Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 20

AN: Thank you so much for the support! I deeply appreciate it!

Where the hell am I?

Severus felt as if he'd fallen asleep for twenty years, yet had not received a moment's rest. He stretched his aching muscles, but froze mid-motion when his feet touched the leather armrest of a sofa.

Why am I here?

His eyes darted around the room, but there was only darkness. He counted to ten on his fingers and took a few deep breaths. Once his thoughts stopped racing, he focused on the area in front of him.

The shadows became more distinguishable. There were three bookshelves lining the wall, the fireplace was unlit, and there was a wooden footrest to his right. There was also a hissing in the northern corner of the room, though he could not determine its cause.

Snort.

Severus turned around. A blond-haired man was slumped in an armchair, his mouth agape. Severus twisted his lips. What role did he play in my coming here?

A better question would be, how do I escape?

I could try apparation, but the man may have cast a spell which prevents one from doing so. Even if I can apparate, the crack will only alert this man to my absence. He could pursue me, thus putting Hermione's life in danger.

How did he capture me in the first place?

Severus scratched his leg. The best way to determine where I am is to try and remember how I got here, or at least consider how I may have come here. The last thing I remember is being near my fireplace, ready to vacation with my wife...

Shit! Hermione! Does she know what has happened to me? Where is she? Could these people have taken her too?

Severus startled. He turned to the fireplace. The outline of a golden pot was visible. His lips curled up.

If I can run over and throw the powder into the floo, I may be able to escape from this place. I'll put the rest of the pieces together from there.

Before Severus could formulate a concrete escape plan, a nearby door opened. He reached for his pocket and grabbed his wand. Then he smirked. Whoever had taken him had been too stupid to confiscate his wand.

Wait, how could someone idiotic enough to let me keep my wand have kidnapped me?

A woman stumbled out of a nearby room. She groaned and paused. After taking some time to catch her breath, she proceeded to make her way across the room.

Severus' heart slowed. "Rose?"

Everything in the room became more distinct, the surroundings more familiar.

Snape's heart pounded against his chest. Nobody captured me: I came here of my own volition. Still, why would I come here when Hermione expects me in Brazil?

Does Hermione know I'm here?

Rose groaned again. She leaned on the threshold of her bedroom and held her head. Then she continued trudging to her bed.

It matters little how I came here. All that matters is Rose needs tending to.

Severus leapt off of the couch. His legs wobbled. Within a few moments, his balance returned. He glided over to her bedroom.

"Little One."

She stuck her wand into the dark. Her eyes grew.

"What is troubling you?"

"Dad?"

He knelt at the foot of her bed. "Little One, what happened?"

Rose embraced him. She sobbed. "Thank Merlin you recognized me."

Severus raised an eyebrow. "Why would I not recognize you?"

Rose slid back onto her bed. "I don't know. That's what I've been trying to discern all night."

A lump formed in Severus' throat. "What do you mean by that?"

Rose sniffed. "Around nine o'clock you barged into my sitting room and demanded that I go to the Gryffindor Common Room."

"Why ever would I give you that command?"

"Because you thought I was Mum."

"I thought you were your mother?" Severus asked.

Rose nodded.

"H-how could I ever mistake you for her?"

"I have been wondering that all night."

Rose adjusted her wand. There were scratches on her cheeks, and a bruise near her left eye.

Severus' body went cold. "Did I become combative?"

A tear fell from Rose's right eye.

He bowed his head and trembled. "Please for the love of all that is good, please don't tell me I injured you."

"No. No," Rose exclaimed. "I injured you."

Severus looked at her.

"I injured you," Rose repeated.

"How?" Severus asked.

Tears trickled down her cheeks. "The situation is complicated, but in essence, you believed yourself to be in the middle of the Second Wizarding War."

"What?" Severus asked.

Rose wiped her eyes. "After you entered my room, you began berating me for wearing your clothes and told me to put on a Hogwarts uniform. At first I believed the whole thing to be a nightmare, but soon it became obvious that everything was all too real. You truly believed yourself to be my potions professor."

"Oh Merlin," He whispered.

"The only way I could prevent you from going upstairs was to pretend I was Mum. I told you that Dumbledore expected you to give me occlumency lessons because I knew too much about Harry. You were less than enthused at the prospect initially, but after some badgering you agreed," she explained.

Severus swallowed.

"Things proceeded to become even more complicated when Scorpius entered the room. He claimed that aurors were chasing him. You were demanding to leave the dungeons, but the aurors believed themselves to be in the middle of the Wizarding War as well. They were attacking everyone they considered an enemy, which would have included you."

Severus hummed.

Rose shook. "They were heading for the Slytherin Dungeon. Someone had to defend the students, but you were attempting to escape, so I…."

Severus touched her shoulder.

Rose trembled. Tears streamed down her eyes. "I didn't want to do it, but I was running out of options. I was so scared for you and for Violet and for my students. It was wrong, I shouldn't have done it, but I felt I had no choice."

"What exactly did you do?"

"I stupefied you!"

"Oh Little Rose," Severus whispered as he sat on the bed.

Rose was gasping for air. Her face was drenched in teardrops. "I should have found a better way to keep you in the room. There was a better way…you…you would've known it. How…how could I not? How could I not have found a way to save the students without injuring you?"

Severus shushed her while he massaged her back.

"I failed you Daddy. I completely failed you."

"Were Violet or any of the other students injured?"

"No," Rose squeaked.

"Then you did not fail me," Severus answered.

"No, no I did, because there was a better way to save both you and them."

"What would that be?"

"I…I don't know. That's why I failed."

"What about the students? Are they safe?"

"For the moment, yes."

"How did you manage to protect them?"

"I pretended to be Mum and managed to talk most of the aurors out of attacking the Slytherins. There were five which wouldn't listen. They noticed I had blue eyes instead of brown. Then they attacked me."

Severus' body went cold.

"I managed to get the upper hand and forced them to leave, but I sustained a concussion in the process," Rose replied.

"Have you taken anything for it yet?" Severus asked.

"No," Rose choked out.

Severus stood up. "That will be remedied immediately."

"Why?"

"Because you have sustained a serious injury and you need medication."

"No, I mean," she sniffed. "Why are you helping me?"

Severus looked at her as if she had announced she was going to become a professional Quidditch player. "What kind of question is that?"

"I stupefied you," Rose argued.

"I fail to see how that relates to your predicament," Severus replied.

"Do you not understand?" Rose propped herself up on her elbows. "I injured you because I panicked."

"You stupefied me so you could perform your duties as Head of the Slytherin House."

"I ran out of ideas and performed the stupidest action possible."

"You behaved as prudently as possible under the circumstances."

"No I did not."

Severus' eyes softened.

Rose resumed crying. "If the positions were reversed, you would have known how to keep me in the dungeons while saving Violet. Stupefying me never would have crossed your mind."

Severus blinked.

"You would have saved everyone, and managed to teach the next day. I'd imagine you would not have sustained a concussion either."

"Do you truly believe I've never sustained a concussion or been injured in any way?"

"No, I mean you have, but…"

"But what Rose?"

"You would not have panicked."

Severus sat back down and locked eyes with her. "I want you to look at me."

Rose buried her head in her pillow.

"Rose, look at me."

She whimpered and obeyed.

"If I were twenty-five and had no combat experience, I would have behaved far less admirably and prudently than you did."

"That is not true."

"Yes it is."

Rose opened her mouth, but Severus put his finger over it.

"You were in an impossible situation. Very few people would have been able to keep their wits about them. You did what was necessary to save your sister and your students."

"But I…"

"I do not wish to hear any more counterarguments,'" Severus continued.

Rose gulped.

"You did what was necessary in that situation to save the lives of those who could not defend themselves. For that, you should commend, not criticize, yourself," Severus replied. "And I will not listen to any arguments to the contrary."

She nodded.

"Oh Rose," Severus scooped her into his arms.

"Daddy," Rose wept. "I was so scared you'd never see me as your daughter again. I didn't know if you'd forgive my actions. I was terrified Dad, absolutely terrified."

"I know," Severus whispered. "I cannot imagine what your night has been like."

"I am sure, you have been through worse."

"I've never feared losing a family member during a skirmish."

"True," Rose answered.

"Here is what I am going to do," Severus replied. "I am going to go home and give you a potion which will protect you against the long-term effects of your concussion as well as reduce your recovery time. Then, I will heat up some apple juice for you. Does that sound acceptable?"

Rose's eyes gleamed. "I believe that's the best offer I've received all night."

He kissed her on the forehead.

How could I ever forget my own daughter?