“Perhaps we should let her sleep just a
little bit longer?”
“No. She will have plenty
of time to rest later. The poor dear, she’s been through so much already, I
don’t know how many more spells and potions her body will tolerate. Right now
all she needs is rest and tender nurturing.”
There was a great deal of sympathy in
the familiar voices. Each voice sounded so far away, but Jessica could still
“Professor Snape will see to it that she gets plenty
of each. He’s been all up in knots since he heard what happened.”
“I can’t say I blame him,” the other voice spoke. “He nearly lost her.”
nearly lost her.”
There was a tiny
pause before the other woman responded. “You’re absolutely right,
“How is she progressing, Poppy?” A third familiar voice joined the conversation.
“Albus,” this voice
sounded quite surprised. “She’s still awfully pale. It will take some
time before she’s back to normal.”
“I see. Well then, perhaps it will do her some good
to allow a visitor. Severus is quite anxious – and quite determined – to see
eyes fluttered open for a brief moment as she spoke and then settled closed
gasped. “Poppy, did you see that?”
“I did,” the nurse
confirmed. She leaned over towards Jessica and began stroking her hand along
the side of her face. “We’re here darling. Can you hear me? It’s Poppy,” she
Jessica didn’t move.
Her head had turned to the side and she’d fallen back asleep. Her fingers were
wrapped warmly in the nurses caring hands and were carefully being massaged.
“Albus, perhaps if
you bring him in?” the nurse suggested.
Dumbledore agreed and promptly left the Hospital Wing to bring in the Potions
pressed a hand to Jessica’s pale forehead and sighed in disappointment. “She
still feels rather clammy. Are you sure just a little –”
“No,” Madam Pomfrey
quickly protested. “Her body won’t take any more medication. She must do this on her own.”
A heavy pair of
footsteps sounded from the doors and anxiously moved towards Jessica’s hospital
bed. Each of the witches turned as Professor Snape drew the curtains away and
stepped forward. He looked back and forth at McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey and
then stared down at Jessica.
He sighed angrily as
her deathly pale appearance quickly revived the depressing feeling that had
harboured in the pit of his stomach over the last six months. He’d waited a
long time to see her open her eyes. Now he had to wait even longer.
It had been two days
since Quirrell had tried to make off with the Philosopher’s Stone. Dumbledore
had discovered the bodies of Professor McGonagall and Jessica shortly after
he’d rescued Harry from Voldemort’s grasp. They were both taken up to the
Hospital Wing and were administered immediately.
As Quirrell had
intended, Jessica had taken the full blast of his curse. Professor McGonagall
had recovered almost immediately after Madam Pomfrey had attended to her. The
injuries she sustained paled in comparison to the damage Quirrell had inflicted
In addition to the
bruise Quirrell’s punch had given her, Jessica had suffered a concussion after
hitting her head against the stone floor. Madam Pomfrey had done everything she
could for her head injuries, but it was up to Jessica to drift back into
“Why don’t we leave
the two of you alone for a moment?” Madam Pomfrey suggested as she stood up
from Jessica’s bedside.
Snape nodded his
head in agreement. “Very well.”
twitched for a moment after hearing his familiar voice. Professor McGonagall
was half way to standing when she saw Jessica move. She gasped again and moved
back, giving Snape room to seat himself beside Jessica.
Snape cleared his
throat and kept his back straight as he leaned over towards Jessica. He put a
hand to her chin and tilted her head so that she’d see him first of all when
she opened her eyes.
“Jessica?” he called
he could see her eyes fluttering open.
“Jessica,” he said
again, a touch louder.
A soft moan
surpassed her lips. “Severus,” she voiced inattentively.
“That’s right,” he
confirmed. “Open your eyes and look at me.” His voice possessed such an
authoritative tone that Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey were certain
Jessica would open her eyes out of fear that his next instructions would sound
even more aggressive.
obliged to his orders.
At first her vision
was hazy, but she could make out the solid black figure in front of her. A tiny
smile appeared on her lips as the haziness began to elude her vision. Snape
could see those emerald green eyes perfectly now.
“Severus,” she cried
gratefully. “You’re all right!” She touched her fingers to the side of his neck
where she had bit him.
Before she could
expose his neck, he pulled her hand away and held it tightly in his own. “Well,
obviously your memory is still in tact,” he said maliciously. “I cannot believe
you bit me. You and I are going to sit down and have a long talk about that.”
“What are you so
worked up for? You’re still alive,” she pointed out as she playfully poked a
weak finger into his chest. Jessica’s eyes wandered over to the witches
standing at the foot of her bed. “Minerva. Poppy. Are you all right?” she
asked, looking at the Transfigurations professor.
assured. “Just happy to see that you’re well out of trouble, dear.”
“That is debatable,” Snape muttered under his breath and
then quickly cleared his throat. “Would you mind giving us that moment alone?”
he said to his colleagues.
“Of course,” Madam
Pomfrey said. She quickly stepped aside after McGonagall. They closed the
curtain after they’d left and began heading towards Madam Pomfrey’s office.
“Are you sure his
nurturing will be tender, Minerva?”
Poppy asked with a hint of doubt in her voice. McGonagall answered the nurse’s
question, but their voices reduced to muffles as they walked farther away.
Jessica sat herself
up and hurried to wrap her arms around his chest. Snape let Jessica put her
head down on his chest and settle into his embrace. He gently scratched her
head and rubbed his hand up and down her back.
“I missed you,” she
whispered. “And I’m sorry I bit you, but it was the only way I could save your
life. Uncle Albus left a vial of Antiveleno
in my robes, so I knew my bit wouldn’t kill you. The Antiveleno diluted my venom
enough so that my bite would only knock you out,” she said and looked up into
his dark, dubious eyes. “Come on Severus. Please don’t look at me like that,”
she pleaded. “Professor Quirrell would have killed you if I hadn’t of convince
him that I’d done it for him.”
“If you had not
taken my wand, I assure you – he would not have stood a chance,” Snape said
irritably. “And – by the way – you gave me a bruise the size of a bloody
Quaffle. It was virtually the same color, too.”
Jessica bared a tiny
smile of embarrassment and looked down at the floor for a moment. “I’m sure
I’ll see it later.”
“I suppose you
might,” he said.
“What happened to
Professor Quirrell? Did he get away?” she asked timidly.
Snape shook his
head. “No, he did not.”
“I’m glad,” she told
him. “I really was afraid he’d get away with it all. I was even more afraid
that I’d helped him along.”
“He had you under a
curse, Jessica,” Snape reminded. “An illegal curse at that.”
Jessica agreed. “But I broke free of the curse the moment I saw him hurt you –
just like my mother broke free after seeing my father hurt me. I was only
playing along until he tried to kill Professor McGonagall. The only way I could
save her was by blowing my cover.”
Snape gently brushed
his hand along her cheek where Quirrell had struck her. The pain had subsided,
but a tiny bit of discolouration remained to attest to Quirrell’s unexpected
violence. “I would have killed him myself if I had seen him do this to you.”
Snape leaned over and kissed her bruised cheek.
“I know you would
have,” Jessica agreed. “And I’m sorry you had to watch me kiss that stinky, old
poopie. I can’t quite decide if it was worse for you or for me.”
“I know why you did
it,” Snape attested. “Just remember – he may have been the one you were meant for,” at this he sounded repulsed, “but he failed to
capture your heart as I have.” He picked Jessica’s hand up and trailed his lips
along her fingers in a series of soft kisses. “He also failed to bring
Voldemort back to power. I suppose that is why you are still here, safe and
“And who have you to
thank for that?”
uncomfortably. He sighed in frustration and then reached behind him to pull the
curtain back far enough for Jessica to see the boy lying in the bed
neighbouring her own. A moment later he dropped the lined curtain and looked
back at Jessica’s awed expression.
“Harry Potter?” she
questioned. “But how did he-?” Jessica decided against asking how he’d managed
to take one of the most powerful dark wizards of the age when she sensed
Snape’s resentment. Now was not the time to talk about the boy. “You’ll thank
him one day, won’t you?” Jessica asked him, sounding quite adamant about it.
hesitate to shake his head. The look in his eyes and the resentment in his
heart spoke for him. Snape would not thank Harry for anything – at least not in
“Perhaps – since you
just had to get involved with this one –
you and I can sit down one day, and I will let you in on some of the secrets of
my life that pertain to his family.”
“You mean you’ll
tell me why you pretend to hate that boy so much?” Jessica discerned.
For a split second
Jessica thought she’d seen him tuck the corner of his lips up into a smile.
Before she had time to decide whether she had or not, all looks of amusement
eluded his expression. He took one long breath and then exchanged his puzzling
look for a serious-minded stare. “Look, Jessica, before we have time to get
into anything else, there is something I have to tell you… something that has
been waiting to be said for a long time now.”
“All right,” she
said and clasped his hand. “Go ahead.”
Snape lifted his
hand and wove his fingers into Jessica’s hair and drew her closer to him.
Having no desire to allow anyone else that may be on the other side of the thin
linen curtain to overhear what he had to say, Snape spoke softly into Jessica’s
“What I told you
last Christmas – I want to take it back,” he began. “I said some things that
were uncalled for, and it was foolish of me to let you run out like that. I
should have listened to you. I should have protected you that night,” he said,
drawing the words out as if it pained him to say them.
Feeling like it had
only been a matter of hours since she had heard him erupt in anger, Jessica
felt tears beginning to roll down her cheeks. She hugged Severus to her chest
and squeezed him hard.
“I thought I had
lost you,” Snape whispered into her ear.
“Oh Severus, you’ll
never lose me,” Jessica assured. “As long as I’m alive, I’ll always be in love
Snape wrapped his
arms further around her knowing that he could never let her go even if he
tried. The last six months had taught him what it would be like to go on
without Jessica, and that was a sort of misery he never wanted to feel again.
“I dreamed about
you,” Jessica told him after a long moment of silence. “At least I think I did.
I dreamed that I could hear you speaking to me, and I could feel you kiss and
hold me. There were times when you told me that you love me.”
Snape chuckled in
her ear and let her go. “I hardly think you dreamed that at all,” he said with
a particularly impressive look in his eye. “You heard every damned word I said,
didn’t you?” He bared that tiny, crooked smile she loved so much and set his
hand on her thigh.
Jessica pursed her
lips and turned her eyes up in thought. “Hmm,” she sounded from behind closed
lips. “I may have,” she teased.
Snape traced his
finger across her lips and then tipped her chin up to meet his anxious kiss.
Jessica let her lips settle over his and embraced in his bold affection.
“Your uncle…” Snape
kissed her again, “…enlightened me…” another kiss, “…this morning…” Jessica
tangled her fingers in his hair and locked him into a deep, passionate kiss
before he was able to continue. “He told me that although you were not able to
hear me speaking directly to you, a part of your subconscious knew just the
message I wanted your ears to hear.”
At that moment, when
all Jessica wanted to do was take Severus in her arms and hold him forever, a
rumble sounded from her stomach and had both of them looking down at where the
growl had come from. Jessica laughed when she saw the peculiar expression on
“Hungry?” he asked
Jessica shrugged her
shoulders. “Well, considering I haven’t had anything to eat in the last six
months – YES!” She laughed and pushed the rest of the linen bed sheets off of
her. “In fact, I haven’t even been to the bathroom, had a shower, or – Great
Merlin! Have you brushed my teeth?” She covered her mouth and backed away as
she anxiously awaited an answer.
quietly and shook his head. “Don’t worry about that, Love. Your entire body
shut down while you were asleep. As far as your bodily functions are concerned,
it’s still late December.”
Jessica then looked
down at what she was wearing and noticed that she was no longer dressed in her
pink evening gown. “Do I have you to thank for this perfectly hideous paper
dress?” she asked and held up the corner of her crumpled hospital garments.
“No,” Snape shook
his head. He picked up the locket she was still wearing and studied it for a
brief moment. “Madam Pomfrey changed your clothes after the Headmaster brought
you and Professor McGonagall up.”
“Oh no,” Jessica
gasped. “Did she see-?”
Before she could
even finish, Jessica saw Snape shaking his head again. “Think nothing of it,
Love,” he insisted. “The Headmaster explained everything about your Marks.” He
held his hands out to Jessica and slowly helped her up to her feet. “Come along
Love. A spot of lunch will do you some good.”
Jessica swung her
legs over the side of the hospital bed and eased herself up with Snape’s
assistance. She anxiously began walking towards the Hospital Wing doors and nearly
tripped over her own feet after only a couple of steps.
“Easy, Love.” He
tucked his arms under her waist and began walking her away.
“You keep calling me
that,” Jessica pointed out, smiling at him as he walked with her. “Not that I’m
Snape turned the
corner of his mouth up into a smile and let the twinkle in his eyes dazzle her.
“Nor should you be,” he said. “I say it because…I love you.”
…And now for a sneak
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