Broken Wings

BY : emerald_sparrow
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Snape/Hermione
Dragon prints: 1176
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize from HP. It's all JKR or WB. Not making any money from this fic.

She wasn't sure exactly how long she'd been in the hospital bed under Madam Pomfrey's care. She wasn't sure she wanted to know. All she was really aware of was that one person had been by her side every time she awoke, and that person was Severus Snape.

The most terrifying parts of the Triwizard Tournament were all she remembered of the fateful day. Dragons, escaped and flying angrily around the stadium. The Hungarian Horntail – the same fierce creature that Harry had faced years ago – had aimed his fire straight at the professors' section, just as it had been taken down by the wranglers, and fallen on top of the wooden stands. While all the other professors had jumped away mostly unscathed, the dragon's head and neck had fallen on her, and one of its many horns had pinned her helplessly to the ground while she burned from the fire of its breath moments before. Professor Sprout, who'd been next to her, had died instantly.

Her first stint in a hospital bed had been at St. Mungo's. She vaguely remembered Snape gingerly lifting her into his arms after the others had removed the dragon from her torn body, right before she blacked out completely. At St. Mungo's, they'd performed extensive magical surgeries. Her right shoulder, where the giant horn had pierced through her flesh and pinned her to the ground, sported a slowly healing scar that would never fully go away. Her lower half, however, was the worse for wear. The scorching fire the dragon had breathed moments before it fell had left burns covering her stomach and abdomen. The burns were so horrific that even the magical healers at St. Mungo's were shocked they could repair them at all. It was impossible to walk, and most times it felt to her as if it were impossible to even move.

Once she was healed enough to simply need recovery time, she asked to be moved to the hospital ward at Hogwarts. It was her home, and she wanted to be out of the dreariness of St. Mungo's.

To her bewilderment, Snape had shown up to help transfer her safely back to the castle. And ever since, he'd been visiting her, though the majority of the time she saw him was in the rare moments that she was awake and aware. It was often that she would awake in a panic from one of her many nightmares about the incident, and each time, Snape was there to calm her. She would always go back to sleep almost instantly, not willing to spend anymore time awake than necessary.

Her situation had sucked every bit of light from her spirit. She had allowed herself to wallow in depression and self-pity for weeks on end, and all she wanted to do was sleep. Sleep and forget the memories, sleep away the anxiety of wondering what her future would be like, if she'd ever walk again or be able to have children. Dreadful, horrific things had occurred during the war with Voldemort, leaving her mentally scarred; but even in that dark time, she hadn't experienced such physical trauma as she had that fateful day of the Triwizard Tournament. She'd never felt so completely broken.

"I'm tired," she informed Snape, interrupting him from his upteenth attempt at persuading her to stay awake and be active. She closed her eyes to finalize her statement. "We can discuss this more tomorrow."

Snape closed the book he'd been about to read to her and set it down on the stand next to her. "You can't possibly be tired," he said carefully. "You sleep constantly. Your mind needs stimulation."

She sighed. "I don't want stimulation. I want to go back to sleep."

She waited for an acerbic reply from him, but when she heard none she opened her eyes. The chair beside her bed was empty.

"It's better this way," she whispered to herself, and closed her eyes once more.

She wasn't sure what exactly she'd envisioned for her future, but it certainly had made sense for her to become a professor. As much as she loved the learning environment, and being, admittedly, a know-it-all, there seemed to be no better place for her than Hogwarts. After the war was over, and she'd gone back to finish her seventh year, she'd studied intensely at the finest wizarding university in all of Europe. But nothing had ever felt more like home than Hogwarts. When Minerva McGonagall had reached out to her upon her graduation and offered her the job of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, she'd eagerly accepted.

She was highly regarded among the staff, who had fond memories of her from years before. The only staff member who had been hard to get on with was, of course, Professor Snape, but it was difficult for everyone. She didn't fear him as she had growing up, and certainly had a newfound respect for him after the war. He was a hero, plain and simple. He knew much about hospital stays; Nagini's bites, which should have killed him, had caused him to stay in St. Mungo's for several weeks. He had sacrificed so much while everyone had hated him so fiercely. All attitudes had changed in his favor after Voldemort's defeat and truth of his loyalty and heroism had been revealed.

The first two years during her tenure as professor, all she'd ever received from Snape was a scowl. Determined not to let him sully her new and improved view of him, she was endlessly sweet to him; greeting him as she did everyone else at the Head Table before meals, offering him coffee at staff meetings, inviting him to Hogsmeade outings. He rebuffed her at every turn but she remained undeterred.

Then one night they'd stumbled upon each other in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library. He had thought a student had snuck in, and she'd been studying a book about omens. He'd sneered at her, but had asked her about her reading material. Soon enough, they were sitting side by side peering through the book together, discussing the different omens and their meanings. When she'd told him the reason – that one Ronald Weasley swore an evil vulture was following him – she had seen Snape laugh for the first time. Truth be told, it had awoken something warm inside of her. But she'd quashed it quickly.

After that, Snape seemed to grudgingly acknowledge her. When she greeted him, he nodded to her. When she offered him coffee, he would take it. He even accompanied the staff on a couple of the outings to Hogsmeade, sitting between her and Minerva at the Three Broomsticks and silently enjoying his Firewhisky. This behavior had encouraged her to approach him more often, and several times she had welcomed him into her classroom as a guest speaker, or invited him to discuss a new publication with her. They'd formed a tentative friendship – as much as one could be friends with the snarky Potions Master. And now the only person who seemed to be interested in her recovery was a man who was a hesitant friend.

Where was Harry? Where was Ron? Ginny? They led busy lives, of course, but they had only come to see her at the hospital wing twice in the three weeks she had been there.

Better to stay asleep. Besides the nightmares, sleep was peaceful and calming.

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