Arriving home from a busy day of shopping with Narcissa, Hermione unshrunk her bags, depositing them off to the side on a table designated for the house elves to collect items from to put away later. She’d finally come to terms with the idea of having house elves after Andromeda had, quite literally, tied her up and forced her to listen to testimonies from house elves in the employ of the Black family. It had taken her weeks of study to accept that the magic keeping house elves alive was inherently symbiotic with that of the wizards they served. Without such magic, the house elves would perish. Attempting to free them, severing that link, was akin to cutting off circulation.
Discovering the truth behind the nature of house elves had led Hermione to seek out other areas of magical history that hadn’t been covered in the lofty stacks of the Hogwarts library. She’d been ravenous for the true histories behind the relations between wizarding kind and their magical brethren. It’s what had led her to seek out ancient, priceless tomes from perhaps less than reputable dealers. Her connections through her relationship with the Black family had opened far more doors than her status as the brains of the Golden Trio. No one said no to anyone in the Black family, even if only by marriage.
That’s how she’d ended up bringing home a book that had previously been thought lost, some ancient thing that had disappeared around 1352, amidst a group of practitioners who had been attempting to get a handle on some muggle thing or other, but had lost the book along their journey. Whatever was detailed in it was in a language Hermione hadn’t ever encountered, but was similar enough to a partial rune journal she’d found hidden in the stacks of Black Manor’s extensive library.
She was eager to get back up to the library to try to decipher what hidden magics could be locked away in the book the moment she got home, so she hustled up to the library, but before she could get there, she heard a snuffle, sneeze, and a groan. Pausing in place, Hermione turned her head to look into the room she’d heard the noise coming from. She furrowed her brow in confusion when she saw Andromeda lying in a guest room bed, blankets pulled up to her chin, clammy and face drawn as her breathing seemed labored.
“Drom, babe, what are you doing in here?”
Hermione leaned against the door frame, arms crossed with one brow arched in question as she looked on at her wife. Andromeda for her part, groaned louder this time, before trying to breathe in through a very congested nose. She cracked one eye before letting out a pitiful whine.
“You! You and that -cough- miserable book of yours,” Andromeda choked out, pausing to suck in a rattling breath.
She glared at Hermione before continuing, “That miserable book of yours has given me the plague, Hermione!”
Scoffing, Hermione rolled her eyes at the theatrics of her wife, walking toward the bed.
“No! Don’t get any closer! I’ll just infect you and then we’ll both be dying!”
Hermione paused in place, jaw dropping in incredulity.
“Drom, you can’t be serious. You can’t get the plague from a book!”
Andromeda started to reply before being overcome by a bout of coughing. Hermione walked forward, sitting on the edge of the bed and pushed back the slightly damp hair of her suffering wife while waiting for Andromeda to overcome her fit. Andromeda was clammy, sweating under the covers but shivering still. Her face was flushed and her sinuses were clogged. She was absolutely pitiful, but there was no real proof yet that she truly had the plague of all things.
“Why, my love, are you insisting that my book has given you the plague?”
Hermione continued to stroke Andromeda’s face, waiting for her to clear her throat enough to answer. She summoned a glass and performed a wordless aguamenti. She set it off to the side, helping Andromeda sit up.
“Here, Drom, drink this,” she said, holding the glass to Andromeda’s lips with one hand while stroking her hair with the other.
She pulled the glass away to let her wife breathe, setting it off to the side again and continuing to run her hands through Andromeda’s hair.
“I was comparing your stupid book to the rune journal you found in the library when I came across a few pages that were magically preserved and locked with a series of arithmantic contingency locking spells. I thought I would be helpful and unlock them, see if I couldn’t make some headway for you with your translation.”
She paused, reaching her hand out for the glass. Hermione handed it to her, waiting patiently for her to finish.
“When I unlocked and opened the pages, I started to be able to finally translate them based on the information inside when I started noticing that I was running a fever.”
Hermione put the back of her hand against Andromeda’s forehead, pursing her lips.
“Dromy, baby, you can’t just rapidly develop the plague within an hour of opening a book, no matter how long it’s been sealed.”
Andromeda glared at her young wife, attempting to huff but not succeeding on account of the congestion she currently had.
“Mione, that book was sealed and lost during the outbreak of the bubonic plague. You really expect me to believe it’s entirely coincidental that I just happen to come down with four of the five symptoms of said plague after opening a magically sealed text that hadn’t been opened since the outbreak of said plague?”
Hermione let out a tiny laugh, smiling down at her ridiculous wife.
“Baby, you can’t. The plague was a muggle illness. You know that. It’s incapable of disrupting your magically amplified immune system. It’s why Queen Anne Boleyn had to fake an illness to keep from drawing suspicion. As a witch, she was immune.”
Andromeda groaned again, burrowing back under her blankets and pulling them over her head to hide from her wife, who let out a full bellied laugh at her melodramatics.
A muffled voice spoke from under the covers.
“I’m dying, Hermione!”
Facepalming and shaking her head, Hermione laughed silently.
“Well, if you’re dying, it’s been wonderful being married to you, I suppose.”
Hermione smirked as the blanket was slowly folded over to reveal her pouting wife, hair wild and sticking up at odd angles, despite being sweat soaked.
“I’m dying and you’re going to be glib? Rude,” Andromeda whined.
Brushing the wild hair back again, Hermione smiled softly down at her wife.
“Why don’t I run you a bath, hmm? I’ll charm the humidifier to add some moisture to the air to help relieve your congestion.”
Andromeda pushed her bottom lip out, looking up at Hermione with large, round eyes. Hermione leaned down, placing a gentle kiss on Andromeda’s forehead. She stood up, walking into the en suite of the guest room, starting the magical taps to the bath. She hummed as she flicked her wand, sending out the spell to activate the various humidifiers around the house.
A sharp snap resounded in the echoing bathing chamber, announcing the prompt arrival of the house elf.
“Miss Hermione called for Floppy? What can Floppy be doing?”
Hermione smiled down at the smartly dressed elf in his pressed toga, sporting the Black family crest.
“Can you put on some chicken broth for after Andromeda’s bath? And maybe put out a tea service? But keep the warming charms on all of it. The bath may take a while.”
The eager little elf nodded several times in rapid succession.
“Oh yes, Miss Hermione. Floppy would be honored!”
Sparing another smile, Hermione nodded and watched as Floppy disappeared with another crack. She went back into the bedroom to see that Andromeda was still laying in the bed, having not moved from her position while Hermione ran her bath.
“Come on, baby. Come get in the bath.”
Andromeda looked over at her, a pitiful look on her face. Hermione felt her chest swell with affection and walked over to the bed. She pulled back the covers and lifted her wife up, helping her out of the bed and over to the bathroom. She sat her down on the bench near the tub. She waited a second to see if Andromeda would begin to undress herself, but when she didn’t, she reached out, grasping the bottom of her shirt and pulled it up and off of her. She helped Andromeda stand back up, pulling her pants and underwear down for her to step out of before helping her over to the tub.
Andromeda climbed down into it, sitting on an immersed ledge against a wall of the tub and sighing as the hot water sank into her sore muscles. She muffled a deep moan as she felt Hermione pour water from the bath over her head and begin to lather in shampoo, massaging her head as she worked in it before rinsing it out and repeating the process with the conditioner. Hermione lathered soap into a loofah sponge, using it to gently scrub her wife’s body, cleansing her of sweat.
After pampering her wife in the bath, she dressed her in a fluffy robe, leading her back out to the bedroom where Floppy had taken the liberty of changing out the soiled bed spread, leaving clean, fresh linens in their place. She climbed onto the bed, sitting up against the headboard, and gesturing for Andromeda to join her. Dromeda climbed up onto the bed and laid back against Hermione’s chest.
Another crack announced the arrival of the loyal elf, a tray of broth and tea in his hands. Hermione smiled at him, thanking him and using her wand to make the tray hover in front of the two women. She brought her arms around Andromeda, kissing her on the cheek.
“Drink the broth, baby. It’ll make you feel better.”
She rubbed gently against her wife’s arms and back, alternating with massaging gently into her hair as Andromeda finished the broth.
“I’m going to give you the plague, you know.”
Smiling and rolling her eyes, Hermione brought a tea cup to her lips and taking a healthy sip before placing it back on the tray.
“It’s just a common cold, love,” she said, pressing another kiss to her wife’s neck.
Andromeda harrumphed in indignation, before responding.
“I’m a Black, darling. Nothing about us is common.”
Continuing to rub gently against her wife’s shoulders, Hermione responded.
“Of course not, baby.”