Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 18

AN: Thank you for taking the time to read this! I truly appreciate it!

The hallway was silent, the dungeons still. No passerby would've ever suspected that a battle had taken place. If not for the bruises on her body and the throbbing of her skull, Rose would have wondered if the past few hours had been nothing more than a vivid nightmare.

Rose sat down on the ground, her eyes drooping shut. I can stay awake. All I need to do is get in a more comfortable position and I can stay awake.

She leaned against the wall. A pain shot up her back.

With a yelp, Rose jerked up. She gagged as the room spun. After taking a few deep breaths through her nose, the sensations subsided.

Rose gripped her wand tighter. What a pitiful excuse of a daughter I am. Dad taught several classes with nothing but willpower and a pepper up potion. I get knocked on the head and I cannot so much as stand upright. I do not deserve to bear his name.

The image of her stupefied Dad sprawled on the floor flashed into her consciousness

Rose's eyes watered. Dad would've found a way to save me without injury. Had he been in my position, he would've rescued the students and me, and still had the energy to conduct research the next evening.

"My greatest fear in life was that you and your siblings would be ashamed of me." Her father's voice echoed in her mind.

Rose traced her finger along a crack in the floor.

"I thought if you understood the true extent of my crimes, you would grow to despise being my daughter."

"Oh Daddy," she whispered. "How could I grow to despise you when I am not even half the person you are?

The day Rose discovered the truth about her parents' roles in the war was etched in her mind. She believed that she was eight years old, but she may have only been seven. Regardless of her exact age, the pertinent details were clear.

Rose held Mr. Snake in one hand, the fourth edition of Hogwarts: A Revised History in the other. She crept down the hallway, following the voices of her parents.

"What did you do?"

Rose turned to her side.

Victor poked his head out of a small guest bedroom. "Why are Mum and Dad so angry?"

"I was bad," Rose answered.

Victor's eyes grew. "How were you bad?"

Rose held up the book. "I wanted to buy this book, but Dad told me it was awful."

Victor cocked his head. "Mum didn't think it was so bad. I mean, she bought it for you anyway."

"She did," Rose answered. "But Dad was very angry with her for doing so."

He shrugged. "I guess you should've bought the book on animagi then."

"I know," Rose squeezed Mr. Snake harder against her chest. "But I'm going to make everything better."

"Good luck," Victor replied.

"Thank you," Rose looked at the end of the hallway. "I may need it."

Rose continued along her path. The closer she came to the library, the more distinguishable her parents' words became. Although they were not shouting at each other, the conversation was animated.

"It is time Rose learn the truth," Mum began.

"There are certain truths of which she should remain ignorant," Dad argued.

"She's going to learn about our roles in the war at some point in the future. We might as well allow her to learn about us now when we're still available to answer her questions," Mum replied.

"Let me ask you something," Dad's voice was lower. "How many questions about Ronald Weasley would you like to answer over the course of the next two weeks? Would you like to explain your previous connection with him to our daughter?"

"It isn't realistic to think that I could keep our relationship secret forever," Hermione admitted.

"So you are comfortable answering questions about how you could be such good friends with Ronald?"

Rose gasped. Wasn't Ron Weasley the man who kidnapped her as a baby? How could Mummy have ever been his friend?

"It will be uncomfortable, but she will learn about us at some point."

"Just like she will learn about Lily and me."

Rose bit her lip. Who was Lily?

"If you think it's uncomfortable answering questions about Ronald then just wait until she begins to ask about Lily. I'm sure Rose will be riveted by the rumors that you are a cheap replacement for the true love of my life."

"If Rose truly thinks I would ever consent to being a replacement for a corpse then she does not know the first thing about her mother," Mum replied.

Rose stepped through the doorway. She observed her father. Although was frowning, there was a spark in his eyes.

"Severus." Mum rubbed his hand. "Rose knows and loves you. She isn't going to care about who you were before she was born. All she's going to remember is the magnificent husband and father you are today."

"I pray you are correct," Dad answered.

"Mummy? Daddy?"

They turned to Rose.

Rose held out the book. "I'm sorry I wanted to read this book. I didn't know it was bad. You can take it back to the store now."

Mum released Dad's hand. He bent down and touched Rose's shoulder. "No Little One, I apologize for becoming so angry about you looking at the book. Hogwarts: A Revised History is a fine book, one which you should read."

"But they made changes to it after Mummy bought it," Rose replied. "You said those changes were bad. I'll just read the book Mummy had and forget this one exists."

"No, you will not," Dad answered. "You will read this version, and you will enjoy it greatly."

"No I won't!" Rose clung to him. "It makes you angry just to see it, and I don't want to make you angry."

Rose could hear Mum exit the room.

"Victor?" Mum called.

"Yes?" he answered.

Dad rubbed Rose's back. "May I make a confession?"

Rose looked up at him.

"Sometimes when you are bad, you do not wish for me to discover your misdeed," Dad began.

"I'm not bad," Rose sniffed.

"I seem to recall an incident last Sunday where you snuck a cookie out of the jar when you believed that I had turned my back," Dad continued.

Rose blushed.

"You did it behind my back because you feared my disappointment, did you not?" Dad asked.

"Yes," Rose muttered.

"Well, sometimes I want to hide things from you because I fear your disappointment."

"You do?"

"Indeed, I do," Dad explained. "I have done some deplorable things in my lifetime, things I shudder to remember. When you presented that book to me, I became upset that you would discover who I was before I became your father. Because I did not like who I was before you were born, I became upset and took it out on you."

Rose cocked her head. "Why wouldn't you like yourself?"

"Because I am not likable."

"You're lovable!"

Dad laughed. "At least according to you I am."

"Anyone who doesn't like you is a dunderhead," Rose argued.

He kissed her forehead. "Go on and read that book now."

"Are you sure I should?" Rose asked.

The humor evaporated from his eyes. "If you have any questions about anything in the book, please come see me."

"Are you saying that it's homework then?"

"More or less."

Dad glided out of the room.

For the love of her, Rose couldn't remember half of what was in the book. Unlike her mother, she could never quote it by verse, in large part due to the fact that her first time reading it was also her last. All Rose remembered about the book was that after the third day of reading it, she came across the names Lily Evans, Voldemort, Hermione Granger, and Severus Snape.

Once Rose reached the appendix, she closed the book and marched into the library.

Dad sat in a chair, his back to the entrance. He held up a potions journal, but judging from his expression he hadn't read a single word.

"Daddy?"

He set it down on a nearby side table. "Yes, Rose?"

Rose approached him. "You're right, this book is bad."

He took a deep breath.

"I didn't like it," Rose continued.

"I pray my insecurities did not cloud your enjoyment of it," Dad answered.

"No, you didn't make me hate it," Rose replied. "I didn't like the book because it was inaccurate."

He raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me."

Rose set the book on top of his journal. "It said that you were in love with some lady named Lily, which is ridiculous because you only love Mummy. Then it said your Patronus was a doe, which isn't true because it's an otter."

Dad grinned.

"It was a very inaccurate book, and I didn't much like it," Rose replied.

Daddy's expression became somber. "What were your thoughts on the sections regarding the Death Eaters?"

She shrugged. "You did bad things, but then you stopped. If you don't hate me for all bad things I've done, then I won't hate you for what you did."

He scooped her into his arms. "I love you so much, Little One."

"I'm not little," Rose replied.

"When did you become taller than me?" Dad asked.

She giggled. "I'm not yet, but I will be."

"Well, until you are taller than me, you will remain 'Little One,'" Dad replied.

Rose choked as she meditated on the sensation of her father's arms around her. What had become of him? Would he regain his memories of his family, or was he doomed to live in the past? If he did regain his memories, could he ever forgive her for stupefying him?

"Rose?"

"Yes?"

Rose tilted her head upwards.

"Have you been here all night?" Headmaster Longbottom asked.

"Yes," she groaned.

"You look as if you had a run in with the aurors."

"I may have faced down five of them."

"Oh gods, what did they do to you?" Headmaster Longbottom asked.

"They fired a few hexes, one of which slammed me into the wall," Rose admitted. "All things considered, I am quite well."

"Are you in pain?"

"No."

He folded his arms over his chest.

"I may have a minor headache," Rose admitted.

Neville pulled out his wand and muttered an incantation. The wand turned red. "You have a concussion."

Rose stared at him.

"You need to leave for your quarters."

"No!"

Headmaster Longbottom jumped back.

Rose stood up. Her brain felt as if it was being pummeled by a centaur, and her vision was blurry. Somehow though, she managed to keep her gaze on Headmaster Longbottom. "I'm not leaving my students."

"The aurors have left," he replied. "There is no reason to remain here."

"Are you certain of that?" she asked.

"I am," he answered.

Rose took a few steps forward. "What time is it?"

"Four in the morning," Headmaster Longbottom replied.

Rose moaned. "I can get a couple of hours of sleep before my class then."

"You won't be teaching a class today," Headmaster Longbottom answered.

"Of course I'm teaching class today."

"You are taking the day off."

Rose took a few steps forward. "No, I am not."

Headmaster Longbottom blocked her path. "Today will be spent resting and beginning your recovery."

"I only need a couple of hours to recover."

"That is not true and you know it."

Rose snarled. "If Dad can teach a few hours after he's been beaten to a pulp, then I can teach with a concussion."

"Your dad was horrid after a Death Eater meeting," Headmaster Longbottom began.

"But he still taught."

"He didn't teach us so much as he yelled at us."

"He was still there though."

"I will not have another foul-mood Snape teaching in one of my classrooms."

"I won't be in a foul mood if you step aside and allow me to teach."

"Your mood will improve once you receive eight hours of sleep."

Rose cried, "Dad could teach injured, so why can I not?"

Headmaster Longbottom replied, "Because I am not Albus Dumbledore, and this is not the Second Wizarding War."

Rose's knees shook.

"Your father never should've been asked to teach while injured. His body needed time to heal, just as yours does," Headmaster Longbottom continued.

Rose sank to the ground. "I only want to make him proud."

Headmaster Longbottom pointed to the doorway. "There isn't a hole on the doorway to the Slytherin Dungeon. The students are sleeping safe and sound. You are the reason why. Your father would be very proud if he were here right now."

Rose's lip quivered. "There is no need to flatter me. I will never be the hero he is."

Headmaster Longbottom's eyes softened. "You cannot spend your entire life comparing yourself to your parents. Those unfair comparisons can turn a promising young wizard into someone who is convinced he is a nobody. You are your own person with your own set of obstacles and your own way of overcoming them. In a way that is uniquely you, you are heroic."

Rose relaxed.

He extended his hand. "Nobody expects you to be Severus Snape, and I am deeply grateful every day that I do not live in terror of your wrath as I did his."

"You would be," Rose grasped his hand.

Neville pulled her up. "Let's get you back to the dungeons where you can rest up."

"What if I feel well enough to teach in a few hours?"

"Then I will give you an official suspension until you are concussion free."

Rose forced her lips upwards. "Fair enough."

In silence, they made their way to the dungeons, the same dungeons where her father lay.