This is absolutely stupid and I have no idea why I continue to do this.

I really shouldn't, I should know better. But knowing and doing are two completely different things. My very Slytherin mind is screeching for me to stop while my body decides to ignore the warnings like a Gryffindor.

I think I'm going to be sick; I just linked myself with the word Gryffindor.

Feeling nauseous or not, what I'm doing is still moronic.

And completely idiotic.

I'm no longer sixteen, I've graduated from Hogwarts five years ago and been teaching there for the past two years.

I have lived through two of the most terrifying wars in Wizard history. I was an infant through the first one, when Voldemort - I can say his name without flinching now - maimed and killed mudbloods. I decided to fight against him in my fifth year, when he started to slaughter purebloods as well.

I should be mature. I should be above irrational fears. I shouldn't be poking Severus' ribcage with my finger right now.

He groans and pulls his arms around me without opening his eyes.

Well, at least the poking doesn't bother him as much now.

I snuggle closer, placing my ear over his chest, and force my mind to rest

Force my thoughts to stop picturing every possible and impossible scenarios where Severus is going to leave me.

He almost did.

I don't ever think I can forget that day. I remember it clearly as how many ounces of powdered slugs are needed for a Lethargy potion.

The day itself wasn't anything special, not too sunny or too cold, bland classes and no run-ins with Gryffindors οΎ– maybe that was when I should have known something was wrong.

I remember hurrying down to the dungeon after another mind-numbing Transfiguration class.

I remember being surprised that Severus wasn't at his worktable or by the cauldron.

I remember stepping on his hand as I entered the room, calling his name.

I remember forgetting all proper manners drilled into my brain since my childhood and howled his name. I don't remember the pain emanating from my knees when I dropped down next to Severus.

His body was a limp and heavy mass that refused to cooperate when I tried to turn him on his back.

When I finally did, his face was pale compared to the purple lips and oh god, his hand was so cold when I picked it up.

It felt like the plastic hand Potter tried to trick me with during Halloween. The damn toy hand was realistic. It had veins, skin and hard materials within to make it feel like bones.

At that moment, Severus' hand felt exactly like that. Except it was cold, too cold. Severus wasn't made of plastic, he shouldn't be cold. He can't be cold.

I rubbed his hand between mine, my wand laid forgotten in my pocket. If I could only give him some of my warmth, then he'd wake up.

He had to wake up.

Because I told him I love him, and he reciprocated.

Because Malfoys and Snapes don't speak of love easily, and when we do, it's a lifetime commitment.

I don't know what I would do if he doesn't wake up.

I don't even want to contemplate what I'd do if he remains motionless.

Rushed footsteps came from the hall, and before I could comprehend what was going on, I was being pushed aside by Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey.

I didn't care, for the first time, that I was being ignored. Bringing Severus back was more important.

Severus is the most important.

It turned out that it was only a poison, fatal snake venom that was somehow injected into Severus' drink. Thank Merlin Severus spit out the beverage as soon as it touched his tongue. If mere contact could make him half-dead, I don't want to imagine what would have happen if he imbibed the liquid.

Thus began the fear of losing him, or should I say, intensified it.

Granted, the spy/assassin had been caught, but whenever I don't see him at his desk, by the cauldrons, sitting in his chair, or reclining in bed; my first reaction is to search the ground.

I no longer think "Severus must be out" whenever I can't find him. The memory of him lying on the floor, unconscious, or possibly dead, jumps into my mind as soon as my sight registers that he's not in the room.

Even when he's asleep, I listen to his breathing. Some nights, when I can't hear the exhaling and inhaling, I study his chest for movements. The candle he kept by his bedside makes the rising and falling of his torso hard to tell, I can't decipher if the movement is caused by his lungs or the flames dancing, distorting perception.

That's how the poking started.

Severus doesn't mind. I know this because he embraces me every night after I rouse him from peaceful sleep. I know this because he deepens his breathing after I place my ear over his heart so I can feel the rise and fall of his chest and his warm breath on my cheek.

He knows I need this, and he doesn't hesitate to give it to me. He knows I need assurance that he's with me.

I don't need assurance that he loves me; I've never needed it.

But I do need to know that he's not leaving me, I need to know that we'll go down to breakfast tomorrow morning and give Potter the evil eye.

Just imagining the look on Potter's face made me chuckle. You'd think seeing me and Severus together for the past two years would get him used to the idea that we slept in the same bed.

"Hmm?" Severus makes a questioning sound.

"Go back to sleep. I'm fine."

"I'm not going anywhere," he murmurs sleepily.

"I know." I press my ear a little closer.

Thump, thump.

Assurance.