Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 184

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

What do I say to her?

Non-amnesiac aurors scurried about the foyer, their shoes squeaking in the gray, waxed floor. Some spoke to each other in low tones while others remained fixated on the case files before them. If any noticed Severus they said nothing.

It was the first time Severus could remember being in the background instead of at the forefront of everyone's attention.

Before he could dwell on the unfamiliarity of his predicament, his mind flashed to his wife lying limp in his arms. Healers and mediwitches swarmed her listless form until her panicking husband was dragged from the room. The last words she spoke were pleading not to be put to sleep, and begging to have some idea what had become of her husband. All she wanted was to see him one more time, to assure herself that her sacrifice was not in vain…

He shuddered and shook his head.

He'd tried yelling for her, but before he could a wand was jammed into his back and the aurors continued to yell at him to advance. If a word came from his mouth, it was clear his wife could not hear it over the clamor of the chaos.

Did she feel abandoned by him? Was she alone and frightened? How in Merlin's name could she want to see him again? If that incident didn't prove he was more trouble than he was worth then what would?

"Dad?"

Severus startled. "Rose?"

She gulped. "What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you the same thing."

"My purpose here is unimportant to you."

Severus crossed his arms over his chest. "Is it now?"

Rose twirled her cape around her fingers as Snape tapped his right foot

"Don't look at me like that."

"Like what?"

"Like," Rose dropped her cape. "Like a dad."

He dropped his arms and stilled his foot. "Like a dad?"

"Yes," there was a spark in her eyes. "Even as an amnesiac you still look at me the same way you did when I was a misbehaving child."

"Is there a problem with looking at you as if I am your dad?"

"Not at all," she gave him a sheepish grin. "Still, it makes me feel like I am five years old with a half eaten cookie in my hand."

"I imagine your sweet tooth caused us both quite a few headaches."

"It most certainly did."

"But you do not mind that I am your dad, just that I make you feel as if you are going to be in trouble."

"That is accurate."

Severus relaxed. "I honestly thought I was looking at you the way I would look at a misbehaving Slytherin."

"No, you did not appear to be a professor, but a dad."

"What exactly is the difference?"

Rose scratched hip. "It is subtle I will admit, but when you look at a misbehaving student you are more worried about remaining in authority and not provoking an argument. When you look at a misbehaving child though there is an affection in your eyes. It makes it all the more difficult for me to argue against you because with that affection comes a knowledge of how the child thinks, meaning it is almost impossible to lie successfully. At least, that is how I have always perceived it."

"I will trust your judgment in that. From what I remember I have never looked on any misbehaving child who I considered to be my own."

"I did not consider that."

"That being said," Snape allowed himself to smile. "I cannot believe how big a dunderhead I was not to notice our connection immediately."

"I cannot blame you for not recognizing me as your daughter given that I am…" Rose bowed her head.

Severus raised her chin. "Your mother told me about your conception."

Rose's throat constricted.

"It means nothing to me," Snape answered.

"There is no need to lie to me. I know how badly you wished to remain single before you fell in love with Mum."

"It was not necessarily out of want as much as necessity."

"Oh?"

"The last memory I had before awaking in the mansion was of Voldemort beating me within an inch of my life. That is no environment into which one would want to bring a wife and child."

"I suppose one would not want to bring a family into such a life either," Rose admitted. "But there is still the issue of your temperament and your devotion to Lily."

Severus burst out laughing. Rose raised her eyebrow in a mirror image of her dad.

"I apologize," Severus took a deep breath. "I am not laughing at you, but at myself."

"Why?"

"For years I was the biggest dunderhead imaginable, and I did not realize it until last night when I gazed into your mother's eyes. See," he straightened his posture, "I have spent only a few wonderful evenings with your mother, but I have already determined that she is much worthier of my time than Lily ever was."

"Truly?"

"Yes."

"You finally believe us that Lily wasn't worth your time?"

"I believe you with all my heart and soul."

Rose looked at him as if he had just given her every rare potions ingredient imaginable.

"Was there any true doubt in her ability to regain my loyalty?"

"No," She replied. "I had no doubt in Mum's abilities."

"You should not have doubted your ability to remind me of how much I loved you either," He continued.

Rose blinked.

"I know," he swallowed. "I know during my first episode I was beyond horrendous to you. I still shudder at the callousness with which I spoke to you."

"You thought I was Mum and had snuck into your office. I can understand the outrage."

"That is no excuse for how I spoke to you, especially for a spy such as myself."

"What does spying have to do with anything?"

"As a spy I am observent. Had I examined you for even a moment instead of losing my temper, I would have realized you were my daughter."

"Because I wear clothes like you?"

"No, because you have the same expressions as me, the same wit as me, the same way of speaking as me. Even your style of argumentation is like me. Nobody could ever deny that you are my daughter, yet I refused to acknowledge it."

"At least you acknowledge me now."

"I do," Severus shook his head. "Though I cannot deny that on a visceral level, it is difficult to imagine being married to a person I only remember as being a teen."

"I would imagine that must be odd come to think of it."

"I do," He moistened his lips. "I do wonder if your mother is ever bothered that she is in love with such an old git."

"Mum told me she never cared about your age, nor does she believe you are a git."

"I am very lucky in that regard."

"We all are lucky you and Mum love each other as you do."

Severus put a hand on her shoulder. "Whatever happens to me, know that I always was, am, and will always be proud to call you my daughter."

"Always?"

Severus kissed her forehead. "Always."

Rose's eyes misted. "Thank you Dad. For the record, I have always been and will always be proud to call you Dad."

"I am very fortunate in that regard indeed," Severus frowned. "That being said, you have yet to answer my question."

"Which one?"

"You know which one."

Rose took a deep breath. "Molly has been detained."

"So the attorneys told me," Severus answered.

"She is claiming she was afflicted with amnesia, which I know to be a lie."

"It is a lie?"

"Yes, and I can prove it."

"Can you not let an auror prove it?"

"No, it needs to be me."

"Why?"

"For the last twenty-five years, our family has suffered due to the Weasleys. Since part of the vendetta is due to my paternity, I feel as if I must end it."

"Please do not tell me you are considering something drastic such as poisoning her tea."

"Of course not. There are more poetic methods of dealing with Molly than outright killing her."

"Oh," Severus drawled.

"Indeed, and I think I may have stumbled on a few of them."

"Given that you are a Slytherin I will trust in your judgment."

"I am not just a Slytherin," Rose's eyes glistened. "I am the Head of the Slytherin House determined to carry on her dad's work."

He embraced her. "Indeed you are."

She returned the embrace. "I love you Dad."

"I love you too, Little One."

She smirked. "I am not little."

"Really," Severus released her. "When did you surpass me in height?"

"I am working on that potion as we speak."

He chuckled. "I suppose you are."

She joined in his laughter. "I am surprised you remember our little in-joke."

He twisted his lower lip. "I may have learned of the banter through your mother."

"Oh," Rose cleared her throat. "Speaking of Mum, why are you not with her?"

The light in his eyes died. "I have no idea how I will react to seeing her again given the state she was in when we last met."

"Believe me, she is quite healthy and asking for you."

"I am still at a loss as to why she would wish to see me."

"She wants to ensure that your amnesiac self is not haunted by her."

"Perhaps, but I could put her in danger once more."

"This time the staff of St. Mungo's is ready."

"Do you trust them?"

"I trust that if they somehow fail you will be ready to defend yourself and Mum."

"Yes, I promise to defend her with my life."

Rose hummed, "But there is still some hesitation."

Severus glanced at a scuff mark on the floor. "I am still at a loss as to why a woman like her would ever want to look in the direction of a man such as me."

"If she was here, she would tell you to stop doubting yourself and spend time with her. She needs you now more than ever."

"The attorneys said she was conscious and I had already seen her when I still had use of my memory. Is any of that true?"

"Yes."

"Was, was she pleased to see me?"

"She was absolutely ecstatic to be in your arms again."

Severus considered asking, 'truly,' but the look in Rose's eyes told him all he needed to know.

"Please Dad, be the husband she needs now. Forgive yourself from whatever transgression you believe you have committed. Let yourself love and be loved by your family."

"I will."

They continued staring at each other.

Severus gave his daughter one last smile. "Always remember that I love you."

"I will, under the condition that you always remember that I love you," Rose replied.

"I promise never to forget my family again," Severus answered.

With that, the two departed, each more confident in their mission.