AN: Thank you all for the support! I deeply appreciate it!
I hope this letter finds you well. I just wanted you to know that you are on my mind this holiday season. Last night I wondered how you celebrated the holidays and what some of your favorite traditions were. Then, I shed a tear because I wasn't there to celebrate any holiday with you. I do not expect this year to be any different, nor should it be. You need to celebrate with your parents and your siblings. All the same, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and want you to know that if you ever need me, I will always be there.
The black haired teen stopped and rose onto her tiptoes. She craned her neck, but could not see above the towering man's tattered top hat.
Damn hats. Everyone wears hats to these things. Do they not know that a simple toque would be sufficient to keep their heads warm?
She raised an eyebrow and held her breath. While it was almost impossible to make out anything above then cacophony of shouts, she could've sworn that someone called her name.
Violet scanned the room once more. Then she floated just high enough that she could see above the men. Within moments, she spotted the target of her attention.
With a smile, she lowered herself and pranced down the station towards her parents.
"There you are," Hermione pressed her against her chest.
"Hello Mum," Violet returned the embrace.
"Oh it is so good to see you," Hermione began. "I missed you so much."
Violet closed her eyes and inhaled her mother's lilac perfume. "I missed you too."
"How was the trip?" Severus asked.
"It went very well," Violet peeked over her mother's shoulder at him.
"Did anything exciting occur?" Severus asked.
"No, but I ate pumpkin pasties to my heart's content," Violet answered.
Hermione released her daughter and shook her head "Please tell me you saved some for the other passengers."
Violet's smirk was identical to that of her father's "Don't worry Mum, I shared as much as I could, which admittedly wasn't much. Still, I did make an effort this year."
Hermione sighed, though there was a gleam in her eyes. "I suppose we cannot ask for much more."
"No, you cannot," Violet backed away from her mother. Her eyes trailed down Hermione's left arm. "How are you doing?"
"Fine," Hermione extended her arm and pulled up her vanilla coat sleeve. Then she pulled up her turquoise sweater, exposing her forearm. "I am doing just fine."
"I'm glad to hear it." Violet turned her attention to Severus. "How are you doing?"
"I am doing much better now that you are home," Severus replied.
"Really?" Violet asked.
He kissed the top of her forehead. "Yes, I am always happiest when my children are with me."
Violet grinned. Before she could respond though, a boy of roughly eight years collided with her. She leapt and soared a meter into the air, preventing a fall.
The boy blushed. "Sorry."
Violet shrugged. "It's fine, but you need to be more careful."
"I know but," The boy's eyes bulged. "You-you're flying without a broom."
Violet's smirk returned.
"H-how are you doing that?"
"Years of practice."
"How do you practice?"
A first year Slytherin rushed over and grabbed his arm. "Come on Baker. Mum has cookies waiting for us."
As the boy left he asked, "Could you teach me how to fly like that?"
"Fly like what?"
Violet wafted to the ground.
"Like her," Baker pointed to Violet. "I want to fly like her."
The first year turned her head. Violet's expression was that of a kneazle which had just had a very satisfying mouse.
Severus huffed. "Perhaps we should leave before you attract any more attention."
"I don't mind people looking at me," she began.
"Yes, but I could go without any unnecessary scrutiny," he replied.
Hermione turned to Violet and held out her hand. Violet gave her a small grin and took it. Together, the family wove through the crowds of students and parents until they reached the exit.
I hope you are having a very Happy Christmas. I thought of you when I heard that Hogwarts was letting out for the break. I'll bet you have lots of grading to do, so I will not take up too much of your time. Still, I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you. If you ever want to come back to the store and play another game of Reusable Hangman, I am more than happy to do so. This time though, I promise to win.
"Mum, I promise you, I've had more than enough peppermint tea."
"Are you certain?" Hermione picked up the stainless steel teapot and poured herself another cup.
"I am positive," Violet replied. "I only need two cups."
"Fair enough," Hermione replied before pouring more into her own snowman shaped cup. Then she sat at the kitchen table across from her daughter.
Violet turned the indigo cup to the side until she was looking at the golden Star of Bethlehem. Her eyes sparkled. Ever since she was a child, she loved this cup. It was not Christmas until she had peppermint tea from it.
"I am glad to know that things are going well," Severus stood. "Now if you will excuse me, I need to begin brewing a few potions."
"Can you please wait?"
Severus had his hand on the back of the chair, but did not push it into the table.
"We need to discuss the hippogriff in the room," Violet began.
Hermione's voice was soft. "What would that be?"
Violet took a shaky breath. "First of all, I apologize for not writing you as much as I normally do. I would use the excuse that I got busy, but we all know that I could have made more time to write."
Severus remained in place.
"Still, I wanted to keep things short so I wouldn't become so emotional," Violet continued.
"What would you have written had you become emotional?" Severus asked.
"I don't know," Violet admitted.
Hermione reached over and clasped her daughter's hand. "Violet, you can tell us anything."
"I know," she replied. "But apparently you can't tell me anything."
"What do you mean?"
"It means you know everything about my history, but I know next to nothing about yours.
Severus returned to his seat.
"I have been racking my brain for the better part of two weeks asking myself what was so horrible about the way you two met that you couldn't tell us about it," Violet began.
Hermione squeezed the teen's hand.
"It's clear that neither of you was violent towards the other," Violet locked eyes with Severus, "but the story of you abandoning Mum while she was pleading for you to stay was so horrid and depressing. You were made to be a villain, which always struck me as weird given who you are today. It makes me wonder why you would tell that story instead of the truth."
Severus shifted his eyes from her. "The truth is complicated."
"Everything is complicated with you two," Violet began.
Hermione let go of Violet and took a sip of tea.
"Still I am trying to determine what could've been so awful that you needed to lie about what happened."
"We thought we were protecting you."
They were silent.
"Were you trying to protect me, Victor, or Rose?"
Severus whispered, "Rose."
Violet licked her lips.
"We did not want her to feel unwanted. It seemed best to withhold the truth from her so she would never live with the knowledge that her biological father was an arse. While our actions caused you children pain, that was never our intention," Severus answered.
"Perhaps, but now Rose knows the truth," Violet replied. "We all know the truth. Still, you have not so much as mentioned how you met."
"Well Violet, I was a professor and your mother was a student. In 1991 your mother first stepped into Hogwarts. She strolled up to the Sorting Hat when I first laid eyes on her. She glanced over at me and smiled," Severus answered. "That is exactly how we met."
"I know that part of the story, but everything else is ambiguous unless..." Violet gasped and put her hands over her mouth. "Did you begin sleeping with Mum while she was still a student?"
Hermione burst out laughing. Severus joined her.
"I apologize my little petal," Severus caught his breath. "Yet if you understood the relationship your mother and I had at Hogwarts, you would understand why it is ludicrous to believe I could ever have so much as considered being sexually active with her."
"Apparently at one juncture you recovered from your initial discomfort because Victor and I exist," Violet noted.
"True," Hermione chimed in. "Still, that was years after Hogwarts, and even then it took months for us to admit our feelings to ourselves, much less each other."
"Great, how did it happen?" Violet asked.
Hermione bowed her head. Severus took a deep breath, and picked at a loose piece of skin on his thumb.
"Why can't everything be out in the open?" Violet demanded. "What part of the truth is so horrible that you need to hide it from me?"
Hermione turned to Severus, who in turn stared at her.
Violet groaned and put her head in her hands. "What are you not telling me?"
"Nothing we cannot share with you," Hermione replied.
Violet faced her.
"No more hiding. All three of you children deserve to hear the truth together," Hermione began.
"Indeed," Severus replied.
Violet cocked her head. "Why must we be together?"
"Because I do not wish to repeat myself," Severus answered.
Violet relaxed. "Fair enough."
Hermione took a sip of tea as the family sat in silence.
"We promise you Violet," Severus began. "You will hear the truth along with your brother and sister."
"Yes," Hermione answered. "We will tell all of your children the truth in due time."
"Indeed we will," Severus added.
"Fine," Violet answered.
"In the meantime," Severus hugged his daughter. "We love you so very, very much."
"I love both of you too," Violet answered as she hugged him back.
A smile graced Hermione's face.
For all of her faults, she had raised three wonderful children.