Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 108

AN: As you all know, I update this every other week. I have no idea what updating will look like in two weeks since I'll be doing quite a bit of traveling. I'm not sure what my Monday looks like. I may or my not take off then. I know I will be out on Thursday and Friday. It will be a chaotic schedule, but hopefully everything will work out.

Thank you all for the continued support! It is deeply appreciated!

Dear Rose,

I hope this letter finds you well. Mum, Dad, and I are looking for a Christmas tree around noon today. We will be decorating it around two. Mum and Dad were initially going to decorate the house all by themselves, but I invited myself over at the last minute. In that spirit, I want to invite you over as well. Mum and Dad debated giving you a formal invitation, but they understand how chaotic things are with winter break fast approaching. Still, it would mean a lot to all of us if you came, if only for one hour.

Love,

Victor

"Ron."

No answer.

"Ronald!"

"Bugger Dad, give me a minute," the voice on the other end of the fireplace groaned.

Arthur tapped his foot as he peered into the fireplace. For two minutes he stared into the flames.

Ron yawned and poked his head into the flames. "What's wrong, Dad?"

"We need to talk about Rose?"

"We do?"

Arthur nodded.

"What's wrong with her?" Ron asked.

"Nothing," Arthur's eyes misted. "There is nothing at all wrong with her."

"Great," Ron replied. "Why should we discuss her then?"

"Because I want to make sure you leave a good impression on her."

"Why wouldn't I leave a good first impression?"

Arthur rubbed his face. "How do I put this tactfully?"

Ron twisted his lower lip.

"We both know that you have a nasty habit of putting your foot in your mouth at the worst possible time," Arthur continued.

Ron glanced at the ground. "I'll try to be careful."

"You need to do more than try," Arthur argued. "You need to succeed."

Ron returned his focus to his father.

"This is a delicate situation," Arthur continued. "One wrong move and I could lose my granddaughter forever."

"Don't worry, I can handle this," Ron answered.

"Can you?" Arthur asked.

Ron blinked.

"Rose is in pain. She is furious with her parents for lying to her, and she is trying to find her place in the world. We need to help her through this difficult time."

"I can do that."

Arthur's frown deepened.

"What?" Ron huffed. "I'm Rose's dad. I can get through to her."

"You're her sperm donor. That does not make you a dad."

"I know that, but the only other man who could say he's her dad is Snape. By the time she gets to know me, she'll understand that I'm much better dad than Snape could ever hope to be."

"See," Arthur pointed to the fireplace. "That right there is going to alienate her."

"How is telling the truth going to alienate her?"

"Rose worships the ground Severus walks on," Arthur began.

Ron burst out laughing.

Arthur gritted his teeth.

"I'm sorry, but who would worship Snape? The greasy git probably spent most of his child yelling at her."

"I don't think that's the case."

"Maybe she says that, but I'll bet it's only because she's afraid of him.

"She dresses and acts like him."

"Probably because she's desperate for his approval."

"She has his complete approval, and she knows it."

Ron snorted. "Doubtful."

"Let's see things from her point of view," Arthur sighed. "Greasy git or not, Severus has been with her for her entire childhood. You abandoned her when she was most vulnerable, kidnapped her, and nearly caused her to be eaten by Fenrir."

"I'll apologize to her," Ron replied.

"You need to do more than apologize: you need to make it up to her somehow."

"I will."

Arthur didn't say a word.

"Severus Snape is not a better Dad than me, and soon everyone will know it."

"So long as Rose considers me her grandfather then I don't care who she considers a better father. I just want her to be a part of this family."

Ron bit his lower lip.

"Last night I had a dream. I dreamed that all of my children and grandchildren were gathered around my table for Christmas. It was just like Christmas at the Burrow used to be. We were a family, a true family." A tear came to Arthur's eye. "I want so desperately for Rose to feel at home amongst us. I want, no I need, her to be in our family."

Ron's voice softened. "I can help you with that."

"I hope so," Arthur answered. "In the meantime, whatever you do, do not insult Severus or Hermione. Don't make Rose feel as if she must choose between us and them. She will chose them."

"Don't worry, Rose will feel at home with us," Ron promised. "I'll be the best father ever."

"For your sake, I hope you can at least be a decent dad," Arthur answered.

"I'll be a great one," Rose protested.

"Rose needs love," Arthur continued. "So long as you provide her with love, she will feel as if she is a member of our family."

"If there's one thing I can provide her with, it's lots of love," Ron answered. "By the time she gets to know me, she'll have so much love she won't know what to do with it."

And I'll have so much money I'll barely know what to do with myself.

"Tell me again why we go to that blasted Christmas tree farm every year?" Severus huffed.

"Because we always find the perfect tree there," Hermione answered as Victor poured water into the tree stand.

"Perhaps," Severus scowled. "But every year we must endure Reginald's ridiculous ritual of sensing the tree's energy."

"Whatever he does, it works," Hermione answered. "We always find the perfect tree for our family."

Severus rolled his eyes. "We could find the perfect tree without so much obnoxious fanfare."

Hermione let out an exaggerated sigh. "You are such a grouch."

"You knew that when you married me."

"True, yet sometimes you can be so cute about it."

Victor crawled out from under the tree.

"Witch," he purred. "I am anything but cute."

Hermione embraced him. "I beg to differ."

"Is there any way you could save the flirtatious behavior for under the mistletoe?" Victor interrupted.

"Who said we needed mistletoe to be romantic?" Hermione smirked before kissing her husband on the cheek.

Victor pretended to gag.

Hermione chuckled.

"Are you certain that the tree is stable?" Severus asked.

Victor nodded. "It appears to be."

"Then I suppose the only thing left to do is to put on the star," Severus replied.

Victor hummed. "I don't believe I have ever put up the star before."

There was a flicker of sadness in Severus' eyes. "Well, Rose is not here, nor is Violet. The task must fall to you then."

Victor's voice was quieter. "Yes, I suppose it does."

Victor strolled over to a splintered wooden chest. He opened the box and sneezed.

"Bless you," Hermione replied.

"Thanks," Victor squeaked before picking up the golden star. His smile returned.

"Be careful," Hermione began.

"I will be," Victor promised before flying to the top of the tree. He adjusted the star until it was straight. Then, he stared at his handiwork.

"Please move so we can see it," Severus called.

Victor obeyed, allowing his parents to see the golden star glistening in the Christmas lights.

"It is beautiful," Hermione whispered.

"It looks perfect," Severus replied.

Hermione gave him a half smile. "So the tree is perfect after all."

Severus gave her a mock scowl. "Do not put words in my mouth. I said our son put the star on perfectly."

"What exactly is wrong with the tree that would make it less than perfect?" Hermione asked.

Severus twisted his lower lip.

Hermione turned to Victor and whispered, "I think he likes it."

Victor laughed.

"Mum, Dad?"

The family rushed over to the fireplace.

"Rose?" Severus asked.

"Yes," she gulped. "I, I was wondering if you two had started decorating for Christmas yet."

Severus raised an eyebrow. "How did you know we were decorating for Christmas?"

Hermione turned to Victor. He was grinning as if he'd just received a hundred chocolate frogs.

"Victor told me you were set to put up the Christmas tree this afternoon," Rose began. "I would have come sooner, but I was working on a surprise for you."

Severus asked, "What is your surprise?"

Rose gestured for them to back away from the fireplace. They complied.

Their eldest daughter materialized before them. She dusted herself off.

"What did you discover?" Severus asked.

"I was doing some research into muggle treatments for cancer," Rose grinned. "I think I have found some promising leads."

"That is excellent news," Severus replied.

"Indeed," Rose reached into her pants pocket and pulled out a packet of documents. "I wanted to give you the results in person. It is by a very happy accident that I can help you put up the Christmas tree."

Severus began to examine the packet. "We are more than happy to have you help us decorate."

"I'm glad to hear it," Rose answered. "Perhaps once the tree is decorated we can discuss my findings."

"That sounds like an excellent idea," Hermione replied.

Victor nodded. "Indeed."

Rose turned to the tree. She huffed. "I see that you've already put up the star."

"You arrived too late to do it yourself," Victor replied.

"You could have waited five minutes," Rose grumbled before sauntering over to the ornaments. "I suppose I will have to make do with putting my favorite ornament at the top of the tree."

"It's my year to put the ornaments at the top of the tree," Victor protested.

"No, I am certain it is my year."

"You are mistaken, it is my year."

"I suppose there's only one way to resolve this." Rose's lips curled up. "You will have to outfly me to the top."

Victor's expression matched that of his sister. "Is that a challenge?"

Rose replied, "Of course it is."

With that, Victor bolted for the ornament box, Rose close behind. She grabbed her ornament before he could grasp his. Then, she flew up and found a prominent branch.

"Not so fast," Victor laughed as he flew beside her.

"Do not knock over that tree," Severus barked.

Hermione put a hand on his shoulder. "Let them have their fun."

"I will allow them to have their fun so long as they do not topple my supposedly perfect tree," Severus grumbled.

"I take it you received the tree from Reginald," Rose gushed, not looking away from the tree.

"Indeed I did."

"I hope your told him I said hello and that I regret not being able to join all of you."

"I am positive he could sense your energy," Severus replied. "Nevertheless he sends his regards."

After a few moments of playful shoving, the children found a spot for their ornaments.

Hermione put her head on Severus' shoulder.

At long last, she could experience a day without drama.