AN: Sorry I didn't post sooner. I was traveling yesterday and it took longer than I thought it would. Still, thank you for the support! I deeply appreciated it!
In less than twenty-four hours, Rose wanted to speak with her parents again. She wanted to feel her dad's arms around her while her mum whispered comforting words into her ear. Still, they would not want to know what was occurring. Even if they did, she knew what they would say.
Still, Rose didn't know if heeding their advice was the correct course of action.
Rose scowled and squinted. She held her potions journal closer to her eyes, but the words were not any clearer. With a groan, she strolled over to her fireplace, picked up an iron poker and shifted around the embers. Within a few moments, the fire was once again bright enough to illuminate the room.
She returned to her leather sofa, but paused when her eyes fell on the parchment on the coffee table. Gulping, she reread it for the tenth time.
I hope this letter finds you well. I scarcely know what to write, so please forgive me if I do not come off well.
The news that you are my granddaughter came as a shock to me, though I would imagine my confusion pales in comparison to yours. I cannot imagine how I would react to the news that the man who raised me was not my father. It would be even more jarring if the man who was my biological father was someone who had so carelessly abandoned me and put my life in danger. I will not tell you that I understand what you are experiencing, nor will I pretend to know what I would do in your situation.
Perhaps you will never act on the information that you are a biological Weasley. If you never spoke to any of us, I would understand. The animosity between the Snapes and Weasleys is well-known, and it exists for good reason. My son behaved horrendously towards you, your mother, and your father. I will not attempt to justify his behavior since it is inexcusable.
From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for what I put you through. I have been cruel towards you and your family, and will regret my actions for the rest of my life. My only hope is that one day you can forgive me.
If you have any questions about the Weasleys or would like to know your biological grandfather, I am here for you. I will not judge your parents or you; I only wish for a relationship with my granddaughter.
Rose stared at the letter. I should throw the letter in the fireplace. If I were wise, I would pretend that Arthur had not contacted me at all.
Yet, he is my biological grandfather.
Rose paced from one end of the fireplace to the other. While I dearly love Grandma and Grandpa Granger, I have always wondered what it would be like to have two sets of grandparents. Tobias and Eileen Snape were not nurturing people, and it is doubtful Dad would have allowed any of us children within thirty kilometers of them. Still, I now have grandparents and uncles. I have a large extended family with a patriarch who is reaching out to me.
I have a dad and a mum who cannot stand the sight of a Weasley, save me.
She stopped. Is it treasonous to want a relationship with Arthur? Would Dad consider it a betrayal if I explored my Weasley heritage? Would it be in my best interest to meet the Weasleys, and ultimately, Ronald?
Rose sighed and turned to the snake enclosure across the room. Madame Serpent raised her head and turned in Rose's direction.
"I wish I was a paresletongue. Any unbiased advice on how to make peace with my biology would be appreciated."
Madame Serpent flickered her tongue.
Rose snorted. "Perhaps you are as clueless as to how to navigate this situation as I am."
Madame Serpent lay down, but kept her eyes on Rose.
Rose sighed. "I did not think you would helpful."
"Rose, are you here?"
She rushed to the door and flung it open. "What do you need, Headmaster Longbottom?"
He frowned, though his eyes were soft.
"Is there some kind of emergency?" Rose asked.
"I wouldn't say there's an emergency," Headmaster Longbottom began. "But there is certainly an issue which needs to be resolved immediately."
Rose backed away, allowing the headmaster to enter.
"You did not appear for dinner," he began.
Rose's stomach sank. "Dinner time has passed?"
Headmaster Longbottom nodded.
"I thought it was only five."
Rose's eyes grew. "I had no idea."
Headmaster Longbottom pointed to the sofa. Rose nodded.
Headmaster Longbottom sat. "This is the fourth day in a row where you haven't shown up for a meal."
"I know I am setting a bad example for the students," Rose began. "I am trying to provide them with the best support I can…"
He held up his hand. "I am not worried about the students. I am worried about you."
Rose closed her mouth.
"We are all worried about you," Headmaster Longbottom continued. "It is obvious that you are not taking care of yourself, and we are afraid that your health will soon suffer."
"I am healthy," Rose promised. "I was simply too distracted by my research into Mum's cancer cure to know what time it was."
"Is your mother well?" Headmaster Longbottom asked.
"We hope so," Rose's voice was quiet. "She has been under an enormous amount of stress though, and we hope it is not affecting her."
"I see." Headmaster Longbottom shifted in his seat. He gazed at the parchment on the coffee table.
Rose snatched the letter. She muttered, "That is nothing but some potions notes."
"Why would Arthur Weasley sign your potions notes?" he asked.
Rose dropped the letter.
Headmaster Longbottom patted the seat beside him. Rose collapsed onto the couch.
Headmaster Longbottom put a hand on her shoulder. "Does this letter have anything to do with why you haven't been eating normally?"
"Yes," she squeaked.
"Would you like to discuss it?" he asked.
Rose buried her face in her hands. "I am at a loss for what to do. My family hates the Weasleys, yet I am one. Everyone I speak to says to ignore Ronald, yet how can I given our connection?"
"You are in a very tricky situation," he removed his hands from Rose.
"Mum and Dad do not discuss Ronald Weasley much, and when they do their disdain is palpable. Scorpius barely knows him, but there is no love lost between them. I would speak to Aunt Ginevra and Uncle Draco, but I doubt their opinions differ significantly from Scorpius'."
"If anything, Scorpius is kinder to Ron than Ginny and Draco are," Headmaster Longbottom replied.
"I need," Rose looked at him. "I need to speak with someone objective, someone who does not hate Ronald, someone who does not think he was evil."
Headmaster Longbottom scratched his chin.
"I need to know who Ronald the man is, not who Ronald the kidnapper was."
"I doubt anyone in Britain sees him as anything other than a crazed kidnapper."
Rose's voice lowered. "I know. Still, I wonder about him."
"I would imagine," Headmaster Longbottom hummed.
"You, you knew him," Rose began. "Perhaps you can give me your perspective on him."
"My perspective is that Ronald was horrible towards your mother and needs to be prosecuted for kidnapping you," Headmaster Longbottom began. "I would never suggest making any sort of contact with him."
Rose slouched. "Everyone says he's evil, as if he's the second coming of Voldemort. Yet if he was so horrible, then why would Mum have conceived a child with him?"
"She was in love."
"I know, but why was she in love with him?"
"Only she could answer that."
"I know she could answer that, but I doubt she wants to speak of this. I need," Rose inhaled. "I need to speak to someone who has a somewhat nuanced view of Ron."
"Well," Headmaster Longbottom exhaled. "I suppose I can give you a somewhat nuanced view of Ron if you absolutely need one."
Rose's eyes lit up. "You can?"
"I will try my best anyway," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
Rose's heart skipped a beat.
Headmaster Longbottom took a deep breath. "Ron and I were roommates throughout our time at Hogwarts."
"So you knew him better than most did."
"What can you tell me about him?"
"During the beginning of his schooling, he could be quite funny. There were several times after I'd been bullied when he would tell me a joke to cheer me up."
"Were the jokes always at someone's expense?"
"At first, they were impressions or puns. In my opinion, they were harmless."
Rose folded her hands.
"He encouraged me to stand up for myself, and gave me some great motivational speeches. When I was feeling less than confident, he did stick up for me. During the first two years of schooling, I thought he was an excellent friend," Headmaster Longbottom replied.
"I never thought I would hear anyone call Ron an excellent friend," Rose whispered.
"No, I said 'I thought he was an excellent friend.' That is not the same as stating that he was an excellent friend," Headmaster Longbottom warned.
"Around our third year, something in him began to change. He became less willing to listen to others, and would take his foul moods out on his friends."
"Did you mother tell you about the incident between Crookshanks and Scabbers?"
"Dad told me a little about them."
"I asked Dad about Sirius Black once, and he explained how the dog broke out of prison," Rose twisted her lower lip. "Sirius Black and James Potter are the only people Dad hates half as much as Ron."
"That is quite understandable," Headmaster Longbottom replied. "If I were him, I would hate them too."
"Still, he did tell me about Ron's rejection of Mum after Crookshanks, and how they reconciled later," Rose answered. "He then told me not to allow a dunderheaded man to treat me as Ron treated Mum."
"He gave you excellent advice," Headmaster Longbottom replied. "That rift between them should have been my first clue that Ron had a darker side, one which he hid behind his jokes and fun-loving nature."
"Indeed," Rose replied.
"During the war, I paid little attention to how Ron treated Hermione. I knew him throwing Lavender in her face was wrong, and I knew the jokes he told about others were becoming more and more hurtful. Yet, we were comrades. There was a war to fight, and he was a soldier alongside me. We were in Dumbledore's Army together, we kept each other's secrets, and we shared similar experiences, ones which few others could relate to. At the height of our friendship, we fought Fenrir together, although Ron later took credit for the whole thing."
"Don't get me wrong, at the time I didn't mind him stealing the glory so to speak. After all, the stipend for killing Nagini was much higher and more prestigious than that for killing Fenrir. Besides," Neville winked. "I got my reward for killing a lycanthrope in due time."
Headmaster Longbottom grinned. "I graduated from Hogwarts and went to the university for my herbology degree. Your mother stayed behind because she wanted to finish her schooling while Ron couldn't get away from education fast enough. Ron told me that he wanted to become an auror like Harry, but when he realized that would take work, he opted to become a professional Quidditch player."
"Mum once said something to that extent," Rose answered.
Headmaster Longbottom frowned. "Thinking back, I don't believe I've met a person half as lazy as Ron. He would plead and beg Hermione to do his homework for him, and she always complied for fear he would become upset if she did not. Ron never opened a book, never attended a study session, but he was quick to scorn those who did well academically."
"I digress though," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "During my first year of university, I visited Ron quite often. Things with Hermione seemed to be going well, although he was becoming irritated with her spending more time in the library than she did at the Quidditch pitch. Towards the end of the school year though, things seemed to have improved. I remember him once bragging, 'Mione is the best girlfriend I could have asked for. She does whatever I tell her to.'"
Rose snorted. "I find it difficult to believe that Mum would submit to a man without question."
The headmaster's voice was low, "But she did."
Rose bit her lip.
"Ron would make jokes at her expense. Every compliment he gave was either backhanded or was a tip on how she could appear more attractive. I knew the way he talked to her was wrong but," Neville glanced at a speck of dirt on the ground. "I said and did nothing."
"W-why?" Rose asked.
"Because," he locked eyes with her. "I thought that when they were alone, Ron was that man I knew from my first two years at Hogwarts. I thought he was the funny, sometimes, kind man I knew as a first-year. I thought there must have been some love between them because if he was this awful to Hermione in private she would have left him. That wasn't what was happening at all though. Ron was wearing her down, insult by insult, tart by tart, until Hermione didn't have a shred of confidence left. She stayed with him not out of love, but because she was convinced that she was unloveable."
"Thank Merlin she reconnected with Dad," Rose whispered.
"Indeed," Headmaster Longbottom answered.
Silence fell between them.
"The time period did not help either," he continued.
"What do you mean?" She asked.
Headmaster Longbottom kept his gaze on Rose. "Do you ever wonder why Scorpius is an afterthought to the Weasleys?"
"Because he's Draco's son?" Rose replied.
"No, because he isn't Harry's son."
Rose scratched her thigh.
"The idea of the Golden Trio was captivating. Your mum, Harry, and Ron gave us hope in the power of friendship. Their love for each other helped win the war. All of us aspired to be even half as great as the members of the Golden Trio."
"Yet it was all a mirage."
"Indeed it was." Headmaster Longbottom answered.
Rose stopped scratching.
"It was shocking when Ginevra left Harry for Draco because it seemed only natural for Harry to become a Weasley. When she married Draco, we were scrambling for our next true love story. That's where your mother and Ron came in."
"We thought Ron and Hermione would work things out. Even if they fought and Ron flirted with women, there had to be something there. All of us wanted something to be there between them," Headmaster Longbottom shook his head. "I ignored the signs because I wanted all of it to be real. I wanted your mother and Ron to become a family because in my eyes it seemed natural. It wasn't until I saw your mother with your father when I realized how wrong I'd been to ever want her with Ron."
Rose swallowed. "Does this mean you hate Ron too?"
"I hate the man he is now. He is a lazy, cruel, and selfish worm of a wizard. Still," Headmaster Longbottom's voice was soft. "I liked the man who stood up for me and helped teach me confidence."
"Still, that man no longer exists, so there is no reason to seek him out. I would strongly discourage anyone from meeting Ron Weasley today."
"I see," Rose replied.
"That being said, I am not the person you should be discussing this with," Headmaster Longbottom continued. "You need to discuss this with your parents. They should be the ones to advise you whether or not you should know Ron Weasley."
"I already know what Mum and Dad will say though," Rose argued. "They will discourage me from seeing any of the Weasleys."
"Given that they have always had your best interests in mind, perhaps you should take their advice," Headmaster Longbottom replied.
"Perhaps," Rose whispered. "Perhaps you are right."
Arthur reached out to me though….