AN: Thank you all so much for the support! I deeply appreciate it!
Why is Dad doing this?
Rose ran her finger down the latest article of The Evening Prophet. She scratched the arm of her plush, emerald chair. To her right, a fire crackled within her fireplace, but she was too distracted to feel its heat on her arm.
The decision to deceive our daughter was mine, not Hermione's.
There is no reason do this. Dad could escape this situation with a clean reputation. Why is he soiling his name like this?
In all honesty, I am baffled that so little ire is directed towards Mr. Weasley. Hermione pleaded with him to raise the child he created, and he refused. She is the one who is being barraged by reporters and howlers, despite the fact that her only crime was providing her child with legitimacy. Ron is the man who abandoned his pregnant lover and almost subjected her to disgrace. How is my wife the villain, yet is an innocent victim?
Rose shook. Mum has always acted in my best interests, yet I have given her little credit for that. I never gave Dad credit for acting in my best interests either.
What kind of ungrateful daughter am I?
Are you claiming that Hermione never intended to raise her child with you?
I am saying that my wife would never keep Rose from her dad. It just so happened that Rose's dad was someone who was not biologically related to her.
Her throat constricted. Dad is not wrong; regardless of our DNA, he has never treated me any differently than his other children. Why could I not get out of my own way long enough to thank him for that?
Was adopting Rose simply a way to obtain your fortune?
I refuse to dignify that question with an answer.
I am only trying to discern why a former Death Eater would mess with his bloodline by adopting a child. Your fortune seems to be the only plausible explanation.
If that is the only explanation you could come up with, then your imagination is limited.
Why did you adopt Rose, then?
Because she needed a father, and I needed her as a daughter.
Would you care to elaborate on the notion of you needing her a daughter?
Everyone needs someone to love unconditionally. I needed to learn how to give that kind of love. Rose was the perfect teacher.
Rose's lower lip quivered.
I will admit: the circumstances of Rose's adoption were less than ideal. Over the years I have not been the perfect parent. Still, raising Rose has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I love her as much as any other dad would love his firstborn daughter.
Tears stained the words she had just read.
Thank you for giving us this exclusive interview.
Thank you for the chance to tell my side of the story.
Rose curled into a ball and struggled to breathe amidst her gasps.
What kind of awful daughter am I? I never gave either Mum or Dad credit for how well they treated me. Perhaps they did lie, but they were attempting to ensure that I always felt wanted. What kind of daughter yells at her parents for trying to make her feel wanted?
Rose sniffed and glanced at the doorway.
"You handed out twenty-nine detentions today."
Rose wiped her eyes. "Does this mean that I broke Dad's record?"
"No, you would need one hundred twenty-nine detentions in order to accomplish that feat."
"I suppose I will have to try harder then, Headmaster Longbottom," Rose replied.
"Perhaps," he answered with a twinkle in his eye.
"Is there anything you need from me?"
"No, I simply wanted to see how you were doing. If you are busy though I will see you tomorrow."
"No, I was not in the middle of anything." Rose stood up and pointed to a leather chair across from her. "Please, take a seat."
Headmaster Longbottom entered Rose's quarters and shut the door behind him.
"I apologize for not joining everyone for dinner," Rose began. "I was not feeling well enough to come."
"Under the circumstances, that is perfectly understandable," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
In the eastern corner of the room, Madame Serpent hissed.
"I, I should warn you that tonight is Madame Serpent's night to be let out," Rose began. "She should not cause you any problems though."
"If she does, then I am quite confident in my abilities to handle a snake," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
Rose grinned. "I suppose you would be."
Madame Serpent hissed before slithering into another corner.
"Would you like some tea?" Rose asked. "I can fix you up a cup if you would like."
Headmaster Longbottom took her hand. "I would like you to tell me how you're doing."
Rose sat in her chair. "Not well, I fear."
Headmaster Longbottom said nothing.
"I," Rose gulped. "I believe I should tender my resignation."
"Excuse me?" he asked.
"I will soon be tendering my resignation. As of winter break, I am retiring from Hogwarts."
"Why would you do such a thing?"
"Why would I not?"
"I can think of numerous reasons for you not to resign," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "The first and foremost being that you are an excellent professor who is passionate about her job."
"I was passionate about it," Rose admitted. "But now I am not so certain that I am."
"I highly doubt your passions would change so significantly within the span of twenty-four hours," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
"Twenty-four hours ago I believed myself to be a Snape. I thought I was carrying on my father's legacy. Now though…" Rose's voice tapered off.
Headmaster Longbottom's voice was firm. "Now you continue to make him proud."
"I tried to make him proud, I really did, but I do not know if I am up to the task anymore."
Headmaster Longbottom gave her a soft smile.
"I know how to be someone who believes she is biologically a Snape, but I don't know how to be someone who knows she's biologically a Weasley," Rose admitted.
"Nobody deserves to discover she has been lied to," Headmaster Longbottom replied. "Least of all you."
"No, I suppose that is true, still…."
She took a deep breath. "If I was raised by Ron Weasley do you think I would have taken any interest in potions?"
"I do not know," he admitted.
"I would have taken no interest in potions. I would have only taken interest in Quidditch and tomfoolery."
"Or you would have gotten into potions because you are brilliant like your mother, and like her you would have found it a fascinating field of study."
"The Weasleys would have discouraged me from delving too deeply into it."
"Since when has discouragement affected you?"
"It does not affect me because I was raised by two assertive parents who taught me how to stand up for my beliefs. If I was raised by a dunderhead though," Rose lowered her head. "What would have become of me then?"
Headmaster Longbottom hummed. "I cannot say."
"Nobody can," Rose locked eyes with him. "All I know is that I would not be Head of the Slytherin House."
"What makes you so certain of that?"
"Both of us know that unless there is a little Malfoy mixed in, a Weasley is sorted into Gryffindor. As fare as my genetics is concerned, there is not a trace of Slytherin to be found in me."
"Rose, I have questioned the sorting hat many times. There are some students who have no business being in their house," the spark returned to Headmaster Longbottom's eyes. "You are not one of those students. Never once have I questioned that you were a true Slytherin."
"Are you only saying that because of my mental state?" Rose asked.
"No," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "I am saying that because it's true. You are the ideal Slytherin, and you are the right person to lead the Slytherin House."
"I only wanted to lead the Slytherin House because of Dad," she whispered. "I wanted to rehabilitate the house's image, just like he did. He was exiled from Hogwarts before he could complete the job, but I thought could do it."
"And you are doing just that right now," he replied. "You are proving that the Slytherin House has moved on from its dark past and has entered a new, much brighter and more tolerant, era."
"Yet I fear that I will not be able to lead the house much longer."
"Today I saw how the students looked at me. Some of them stared at me for longer than necessary, others whispered behind my back, whereas others…"
"Are scrubbing every last burn mark from the Defense Against Dark Arts classroom."
Rose closed her mouth.
"When I explained to Professor Malfoy why Molly received a detention, he decided that the walls of his classroom had too many burn marks on them from errant spells. Now was as good a time as any to clean the walls, if only to make the place more presentable to the Hogwarts Board of Governors," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
"I have been telling him to use a few cleaning spells on the place," Rose replied.
"Oh no, those will not be effective enough," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "These marks need to be scrubbed out by hand."
"Rose," Headmaster Longbottom leaned closer to her. "I know you are confused and hurt. I wish I could undo the damage Percy has done. All I can do is assure you that you are a valued member of this faculty, and that any resignation you give me will be shredded upon receipt."
Madame Serpent slithered towards Rose.
"I suppose I have no choice but to remain here then," Rose replied.
"It would appear so," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
"That being said," Rose swallowed. "I still feel as if I am a little girl imitating her idol."
"Why would you say that?"
"These clothes, I wore them because I have always been dressed in black. Mum and Dad thought I looked cute in black, hence my wardrobe."
"No, you wear black because as a baby you would play with your father's black cape," Headmaster Longbottom replied.
Rose groaned. "Please tell me Mum and Dad did not show you those baby pictures or those blasted memories."
"No, I saw you play with his cape firsthand," Headmaster Longbottom replied.
Rose's face was scarlet.
"I watched you wave your father's robe around as if you were wearing it. I also heard the stories of how as a toddler you would scream unless you were wearing your black clothes. By the time you were six, your mother had given up on dressing you in any color other than black."
"I was a stupid infant and an even more idiotic child."
"No, you were an infant who knew who she was."
"How could I know my identity if I was imitating someone else?"
"You were, and still are, a snarky Slytherin who loves potions, just like your dad."
Rose shifted her eyes downwards.
"I know things are confusing right now," Headmaster Longbottom stood and put a hand on her shoulder. "But things will become clearer with time. Just give yourself and your parents time."
Rose looked at him. "Thank you."
Madame Serpent slithered onto her owner's lap. Rose laughed and scratched her hood. The snake relaxed.
Headmaster Longbottom chuckled, knowing full well he was staring at a true Snape. Hopefully, it would not take Rose too long before she could look in a mirror and see Severus Snape's daughter again.