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"Would you like to tell me what's upsetting you?"
Rose stopped mid-step. She shook and looked into her father's eyes. Although he was frowning, his eyes were soft, inviting her to begin speaking.
"Nothing is bothering me," she replied in a soft voice before reaching for the door.
Severus put his hand on the doorknob. "If nothing is bothering you then why were you asking for a tin cauldron?"
"Because I have need of one," Rose argued.
"We both know that you possess ten tin cauldrons. It is highly unlikely that they are all in use at the moment. Hence, you do not need a tin cauldron," Severus replied.
"No," she sighed. "I suppose I do not need a tin cauldron."
Severus motioned towards the sitting room. Rose nodded and strolled down the hallway
"What has you so shaken?" Severus asked.
Rose answered, "Percy Weasley visited Hogwarts two days ago, eager to discuss his daughter's recent detentions with Headmaster Longbottom and me."
Rose entered the sitting room and sat down on the emerald sofa. "Headmaster Longbottom was able to send him on his way, but nevertheless the confrontation rattled me."
"Rose, parents will always whine when their precious child is in the wrong." Severus sat beside her. "After awhile you will learn to ignore their complaints."
"Did any parents ever threaten to have you fired?" Rose asked.
Severus smirked. "Dumbledore received at least one complaint letter a year regarding my teaching methods."
"How did he manage to keep them at bay?" Rose asked.
"He never informed me of the details," Severus answered. "I'd imagine it took quite a bit of diplomacy though."
"Indeed it did," Rose replied.
"Regardless I highly doubt you came to discuss Percy Weasley's empty threats," Severus answered.
"His threats aren't empty," Rose argued. "He might be the next Minister of Magic, meaning he could make good on his promises to investigate Hogwarts."
"If Neville can maintain his composure in my presence then he can contend with a nuisance such as Percy Weasley," Severus replied.
"Now that we have finished that discussion, would you like to state your true reason for coming?"
She glanced down.
Severus did not turn away from her. He ran his thumb along the edge of a couch cushion and moistened his lips.
"Percy made some statements about you as well," Rose whispered.
"What kinds of statements did he make?" Severus asked.
Rose wrung her hands. "He said you were holding a grudge against him because Mum tried to pass me off as a Weasley."
Severus' voice was almost inaudible. "Excuse me?"
Rose locked eyes with him. "Is it true Dad?"
"That I hold a grudge against the Weasleys?" Severus answered.
"Yes, it is very true that I have never forgiven them for their role in your kidnapping, nor do I have any intention of dropping that particular matter."
"Do you hold a grudge against them for the circumstances surrounding my conception?"
"I cannot overlook how they treated your mother, so I suppose the answer is 'yes.'"
"Did they treat Mum horribly because she tried to pass me off as Ronald's child?" Rose asked.
"That is an insulting accusation and you know it," Severus replied.
"I know it is insulting," Rose asked, "Yet, I need to hear it from your lips; did Mum try to pass me off as a Weasley?"
"No, she did not," Severus replied.
"Then, if it will not upset you too much, I have one lingering question."
"What would that be?"
"How could a potions master of your caliber forget to give his secret lover a contraceptive potion?" Rose asked.
Severus raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"Mum was, and still is, a high profile individual."
"Through no desire of her own."
"True," Rose replied. "Still, if you were having a secret liaison you would want to ensure there was no evidence to link you to Mum. The first step to accomplishing this task would be to prevent a pregnancy."
Severus pinched the bridge of his nose.
Rose wrapped the edge of her cape around her finger. "I know you, Dad. If you were completely opposed to having a child you would take every precaution necessary to prevent a pregnancy. You would brew the contraceptive potion yourself, watch Mum drink it, and would request that she cast a contraceptive spell for good measure. How could those simple precautions be ignored?"
"I have told you on numerous occasions," Severus locked eyes with her. "Sometimes passion occurs at the most unexpected of times. I was not always prepared with a potion on hand, and your mother feared being caught if she purchased one from an apothecary."
"What about the spell then? Why were they not cast?"
"As I just stated, our encounters were for the most part unplanned."
"I find that difficult to believe," Rose replied.
"Why would that be?" Severus asked.
"Because your affair lasted for months, not days."
"Yes, it did."
"Then bouts of passion were to become expected, not something which took you off-guard," Rose began.
Severus remained impassive.
"I understand forgetting to use preventive measures on the first few encounters, but after some time had passed you should have known that you and Mum were going to wind up in a bed. At that point, a pregnancy was not out of the realm of possibility."
"I suppose I never foresaw a pregnancy because I believed myself to be sterile."
"You believed yourself to be sterile?"
"Indeed I did."
Rose twisted her lips.
"Voldemort hexed me more times than I care to count, and I was fired upon so many times during the war I believed myself to be incapable of reproducing," Severus answered.
"Had any Healer ever stated as much before I was conceived?" Rose asked.
"No," Severus admitted. "I was simply aware of the effects of many of those curses and believed they had affected my reproductive capabilities."
"Your actions were nonetheless reckless," Rose answered.
"What would you like me to say to you?" Severus asked. "I admit that I behaved irresponsibly and that I put your mother in a horrendous position. I made my mistakes, but have tried to rectify them. Does that satisfy you?"
"Then tell me what will satisfy you."
"Is any chance that you are not my father?" Rose blurted out.
Severus jerked back, as if she'd just punched him. Rose took a shaky breath. She did not remove her eyes from him.
"I won't judge you or Mum," Rose whispered. "I only want to put my doubts to rest. Is there any chance I am not your biological daughter?"
Severus' pinky twitched.
"Why would Mum attempt to pass me off as a Weasley if there was no chance of me sharing Ron's genetic material?" Rose asked.
"She never attempted to pass you off as a Weasley," Severus answered.
"Then where did Percy get that piece of information from?" Rose asked.
"The same place all Weasleys get their information from," Severus answered. "Their posterior."
Severus' expression lightened. "I do not know why Percy would make the claims he did, but I do know that your mother would never keep me from my child. Had I answered her floo calls or responded to her letters I would have known of your existence much sooner than I did. The fault is mine, not hers."
"Okay," Rose whispered.
"I am glad we have reached an understanding," Severus replied.
"Still, I don't understand how you could forget that potion…" Rose replied.
"To be quite blunt, neither do I," Severus answered. "All I know is that I'm thankful every day that those contraceptive measures failed."
"I suppose I should be grateful that your contraceptive measures failed as well," Rose replied. "Whatever those measures were."
Severus embraced her. "I love you Little Rose. Never forget that."
"I won't," she promised.
"Also, never listen to the Weasleys," Severus released her. "I have never doubted the fact that you are my daughter, in large part because your mother never attempted to pass you off as a Weasley."
"I understand," Rose answered.
He kissed her forehead. "Good."
Severus stood up, but Rose remained seated. She cleared her throat. "I truly could use your advice on a matter."
"Oh?" Severus asked.
"I am attempting to improve on your potion which lessens the pain of Skele-Gro, but I am torn on which cauldron to use," Rose replied.
Severus returned to his place on the sofa. He scratched his chin. "That is an excellent question. I am tempted to tell you that gold would be the ideal cauldron, but you may get a more potent potion if you use silver…"