Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 84

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

"You, you knew there was no possibility that you were my biological father?"

"Yes, I knew the day I married your mother that I was not your biological father."

One silent minute passed.

Rose opened her mouth, only to shut it a few seconds later. Again, she opened it, but nothing was said.

"Rose," Severus choked. "Please tell me what is going through your mind."

Rose took a shaky breath. "I am trying to determine a tactful way to put my thoughts into words."

"Do not be concerned with tact. Speak as freely as you would like," Severus replied.

"Very well then," Rose cleared her throat. "I do not know why you are taking the fall for Mum."

"I am not taking the fall for anyone," Severus replied.

"Then why are you telling me that you lied about being my biological father?"

"Because," Severus' throat constricted. "Because it is the truth."

Rose shook her head. "No, it cannot be true."

Severus exhaled.

"I think you're only telling me this story because you want to justify why you intend to stay with Mum."

Severus lowered his head.

"You are afraid she will suffer a relapse, and you are afraid of what will become of you if she is not in your life," Rose continued. "Still, you are a proud man who cannot tolerate being humiliated. Thus you have concocted this story in order not to appear as a fool for staying with Mum."

He shook.

"I admire that."

He looked up.

She gave him a small smile. "Your love for Mum has always been beautiful. For all of your faults, you have always been devoted to her. Even when it is to your own detriment, you are determined to stay by her side. It is touching."

"Rose, I need you to listen to me very carefully," Severus replied.

"No, you need to listen to yourself," Rose answered.

Severus gulped.

"You are telling me that not only did you lie about how you reconnected to Mum, but you also lied about being my biological father."

"I did both of those things."

"No, you did not."

"Please listen…"

"You would not do that to me," Rose raised her voice. "You wouldn't lie to me, not about something this important."

"I wish," Severus locked eyes with her. "I wish I had never deceived you…"

"Then stop trying to deceive me and tell me the truth."

"I am telling you the truth."

"No, you are not."

Severus bit his tongue.

Rose's voice grew louder. "You are not a liar. Sure, you may have been a double agent during the Second War, but those were extreme circumstances. I know you well enough to know you would never lie to me about this."

His eyes moistened.

"No, no you would never lie about my paternity," Rose answered.

"Did you not accuse me of doing just that a month ago?" Severus asked.

Rose raised an eyebrow.

"Earlier you asked me if I could be your father."

"I simply wanted to know if there was a possibility you were not my father," her voice softened. "We now know the answer."

"What I did then was wrong," Severus replied. "It was wrong to deceive you, but now I am trying to give you as complete a picture as I can of the situation."

"No, you are not. You are only muddying the issue."

"I am clearing things up."

"No," Rose replied. "You are only confusing things."

"Rose," Severus' voice was firm. "I knew I was not the man who created you the second your mother announced her pregnancy to me. The reason she tried to pass you off as a Weasley was because…."

The lump in Severus' throat was too large to allow him to continue.

"Say it," Rose whispered.

Not a sound.

"Say it."

No answer.

"Say it Dad. Tell me I am a Weasley."

"You are not a Weasley," Severus replied in a barely audible voice.

"Exactly! I am a Snape," Rose replied. "I am a Snape, and I always have been."

"Of course you are a Snape," he choked. "I considered you my daughter the moment your mother revealed her pregnancy to me."

Rose relaxed. "Now that is the truth."

"Yes, that is the truth," Severus replied.

Rose embraced him. "There is no need to make excuses for Mum then. As you stated, your marriage is not my concern, so if you stay with her I will think nothing of it. You will look like a strong husband, not a spineless fool."

"I am not a fool because I was never tricked into raising you. From the minute I learned of your existence I knew you were not my biological child."

Rose released him. "Why do you insist upon saying that?"

"Because it is the truth," Severus answered.

Her body shook.

"Your mother and I had very little interaction between the Second Wizarding War and the day she revealed her pregnancy to me."

"So are you saying…"

"We did not have relations until our wedding night. By then she was four months pregnant with you."

Rose's throat constricted, "You, you're telling the truth. After a quarter of a decade, you are finally being honest with me."

"Yes," Severus whispered. "I am."

Rose squeaked. "You, you deceived me."

Severus swallowed. "Yes, I did."

"I, I begged you to tell me the truth a month ago. I promised not to judge you. It was a promise I intended to keep. Yet, you still lied to me."

"Yes, I did."

"Why?" Rose asked. "Why did you lie to me?"

"I was afraid of how you would react to your paternity," Severus replied.

"Did you believe I would no longer consider you my father? Did you think I would stop loving you if I knew the truth? Did, did you have that little faith in me?"

"No," Severus answered.

"Then how could you lie to my face?"

"I believed that if you knew about Ronald's abandonment you would feel unwanted."

"My God, do you have no faith in your ability to parent?"

Severus wrung his hands.

"I had a dad who loved me. That's all I would have cared about."

Severus trembled.

"Did you truly believe that you had ever made me feel any less than loved? Did you think you had failed as a father? What, what were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that I knew what it was like to grow up with the knowledge that my parents did not want me. I never wanted you to experience that."

"So instead of helping me through my emotions, you decided that lying was a more prudent course of action."

"Yes."

"Do you have any idea what you have done?"

Severus tensed.

"You," Rose spat. "You took away the father I could trust and replaced him with a man who has no moral qualms with lying to his daughter."

"I did not mean to harm you."

"You, you saw that I was in agony after Percy claimed Mum passed me off as a Weasley. I was pleading with you for answers, but all I received was deception."

"I never thought the truth would come out," Severus argued. "I believed that you would die believing you were biologically a Snape."

"I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense," Rose sneered. "I mean, you do know a thing or two about taking secrets to the grave. If you could keep your true allegiance from Voldemort then you could keep your daughter's paternity from her. Was that your thought process?"

"I was trying to protect you."

"And you failed."

A chill ran up Severus' spine.

"You failed to protect me from this pain," Rose sniffed. "I could handle the revelation that I was a Weasley so long as I could trust you."

"I know that I violated that trust in one of the worst ways possible."

"Well, at least you can admit that."

He shifted his eyes away from her.

"I suppose while we're on the subject of truth," she continued. "We should discuss why you and Mum truly reconnected."

"I…" Severus returned his focus to her.

"Do you need me to say the words out loud?" Rose demanded.

Severus suppressed the boiling tears threatening to escape his eyes.

"Fine," Rose continued. "You wanted your fortune. That was your reason for taking a wife after all. All you wanted was a way to make money with little effort and I was a means of getting it."

"That is not true and you know it," Severus argued.

"Then what is true?"

"I wanted to be your father."

"The man who hates children wanted to be a father?" Rose sneered. "I find that highly unlikely."

"It is the truth," Severus argued.

"It cannot be. There was no reason for you to take on a bastard child except for…" Rose's eyes grew. "Pity."

"Pity?" Severus asked.

"Yes," Rose's voice was laced with venom. "When Mum gave you her sob story about her child being a bastard…"

"You are not a bastard."

"Yes, I am!"

Severus' ears rang.

"I am the bastard you chose to adopt because you felt sorry for her. You may not have wanted children, but oh did you want all those galleons. Really, I cannot blame you. For someone who grew up in poverty, getting that rich must have been the best present fate could ever give you."

"You, Victor, and Violet were the best presents fate ever gave me."

"Whatever you say."

"That is the truth, and you know it."

"Fine, you love your children. It does not change the fact that when Mum approached you, you saw a pitiful woman and her even worse off bastard."

"Stop calling yourself that."

"I am only using the proper terms."

"No, you are not," Severus argued. "You are my daughter…."

"I am the," Rose made scare quotes, "'baby' you pitied and gave his name to."

"I have never pitied you. From the moment I knew of you, I loved you," Severus choked. "I love you so much."

Rose's lower lip quivered. "I know, which is what makes all of this so baffling."

"Please Rose," Severus pleaded. "Please understand that I acted out of love, not maliciousness."

Rose slid off of the bed and picked up her cape. "Perhaps you did act out of love, but it does not change the fact that you betrayed me."

"What can I do to make this up to you?" he asked. "What can I do to mitigate some of this damage?"

"Can you buy a time turner and send us back to yesterday. Can you tell Victor to pick up those papers, and not me?"

"Sadly, I cannot."

"Then there is nothing you can do."

Rose strode out of the room.

"Rose."

She stopped.

"I, I love you."

Rose looked back. A tear trickled down her left cheek. "I love you too, Dad. I only wish I could trust you."

With that, she exited the room.