Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 64

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

It wasn't unexpected that she be in the dungeons. In fact, it was the most natural thing in the world for her to be there. How could he have ever imagined her working as anything other than a potions mistress?

Snape stared at the person before him. Hermione-no, Rose-sat in a corner wearing a school uniform two sizes too small for her. Her hands were folded on her lap, her posture rigid. Regardless of her best efforts, her eyes betrayed the fact that she was looking at her father, not a feared potions professor.

Snape's stomach ached. What have I done to deserve such devotion from her?

"Professor Snape," she began.

He gulped. "Rose, please, call me Dad."

Her eyes widened. "Dad?"

"Yes, Rose, please call me Dad."

"Do you remember me?"

"No," Snape admitted. "Though I wish that I did."

Rose's eyes misted."If you do not remember me, then why did you call me Rose?"

"Your mother showed me some of her memories tonight," Snape continued. "They confirmed my suspicions that your name is Rose."

"What else did you see?" Rose asked.

His throat constricted. "I saw a woman who deserves a father who remembers her."

"You will remember me soon enough," Rose answered.

"I truly hope so," Snape replied.

"Did Mum's memories jog any of your own?"

"I only remember the names of my children. I am afraid I remember little else."

There was a hint of a grin on her face. "Still, it is better than remembering nothing."

"Indeed it is," he replied.

Rose began, "Perhaps if you view my memories…"

He held up his hand. "I have had more than my fair share of viewing memories for the night."

Rose bowed her head. "Perhaps you can view mine later then."

"Perhaps," Snape examined her. For the first time he noticed that her demeanor was that of a woman, not a girl. Although her face was young, there was a resoluteness in her eyes which could only come with age. Unlike the teenagers he'd been forced to endure, Rose had grown into her body.

What kind of father would not have noticed that before?

"May I make an honest statement?" Snape began.

"You may," she replied.

"You look absolutely ridiculous in that uniform," Snape replied.

She smirked. "I have always claimed the uniforms leave much to be desired."

"No, I mean it does not suit your station in life," he answered. "Please take those rags off and put on your teaching robes."

"I thought you did not care for my robes."

"You look like a woman in your black robes, which is quite fitting given your age."

"If I put them on, will you believe I am a cheap imitation of you?"

"Not at all," Snape answered. "I will believe that you are a woman who is dedicated to continuing her father's work, and who by all accounts excels at it."

Rose stood. "Thank you."

"There is never a need to thank one for honesty," Snape replied.

Rose stepped towards him and outstretched her arms. He stood in place. With a sigh, she lowered her arms and trudged to her quarters.

Snape's stomach was in knots.

Thud!

A beam of light hit the door.

Snape spun around. Rose aimed her wand at the door and yelled out the spells to a few more wards.

"Why are you warding your door shut?" Snape demanded.

"Is it not obvious?" Rose replied. "I do not want you to leave."

"You could have simply asked me to stay."

"I do not trust you to stay here."

"You did not so much as ask me if I wanted to stay with you."

"Fine," Rose answered. "Do you want to stay in the dungeons while I change, or do you want to run off somewhere else?"

His expression betrayed his desires.

"Please be here when I return."

She closed the door to her quarters before he could protest.

Snape snarled. The girl knows me all too well.

Metal clothes hangers clanked from behind the door.

His heart sank. Actually, she knows her father all too well. I am a stranger to her.

Snape gripped his wand. There is little point in bemoaning my daughter's predicament. Right now, I need to focus on finding Dumbledore's grave.

He aimed his wand at the door and began shouting a string of incantations. A few beams of light were absorbed into the door, while others bounced off. His final spell ricocheted and shattered a blue coffee mug.

"Dad?" Rose called.

Snape panted. He glanced in the direction of her room, but the door was still closed. From the corner of his eye though, he caught a familiar sight.

Why was that snake still in the house?

"Rose?"

"Yes?"

"From what I understand, I was severely injured by a snake."

"You were."

"Then as your father I would strongly suggest you choose a new pet and donate this animal to a snake sanctuary."

Rose chuckled.

Snape furrowed his eyebrows. "This is no laughing matter. That snake is dangerous and could poison you."

"I was unaware of how deeply your concern ran," Rose replied.

"If nothing else you are my daughter, and I would prefer it if you did not kill yourself with a cobra bite."

"Do not worry. You taught me how to avoid a snake bite when we selected her."

Snape raised an eyebrow. "Why would I allow you to own a snake?"

Rose poked her head out of the door. "When I was roughly three years old you and Mum discovered an antivenin to a cobra bite. In order to brew it though, you required snake venom. In order to obtain this ingredient you created a dietary supplement which would make a snake as docile as a dog."

"Even dogs can bite," Snape warned.

Madame Serpent hissed, taking exception to that statement.

"True," Rose answered. "Still, you ensured that I had a snake with an excellent temperament."

Madame Serpent stared at him.

"How long have you had the snake then?" Snape asked.

Rose strolled out of her bedroom. "I have had Madame Serpent for roughly four years."

The snake looked up at her owner.

"And she has not bitten you?"

Rose's robes billowed behind her. "She has not so much as raised her hood in anger."

Madame Serpent flicked her tongue.

"You should still consider trading her for a cat-kneazle hybrid," Snape muttered.

Rose laughed. "At the time you said you preferred the snake because of how rarely it sheds."

"So I did," Snape muttered.

Rose stood between him and the doorway to the classroom. "Why are you here?"

Snape stared at her. Her expression is almost identical to mine. How could I not recognize her as my daughter before?

"Dad?" Rose's voice was softer. "Why did you come here?"

He cleared his throat. "I came to see Dumbledore's grave."

"Why would you want to do such a thing?"

"That is none of your concern."

"You burst into my living quarters and demanded I find a new pet. I would say that you have made your purpose for being here my concern."

Snape swallowed and answered, "I need closure for his death."

Rose bit her lower lip. "I thought you'd gained closure years ago."

"Your father gained closure," Snape admitted. "I did not."

"No," Rose argued. "You are my dad, and you always will be."

"How can I be your father if I remember so little about you?"

"Because you're the man who loved me when I was being impossible."

"Did I demonstrate that love during your less than tolerable moments?"

"You did."

"So I was a good father?"

"You were an outstanding father. I could not have asked for a better one."

Snape relaxed. "I am happy to hear it."

Rose gave him a soft smile.

"That being said," Snape's eyes hardened. "I need to see Dumbledore."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "I cannot allow you to do that."

"Rose, I know you do not understand why I must do this, but you need to trust that it is in my best interest to see Dumbledore."

"No, it is not."

Snape lowered his voice, "Don't you dare tell me what is and is not in my best interest."

Thud!

"In most cases I would agree with you, but tonight is an exception. It is too dangerous to leave this room."

"What kind of danger am I in?"

"There," she took a deep breath. "It is a very long story, but to put it succinctly, you are not the only person afflicted with amnesia."

"I am not?" Snape asked.

"No, you are not."

"Who else is affected with amnesia?"

"We do not know all the names of the numerous victims yet," Rose admitted. "Still, we know is that a group of aurors is afflicted with amnesia. Their main goal is to arrest you for your role Dumbledore's death."

"It sounds as if I would deserve a trip to Azkaban."

"No, you do not."

"So you and your mother say."

"We are only trying to tell you the truth."

"I know you are telling me the truth as you see it, but I fear you are blinded by your loyalties to a father who does not remember you."

"I am not blinded at all," Rose argued.

"If I can be quite blunt," Snape replied. "You are a poor witness given that you were born after Dumbledore's death."

"True," Rose admitted, "But you and Mum explained what happened to Dumbledore, so my opinion is not completely uninformed."

"What exactly did we say?" Snape asked.

"You said that Dumbledore was cursed, and he was wasting away from it. Meanwhile, Uncle Draco was ordered to kill Dumbledore. You took an unbreakable vow to protect Draco, and Dumbledore decided it was in everyone's best interest if you killed him."

"That is the account your mother gave anyway."

"It is the truth."

Snape exhaled.

"If I can be completely honest," Rose continued. "I think it is ridiculous that you would feel even a shred of loyalty to Dumbledore. He used you and put you in a horrendous position. He made a promise to protect you, yet he never fulfilled it."

"Dumbledore was a great wizard…."

"Who set you up to be a hated villain."

Snape paused.

"Dumbledore took advantage of your guilt concerning Lily's death-she's another person who never deserved your loyalty, yet I will ignore her for the moment."

Snape's frown deepened.

"Dumbledore took advantage of your desire for affection. He was an awful wizard who did not deserve an ounce of your allegiance," Rose argued

Snape's body temperature skyrocketed. He gritted his teeth, and hissed, "You do not know what you are talking about."

"No, I do not exactly know what it's like to be taken advantage of in that way because you and Mum have done an excellent job protecting me from people like Lily Evans and Albus Dumbledore."

"Lily Evans was an amazing woman..."

"How so?"

Snape opened his mouth.

"How was she so amazing? Name one amazing thing about her."

"She was my friend..."

"Who abandoned you the second you became too inconvenient for her."

Snape closed his mouth.

"Lily never fully accepted you. Her love came with conditions which were impossible for most to fulfill. She wanted the perfect husband. When she discovered you were not perfect she threw you away like yesterday's garbage."

Snape shook.

"As stated before, you are correct in claiming that I do not understand what it is like to have a person like Lily in my life because you taught me to be confident in myself. You taught me that I am intrinsically valuable, and nobody should tell me otherwise. You protected me from people like her and Dumbledore."

Snape's heart pounded against his ribcage. Would I protect my daughter from someone like Lily? Nothing Rose said about Lily was a lie. She deserves friends who accept her for who she is, and not abandon her after a few missteps. As for Albus, my daughter could use a wise mentor figure, yet he did have his darker side. I would never allow her near anyone who could use her as a sacrifice without a second thought.

Perhaps I was a better father than I thought I was.

"Please Dad," Rose pleaded. "Please either stay here or go home to Mum. Dumbledore isn't worth endangering your life."

"Rose," Snape put a hand on her shoulder. "I survived two Wizarding Wars. I can fend for myself against a few amnesiac aurors."

"Your days of defending yourself should be over," Rose argued. "You should be focused on finding a cure for your illness, or comforting Mum. You should waste no energy on visiting the grave of a man who did not have your best interests in mind."

"Dumbledore always had the greater good in mind," Severus answered. "He was a great leader…"

"Who used you as if you were a puppet," Rose replied.

Snape bit his tongue.

"If you won't believe me then go back home and ask Mum about him," Rose answered.

"Your mum?" Snape muttered.

"Yes, Mum," Rose answered. "We both know that as a teenager, she had no reason to harbor ill will towards Dumbledore. Thus if she says there is not real reason to visit his grave then she should be believed."

Snape's body went cold.

"Please Dad, please go home. We need you, and no matter who you believe you are, we love you."

There was a thumping from within the potions classroom.

"Mum loves you, and I know deep down inside you love her too. If you stay with her long enough then you may be able to recall your past. You can be the man we know you are."

"I do not know who I am."

"You are Severus Snape; a man who is deeply loved."

Snape embraced her. "I wish I could remember you, Rose, for you are a most precious daughter."

"I love you, Dad," she squeaked.

"I know you do," he answered.

"Open this door right now!"