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Some times there are sacrifices to be made.
Wednesday, June 13th ~*~ Afternoon




Daphne said her goodbyes to Anne Perks, and stepped away from the woman's hospital bed.

After hearing what had happened on Monday, she'd wanted to visit the two people that had gotten hurt. Guilt had eaten at her for the last few days even though she hadn't had any part in what had happened when Bellatrix died, but that didn't stop her from wanting to see for herself that Anne and Snape would eventually be alright.

Dealing with her guilt over Bellatrix's death would take much more, she knew.

She stopped to lean against her husband for a moment, seeking a bit of comfort and strength, before moving on to find Snape.

Covered in bandages and looking even paler than normal, he was propped up against some pillows in his bed, arguing with his Healer. That, more than anything else could have, served to reassure her.
 
 
 
 
 
 
"I assure you, I can recuperate just as well in the comfort of my own home as I can here. More so, in fact." Severus sneered as he looked around at some of the other patients in their beds.

"I must insist you release me."

The Healer nodded his head as Severus spoke, making notes on his chart, and once Severus was finished speaking he looked up with a polite smile and said, "We've gone over this already, Mister Snape, you aren't leaving here until I say so, and the more you fuss, the more likely it will be that Medi-Witch Harpizth will forget to warm the water for your sponge bath tonight. You really don't want that, do you? That's a good boy."

Severus glared after the retreating man, muttering about how things would be vastly different if they'd just give him back his wand.

Then he saw Potter and Greengrass.

With a resigned groan, he leaned back against his pillows and glared up at the ceiling. "Would it have killed someone to have given me a private room and made sure I couldn't have any visitors?"
Harry finally remembered Anne Perks being at the Halloween party at Glen Hollow and seeing her now and then at other gatherings. He was glad she'd survived the debacle their esteemed Minister of Magic had set in motion, but he was more interested in the other person who'd been injured that day.

Harry hadn't seen Snape since he'd been whisked away from Hogsmeade and he was extremely grateful to the healers that they hadn't allowed anyone to see him immediately. Daphne had been upset enough when she'd found out the man had been injured, Harry hated to think what state she would have been in if she'd seen him right after Bellatrix had cursed him.

When Snape growled at the healer, Harry smiled and in no way acknowledged the heaviness that left the area of his stomach. Keeping one arm around Daphne's waist, he pointed with the other one.

"See, I told you he was too mean to die," he told his wife, making sure it was loud enough to carry to the bed and at the same time sending Snape a wink. "He'll outlive us all and be bouncing our great-great-great-grandchildren on his knee."
At the mention of Potter's great-great-great-grandspawn, Severus turned a shade of pale green that would have surely sent Medi-Witch Harpizth into a tizzy of excited squeals.

"Are you trying to make me ill? I can assure you that vomitting with newly healing ribs and a formerly perforated, not yet completely healed lung is not an experience I wish to repeat. Ever." He lifted his head to glare at Potter, although his expression soften slightly when he turned it toward Greengrass.
"I suppose that means you won't be volunteering to babysit when the time comes, then?" Daphne ignored the way the softer look turned into a glare once more and moved closer to the side of his bed.

"You look like you've been run over by the Knight Bus." She briefly glanced over at Harry, once more relieved to see he was unharmed. "I would have thought they would have given you something for the pain that might have made you a bit more - amiable."
A loud snicker followed Daphne's diplomatic choice of words and Harry pulled over a chair for her to sit down in if she wanted to. Standing by the foot of Snape's bed, Harry didn't stop to analyze why he was feeling so chipper, he just enjoyed it. The fact his once-upon-a-time-professor/eternal-protagonist/possible-colleague/current-employee was going to live after they'd once again beaten the odds had everything to do with it and he wasn't about to admit - even to himself - that it mattered.

Pulling Snape's wand out of his back pocket, he held it up to the light and examined it. He'd had to present the previously signed permission paper from the files at the Phoenix to get it out of the clutches of the Aurors. He didn't know how Snape would feel about having it remain with their esteemed law enforcement officals, but Harry knew how he would feel about it - and Daphne had been instructed to get his as soon as it was possible if anything ever did happen to him.

"And to think I had a race with Doris to get this out of the Aurors hot little hands in order to bring you a present today I thought you'd really appreciate. I guess, since you're not - amiable enough to play nice today - I should give it to the healer in charge of your case until you are?"
"Don't you dare," he hissed, reaching out to try to snatch the wand out of Potter's grasp only to come up short by a considerable margin as his battered body protested.

Severus gingerly shifted, trying to ease the potion-dulled, yet still annoying, pain.

He huffed for a moment, then forced himself to remove the grimace from his face so that he could look up at Potter. "Thank you," he managed to spit out from between gritted teeth, "for keeping it out of Crockford's hands."
Daphne thought the way the two men acted with each other was sort of cute. Not that she would ever, ever, ever say it out loud.

She carefully sat in the chair Harry had brought her, and smiled at the patient.

"Mum wanted to visit. She'd baked all sorts of things for you, but they aren't letting in just anyone to see you. Probably wise, considering how many people would have lined up outside for a chance to see you stuck in bed and defenseless." She paused and her smile grew larger. "Mostly."
Her mention of Diane Greengrass and any others who might try to visit their former Potions Master had him squirming just a bit.

He turned to Potter once more.

"Yes, well... Are you planning on waving that around like a show-and-tell exhibit, or are you going to give me my wand before the Healer comes back and tries to confiscate it. He's already had some vile woman try to force feed me rice pudding and gelatin in punishment for calling him a - Right, wand. Please," Severus forced the last word out, an uncharacteristic pleading look on his face.
All traces of teasing left Harry's face and he stepped closer to the head of the bed so Snape wouldn't have to try and lean forward, presenting the wand handle first.

"You're welcome," Harry said with a short nod, before a ghost of a smile drifted over his face. "Doris would probably have asked for a kiss to return it to you - but I'll pass. I think she might be crushing on you. You should have heard her worrying about how you were doing. I swear Horace is pouting about having her attention diverted away from him."
The look on Snape's face was enough to send Daphne into a fit of giggles, and for the first time since she'd heard about what had happened there was a lightness in her heart again.

She reached out to pat the hand not clutching his wand protectively. "Just think of what you'll have to look forward to when they let you out of here and you have your first day back at the Phoenix."
Severus almost whimpered.
Should Narcissa hate him or be relieved he was going to live? He was as dear to her as Lucius used to be - and the only other man she'd ever considered inviting into her bed - but he'd been present at the death of her sister.

From the information she'd managed to gather, Bellatrix had initiated the confrontation with an attack on the half-blood Auror and had taken another witch as hostage outside the school the Potter-person had had the audacity to start. No one knew better than Narcissa how unstable Bellatrix had been. And how long she'd held a grudge toward him for the fall of her precious Dark Lord.

The facts - such as they were - were all coming back the same. Her penthouse had been invaded and a trap laid for Bella to fall into. The pride she felt in her sister having evaded that trap was tempered by the sorrow of her loss. Other than Draco and the child she carried, Narcissa was truly alone for the first time in her adult life - and she didn't like it.

One hand smoothed over the belly that now proceeded her as she made her way toward the ward she knew Severus was in. Her information had been quite complete and there was no need to check in with the healers on duty. She paused in the doorway and wondered for the first time if he would be - upset - at seeing her. Her sister had tried to kill him.

If I had kept a tighter rein on her - kept her medicated - would she still be alive - or merely existing and miserable?

As she looked at the man in the bed, she was still undecided. There were too many emotions still raw inside her chest, but this man - had saved her son, protected both herself and that same son and had done everything she'd ever asked of him.

He didn't kill her - Potter did, allowed her to walk forward and press a soft kiss to his cheek. A chair beside his bed was inspected before she deemed it clean enough to sit in.

"I do not wish to know what your intent was that day. I choose to believe you attempted to protect her and your injuries were caused by the sickness that had taken my sister's mind so long ago. Friend or foe was often the same in her mind these last ten years," Narcissa said, more to convince herself than him. If she could believe it, she would be allowed to retain him in her life.
He'd seen her come in. How could he not notice when Narcissa walked into a room. Severus had to admit he was surprised at how far along her pregnancy had progressed, and that made him realize that he'd been ignoring his duty toward her of late.

Ginevra had his heart as a whole, but there would always be a spot that would love Narcissa, even if that love had changed to the kind one offered a friend.

Assuming she was willing to continue their friendship.

He'd kept quiet as she crossed the room and sat, held his tongue as she spoke, and when she was quiet he reached out a hand toward one of hers.

Severus hated the thought of lying to her, so he chose to focus on what he could say in all truth. "I am sorry for your loss, Narcissa."
What Severus didn't say rang as loudly in her mind as the words that reached her ears. Family honor dictated she should withdraw, strike him from her list of acquaintances and curse the day he was born all in the name of her dead sister. Another reality and Narcissa might have been able to do just that.

What has family honor brought me?

A divorce.

A son and father divided.

A child I'm still not sure I want.

A disowned sister.

And finally a dead sister.


These thoughts and more went through Narcissa's mind as her fingers tightened on his. Raising troubled eyes to his, in that instant Narcissa decided. Decided to live what remained of her life dependent on no one.

After the child is born and he is well - I shall ask him to teach me. I should have the potential. The Black blood runs strong in the female members of its family. Even the half-blood Auror seems to be fairly competent.

"Thank you, Severus," Narcissa said quietly. No one else had bothered to express any sort of condolences and she doubted many would attend the memorial service she had planned. Glancing around the ward, a small bit of disdain was allowed to resurface.

"I can't imagine them placing you in with all these - people. It's a wonder you haven't contracted a fatal illness. A few well placed words will allow you to have a private room if you wish."
Not long ago, when Potter and Greengrass had stopped for their visit, Severus had wanted nearly that very thing. The offer was tempting.

"I may be forced to take you up on that. The gentleman in that bed over there has a rather unfortunate nasal issue that becomes quite noticeable during the night. And that woman," Severus shuddered delicately, "It would be best not to discuss it in mixed company."

He wasn't sure if he was relieved or concerned that Narcissa hadn't wanted to discuss the events that lead to the death of her sister. He suspected that if the timing were different, there might have been hell to pay, and the fact she was willing to - overlook certain matters told him that she needed him more as a friend than an enemy. A role he was all to willing to take.

"Have you heard from Lucius?"
"Consider it done."

The slight smile that lifted the corner of her mouth wasn't a happy one. She'd come here to see how he was - to make sure he was receiving the proper care and still - he tried to look after her in his own way.

"Almost daily," she admitted with a weary note in her voice. "He's determined to stall the divorce proceedings as long as possible. I think he's convinced I'll change my mind, forgive him and return to the manor. Since Bella - died - the missives have increased - all coached in terms of great concern for my safety of course. A well bred woman living alone and so on."

Her eyes dropped to the hands currently wringing the handkerchief before they raised to his.

"And he's right of course," she almost whispered while absently straightening the tortured cloth. "I'm afraid. Afraid like I've never been before and it's..." Narcissa's eyes closed momentarily while she searched for the words she needed. "It's stupid of me and wrong. When he and Bella were both in Azkaban and Draco was off putting around - I was alone."

She straightened and put the now folded handkerchief back in her pocket.

"I'm convincing myself it's merely shock over my sister's death and that it will pass."

Her eyes assessed the way he lay and she frowned.

"I didn't come here to discuss my domestic situation, Severus dear, as sweet as you are to worry about me. Now is not the time. I want to know if you're being tended properly. If not - I have a spare room at the penthouse, not Bella's, going begging and I would be thrilled to obtain the services of an adequate healer to attend you there if needed."
While the suggestion held great appeal, and would offer Severus a chance to keep a personal watch on Narcissa as he healed, he suspected that Ginevra would never forgive him.

After she stormed the flat to "rescue" him from the older woman's evil clutches, of course.

"I thank you for your generous, and kind, offer, but the Healer here seems to feel that it would be detrimental to my recovery if I were to be removed from his care." He hoped she'd understand there were reasons why he had to refuse.

Severus squeezed her hand once more. "One more mention of your domestic situation and then I shall keep quiet on the subject for the remainder of your visit. You still have the portkeys that were set up, yes? If something were to happen while I'm still recovering, if the Aurors return or Lucius becomes too insistent - Use a portkey. Go to Draco, or if he is unavailable - my cottage. Ginevra will know how to strengthen the wards until she can get help."

Help would most likely be Potter, and in light of who cast the fatal curse at Bellatrix, Severus chose not to mention names for the moment.
Narcissa refrained from laughing in his face. He had been injured true, but she didn't think it had affected his mind. The thought she'd run to a Weasley - any Weasley for protection - was abhorrent. She did have enough concern for his speedy recovery that she wouldn't argue with him about it now - later perhaps.

"I have one with me now," Narcissa said while smiling a little. "I have no fear of the Aurors returning. There never was anything in the penthouse they could have used to detain either Bella or me. Lucius is - impatient but not foolhardy."

Giving his hand one final squeeze, she rose and kissed him on the cheek.

"I'll arrange for a private room for you on my way out. When you're well - owl me and I'll arrange a dinner. Lucius won't be there, but I can probably manage to bend Draco's arm enough to attend."

She paused for a moment and raised an eyebrow. If the Weasley girl was going to be a permanent fixture in his life - she would have to make allowances. There might come a time when the chit would be useful.

"Would your Miss Weasley attend if I promised not to poison anything she might eat?"
He was relieved that she was practicing caution. Enough so that he was able to give her a genuine smile as she kissed his cheek.

"She and Draco seem to be friends, I think with your assurances that the food will be safe, I can convince her to attend. We'll look forward to it."

They exchanged their good days, and Severus watched her walk out, tapping his lower lip with a long finger. He might end up owing Ginevra a large boon, but he was sure there were many ways he could make it up to her. None of which would be a hardship for him.
Sirius had been wholly ecstatic when he'd heard the news, writing back from Italy and offering to invite Remus down to join him to "celebrate and get some sun on that bony white arse" of his.

Although Remus was in no way sad that Bellatrix was gone — there was literally no one he cared about whom she hadn't harmed — and he shared Sirius' immense pride in Harry for stopping the madwoman.

But unlike his friend, Remus was mindful of the consequences, which was why he was at St. Mungo's today at Izabel's side.

"Would you like to go in and talk to him alone?"

He tightened his grip on her hand, despite the offer, and immediately reprimanded himself. Izabel and Snape were friends, while they were married and this was a completely inappropriate time to be insecure.

"I'll be right here — Severus will appreciate that, I think."
While her first inclination was to make him accompany her, Izabel stopped to think about all the time he and Severus had spent together - cloistered at the Shrieking Shack. It might be a few more months apart before they were ready to speak civilly to one another.

The tightened grasp on her hand let her know he was of two minds about letting her see Severus on her own and a small smile played with the corner of her mouth. Rising on her tiptoes, Izabel gave him a soft kiss before smiling again. His hand was squeezed in return before she released him.

"Don't worry," she said quietly for his ears only. "His bark is much worse than his bite. I'll be fine and I think you two have shared enough togetherness for a while. I'd rather not tempt fate."

Moving toward the door, she turned and smiled over her shoulder at him.

"Go - read something or find a cup of tea and relax. I'll give him your best wishes."
Remus nodded and tucked his jacket over his arm. Oddly enough, those wishes would be sincere, but ... better from a distance.

"Take all the time you need."
"I will," Izabel assured him before opening the door to the ward and stepping inside. Oddly enough, she wasn't there to try and mollycoddle Severus. She didn't think he'd appreciate it. Exasperation and anger had been her reaction after the initial relief in finding out he'd survive and even though it had been a few days until he was allowed visitors, some of it shone in her eyes and the set expression on her face as she approached his bed.

"If you hadn't lived, I would have been extremely upset with you, Severus," Izabel said quietly as she kissed the same cheek Narcissa had. If she'd know it was the same spot, there probably would have been a judicious cleansing spell applied first. Sitting down in the chair beside his bed, she finally cracked a smile.

"Remus sends his best wishes for your speedy recovery, by the way."

Pulling a small parcel from her pocket, Izabel enlarged it before handing it over.

"I brought you these in addition to mine. The elves at the castle told me a long time ago what your favorite biscuits were - if it's changed since then - you'll have to let me know. I didn't think you'd want the traditional flowers or I'd have brought some of those as well. Oh, before I forget - Irma wanted to know if there were any periodicals or magazines you'd like sent by owl while you're here."

Izabel laughed lightly and shook her finger at him.

"You should count your blessings Minerva is up to her neck with school winding down right now. She's been terser than normal since we heard the news and that only happens when she's worried to death about something. I imagine when she does finally get a chance to visit you - you're going to get an earful about being more careful in the future.

"To be honest - that's what I intended when I set out as well, but she does it so much better than I ever could. So when she's got ahold of your ear and is speaking in that quiet deadly voice she uses in those cases - just imagine me behind her agreeing with everything she says."

Realizing she'd been talking almost non-stop, Izabel smirked and shook her head.

"Now - how are you feeling? Are they treating you alright? I can threaten them with Poppy if it would help. I know she'd be willing to step in."
"If I hadn't lived, I would have been extremely upset with myself," Severus replied quickly, in good spirits left over from Narcissa's visit and the return of his wand.

Biscuits! Those would have to be jealously guarded and hidden from the prying eyes of the Healer.

The thought of what his convalescence would be like if Poppy were in charge had Severus thinking of all the odd moments that weren't horrible during his stay.

"I'm well enough, considering. I heard it was touch and go at first, but almost all of the damage will be repairable. I have been warned that I'll more than likely have a new slew of aches and pains when the wet weather sets in, but one would expect similar from the onset of old age so I shouldn't complain too much." His infliction made it clear that he was repeating what he'd been told, and that his own opinion on the matter was far different.
Since Izabel herself wasn't that much younger then than the Potions Master, she tilted her head and gave him an appraising look. He was going to be alright, she was greatly relieved and couldn't help teasing him.

"I see," she advised in a dry drawl worthy of Minerva herself. "Does that mean the next time I see you - you'll be sporting a cane to help your frail little steps along - or merely hobbling along as best you can under your own power?"

Her eyes narrowed slightly and she made as if to take the packet of biscuits back.

"Perhaps I should take those back and return with some..." Izabel paused for a moment while trying to think of something suitably unappealing and bland. Tapping her finger on her chin, she started listing a few things. "Applesauce? Stewed prunes? Pureed pumpkin?"
Severus made a foul face and gripped the packet of biscuits tighter, drawing them to his chest protectively.

"If you ever see me with a walking stick, I can assure you I would have it for the sole purpose of beating others when they become insolent. Especially when they try to take away my biscuits."
Izabel's merry giggle rang through the ward and several people turned their heads to look at her. Blushing slightly, she leaned forward still with a large smile on her face.

"Sorry," she said quietly while attempting to contain her glee. "I couldn't help it. Relief you know. At least now I can truthfully tell Minerva and Poppy that you're well on the way to being in good health. The Severus we all know and love is still here."
He found it hard to believe there were that many people who knew him and still "loved" him, but there were probably a few who had grown to tolerate him over the years.

"Please do reassure Minerva and Poppy. Tell them I will be sure to stop by the castle once I'm released. I would like to have a word with Albus, as well."

He would want to know about Bellatrix, and he had always been a sort of father confessor for Severus in the past.