AN: So sorry it's been forever since I've updated. Things just got so chaotic last week and I didn't have time to edit anything until now.
Thank you all for the support! All of you are awesome readers!
How much longer will she be awake?
Rose stared at the cherry wood door. From behind it she could hear muffled voices, but she couldn't make out the words. It did not matter what was being said, just as long as she could hear her mother's voice.
Rose felt her father's hand go on her shoulder. "Do not worry about your mother."
She turned to him.
"She will be well enough to speak with you," Severus replied.
Rose swallowed. "Are you only saying that so I will not feel guilty about keeping her awake?"
"No," Severus answered. "I am saying that because it is the truth."
Rose twisted her lips.
"Your mother made it very clear that she fully intends to speak with you two. Even if she can barely keep her eyes open, she will demand to see you."
"I do not want her to become too fatigued."
"Your mother will have enough energy to at least say, 'good night' to you. She was insistent upon that."
"Mum may change her mind once Victor is finished speaking with her."
"I doubt it. To paraphrase your mother, if she could stay awake and fix breakfast after a night of hearing a baby cry, she can stay awake to speak to her now adult children."
"She should not have to exhaust herself on my account."
"Trust me, there is nobody else she would rather exhaust herself for than her children."
Rose hummed "I suppose that is fair enough."
Severus squeezed her shoulder. "She loves you very much. Both of us love you more than we thought we could ever love an eldest daughter."
"I love you and Mum too," Rose whispered.
Severus kissed her cheek. "We will get through this. Somehow as a family, we will find a way to stay together through all of this."
"I know we will," Rose whispered, unsure if she believed the words herself.
The door clicked.
Rose and Severus backed away. Victor stood in the doorway.
"How is Mum?" Rose asked.
"Much better than I expected," Victor admitted.
Rose asked, "Truly?"
"Truly," he replied. "She is trying to stay as upbeat as possible, and is determined to stay conscious for you."
"Is she going to injure herself doing so?"
"I do not believe so. She has a surprising amount of energy."
"Nonetheless I will keep things brief," Rose answered.
"Just let her know she's loved," Victor replied. "In the end, that's all she really wants."
"I can do that," Rose answered before strolling through the doorway. Behind her, the door clicked shut.
Rose swallowed. The only light in the room was Severus' wand. Yet even in the shadows Rose could see the bags under her mother's eyes. Somehow, Mum appeared skinnier too, almost as if she had ceased eating properly the day after Dad's birthday. Her skin was as pale as a porcelain vase. It was as if her mother's body was being held together only by her willpower.
Speaking of willpower, her mother's eyes were just as bright as they were when she was discussing a potion, her posture as straight as usual. Her spirit, though beaten, was intact. Whatever ravages cancer inflicted upon her body, Mum would not allow it to rob her of her essence.
This fact brought Rose to the brink of tears.
"Rose, are you doing okay?"
"I am fine Mum, I promise."
"Your father mentioned earlier that you had a promising start on your amnesia potion," Hermione began, her voice as casual as if she had never stepped foot in a hospital.
"Yes," Rose crept closer to the bed. "We think we have a good idea of which ingredients we need, but right now they are not reacting as well together as we would like. So far, we are only able to create non magical ashes."
"I am sorry to hear that," Hermione replied.
"There is nothing we can do, though we are debating certain ideas."
"What would those be?"
There was a gleam in Rose's eyes. "Did Dad not tell you how he proposed to stabilize the potion?"
"No," Hermione replied.
"He proposed we add soda."
"Yes, he proposed Mountain Dew specifically."
Hermione chuckled. "I can only imagine him going into a grocery store picking up hundreds of cans of Mountain Dew for brewing."
"It would be quite the sight to see him in a muggle store," Rose admitted.
Hermione grinned. "He hasn't been in a muggle store in years. The last time we went to one he got so many stares. Everyone turned away at the sight of his scowl, but deep down inside I think he reveled in the attention."
"Did you truly go into a muggle store with him?" Rose asked.
Hermione nodded. "You were about four. We were in Australia when we ran out of juice boxes and ice cream. Your grandparents wanted to spend more time with you, so we went to the store ourselves. I told your father he needed to dress more inconspicuously, but alas, he owns nothing other than his black outfit. He told me he could tolerate the extra attention, so off we went."
Rose laughed. "I cannot imagine him wearing anything other than his black clothes."
"Honestly, I cannot either," Hermione replied. "You are the only person who is as dedicated to wearing all black as he is."
"I suppose I should not complain though. It is very easy to buy clothes for him. If he receives anything other than a black long sleeved shirt, a black cape, or black dress pants then it is given to you."
Rose gave her mother a sheepish smile.
Hermione took a deep breath. "I wouldn't have him any other way though. No, my family is perfect as it is."
"I would not say we are perfect," Rose answered.
"You are perfect for me. We have our flaws, but all of us fit together perfectly."
"I am glad you feel that, though I fear I have been a less than grateful daughter as of late."
"You were confused and reeling from the fact that we lied to you. Under those circumstances, I cannot blame you for acting as you did."
"No, I have very little excuse for my behavior. I gave you and Dad no credit for raising me and providing me with the best childhood I could have wanted. I was an ungrateful brat and took my anger out on those who cared for me."
"You were upset. Neither your father nor I am angry with you."
"Still, you raised me very well, and received little credit for it."
"We did our best to raise you anyway."
"You succeeded. Despite your situation, you succeeded in being a stellar mother."
"What do you mean by 'despite my situation?' I have a loving husband and loving children. I would say that is an excellent situation."
"True, but things did not begin that way. Initially you were abandoned by Ronald, but you never abandoned me."
"How could I ever fathom abandoning my daughter?"
"Some mothers would have held my conception against me," Rose replied. "You could have offered to send me to an orphanage if Ron agreed to marry you, or you could have resented me for being conceived with a man who abandoned you."
"What Ron did was not your fault," Hermione answered. "I could never resent you for his behavior."
"I know, but I know other women would have held his behavior against me. You could have seen him every time you looked at me and despised me for it. You could have openly favored your other children over me because they were conceived with a man you loved. Still, you love us all equally."
"I cannot fathom ever resenting you for how you were conceived, nor can I imagine treating you any differently than I do your siblings."
"I know, but still, I need to be more grateful for you. You were in an impossible situation after Ron left, yet you created a family out of it. So, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being an excellent mother."
Hermione's face appeared less ashen. "There is no need to thank me, but I appreciate it all the same. That being said, I am grateful to you as well. After all, you were the one who gave me my family."
Rose choked, "How?"
"I would not have considered marrying your father if I was not pregnant with you. If I didn't see the tender side of him you brought out, then I would not have fallen in love with him. You brought your father and I together, and we are forever thankful for that."
Rose's eyes watered.
Hermione extended her arms. "I love you baby girl. I mean it when I say I could not have imagined an eldest daughter as amazing as you."
Rose embraced her. "Funny, I could not imagine a mother as fantastic as you."
Hermione squeezed her daughter. "All of you children brought so much joy into my life. Never forget that."
"I will not," Rose promised.
The fireplace erupted.
"Now," Hermione released her daughter. "I am curious as to which potions ingredients you plan on using."
Rose opened her mouth to protest that her mother was overworking herself, but Hermione's expression made it clear that she expected to hear about the amnesia cure. Clearing her throat, Rose began, "We need to use lupine seeds in order to ensure that a physical transformation does not take place…"
"Hermione and Severus Snape!"
The light in Hermione's eyes died.
"We would like to use dittany as well…"
"I know you're in there! Come out Hermione and Severus!"
"The potion is too alkaline though."
"You get over here and explain yourselves to me right now!"
"We can ignore her," Rose began.
"You come over here and give me back my granddaughter right now!"