Years after the final battle, Minerva visits Severus at St. Mungo’s. He has a birthday request.
What she hates, what she really hates about the place is the absence of odour. Her feline senses are accustomed to picking up every hint of scent in the air—normally a bothersome affliction, to be sure—but here there is nothing. It unnerves her every time, although she’s been coming here for more than a decade. A charm, she supposes, or a series of them.
Her heels mark crisp staccato time into the tiled floor as she walks down the bleak corridor, carrying her to ward 49, fourth floor, a.k.a. the Janus Thickey Ward, of St Mungo’s. The bored, pug-faced attendant unlocks the heavy door with an off-hand flick of his wand, and Minerva sweeps through, heels alerting the ward’s inhabitants to her approach. Assuming any of them—other than Severus—still has enough mind left to notice.
She draws the curtain from around his bed. He is propped up against several pillows. There is a stack of books on the bedside table. They sport a very fine coating of dust, suggesting they have not been opened recently.
She doesn’t waste her breath asking how he is, or on or other pointless pleasantries; they are long past it.
“You haven’t been up.” She can’t quite keep the note of accusation from her voice.
“No,” he answers.
“When was the last time?”
“Last week, sometime,” he says vaguely.
“You should, you know,” she asserts.
What possible reason could she give for him to move from the bed he has occupied for nearly twelve years?
“Because it’s good for you to move about,” she tells him.
“Being Levitated from bed to wheelchair just so that I can join the rest of the flora and fauna drooling in the dayroom hardly constitutes ‘moving about’, Minerva.”
Her lips thin to a slash of mauve, as they always do when he says things like this. She knows he’s right.
“I brought some new books. Although I can see I needn’t have bothered,” she says, quirking her chin at the volumes lying fallow on the table. “If you don’t like the selection, please say so. I’ll be happy to bring anything you like.”
“Your selections have been fine,” he says. As an afterthought, he adds, “Thank you.”
She looks intently at his eyes, and he knows she is checking for signs of potions. She believes they drug him excessively to keep him docile. He doubts she would believe him if he told her he hasn’t taken a Calming Draught or sleeping potion in months. He’s docile enough by now.
“Shall we?” she asks.
“If you wish.”
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