Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 25

AN: For the record, I've heard mixed things about watching TVs while having a concussion. I knew some people who suffered concussions yet watched TV with no issues. In my research, though, doctors discourage people with concussions from watching TV because it can be overstimulating. For the purposes of this story, Severus' potion gave Rose the mental stamina to watch TV, but little else. Either way, I am not a medical professional, so please forgive me for any inaccuracies.

Thank you for all the support! It is deeply appreciated!

Hermione stepped out of the pool, martini glass in hand. She stood for a moment and sipped the blue beverage. A cool breeze brushed against her skin, sending a shiver up her body.

Severus strolled over and handed her a black towel. She nodded before wrapping it over her hair. Then, she set the drink down and picked up another towel from the ground. "Thank you."

"For what?" Severus asked.

"For tonight," Hermione wiped herself off with the towel. "It was wonderful."

Severus wrapped a towel around his torso. "There is no need to thank me. It is well within my rights to spoil my wife every so often."

She picked up her drink and sipped the last remaining liquid. "Perhaps, but you do go above and beyond spoiling me."

He nuzzled her neck. "My carelessness ruined our vacation in Brazil. The least I can do is arrange a substitute holiday."

"You didn't have to do anything," Hermione breathed. "Still, the effort is more than appreciated."

He frowned. "My only wish is that I could have provided you with sand and starlight."

"Sand creates too much of a mess for my liking," Hermione replied. "I would much prefer a wooden deck."

"Perhaps," Severus replied. "But I still could not provide the starlight."

Hermione pointed to the sky. "They sky is starting to clear up. Perhaps in another half hour or so there will be a few stars."

"Are you suggesting that we stay awake to watch the clouds clear?" Severus asked.

Hermione yawned and stretched. "I fear we will have to save that for another night. Right now, I'm exhausted."

"You have every right to be fatigued," Severus replied.

She whispered. "Shall we resume our little vacation tomorrow?"

Severus picked her up. "I was planning on it."

She laughed as he carried her into the bedroom.

"I would get plenty of rest if I were you," Severus continued. "I have quite a few plans for tomorrow."

"Oh?" Hermione asked. "What would those be?"

Severus set her down on their bed. "That, Love, you will need to wait and see for yourself."

"Very well then," Hermione strolled over to her closet and pulled out a silk, crimson nightgown. "I shall either wait until tomorrow or find a way to coax the truth out of you tonight."

He smirked. "You have yet to force me to divulge any of my secrets."

"That's far from true and you know it," She teased.

"Perhaps you have caught me when I was under duress once or twice," Severus admitted.

"You were quite pleased to tell me everything going inside your head," Hermione replied.

"It was an act, I assure you," Severus answered. "I was quite distressed."

Hermione chuckled. "I make you happy, and you know it."

"Perhaps I am somewhat content in your presence," he replied.

She gave him a soft smile before closing the door.

"You want to come over to our house so you can watch TV?"

Rose exhaled. "Yes Grandpa Wilford, I would like to come over to enjoy the pleasure of your company and to watch your television."

He raised his eyebrow. "I thought you believed TV was inane and obnoxious."

"The soap operas Grandma Muriel and Violet watch are beyond idiotic," Rose replied. "Unfortunately, I have sustained a concussion and every other activity gives me a headache."

"Did you say that you had a concussion?" a woman's voice called from within the fireplace.

"Yes Grandma," Rose replied. "I have a concussion."

Another face appeared in the flames, "Honey, how did you sustain a concussion?"

"There was an accident," Rose replied.

"What kind of accident?" Wilford asked.

Rose cocked her head. Was that a thump from above?

"How did you get your concussion?" Muriel asked.

"Let's just say an auror and I wanted to demonstrate our defensive spells to my Slytherins," Rose replied.

"Why were you fighting an auror?"

Was that a thump from above?

"It, it's actually a long story," Rose replied. "One which I fear I do not have the time to tell at the moment."

"Well, I suppose you'll just have to come here and tell us all about it," Muriel replied.

Thump.

"Indeed," Rose replied in a distant voice. She tilted her head towards the ceiling.

"Rose," Muriel asked. "Is there something more going on?"

Rose shook her head. "I apologize. I thought I heard a noise."

"Is there someone at the door?"

"No."

"Are you sure?" Wilford asked. "If you need to leave we are more than happy to allow you to attend to your guest."

"No," Rose answered. "I believe my best course of action would be to see both of you as soon as possible."

"Dear, you know that you are welcome here at any time," Muriel replied. "We'll go ahead and make your bed."

Thump!

Rose's heart stopped.

"If you'd like, we can even make you some onion rings and french fries," she continued.

"Thank you for the offer," Rose replied. "At the moment, food does not appeal to me in the slightest."

Thump!

Rose gasped.

"Rose sweetie," Wilford asked. "Is everything okay?"

"Sure," Rose drawled. "Just give me an hour so, and I will floo over."

"Okay," Muriel replied. "In the meantime, don't overexert yourself. The last thing we need is for you to be more hurt than you already are."

"Do not worry, I'll be fine," Rose promised.

"See you in an hour," Wilford replied.

"Indeed," Rose's voice was softer. "See you in an hour."

The flames died.

Thump!

Rose's pupils dilated. Her muscles tensed. She could feel the color draining from her face.

Thump!

She took a deep breath. There was a small chance that these noises have little to do with what occurred last night. Perhaps there is a troll running amok, or there is some type of duel being fought between two students. The sounds may have nothing to do with a band of amnesiac aurors.

CRASH!

Rose raced over to her coffee table and grabbed her wand. Then she darted for the door. The moment she burst into her classroom, a splitting pain overwhelmed her brain.

She collapsed onto the floor. After taking a few breaths, she crawled back into her quarters. Perhaps if she cast a Patronus, she could warn her students of the upcoming danger. All she needed to do was focus on a happier time.

Magic blasted her brain. Tears rolled down her eyes as pulled the door closed. I cannot fight like this. I'm useless, completely useless.

The image of her father's stupefied body flashed before her eyes.

She glanced back at the fireplace. A silent prayer rang out in her mind.

For the love of all that is good, don't let Dad walk through that hearth.

Severus adjusted his pillow beneath him. His lips curled up. "Are you coming to bed, Love, or have you decide to transfigure the bathtub into a bed?"

"Now there's an idea," Hermione called back. "I'll transfigure the bathtub into the most comfortable bed either of us has ever slept on, and I will deny you access until you tell me what tomorrow has in store."

"It's going to take more than a fancy bed to entice me, and you know it," Severus called.

"Uhg," Hermione groaned.

Severus called, "You are too curious for your own good, witch."

Wait, who was too curious for her own good?

His heart race increased as he glanced around. Once again he was trapped in the unfamiliar room.

What is this place? How did I get here? Why am I here?

"You know Severus, you are incorrigible."

Severus' throat dried. Very few people addressed him by his first name. When had he given this woman to address him as only Severus?

The door opened. "Yet for some reason, I find you absolutely endearing.

Severus gazed at the woman. She was even more beautiful in person than she had been in the photograph of her. Yet there was something eerily familiar about her, as if she was an older version of someone he should know.

"What on earth am I going to do with you?"

When she looked at him, her eyes shimmered, almost as if she more than tolerated his presence.

This woman loved him.

Oh shit, this woman loved him!

"Severus, are you well?"

"I am more than well," Severus answered.

She slipped into bed. After yawning she snuggled into him.

Severus wrapped his arms around her. The gesture felt natural, as if I've held her more times than he could count. How can this be considering I cannot recall ever seeing her before in my life?

"Goodnight Severus," she kissed his lips. "I love you."

"Indeed," Severus stroked her hair. "Goodnight."

The woman looked at him as if she was expecting him to say something more.

Severus froze. What does this woman want from me?

The pain in her eyes intensified.

"Severus?"

"Yes well, I love you too," he whispered.

She stared at him, as if taken aback by his tone.

Severus took a deep breath. What more did this woman want from him?

"Are you well?" Hermione asked.

"I feel more than well," Severus answered. "Why would you ask?"

"Nothing, you just seem very distant."

"I am no more distant than usual."

"Yes, you are."

Severus swallowed. What exactly was he supposed to do with this woman? His mind was screaming for him to return to the dungeons, yet he knew if he left the bed he would have a weeping woman on his hands. This woman was not expecting a one night stand, yet how could Severus give her anything more?

"Please, tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing my love," Severus replied before brushing his lips against hers. "There is nothing wrong at all."

She twisted her lip.

He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "goodnight."

"Goodnight," she mumbled before closing her eyes and relaxing in his arms.

A child raced up Severus' spine. How did I allow myself to fall into this situation? This woman loves me, and she believes I love her in return. The only woman I've felt any affection for has long since died, yet this woman seems unaware and uncaring of that fact. What makes her think she has captured my heart when I cannot so much as recall her name?

Severus scowled. It's doubtful that she loves me. She may love certain aspects of me such as the dangerous bad boy or the intellectual professor, but it is doubtful she could ever love who I am behind those masks.

Yet she remains in my arms.

Severus stroked her hair. No woman has ever remained in my arms. Usually we sleep together and go our separate ways. This woman is content being held though. It's as if she simply desires my presence and nothing more.

Severus darted a look at the fireplace. I could sneak off into the night. It would not be difficult to go, yet she does not expect me to leave. If anything, she trusts the fact that I find her absolutely captivating. Am I so starved for affection that I would delude myself into believing that this woman could feel any affection for me?

Severus stared into space. There is no harm in indulging this woman's fantasies of me for another hour or so. At the moment I am not being summoned, and I do not recall any arrangements to have a meeting with Dumbledore.

For one hour, I can indulge in the fantasy of being loved.