Any moment now.
Rose hid behind the sofa listening for their footsteps. Across the room, hidden behind an armchair, Violet giggled. Victor shushed her.
At any moment, they would be coming through their bedroom floo.
The room was darker, much darker than it should have been at four in the evening. Still, Rose insisted that thing must be as dark as possible for the maximum effect. After a brief discussion, her siblings agreed, allowing her to close the curtains and cast a darkening spell.
"I swear Brazil gets more beautiful every time we go."
"I barely noticed anything."
"I suppose you would given how much you complain about the heat."
"Actually I was going to say I spend most of the trip looking at you, which is why I barely notice the scenery. The heat is quite distracting though."
The floorboard behind Rose creaked. She flinched and moved her foot.
"If you would shed a few layers of clothing and wear short sleeves you would find the heat much more agreeable."
"I see no reason to alter my wardrobe."
"You sweat profusely every time we go."
"It is better than dressing like a dunderhead."
"How is wearing short sleeves dressing like a dunderhead?"
"You are someone who pulls of short sleeves perfectly well. I have created an image which much be maintained though. Short sleeves would undermine it completely."
"You are completely incorrigible."
"Perhaps, but what you have me any other way?"
"No, I would not."
Rose scowled. Even after a ten day vacation they were still as amorous as ever.
"For better or worse, I would not change a thing about you."
"It is for better, I assure you. If I changed too much you would find me utterly dull, which would be quite the tragedy."
"Indeed, I must be amused at all times."
"Do not ever forget that fact."
Rose snuck out of her hiding space and found a five hundred page potions text on the coffee table. She picked it up and slammed it down.
Ten seconds of silence passed.
Rose dropped the book onto the table again.
"No, I'm coming with you."
"There is no reason to put yourself at risk."
"We're stronger together and you know it."
"Fine, but stand behind me."
Rose darted behind the sofa.
"I think the noise came from the library."
"Is it usually this dark?"
"No," Severus cast a lumos. "It is not."
Rose dispelled the darkening spell. Friends and relatives leapt out from behind the furniture and the bookshelves. None commanded more attention than the two year old toddling towards Hermione and Severus though.
"Gamma!" She held out her hands. "Gamma Her!"
Hermion's face lit up as scooped the child into her arms. "Hello Hermy!"
"Supise Gamma!" Hermy cheered before kissing Hermione on the cheek. "You supise?"
"Why yes," Hermione laughed. "I am very surprised!"
Victor and Carina stood out from behind a plastic table. Hermione's son chuckled. "Obviously she couldn't wait to see you again."
"Neither could any of you apparently," Severus glanced up at the banner above the fireplace.
"You're so big now," Hermione cooed at the child in her arms.
"Like supise?" the toddler asked.
"I do! I had no idea you were coming."
Severus tapped Hermione's shoulder and pointed to the banner. She stared at it and gasped at the scarlet and gold letters:
Congratulations! Five Years Cancer Free!
Severus' eyes fell on his oldest daughter. "Is this why you were so interested in housesitting for us?"
He smiled. "Thank you, Rose."
"Yes," Hermione's eyes misted. "Thank you."
"No cry Gamma," Hermy shook her head. "No cry."
"Sweetie these are happy tears." Victor strolled over to her.
"Oh? Gamma have no owies then?"
"No, she doesn't have any owies."
"Here, why don't we let your grandma settle in for a minute and…"
"Gampa kiss!" Hermy turned to Severus.
"Of course," he kissed his granddaughter. She erupted into a fit of giggles.
"Aw," Violet swooned.
"Violet?" Severus raised an eyebrow. "Were you not supposed to be in Mongolia hunting sand thestrals?"
She waved him off. "That is not for another month."
"I must have misremembered the date then," Severus muttered.
Violet approached them. "No, I told you wrong so I could surprise you and Mum by coming here."
He embraced his youngest daughter. "It is a lovely surprise to see you."
"This all," Hermione's throat constricted. "You did not have to do any of this for me."
"Of course we did," Rose replied. "You've thrown us so many wonderful parties over the years. I felt it was my chance to reciprocate."
"There was never a need to reciprocate."
"I know, but you have more than earned this party."
"Agreed," a man called from behind the bookshelves.
"Yes," he replied as his wife wheeled him towards their daughter.
"I thought you were on a cruise."
"We were," Muriel answered. "Violet took us on a nice riverboat tour of the Roanoke River."
"We had a blast," Wilford took his daughter's hand. "But then we had an important party to attend."
"Oh my," Hermione sniffed.
"Here Hermy," Victor took the child from Hermione's hands. "Let's let Grandma see all the people who came to the party."
"Yes, we're at the party."
"Not right now."
The child pouted. Severus couldn't help but smirk. Hermione Ginevra Snape was almost identical to her grandmother, save the straight platinum blond hair. Still, she pouted just like her grandfather.
"Don't worry Sweetie," Victor adjusted the child to get a better grip on her. "You'll get cake soon."
"Wan cake now Daddy."
Carina laughed as she approached them. "Don't worry, we'll have it soon enough."
"Fine Mummy." Hermy put a fist in her mouth.
Hermione scanned the room. Emerging from their hiding places were Draco, Ginevra, Neville, Fawkes, Scorpius, Orion and Antlia. Across the room, Lucius strutted towards the punch table, which also contained bottles of the most expensive Champaign, Scotch, and Rum he could find.
"I hope we are not crowding you," Narcissa began. "We wanted to surprise you, yet we did not know how you would feel about having everyone over so soon after your vacation concluded."
"No, this is perfect," Hermione wiped her eyes again "Everything is perfect."
"I am so glad to hear it," Rose replied.
Hermione embraced her oldest daughter. "Thank you Rose."
"Indeed," Severus blinked back his forming tears. "Thank you very much."
"You are very welcome," Rose untangled herself from Hermione and embraced her father.
Hermione grinned. "Well, should we begin this party?"
"Yes," Severus glanced up. "I believe we should."
"I still can't believe Zach and Kendall are expecting their third child!"
Rose groaned before taking a gulp of liquid from her Champaign flute. Of all the conversations to eavesdrop upon!
"I know!" Muriel gushed. "I honestly did not see it coming!"
"It's a nice surprise," Violet answered. "Even nicer than finding out Ryan manipulated the DNA results to make himself look like he was the father of their firstborn child."
Rose huffed. How would the universe survive if Kendall and Zach were no longer together because Ryan manipulated some DNA test?
Rose scanned the room. Hermy laughed as Orion made funny faces. Carina watched over them, a cup of fruit punch in her hands. Interesting given that her favorite Champaign was available. Might there be another little Snape-Malfoy in the near future?
"How is the dragon pox vaccine coming along?"
Rose turned to her right. "Very well, Neville."
"I am so glad to hear it."
On top of Neville's shoulder Fawkes flapped his wings and held his head up high.
"Phoenix fire is truly one of the most amazing advances in potions. Dad and I seem to find a new use for it every day."
"It is quite the innovation."
"Yes, and we are lucky to have an innovative headmaster who creates an environment where creativity can thrive."
"I needed to atone for blowing up every cauldron in your father's lab somehow. An eternal flame seems to be the perfect way to accomplish that task."
"You have more than made up for your conduct in potions I assure you." Rose took a sip of her Champaign.
There was a spark in Neville's eyes which caused Rose's heart to flutter. "I would hope so."
"I for one am just glad Hogwarts is finally getting enough funding to expand the Defense Against Darks Arts classroom," Scorpius stepped towards them. "It is much easier for the students to fight each other and not get injured in my new classroom."
"I would imagine so," Rose replied.
"Speaking of expanding Hogwarts," Neville continued. "The Board of Governors debated your proposal to expand the Slytherin Common room. It unanimously passed."
Rose's face lit up. "I am thrilled to hear that."
"You should be," Scorpius patted her on the back. "Rebranding the Slytherin House as the place where even an illegitimate child is welcome was genius!"
"It was a long overdo culture change."
"Yes, but it is much more far-reaching than even I could've expected."
"Yes, in class I heard a Ravenclaw arguing with a Hufflepuff that the Slytherins could never have been a house of pureblood supremacy since they are so open minded towards different blood lines."
Rose snorted. "The Ravenclaw House must be lowering their standards if their members are so ignorant of history."
"Either that, or the House of Slytherin is unrecognizable from when I was in school, which is an excellent thing."
"I would hope so."
The Hogwarts staff turned to the cake table. Victor stood behind the cake table, clinking a flute of Champaign. "Excuse me! Can I have everyone's attention?"
All eyes fell on him.
"First of all, thank you for attending!" Victor began. "It means so much to all of us that you could take time out of your day to come here."
"Yes," Severus chimed in. "It truly does mean so much to us that you are all here."
"Second of all," Victor swallowed. "I would like to congratulate my mum once more on her fifth anniversary of defeating cancer. It was not an easy road even after the dark magic lessened in your body, but you continued to fight. You showed us how to face death with dignity and grace."
"Yes," Rose replied.
"I have no idea where we would be if you had not survived. We all love you so much Mum," Victor continued. "Please, let's give her one more round of applause."
Hermione beamed as everyone around her clapped and cheered. Even Fawkes let out a squawk of congratulations.
Once the applause died down, Victor continued. "Third, I would like to thank Violet for procuring the decorations for this party."
"Really it was nothing."
"Yes, but you did it from North Carolina."
"The Wizarding internet makes it laughably easy to buy something in Britain and have it shipped to Hogwarts. Thank you again for installing it, Minister Draco."
The audience raised their glasses to Draco. He gave a small grin.
"Also Victor, don't forget to thank yourself for making the cake!" Violet called.
"Cake!" Hermy cheered.
Lucius and Hermione laughed.
"Yes, we'll have that soon," Carina promised before shushing her daughter again.
"Last but not least, I want to thank Rose for organizing this party. We couldn't have done this without her. I mean, if it was not for her and Dad, we wouldn't be having this party at all. Thank you Rose and Dad!"
The applause resumed. Rose blushed and gave them a sheepish grin whereas Severus gave her a nod.
Once the audience quieted, Victor concluded. "Mum, Dad, if you want to cut out your pieces of cake we can go ahead and eat."
"Yes," Hermione choked before she and her husband approached the cake table.
"Cake!" Hermy shouted.
Carina shushed her daughter while Lucius gave her a wink.
"Thank you," Hermione looked over at the guests. "I hardly know what else to say, other than thank you! I could not have defeated cancer without all of you! I could not imagine my life without wonderful people like you in it! Thank you! Thank you so much! I love you all!"
"We love you too," Violet piped up.
Hermione took a shaky breath and began to cut the cake. Hermy attempted to dart towards the table, but Carina held her back. The famous Snape pout returned to her face.
Severus picked up a paper plate and offered it to Hermione. She kissed him on the lips before accepting it.
Rose sighed. Even in public, her parents refused to have a sense of decorum.
Yet was that such a terrible thing? They had been through so much in their thirty-one years of marriage, did they not deserve a few moments of happiness? If anyone deserved to flaunt their love before others, would it not be them?
Severus whispered something in Hermione's ear. She smirked and kissed his cheek.
Rose hummed. Her parents loved each other completely, yet they had enough love in their hearts for three children and a grandchild. Even when Rose was at her worst, her parents had loved her through it. Despite the trials and tribulations, they had emerged as a strong family, closer than any of them could've imagined.
"Rose? Violet?" Severus called. "Do you want a piece of cake?"
Rose strolled over to the table, her cape billowing behind her, just like her dad's did.
Her name was Rose Severa Snape. She was the daughter of Severus Tobias Snape and Hermione Jean Snape nee Granger.
It was a fact of which she was very proud.
AN: This is one of the most bittersweet moments in my life. On the one hand, I finished this story and there's a great sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, that means I'm leaving this family for the time being. It actually makes me tear up because I've been with these Snapes for close to three years now. It's sad to say goodbye, even if it is probably temporary.
As much as I like this universe, I'm going to take a hiatus from it for a time. I have ideas for another story featuring them, but I want it as fleshed out as possible. I'm very protective of these characters, and I never want to write a story with them that isn't worth telling. It's also insulting to you if I only use a half baked idea which would have been more appropriate for a new story. I never want to twist a character beyond recognition and make it difficult to reread the originals. I've watched too many TV shows where I enjoyed earlier seasons, but after a character did something I never wanted to see them again, even when they used to be one of my favorites. I never want to do that.
I also never want to phone this universe in. You all deserve more respect than that. I'm not tired of the Snapes by any means, but I want to keep it that way. Although it wouldn't bother me if all I'm known for is the Kiss From a Rose stories, as a writer I want to stretch my wings so to speak.
That's why I'm announcing my newest story! It was a challenge story actually: redeem the one character you cannot stand. Believe it or not, this character is not a Weasley. It's Sirius Black. One of the reasons I've never written a marauder fic is because Molly would look like Mother Theresa compared to Sirius. So I was challenged to change my perception and write him in a better light. So my next story is a Severus/Hermione story where as a side plot, Sirius Black is redeemed. We'll see how it goes. Posting starts the week after next!
Last and most importantly: thank you! Some of you have been with me for close to three years now, some only three months, and some only three minutes. Regardless of the time you've been here, you have made this story so enjoyable to write! You have kept me going through some of the worst times of my life, and I thank you so deeply for it. I know it's cliched, but words really can't express how grateful I am for each and every one of you! Your dedication has touched me more deeply than I can explain (yes, I'm tearing up right now). Thank you so much again! Stay safe, stay well, and above all, stay amazing!
Thank you so much again for everything! This has been a blast thanks to all of you!