Eight o’clock struck and still Abby had not awoken. Dumbledore returned from dinner, along with Professors Snape and McGonagall, and asked Madame Pomfrey about the girl’s condition.
“She has a fever. And, um, well, she spoke in her sleep while you were gone, Albus. It was odd,” replied the nurse.
“What do you mean ‘odd’?” asked McGonagall. “What did she say?”
“Well,” Poppy hesitated but continued. “She said … ‘Severus’.”
“What?” said Snape, shocked. “Are you sure?”
Poppy nodded, “Yes. She said it a couple of times.”
Dumbledore looked at Snape, “A side effect of the spell, Severus?”
“It shouldn’t…” Snape’s voice trailed off as he looked at Abby’s supine form.
“Well,” said Minerva, “What else cou--”
“Severus…” The soft whisper cut off what McGonagall was saying. Snape’s eyebrows furrowed. Abby was gripping at the bed sheets as another pained whisper escaped her lips, “Severus..” Tears ran softly down her cheeks. Dumbledore touched Snape’s shoulder. “Go on.”
Snape stepped forward and sat, once again, on the edge of the bed. He placed a hand gently on the girl’s forehead. “Her fever is coming down. It was probably from the shock of the healing.”
Abby’s tears came heavier now, and Snape couldn’t help the urge to wipe them away; she was whispering his name. He ran his thumb and the heel of his palm against Abby’s damp cheek, and her eyes fluttered open slightly. He stared. They all stared. Then Snape wiped Abby’s other cheek and removed his hand.
“Could someone bring me my CD player? Please.” Abby spoke with a tired empty voice.
“I’ll get it,” said McGonagall and walked off briskly.
Snape began to rise, but Abby touched his hand. “Could I … talk with you for a moment, Professor?” she said. “In private?” she added, glancing at Dumbledore. “Of course,” said the Headmaster accommodatingly and stepped from the infirmary.
“I heard your voice.” Snape jerked back from watching Albus leave at the sound of Abby’s voice. “It hurt.” Her eyes were on his chest.
“Could you feel my hand on you?” Snape asked, his voice the usual cold tone.
“No. Just your voice. You were scared .. I think. Begging me not to die.” Her last statement was soft, as if she understood it was a secret.
Snape was silent for a moment. “No one likes to see a student die.” He paused, then, “I’m sorry it hurt. It wasn’t supposed to.”
There was a long pause between them, punctuated by Abby softly squeezing Snape’s hand.
“He was my ex,” said Abby suddenly. “My greatest fear is to have no reason to live. The only thing that keeps me going is hoping we might be together again. I hate it. I was hoping to find something more by leaving home.”
Just then, McGonagall and Dumbledore reentered the hospital wing, McGonagall holding Abby’s CD player. “Here you are Miss Everett,” she said, handing it to Abby.
“Thank you,” replied Abby as she opened the CD player to confirm that her Korn, Issues CD was still in it. “Can we talk about this more later?”
“Of course,” said Dumbledore. “We’ll let you get your rest.”
Snape stood as Abby hit “Play” on her CD player and walked out with Albus and Minerva. “Do you mind if I ask what she said Severus?” asked Albus as they reached the corridor.
Snape thought a moment, then, “She heard my voice speaking the spell. And, the boy that the boggart turned into was her ex-boyfriend.” He turned on his heel, suddenly rather irritated and impatient, and stalked off to his chambers in the dungeons.