eating anything for a couple days. She smiled as she watched him tilt the last of the milk into his mouth and rest back against the headboard comfortably, a contented look on his face. She yawned, her eyelids drooping, and she nestled her head in his lap as she laid down beside him. She closed her eyes, and it wasn't long before she felt tentative fingers running through her hair. She sighed softly and smiled slightly, enjoying his tender touch.

"Mmm... I love you, Sev..." she whispered sleepily, finally feeling like she can rest. He seemed alright now, and she had hardly slept for the past few days. But now, she was comfortable and Sev was being so gentle, his lap was so warm, and she loved his smell which invaded her senses and helped calm her frayed nerves.

"Really?" she heard him whisper back, a tone of incredulous disbelief in his voice. She giggled softly, his insecurity striking her as completely ridiculous considering what she'd done for him and he'd done for her as well as how many times she'd whispered it to him over the past few days. She knew he had to have heard her.

"Yes, darling. I love you." She felt him take a deep breath and smiled as his lips suddenly grazed her ear. She shivered as she heard him whisper,

"Thank you." She shook her head.

"No, Sev. Thank you."

Sorry it was so short. The action will be picking up again soon and you can count on some very good times ahead for our favorite pair. ;)

Reviews make me very happy!