The flat was cloaked in darkness by the time she awoke, his body naked and frigid under her.
Severus was dead.
She stumbled into the kitchen, somehow managing to avoid the broken cup and spilled coffee to get to the sink and splash water on her face, soothing her gritty eyes.
Soon, she would have to return to headquarters. She dreaded giving Minerva his memories, knowing that the woman would hate the idea that Severus died believing she wouldn't care and part of the blame for that belonged to Hermione for concealing the truth.
Hermione needed a drink.
His recently unopened bottle of Glenmorangie was empty in the waste paper bin. Instead, she returned to the kitchen, this time hitting the light switch as she walked in. Her face reflected in the window, like a ghost.
Severus was dead.
She pulled a bottle of wine at random from the rack under the counter. Elf made chardonnay. She gave a twisted smile that started the tears off again, wondering as they rolled silently down her cheeks if this was his 'date' wine and knowing that it no longer mattered.
Because he was dead and it was all her fault.
She stripped the foil from the bottle's neck, making a list as she did so.
She'd need to dress him again. He would have hated to be exposed as he was. High collars and dozens of buttons, not Muggle jeans and open-necked shirts. He wouldn't be her Severus, but in death he deserved to return from his exile, to have their world's respect.
The flat would have to be tidied up. He'd have hated anyone else to see the mess she'd created and think he lived like that, and she would need Minerva's help with the burial arrangements.
She had no idea how these things were done. Somehow, she doubted that he would be placed in a sepulchre of marble and light, though it seemed to her that he deserved no less. What he would have wanted. Maybe there was a will. She should look.
So many years. So many risks.
She crossed to the cutlery drawer to get the corkscrew and, there, on the bench, lay the note. "...It's too late for that. Your Christmas present is in my desk. Use it!"
But how could he have written the note if he were dead?
Her mind reeled as she stumbled through to the living room. The present was in the desk's top drawer, gift-wrapped and labelled. Under it there was another note.
"You have wasted your time and your tears, but in my selfishness, for once, I cannot find it in me to condemn you for your Gryffindor loyalty. However, perhaps, now, I can convince you to do as I asked. Seven turns... assuming you would have me walk this earth.
Hermione knew what she would find under the glossy silver paper with green trees. A large silver locket tipped into her hand.
She opened it up. It was as she had thought. A tiny hourglass, smaller than the smallest egg-timer, rested inside, its centre fixed to the back of the case by some sort of clamp. Experimentally, she looped the locket's long chain around her neck and used her little finger to push the top half of the glass anti-clockwise. It pivoted easily. As the sands began to fall, she felt the peculiar motion sickness unique to time travel.
She repeated the action six more times, knowing it was futile. She had seen him dead. There was no way to change that.