Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 54

AN: I may have played a little with canon in this chapter. If I got anything majorly wrong then I apologize in advance.

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They were coming.

If Scorpius had to guess, there were over fifty aurors marching onto Hogwarts, all of whom were brandishing their wands. Flanking them was a legion of giggling civilians. Half of them were wearing Quidditch uniforms while the other half were wearing the jerseys of their favorite players. Upon reaching Hogwarts, the citizens took to the skies while the aurors stood at attention.

One of the stepped out from the crowd and knocked on the door.

In silence, Scorpius pulled out his wand and gave the signal.

The auror knocked again.

Scorpius looked behind him. Professor Sinistra grasped her wand and aimed in at the door.

The lead auror cast a sonoros and bellowed, "Is there anybody in there?"

No answer.

An orange beam emanated from his wand and slammed into the door. It dissipated upon contact.

"Open the door!"

Scorpius gripped his wand more tightly.

"Open the door and tell us where Severus Snape is located!"

Scorpius glanced at Sinistra. She took a deep breath and braced herself.

"Snape isn' here right now. Yeh need to come back later."

"Thank Merlin for Hagrid," Sinistra whispered.

Scorpius nodded, but did not lower his wand.

"We need to speak with him concerning the death of Albus Dumbledore," the lead auror replied.

"Now look Kingsley," Hagrid replied. "I know yeh are confused…."

"I'm not confused about anything," he interrupted. "I am perfectly clear on the fact that Snape killed Dumbledore."

"Now let's not make accusations we can't back up."

"We have several witnesses who pinpoint him as the killer."

Hagrid said nothing.

"Now tell us, where is Professor Snape."

"Snape isn' here now."

"Then where is he?"

"Have yeh tried goin' to Spinner's End?"

There was silence for a moment.

"I imagine he wen' there."

"Where is Spinner's End?"

"I don' know."

"If you don't know where Spinner's End is, then why did you say he went there?"

"Because that's his home."

There was another pause.

"Thank you for your help Hagrid. You've done the Wizarding World a great service."

"It was a pleasure servin' yeh."

Scorpius poked his head out of the window. The aurors had turned around and were strolling into the night.

"Kingsley?"

They stopped.

"Yes?" Kingsley replied.

"If yeh fin' Snape, please let me see 'im. There are a few things I need to say to 'im."

"As soon as we finish interrogating him, you will be free to say whatever you'd like to him."

"Thank you."

They continued their trek into the night.

Scorpius lowered his head and asked Sinistra, "Did the aurors really come for Uncle Severus immediately after Dumbledore's death?"

"They attempted to interrogate him," she replied. "But when it was clear that Voldemort was in charge and that they could not take him into custody, they dropped their investigation. After the war…well, let's just say that the memories went a long way in exonerating him."

Hagrid knocked on the front door. Scorpius jumped. Professor Sinistra allowed the giant to enter.

Hagrid strutted into the school. "That oughta keep them occupied for the fereseeable future."

"Do you think they'll return tonight?" Scorpius asked as he closed the door behind Hagrid.

Hagrid sighed. "I wish I knew."

The roar of the crowd echoed throughout the school yard.

"Right now though, we should probably git those Quidditch players off of the field," Hagrid suggested.

"Agreed," Sinistra replied. "Scorpius, please stay here. I'll find some backup for you, in case the aurors return."

"Sure," Scorpius replied.

With that, Sinistra and Hagrid raced down the hallway.

Green flames erupted from the fireplace. Madame Serpent hissed and spread out her hood. Rose sat up in the chair, her occlumency shields raised.

Please let me be convincing.

Severus Snape appeared. He examined his surroundings, his scowl growing deeper with each passing second.

Why has my furniture been taken away? I could never afford a chair made of such fine leather. Why is the coffee table not scratched? When did I start stockpiling books on top of it?

He crossed his arms at the thought of spending the rest of the night reorganizing the room.

Madame Serpent hissed.

A chill ran down Snape's spine. Why on earth would I keep a king cobra in my quarters? Why would anyone allow that thing near the students?

"Professor Snape?" Rose began in the weakest voice she could muster.

Snape snapped his head towards her. Of course Hermione would come early for her occlumency lesson. Insufferable know-it-all.

It was not until he got a good look at her in the glow of the fireplace that he realized how much older than her years she appeared. Her body was much more developed than that of her peers, and her uniform appeared to be a half size too small. Then again, she had been using a time turner. Perhaps that is why she appeared to have aged a decade within the span of a summer.

"I'm ready for my occlumency lesson," she continued.

Snape huffed. Why did the job of babysitting the Golden Trio always fall to him?

"Sir?"

"I heard you," he growled.

She swallowed.

"Was there a particular reason that you broke into my living quarters to have said lesson?"

"You were not in the classroom, and I thought we'd be more comfortable here."

"Comfortable?" Snape snapped. "Do you believe that fighting the Dark Lord will be comfortable in any way?"

Before the girl could respond, Severus invaded her mind. Within moments he discovered memories of her speaking with Potter and her playing with her parents. They may have been fuzzier than he expected, almost as if she was trying to recall the events herself. The fact remained though, her mind was an open book.

Satisfied that he'd gotten his point across, he exited her mind.

"Tell me, was that comfortable?" Snape asked.

She rubbed her forehead. "No."

"Then stop blabbering on about comfort and come into the classroom, the appropriate venue for teaching occlumency," Snape replied.

She followed him without protest.

Snape pointed to a chair behind a table. She sat down.

"First and foremost," Snape began. "You need to clear your mind of all emotions."

"Yes Professor," she replied.

From the look in her eyes, it was clear that she was far from emotionless.

"You need to suppress your emotions in order to perform this properly."

"I am trying to do just that."

"We will see how well you have succeeded."

Once again, Snape entered her mind. This time, he was able to obtain a few memories concerning her being rescued from a troll. Then he noted another memory of her on the beach as a child. The faces of her parents were blurred, but there was something eerily familiar about them.

"I see your point," she shouted. "This is not comfortable and I need to clear my mind of emotions."

How could she yell during a lesson? Only the strongest occlumens could retained enough consciousness to speak during legilimency.

What the hell was going on?

Snape left her mind. "Now do you understand the dangers of showing your emotions?"

"I do," she replied.

"Good," Snape answered. "When you occlude, remember that emotions are for the weak. Only fools allow others to know their true feelings on a matter."

"I will keep that in mind," she promised.

"I'm sure you will," Snape mumbled.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, he reentered her mind.

As expected, he recovered a few memories of her studying in the library, and of Harry's less than stellar table manners. Still, there was a particular one he honed in on.

A girl of about eight was sitting at the table. She watched as a man brushed his lips against those of a woman.

"Daddy, why do you always kiss Mummy?"

The father smiled. "If you ever love a person even half as much as I love your mother, then you will understand why I kiss her constantly."

Why does this father's voice sound so familiar?

"Perhaps," the girl replied. "Still, what about de-de..."

"Decorum," the mother offered.

"Yes, decorum," the child answered. "You said it was improper for people to kiss in public, yet you always kiss Mum."

"Decorum is only for when you are out amongst others," the father's low voice rumbled. "At home the rules are much more lax."

Once again, the father kissed the mother's lips.

Severus focused in on the parents' face. Where have I seen them before?

They looked right at him. Severus' heart almost stopped.

Why were he and that woman kissing each other as if they were a married couple? Why did he appear to be so in love with her?

Better question: how did Hermione Granger know about them? Why was she calling him Dad?

What the hell was going on?

Snape exited her mind as quickly as possible.

"Professor Snape?" she asked.

His voice was low as thunder. "Get out."

"But our lesson…"

"Get out of my classroom!"

She darted outside.

Snape bowed his head and groaned.

Why could he not escape that woman?