Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 109

AN: Thank you all for the support! I deeply appreciate it.

He looks like a kidnapper.

Rose stared at the man in front of her. His red hair was unkempt, as if he'd never seen a brush before. He had a beer gut which showed through his too sizes too tight shirt. His grin, which Rose imagined was meant to appear boyish, sent chills up her spine.

He outstretched his arms. "It's so great to see you again, Rosie."

Yes, he looks like a man who would kidnap a baby for a few galleons.

"My name is not Rosie. It is Rose."

"Sorry. It is nice to see you Rose."

She straightened her posture. "It is very nice to meet you, Ronald."

Ron lowered his arms. Then he pressed his lips into a pout.

Rose covered her mouth and coughed.

"You know, you can call me Ron," he began.

"Very well, Ron," Rose replied.

Ron forced himself to smile. "So, how do you like my mansion?"

Rose scanned the room. The neon orange couch clashed with the shaggy, olive carpet. The wooden wall was dotted with photos of Ron standing holding various brooms. Most attention grabbing though was the enormous broom hanging over a faded aqua recliner.

"This is very nice," Rose began.

Ron frowned. "Just nice?"

"Yes," Rose swallowed the bile rising up her throat. "This mansion is rather nice."

Ron took a deep breath. "Well, I suppose it isn't the Snape mansion, but I rather like it."

"I am happy you enjoy it then." Rose looked around for a clock, but found none. How was she going to pretend to be late for an event if she could not glance at a clock every few seconds? Granted, she'd only been here for two minutes, but it already felt like two eternities.

This was a mistake.

"Do you want a coffee?" Ron began.

She held up her hand. "No, I do not like coffee."

"Are you sure?"

"I am positive."

Ron shrugged. "I suppose it is an acquired taste. I didn't like it much either until I moved here. Now it seems that all I drink is coffee, unless I'm drinking a pisco sour. Those are quite good as well."

"I will have to try one at some point," Rose replied.

"You should," Ron's face lit up. "We could go to a bar to grab one."

"No," Rose replied. "I do not enjoy bars."

"Well, I'm sure you enjoy going to the Three Broomsticks."

"I do not frequent that establishment, and when I do go there, I do not have anything stronger than a water."

Ron's eyes bulged. "How could you only drink water at the Three Broomsticks?"

"I do not enjoy alcohol."

"Why?"

"I suppose it was the way I was raised. Mum and Dad never drank much, so neither did I," Rose continued. "I like keeping my wits about me, which requires one to be sober."

Ron muttered, "I'm glad to see Hermione's as boring as ever."

"Excuse me?" Rose snapped.

"Nothing," Ron blushed. "I was just surprised your parents were such sticklers."

"They did not want me to become like my Grandfather Tobias," Rose replied. They did not want me to become like you either.

"Okay, but you don't have a grandfather Tobias."

"Yes, I do have a grandfather Tobias."

"But you aren't a Sn-" he shut his mouth under the weight of her glare.

"You will not imply that I am not a Snape again. Is that understood?"

"Yes," Ron gulped, remembering how it felt to wither under Professor Snape's glare.

"Now," Rose's expression softened. "I suppose we should acknowledge the elephant in the room, namely that you are biologically related to me."

"Yes," Ron grinned. "It is so great to finally see you."

Rose betrayed no emotion.

Ron pointed to the couch. "We should sit down. You must have so much to ask me."

"There are a few things I would like to know," Rose admitted.

Ron made his way over to the sofa. "Come on then. I would love nothing more than to tell you everything about myself."

"Of course you would," Rose mumbled before following him.

"So." Ron plopped onto the couch. "What would you like to know?"

Rose darted a glance at the nearby faded aqua chair. She smoothed out her cape before sitting on it. "First of all, I would like to ask you why you never attempted to contact me."

"I did try to contact you," Ron replied.

"When?"

"When you were a baby."

"Kidnapping does not count as contacting someone."

"I tried to see you even before then," Ron argued. "Your parents wouldn't let me though."

"When and how did you try to contact me?" Rose asked.

"It took me about six months."

"Why?"

Ron sighed. "A month after you were born, I was in a terrible accident. As I recovered, all I could think about was how horrible I was to your mother. I realized that I really wanted to be a dad, but now I couldn't because Snape had taken you away from me."

"You abandoned Mum," Rose replied.

"I know, but I said I was sorry," Ron argued.

Rose huffed. "It's going to take more than an 'I'm sorry' to atone for what you've done."

"I tried to make things better, I really did, but then," he sniffed. "But then the medical bills were coming in, and I was desperate. I needed money, and I needed it right away. Your mother wouldn't listen to me when I asked her for help."

"Did you only want to see me because you needed my trust fund?"

"Of course not. I was more desperate to see you than I was anything else, but I also needed a few galleons. I thought if I kidnapped you, I could see you and get my money. I would be a hero, and maybe 'Mione would let me see you."

"What about in the following years? Why did you never attempt to contact me when I was ten?"

"Would you want to cross Snape?"

"Fair enough."

A tear trickled down Ron's face. "I know I messed up. I really screwed up. I would really appreciate it if you'd forgive me though."

Rose twirled the edge of her cape around her finger.

"I mean, my life has been awful since I was exiled from Britain," Ron whined.

"I hardly imagine being a Quidditch manager is all that horrific."

"It isn't my job," Ron cried. "Look at me. I only have one daughter, and I cannot have any more children. My daughter wasn't raised by me, and now she's dressed like a greasy git."

"What did you just call Dad?" Rose snapped as she dropped her cape.

"He was known as the greasy git growing up."

"I will not allow you to use that name in my presence."

Ron sniveled.

"My dad fought down a pack of werewolves trying to clean up the mess you had created. He is the reason your only daughter was not raised as a muggle, or worse, eaten by lycanthropes. At the very least, he deserves you respect."

"How can I respect my daughter's kidnapper?"

Rose bit her tongue.

"He took you from me," Ron whined. "'Mione and I could have worked things out had Snape not come into the picture and turned her against me."

"Trust me," Rose retorted. "She needed very little convincing that you were a louse."

"She loved me," Ron argued. "At one time she loved me."

"Love can be blind, deaf, and stupid," Rose argued.

"Now you sound just like Snape."

"He is not always wrong about matters such as this."

"Fine, but please, show me a little kindness."

Rose crossed her arms over her chest.

Ron wiped his eyes. "Please put yourself in my shoes. The first thing I see when I look at you is your eyes."

The hostility evaporated from Rose's expression.

"You have my eyes. I see so much of myself in you."

Rose squirmed.

"You look so much like me. You have my hands and," Ron glanced down. "Yes, my feet are large like yours."

She crossed her ankles.

"You look just like me, and it kills me to see you dress like Severus bloody Snape."

Rose's right eyelid quivered.

"I love you Rose," Ron argued. "There isn't a day that's gone by where I haven't thought of you, or wanted you in my life. It's been so hard though."

Rose folded her hands.

"Now that you're here, It's like a dream come true, and I'm stumbling over myself. I'm really trying Rose, but it feels like I can't connect with you."

Rose's expression was neutral.

"If there's anything I can do to make things up to you, then please, please tell me," Ron whimpered.

"I suppose you could tell me a little about yourself," Rose replied.

That smarmy, allegedly youthful grin returned. "What do you want to know?"

Rose hummed. "What is your favorite thing to do?"

"Well, I spend my time playing Quidditch and baccarat."

"What is baccarat?"

"It's a muggle card game."

"How do you play?"

"Well, it's easy. All you have to do is get to nine or guess whether or not the other person has a nine."

Rose raised an eyebrow.

"It's like," Ron twisted his lower lip. "Have you ever seen James Bond?"

"I have not."

"Oh you're really missing out."

"Who is he?"

"He's a spy in several muggle movies. Do you like muggle spy movies?"

"I take no interest in watching fictional spies when I can speak with a real one."

Ron scowled. "I see."

"Anyway, baccarat sounds interesting. Perhaps we could play sometime," Rose replied.

"I could teach you to play right now if you have a few galleons."

"Are you implying that you will only spend time with me if I pay you?"

"No, I'm saying that you can't play baccarat without placing a bet."

"In other words, baccarat is a type of gambling."

"Exactly!"

Rose shook her head.

"Why are you look at me like that?" Ron demanded.

"Nothing," Rose lied. "I was only thinking."

"About what?"

"I was meditating on how different men could be from each other."

"I would imagine that I am very different from Snape."

"That you are," Rose grumbled.

Ron leaned closer to her. His voice was soft. "I am so sorry you had to be raised by Snape."

Rose glowered at him.

"I know it couldn't have been easy having such a cold and distant father. Merlin knows life could not have been easy once he became upset with you," Ron continued. "I mean, I know how he was when I was at Hogwarts. I'd imagine he was much worse when you had to live with him."

Rose blanched. "Do you think he abused me?"

"Abuse may be a strong word," Ron replied. "But I don't think he made life easy for anyone."

"What," Rose whispered. "What kind of father do you think he is?"

"He probably called you a 'dunderhead' a lot, and he probably ignored you or told you that you gave him a headache. For most of your childhood, he was probably in his potions lab, or so I think he was."

"You do," Rose's voice was shaky. "You do think Dad ignored and abused me."

Ron's frown deepened.

Rose trembled. "You thought my dad would be a horrendous father. You believed him to be incapable of feeling any positive emotion. For the past twenty-five years you thought he was demeaning me."

"I know you have a lot of feelings right now, daughter…."

"How dare you call me your daughter!"

Ron's mouth hung open.

Rose stood and pointed at Ron. "When Mum married Dad, you thought he would ignore and abuse me. Instead of preventing them from marrying each other, you complained that Mum had cheated on you."

"It was a mistake…" Ron began.

"No!" Rose yelled. "You cared so little for me that you were willing to subject me to abuse in order to live a certain lifestyle. You were so self-absorbed, so vile that you were willing to allow me to be raised by a man you considered to be abusive."

Ron stared at her.

"Let me tell you something," Rose hissed. "Severus Snape was a loving father who always put the needs of his family above his own. He was an excellent provider, and has never so much as said a cross word to me."

Ron blinked.

"He is twenty times the man you ever will be," Rose spat.

Rose pulled out a marble and touched it.

Within an instant, she had disappeared.