AN: Thank you so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Victor never liked that look on Violet's face.
His younger sister strutted into the room, looking every bit like a basilisk who had just eaten a mischief of rats. She took a seat across from Rose. Violet attempted to grab Rose's newspaper, but the professor raised it, obscuring her face.
"Good morning Violet," Victor began.
Her grin only grew.
"What has you in such a good mood this morning?" Victor asked, already knowing he did not want to hear the answer.
"Nothing," there was a gleam in her eyes. "I just tried to go into Mum and Dad's room, but their door was warded shut."
"Oh Merlin," Victor muttered.
Violet folded her hands."How long should we pretend we don't know what Mum and Dad are doing?"
Rose took a bite of her toast, but did not take her eyes off of her newspaper. "My preference would be to allow them to squirm for a while."
Victor took a seat across from Rose and to the left of Violet. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means we pretend not to know what they're doing, while dropping hints that we were in the vicinity of their bedroom," Violet answered. "Right Rose?"
"Well," Rose smirked. "I do love watching them dance around the truth, as if we do not know what they were doing."
"They are fun when they're pretending we don't understand what a warded door means," Violet replied.
Victor's face was green. "Do we really want to dwell on what Mum and Dad are up to?"
Violet chuckled. "I would prefer not to, but they really believe they can outsmart us. Perhaps it is time to show them how mistaken they really are."
"Perhaps we should allow them to continue thinking that they are smarter than us and leave things be," Victor suggested.
Rose turned the page of the paper. "Now where would be the fun in that?"
Violet glanced at the doorway to the hall. "Indeed. What is life if you can't have a little fun?"
"Not worth living I suppose," Rose muttered before taking another bite of her toast. Then she licked the marmalade jam off of her lips.
"Rose," Victor hissed. "You should be encouraging Violet to follow the rules, not encouraging her to get in trouble."
"Trust me, my full time job is ensuring that Violet follows every school rule," Rose answered. "It is more exhausting than you can imagine."
"I would imagine it is," Victor conceded.
"Yet, we are not on school grounds," Rose noted.
"Yes," Victor argued. "But good behavior begins at home."
"Agreed," Rose picked up the porcelain tea cup beside her. "Which is why Mum and Dad need to be better examples of being discreet. After all, their brazenness could rub off on Violet. We would not want that, now would we?"
Victor shook his head and sighed.
"Come on Victor. Stop being such a Gryffindor about this." Violet began.
Victor frowned. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means you're being a stuck up, rule-following Gryffindor and need to have a little more fun," Violet answered.
Rose took another bite of her toast and hummed.
"What does my having a Gryffindor have to do with anything?"
"Gryffindors don't have fun because they're too busy following the rules."
"I will have you know that Harry Potter was an infamous rule breaker as well as a Gryffindor extraordinaire."
"Which makes it all the more baffling that you play everything so by the book."
"I like not being in trouble."
Rose turned the page and took another sip of tea.
"You'll see. It'll be great to have a little fun with Mum and Dad. I mean, they really think we are too stupid to know what they've been up to all morning. Doesn't that at least annoy you on some level?" Violet asked.
There was a flicker of acknowledgement in Victor's eyes.
"We just want to have fun with them," Violet continued. "Surely you can let us do that, can't you?"
Victor put his head into his hands. "It matters little what I say. You are going to do whatever you bloody well feel like."
Violet turned to her sister. "I take it you're with me then?"
She finished her toast.
"At the moment I am not your professor. I see no harm in allowing you to have a little fun."
Violet rubbed her hands together. "Oh this is going to be good."
"So you say," Rose muttered before turning the page.
Victor leaned over and craned his neck above Rose's newspaper. "Are you reading anything interesting?"
"Unless you consider a peppermint scented potion which can be charmed to make a red and white candle to be interesting, then no."
"I suppose that isn't the most interesting thing in the world."
"No, it is not."
Footsteps could be heard down the hallway.
"Showtime," Violet began.
Rose folded her newspaper and set it on the table. Victor groaned.
"Hello children," Severus began.
Violet cocked her head and began in a singsongy voice, "Hello Mum and Dad. How has your morning been?"
"Petal, please do not tease me, not this morning," Hermione began.
Violet paled upon seeing the expressions on her parents' faces. The spark left her eyes. Her voice was quiet. "Mum? Dad?"
"I am glad all of you are present," Severus began. "We have something to discuss with you."
Violet shuddered. "What's wrong?"
Severus strolled over and sat beside Rose. Hermione sat beside Victor.
"Mum," Violet raised her voice. "You two are beginning to scare me."
Hermione put her arm out on the table.
"What are you trying to show us?" Victor asked.
"There, there is no easy way to break this to you. You all are of age though, so perhaps I should show it to you."
Violet's heart raced as her mother touched her long, black sleeve.
"No," Rose whispered.
"Is it…" Victor choked.
Hermione rolled her sleeve up.
Violet leaned in closer. Although she had to squint, she could still make out the faint scar of, "mudblood."
Her body ran cold as her entire attention focused on the scar.
Violet barely remembered the first time her mother had the scar. Most five years were more concerned with their toys than they were in the markings on their mothers' arms. At the time, all she knew was that Mummy was tired more often than usual. She also knew that Mummy would be spending several hours in St. Mungo's because she had some type of illness. At the time, Violet figured it must have been a bad flu. It never occurred to her that someday Mummy may no longer be with her.
As an eighteen year old, she knew exactly what the scar meant.
"We can solve this," Rose began. "Dad and I will find a cure. You will recover, and this nightmare will be behind us."
"We will do everything in our power to cure your mother," Severus replied.
"We will succeed," Rose promised. "We have to succeed."
Hermione grabbed Rose's hand. "I have faith in your ability to tame dark magic, but you also need to prepare for the worst."
"No," Rose argued. "I will not prepare for the worst because it will not happen."
"We do not want to burden you. You need to focus on your career, on your teaching…"
"I will take a sabbatical. Headmaster Longbottom will understand. He loves you. We all love you."
"Rose, you cannot jeopardize your career for me," Hermione argued.
"For the love of Merlin, being a Hogwarts professor is just a job! You are my mother. How could I ever turn my back on you?"
"It is not turning your back on me if you dedicate a majority of your time to teaching instead of researching."
"Yes, it is," Rose argued.
"Little One," Severus chimed in. "We will do everything in your power to help your mother. Still, you need to understand that sometimes there is nothing one can do. We could…" He couldn't manage to finish the sentence.
"No," Rose whispered. "We will succeed."
Violet blinked back her tears as her mind wandered back to her younger self. She could still smell the sweet scent of petunias blooming under the summer sun behind a rusty fence. The ground beneath her was all dirt, with only a few patches of uneaten grass. All of Violet's attention was focused on the animals around her.
Violet was petting a full blooded kneazle. It was a scrappy thing with fur darker than any night she'd experienced. It's eyes were yellow as a harvest moon. Still, it had allowed her to pet it for more than two minutes, much longer than any other animal in the petting zoo had.
Violet's face glowed as she ran her hand through it's coarse hair. She glanced back at her father, who gave her a slight smile. Then Violet scanned the rest of the gated area. Other kneazles rubbed against the legs of children. They mewed and pawed the adults.
For one moment, Violet paid no heed to the fact that her mother was not present. It did not matter that this was the third zoo trip where Mummy did not accompany them. Later she would ask Dad why Mum was sleeping instead of going with them, but he only told her that Mummy was too sick to get out of bed.
"Is she always going to be sick?"
Dad looked down at his young daughter. "I do not know."
"You can make her better though. Your potions make everything better."
He took a deep breath. "I will do everything in my power to help her regain her health."
Once again, it never occurred to Violet that perhaps nothing could be done. If Daddy said something, then it must be so. Mummy would recover, and then she would never be this sick again.
If only she knew how naive that hope was.
"You have no say over my career," Rose retorted.
Violet's mind was jerked back into the present.
"If I want to dedicate my every moment to finding this cure, then you had better bloody well believe that I will," Rose argued.
"Rose, you need to be reasonable," Severus argued.
"I am being reasonable," Rose argued. "You are the ones not being reasonable in not allowing me to take a sabbatical and help Mum."
Victor stared at his mother's arm. His mouth was agape, but he made no attempt to form a word.
"Rose, you need to listen to us," Severus replied.
"No, you need to listen to me," Rose argued. "I am not going to allow Mum to die."
"We would never think that your teaching constitutes you allowing me to die," Hermione argued.
"Yet that is what it feels like to me." Tears streamed down Rose's eyes. "If I teach when I could be curing you, then it would be akin to saying that there are things more important than your health."
"Rose, I want you to listen to me," Hermione answered.
Rose closed her mouth.
"I want you to live your life."
Violet had heard those words before.
Violet remembered standing in the doorway to her parents' room. For the life of her, she couldn't remember what she needed. Even today though, she could recite every word of their conversation.
"Take her to zoos," Mum continued. "She loves those."
"She wants to go with you," Dad argued.
"I know," Mum bowed her head.
"She asks for you every time I take her."
"Someday she will understand why I couldn't go with her. On that day, she will cherish her memories of going to the zoo with you all the more."
"I want her to cherish going to the zoo with you."
"I know, but until that day, you need to build memories with her. If taking her to the zoo makes her happy, then take her there as many times as she wants."
Violet skipped back to her room, thrilled at the idea of visiting the zoo again.
Today, a trip to the zoo wouldn't make this situation any better. It wouldn't erase the pain of knowing that her mother could die. If anything, it would make things worse because she'd be too focused on why her mother wasn't joining her.
"Mum," Victor croaked. "What can I do?"
"There is nothing you can do," Hermione answered.
"There must be something," Victor offered.
"I only want your love and support," Hermione replied.
"You will always have that," Victor choked.
Love and support. Violet was incapable of providing that as a child. Sure she loved Mummy, but asking a five year old to support you during a cancer scare is a tall order, one Violet knew she'd been unable to fill.
Now though, now she understood what was going on. She understood what was at stake. This time she could suffer with her family instead of running around, confused as to why everyone was so depressed around her.
Hermione rolled up her sleeve. "Baby girl, what are you thinking?"
"I." Violet took a shaky breath. "I want to go to the zoo."
Hermione wrapped her arms around her daughter. "I know you do."
For the first time in her life, Violet wept because Mummy could die.