Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 114

AN: Thank you all for the support! I'm so glad you like the story!

"I ought to kill Percy and Ron!"

"Severus."

"No Love." He paced back and forth between the closet and the bed, as if he was a thoroughbred tied to a tree. "They have deserved my wrath for quite some time now. I should have dealt with them years ago, but I thought they could be ignored and were too stupid to cause any lasting damage. How could I have been such a dunderhead?"

"I agree that they have been less than kind to you…"

"Me?" Severus stopped and locked eyes with her. "Do you think I care for one second how Percy and Ron have treated me?"

Hermione ran her hands along the bed sheet.

"I could not care less how they have treated me. As far as I am concerned they are no different than anyone else outside of my family. Nobody has ever had a kind word to say to me, save you, the children, and a few others."

"I know, but…"

"No, I could not care less what they say about me. When you harm my daughter though, when you confuse and humiliate her," Severus's eyes were aflame.

Hermione sat up straighter, not once removing her gaze from him.

Severus' voice was low. "One of my only goals for the past twenty-five years has been to ensure that Rose does not feel unwanted. So far I had been successful. Then, Percy decided to distract everyone from his most recent blunders by diverting everyone's attention to something which did not concern them in the slightest."

Hermione kept her mouth closed.

In a voice barely above a whisper, Severus concluded, "He needs to suffer."

"He is going to suffer," Hermione promised.

"How?"

"Draco is on the verge of convincing the Germans not to pollute their water with the squib potion. Percy's life's work is about to crumble before his eyes."

Severus snarled.

"Once Draco exposes Percy's program as he cause of the amnesia he will be ruined," Hermione continued.

"He will not be allowed to roam the streets freely, get another job, and his family will be intact. Where will that leave Rose?"

"With us, where she has always been."

"She knows she was unwanted. She wept because she was unwanted." Severus' throat constricted. "I held my crying daughter in my arms because of what those dunderheaded Weasley brothers did to her."

Hermione took a shaky breath.

"I cannot allow them to emerge from this unscathed," Severus concluded. "They need to be punished."

"Fine Severus, go and hex the whole lot of them," Hermione began.

Severus smirked and grabbed his wand.

"You can explain your reasoning to Rose from behind the bars of Azkaban."

"I will not have to remain in Azkaban for long. I have the money to procure my release."

"Percy is in charge of the Wizengamot. It could take months to sort everything out."

Severus snorted.

"Do you want to be separated from your daughter for that long?" Hermione asked.

Severus snarled.

In a softer voice Hermione asked, "Do you want to be separated from me for that long?"

His face drained of color. He dropped his wand.

Hermione scratched her arm. "I need you here for Christmas, not rotting away in Azkaban."

"Rose needs me to do something," Severus answered in a soft voice.

"You're right," Hermione replied. "She needs you to support her the way you did tonight. She needs you to embrace her and love her."

"It isn't enough," Severus whispered.

"Yes," Hermione removed her hand from her arm, "It is."

Severus plopped onto the bed. "A Slytherin never abandons another Slytherin. If you harm one of us you harm us all. How can I allow Ron and Percy to treat Rose this way and draw breath?"

"To be quite honest, I've been asking myself the same question," Hermione admitted.

He turned to her.

"Sometimes I want nothing more than to castrate Ron and hex him until he cannot stand up straight."

"Now there are two lovely ideas."

"It will do us no good," Hermione argued. "All we will accomplish is getting ourselves arrested and wasting precious time we could be spending with our children on legal proceedings."

Severus licked his lips, his eyes still ablaze.

"Please Severus," Hermione whispered. "If my cancer is returning, I do not want to waste time on attorneys and courts. I want to spend it with you and our children."

The tension in his muscles evaporated. "I am certain that Rose would prefer that I spend Christmas with her and not in Azkaban, regardless of how reprehensible her biological father is."

"She would."

Severus deflated further.

Hermione captured his lips. She ran her fingers through his hair as he pulled her closer.

After coming up for air, Severus whispered. "I scare myself sometimes."

Hermione took a deep breath. "How?"

"I had promised myself after the war that I would never revert to the Death Eater I was. Yet when I left Rose and stopped to reflect on what had happened, the only thought racing through my mind was that I should destroy Ron for what he had done."

"Believe me, I have fantasized about destroying Ron as well, more times than I care to count."

"You have never acted upon one of your vengeful desires. I have."

"That was years ago."

"I still did it."

Hermione exhaled.

"When I first held Rose, I promised myself that she would have a loving father. I promised that she would never have a father who could become a Death Eater at any moment," Severus whispered. "I almost failed her."

"You didn't fail her."

"I wanted to hurt Ron. I wanted to harm him, just like I wanted to harm people when I was a Death Eater."

"Nobody could blame you for wanting to hurt Ron…"

"What is my excuse for almost risking my freedom on an impulse?"

"You are stressed beyond all belief," Hermione answered.

Severus choked, "I am helpless."

Hermione rubbed his back.

"I need to cure my amnesia, I need to find a treatment for your cancer, and I need to be a good father." Severus put his face in his hands. "Sometimes I do not believe I can handle everything anymore."

Hermione kissed his cheek.

"Until I married you my answer to pain was to cause someone else pain. That is why I joined the Death Eaters, and why I took such delight in watching students suffer. If I could make others suffer, then I had some type of power. All I wanted at the time was power."

Hermione massaged his back harder.

"I thought I had left that man behind. Tonight though, tonight he reappeared, and I am afraid I will no longer be able to control my darker impulses."

"You are not a sadistic man anymore."

Severus turned away.

She took his chin and tilted his face towards her. "Do you hear me? You are not that man who caused so much pain anymore."

"Then who am I?"

"You are the loving father of my children and my devoted husband. Never forget that."

"I want to be him, I truly do, but I do not know if I am strong enough to be him at the moment."

"You already are him," Hermione whispered. "And you are the strongest man I know."

"Recently I have done little but fail you and the children," Severus muttered.

"We have all failed each other," Hermione replied. "The nice thing about family though is that we love each other anyway."

Severus gave her a small smile. "Who would I be without you?"

"You would be a hermit in a shack yelling at teenagers to get off your lawn," Hermione replied.

Severus chuckled.

"All that being said." There was a mischievous gleam in Hermione's eyes. "I do not need to drink my potion for another hour."

"True."

"Yes, and next week we will have the children over. As much as I love them, they have a nasty habit of ruining romance."

"What do you propose we do then?"

Hermione purred. "Enjoy every last moment of our solitude."

Severus breathed, "That Love, sounds like an excellent idea."

Ron held the parchment up to the twilight sun. He scanned it over once more before relaxing.

Dear Rose,

I hope your doing well. I am really realy sorry about insulting t he greasy git Professor Snape. You were rite, I should not have let your mother marry him. It was wrong of me to leve you, especaly when I thot Snape would be a bad father. I am really, really sorry. I hope ther is a way to make it up to you.

I would love to see you again. I want to hear all about your carrer and your child hood. I deserv another chanse, and I hop you give it to me.

I love you,

Ron

Ron grinned from ear to ear.

It was perfect.