Who: Hannah Abbott, Remus Lupin, Severus Snape and Dimpy the House Elf
Where: Snape Manor, Hannah's room, the Cemetary, the Lab and The Master Suite
Summary: Hannah has an inspired dream, and runs to Remus for help.
Hannah reentered the Manor through the pair of French doors at the rear of the sitting room and headed to her rooms, after a brief stop in the lab to collect her Rammstein CD. She was absolutely bone weary as she pulled open the draperies surrounding her king-size bed and sank into the down .
She fluffed her pillows and pulled the comforter up to her neck to ward off the slight chill in the room as she settled back, quite ready for a nice, long, long nap. But Hannah couldn’t help but think something was missing… It was quite in the Manor that night. Far too quiet for someone who’s mind was working as busily as Hannah’s was. It was a disconcerting kind of quiet, like the calm before the storm.
And try as she might, as tired as she was, Hannah couldn’t seem to force her eyes to shut. Not with everything in her world so damn quiet.
So, throwing the covers back, Hannah leaned over the side of the bed, one hand searching the area just behind the bed skirt. Her brows pulled together a moment as she leaned further over the edge of the bed, now bent in half with one hand on the floor for support. Her head was almost resting on the floor as she pulled the bed skirt away to look for what she wanted.
“A-Ha!” she cried triumphantly as she stretched just a little more and, with the tips of her fingers, managed to pull the object close enough to get a hand around it. “There you are, my little brussel sprout! Come to mummy….” As she was trying to get a hold on her elusive DiscMan, yet another gift from her aunt, the feather bed on her mattress shifted sudden and she fell the last couple inches to the floor, hitting her head first and her rear second in an impromptu somersault. Hannah laid there a moment before the giggles came and she was intensely thankful that no one had been there to witness her little spill.
Still chuckling, the blond picked herself up from the floor, dusting off her butt more out of habit than any actual dust or dirt on the floor that Dimpy and the other house elves might have missed. She crawled back into her bed, once again settling down as she slipped a CD into the brilliant little piece of muggle machinery. She slipped a CD into the contraption and pressed play one the headphones were settled on her ears. As it had been all night, Du Hast was being played full blast. Hannah fell asleep tapping her fingers in time with the heavy beat.
There was a flash of light and Hannah opened her eyes. But, instead of seeing the canopy above her bed, Hannah found herself standing in a fantastically bright colored field. The world around her looked as if a muggle Crayola factory had exploded, covering everything in shiny, bright-colored wax. The vegetation, for lack of a better word, beneath her feet was a fantastic fuchsia with the occasional group of blazingly green leaves topped with yellow flowers. Hannah stooped near one bundle of flowers, fingering the leaves delicately. “St. John’s Wort,” she said, her voice muffled like she was speaking through more than a few layers of cotton.
Plucking some of the blossoms from the bush, Hannah stood and cast a glance around the landscape around her. It was something out of a storybook, everything around her surrounded by a heavy black outline. “Wha… What is this place?” she asked aloud, turning in place.
A tap on her arm had her whirling about,
To see an odd being, his face in a pout,
Dark black his hair, as well as his eyes,
His nose was quite large, but his eyes seemed quite wise.
"Just what are you doing?" he asked with a sneer,
As he pointed to the flowers she had crushed out of fear,
"You Hufflepuffs seem to have very odd notions
If you think that those weeds should go into your potions!"
Hannah blinked, stepping back a pace or two as she stared. The creature before looked so like Professor Snape, as she remembered him from her first year in school…. But just not. “I…. B-but… It’s not… I mean to say…” Hannah trailed off, sighing and shaking her head. “It’s not a weed… It’s a medicinal herb,” she said, finally completing her thought.
The Severax frowned as he pondered her claim,
Then he snorted, "Are you sure you can master this game?
I'll warn you that everything you find in this place
Is not what it seems when you look in its face.
Remember your lessons, it's not just the flower
Which holds all the answers or has all the power!
Sometimes it is whether it's fresh or it's dry,
Which can tip the scales if they live or they die.
And don't forget not to harvest the flowers too soon,
You pick St. John's Wart by the light of the moon!"
Hannah nodded and rubbed her forehead, smearing some of the red sap from the stalks she’d picked onto her forehead. “I know, sir, I know… Believe me, I know the consequences… But our time is so short! Where can I find wild St. John’s Wort to it can be harvest correctly?”
"Did you learn nothing as you sat in my class?"
the Severax groaned as though chewing on glass.
"You find it in patches in graveyards you know,
If you've courage at midnight to into one go.
And do not forget that you have a connection
Who can show the place where it grows to perfection.
A werewolf is hairy and dense I suppose,
But he can direct you - just follow his nose!"
Hannah blinked as she absorbed this new information. I need to go to a cemetery. At midnight. To gather St. John’s Wort. With Remus. Sweet Merlin… Finally she nodded, meeting the Severax’s eyes. “I understand,” she said, nodding as if it would help to convince the both of them. “I need to find Remus.”
With a roll of his eyes and a shake of his head
The Severax sighed, "So your brain isn't dead!
That is quite a relief!" Then he gave a small snort.
"Although I'll remind you your time is quite short!
So please do not dawdle and do not delay,
Or it will be too late and you won't save the day!"
Then he gave her a nod, a small smile on his face,
Before with a *pop* he was gone without trace.
Hannah awoke with a start, ‘Feuer Frei‘, another Rammstein song pounding in her ears. She pulled the headphones off, shoving the DiscMan across the bed as she desperately tried to recall what the Severax had told her. Remus, she thought, leaping from her bed. I need to find Remus…
Hannah tore down the hall leading from her rooms to the foyer of the Manor, then back up the corridor which led to Remus and Severus’s rooms, in addition to the laboratory. She skidded around a corner, bumping into a priceless porcelain bust and almost sending it crashing to the floor, but she managed to catch it just in time and ran, carrying with her halfway down the hall until she deposited it on a table beside a piece of tartan cloth, below a portrait of some distant Snape relative. “Och!” the man in the portrait cried after her. “You can’nae lave that herre, lass!” But by the time his words reached her ears, Hannah’s bare feet had already rounded another corner, her plain, pal pink nightgown billowing behind her like a sail.
A third corner was rounded and Hannah found herself before the door leading to the Master chamber. She hit the door at full speed, her hands fumbling with the knob clumsily as she fought with it. Damn thing! she thought. I need to get in there!
Finally she was able to wrench the door open and she bounded inside. “Remus!” she cried, not caring that the noise level was far above what would have been considered appropriate for a sick room. “Remus, Where the devil are you?!”
Waking from another of the odd dreams he kept having of Sirius and the grey void, Remus shook his head muzzily, before sitting up in the bed. His heart began to thud painfully as he recognized Hannah's voice. Nothing short of a full scale disaster would have brought the witch bursting into his and Severus' bedroom in which a fashion, and he sprang upright, adrenaline surging through him as he burst through the bed curtains.
"Hannah? What's wrong?" he asked, regarding her with concerned eyes as he strode across the room. "Is it one of the kids?"
Hannah shook her head, her blond hair whipping around her face. "No, Remus the kids are fine," she said, her voice running at about 300 km per hour as she grabbed the man's hand and began pulling him toward the door. "But I need you to come with me. Right now. We don't have much time because I have to gather it at midnight and I don't even know where it is but the funny little man said you knew where it was and we really, really need it! I think it may be the last ingredient and if it is I can get started on it right away! Wouldn't that be wonderful?!"
Remus blinked, attempting to follow the spate of words, resisting the tug on his hand. He frowned slightly, looking at her closely. "Hannah, what are you on about? What 'funnly little man'? And what do I know 'where it is'? Did you have a dream? Slow down, love, and talk to me."
He reached for his dressing gown, pulling it from the chair next to the door, and sparing just a moment to be thankful he was sleeping in pajama bottoms, before belting the robe around his waist and waiting for Hannah's explanation.
Hannah renewed her tugging, still trying to get him to hurry. "Yes... No... I'm not sure what exactly it was, Remus, but I need St. John's Wort and I need it now! It's got to be harvested at midnight and it's nearly midnight now! The funny little man who looks like Severus said that you would know where we can find some."
"St. John's Wart?" the werewolf asked. "I think.... Hang one second, Hannah... Dimpy! Dimpy, I need you!"
The house elf appeared instantly. "Yes, Master Remus?" she asked, eyes wide as she looked between the werewolf and Hannah.
"Dimpy, can you please stay with Severus for a few minutes? Miss Hannah needs me to find something for her," he said, even as Hannah was pulling him out of the door.
"Yes, Master Remus!" the house elf replied, seeming confused. But Remus had no time to offer explanations, not with the urgency Hannah was displaying.
"I saw some, yes," he said, frowning in concentration. "When was it... a day or two ago. Somewhere on the grounds, too..." He looked up at her, nodding. "I think... at the cemetery. The Snape Family plot, you know. It's here on the estate."
Hannah jumped up, squealing and clapping her hands like Harmony so often did. "Perfect! Absolutely perfect! Remus, we need to get out there now. The sooner I get that St. John’s Wort, the sooner I have the potion started!"
"Alright," Remus replied, shaking his head. He wasn't quite certain yet why or how Hannah had come up with this idea, but he wasn't about to question it. She was the expert, and if she said now, it would be now.
Tugging on the hand he held, he took the lead, pulling her after him. He muttered the unlocking wards at the back door leading into the gardens, then pulled her after him down the path. "It's this way... not too close to the house." He led her off into the darkness for several minutes, before turning off onto a slightly overgrown-looking area.
"There," he said, pointing to a set of iron gates several yards away, almost overgrown with vegetation. A small area had been hacked away, and he pulled her towards it. Pushing open the gate, he led her inside, ears straining for any sound. Then he paused, looking at her, before pointing to a raised mound.
"Is that what you want?" he asked, indicating the grave covered in growth.
Hannah knelt in the dirt before the over grown grave her eyes squinting as she tried to make out the color of the closed blossoms on the plant before her. She reached out and tentatively broke off a stem and touched a finger to the dark sap that dripped. Even in the waning moonlight, Hannah could see the sap was a deep, dark red, resembling the saintly blood it was named for.
“Yes,” she replied, smiling as she started yanking tufts of the plant from the soil.
Remus watched, his brow furrowed, as Hannah tore at the vegetation. "Careful there," he said softly. "You'll tear up your hands. And that sap is positively frightening."
He paused, then took up the hem of his robe, tearing off a long strip of fabric before kneeling down next to her and laying it on the ground. "Put it on here. How much of this stuff do you need?"
"I'm not sure," Hannah said, shaking the loose dirt from the roots of a bunch she'd just pulled free. "But I need to have enough so that I don't have to stop working until I can gather more tomorrow night."
She paused a moment in her pulling to glance up at Remus. The werewolf beside her was tired, dead exhausted, really, and probably at his wit's end... But there he was. Crouching in a cemetery in the middle of the night, helping her. Hannah offered the man a smile and gently touched his arm, heedless of the dirt and sap that stained her fingers. "I think that's enough for now, Remus. Do you... Do you think you can help me? Or does Severus need you back right away?"
"Of course I can help you, Hannah," the werewolf replied, nodding. He offered her a small smile, and covered her hand with his where it rested on his arm. "You've done so much for Severus and I, and I'll do anything at all you want me to."
He squeezed her hand lightly, before releasing it and busying himself bundling up the plants Hannah had unearthed. "He's pretty far gone, Hannah," he continued quietly, keeping his voice matter-of-fact. "I can still feel him, but it's almost as though he is slipping, drawing further and further away from me. I can't do anything in that room except hold him and wait... so I'm more than willing to assist you."
Standing, he lifted the cloth holding the plants before passing it to Hannah. "I'll lead the way back... I think my dark vision is a little better than yours."
Hannah took the bundled plants, holding them carefully so the rootstock and foliage wouldn't be bruised on the short trip to the laboratory. She followed Remus as he led the way, her mind trying to come up with an appropriate response to what he'd said. But what does one say when confronted with something like that?
They were descending the stairs to the lab when Hannah finally cleared her throat. "Remus... This cure is going to work. I won't rest until it does."
Remus turned, looking back at her over his shoulder. The lines of worry and fatigue on her face were etched sharply. making her look fragile even though he knew just how tough she really was. But that didn't keep him from once again feeling the twinge of conscience that Hannah was working herself literally to death for this.
"I know, Hannah," he replied, sighing slightly before offering her a small smile. "It wouldn't dare not work, not faced with your determination. I know that if I were that cure, I'd work in self-defense just to keep you from being angry at me."
He opened the door to the lab, then stood back so that she could precede him in. At this point, he almost wanted the cure as much for the relief and rest it would give Hannah as for the fact that it would save the life of he and his mate.
Hannah chuckled a bit as she stepped past Remus and into the lab. It was cool there now, but she knew it would warm up as soon as she got the flames burning beneath a few of the cauldrons. She carefully deposited the bundled bunch of St, John's Wort near the sink and brushed the dirt from her fingers into the basin.
"Alright," she started. "Remus, could you set out three clean cauldrons? I don't want to jeopardize what progress we've made with some of the other brews." Hannah quickly went to cleaning the herbs before her, careful to keep the flowers dry while she washed the soil and 'native life' from the foliage.
Nodding, Remus turned and entered the storage room, collecting three of the cauldrons before returning to the main part of the lab. He moved to an empty workspace, and set them up over burners. "Ready," he said, walking over to where Hannah was occupied with the plants. "What else do you want me to do?"
Hannah glanced up as she shook the water from a bunch of herbs. "Oh, um... Alright. Now we need to tranfer some of the base to those clean cauldrons. About 2 liters in each, I think."
Setting the herbs to the side of the basin, Hannah reached over and plucked a knife from the rack hanging on the wall. She carefully pruned the flowers and unopened buds from the stems. "Now all I need is my mortar and pestle..."
Remus picked up the mortar and pestle from Hannah's normal work table, placing it beside her with a smile. Then he moved back to the new cauldrons, carefully measuring out the potion base into each one as she had directed.
"So, Hannah... St. John's Wort? Where did you come up with that? It must have been some dream," he said, shaking his head in amusement.
Hannah nodded, smiling. The exact details of the dream were already growing fuzzy... but even as they faded, the conviction she felt about St. John's Wort being the missing ingredient grew stronger and stronger.
"Oh, it certainly was," she said, her eyes twinkling. "Remus? Did you ever read The Lorax when you were younger?"
The werewolf blinked in confusion. "The what?" he asked, inclining his head as he looked at her. "Um, no... I'm rather well read in Muggle literature, but that isn't something that I recall ever having heard of."
She chuckled, shaking her head as she slipped about half of the flowers and buds she'd cut into the mortar. "I don't know if I'd exactly call it literature," Hannah said, picking up the pestle. "It's a children's book written by Dr. Seuss. Harm has my old copy, I think."
Hannah sighed as she began the tedious work of grinding the flowers. It was boring, painful work... but she decided to entertain Remus, and herself, by telling him the story of The Lorax. "It's about environmentalism and about how industry is destroying the beautiful world we live in. My dream was based on it, I think, but I haven't read it in ages."
"Ah, I see," Remus said, although it was obviously he was still in the dark. "So this book has St. John's Wort in it?"
"Not exactly. The main plant in the story is the Truffula Tree. In the story, the Oncler used Truffula tufts to knit Thneeds. But, in order to get the Truffula tufts, he had to chop down the Truffula trees." Hannah paused a moment, trying to recall the story. "When he started cutting down the trees, the Lorax appeared and told him to stop."
She smiled brightly. "In my dream, the Lorax was Severus. I think it was the tone of voice that sparked that."
Remus digested what she said, then a wicked grin appeared on his face. "This Lorax... he's snarky, I take it?" he asked, eyes gleaming with good humor. "And bossy and overbearing?"
Hannah laughed at the remark and held her hands open and about a meter apart. “Just a little bit. And more than that, he was speaking in rhymes. Somehow, I just cannot see Severus speaking entirely in couplets.”
She looked back down to the flowers she was grinding and sighed. “How’s it looking over there, Remy?” she asked, redoubling her efforts to just get the hated task over and done with.
"The base is all set up," Remus replied. "Do you need me to take over the grinding why you do something else?"
Hannah shook her head once, after checking the flowers again. "No, these are almost ready. Could you get out the belladonna and the dittany and begin preparing those? Oh! And the eye bright as well."
Nodding, the werewolf crossed to the storage room, quickly retrieving the specified ingredients. He returned to his worktable, before laying them out and following the meticulous directions Hannah had given him on the preparation of the ingredients.
Not pausing in the task he had been set, he cleared his throat slightly. "Hannah... what are we going to do about testing this? Did you and Severus ever come up with a plan before... before he..." his voice trailed off, and he drew a deep breath. "Before he went into the coma," he finished finally.
Hannah's brows pulled together as she continued grinding the flowers with her pestle. "If Severus had an idea as to how we were going to test it, he never shared it with me." She bit her lip, trying to get the verbage she wanted to use next just right.
"I, um... I think it would probably be best if we get an poison antidote prepared. Because I think that it would be best if, um.... If I be the one to test it."
Remus stiffened, hands going still before he turned around to face her with shocked eyes. "It's too dangerous! What if something happened? You are the ONLY one who knows this potion now, and if...." he shuddered, not liking the mental picture at all. "If anything happened to you... it's as good as signing Severus' death sentence as well as your own."
Hannah sighed, setting her mortar and pestle on the bench before her. She had been expecting that sort of reaction, especially from Remus. "If you've a better suggestion, Remus, I'm all ears. I don't particularly fancy possibly poisoning myself, but I really don't see any other way to go about it."
Frowning, Remus looked at Hannah, considering the options. He sighed in frustration. "It's either you or I, I suppose. And either one of us dying pretty much nixes it for Severus, doesn't it?" He shook his head. "Shall we flip a coin, then?"
Hannah shook her head. "No. I'll test it when it's ready. Once I'm finished with these flowers, I'll start a... a poison antidote. I know the exact one to use."
With another sigh, Remus nodded once. "I suppose that's for the best. Who knows what my metabolism might do to it." He turned around, and continued the work she had set for him, telling himself that it would all be fine. It had to be fine, because anything else was not acceptable at all.
Hannah was quiet after that. A few minutes passed and Hannah finished with the flowers, setting them near Remus. She turned and headed into the store room and began gathering the ingredients she'd need for the antidote. "Remus," she said quietly. "If... If something happens to me... Can you make sure to tell the kids I love them? And Sus too? I know she'll take care of them, even if Jeremy drives her batty."
A stab of pain at the thought of anything happening to her cut through all of his self-assurances, and Remus grimaced. He put down the knife he was using, and crossed swiftly to the blonde witch, putting his arms around her and pulling her into a tight hug. "Of course I will... but Hannah, this WILL work. You know what you are doing, and Sev trusted you - he still trusts you." He held her at arm's length, and gave her a rather lopsided smile. "Everything will be fine. It has to be... because I don't know about you, but the thought of Severus snarking at us for being a 'useless Hufflepuff and Gryffindor' is just too horrible to contemplate!"
Hannah chuckled as she returned Remus's embrace, holding the werewolf tight for a moment before stepping back. She ducked her head to wipe away the moisture that had gathered in her eyes before meeting his earnest, amber-eyed gaze. "Of course it'll be fine. But... just in case..."
"Right, boss," he said, releasing her and stepping back. He moved back to the worktable, and began to quickly - but carefully - continue the chore of chopping the ingredients.
The next few hours passed in relative silence as Hannah and Remus both worked at getting both the possible cure and the antidote ready for testing. Hannah, still in her pink nightgown and bare feet, paced the laboratory, trying to use up some of her nervous energy as the cure simmered. She checked it once. Twice. Thrice. And finally she nodded, biting her lip as she looked up towards Remus. "I think it's ready," she said quietly, her hands wringing together.
Remus nodded, drawing a deep breath. "Ready when you are," he said, hoping that his voice didn't betray exactly how nervous he was feeling about this. Tension coiled in his stomach, and he clenched his hands by his sides to keep them still. "Just tell me what to do."
Hannah took a deep steadying breath as she steeled herself for what had to be done. “Alright,” she said softly. “Just… ladle out some of the cure into a vial. I’m not going to need much. And make sure you have a quill and parchment handy. If I have any kind of reaction, you’ll have to note it and give me that anti-poison as soon as possible.”
She stepped up to the caldron where she’d brewed the antidote and transferred some into a vial while Remus did the same in front of the other cauldron. When she was finished, Hannah turned, wiping her damp palms on the soft pink cotton. “Okay. I’m ready.”
Remus took the vial, and offered as reassuring a smile as he could. "Alright, then," he said softly, before reaching out and squeezing her arm. "When it is done, if t'were done, tis best it were done quickly."
Hannah took the vial, swirling the thick, dark liquid around a bit. She raised her eyes, giving Remus a cheeky little grin. "Bottom's up," she said as she raised the vial in a salute and brought it to her lips.
It was... gross, for lack of a better word. And it strongly held the bitter, metallic taste of blood. Hannah pulled a face and leaned against one of the work benches as the potion slid slowly down her throat. "That," she said, "is the most disgusting thing I've ever ingested in my entire life. And that includes that damned blood pudding my father was so fond of."
Remus nodded, watching her with narrowed eyes, half-leaning forward as though expecting her to fall. "How are you feeling?" he asked, clutching the vial of antidote tightly, ready to spring forward and pour it down her throat at the slightest sign of anything amiss.
"Other than slightly squicked because of the sheer viscosity of that stuff?" Hannah asked, grinning. "I feel...well, a little light headed, but that could just be nervousness. Other than that I feel great. More than great, really. Like I could conquer the world."
Relief flooded over him, so sudden and overwhelmingly that Remus felt almost dizzy. "Really? Do you.. do you think it will actually work?"
Hannah pulled a face and licked her lips, trying to clear her mouth of the taste of blood. "Cor, I could use a glass of water... or a butterbeer. Or something." She looked over to Remus then, grinning. "Well, I'm not dead yet, am I? I suppose it'll be safe enough to try on Severus."
Hannah pushed off from the bench, standing a bit straighter, a bit taller as the potion, and most notably the macigal healing properties of lycanthropic blood, did their thing.
"I feel great, Remus. I really do. How much was in that vial? Around twenty-five milliliters?"
"About that," the werewolf responded, drawing in a deep breath. "Can we... I mean, do you think it's alright to try it on him now?" Running a hand through his hair, Remus looked at her imploringly, feeling almost like a child on Christmas morning, seeing all the packages under the tree but no being allowed to touch.
Hannah saw the naked pleading in the werewolf's eyes and didn't have the heart to tell him that they should really wait at least a couple of hours, just to be certain that there weren't any adverse reactions... The man is dying anyways, Hannah... So what's the harm? If it ends up killing all three of you, Susan will take care of the kids.
"Alright," she said, shrugging as the adrenaline rush of the potion grew, spreading throughout her body. She started bouncing a bit, the energy building within too much to ignore. "Let's get goin'!"
Hannah was bouncing even higher, a manic grin on her face. "Um... sure! That sounds like a good idea. And, um.... like, Severus is pretty far gone so let's, um... Yeah, let's give him a dose of oh, I think about thirty-five milliliters should do it."
Hannah chewed her lip as, for some odd reason, the giggles crept on her. This wasn't a funny situation, not in the least, but she couldn't help it. This stuff must be like... Cat-nip or something...
"Sounds reasonable," the werewolf said, chuckling. "Let me draw it up, though, Hannah - you're almost vibrating."
Remus crossed to the cauldron, taking down a vial and ladling part of the potion into it. "Does that look like the right amount?" he asked, turning to her and holding it up.
Hannah gave the vial a quick glance and nodded briskly. "Yeah, you've got it. Sweet Merlin, Remus, I feel like I could run a marathon right now!"
"Upstairs will be far enough," he responded. Then he reached out, grabbing her by the hand and hauling her out of the laboratory, and up the stairs towards the Master Suite. He was totally focused on one thing, as he mentally reached out, touching the bond with his mate. Severus... she did it. You both did it. Oh, Merlin, please let this work!
Severus had spent the past however long surrounded by darkness. Not necessarily a void or vacuum, as there was far too much stimulation, even if it was distant. He was aware of the slight tug on the bond he shared with his mate from time-to-time, although there was nothing he could do to respond. He was also aware of different presences near him.
The one who scarcely visited he thought was Hannah. The one who came by quite regularly and filled him with the same feeling of security he'd only rarely had as a child, he believed to be Dimpy.
And then there was Remus.
While it was true he was virtually being held prisoner in his own body, Severus was constantly aware of his mate. When near, the werewolf gave him feelings of peace, safety, and love. When away, he could tell that the other man was constantly rushing to return to his side and, while that would normally have annoyed him, especially were he awake and functioning, the Potions Master now found it to be reassuring. It was, perhaps, the sole reason he had yet to simply give up and let go of the small sliver of life he was managing to cling to.
Still, even his mate couldn't keep him alive indefinitely, and Severus knew that his time was running out. His footing in this world was becoming slippery. The calming blackness was slowly but surely turning into nothingness. Yes, his time was almost over. He just hoped his mate hurried back to his side before he left this realm completely.
Dimpy looked up, her eyes wide as the door to the Master Suite opened. She watched as Remus and Hannah entered. Immediately, she knew something had happened. They both looked different. As though the weight that had been on their shoulders since Severus' coma had faded.
Not wanting to get her hopes up, the tiny house-elf slowly let go of her Master's hand and dropped from the edge of the bed. Coming around to the end, she faced the werewolf and blond woman. "Master Severus is much worse," she said in a grave tone. "Dimpy fears he will not survive much longer."
Blinking, she tried in vain to keep the tears at bay and silently prayed that the others had better news.
Remus could tell immediately why Dimpy was concerned, now that he was again in the room with Severus. In just the few hours he had been gone, the dark-haired wizard had seemed to turn even paler, the shallow rise and fall of his chest almost unnoticeable. The werewolf drew in a harsh breath, pressing the potions vial he held into Hannah's hand before hurrying to the bed. "Oh Merlin," he said, horrified that in focussing on helping Hannah, he hadn't felt Severus slipping. "We'd better hurry, Hannah," he said, reaching down to lift his mate's shoulders up. "Please, Severus, hold on!"
Hannah was calming down a bit, the walk from the laboratory having done quite a bit to expend some of that tremendous energy. "Yes, of course," she said, her voice a little wavery as the lack of sleep started to hit her.
She took the vial from Remus, a slight tremor in her hand as she uncorked it. Hannah waited for Remus to angle Severus's head, opening his throat so she could pour the potion down his gullet. "I hope he can still swallow," she murmured.
Watching her, Remus nodded, then gently began to stroke his mate's throat, hoping to get him to swallow. He didn't even realize that he was repeating the words "Please, please..." over and over again under his breath, as his eyes clung to the pale face of his mate, trying to will the dark eyes to open.
The darkness began to fade slowly, receding at the corners of his mind, being replaced by a light. Dim, but growing brighter, it continued to approach him. The closer it grew, the more sensations began to return.
He could hear his mate's voice, could feel the werewolf's hands on him, holding him close. He could also taste the effects of some sort of potion, the likes of which he'd never before had the misfortune of being near. Tangy and bitter, it caused his eyes to fly open and an errant thought to run through his mind. Most poisons do not taste as horrible as this.
Staring up at his mate, Severus forced the grimace off his face and gave the other wizard a small smile. However, before he could speak, a gasp drew his attention to the right. Turning his head, he locked eyes with a clearly exhausted, yet also thrilled, Hannah Abbott. Licking his dry lips, the Potions Master slowly raised an eyebrow. "Ms. Abbott," he drawled in a hoarse voice, "The fact that you are currently standing in my room in your nightgown would suggest that you have spent an unhealthy amount of time working on that potion. So, I feel I must ask -- Was it your intention to make it as vile tasting as possible, or was that merely something that was added purely for my benefit?"
Hannah laughed, tears pricking at her baby blue eyes. "Oh, shut up, you great prat. I know how nasty that potion is... but it works."
"Severus," Remus sighed, taking his mate's hand and squeezing it. That was the only word that he could force out past the sudden lump in his throat. Unable to speak further, he brought Severus' hand to his lips, kissing it fiercely while he poured his feelings through their link - joy, relief, contentment, amusement at the snippy comment directed at Hannah - but most of all an overwhelming surge of love.
Severus closed his eyes briefly as he felt the bond between he and Remus surge back to life. It was overwhelming, almost as it had been when they were first mated. Yet he also wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Re-opening his eyes, he sent his mate his feelings. A smile flittered across his face as he stared into Remus' amber eyes.
"Remus," he murmured, "It would appear that your ability to escape death, regardless of the odds, has apparently been passed to me, as well." Pulling the werewolf's hand, which was still clutching his own, to his lips, the dark-haired wizard kissed it.
However, before he could say, or do, anything else, a small blur scurried up the side of the bed and tiny arms wrapped around his torso. "Oh, Master Severus!" Dimpy wailed, having been unable to wait any longer to be noticed. Tightening her hold on the Potions Master, she raised her head and peered up at him with a tear-stained face and smile of pure joy. "Dimpy is glad to be having Master Severus back and healthy."
Severus nodded, slightly uncomfortable at the affection coming from the house-elf. However, he hid it well, instead giving her a hesitant pat on the back. "Thank you, Dimpy."
Looking over her head, he gave Remus a pleading look, before turning his attention to Hannah. "So," he questioned, ignoring the awkwardness of having a house-elf bawling against his chest. "What was the missing ingredient?"
Hannah stifled a yawn, trying to speak through it, at first, before finally giving in. "St. John's Wort," she said, blinking sleepily as a few week's worth of sleep deprivation caught up with her in a hurry. "I'll.... I'll tell you about it when you feel better. For now, though, I'd like to go to bed. And I probably won't be up until sometime next week."
Giving his mate another smile, Remus gently disentangled Dimpy from the dark-haired wizard, giving the house-elf a hug before sitting her on her feet. Then he leaned over, whispering in her ear for a moment. Her eyes widened, before she smiled, and nodded. Then Remus walked over to Hannah, pulling her into a rib-cracking hug. "You are absolutely incredible," he told her. He glanced at his mate over the blonde head, gratitude shining in his eyes. "I can't begin to thank you. Eh, Severus?"
Severus raised an eyebrow, his gaze quickly taking in the exhausted young woman standing before him. If it weren't for her, I would have died. And, thanks to her hard work, we are now one step closer to our goal. He couldn't begin to put his gratitude into the proper words. Not only had she saved his life, but likely his career, as well. Still, he knew he needed to try.
So, nodding his head once, he murmured, "Thank you, Ms. Abbott. You have certainly earned some time off." Pausing for a moment, he added, "And, provided that my laboratory is still in one piece, I will even go so far as to tell you that you have quite a promising career in Potions, should you choose to do so."
If Hannah hadn’t been dead on her feet, should would have found it highly amusing that, even during a ‘thank you for saving my life’ moment, Severus still found the opportunity and energy to snark. As it was, however, her body was protesting loudly at the abuse she’d put it through during the previous weeks and she was near collapse. There was no way she was going to allow the happy couple before her see how bad off she really was.
She shook her head, smiling slightly. “You don’t have to thank me, sir. I’ll just give you two a little privacy. If you need me at all, I’ll be in my rooms.”
Smiling, Remus pressed a kiss to her cheek, before taking her arm and walking her to the door. He looked at Dimpy, motioning the house-elf over.
"Dimpy, please make certain that Miss Hannah gets to her room, and put a silencing charm around it so that she isn't disturbed. Then will you please tell Miss Susan that Hannah is resting and to keep the children away from her until at least dinner time?"
"Yes, Master Remus!" the house elf replied happily. She slipped out of the room before Hannah, intent on seeing that the young witch was looked after. She knew how hard Hannah had worked on saving Severus, and it showed in her soft expression and grateful eyes as she smiled at the blonde.
"Rest, Hannah... we'll talk to you tonight," Remus said, squeezing her arm briefly before releasing her.
Hannah nodded, managing a very, very very tired smile for both Remus and Severus. "I'll see you both at dinner," she said before turning and following Dimpy out of the room. It was time for a nice, long rest. They'd all earned it.