AN: Thank you all so much for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
Hermione picked up a newspaper from a nearby stack. She leaned back in her leather chair and kicked up her feet onto a crimson footstool. "Let's begin one month before the amnesia began."
Severus took a seat across from her. "Why one month?"
Hermione shrugged. "It's as good a place to start as any."
"What if I am correct in thinking the magical build up has lasted over time?" Severus asked. "For all we know we may need to go back five years."
"Then we will determine that as we go along," Hermione answered.
She opened her copy of The Daily Prophet. "I still believe the onset of the amnesia is acute. The trigger took place over the last couple of months, not over the last couple of years."
Severus picked up the paper at his feet. "Perhaps you are correct."
Hermione set the paper onto her lap. "If I am wrong then feel free to tease me about it once we have discovered a cure."
Severus smirked and leaned closer to her. "You would give me permission to tease one of the greatest researchers I have ever known?"
"Why not?" Hermione grinned. "You already tease me enough."
"Witch," Severus purred. "I have not even begun to tease you."
Hermione flushed. "We need to begin our research if we expect anything to get accomplished."
"All work and no play…"
"Will allow us to resolve this crisis."
The light in Severus' eyes died. "Indeed it does."
"Still," Hermione picked up her paper. "Once we're finished with tonight's study session, I am more than happy to engage in other less academic pursuits."
"So you are," Severus breathed.
Hermione buried her head in the paper, and tried to stifle her giggles.
He opened his paper and began to peruse the front page. Before he could become too engrossed in the article, the fireplace was aflame.
Hermione lay her paper on the coffee table and sighed. "I suppose a quiet evening alone researching with my husband was too much to ask from fate."
"Indeed," Severus growled.
Hermione sprang from her chair and rushed to the fireplace. Severus was only two steps behind her.
"Rose?" Hermione called.
"Yes, Mum," Rose answered.
"What do you need?" Severus asked.
Rose swallowed. "I need to speak with you about a few things, assuming you are not too preoccupied at the moment."
Hermione's expression softened. "We are never too preoccupied for you."
"No," Severus replied. "We are not."
"Good," Rose replied. "I am glad to hear it."
Hermione noticed from the corner of her eyes that Severus was twisting his lips. He examined Rose as if attempting to determine her next move. Before Hermione could meditate on what his look meant, Severus backed away from the fireplace. Hermione did likewise. Rose stumbled across the hearth and brushed herself off.
"Are you well?" Severus asked.
"I am feeling fine at the moment," Rose answered.
Severus stared at his daughter.
"I need," Rose swallowed. "I need to speak with Mum."
There was a spark of recognition in his eyes. "Very well then."
Hermione swallowed. "What do you need to speak with me about?"
Rose grabbed the edge of her cape and twirled it around her finger. "Let's just say I have a dilemma which I would like advice on."
Hermione hummed. "I see."
"If this is a bad time, or if you are too stressed to speak with me, I can leave," Rose replied, speaking so quickly she was barely intelligible. "I can leave and we can forget I said anything."
"No, we should talk now," Hermione answered.
"Are you sure it will not cause you more undue stress?"
"I will be more stressed if I know my daughter is suffering, yet I am unable to help her."
"I see," Rose replied.
Severus kissed Hermione on the forehead. "I will be in my study reading the newspapers if you need me."
"Okay," Hermione whispered before giving him a peck on the cheek.
Severus embraced Rose. "Please tell me goodbye before you leave."
Rose released her cape and returned his embrace. "I promise that I will."
He kissed her on the top of Rose's head. In return, she kissed his cheek. He gave her a small smile before leaving.
Hermione cleared her throat. "Would you like some tea, or a cookie?"
"No, I am fine," Rose replied.
"Are you sure? I have some of those sugar cookies with sprinkles."
"I would love to have one, but I am not hungry."
"I have been eating," Rose continued. "In fact that is why I am not hungry. I had one too many slices of turkey."
"Very well then." Hermione gestured for Rose to follow her to the sofa. She complied.
"Thank you again for agreeing to meet with me," Rose's eyes fell on the newspaper pile beside her dad's favorite recliner. She bowed her head. "I should not have interrupted your research."
"I have a feeling we need to speak before I continue my research," Hermione replied.
"Indeed," Rose drawled.
Hermione sat on the couch. She patted the cushion next to her. Rose sat down.
"What do you need my advice on?" Hermione asked.
Rose wrung her hands.
"What do you need me for?"
"Rose," Hermione whispered. "You can tell me anything. You know that, don't you?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then please tell me what is on your mind."
"I have a few questions for you," Rose admitted.
Hermione folded her hands. "What kinds of questions?"
"Questions that would upset you."
"Then they need to be asked."
Rose looked into her mother's eyes.
"Your dad and I have hidden the truth from you long enough," Hermione began. "It is about time we begin giving you the answers you need."
"Very well then," Rose exhaled.
Hermione took a deep breath and braced herself for her daughter's next words.
"Was Ronald a true villain, or was there something redeeming about him? When did you first fall in love with him? Why did you stay with him if he treated you so horribly? What led you to conceive a child with him?"
Hermione held up her right hand. "Please, let's focus on one questions at a time."
"I apologize," Rose whispered.
"There is no need to apologize," Hermione's lips curled up. "If anyone understands the need to know everything, it would be me."
"Very true," Rose inhaled. "I suppose the best place to begin our discussion would be with the most pressing question."
"What would that be?" Hermione asked.
Rose locked eyes with her mum. "Does my conception ever haunt you?"
Hermione's body went cold.
"Does it ever bother you that my biological father is a man you cannot tolerate?"
"Wh-why would you ask such a question?"
"Because I know the story about Dad looking into Harry's eyes because he wanted to see Lily. I also know that Victor has your eyes and Violet has Dad's eyes. Mine are blue though, the same color as Ronald's. Does it not ever trouble you or Dad that my eyes are not like those of a Snape? Does he ever see Ronald when he looks at me?"
"Darling, your father saw Lily because he thought those were his last moments on earth. If he understood how many problems that story would create for himself and for his children, I promise you that he would have asked to look in my eyes."
"Do you truly believe that?"
"If he knew that his eldest daughter was going to obsess about her eyes, then yes, he would never have wanted to look at Harry and would probably have asked to see me."
"Fair enough, but it still does not answer my question."
"What would that be?"
"Do you see Ron when you look at me?"
"I can honestly say I have never seen Ronald in you," Hermione replied.
"Then who do you see?" Rose asked.
Hermione put a hand on her shoulder. "I see my daughter."
"I know you see your daughter in me. How could you not given that you birthed me?" Rose replied. "As far as resemblances though, when you look into my eyes, who do you see?"
"I see Severus Snape," Hermione admitted.
Rose raised her eyebrow in the same manner Severus did.
Hermione stifled a laugh. "You two have the same facial expressions, and you think similarly. I meant it when I said I see more of him in you than I do in either of your siblings."
"Do you truly see Dad, or are you fabricating resemblances in order to justify having another man raise me?" Rose replied.
Hermione squeezed her shoulder. "Only the daughter of Severus Snape would be so suspicious of one's motives."
"He is not always wrong to be suspicious," Rose replied.
"Rose," Hermione began. "I understand that you are confused, and that we deeply hurt you. Understand though that your father and I love you very much. We will always consider you to be our daughter. You will always be a Snape."
"That is not the entire truth though," Rose argued.
Hermione released Rose.
"I am biologically a Weasley. At some point I need to acknowledge and act upon that fact."
"How do you propose to do that?"
Rose shook her head. "I do not know."
Hermione bit her lip.
"I need to know more before I determine a course of action."
"What more do you need to know?"
"The next pressing question would be; if you and Ron were so mismatched, how did you fall in love?" Rose asked.
Hermione sighed. "He made me laugh."
"Dad makes you laugh. Why were you not drawn to him initially?"
"Because during my adolescence he was too busy being a git to have a sense of humor."
"If you must know the truth," Hermione continued. "I found Ron amusing, and at times he could be quite kind. It was that kindness I held onto during our worst times."
Rose scratched the sofa cushion.
"Then there was our history. We had been through so much together. I was convinced that our shared experiences would be enough to get us through a difficult future."
"According to Neville, all you two did was fight. He went as far as to say that Ron emotionally abused you."
"Yes, he did."
"How can you not see me in him then?"
"I have already explained that."
"I know but," Rose bowed her head. "I still have difficulty believing it."
Hermione leaned in closer to her daughter.
Rose locked eyes with Hermione. "I feel as if I must reclaim my heritage."
A chill ran up Hermione's spine.
"I need to know more about the Weasleys."
"What exactly do you need to know?"
"According to my research, you and the Weasleys were at one time close. In interviews you discussed how eager you were to join their family."
Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose. When all if said and done I am going to request that Neville put these old Daily Prophets in the Restricted Section. Merlin knows how many problems they are creating for my family.
"Why did you want to join the Weasleys at one point in your life?" Rose asked.
"Because they were a loving family, at least towards their own members."
"Yet they immediately turned against you after Ron abandoned us."
"The Weasleys take care of their own," Hermione began. "If one of their members is involved in a scandal, then they will defend that person to the death. Most of the time, they do not see reason, especially if it contradicts their narrative."
"Did you think they would defend you as they would one of their own?" Rose whispered.
"At one time, yes," Hermione admitted.
Rose said nothing.
"Growing up, the Weasleys were kind to me. The Burrow was my home away from home. They were the family which took me under their wing and taught me Wizarding customs. Most of their lessons were invaluable, yet some of them were damaging."
"Neville mentioned something about Ron wanting to mold you into the perfect wife. Did they support him in that?"
"Yes, they did," Hermione answered. "They had a very clear idea on who they wanted me to be, and the second I no longer fit into that mold was the second I would be criticized."
"To give you an example, three years after Ron and I began dating, we were spending New Year's Day at the Burrow. Ron became so intoxicated he could hardly stand. He began to complain about how many hair products I used, and how expensive they were becoming. When I told him those comments were hurtful, he began yelling about how I should consider myself lucky that he ever felt any attraction towards me. He proceeded to tell me that no other man would tolerate my attitude, or listen to what he called 'brainy ramblings.' I told him where to stick it. We proceeded to have a huge fight, which resulted in me storming into a spare bedroom."
"Did Aunt Ginevra say anything?"
"She was spending New Year's with the Malfoys and ironically enough, your father. She had invited me to join her, but Ron wanted to go to the Burrow and refused to be in the same mansion as a Malfoy. Despite my misgivings, we went to the Burrow."
"When Ron insulted you, did you immediately leave?"
"I was too stupid to do so."
"Then what happened?"
"Molly found me. She began to berate me for being too hysterical. Then she insisted that I apologize to Ron. After all, nobody wanted to start the New Year off with a fight."
"Did anyone defend you?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. Under pressure, I apologized to Ron, and everyone behaved as if nothing had occurred."
"Merlin," Rose replied. "Well, there must have been some positive memories with them."
"Of course there were," Hermione answered. "We had several good laughs, several good meals, and several good conversations. Unfortunately, they became further and farther between until the day Ron dumped me. Then, it was as if I had always been their enemy, hence our current situation."
"To summarize how things were between the Weasleys and me right before you were conceived: George pulled pranks at your grandparents' house and cost them thousands of dollars in repairs. Bill believed that I needed to be more like Fleur. Charlie made it clear that he thought I was working too much and needed to have more of a sense of fun. Percy, well we all know what he is like."
"I have always appreciated that your father had no clear expectation of what a wife should be like. He has always loved me for myself, which has meant more to me than any piece of jewelry ever could."
"I would imagine."
Hermione straightened her posture. "Those are my views on the matter."
"The Weasleys sound uncouth, rude, and all around obnoxious, yet…" Rose's voice trailed off.
"Yet you still want to meet them," Hermione finished.
Hermione's stomach constricted.
"You think it is a terrible idea to see them, do you not?" Rose asked.
"You are twenty-five," Hermione answered. "It matters little what I think is a good idea and what is not."
"I do not want to upset you though," Rose argued.
"I can handle a little stress."
"Yet you should not. I would feel horrendous if I subjected you to more stress than necessary."
"You are not in charge of my stress level or my health."
"I do not want to put your health in jeopardy, but more importantly, I do not want to upset you because you are my mother."
Hermione's throat was dry.
Tears welled in Rose's eyes. "I know you and Dad deceived me out of love, not maliciousness. I love both of you and will always consider you my greatest defenders. You will always be my Mum, just as Dad will always be Dad."
"Oh Rose," Hermione embraced her. "You will always be our baby girl."
"I know," Rose choked. "Yet as awful as the Weasleys are, they are still my heritage."
Hermione released her.
"I need to understand who I am. I fear the only way to do so is to understand who the Weasleys are," her voice grew softer. "Does that make any sense?"
"It makes all the sense in the world," Hermione answered.
"Please, do not think I am trying to spite you."
"No, you are trying to resolve the problem in the only way you know how."
"Thank you," Rose's throat constricted. "Thank you for not making me feel like an idiot."
"You are a grown adult," Hermione replied. "I have little control over what you do. All I can do is advise you on which way to go."
"What advice do you have to give then?" Rose asked.
"Keep your Gringotts account locked at all times."
Hermione nodded. "We weren't lying when we told you that Ron kidnapped you because he wanted money. If he will endanger a child and rip her from the father who loves her, then he will mooch off of you until you do not have a knut to you name. Whatever you do, watch your finances and more importantly, your heart."
"Thank you for the advice," Rose answered. "I will keep it in mind."
"There is never any need to thank me for being a parent," Hermione replied.
Rose wiped her eyes, "thank you."
Hermione embraced her once more, wishing she could do more to protect Rose from her latest course of action.