II

There was a story long ago, of a prince and a dark castle, awaiting for the love he so deserved. But it never came, for his heart had fallen out of his chest, and he soon descended with the organ and the arteries. It was too much to handle, a beating heart, but one that was so far away from him and so inadequate. And so he crashed to the floor, only moments before the beautiful, cinnamon-haired maiden had come to find such a man: A man who only wanted love. But what went untold, was that the prince had survived the fall and went on to find the love of another woman—a frizzy haired know-it-all, with honey colored eyes and flaxen hair.

These tales were ludicrous in every sense, yet such stories were harbored close to the heart, no matter how insignificant they were. They were the pivotal entity to many great things, the beginning and end to human curiosity and imagination.

Hermione Granger was the type of woman who would suck in information, feed upon it like a leech until her brain would expand to beyond its capacity. What went unknown by most was that she was also the type of woman who focused far too much on fairytales. It was an obsession that she had covetedly formed when she was but a small lass. That obsession had been suppressed upon her entrance to the wizarding world. When Voldemort had fallen, she had once again rekindled that yearning for fairytales as her heart and mind were in disarray. Hermione went on, devouring all the romantically based heroism she could. She lacked these tales in her own reality, but what she lacked more than anything else was romance. She had grown a hovel in her heart, and it needed to be filled. Slithering past her was the barely-alive Severus Snape. A tragic hero, a martyr, and a rather attractive man as well she had begun to look passed his brooding, unbearable qualities.

In looking passed them, she had discovered the innumerable entities she adored about him. The way he would fall asleep with a pair of glasses sliding off his face and a book in his hand, or that he would sneak a secret smile in whenever he was almost completely sure that no one was looking, but also (for she could never forget) the way he would stand out in the rain and wait an entire night if he had to for those he had grown to care for, were among the list of the eclectic tendencies of his that she had chosen to stop ignoring.

Hermione and Severus were lying on a four-poster bed of mahogany. "Hold me," she whispered in the middle of the night-the first night they had stayed with each other. A fire was burning in the stone fireplace, the smell of ashes and wine thick in the air. He placed his head in the crook of her neck and engulfed her in his arms. She was fitted perfectly beside his masculine body. "Love me," she released slowly.

"I already do, I already love you so much Hermione."

"Tell me every day."

"I told you from the start that I am no Price Charming," he poignantly intoned. She only sighed and feigned sleep, hoping that this was just a rough patch between the two. "But I'll tell you that I love you as often as I can. I am not a man of words." He pulled her closer. "I am a man of action." She gasps when he begins to kiss her shoulder. She knew she couldn't ask much of him, but she loved him too much not to. When the burgundy wine spilled on the gray bed-sheets, neither of them broke away to clean up the mess. Instead, they made the mess bigger, and they thoroughly enjoyed doing such.

Harry Potter, whose green eyes shown with glimmers of hope and piety, but also pity, had entered the room all but dismally. He sat on the foot of her hospital bed. "I head that he wasn't coming today," he told her as he stroked her leg, hoping that she would not break down. He repeated it once more when he received a look of complete disbelief. "You'll be fine without him. This isn't good for the baby." He puts his hand on her pregnant belly, and smiles. "Today will be a beautiful day without him, okay?"

What did "today" mean? It was a Saturday, and the sun was shining brightly in the lavender tinted sky. The previous air of happiness had been replaced by an unsettling repugnance beneath Hermione skin. That day was a Saturday and Severus was not there. Before Hermione was admitted to the hospital, Severus had begun to volunteer every Saturday at St. Mungo's. That day was a Saturday, and it might has well been a "holy day" or "dooms day", and she wouldn't have cared, because Severus was gone—where, she didn't know, and she wouldn't ask, because if she found out there would have only been a larger chance of tears slip out of her tired, barren eyes.

It was at times like these when she asked herself why she hadn't fallen in love with someone like Harry, someone with hopeful eyes and a memory of her. But the answer remained: He was simply, and would be nothing more than a friend, a dear friend who earned his place in her heart, but not a place in true, unadulterated love. Sitting on her bed in his navy blue collared shirt and tan slacks, Harry looked into Hermione's eyes, hoping that his hopes for her would be transmitted into her. Hermione knew this of course, that he had wished for her to get better for both her and the baby's sake, and this was just another reason was Harry was an irreplaceable friend.

"Thank you, Harry," she said was a crooked smile.

"I'll come back Monday with a few books, and we'll talk then. I have to get back to the Ministry and sort out the Auror department. Take care." After getting up, he pressed a kiss against Hermione's forehead. "Any book you want me to bring?"

"Anything by Tolstoy." He nodded, leaving the room dismally. Tolstoy was the author of the novels that Severus and Hermione had read together on cold winter nights cozily in their bed. Hermione could sometimes still hear his resonant, velvety voice reading certain passages.

That same voice sounded from the other sound of the room. Her heart almost literally sprang out of her chest once she heard it reverberate through the room and into her awaiting ears. "They told me to come see you first, Ms. Granger." She sighed, reminding herself once more that Minerva had rather rudely demanded that the hospital use her maiden name, and made sure not to tell them of the reason for the change.

Hermione sat up, her eyes already watering. Breaking down his last occlusive wall, Severus walked toward her, his eyes glazed over with pity. A part of him was in languishing, and he couldn't admit to himself why. He wiped her tears away with his thumbs first, but they kept on streaming. He bent over, trying to cease fire in the raging battle within him, and he kissed the tears away, one by one, until Hermione's unconcerting weeping had ended.

With a flick of his wrist the door closed loudly. "This is the most insane thing that I have ever done in my life," he breathed against the skin of her pale, freckled cheek. "And I don't know why I'm doing this, but I can't seem to stop myself from this utter catastrophe I'm about to make."

"Then don't," she exhaled wantonly.

After months of longing for him, waiting for him to come and whisk her away swiftly, Severus was finally with Hermione the way she wanted him to be. Her hands were wrapped around his neck, and dared to travel across his body. Severus was bent over the bed, his hands at her hips, and his face far too close to hers for sanity. "I love you," she found herself tell him. He wasted no time: His thin lips had claimed hers, and a symphony of feeling that he thought he had forgotten how to feel was playing within him. How many times they had paused their kissing to breathe and then continued to provoke each other into going further, they had lost count. When they separated, Hermione saw him smiling for the first time since she was admitted into this maddening establishment.

"Do you remember me?" The question rang in the stillness of the white room.
"Why do you keep asking me that one question?"

"Because I'm your wife, but you don't remember me."

She didn't expect anything other than for him to claim that she was mentally unstable. She counted the seconds that passed—the ticking of a clock inside of her. 'Go ahead; tell me what I know you will. Tell me that I'm in the place where I belong. I'm waiting. I'm not sane, I know, but I've gone insane only because of you. You—the person I love.' She watched him turn sharply and exit the room. It hurt her more than anything when he had said absolutely nothing. She fell onto her pillow, but she did not cry this time. She was going to be strong for the first time, even if she thought it to be impossible.


A/N: So it didn't take me too long to update this. I don't know when I'll be updating next. This isn't my best writing, so in the future I may go back and edit this. Thanks for reading!

-E.S. Grey