AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Rose swished the Firewhiskey in her snifter. She inhaled its scent. Although Dad had warned her that alcohol never alleviated a situation, Rose needed something to take the edge off her emotions. One glass of Firewhiskey should be enough to silence her inner thoughts while allowing her mind to remain clear.
Rose put her hand on the cracked leather recliner. Many of Rose's childhood memories involved her father sitting in this chair, his nose buried in a potions journal. Rose used to creep into the room, hoping this would be the time she startled him. It was always to no avail. Every time he would drawl out her name, and she would erupt into a fit of giggles.
Looking back, it was silly to think she could sneak up on a former spy. If there was one thing her father prided himself on, it was the ability to detect any potential surprise. Nothing would ever be able to throw him off guard.
Except for the reason his daughter had icy blue eyes.
She took another sip of Firewhiskey. Is Mum's mansion the best place to discuss my paternity? Granted if the conversation, doesn't happen here, it will happen at Hogwarts or Grandma and Grandpa Granger's house. No, it is much better to have it here, if only to prevent causing a public scene.
The fireplace erupted. Rose gripped her snifter and grit her teeth. Best to do this here and now.
A figure stepped out of the fireplace.
Hermione began to brush herself off. "Rose?"
Rose emerged from the shadows.
"Rose, what are you doing here?" Hermione asked, wiping the remaining soot from her robes.
Rose reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
Hermione's expression lightened. "Are those your father's exoneration papers?"
"No," Rose answered. "These are my dad's exoneration papers."
Hermione raised her eyebrow.
"My dad has been exonerated of his crimes; my father has not."
"I don't understand."
Rose sipped her Firewhiskey. "You're the brightest witch of your age. I am certain you know exactly what I am alluding to."
"No," I do not," Hermione answered.
Hermione sniffed the air. "How much have you had to drink?"
"This is my first glass."
"I'd strongly suggest you drink no more. You are becoming tipsy."
"Oh no," Rose set down the glass on a nearby side table. "My thinking is quite clear."
"It clearly is not if you cannot tell the difference between your father and your dad."
Rose scowled. "Are you now claiming that Ron Weasley raised me."
Rose leaned towards her mother and whispered in her ear, "I know all about your dirty little secret."
Hermione backed away. "No, you do not."
"Do you ever tire of deceiving others, or have you been doing it for so long that it is second nature?"
"I am not deceiving anyone."
"If that is the case, then why has it come out that my father's name is Ron Weasley?"
"I have no idea what you'd heard or what you think you've heard, but I assure you that Severus Snape is your father."
"That's not what the DNA spell I cast said."
"Wh-what in Merlin's name is going on?" Hermione asked.
"Percy called me into his office, and offered to set my father free. When I told him I would like that very much, he mentioned something about kidnapping charges."
"Of course he would ask you that," Hermione answered. "He believes Severus kidnapped you in the middle of an episode."
"That's what I told him. I insisted that my father had never kidnapped anyone, at least not when he was in his right mind. Percy told me that couldn't be true because you had leveled kidnapping charges against him some years ago," Rose continued.
"I do not recall ever spreading a nasty rumor about your father, much less pressing charges against him."
"Are you claiming then that Ron Weasley did not kidnap me?"
"That's what I thought," Rose replied.
"Why exactly are you listening to Percy and allowing a DNA spell to be performed his presence?" Hermione asked.
"Because he insisted that he was my uncle. Like a fool, I attempted to prove him wrong," Rose answered.
"I don't know what spell he cast to get the results he did…."
"I cast the spell."
Hermione's eyes widened. "You cast the spell?"
Rose answered, "Indeed I did."
"Why would you do such a thing?"
"I wanted to silence Percy. I thought the best way to do so would be to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my father's name was Severus Snape."
Hermione took a shaky breath.
"I am not going to tell you what the results were, because you already know what they said."
"Still, I needed to hear it from your mouth," Rose replied. "What did the test results show, Mum?"
Hermione pursed her lips.
In a louder voice, Rose asked, "Who is my father?"
"Wrong, wrong, wrong wrong!" Rose shouted. "It is Ronald Bilius Weasley."
"But you already knew that, did you not?" Rose hissed.
Hermione locked eyes with her daughter. "You do not understand the situation."
"Oh I understand the situation perfectly," Rose argued. "After Dad expelled you from his life you were distraught. You wanted-no needed-someone to ease your sorrows. Like an idiot, Ron slept with you because he loved you."
"Ron didn't love me," Hermione snapped.
"You're right," Rose answered. "He used you the same way you used him."
"Listen," Hermione began.
"No, you listen."
"Do not speak to me that way."
"I will speak to you as I see fit."
Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. "I am your mother, and you will speak to me as such."
"Why should I speak respectfully to the woman who has lied to me for a quarter of a century?" Rose demanded.
Hermione's voice was firm. "Because there are things about my relationship with Ron that you do not understand."
"Oh I understand," Rose replied. "You couldn't have Dad, so you figured Ron would do."
Hermione said nothing.
"I always wondered how Dad could be so careless with his contraceptive potions and his spells. He could never give me an answer. I guess I know what it is now. He did everything correctly. You were the one who made the mistake."
"You were not a mistake."
"Yet you did not plan on having me, did you?"
Hermione said nothing.
Rose huffed. "You only had me because you were not careful."
"I had you because I wanted you," Hermione argued.
"Listen, the specifics of your conception do not matter," Hermione argued. "I have told you the truth from the moment you were born. Severus Snape is your dad."
"Yet he is not my father!"
"Okay," Hermione began. "We need to take a deep breath."
"I don't want to take a deep breath," Rose argued.
"Then please find some other way to calm down."
"How can I calm down when I've discovered that my mother has been lying to my dad and me?"
"This is a complicated situation, one which needs to be discussed with a clear head."
"What is so complicated about any of this? You had no idea who my father was. You knew it could be Dad's," Rose's eyes widened. "Oh my God…"
Hermione stared at her.
"This was all a way to trap Dad."
"Yes," Rose breathed. "You wanted Dad back because, let's face it, anyone with a brain stem would choose Dad over Ronald. A baby was the perfect way to get his attention, and force him to remain with you."
"Nobody forces your dad to do anything."
"Well, you must have used some type of force on him, because Dad never wanted a child. Dad never wanted me, but you used me against him anyway."
"That is not true, and you know it."
Rose picked up her glass and took another sip of Firewhiskey.
"Your dad wanted you the second he learned of your existence," Hermione argued. "He agreed to raise you because he loved you."
"How could he love me when he never wanted children," Rose argued.
"Who told you he didn't want children?" Hermione asked.
"He did," Rose replied.
Hermione was silent.
"During an amnesiac episode he told me he could never envision himself with a child. He said the only thing which would change his mind about having children would be if he knew one of his was on the way. Dad never would have agreed to raise a child who he knew was not his."
"You are Severus' daughter."
"Stop lying! It's unbecoming of a mother."
"Listen," Hermione hissed. "I understand that you are upset…."
"Upset?" Rose spat. "I am downright giddy compared to how Dad will be once he learns of this news."
Hermione took a deep breath.
"Dad will be livid once he discovers the love of his life has tricked him into raising a child he never wanted."
"He did want you."
"No, he did not," Rose argued. "He wanted a child-free life alone in his shack. He told you as much the day he abandoned you, yet you tricked him into raising a bastard child."
"I did not trick him into doing anything."
"Then why would he agree to raise a child he knew was not his?"
"Because he loved you from the moment he learned of your existence."
"No, he loved his biological daughter, not some bastard. If he knew I was not his, he never would have given me a second thought. He would have expelled us from his life and never considered our well-being again."
"That isn't true, and you know it," Hermione replied.
"Do I Mum?" Rose set her glass down.
"Yes, you do."
"Do not tell me what I do and do not know."
"Rose, you are upset right now, and you are taking your anger out on me."
"I am trying to wrap my mind around all this."
"I know," Hermione answered. "But you should never doubt your dad's love for you."
"Let me ask you something," Rose replied. "Do you think Dad would have almost sacrificed his life for a bastard?"
"Yes, I do."
"No, he would not have."
"Your dad loves you."
"He loves Rose Snape, not Rose Weasley."
"You are Rose Snape."
"My God Mum, would you listen to yourself?" Rose snapped. "I am trying to make sense of things, and all I hear are lies."
"I am telling you the truth," Hermione answered.
"No, you are not."
"Yes I am."
Rose chuckled. "Do, do you realize what you have done?"
"Yes," Hermione replied. "I have created a family with your father."
"No, you caused a man who loved you to develop a terrible disease."
"How did I do that?"
"If Dad had not rushed to defend me from Fenrir, then he never would have been bitten. If he had never been bitten then he would have retained use of his memory. If he had known the truth, then he would have stayed away from Fenrir and never been bitten."
"Your dad was searching for a lycanthropy cure. Fenrir would have targeted him whether he had a child or not," Hermione answered. "Still, your dad was desperate to find a cure because he had a daughter to raise. He wanted to make the world safer for you, his firstborn daughter."
"No, he wanted to make the world safer for a Weasley bastard he was fooled into raising."
"He had a daughter."
"No, he had a bastard."
"Now we are just going around in circles," Hermione replied.
"How can you do it?" Rose's voice cracked. "How can you live with the truth that you caused his disease by giving him a child he did not want? How can you sleep beside Dad at night knowing you're lying to him? How can you look him in the eyes knowing his family is nothing more than a delusion?"
"His family is real…"
"No it is not!"
"Rose, I need to explain this…"
"You have had twenty-five years to explain this. Now it is my turn to make sense of it all."
Hermione bit her tongue.
Rose continued, "I always wondered why Victor and I were so close in age, but it is all very clear now. Dad began asking questions, did he not? He wanted to know how his contraceptive measures could fail. You decided that the best way to keep him silent would be to give him a child nobody could deny was his."
"Your brother's conception has nothing to do with any of this."
"Oh I think it has everything to do with this. Even Violet was a plan to ensnare him."
"Violet was not a plan to ensnare him to do anything."
"Violet was conceived because you felt guilty about not giving him a real daughter."
"That is nonsense and you know it."
Hermione closed her mouth.
A tear came to Rose's eye. "Dad loves you. He thinks you're the only person who would never betray him. According to him, you are the only person who never attempted to be his master. H-how can I tell him his marriage is based on a li?."
"You do not need to tell him anything."
"How can I keep quiet on this issue?"
"You can remember that this is between your dad and me."
"I am the child who came as a result of your tryst with Ronald. I would say that gives me a right to speak on this."
"I need to speak with your father first."
"You have had twenty-five years to speak with him on this issue. Why should I believe that you will be honest with him now?"
"Because this is my marriage, thus making it my job to deal with your father."
"I am the illegitimate daughter in the middle of all this mess. I have just as much a right to speak to him as you do."
"I," Hermione sighed. "Please, let me speak with him before saying anything."
"So you can tell him more lies?"
"So I can explain the truth."
Rose exhaled. "I would like to go with you."
"No, you may not," Hermione answered.
A tear fell from Rose's eye. "I want to see him one more time."
"What on earth does that mean?" Hermione asked.
"When he learns the truth, he will see me as the mistake I am. He will never wish to see me, nor may he wish to see Victor and Violet."
"Your dad would never abandon his children."
"No, I suppose he will stop by to see Victor and Violet on occasion, but it is doubtful he will ever want to lay eyes on me again."
"You know your father better than that."
"I know him well enough to know that the second the truth is exposed, he will move out of the mansion and divorce you post haste. He will live the life of a hermit, the life he has always wanted. As for you…."
Hermione scratched her left arm.
Rose whispered. "It will literally kill you to watch him leave."
"Now you understand why we need to talk in private," Hermione replied.
"Yes," Rose admitted. "I suppose you need a few moments alone with him, if only to grovel at his feet. It will not do you any good, but I suppose you can try."
"We will work through this," Hermione answered. "As a family, we will find a way through this."
"For your sake, I hope you can. Otherwise I will have lost both of my parents in one day," Rose replied.
"I know there is a lot you don't understand," Hermione's voice was soft, "But I promise to explain everything to you in due time."
Rose waved her off. "Do not waste your breath. Nothing you say can justify the heartache you will cause Dad."
Hermione's throat was tight. "I love you, Rose."
Rose glowered at Hermione.
"One hour," Hermione echoed. "Please, give me one hour."
"Fine," Rose whispered.
Hermione reached out her hand. "Could I please have his exoneration papers?"
Rose handed them to her.
With that, Hermione called out her parents' address and disappeared into the fireplace.
Rose crumpled to the ground. She sobbed over the sound of an owl scratching at the window.