AN: Thank you all for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Do I want to do this?
Rose took a deep breath before creeping into her parents' bedroom.
I could leave with Ron ever knowing I was here. If asked, I could always say that Dad told me Ron had called, but I was too distracted by Violet's crazy scheme to pay any heed to him
Midway between the doorway and the fireplace, she paused and furrowed her brows.
No, I have never been one to skirt challenges. I do not intend to make a habit of doing so now.
She tapped her foot. If I do not intend to avoid this conflict, then what do I say?
She cringed. His voice was no different than the seedy used car sales people she had seen on her grandparents' TV.
"Are you there, Rosie?"
Rose stepped towards the fireplace. "Nobody named Rosie is here, but Rose Snape is present."
Ron gave her a stomach-churning grin. "Oh thank Merlin. I was afraid that Snape lied about trying to find you."
"No, he told me that you called," Rose replied. "It took him a few minutes to find me though."
"Well I'm glad he found you," Ron replied.
"Indeed," Rose drawled.
Ron's smile evaporated. "I am so sorry things went so wrong between us earlier. I didn't mean to hurt you."
"Please understand, I was so excited about seeing you and having a daughter that I stopped making sense," Ron continued. "I've been so mad about Snape for so many years. It kills me that he kept us apart for so long. I lost control of myself, and I probably should not have insulted him. I'm really sorry."
Rose said nothing.
"I'm really, really sorry," Ron repeated.
"Did you only call to apologize?" Rose asked.
"No," Ron grinned again. "I wanted to say that I want a relationship with you."
"Don't you believe me?"
"Excuse me? How can you not believe me?"
"To begin with you have not even bothered to ask how I am."
Ron stared at her as if she'd just told him that her father's favorite color was pink.
"Do you care about how I'm doing?" Rose asked.
"Sure," Ron answered. "I care about how you are doing."
"Then why not ask me how my day was?"
Ron shook his head. "What?"
"If I mean so much to you, if you truly care about me, why do you not ask me how I am doing?"
"Do you care about how I am?"
"I mean, yeah, I guess so," Ron replied. "Still, I didn't know why you're so insisted on me asking how you are doing."
Rose clenched her fists. "When I was at Hogwarts, Dad wrote me at least three days a week. At the beginning of every letter, he asked me how I was doing. The fact that you won't even ask the question shows how little you care for me."
"Fine, fine. So uh, how are you doing?" Ron replied.
Rose scowled. "I was much better before I realized you were my sperm donor."
Ron frowned. "Is there a reason you're acting as pissy as Snape?"
"Because I am his daughter, not yours," Rose replied.
"Look, I know you're angry with me, and I messed up, but I'm really, really sorry about everything," Ron answered.
"I wish things had turned out differently myself," Rose muttered.
"If you want to talk about yourself so badly then go ahead and tell me about yourself," Ron replied.
"What do you want to know?" Rose asked.
"I don't know, uh," Ron twisted his lips. "Do you like your job?"
"I love it," Rose replied.
"That's great," Ron answered. "Is it uh, fun?"
She shrugged. "It is enjoyable enough."
"Great," Ron's eyes lit up. "So uh, what all do you do?"
"I teach potions, as you well know, but I also conduct my own research."
"I am conducting research on possible treatments for the dark magic associated with cancer," Rose continued. "I hope to reduce it in order to help cancer patients receive better treatment."
"Uh, okay," Ron replied.
"Do you even know why I want to study cancer?" Rose asked.
"Because you want to be famous," Ron answered, though it came out more like a question.
"No," Rose snapped. "Mum almost died of uterine cancer, and unless we reduce the amount of dark magic in her body it will return and kill her."
"You take no interest in any of this, thus proving my point that you do not care for me."
"Of course I'm interested. I just don't know much about potions or Hermione's life."
"I take it you do not care enough about me to learn more on these subjects."
"That isn't entirely true."
"Yet it is true enough."
"What is your true reason for contacting me?" Rose asked.
"I wanted to wish you a 'Happy Christmas' and to tell you that I missed you."
"I wish you a 'Happy Christmas' as well. I would say that I missed you, but I make a habit of being as honest as possible."
"That makes you a better woman than either of your parents," Ron noted.
Rose's voice was as low as Severus' "what did you just say?"
Ron swallowed. "All I was doing is that it's refreshing to see an honest person, especially given that your parents lied to us."
"My parents were acting in my best interests. I love them for it."
"How is keeping you from your biological father acting in your best interests?" Ron asked.
"They prevented me from growing emotionally dependent on an unreliable dunderhead," Rose answered. "Dad showered me with affection every day, and Mum always supported him. They showed me what a healthy father-daughter relationship was. I am forever grateful that I was raised by Dad instead of by some irresponsible arse."
"You think I'm an arse?"
Ron growled. "Snape got to you, didn't he?"
"Do not blame my dad for my attitude," Rose replied. "He was not the one who interrupted a pleasant holiday in order to waste my time and pretend to care for me."
Ron sighed. "Clearly you are in no mood to talk."
"I am never in the mood to talk to someone like you," Rose admitted.
"All I wanted was the comfort of my daughter and a chance to build a relationship with her, but you are too much like Snape to care about anyone other than yourself."
"You mean I'm too much like Dad to care about you."
"My name is Rose."
"Fine, Rose. Look, I'm going through a really hard time right now," Ron whined. "I just found out my parents are divorcing."
Rose's eyes grew. "What?"
"Yes," Ron sniffed. "My dad flooed me and told me he was moving out of the Burrow. He is divorcing Mum."
"I had no idea," Rose answered. "How...uh, unexpected."
Ron covered his face with his hands. "I thought I could find some comfort in my daughter, but I was wrong, really wrong."
"The fact that your parents are divorcing means little to me though. I still do not wish to form a relationship with you," Rose continued.
"Why not?" Ron whined.
"As difficult as it is to understand, donating genetic material does not make one a dad," Rose replied.
Behind her, the door opened. Rose could hear her parents' footsteps draw closer.
"It does make me a dad," Ron argued. "It makes me your dad whether you like it or not."
"Are you sure you want to be in here?" Severus whispered.
"Yes," Hermione replied. "We need to get you to bed."
"You are not my dad," Rose argued. "No DNA spell will ever make you my dad."
"Fine," Ron huffed. "Go ahead and deny that you're my daughter. I'm still going to try and have a relationship with you."
"Why would you want a relationship with me?" Rose asked. "We have established that you have no interest in me as a person. Why do you want to have a relationship with me?"
"Wouldn't you want a relationship with your daughter?"
"Of course I would, which is why I would never abandon her."
"If I could get a time turner and undo my mistake, would you want me to raise you?"
"No," Rose replied.
Behind her, the bed creaked. She could hear her parents' muffled voices, but did not focus on their words.
"If you had put your name on my birth certificate it is doubtful I would have had any paternal figure in my life," Rose replied.
"Why do you think that?" Ron asked.
"I have heard enough about you to know what kind of man you are," Rose answered. "I know what my childhood would have been. You would have been sleeping with whatever tart came your way, which would have left very little time for reading me potions formulas or helping me learn to self-levitate."
"Snape read you potions formulas?" Ron asked.
"Yes," Rose replied. "He wanted me to be intellectually stimulated. I would say he did an excellent job."
"Weird," Ron muttered.
"He made time for me, which is more than I can say for you."
"I said I was…"
"Sorry, I know," Rose answered. "I know you are very sorry. Still, I am not inclined or obliged to forgive you."
"Maybe some day you will," Ron replied.
"If you continue to demean my parents, then it is highly unlikely that I will ever so much as speak to you again," Rose answered.
"Fine," Ron's eyes watered. "Just know that I love you."
Rose's stomach churned. "I will never be able to say the same to you."
"No, I will never consider you to be anymore than the sperm donor who threw me away like I was so much garbage."
"I didn't throw you away."
"Then what would you call running out on Mum and me?"
Rose took a step back.
"If you ever need to speak with me, I'll be around."
"Never floo my parents again."
She raised her voice. "Never floo my parents again. They have suffered more than enough because of you. If you contact them again there will be consequences."
Ron gulped. "What kind of consequences?"
Rose gave him a half grin. "Do you really want to know?"
With that, the flames died.
Rose kept her attention on the ashes. "How much of that did you hear?"
Severus' voice was soft, "Enough to know that despite all my dunderheaded decisions, you do not regret being raised by me."
"It is true," Rose turned to him. "I am glad you are my dad."
Severus' lips curled up. "I am glad that you are my daughter."
"Thank you," Rose answered.
"There is never a need to that me for being honest," Severus replied as Hermione slid closer to him.
"I know," Rose answered. "Still, it is always nice to hear those words."
Severus turned to Hermione. "Thank you."
"For what?" She asked.
Severus captured her lips. "You gave me my children and my family. You have done more for me than I could have ever dreamed of."
She kissed his lips. "I love you, Severus."
He gazed into her eyes. "I love you too, Hermione."
Rose's chest warmed as she watched them. Even after all these years they were as nauseating as newlyweds.
She wouldn't have them any other way.