Rose sighed and tossed the Potions Monthly onto the mahogany side table. She rubbed her face and groaned, "Madame Serpent."
The cobra raised her head until she was touching the mesh atop her cage.
Rose continued, "It is a terrible day when the only article of value was written by your parents."
Madame Serpent flicked her tongue.
Rose grabbed her wand. The sounds were increasing in volume and frequency. Perhaps it was time to go upstairs and see for herself what was happening.
The fireplace erupted.
Rose leaned forward in her chair. A man's figure materialized before her.
He glanced over at her.
"Dad? What are you doing here?"
"What am I doing here?" he demanded. "The question is, what are you doing here?"
"I live here," Rose drawled.
Snape's eyes were hard, as if he expected her to wilt under him. Rose stood up, her eyes still focused upon him.
"Why are you wearing my robes?" he demanded.
"These are my robes," she answered.
"Take them off and put on a Hogwarts uniform."
"I am not putting on a Hogwarts uniform."
"Are you defying me?"
"No," Rose replied. "I am telling you that there is no reason whatsoever for me to dress in a Hogwarts uniform."
"I have no time for your games," he snapped. "Go to the restroom, take off my robes, and put on your own uniform at once."
"I have not worn a Hogwarts uniform in eight years, and I have no intention of doing so now," Rose argued.
"This is not amusing," Snape snapped.
"I agree," Rose replied.
"You are not fit to wear my robes."
"I did not stutter. You are not fit to dress in my robes, nor are you permitted to sit in my dungeons."
"Oh," Rose's eyes grew wide. "I see."
"I am glad we have reached an understanding," he replied.
"I have had a dream like this before," Rose answered.
"A dream?" Snape asked.
Rose nodded. "You berated me for being a cheap imitation of you and told me I would never be half the person you were. If I recall, I woke up crying and flooed you. We spoke for a few hours, and you gave me a warm apple juice."
"What are you blabbering on about?" Severus hissed.
Rose tapped her foot. "I am not quite sure when I fell asleep, nor am I quite sure why everything appears so clearly. Still, this will pass, as all dreams do."
"This is not a dream."
"I assure you that it is."
"Stop blabbering, get out of my clothes, put on your uniform, and leave my dungeons at once," he demanded.
Rose sat down on the chair and smirked. "No."
"Twenty points from Gryffindor for defiance," Snape snapped.
Rose raised an eyebrow. "Why would you deduct points from Gryffindor if your goal is to punish me?"
"Are you so deluded that you've forgotten your own house?"
"Trust me, I remember my house quite well. Nobody within it will mourn the loss of Gryffindor's house points."
"Then I deduct fifty points from Gryffindor."
"I fail to see how this affects me in any way."
Severus furrowed his eyebrows. "I have little patience for your games tonight."
"And I have little patience with this subconscious exercise," Rose argued.
"If you do not stop defying me, you will wish I resided only in your subconscious," Snape warned.
Rose kicked up the recliner and leaned back. "I am not affected by your threats. Within a few minutes I will awaken, and I will call you for reassurance. If I am fortunate I will receive a heated apple juice for my troubles."
Rose yawned and gazed at the ceiling.
"Get out of my chair," he demanded.
"Whatever you say," Rose made scare quotes with her fingers. "Dad."
"What did you just call me?" Snape asked.
"Dad," Rose answered.
"You think," Snape burst out laughing. "You think I'm your father?"
Rose's stomach sank. This dream is becoming a bit too dark.
"You, you called me Dad," Snape chuckled.
"Yes Dad," Rose began.
"Why would you ever call me that?"
"Because I consider you to be my dad."
Severus' frown deepened. "Fifty points from Gryffindor for your delusion."
"I swear if you call me that one more time Ms. Granger, I will deduct every point from your house," Snape barked.
Rose sprang up from the chair. "This isn't a dream at all!"
"You've just now reached that realization," Severus snapped.
Rose rushed over until she was between him and the fireplace. "You, you really have no idea who I am, do you?"
"Of course I know who you are." Severus snorted. "Everyone knows who the brains of the Golden Trio is."
"Oh God," Rose muttered.
"If you are quite done having a panic attack, I request that you return my robes and put your uniform back on," Snape ordered.
Rose shoved Snape into the recliner. "Okay, Da-Professor Snape?"
"Yes, that is the proper way of addressing me," Severus replied.
"What is the last thing you remember?" Rose asked.
There was a flash of fear in Snape's eyes. "That is not for you to know."
"Let's try a different question then," Rose suggested. "What decade is it?"
"Surely you've invested in a calendar."
"I left it off my school shopping list this year."
"Tsk tsk. Such oversights are not in your nature."
"It was a horrid day," Rose argued. "Now please tell me, what decade is it?"
Severus let out an exaggerated breath. "We are in the 1990's."
Rose's limbs went cold.
"If we are quite done with this interrogation…" Snape began sitting up.
Rose pressed him against the chair. "Are you the potions professor?"
"Unfortunately," Snape muttered.
"Oh shit," Rose whispered.
"Remove your hands from me this instant, lest I reconsider my position on never hexing students," Snape ordered.
"I am afraid I cannot release you," Rose replied.
"Why ever not?" Snape demanded.
"Because," Rose twisted her lips.
Severus furrowed his eyebrows.
Rose's eyes lit up. "Because Dumbledore told me to take occlumency lessons from you."
"Excuse me?" Snape spat.
Rose backed away from him and nodded. "Indeed he told me to take occlumency lessons from you."
"What would possess him to make such a request?" Snape asked.
"Well, as you stated earlier, I am the brains of the Golden Trio. I know all of Harry's secrets, and I create all of his plans. Somehow, I must keep all of them hidden, lest I am captured by Voldemort."
"I doubt he will interrogate you. He will kill you and be done with it."
"If he has any degree of intelligence, he will interrogate me before my demise."
"I know this is not how you wish to spend your evenings, but I need to learn occlumency and I need to learn it now."
"Please tell me I do not need to teach Mr. Weasley this art in addition to you and Mr. Potter."
"No," Rose exhaled. "You do not."
Thank Merlin for small favors.
"Now," Rose found a wooden chair from across the room. She grabbed it and pulled it up. "Let us commence our first lesson."
"No," Snape argued.
"How could you refuse me?" Rose asked.
"You are quite unwell at the moment," Snape answered.
"I, I apologize for my earlier erratic behavior."
"You consider your behavior and matter of dress to be merely erratic?"
"Oh, those were just a series of strange exercises."
"My choice of clothing was an odd gesture on my part to identify with you."
"Identify with me?"
Rose nodded. "I believed that if I pretended we were closely related then I would be more accepting of your teachings."
Snape scowled. "That does not explain your insistence that this was all a dream."
"Yes, well," Rose gulped. "I may have gone too far in my exercise."
Snape grumbled something under his breath. He examined her. "I thought your eyes were brown."
"They're blue," Rose replied.
"Why would I have mistaken them for brown all these years?" Snape muttered.
"Because I've always wished they were brown," Rose admitted.
Severus leaned closer to her. "Wishing for an eye color does not make it so."
"Trust me," Rose answered in a soft voice. "I know."
"You appear to be a decade older than fifteen."
"War ages you."
"So it does." Snape cleared his throat. "How much occlumency do you know?"
"I have only read about it," Rose lied.
"Occlumency is not something one reads about," Snape warned. "It is a skill which must be honed and practiced. Do you think you can manage that?"
"I will practice every day," Rose promised.
"At least someone is dedicated to hard work," Snape muttered.
"Indeed I am," Rose vowed.
"In order to practice occlumency properly, you must suppress your emotions. Weak people who wear their hearts on their sleeves do not stand a chance against You-Know-Who," Snape warned.
Rose took a breath. Do I deceive Dad into believing I am Mum? It would not be difficult for me to raise my occlumency shields and envision what life would have been like for Mum as a child. Dad would remain calmer if I allowed him to remain in his delusion. Still, if I allowed him to view one of my actual memories perhaps he will begin to remember me...
"Are you prepared for your lesson?"
Rose's heart pounded against her chest. Think! Think! Pick a course of action and act upon it.
"What the bloody hell?" Snape grumbled.
"I, I'll take care of it," Rose replied.
Madame Serpent hissed. Snape turned around and stared at the cobra. "Where did you come from?"
The snake hissed again.
Rose flung open the door. "Scorpius?"
Scorpius raced into the dungeons and slammed the door behind him. Then he embraced Rose. "Thank Merlin you are safe."
"Why would Hermione not be safe?" Snape demanded. "More importantly, when did you begin caring for her safety?"
Scorpius turned to Severus. "What is he doing here?"
"The better question Mr, Malfoy, is what are you doing here?" Snape interrupted.
"Please, please tell me you think my first name is Scorpius," he pleaded.
"Do not begin playing games with me as well, Draco," Snape warned.
"Not good," Scorpius released Rose. "This is not good."
"What is not good?" Rose asked.
Scorpius yelled. "Everyone thinks they're still fighting for the soul of Hogwarts, and they're out for my blood!"