Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 170

AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!

Hermione's heart stopped. A chill sped up her spine. Although a thousand words raced though her mind, all she could manage was a choked, "Bill? Charlie?"

Bill's eyes appeared as if they would pop out of his sockets. His mouth was agape. Charlie's face was redder than his hair. His lips were curled into a twisted scowl.

"What are you doing with, with…" Bill stuttered. "S-snape?"

Hermione took a shaky breath. "If you will give me a few minutes I will be more than happy to explain everything to you."

"An explanation would be appreciated," Charlie began.

"Yes," Bill swallowed. "It is going to take quite a bit of time to explain why you are cuddled up with Snape instead of my brother."

"Okay," Hermione swallowed. "Right now, you believe you are in the middle of the Second Wizarding War."

"What do you mean, 'believe?' We are in the middle of a war," Charlie asked.

"No, we are not," Hermione argued. "The war ended years ago."

"It did?" Bill asked.

"Of course it didn't!" a woman cut in. "She just wants you to think that so she can protect her precious professor."

Hermione felt the color drain her face.

Bill and Charlie parted, allowing Molly to enter the room. The woman couldn't be bothered to hide her smile. It was almost as if she had just watched one of her sons win the Quidditch World Cup, and she was savoring the victory.

"Molly, what are you doing?" Hermione drawled.

"What am I doing? The question is what are you doing?"

"I am recovering from an illness."

"Is that all, or are you also allowing Dumbledore's killer to escape?"

"W-what?"

The older witch purred, "You didn't think we'd find out?"

"Find what out?" Snape asked.

"Hermione's true allegiance. Did you think we would never discover it?"

Hermione's mouth dropped open.

Molly turned to her sons. "Did you two ever wonder how Professor Snape knew so much about Harry?"

Charlie shrugged. "I assumed he knew him as a student. Since they interacted almost every day, he would know quite a bit about him."

"He does know Harry as a student, but he also knows facts about him only a close friend would know."

"Like what?" Bill asked.

"Indeed," Snape cut in. "What do I know about Potter that I am not supposed to?"

"If I mentioned any fact you would deny knowing it or pretend that it's common knowledge," Molly argued.

Bill hummed, "that is a good point. You would do that."

"Oh for the love of Merlin," Snape groaned.

"So you admit that you know more about him than you should," Molly answered.

"I know Potter because I am forced to interact with him on an almost daily basis," Snape argued. "I only know what I observe."

"As well as what Hermione tells you."

"What?" Bill and Charlie yelled.

Hermione shook her head, as if the gesture would somehow make Molly's words sensible.

"Hermione has told you everything about Harry, hasn't she?" Molly asked.

Severus stared at her as if she'd just announced that brewing potions was the same action as playing muggle football.

"W-why would I betray Harry to Severus?" Hermione asked.

"He's Severus now?" Bill exclaimed.

Molly pointed to Hermione. "You just had to get all Outstandings, didn't you? You had them in every class except Potions. What better way to get into Professor Snape's good graces than to sleep with him? I mean, what is more persuasive to a man than an illicit love affair?"

"Do not imply my wife is a slut!" Snape barked.

"Your wife?" Bill and Charlie gasped.

Hermione sat up straighter. "Yes, I am his wife."

"Y-you're just barley of age," Bill began.

"No, I am fifty years old," Hermione argued.

"Fifty?" Charlie asked.

Hermione untangled herself from Severus. "Look at me. Really look at me."

Their entire attention was on her.

"Do I appear to be in my teens?"

"Well, you do have a different skin tone," Charlie admitted.

"Your hair is thinner as well," Bill noted as he tapped his finger onto his chin.

Hermione's chest constricted. Still, she hid the emotion. There was no need to explain the cancer as well.

"You carry yourself differently too," Bill continued. "You don't seem so unsure of yourself anymore. I would almost say you are confident."

"I am extremely confident," Hermione's voice was gentler. "I am a happily married fifty year old woman who is no longer fighting in a war. I have a wonderful family, and I have a fulfilling career as a researcher. There is no reason for me to feel anything less than happy and confident."

Bill's expression softened. "I am glad to hear it."

"No!" Molly snapped. "You are a teenager masquerading as a woman in order to betray the Order! Nobody should believe a thing you say!"

"Why would Hermione betray the order?" Charlie asked.

"I don't know," Molly admitted. "I suppose we'll find out once we take her beloved husband into custody."

"Excuse me?" Snape burst out.

Molly approached them. "We are making a citizen's arrest."

"For what?" Hermione demanded.

"For the murder of Albus Dumbledore," Bill answered.

Hermione locked eyes with Bill. "You need to listen to me and listen carefully."

He blinked.

"We are over three decades removed from the war. During that time, we discovered that Severus killed Dumbledore on his orders."

"Why would Dumbledore order his own death?" Charlie asked.

"Dumbledore wore a cursed ring. It was killing him. He was going to die regardless of what anyone said or did. Meanwhile, Voldemort ordered Draco to kill Dumbledore. Severus decided to do the deed in his place. It worked out perfectly. Dumbledore got a quick death, Draco did not need to kill anyone, and my husband appeared loyal to only Voldemort. It couldn't have worked any better."

Bill shook his head. "This sounds far more ludicrous than you selling secrets to Snape."

"It's the truth though," Hermione argued.

"That's enough of your lies!" Molly yelled. "If you do not be quiet we will arrest you too!"

"You will do no such thing to her," Snape argued.

"You're right, because nobody is going anywhere," Hermione replied.

"Boys, subdue Severus."

They did not move.

"Boys!"

"I'm sorry," Bill replied. "I just, I think Hermione may be telling the truth."

"Yes," Charlie answered. "This story is so ridiculous there may be some truth to it."

"Damnit I am your mother and you will listen to me," Molly hissed.

Severus stood and growled, "You heard your sons: they are not going to arrest me. Leave now."

Molly pulled out her wand and stuck it out at him. "Not without you."

Hermione reached under her pillow and whipped out her wand. "I will never allow you to take him."

"Do you really think it's wise to start a hexing fight in a hospital room?" Bill asked.

"I will have a hexing fight wherever necessary in order to protect my husband."

Snape turned to her. "Are you certain fighting is advisable in your condition?"

"I could not care less about my condition," Hermione argued. "Not when your freedom is on the line."

"I care about your health," Snape argued.

Molly took two steps towards them. "If you are quite done…"

"Hermione, if going with them ensures your safety…"

"I will not be safe at your expense."

"You heard her! Either come with us or…"

Hermione fired a hex. A volt of electricity coursed through Molly's body. She screamed before falling to the ground.

At first, Hermione felt no ill effects from her magic. Then, her vision blurred. Her skin felt as if it was being pricked by a thousand rose thorns. She suppressed the urge to vomit.

"Hermione!"

As Bill and Charlie rushed over to attend to Molly, Snape pulled Hermione close to his chest. Hermione gripped her wand tighter as bile rose up her throat.

"Love," he whispered. "Love please say something."

She gagged.

"Hermione, love please, say something to me."

"I love you," she squeaked out.

"I love you too" Snape's voice cracked. "I love you so very much."

Bill and Charlie pointed their wands at Snape. Charlie whispered, "Now you've taken things too far."

"What in Merlin's name is going on in here?"

"Healer Frey, thank goodness you're here!"

"Why is my patient pointing her wand at you?"

The voices were growing softer. Still she could inhale Severus' scent. He smelled of mint and sage. It was so soothing.

"This man is a criminal," Bill began.

"My wife needs help," Snape began.

"That madwoman attacked me," Molly stood. "She went crazy and fired upon me. You need to arrest her along with her out of control husband."

Bill approached Snape again, Charlie close behind him.

"Get away from my patient!"

"Not until we get justice for Dumbledore."

"Justice for who?"

All three Weasleys charged towards Severus.

Strength surged through Hermione. With a fire in her eyes, she fired one last hex, hitting all three of the red heads.

Everything was black.