AN: Thank you so much for all the support! I deeply appreciate it!
Am I okay?
Rose peered into the fireplace. Victor's ashen face looked up at her, but she was too lost in her thoughts to analyze his expression.
Truth be told, I have not felt any emotion all day. While it is a stretch to say that I have been going through the motions without thought, I tend to be more reflective than this. Perhaps today is a day where I do not need to feel an emotion, though I will be the first to admit that these days are few and far between. Still, after weeks of torment it has been pleasant not to feel a thing. Perhaps my visit with George did wonders for my mental state. It could be that I am feeling better only I do not realize it.
Am I suppressing my true emotions, or is there nothing to feel?
She cleared her throat.
"You can be honest with me."
"Why would I be anything but honest with you?"
"You look like your about to tell me what I want to hear."
Rose smirked. "Nothing gets past you, does it?"
"No," Victor answered.
Rose tapped her foot, but did not open her mouth.
"I know these last few weeks have been difficult," Victor began.
"They have been more than difficult," she replied. "They have been horrendous."
"I would imagine."
Rose's foot was still.
"You do not need to protect me," he continued. "You can tell me anything."
"I promise not to judge you," Victor concluded.
Rose picked up the edge of her cape and twirled it around her fingers.
"How are you really feeling?"
"I am unsure whether or not I have just betrayed Mum and Dad."
Victor's eyes bulged. "Excuse me?"
Rose dropped her cape. "You asked how I felt, and I answered you."
"No, I mean," Victor coughed. "How did you betray Mum and Dad?"
"I saw George Weasley last night," Rose replied.
Victor released the breath he'd been holding. "Is that the only thing you have done?"
"Well, that is not so terrible."
"How could you say that?"
"Well, as far as Weasleys go, there are much worse than George. I mean, he at least tries to be civil to Aunt Ginevra, and he did help us expose Percy's plan to forcibly hospitalize the amnesiacs. If you were going to ask Ron Weasley to adopt you though then that would be another issue altogether."
Rose shook. "I will never consider that man my dad."
"I am glad to hear it."
"That being said, I still plan on meeting Ronald."
Rose scowled. "Do not look at me like that."
"Like I am too idiotic to know that I am making a mistake."
"You're the one who said this is a mistake, not me."
Rose furrowed her eyebrows.
"If you know that you're making a mistake, then why are you doing it?" Victor asked.
"I am not making a mistake."
"Fine, you're just visiting him," Victor answered. "Still I must ask, after everything Ron has done to Mum and Dad, why do you feel the need to see him?"
"I need to know who I truly am," Rose argued.
He shook his head. "I would go into a spiel about how you are Rose Severa Snape, my older sister, but I sense others have already given you a similar lecture."
"They have," she growled.
"I will not join them then," he answered.
She gave him a half smile. "That is why you are my favorite brother."
"Never forget that," Victor answered.
"Still, I do worry about you," Victor's voice was quieter. "I don't want you to do anything you will later regret."
"I do not want to do anything I will later regret either," Rose admitted. "Especially in light of Mum's health."
"Mum?" Victor gasped.
Victor's voice rose with every question. "Wh-what's happened to her? Is the cancer back? How much longer does she have? Is she okay?"
Rose raised her hand. "As of right now, she is well. The cancer has not returned, although her arm itches."
"I am sure she would appreciate a visit from you though," Rose answered.
"I would like to visit her," Victor replied.
"I am almost surprised it has taken you so long to decide to see her."
"I needed to process some things before I met up with her."
Rose sighed."I did not mean to damage your relationship with my parents."
"You did not do a thing to my relationship with them," Victor answered. "I am the one who needed time to rethink things."
"What kinds of things are you considering?" She asked.
Victor shifted his eyes to a spot on his floor. "If Mum and Dad did not have an affair, then how did they truly reconnect? Did they meet up at a coffee shop? Was there an instant attraction? Did Dad solicit put out a want ad for a wife, and Mum was the only one who answered?"
"Dad would never solicit a wife through a newspaper," Rose replied.
"How would we know?" Victor asked.
She shrugged. "I suppose we would not at the moment."
"I feel as if I understand them, even if I am not sure I know a single fact about them." He scratched his chin. "Does that make sense?"
"I think so," she answered. "Everything about them has been called into question."
"Indeed it has been."
Victor asked. "How is Violet taking all of this?"
"She has given me a few more hugs than usual, and she makes things as easy as possible in my class. I do not know how much contact she has had with Mum and Dad though," Rose replied.
"Does she know that Mum may be sick?"
Victor put his hand in his head.
"We do not actually know if she is falling ill. This could all be the result of stress," Rose replied.
"Do you truly believe that?" Victor asked.
Rose whispered, "No."
Victor's lower lip quivered.
"Dad and I are speaking to each other again. We are trying to resume working on the cure. Yet my emotions are so jumbled I can barely think," Rose gulped. "Those are less than ideal working conditions."
"I would imagine so," Victor whispered.
"Still, we are working on a cure, I assure you," Rose replied.
"I know you are," Victor answered.
"I," Victor took a shaky breath. "I cannot ignore Mum like this. We need to get this whole paternity thing resolved before she falls too ill."
"This issue will not be resolved overnight though," Rose answered.
"I fear you are right," Victor shook his head. "I thought I knew our parents, but it seems they are an enigma."
"Nobody ever accused them of being simple people," Rose replied.
"No, they are complicated indeed," Victor answered.
Rose gave him a small grin. "Enough about the complexities of our parents' lives: how has the campaign gone?"
"We feel as if this paternity story has distracted from our overall message, though I suppose that's what it was designed to do," Victor answered.
Rose grit her teeth, "Of course my life is nothing more than some political ploy. I am certain Percy is giddy over the fact that more people care about my DNA than about a serious issue such as kidnapping."
"Isn't that the way of the Wizarding World?" Victor snorted.
"Of course it is," Rose growled. "It's enough to make you want to move to a secluded island and forget the whole lot of them."
Victor chuckled. "It certainly is."
"All that being said, are there any plans to reemphasize your message?" Rose asked.
"Well, Draco is organizing an expo where he will unveil his new plan for what he's calling the Wizarding Internet."
"Yes," Victor answered. "It promises to be the event of the century. All we need to do is get the word out."
"Indeed," Rose muttered. "If anyone can pull it off, it would be Draco."
"Yes," Victor echoed. "Somehow Uncle Draco will find a way to make all of this work."
Why hasn't she tried to get a hold of me?
Ron paced the floor, an envelope in his right hand. He didn't dare open it. There was no need to read how many ways his debt collectors could threaten his broom collection.
He stared at the fireplace. I'm Rose's real father. She should be over here trying to help me out of this jam, not doing whatever she's doing.
Ron crumpled the envelope. I need to see Rose now!
He stopped midstep and blinked. Maybe Rose's problem is that she doesn't understand what a real father is. She has no idea how badly a real father would want to be in her life. Snape never made her feel wanted or needed, so she doesn't know what it's like to have a father who loves her.
"Yeah," Ron whispered. "All she needs is another little nudge. Once she knows that her dreams of having a loving father are coming true, she'll want nothing more than to be my daughter."
Ron tossed the wad of paper across the room. He ran to his office and pulled out a piece of parchment. He slammed it onto his splintered oak desk, ignoring how it creaked under the weight. Then he pulled out a quill and began to write.
It was time to prove to the universe that he was a better father than Snape could ever dream of being.