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Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter Text

Dad said that the dunderheads came out during a full moon. While he was rarely incorrect, in this instance he was mistaken.

The dunderheads come out during a waning gibbous.

During the week of the waning gibbous, more lovers roamed the halls after curfew than at any other time, cauldron explosions became commonplace, and very few people could correctly pronounce their spells. A headache potion was required to get through the week. Speaking of which, more may need to be brewed. She should check her supply tonight.

“Professor Rose?”

She glanced up from the magazine. “Yes, Molly?”

“Can I use the restroom?” 

“Are you finished scrubbing the cauldrons?”

“No yet.”

“Then you are to stay in this room.”

“But, but…”

“The sooner you finish scrubbing the cauldron, the sooner you may use the restroom.”

Molly huffed before resuming her task.

Professor Rose took one last glimpse at the student before returning her attention to her journal. For a moment, the professor’s thoughts turned to who had the dubious honor of being the most obnoxious Weasley: the elder Molly or her granddaughter. Rose snorted. Knowing the elder Molly Weasley she would spend less time pouting and more time railing against life's injustices.

“I think I’m done,” the student announced.

Professor Rose did not look up from her journal. “Do you think you’re done, or do you know you’re done?”

Molly let out a groan. From her desk, Professor Rose could hear a whispered obscenity.

Professor Rose held up her wand. “Five points from Gryffindor for your attitude.”

Molly bit her tongue and resumed scrubbing the cauldron.

Professor Rose turned the page. Scorpius owes me for covering his detention.

Molly grunted.

Once again, Professor Rose turned the page. A few paragraphs down, her eyes widened. She stuck a quill in an ink pot and underlined a few sentences. Then she set the quill down. 

“Finished!” Molly exclaimed.

The teacher folded the top of the page and set down the journal. She motioned for Molly to step up to the desk. The student marched over, cauldron in hand.

Professor Rose glanced inside the cauldron. Then she ran her finger along the edges. Finally, she scratched off a lone piece of soot. Molly gulped.

“It is satisfactory.”

Molly set the cauldron on the desk. “Thank you.”

Professor Rose huffed. “You may go.”

Molly stomped across the room. Professor Rose opened a drawer and placed the journal inside.

“It isn’t fair.”

Professor Rose suppressed a sigh. Most Gryffindors did not know how to leave well enough alone...

“I don’t understand how I got a detention but Dolores didn’t."

“It may have something to do with the fact that she was running around without a skirt while you held that article of clothing in your hands,” Professor Rose explained. “Your laughter doesn’t inspire confidence in your innocence either.”

“I told you, she’s a streaker,” Molly argued.

“Which explains why she was so distraught,” Professor Rose replied.

“It’s not my fault she regrets taking off her clothes.”

“I believe her only regret is being unlucky enough to come into contact with you and your cohorts that day.” 

“Yeah well,” Molly squirmed. “She, she had it coming.”

“Why would you claim that?” Professor Rose asked.

“She likes using terrible words such as ‘mudblood.’”

“Why have you not informed us of this before?”

“I thought I could make her stop on my own,” Molly replied. “There’s no need to involve any of you professors if I can take care of a problem myself.”

“In the future, I would strongly suggest you leave the discipline to us professors," Professor Rose suggested.

“Fine,” Molly sighed. “But you should at least give me credit for doing the right thing and making her stop.”

“Somehow I doubt stripping someone of her clothing constitutes doing the right thing.”

“If I didn’t do something she was never going to stop using that terrible language.”

“I’m sure losing hundreds of house points would’ve been a sufficient deterrent.”

“Yeah well,” Molly argued. “How can I trust you to deduct points from her if you’re the head of her house?”

Professor Rose shook her head.

“We all know how your father treated Slytherins. There’s no reason to think you’re any different.”

“Have I treated you unjustly.”

“Yes!”

“Ten points for raising your voice to me.”

“But, but…”

“Would you liked to lose more points?”

Molly’s face was rouge. “The only reason you’re taking points from me is because you hate my family.”

Professor Rose’s voice was even. “You may leave at any time. As I recall, you were on the verge of an emergency twenty minutes ago.”

“You,” Molly sputtered. “You’ll see. I’m going to owl my daddy about you. He’s going to speak with Headmaster Longbottom. You'll have to listen to him whether you like it or not!"

“One hundred points for attempted extortion,” Professor Rose replied.

Molly opened her mouth.

“Would you like to make it two hundred,” Professor Rose. “Or would you rather leave before things become worse for you?”

Molly spun around and darted out of the dungeons.

Professor Rose stared at the doorway before exhaling. She put a hand on one of the cauldron’s handles, but she did not pick it up. Instead she released it and strolled into her private chambers.

A man dressed in all black sat in an emerald armchair. He sipped his tea and kept his eyes focused on the documents in front of him.

“Dad?”

He lowered the papers.

“I apologize for my tardiness. Molly Junior decided that this would be the week she tortured every Slytherin in sight,” Professor Rose explained.

“I see.”

“Being true to her namesake, she could not leave the classroom without going into a tirade about how much I allegedly favor my own house. The speech ended with the ever-present threat of contacting her father, amongst other empty threats.”

He grinned. “You act as if I do not understand the perils of teaching.”

Rose embraced him. “I know, but Merlin Dad, you never told me students could be this frustrating.”

“I believe I tried to explain the antics of students on numerous occasions,” Severus answered as he returned the embrace. “But I believe your words were, ‘if you could control them then so can I.’”

Rose chuckled and released him. “Ah, the naiveté of youth.”

“Indeed,” Severus pointed to the wooden rocker across from him.

Rose sat down in it. “I’d tell you to go ahead and look over my notes…”

“I figured if they were left out on your desk I could pilfer through them.”

“How far have you gotten?”

“I am on page twelve.”

“Merlin Dad, how long have you been here?”

“Roughly a half hour.”

Rose scowled. “I swear Molly scrubs the cauldrons as slow as possible for the sole purpose of annoying me.”

“Perhaps she enjoys being in your presence,” Severus teased.

“Because I’m such a friend to all Gryffindors.”

“You are kinder to them than certain other heads of the Slytherin house.”

“That isn’t saying much.”

Severus chuckled. “I am not upset by your tardiness in the least. It gave me a chance to go over your proposals anyway.”

“And…” Rose drawled.

“So far they sound promising,” Severus replied. “There are few tweaks I think we should make in a few places though.”

“I agree,” Rose replied. “This is all preliminary, but I thought we should at least have something from which to work.”

“Indeed.”

“We have time to experiment, right.”

Severus sipped his tea.

Rose’s stomach sank. “Mum has time, doesn’t she?” 

Severus gave her a small smile. “So far there has been no change in her condition. I do not foresee any reason to think she will deteriorate any time soon.”

Rose released the breath she’d been holding.

“That being said, we should be proactive,” Severus set his cup down on a side table. “I propose that we discuss your theories over a game of Wizarding chess.”

“Do you truly want to play Wizarding Chess?” Rose moaned.

“Do you have some other game in mind?” Severus asked.

“I was hoping you’d be more in the mood for Gobstones.”

“I am not. I prefer chess.”

Rose lowered her head.

Severus smirked. “What is the matter? Do you fear you’ll lose again?” 

“Why wouldn’t I fear losing? I have yet to defeat you,” Rose replied.

“There is a first time for everything. Perhaps tonight will be the night you prevail,” Severus answered.

“Doubtful.”

“With that attitude, you’re hopeless. If you would gain some confidence in yourself you may find me an opponent you could defeat.”

Rose stood up. “Fine, for you I will humiliate myself again.”

“Now that's a proper attitude,” Severus teased.

Rose strolled towards her bedroom. “If you’re going to humiliate me, could you at least warm me up some apple juice?”

“It would be my pleasure,” Severus replied.

“Thank you,” Rose called back with a smile. She pulled out the box and paused.

Dad had a way of making everything a bit more bearable, even if that something was an evening spent with a bratty Weasley.

Chapter Text

Two hundred fifty milliliters.

Hermione held up the fuchsia bottle until the meniscus was at eye level. There was two hundred fifty milliliters, just as there should be. 

She took a deep breath before gulping down the contents of the bottle. Upon finishing the concoction, she gagged. After taking a few deep breaths she set the bottle onto the bedside table.

The room spun around. Magic coursed through her veins, electrocuting every cell it touched. Purple dots formed before his eyes. 

Then a minute passed.

The room stilled. Her body went numb. There were no more spots.

Hermione groaned and turned her head to the bottle. There was a little over one ounce left. She tilted up the bottle until the remaining liquid touched her tongue.  A jolt of magic shot up her body, but there was no other sensation. 

Hermione glanced over at the bedside table. She grabbed the book on top of it and set down her bottle. Then she fluffed the pillows underneath her and leaned back. Once she positioned her wand in order to gain the optimal amount of light, she opened the book to where her bookmark was placed, and began to read.

Thirty pages into her book, the fireplace erupted behind her.

“Hermione?” 

“Yes, love.”

Severus walked over to the master closet. “I apologize for staying away longer than I intended. Rose was delayed by a dunderhead.”

Hermione poked her head up from the book. “Let me guess, one of the Weasleys.”

Severus unbuttoned his shirt. “Molly Weasley II to be precise.”

Hermione sighed. “Merlin, you’d think one Molly Weasley would be enough for the world.”

“Apparently we needed two,” Severus answered before kicking off his pants.

“I hope Molly didn’t give her too much trouble.”

“Rose held her own just fine.”

Hermione slid the book beside the empty vial. “Good.”

Severus pulled out one of his nightshirts. “I take it your evening has been pleasant enough.”

“It's been fairly relaxing,” Hermione answered.

“I am glad to hear it,” Severus answered before putting on the nightshirt.

“I’ve been rereading Sense and Sensibility,” Hermione continued.

“Merlin witch, I swear you’ve read that five times since the day we were wed,” Severus replied as he buttoned up his nightshirt.

“I’ve read it six times since we’ve been married," Hermione answered.

Severus turned to her. “Is there a particular reason you enjoy reading it?”

There was a gleam in her eyes. “I’m not sure you will be pleased with my explanation.”

Severus crawled into bed beside her “I’m willing to hear you out.”

Hermione smirked. “I am in love with Colonel Brandon.”

Severus frowned, though his eyes still glistened. “Are you really?”

“Yes,” she whispered. “I am truly, madly, and deeply in love with him.”

Severus scowled.

“I am terribly sorry if I’ve upset you,” Hermione purred. 

“You have wounded me deeper than I could ever have imagined.”

“I do apologize, but I thought I should be honest with you.”

“No, I appreciate your honesty. If only the husband weren’t the last to know things such as this.”

“Indeed,” Hermione replied. “It must be quite hurtful to learn that your wife has been carrying on with a literary figure.”

Severus twirled a tendril of her hair around his finger. “I suppose at this juncture my only two options are to leave or to fight for my marriage.”

“Whichever shall you choose?”

“Well, I do have a few ideas concerning how best to recapture your love.”

“How exactly do you plan to woo me?”

“I’ll have to prove myself more worthy of your affections than him.”

“How exactly do you plan to do that?” Hermione asked.

Severus captured her lips. 

She hummed as they broke away from each other. “That is one method of persuasion.”

“I hear it’s quite effective in cases such as this.”

“I will give you credit, you are a far better kisser than Colonel Brandon could ever hope to be. Still, he is quite heroic when he’s riding around on his white horse.”

“Are you saying I am not heroic?”

“I’m saying you do not have a white horse.”

“I can buy ten white horses tomorrow if you so wish. As for riding on one,” he grinned. “Wouldn’t you believe that saving the world a thousand times over is sexy enough?”

“I suppose you do have that sexy, spy thing going for you,” Hermione replied.

“I do,” Severus whispered before brushing his lips against hers.

“And I suppose you are far handsomer than Colonel Brandon.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. Even I can admit my shortcomings, my appearance being one of them.”

“Oh Severus,” Hermione whispered. “How many times must I tell you that you are the sexiest man I have ever had the fortune of laying eyes upon?”

“As many times as I’ve told you to get your eyes checked,” he replied.

“Severus,” she laughed.

“Yes?” he drawled before kissing her on the lips once more.

“Perhaps,” Hermione replied. “Perhaps you are more alluring than Colonel Brandon.”

“Oh I am infinitely more alluring than him.”

“Indeed you are.”

Severus hummed.

Hermione grinned. “Mr. Darcy on the other hand, well, I have a difficult time choosing between the two of you.”

“Merlin witch,” Severus groaned. “You live to torment me.”

“I don’t mean to torment you,” Hermione replied. “I simply enjoy watching you squirm every now and then.” 

“I am glad I keep you amused.”

“Oh you do so much more than amuse me.”

Severus grinned. “Do I now?”

She pressed her body against him and kissed his neck. “Yes.”

With that, Severus put his hands under the hem of her silk nightgown. In one motion he managed to remove it from her person. He took a moment to pause and gaze at his wife.

She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes upon.

Chapter Text

Dear Dad,

I hope you are doing well. For the most part I am fine, but I am having problems with Professor Rose again. Yesterday, she gave me a detention. That’s the third time this month! All I did was stand up to one of her precious Slytherins. Dolores was using the word “mudblood” again. I pointed out that she shouldn’t use that kind of language, but she just laughed at me. I’ll admit that I might have shouted at her, but Dolores shouted right back at me. When Professor Rose came, I tried to explain that one of her students was using bad language, but she wouldn’t listen to me! She took Dolores’ side and removed house points from me for shouting at her. She wouldn’t listen to what I had to say. Instead, I got a detention! Yes, I got a detention for standing up for muggleborns! 

I know I shouldn’t ask you this favor, but I need you to speak with the Hogwarts Board of Governors about Professor Rose and Headmaster Longbottom’s refusal to discipline her for her obvious favoritism. It’s clear that she lets Slytherins get away with everything and takes pleasure in deducting points from Gryffindors. It’s even worse in my case because I’m a Weasley. She needs to behave professionally and stop giving me detentions for no reason! 

Everything else is going well. Ravenclaw is playing Hufflepuff today. I will have to sit in the back row where I can’t see anything thanks to Professor Rose’s constant detentions, but somehow I’ll manage as I always do. I don’t play Quidditch until Monday, but we’ll be playing Slytherin. I cannot wait to see the look on everyone’s faces when I score thirty points again! Perhaps you can convince Headmaster Longbottom to let you sit in on the match. I would really love to see you again.

Love you!

Molly

 

***

Professor Rose crossed her arms over her chest. “Why exactly do we cling to this inane tradition?” 

“Bored already?”

“Already?” Rose snarled. “Scorpius, this game has been going on for four hours, and there is no end in sight . No student has gotten within five feet of the snitch, they can barely get the quaffle through the goal hoops, and the sky is growing more gray by the second.”

A drop of water fell on Scorpius’ brow.

“It would be a far better use of my time to sit inside and grade papers,” Professor Rose concluded

Scorpius snorted. “Only you would prefer to grading papers to a Quidditch game.”

Rose’s frown deepened. “Looking out over the audience, I get the impression tat many of these students would rather write papers than sit out in this kind of weather.”

Scorpius looked at the crowd of students. About a quarter of them were watching the game. Several other students were talking while others had fallen asleep.

“Quidditch sure has lost its luster from when I was a child,” a voice chimed in. 

They turned their attention to the man beside them.

“Back when I was a student, you would go deaf from the amount of cheering in the stands,” he continued. “Our voices would grow hoarse from all the shouting. Even after four hours we'd be yelling as if the game had just begun.”

“No offense Headmaster Longbottom, but times have changed,” Professor Rose commented. 

“Indeed they have.” Headmaster Longbottom shook his head.

“I mean no offense, but perhaps we should consider changing wth the times,” Professor Rose suggested.

Headmaster Longbottom cracked a smile. “I suppose you would suggest we replace the Quidditch games with Gobstone tournaments?”

Rose grabbed the edge of her black cape and twirled it around her finger. “Students stay awake during the Gobstone tournaments. The matches are much shorter, which means more time can be dedicated to studying.”

Headmaster Longbottom’s smile grew. “You sound like your parents.” 

“They are intelligent people. Rarely are they wrong in matters such as this.”

Headmaster Longbottom turned his attention to the Quidditch pitch. In the far east corner were a group of students with their noses in textbooks. To the west, a few students were writing on parchments. 

“Fenrir really did a number on this sport. Before him, this was the epitome of excitement. Now though,” Headmaster Longbottom sighed.

“Quidditch could be popular again,” Scorpius cut in. “Once the memory of Fenrir’s attacks fade, then wizards may learn to love the sport again.” 

Rose released her cape. “It’s been almost a quarter of a century since his last attack on a Quidditch pitch, and attendance has continued to spiral downwards. Not to mention that none of these students remember the lycanthrope, yet the sport bores them past the point of tears.”

Headmaster Longbottom exhaled. “While I appreciate your optimism, Professor Malfoy, Professor Rose may be correct. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate how the students spend their weekends.”

“Perhaps,” Scorpius’ face lit up. “On a more pleasant note, my students have been studying boggarts.”

“Oh they have,” The spark returned to Headmaster Longbottom eyes.

Scorpius nodded. “They were all able to cast the Riddikulus spell within the first class period.”

“That’s excellent,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“Indeed,” Professor Rose replied. “Were there any interesting boggarts?”

The color drained from Professor Malfoy’s face.

Professor Rose smirked. “There was one in particular which was exceedingly interesting, wasn’t there?”

“I mean, they were the usual,” Professor Malfoy wrung his hands. “Some feared wolves, others were afraid of dementors, you know, standard fears.”

“Did any of the boggarts resemble me?” Professor Rose asked. 

Professor Malfoy bit his lower lip.

Professor Rose’s eyes glistened. “It happened! I finally have a boggart of my own.”

“Well, uh…”

“What did I look like before the Ridikulus spell? How did they dispel me?”

“None of the boggarts resembled you,” Professor Malfoy replied.

Professor Rose deflated. “None of them resembled me in any way?”

“No,” he answered. “You have never been anyone’s boggart.”

Professor Rose took her cape back into her hands. “I’ll have to try harder to intimidate certain dunderheads then.”

Headmaster Longbottom burst out laughing. “Trust me, you’re intimidating enough with your black clothes.”

“I am?” She asked.

The Headmaster nodded. “Sometimes when I see you patrolling the halls I have to stop and remember you are not your father, and as Headmaster I cannot receive a detention.”

“Is the resemblance that strong?”

“It is.”

Professor Rose hummed.

“If none of the boggarts resembled Professor Rose, then who did it appear to be?” Headmaster Longbottom asked.

Professor Malfoy mumbled something under his breath.

“What did you say?” 

“I said the student saw Headmaster Longbottom.”

Professor Rose burst out laughing.

Headmaster Longbottom’s eyes were wide. “D-did you say I was a boggart?” 

“Yes,” Professor Malfoy squeaked.

Professor Rose laughed louder. “Tell me, how could any boggart take on Headmaster Longbottom’s form?”

“Yes how?” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“The student in question was fearful that you would expel him,” Professor Malfoy answered.

“Oh dear,” Professor Longbottom replied.

“H-how did he dispel the boggart?” Professor Rose gasped through her laughter.

Professor Malfoy swallowed. “His Ridikulus was Headmaster Longbottom in lingerie.” 

“Lingerie?” Headmaster Longbottom exclaimed.

“Yes,” Professor Malfoy explained. “You were in a light blue babydoll outfit.”

Professor Rose caught her breath. “I have to tell Mum and Dad about this. It’s all so rich.”

“Well,” Headmaster Longbottom winked. “Did I at least look pretty?” 

“I mean, by certain standards I suppose so,” Professor Malfoy replied. 

Headmaster Longbottom grinned. “At the end of the day, that’s all that matters." 

Professor Malfoy relaxed. 

Professor Rose felt another drop of water on her shoulder. “Do you think it’s wise to have these students sitting out in the rain?”

“Students have sat out in the rain before with no great harm done to them,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

“Perhaps,” Professor Rose replied. “But if they sit out in the rain for too long, then they are at a risk of catching a cold.”

“They can take a pepperup potion,” Professor Malfoy replied.  

“Under normal circumstances that would be a viable solution, seeing as to how the second years would brew then. This year though there are several of them who shouldn’t be trusted within twenty feet of a cauldron. I fear unleashing their creations on the rest of the student body.”

Headmaster Longbottom out a hand on her shoulder. “Give yourself a few years, and you’ll be someone’s boggart. Anyone who sounds that much like Snape will become a boggart soon enough.”

“If his students were anything like mine, then he had every reason to be concerned for the entire student body.” 

“Well, he did have me as a student, so he had reason to be fearful for the structure of his dungeons.”

“Indeed he did.”

“Is this game is still going on?”

The three snapped their heads to the right.

To the east of the Quidditch patch stood a teenager and a giant. The wind blew through the adolescent’s long black hair. Her onyx eyes were as hard as coal; her frown was identical to that of her father.

“Please dear Merlin don’t,” Professor Rose muttered. “Just sit down. Please just sit down.”

Without a broom, the girl took to the wind. The giant reached for her leg, but he only grabbed air. She flew in the direction of the golden snitch and grabbed it.

“Game Over!”

The audience erupted into cheers. The Quidditch players waved their fists at her, but her only response was a smirk.

Professor Rose shook her head. “Dear God Violet. Why can’t you leave well enough alone?”

“So, uh,” Professor Malfoy asked. “If a Slytherin catches the snitch in a Ravenclaw vs Hufflepuff game which was tied, who wins?”

Violet stood on the wind as the Quidditch players landed their brooms.

“One hundred points from Slytherin for showing off at the most inopportune time,” Professor Rose muttered.

Professor Rose watched as Violet flew laps around the pitch. The students continued to shout and wave their hands in her direction.

Headmaster Longbottom leaned down and whispered, “One hundred points to Slytherin for that excellent display of levitation.”

Professor Rose took a deep breath, “Indeed.”

Chapter Text

“What in Merlin’s name were you thinking?”

Violet smirked. “I was thinking that it was time to end that Quidditch game.”

“The game ends when one of the players catches the golden snitch, not when one of the spectators grows weary of watching and flies up to grab the snitch herself,” Professor Rose answered.

“I wasn’t a spectator,” Violet argued. “I was a hostage.”

Professor Rose put her heads in her hands.

“I saved the entire school from that awful game, and you know it.”

“No, you violated school rules for your own amusement.”

“Are you really going to give me a detention for saving everyone from dying of boredom?”

Professor Rose twirled the edge of her cape around her fingers. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You would love nothing more than for me to assign you a detention with Hagrid so you can gallivant around the woods searching for Fawkes.”

Violet’s smirk grew.

“Which is why I plan on giving you a detention with Professor Sweeny,” Rose continued. “You can help her scrub the crystal balls.”

Violet’s face reddened. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Rose released her cape. “Of course I would.”

“If,” Violet moved closer to Rose, “If you do that, I’m telling Mum and Dad!”

“One hundred points for attempted extortion,” Rose drawled as she pulled up the chair behind her desk.

“That wasn’t extortion,” Violet retorted. “That was a promise.” 

“Fifty points for raising your voice to me,” Rose replied.

Violet gritted her teeth. “Mum and Dad will take my side. We both know how much they hate Quidditch. They’ll think you’re overreacting and being too harsh with me.” 

“Mum and Dad care more about obedience towards one’s professors than they do about ending Quidditch games,” Rose argued as she sat down.

“You never told me I couldn’t end the Quidditch game, so I technically didn’t defy you.”

“I should not need to remind you of every little school regulation each time we encounter each other.” 

“Point to the rule which says you can’t fly up and catch the golden snitch.”

Rose bit her tongue.

“It doesn’t exist does it?” Violet replied. 

Rose took a deep breath. Count to ten, count to ten…

“It that’s the case then I didn’t break any rules, I didn’t defy you, and I ended a terrible Quidditch game. So, I should get at least a hundred points rewarded to me, not a detention,” she concluded.

“This isn’t a courtroom, and your punishment isn’t up for negotiation,” Rose replied.

Violet shrugged. “It was worth a try.”

“Do you think this all of is a joke?” Rose snapped.

“No,” Violet answered. 

“Between grabbing the snitch and attempting to extort me I should be giving you detention for the next three weeks, not the next three days.”

“I didn’t extort you. I simply told you I was going to write to Mum and Dad and that they’d take my side.”

“Do you think Dad would take your side when he discovered that you flew without a broom for a non-emergency purpose?” Professor Rose asked.

Violet stepped back.

Rose’s lips curled up. She stood and leaned over her desk “Even if there is no rule against a spectator capturing the snitch, Dad was quite clear on not flying unless it was an absolute emergency. Such emergencies should consist of the potential for physical harm, not the potential for an afternoon of boredom.”

Violet bowed her head.

“Are you beginning to understand my position?”

“I am.”

“Good,” Professor Rose flicked her wrist. “Expect to spend the next three nights with Professor Sweeny dusting off crystal balls.”

“Yes,” Violet replied.

“You may go,” Professor Rose concluded.

Violet began walking away, but paused halfway between Rose’s desk and the door. “Can you please answer one question?”

Professor Rose sighed. “That all depends on the question.” 

“As a sister,” Violet spun around. “What did you think of my actions?”

Rose gave her a small smile. “Your landing was somewhat shaky, and the little flip you did midair was a bit much. Still, I do admire your technique. With a little more practice you’ll make even the best Quidditch player appear to be an amateur flier.”

Violet grinned.

Rose placed a hand on her shoulder. “I know you enjoy flying, and you are quite talented at it. Still, you need to discern when it’s best to display your skills and when it’s best to remain grounded.”

Violet opened her mouth.

“No, a tedious Quidditch game is not an excuse to leap up into the air and capture the golden snitch.” 

“Yes Rose.”

“Excuse me?”

Violet answered, “Yes, Professor Rose.”

“Good,” Professor Rose replied. “Do you have any further questions for me?”

“Not at the moment."

“Then please return to the Slytherin Common Room before I am accused of favoring you.”

“Yes ma’am,” Violet made her way to the doorway.

“Violet?”

She spun around.

“On a more personal note, thank you for ending that horrid game,” Rose replied.

“Anytime Sis.”

With that, Violet strolled out of the dungeons.

 

***

Hermione folded the parchment in half and tossed it onto her desk. “Are you certain you do not wish to join me in Brazil?”

“I am positive,” Severus replied.

“Is there any particular reason you wouldn’t want to join me?” Hermione asked.

He answered, “As much as I enjoy the sound of your voice, especially when you lecture on potions, I fear I have put off brewing several potions for far too long.”

“I suppose I have been keeping you out of the basement as of late,” Hermione mused aloud.

“Indeed, you have proven to be quite the diversion.”

“Still, I would appreciate some company at the conference. After all it is my first sojourn to South America.”

“You will manage just fine on your own.”

“No, I don’t know if I will,” Hermione argued. “My hotel room is only a few blocks from the beach, several flowers will be in bloom, and the weather should be mild. I don’t know how I’ll manage to take it all in alone.”

Severus embraced her. “I am sure you will find a way.”

“I suppose I will have to manage,” Hermione kissed his collarbone. “Still I do wonder what would occur if I were to book the hotel for a few extra days.”

“A few extra days?”

“I would use our money, not the university’s, to book my room, but if I could reserve the room for three extra days, you would be finished brewing by then, would you not?”

“I would be caught up by then.” Severus twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. 

“So…perhaps…”

He kissed her forehead. “Book the room for an additional four days.”

“Are you certain?” Hermione asked.

“You made a vacation in Brazil sound so enticing, I could not refuse,” Severus replied. “Granted, you could make divination sound appealing, but I will ignore that fact for the moment.”

Hermione answered, “I’m glad I can be so persuasive.”

“Oh witch,” he sighed. “I’ve told you so many times, you bewitch me, you enrapture me, you leave me so disoriented that I scarcely know what to do with myself.”

She pulled him closer. “I love you, Mr. Snape.”

“I love you too, Mrs Snape,” he rasped.

She ran her fingers through his hair. “When do you need to begin brewing?”

“Not at this moment.”

“Good. The last thing I would ever want to do is distract you from your work.”

“Trust me when I say you are a most pleasant distraction.”

He recaptured her lips and held her close.

The brewing could wait for a few more hours.

Chapter Text

She waited all year for this moment.

Some students scooted their chairs as close to Professor Rose’s desk as possible, others backed away as far as they could. One student trembled while another let out a nervous giggle. A few glanced at their professor, their eyes pleading for some hint of how they should handle this situation.

Professor Rose cleared her throat. “The greatest potions master who has ever graced the halls of Hogwarts once said that if you wish to understand a potion, you must first understand its ingredients. One key piece of knowledge is its origin.”

She glanced down at the clear container on her desk. Inside, a king cobra slithered forward, as if to get a better view of the students.

“This is Madame Serpent,” Professor Rose grabbed the beaker on the edge of her desk and placed it in front of her. “She will be providing the King Cobra venom needed for our pain relief potion.”

Professor Rose stuck her right arm into the cage. The students’ eyes grew as Madame Serpent slithered up to her elbow.

One student swooned.

“Obviously one should only handle a king cobra as I do under certain circumstances,” Professor Rose explained. “Madame Serpent is relatively safe to touch. Her diet consists of a supplement which provides her with all the nutrients she needs. This supplement is charmed to keep her docile, quite an invaluable trait. Just as crucial is the fact that this diet increases the magical properties of her venom, making any potion she helps to create more potent.”

A hand was raised.

“Yes, Mr. Wilson,” Professor Rose drawled.

“I-is it true that you are a parsletongue?” He asked.

“No. Parseltongue is only a hereditary skill,” Professor Rose answered. 

He opened his mouth.”

“Despite the outrageous rumors, my father was not the bastard son of Voldemort,” Professor Rose continued.

The student nodded and folded his hands.

“Back to our original topic of discussion,” Professor Rose picked up Madame Serpent by the head. The snake hissed before relaxing. “Madame Serpent has worked with me for years. She is crucial to my research, and I am pivotal to her survival. It is only natural to become attached to each other under those circumstances.”

Madame Serpent opened her mouth as wide as she could. Professor Rose hummed.

The students held their breath.

Professor Rose held Madame Serpent over the beaker. With one swift motion she jammed the snake’s teeth into the latex covering. Then she pressed on Madame Serpent’s head. Yellow fluid trickled from her mouth. 

“You must be firm yet gentle when milking a cobra. If you are too gentle then you will be unable to extract any venom from her; yet if you are too aggressive you will harm her.”

A trembling hand was raised.

Professor Rose glanced at the student. “Is there a question Ms. Price?”

“Do, do we have to milk her ourselves?” She stuttered.

Professor Rose raised her eyebrow. “Do you want to milk her yourself?”

Ms. Price recoiled. 

“It is quite enjoyable, once you have perfected the process.” Professor Rose lifted Madame Serpent from the jar.

"I-I'll take your word for it," Ms. Price squeaked.

Professor Rose removed Madame Serpent from the beaker. “Thank you for your assistance. You did quite well.”

The cobra flicked her tongue.

Professor Rose set Madame Serpent back in the cage. The snake slithered away from her arm and stared the students.

“I hope I have made my point clear about how difficult it is to obtain the cobra venom needed for this potion,” Professor Rose intoned as she put a plastic cover on Madame Serpent’s container.

A few muttered their agreement. 

“Now, I expect this Śarpe Curat completed within the next hour and a half. That is more than feasible. When the potion is complete bring it up to me. If it is any color other than Prussian Blue then you have brewed the potion incorrectly and you are liable to poison someone with it. Obviously this will result in a failing grade.”

“Yes Professor Rose,” they mumbled.

Professor Rose stared at them. The students did not move.

“You have a limited amount of time to complete your project,” She announced.  “Do not waste it.”

The students began assembling their ingredients and set to work on the project.

Professor Rose sat down into her chair. She tapped on the container. Madame Serpent glided over to her.

“How long do you think it will take for one of the students to blow up a cauldron?” Professor Rose whispered.

Madame Serpent raised herself and inflated her hood.

Footsteps could be heard from the hallway.

“No, I do not think it will take half as long as you seem to think it will,” Professor Rose whispered.

Madame Serpent flicked her tongue.

The footsteps grew louder.

Professor Rose kept her eyes on Madame Serpent. Perhaps if she pretended her class and the snake were the only entities in the universe the visitor would disappear…

Against her wishes, the door opened.

“Professor Rose?”

She glanced up. “Yes, Professor Malfoy?”

He took a deep breath. “Headmaster Longbottom needs to speak with you immediately.”

“What does he need to speak with me about?” she asked.

“I’m not entirely sure,” he answered. “All I know is that he wants me to substitute for your class for the next half hour or so.”

Two students gasped.

Professor Rose scowled at the students. They returned their attention to their notes.

"I take it there is no possible way this can wait."

"From what Headmaster Longbottom said, it cannot."

Rose sighed. “If anyone explodes a cauldron feel free to deduct points and give that individual a troll.”

Professor Malfoy nodded.

She turned her attention to the students. “I shall return by the end of the period. You cannot leave unless I have examined your potion.” 

“Yes, Professor Rose” they replied in unison.

Professor Rose then turned her attention to Scorpius. “Do make sure Madame Serpent remains in her cage. Left to her own devices she will roam around the dungeons and scare unsuspecting students who are on the verge of exploding their cauldrons.”

Professor Malfoy glanced at the cage and shuddered. “I’ll make sure she stays inside.”

The snake hissed.

Professor Rose stormed out the doorway and up the stairs, robes billowing behind her. Upon reaching the first floor she wrapped the edge of her cape around her finger and paused.

Despite his less than stellar experiences with her father, Headmaster Longbottom understood the importance of potions. He would never interrupt her class unless it was of the utmost urgency. Could Dad have been injured in the course of running an experiment? Did a client attack Victor and leave him wounded? Was Violet on the verge of expulsion for another one of her ill-conceived antics?

Had Mum gone down hill?

She released her cape and raced up the stairs to the Headmaster’s office. A pain formed in left her side halfway up the stairs, but she paid it no heed. She stopped in front of the gargoyle.

“Password,” he intoned.

“Toadstool,” she replied.

The door opened. She dashed through, only to stop dead in her tracks upon seeing the person in front of Headmaster Longbottom’s desk.

“Professor Rose,” Headmaster Longbottom began. “I am very sorry for interrupting your class.”

Professor Rose snarled. “Why exactly did Percy Weasley find it acceptable to interrupt my class?”

“I do apologize for taking time out of your busy schedule of tormenting Gryffindors,” Percy replied. "But what I must say is urgent."

Headmaster Longbottom leaned forward in his chair. “I expect that this meeting will be brief.”

“Agreed,” Percy replied.

“Why exactly have I been called in here?” Professor Rose asked.

“Mr. Weasley wants an account of your actions over the last month,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“Which actions is he inquiring about?” Professor Rose asked. “I have performed quite a few tasks over the last month or so. It is difficult to keep track of them all.”

“I would like to know why my daughter has received three detentions in the last month,” Percy demanded.

Professor Rose’s frown deepened. “Your daughter has severe difficulties in socializing with those outside her house.”

“I’m sure it’s sheer coincidence that most of the complaints concerning my daughter have been from Slytherins.”

“It’s no coincidence at all. That seems to be the house she despises the most.”

“She wouldn’t despise it as much if your Slytherins would stop calling other students, ‘mudblood.’”

“I assure you that if any of my Slytherins were using such derogatory terms then that individual would be swiftly and immediately punished,” Professor Rose replied. “Still, I find it convenient that only your daughter has heard them using this term. I’ve received no other complaints of such language from other students.” 

“The other students are too afraid of you to speak,” Percy answered.

Professor Rose snorted. “I suppose that out of the hundreds of students who attend this school, your precious Molly is the only one courageous enough to stand up to me.”

Percy crossed his arms over his chest. “My Molly is a very courageous girl. I am very proud of her.”

“Unfortunately, I fear her recent behavior is no cause for pride,” Headmaster Longbottom commented.

Percy pointed to Professor Rose, “You only believe so because of her and her campaign against my family.”

“Are you accusing one of my professors of being unfairly biased against one of my students?” 

"I am.”

“Well if anyone would understand the seriousness of a professor bullying a student it would be me,” Headmaster Longbottom replied. “Still, I have yet to hear of any wrongdoing on Professor Rose’s part.”

“Molly has complained to me several times about Professor Rose’s behavior,” Percy argued. 

“Two Slytherins in as many months have complained to me about Molly’s behavior,” Professor Rose cut in.

“Who would those Slytherins be?” Headmaster Longbottom winked at her.

Professor Rose’s expression lightened. “Daisy Parkinson and Dolores Smith.”

“Well now,” Headmaster Longbottom replied, “Both of them are wonderful students who have never graced my office for disciplinary reasons.”

“S-so you’re just going to believe them?” Percy stuttered.

Headmaster Longbottom shrugged. “I see no reason not to.”

Percy’s face was as red as his hair. “Well, I can think of a good reason not to believe Rose’s account of events.”

Rose rolled her eyes. Here we go…

“Her family has been at war with mine since the day she was conceived,” Percy argued. "This is just one extension of her parents' feud."

Rose bit her tongue. 

“You of all people know how Snape can hold a grudge,” Percy pointed to Headmaster Longbottom. “You know how unfairly he treats those he has taken a disliking to.”

Rose muttered, “Indeed it is beyond unreasonable for him to be disgusted with the family of his daughter's kidnapper.”

“Even two decades after the fact he’s still fuming that Hermione tried to pass Rose off as Ronald’s,” Percy continued.

“Excuse me!” Professor Rose exclaimed.

Percy startled.

"What accusation did you just level against my mum?"

"I said, your mum attempted to pass you off as a Weasley. Instead of being upset with her, your father takes his frustrations out on us."

"You're a liar."

"Am I?"

“Indeed, you are. Mum has always acknowledged me as a Snape,” Professor Rose argued. 

“If she was so certain that you were a Snape then why didn’t she contact your father immediately after she discovered herself to be pregnant with you?” Percy asked.

“Dad turned her away because he was a dunderhead. Even he admits that," Rose retorted.

“See, that’s the lie you’ve been told,” Percy replied. “The reality is that Hermione attempting to pass you off as Ronald’s child. When that failed she admitted you were a Snape. Your father has never forgiven us for almost raising you.”

Rose hissed. “Ron was a man who went crazy after a career ending injury. Mum never claimed I was his daughter.”

“Yes, she did, and your dad has never forgotten it,” Percy argued.

“Mum would never try to cut Dad out of my life. She told Ron from the beginning that I was a Snape. Ron was so furious with her for cheating on him that he expelled her from his life then went mad months later,” Rose retorted.

“If he was a madman then why was she so insistent in the beginning that you were a Weasley?” Percy argued.

“You’re lying!” Rose shouted.

“Prove it,” Percy approached her. “Prove that everything I’ve just said is a lie. Prove that your mother didn’t lie to your father. Prove that Snape has never held a grudge because you were almost raised as a Weasley.”

“That’s enough!”

Both of them turned to Headmaster Longbottom. 

“You’ve heard Professor Rose’s side of the story, and you know why I have no reason to distrust her. I would strongly suggest that you leave and forget this conversation ever occurred,” Headmaster Longbottom ordered.

“But Molly…” Percy began.

“Deserved every detention she’s received,” Headmaster Longbottom cut in. 

“She is being treated unjustly,” Percy argued.

“Please leave before I call Rita Skeeter and report that you are harassing Hogwarts employees instead of running an honest campaign,” Headmaster Longbottom ordered.

Percy glared at him. “This isn’t over, Neville.”

“Yes, I believe it is,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

Percy sputtered. "But you only..."

"Do you believe it is becoming of a candidate for the Minister of Magic to be harassing headmasters?" Neville asked. "Because I certainly don't."

Percy stomped towards the floo and shouted out the address to the Ministry. He stepped through the green flames and disappeared.

Rose blinked.

“I am so sorry to have interrupted your class for this,” Headmaster Longbottom began. 

“No, I understand the necessity of having me come here,” Rose replied. “He wasn’t going to leave until he got a chance to scream at everyone.”

“His attitude certainly puts young Molly’s behavior into perspective,” Headmaster Longbottom noted.

“Indeed it does,” Professor Rose answered.

Headmaster Longbottom grinned. “You are doing an excellent job educating your students. Keep up the good work.”

Her lips twisted upwards. “Thank you, Headmaster. I only hope Percy does not decide to retaliate.” 

Headmaster Longbottom sat down. “Don’t worry about Percy. I will make sure he does not show his face around here for the foreseeable future.”

“Thank you,” Rose replied. “Thank you for everything.”

“Anytime Rose, anytime,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

With a nod, Rose sauntered towards the basement with one thought echoing throughout her mind:

Was there any truth to what Percy had said about Mum?

Chapter Text

Draco paced in front of the fireplace, his hands behind his back. With each step he took, his face grew more crimson. 

“I presume those documents have not arrived yet,” Lucius began.

Draco scowled. “No, they have not.”

Lucius shifted until most of his weight was on his cane. “I’m sure they will come soon enough.”

Draco approached his father. “I know they will arrive soon, but for the love of Merlin I wish I didn’t have to sit in front of a fireplace and wait for them to be hand delivered to me.”

“That is the drawback of doing business with New York,” Lucius noted. 

“There has to be a better way than this,” Draco muttered. 

Lucius clacked his cane against the ground. “According to you, there might be.” 

The flames erupted behind Draco. He raced over to the fireplace. “Hello.”

“Dad?”

Draco’s expression softened. “Hello Carina. What do you need?”

“I was wondering if Grandpa Lucius was with you,” Carina replied.

“I am here,” Lucius called.

“Good,” Carina replied. “I need to speak with you.”

Lucius glided over to the flames. “What do you need?”

Carina answered. “I wanted you to know that your stock in Trebank went up, as promised. You have officially doubled your investment in the past two weeks.”

Lucius’ eyes lit up. “Oh what a brilliant girl.”

“I’ve learned from the best,” Carina answered. 

“I am thrilled that you have doubled your grandfather’s investment,” Draco interrupted. “Unfortunately I need this floo line to remain open so my associate can give me this month’s financial overseas earning report.”

“Then may I enter and discuss my latest achievement with Grandfather?” Carina asked.

“You never need to request an audience with me,” Lucius answered.

“No,” Draco replied. “You do not.”

With a few flicks of Draco’s wand, the wards were lowered. Draco stepped backwards, allowing Carina to step into the mansion.

“I apologize of I sounded cross earlier,” Draco began. “This report is taking longer to arrive than I’d anticipated.”

“There is no need to apologize,” Carina replied. “I know how stressful a late earnings report can be.”

“Indeed,” Draco refocused on the fireplace.

“Tell me, what does the future of my stocks hold?” Lucius asked.

“If my arithmancy predictions are correct, stocks should be stable for the next week, but they are going to take a slight dip afterwards. I do not believe you should panic, but to be on the safe side I plan to sell off a few of them. You can buy grandmother a nice dinner in Venice, amongst other things.” 

Lucius embraced his granddaughter. “That sounds like an excellent idea.”

“I was planning on taking your mother out sometime this evening,” Draco muttered. “Assuming my report comes in sometime today.”

Carina swallowed. “I’m sorry you’re having so many problems getting the report.”

“It is not your fault the floo network requires a person on each end,” Draco replied. “Merlin knows the Wizarding World has more important things to worry about than getting information from one continent to another in a timely manner.”

“It is rather disappointing that muggles are better at internationally sharing information than we are,” Carina replied.

“Indeed it is,” Draco grumbled.

“It makes one wonder if the Wizarding World should begin research into something akin to the muggle information sharing system.”

“I would be completely unopposed to a Wizarding version of the internet.”

Lucius leaned on his cane. “Why don’t you take steps to research a Wizarding equivalent and obtain the resources to implement it then?”

Draco glanced at Lucius. “I am not going there with you.”

“Where did you think I was going?” Lucius asked before winking at Carina.

She giggled.

“I know exactly where you’re going, and I am not going there with you,” Draco argued.

“Where exactly do you think I’m going?” Lucius asked in the most innocent voice he could muster.

“You want me to be the Minister of Magic so I can implement the new communication system I've been proposing for years.”

“I only want what’s best for you. If that includes you becoming the Minister of Magic then all the better.”

“No, you want me to be the Minister of Magic because it’s in your best interest."

“How would your career choice be in my best interest?” 

“For one, it would give you an excellent opportunity to live vicariously through me.”

“I have no desire to live vicariously through you.”

“Then stop pushing me to accomplish the one dream you could never fulfill.”

“All my desires have been fulfilled. ”

Draco furrowed his eyebrows. “That is not true, and we both know it.”

“Grandpa has done almost anything a wizard could imagine doing,” Carina chimed in. “What more could he possibly accomplish?”

“Becoming the Minister of Magic would have been quite the feather in his cap,” Draco replied. "And he knows it."  

The fireplace erupted.

Draco turned around and forced himself to smile. “Hello, Mrs. Manning.”

“Hello Mr. Malfoy,” she replied. “I do apologize for the wait. Our international floo system was down for a half hour. It’s only just now been repaired.”

He reached his hand into the flames. “Do not worry about a thing. Unforeseen circumstances such as this occur.”

“Thank you for your understanding,” she replied.

Draco pulled out a manila folder from the fire. “Thank you again for this. I will let you know if I find any causes for concern, or if any congratulations are in order.”

“I appreciate that,” Mrs. Manning answered.

“Have a great rest of the day,” Draco replied.

“You too,” she responded.

The flames died.

Draco exhaled. “It would be so much easier if there was a nice, simple place where documents, or at least copies of them, could be placed without needing to wait two hours for them.”

“If muggle could invent such a device then there is no reason a wizard could not,” Carina noted.

“My thoughts exactly,” Draco strolled over to the cream couch.

“You would need an obscene amount of resources to invent such a system,” Lucius noted. “Even if you could invent it, you would need to implement it in a large enough population so it would prove useful.”

“Agreed,” Carina answered. 

Draco set the folder on the coffee table.

“Such resources and methods of implementation are available, but only if you grasp them,” Lucius replied.

Draco frowned. “I am not running for Minister of Magic.”

“Why not?” Carina asked. “You would make a brilliant Minister of Magic.”

“I have had enough run-ins with the Ministry to last a lifetime. I do not need anymore,” Draco answered.

“That’s exactly why you should run,” Carina insisted.

Draco twisted his lips.

“You know what it’s like to be unjustly targeted by the Ministry, and you’d do everything in your power to prevent such corruption to occur ever again. You would use the Ministry to accomplish a dream and make life better for all of us, not to wield power like a weapon,” Carina continued.

Draco kissed her on the forehead. “While I appreciate your support, I do not want to put your mother in between her family and me again.”

“Uncle Percy is a blowhard and Mum knows it,” Carina argued. “I do not think she would be bothered if you ran for Minister of Magic in opposition to him.”

“I refuse to add any stress to your mother’s life,” Draco replied.

“Why don’t you ask her how stressful a campaign would be?” Carina asked. “You might be surprised at how eager Mum is to assist you in your political aspirations.”

Draco shook his head. “You’re as insistent as your grandfather.”

“She knows I’m right,” Lucius replied. “You need to run for Minister of Magic.”

Draco picked up the documents. “I wish I could remain here longer, but I did promise your mother a lovely dinner on the French Riviera. I do not want to keep her waiting any longer.”

“Please consider what we’ve said,” Lucius replied.

“I will consider the fact that you have never been the Minister of Magic despite your most ardent desires,” Draco replied.

“Dad,” Carina drawled.

Draco locked eyes with Lucius. “I refuse to become Minister to satisfy your deepest longings.”

“Then do not speak with me about your internet idea again,” Lucius replied. “If your internet idea is not worth pursuing then it is not worth complaining about.”

Draco gave Carina a small grin and kissed her on the cheek. “I love you Baby. Congratulations again on the increased profits.”

“Thank you,” Carina kissed his cheek. “And I love you too, Dad.”

Draco nodded before strolling out of the room.

“He is running out of excuses not to run,” Lucius noted. 

“He is,” Carina replied.

Lucius sat down on the sofa. “It will only take one incident to convince him to run against that blasted Weasley.”

“What kind of incident do you have in mind?” Carina asked.

“I do not know,” Lucius admitted. “But I suspect it will happen soon.”

 

***

This is beyond idiotic.

Rose leaned back in her emerald padded chair. She exhaled. 

I cannot believe that I am wasting valuable time meditating on Percy Weasley’s tantrum. My attention should be focused on these essays, not on the circumstances surrounding my conception.

She picked up an essay and gave it a glimpse. No matter how long she stared at it though, none of the letters formed cohesive words. Instead, her mind honed in on the image of a six year old clinging to her father’s every word.

“Now, Little One, you must be careful when adding the pearl dust to the Amortentia,” Severus dropped the ingredient into the golden cauldron. “If you add too much then you are liable to poison someone.”

“Would someone who was poisoned hate you?” Rose asked.

Severus began mixing the potion. “No, quite the opposite. A poisoned individual will stalk you, read bad poetry to you, and kiss you even when you do not wish to be touched.”

“I see,” Rose answered, her eyes fixed on the motion of his hands.

“Do you see what color the potion is?” Severus asked.

“It looks like a hazy white,” Rose answered. 

“The correct color is mother-of-pearl,” Severus replied. “Though hazy white is a close enough approximation.”

Rose grinned.

“Do you smell anything?” Severus asked.

Rose sniffed, but frowned. “No.”

“Understandable given that you are only six,” Severus replied. “When you fall in love with someone, the potion will take on that individual’s scent.”

“Oh,” she replied.

Severus inhaled its aroma. His eyes glistened. “To me, the potion smells of omelets, roses, and your mother’s hair care products. I cannot imagine that it will ever carry any other scent.”

“I hope it never smells any differently for you either,” Rose replied.

Severus embraced her. “I only hope one day you can experience the kind of love your mother and I have.”

Rose slammed the essay down onto the pile of others.

Dad is infamous for holding grudges. If he could hold a grudge against a boy for being born into the wrong family, then he would have little difficulty holding one against his wife for lying about conceiving his daughter. Yet, there has never been an underlying level of hostility between my parents. When Mum looks into Dad’s eyes, she does not see a man infuriated with his wife for almost keeping him from his daughter. Instead she sees a man who is devoted to her with every ounce of magic in his being.

Yet there is another side to Dad, namely that of the meticulous potions master. One must be diligent in his line of work. Every ingredient has to be measured out precisely, every ingredient has to be added perfectly. I can count on one hand the amount of times Dad had made even the slightest error. No, Dad is not known for obvious oversights, nor is he known for his inability to create a potion. This only leaves one unanswered question:

How could a conscientious potions master forget to give his secret lover a contraceptive potion?

Chapter Text

Two days.

Two days from now, she would no longer be an ocean away from him.

The man ran his finger along the newspaper. Halfway through the front page he threw the paper to the ground and stomped on it.

He grabbed his beer can and took a swig of the liquid. Once the last drop was gone, he crushed the can and slammed it onto the table. 

Years ago he had been able to ignore Mrs. Snape. The further away he was from her, the simpler his life was. Yet present circumstances were drawing him to her. She may be his only chance of salvation, assuming he could play his cards right.

Pound! Pound!

The man’s eyes grew.

“Open up!”

He ducked under the table and extinguished his wand.

“We know you’re in there!

He curled into a ball.

"¡Abre la puerta!"

The man picked up the newspaper and smoothed it out. He glanced at the bottom of the paper, careful to memorize the date and time of Mrs. Snape’s speech.

It was time for a reunion.

 

***

Professor Rose strolled through the bookshelves, cursing herself with every step. She passed the sections on potions, transfiguration, and astronomy. Under any other circumstance she would get lost in those shelves, but this was no time for distractions. Somehow she had to prove to herself that she was a Snape, if only so she could return to grading her papers in peace.

She scowled. This line of inquiry is nonsensical. Up to this point I haven’t had the slightest bit of doubt in my parents concerning their account of my conception. Why am I calling it into question now?

Because Percy’s account makes a certain amount of sense.

She breezed by the section which said, “historical archives.” She stopped and looked back. Her lips curled up.

“Yeh had a good idea in bringin’ me here.”

Rose’s stomach dropped.

“It came to me last night while I was cleaning crystal balls. If we want to know where Fawkes could be then we need to have a better idea of where he’s been.”

Rose hid behind the bookshelf and bit her lower lip. Why must Violet always appear at the least convenient times?

“Well, researchin’ Fawkes’ past whereabouts may be our bes’ chance of findin’ ‘em yet,” Hagrid answered.

“Indeed.” Papers shifted around. “Do you have any ideas on which years we should be looking at?”

Hagrid hummed. “I know Dumbledore got ‘em sometime before 1938.”

“Do you have any idea if Dumbledore had him before 1938?”

“I dunno.”

“If Dumbledore had obtained Fawkes in the early 1930's, there would be evidence of that," Violet mused.  "So I doubt Dumbledore had owned Fawkes for very long before they were first photographed together."

"Probably."

"Perhaps we should look at the archives from anywhere between 1938 to 1997. Perhaps Dumbledore left some kind of hint as to where he found Fawkes in an interview.”

“Not a bad idea,” Hagrid replied.

“If we come up empty and decide we need a specific date I could always pretend to be writing a report on Fawkes and ask Dumbledore’s portrait…” Violet began.

“No,” Hagrid argued. “If Dumbledore catches onto this then we migh’ get his hopes up. I can’t allow ‘em to be disappointed if we don’ find anythin’.”

Violet was silent.

Hagrid exhaled. “I promised meself to do this for Dumbledore. He wants nothin' more than to see Fawkes again, an' I owe him so much. I’d imagine yer father will fin’ some peace in seein’ Fawkes as well.”

“Yeah, Dad would,” Violet replied.

Rose flinched. How could someone raised by Severus and Hermione Snape use the word, “yeah?”

“I sugges’ we split up,” Hagrid began. “I’ll search for the records before 1970, and you look for those after.”

Rose swallowed.

“Sure,” Violet answered. “I’ll start with the year 1970 and go from there.”

Rose relaxed. Thank Merlin for small favors.

“WHY ARE YOU TWO TALKING?”

Violet gasped.

“Stop talking in the library!” Irma Pince ordered.

“Yes,” they muttered.

Irma Pince stomped away.

“Can you believe some people think she’s my grandmother?” Violet whispered.

Hagrid choked back his laughter, “Really?”

“Yeah,” Violet answered. 

Rose cringed. There was that horrid word again.

“They think she’s my paternal grandmother because according to the rumors she looks a bit like Dad,” Violet replied.

“Yer dad looks nothing like Madame Pince,” Hagrid answered.

“Agreed,” Violet answered.

“Are you two still talking?” Madame Pince shouted.

There was no answer.

“Let’s split up,” Violet whispered.

“Agreed,” Hagrid answered.

Rose poked her head out from the shelves. Hagrid lumbered to her left and Violet sauntered to her right. Rose released the breath she’d been holding.

The younger Snape paused and spun around. Rose reclaimed her hiding place. Violet shrugged and resumed her path to the archives.

Rose darted down the shelves until she reached the section on the Second Wizarding War. She slowed her pace and searched the titles. Within moments, she found the desired book. She grabbed it and tucked it under her cape. Then she glided out of the archives to a wall. She pulled out her wand and uttered a few spells. A door creaked open.

She looked backwards. Nobody was present. She snuck into the room, shutting the door behind her.

Rose exhaled and walked over to the desk. She sat down on one of the cracked, padded chairs and set the book on the table. For what seemed to be an eternity, she stared at the title.

The Golden Trio Through the Years

The temperature of the room increased. Rose focused on her breathing until her heart rate slowed. With a trembling hand she opened the book to the first page.

BOY WHO LIVED PREPARES FOR HOGWARTS

Too soon. She flipped forward one hundred and fifty pages.

HARRY HEARTBROKEN: GINNY WEASLEY ACCPETS DRACO MALFOY’S PROPOSAL

Still too soon. She flipped forward another fifty pages.

GOLDEN COUPLE ANNOUNCES ENGAGEMENT

Rose stared at the couple in the picture. Ronald Weasley had his arms wrapped around Mum, with a grin which sent shivers down her spine. Mum’s smile was more pleasant, but it didn’t reach her eyes. When Dad walked into a room, her eyes were a fireworks show, but in this picture it was as if someone had zapped the energy from her soul.

Rose flipped the page.

Article after article described the long engagement of her mother and the red headed git. Some were dedicated to how happy they were, others were dedicated to speculations on their wedding, yet none of them concerned a potential affair between Mum and the man who would become Rose's dad. Even nosy Rita Skeeter didn’t so much as speculate on a potential affair.

Rose continued to turn the pages. How could someone as famous as Mum keep a romantic liaison hidden? Why would a potions master having a sexual relationship with a high-profile lover forget that the quickest way to expose their affair would be for her to turn up pregnant? If Mum was allegedly so happy with Ron, why even look in Dad's direction?

Perhaps Ronald Weasley was lying. Perhaps he and Mum had not been chaste…

Rose shook her head. No! Mum would never lie to Dad about the potential for another man to be my father! She loves him too much! There must be some other explanation.

She turned to another page.

GOLDEN COUPLE BREAKS UP FOR GOOD

Here, this article should shed some light on the situation. What reason did Ron give for his abrupt separation from Mum?

After reading the article, Rose was no closer to an answer than the second she’d picked up the book. Ron had told the press that Mum was too stifling and was not allowing him to enjoy his youth. Mum refused to give a comment. There was no mention of Dad or any illicit affair.

Why would Ron keep this affair hidden? Wouldn't he be the kind of creep who would want the entire Wizarding World to know exactly how awful his now ex-fianceė was? 

Rose ran her fingers through her hair. 

There were far more questions than answers.

 

***

“So when we added the ashwidner eggs, the potion becomes ash, I mean turns to ash, I mean…” 

Hermione moaned and threw her notes onto the bed. She raised her head and cleared her mind.

They won’t care if you have the entire speech memorized. There is no shame in using a few notes. You’ve given hundreds of these talks. Even if this is your first South American excursion, you will do fine.

Her left arm itched.

Hermione’s heart stopped. She trembled and held up her arm.

There was no evidence of Bellatrix’s scar. Her magic wasn’t crackling within her, nor was she nauseous. Every indication suggested that the medication was still working, and wouldn’t be needed for another two weeks. 

"I'm healthy," Hermione whispered. "I'm perfectly healthy."

She sat down on the bed. The itch is a reaction to stress and nothing more. My mind is playing tricks on me, but there is no real danger.

Hermione collected her notes and set them on the bedside table. Practicing the presentation could wait until the morning.

Hermione stood up and trudged towards her closet. Despite her lack of fatigue, it was time to prepare for bed. She could only hope that Severus would emerge from the basement soon. At this moment she needed to feel his body against hers, if only to provide some type of security.

She pulled out her nightgown, wondering how a slight itch on her arm could cause such a panic.

Chapter Text

“Neville is better than this."

Arthur and George kept their eyes on Percy.

“Neville knows how outrageous it is for a headmaster to blindly accept any sort of behavior which comes from his employees," Percy ranted. "How could he make the same mistakes as Dumbledore and allow a snarling Snape to run rampant around the school?”

“It is rather sad that Neville has forgotten how difficult it is to be on the receiving end of a vengeful Snape,” George replied as he sat on the faded orange couch.

Arthur sat up straighter in his recliner. “I feel sorry for Rose."

“You feel bad for Rose?” Percy spat.

Arthur nodded. "As a child her only real role models were a cheater and a dungeon bat. Perhaps if she'd had some more positive influences in her life she would not behave as she does."

“She’s not some teenager experimenting with mind altering potions," Percy huffed. "She’s the professor tormenting your granddaughter.” 

“All I’m saying is that she shouldn’t feel as if she needs to bully Gryffindors to exert her authority,” Arthur answered. “I had hoped Severus would raise her to be better than that, but I suppose he can only teach her what he knows.”

“How could Snape raise her to be anything but his clone? She’s surly, sarcastic, and all around unpleasant to be in the same room with,” Percy replied.

Arthur’s throat tightened. “Did she at least seem happy?”

“Yes,” Percy admitted. “She takes an unusual amount of joy in torturing unsuspecting Gryffindors. Being told she could continue her course of action made her absolutely giddy.”

“Did she appear to be healthy?” 

“Yes.”

Arthur bowed his head. “I suppose that’s all that matters.”

“No,” Percy’s eyes were aflame. “What matters is that Professor Snape II is tormenting your granddaughter and Headmaster Longbottom has no intention of stopping her.”

"Perhaps we should see things from their point of view."

"Excuse me?"

“Molly can be a handful at times,” Arthur began. “Perhaps at least one of those detentions was warranted.”

“Dad,” Percy snapped. "None of them were warranted and you know it. My daughter is being unfairly persecuted and it needs to stop."

"I would be careful before speaking. After all, if you want to make such a strong accusation you will need to make sure Molly's hands are completely clean."

Percy glowered at his father.

“Unfortunately, Dad’s right,” George cut in. “Molly is very proud of her house, and doesn’t always know when to stop teasing others. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that Molly may have taken a couple of jokes too far.”  

“Oh, so now you’re on Rose’s side,” Percy retorted.

“No,” George answered. “All I’m saying is that before you go off and promise to reform Hogwarts, you may want to provide clear, indisputable evidence that Molly has been treated unfairly.”

Percy opened his mouth but then shut it. He tapped his chin. “Perhaps I could use more proof than simply pointing out that Rose and Severus share the same bloodline.”

Arthur could not hide the pain in his eyes. "Yes, you probably shouldn't make too much of Rose's bloodline."

“Still, the second I get into office Headmaster Longbottom will need to account for more than a few of his actions,” Percy vowed.

“Which ones?” Arthur asked.

“The most egregious blunder has been the renovation of Hogwarts. I am still unclear as to why Headmaster Longbottom found it necessary to rebuild the Astronomy Tower,” Percy replied. “I understand spending a few thousand galleons on a memorial at the base of the tower, but I still think he could have repaired the old structure for half the cost.”

“Maybe he had access to certain financial records that we did not,” Arthur offered.

“Or maybe he was spending taxpayer money on an unnecessary building project,” Percy replied.

“Perhaps,” George admitted. 

“Well, we don't have to worry about Neville for long. He will give an account of his actions soon enough.”

The three men turned to Molly, who skipped in with a tray of four pink tea cups. 

“Our little Percy will become the new Minister of Magic, and cut all that wasteful spending. Headmaster Longbottom will have to starting towing the line with his professors soon enough.”

She set the tray on the table. Percy grabbed his cup and took a sip. “Thank you for the confidence, Mum.”

“There is not reason not to be confident in you,” Molly trilled. “There is nobody better qualified than you to take the reins of the Ministry and lead Wizarding Britain to greatness.”

“The fact that I have no real competition helps,” Percy noted.

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself,” George warned. “There’s still time for another person to declare a candidacy and run a respectable campaign.”

“It’s highly doubtful will ever consider running against me,” Percy replied. “Nobody in the Ministry has expressed any interest in the position, and few outsiders have even shown interest in launching a campaign.”

“Exactly,” Molly answered. “You’re as good as the next Minister of Magic.”

“We shouldn’t count out the possibility of another runner though,” George warned. “Especially if said runner gets wind of your proposal to pardon our brother.”

Molly let out an exaggerated sigh. “If people want to raise a fuss about those kidnapping charges against Ronald then they can jump off a cliff.”

“Rose was almost eaten by Fenrir thanks to Ronald’s stupidity,” Arthur argued.

"But she wasn't, and that's all that matters," Molly replied.

"It will matter to most wizards though," Arthur noted. "Ron never should have so much as considered taking her."

“Damnit Arthur,” Molly’s face was red. “I’ve told you several times that poor Ronnikins was not in his right mind when he took Rose. He didn’t hand Rose over to Fenrir either. Fenrir kidnapped Rose from Ron. The circumstances were all beyond Ronald’s control.”

“That isn’t how most people view the situation,” George replied.

"Only because the blasted Snapes have turned everyone against us," Molly answered. "Hermione drives Ron crazy by telling him she's baring his child, and then becomes upset when he acts upon the delusion. She cannot have it both ways!"

Arthur wiped his eyes before taking a tea cup. "That isn't exactly how it happened."

“Of course that's what happened,” Molly replied.

Arthur sighed.

“Who cares what the Snapes think? Whether anyone likes it or not, Percy will be the next Minister of Magic, Ron will be pardoned, and we will be a family again. Well, all of us except Ginevra, who still refuses to see reason and demand a divorce.”

“If she hasn’t requested a divorce yet I doubt she’s going to,” George replied.

“Then it’s her loss,” Molly answered.

“Could we please discuss something else?” Arthur asked in a weak voice.

Percy cleared his throat. “We should move onto a more pleasant topic than Draco bloody Malfoy.”

“Agreed,” Molly answered.

“Now, I’m very proud of my Lucy," Percy began. "She’s currently shown quite an interest in Muggle Studies.”

“Oh I’m so thrilled to hear that,” Molly turned to Arthur. “It’s so exciting that one of your grandchildren is following in your footsteps, don’t you agree?”

Arthur looked right through her. Instead his mind was focused on the image of a black-clad woman with Severus Snape's scowl.

 

***

Hermione cleared her throat. “Now in order to bring out the full magical effects of the albus lupine root, one must expose it to moonlight. The more moonlight the plants absorbs, the more potent its effects. This is why for potions such as this, the plant should only be exposed to the moon for no more than four hours."

The fireplace erupted.

Hermione set down her note cards onto her bed. Am I ever going to finish this speech?

“Mum?”

Hermione stepped towards the fireplace. “Yes, Rose?”

“Is Dad there?” 

“He’s in the basement."

“Oh."

Hermione’s eyes softened. Her daughter’s voice did not exude the same amount of authority as usual, and her eyes were more distant. 

“Rose sweetie,” Hermione asked. “Is there something you would like to discuss?”

“Actually, there is,” Rose answered.

Hermione backed away from the fireplace. Rose stepped on through and brushed herself off. Hermione smiled as she watched Rose’s black robes billow in the air. 

She truly was a Daddy’s girl.

“I fear I cannot stay for long,” Rose began. “I simply wanted to borrow Dad’s crystal cauldron and seek his advice on a matter.”

“What kind of matter?” Hermione asked.

Rose swallowed. “My issue isn’t anything overly concerning. In fact I believe I’m overreacting to the situation.”

“What situation?” Hermione asked.

Rose took a deep breath. “Percy Weasley believes I am treating his daughter unfairly.”

“Oh he does."

“Yes. Yesterday he went as far as to demand an audience with me in Headmaster Longbottom’s office.”

“I take it said meeting took place.”

“Unfortunately, it did.”

“How did it go?”

“As well as could be expected,” Rose replied. “Headmaster Longbottom applauded my ability to maintain control in my classroom, and sent Percy on his way.”

“But it was still a jarring experience,” Hermione concluded.

“Indeed it was,” Rose admitted.

Hermione outstretched her arms. Rose rushed into them and trembled. “I should not be as rattled as I am, but the fact that he could be the next Minister of Magic is concerning.”

“I agree,” Hermione answered. “Percy Weasley as Minister of Magic is not a pleasant thought in the slightest.”

Rose broke away from the embrace. “How did you and Dad handle the Weasleys when you were first married? How did you learn to ignore their tantrums?”

“We learned to treat them as the nuisances they are,” Hermione answered.

“Percy will be more than merely a nuisance if he takes power,” Rose replied.

“His position in the Ministry should be of no concern to you.”

“If he begins cutting off funds to Hogwarts because of me, then it will be of the utmost concern to me.”

“Percy is not the first person to threaten Hogwarts. He’s far from the least intimidating as well.”

“He is?”

Hermione sat down on her bed. She patted the place beside her. “Lucius Malfoy is a very forceful man.”

Rose sat beside her. “Indeed he is.”

“When I was a student he attempted to suspend Dumbledore from his office and overhaul the curriculum to make it more friendly to his worldview.”

“I’ve heard a little about this.”

“Then you know how it ends.”

Rose swallowed.

“Albus Dumbledore was ultimately able to prevail over Lucius.” Hermione grinned. 

“True,” Rose relaxed. “He did.”

“Percy Wealsey is no Lucius Malfoy. Headmaster Longbottom will do just fine against him.”

“I suppose so.”

“Hopefully that story has eased you fears,” Hermione replied.

“Indeed it has,” Rose replied. “Though it does make me wonder how you could ever have wanted to be involved with the Weasley family.”

“Temporary insanity, I assure you,” Hermione replied.

Rose chuckled.

“You cannot be intimidated by the Weasleys. At the end they are only a group of people, not a legion of dementors,” Hermione promised.

“Thank you Mum,” Rose replied.

“Rose?”

They faced the doorway. “Dad.”

“I didn’t think you would be up from the basement so soon,” Hermione replied.

“I was able to finish my brewing earlier than anticipated,” Severus answered.

“I am glad to hear it,” Rose replied. “I came to request your crystal cauldron.”

“What need to you have for it?” Severus asked.

“I am looking into a treatment for splinching. Since I’m working with lupine and the plant is more powerful when brewed in a crystal cauldron, I thought I could borrow yours,” Rose replied.

“Sadly my crystal cauldron is in use at the moment,” Severus replied. “Though I can loan you one of my tin ones. Lupine reacts quite well in one of tin.”

“I suppose tin is doable,” Rose replied.

Severus motioned for her to follow. She obeyed the unspoken request.

Hermione watched them leave and raised her eyebrow.

What is Rose not telling me?

Chapter Text

“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.”

Severus hummed.

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.

“True."

“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.

Rose swallowed.

“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?”

“No.”

“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.”

Rose grinned. 

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…”

Chapter Text

Hermione gritted her teeth and made a fist. “The next time I see Percy I’m going to hex him into oblivion.”

“Love, please don’t do that,” Severus purred as he allowed his shirt to fall to the ground.

“He had no business saying that to Rose; none whatsoever. Why shouldn't I at least give him a piece of my mind?” Hermione snapped.

“I did not say that you should not confront Mr. Weasley in some way,” Severus purred. “My only concern is that if you hex him into oblivion there will be little left for me to vent my frustrations upon.”

Hermione smirked. “I suppose you do deserve a chance to get a few hexes in.”

Severus pulled out his nightshirt and gave her a backwards glance. “Indeed, I do.”

Hermione chuckled as she sat down on the bed.

“Mr. Weasley aside, I doubt this will affect our relationship with Rose in the slightest,” Severus continued.

“Oh?” Hermione asked.

“Rose accepted my account of her conception,” Severus replied. “I do not foresee this issue ever coming up again.”

“Hopefully you're right."

"But you are not convinced of that."

“I know our daughter. She will pursue this idea until she is satisfied with an explanation.”

“She is satisfied with my explanation.”

“How certain are you of that?” 

“I am entirely certain that she left satisfied with my account.”

“I hope you are right,” Hermione answered. "I truly do."

Severus replied in a low voice, “I know I’m right.”

Hermione looked down at her feet. Severus stared at her for a few moments before he spun around and continued to strip his clothes. 

Silence filled the room. With the fastening of each button, the room became more suffocating.

“Perhaps we should tell Rose the truth.”

The wind left Severus’ lungs.

“Severus? D-did you hear me?”

Severus turned towards her. “Why ever would you suggest that we tell Rose about Ronald and his relation to her?”

Hermione locked eyes with him. “Rose is twenty-five years old. She is old enough to know the truth.”

Severus’ voice was void of emotion, “I thought you never wanted her to learn of her true origins.”

“I know what I’ve said in the past,” Hermione answered. “But if she has doubts concerning our account, if she is searching for the truth on her own, then perhaps it is time for us to answer her questions honestly.”

“I just repeated the fabricated account we agreed to give to her,” Severus answered. “How exactly do you expect me to backtrack now?”

Hermione answered, “We can say you panicked. You were afraid to tell her the truth behind my back, so you repeated what I’d told you to say years ago.”

“No, I did not repeat what you told me to say,” Severus argued. “We fabricated this story together.”

“I know, but I was the one who said we needed to lie in the first place,” Hermione noted.

“I agreed to withhold the full truth from Rose,” Severus replied. “So the responsibility is mine as much as it is yours.”

“It was my idea to lie, and Rose should know that,” Hermione argued. “Rose should direct any anger she has towards me, not you.”

“I refuse to allow you to bear the brunt of whatever wrath Rose may have towards us,” Severus replied. “This is our marriage, and Rose is our daughter. I refuse to allow you to become the villain who acted alone and portray myself as the hapless husband who was cowed into deceiving his daughter.”

Hermione’s lips twitched up. “Thank you for your consideration.”

Severus’ face softened. “We are in this together. If we make a decision our children find disagreeable then they should be equally upset with both of us.”

Hermione relaxed. “If we want to minimize Rose’s rage, we can tell her you repeated the story I told you to say, but after discussing the matter we realized it was time for the truth to be revealed.”

“Is that what you want to do?” Severus asked.

“Only if you will support me in doing so,” Hermione answered.

Severus shrugged. “My support or lack thereof should be of no concern to you. I should have little say in this matter.”

“That’s a load of thestral dung and you know it,” Hermione argued. “As Rose’s dad you have more than a right to speak your mind on this issue, and you have the right to disapprove of a certain course of action.”

“In most cases I would agree, but in this case I have no say,” Severus replied. “I did not create her, so the decision to disclose her origins is yours alone.”

“But you clearly have an opinion on how to proceed.”

“I do.”

Hermione lay down on her side of the bed. “Please tell me what you’re thinking.”

Severus sat down beside her and pulled the sheets over his legs. “In my opinion, we need to keep Rose’s true paternity a secret at all costs.”

“Even if she has questions and is searching for the truth?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Severus replied. “It is the only compassionate course of action.”

“Why do you believe that lying to our daughter is compassionate?”

“Why would it not be compassionate to withhold the truth from Rose?”

“Rose is demanding the truth,” Hermione replied. “We’re her parents, the people she should be able to trust above all others. Withholding the truth from a child is understandable, but to withhold the truth from an adult constitutes a deep betrayal.”

“It is an even deeper betrayal to believe your dad has pitied you all your life,” Severus replied.

Hermione cocked her head. “Why would Rose believe you pitied her?”

“I married you not only because of my fortune, but also because I was afraid Rose would grow up on the streets,” Severus answered. “I was fearful of what would become of her if she had the label of bastard hanging over her head. Rose would grow up watching her mother be reviled simply for keeping her. It would kill her to watch the Weasleys lavish love upon each other yet spit in her direction. She would be mocked by her peers for circumstances beyond her control. I could never have lived with myself if such a fate befell her; hence our marriage and her subsequent adoption.”

“I understand how scared you were for her, but I fail to see how wanting to give a child the best life possible constitutes pity.” Hermione replied.

“I was trying to save her when I thought no one else would. I saw her as helpless and alone,” Severus replied. “Viewing someone in this manner is the definition of pity.”

Hermione sighed. “There is a difference between having compassion for someone and pitying them.”

“The only people who say that are those who pity. The one who is pitied feels only contempt,” Severus answered.

“So you’re saying that all these years, you’ve pitied me because you saw me as a helpless woman who was unable to live in the Wizarding World without you?”

“I have never viewed you as helpless.”

“Exactly,” Hermione replied.

Severus raised an eyebrow.

“In order for Rose to feel as if she is an object of pity she would need to feel as if you pitied me as well. Anyone can tell that you have never spent a moment pitying me; thus Rose was never an object of pity for you,” Hermione argued.

“I fear Rose will not view things that way,” Severus warned.

Hermione shook her head. “If she believes there is no difference between pity and compassion then she is quite like you.”

Severus couldn’t suppress his smile. “She is very much like me, especially in this regard.”

Hermione cupped his hand into hers. “Rose’s genetic structure may say she is a Weasley, but in her heart and in her soul she is your daughter.”

"She is, yet," Severus squeezed her hand. “There is another, more significant reason I fear revealing Rose’s paternity to her.”

“What would that be?” Hermione asked.

“A few hours after Rose was born, I held her while you slept. She looked up and me with so much trust. She did not view me as a former Death Eater or as a dangerous man; she only saw me as her dad. In that moment I was overtaken with love for her.” Severus’ throat tightened. “I could no longer imagine feeling joy without her in my life.”

There was a gleam in Hermione’s eyes.

“In that moment I promised her that she would always feel cherished. I would do everything in my power to ensure she never felt unwanted,” Severus’ voice lowered. “If I look her in the eyes and tell her that her father is a Quidditch coaching arse who walked out on her in her time of need, then she will feel unwanted. I will have broken my promise.”

“Severus,” She whispered. “She will always feel wanted because she has you in her life. You have always loved her, and made her feel like she belonged in your family. No knowledge of her origins will ever cause her to forget the love you have so freely given to her. Nothing will ever convince her that she is not your daughter.”

“Do not be so certain that the sting of rejection cannot override the knowledge of someone’s love,” He warned.

She swallowed.

He untangled his hand from hers. “Hermione, you were always wanted as a child. Muriel and Wilford did everything in their power to prevent you from ever experiencing the pain of rejection. Not all of us were so fortunate.”

Hermione said nothing.

“My parents made it more than clear how unwanted I was. I cannot count how many times my father ranted about how expensive I was to feed, or how little I deserved new clothing. Mother…” Severus grew silent.

Hermione shook.

“One of the most vivid memories of my mother occurred when I was four. Father was on a weeklong drinking binge, giving me time to watch television in peace. On a certain show-for the life of me I cannot remember its name-I saw a kindly grandmother. During the commercial break I ran to Mother and asked her why the television characters had a grandmother, yet I had never met mine. Initially she did not pay me any attention, but after pestering her long enough she finally looked into my eyes,” Severus began.

Hermione bit her lip.

Severus’ body quivered. “I’d never seen Voldemort look a muggle in the eyes with half the rage my mother did in that moment. She pointed at me and hissed, ‘you. You are the reason your grandmother will never speak to me again.’”

“Oh Merlin,” Hermione whispered.

“Even at four I knew she blamed me for the loss of her mum. My existence was burdensome to her, and a reminder of all she had lost when she had married my father. Growing up, I lived with the burden of knowing my parents would’ve preferred not to have me. I would never wish that feeling on James Potter. How could I inflict it upon my own daughter?” Severus asked.

“This isn’t the same situation.” Hermione wrapped her arms around him. “Rose has known love. She knows the depths of your devotion to her, and has never doubted them. Ron Weasley is just another man to her. She won’t care about his rejection.”

“How certain are you of that?” Severus asked.

“I know she will never consider Ron her father because she calls you ‘Dad,’ not him.”

“He created and afterward abandoned her. She was rejected by her own flesh and blood. That is a betrayal from which she would have difficulty overcoming. I do not want to subject her to that kind of pain.”  

“Perhaps you have a point,” Hermione mused. “As of right now she believes you were my negligent ex-lover. Although you ignored me, the second you learned of Rose’s existence you wanted her. To know that Ron said to my face that he didn’t want her would be another situation altogether.”

“It will slice her very soul.”

“Do you think there is a way we could soften the blow?”

“How could we go about doing so? We cannot undo Ron’s abandonment of her, nor can we change the fact that his only interest in her has been for her trust fund.”

Hermione’s eyes grew. “I almost forgot about the money. If Rose decides to pursue a relationship with him, he could use their connection to his financial advantage.”

“Indeed he could," Severus warned.

“She would face the betrayal not only of her parents lying to her, but also of her sperm donor taking advantage of her.”

“That is a very real possibility.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Again,” Severus replied. “I should not have the final word. I was not present when she was conceived, nor was I involved in Ron’s betrayal. You are her mother. Only you may have the final say.”

“I cannot do this without your support,” Hermione replied. “If Rose believes we are not united in our course of action then she will be in more pain than she is now.”

“I fully support whatever you decide,” Severus answered.

Hermione took a shaky breath. “Right now Rose is confused, but not emotionally distraught.”

“She is not,” Severus answered.

“Then perhaps things are best left as they are,” Hermione replied. “The truth may do more harm than good.” 

“Are you certain that’s how you want to proceed?” Severus asked.

“Yes,” Hermione answered in a firm voice. “The truth will only cause more harm than good. Knowing Rose, she has forgotten this subject altogether.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Severus replied.

They sealed their agreement with a kiss.

 

***

Rose stared at the essays before her. How could anyone discern a single letter through all these scribbles? 

They made about as much sense as Dad’s story.

Rose grunted before jumping out of her chair. All of this fretting is pointless! Dad would not lie to me about my paternity. I am his daughter in every way that counts, including biology.

She stuck her nose back into the essay before her. It was time to get back to work...

What if Dad is mistaken in the belief that he’s Mum’s only lover?

Rose jerked up. She shook her head.

No, that is a horrendous thought. Mum loves Dad too much to lie about my paternity. She would never lie to Dad about me. Never.

Rose stood up and strolled towards her bedroom. After a good night’s sleep everything would become clearer. Of that, she was certain.

Chapter Text

He never could understand Mrs. Snape.

The man listened to her ramble on about systolic and diastolic readings. Before he could comprehend what they were attempting to measure, the discussion shifted to kidney function. Then for some reason the benefits of chopped hippogriff liver on the heart came up.

Poor Buckbeak. If only he knew that Mrs. Snape had saved him for the sole reason of removing his organs upon his passing. She always was a bitch.

“The key is unicorn hair,” Mrs. Snape continued. “Without four strands of unicorn hair, the potion is merely a random assortment of ingredients, albeit a very nutritious one.”

The man groaned and ran his hands through his red hair. Would it kill her to use simpler words?

“Thus, after a few grueling months, my husband and I created the first magical angiotensin,” she continued.

Even the names of her potions were confusing!

“Thank you for your attention and your time,” she concluded.

Finally! An understandable sentence!

The audience erupted in applause. Mrs. Snape blushed and gave a small bow.

Meanwhile, the man crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes flared in determination. There was only one chance to get this right. He couldn’t afford to make a mistake.

A woman dressed in a floral, pink dressed stepped onto the stage. She shook Hermione’s hand. The clapping grew louder.

When will they finally get to the question and answer session?

The room grew quiet. The woman standing beside Hermione cast a sonoros spell and announced, “We will now be taking questions.” 

The man’s hand shot up.

The moderator pointed to a woman in the front. “You in the front row.”

The audience member stood up. “Obrigada Senhora Snape. I truly enjoyed the presentation.”

“Thank you,” Hermione began.

He stiffened. That softer tone of voice was much more familiar than the boisterous one he’d heard for the past hour and a half.

"That's a very good question..."

Her voice transported him back to the nights they’d spent in each other’s arms. They would gaze into each other’s eyes, declaring their love. Those were some of his happiest memories outside of Quidditch and the wild nights spent with his groupies. He could only hope her memories of him were as fond as those he had of her.

“I hope that has answered your question,” Hermione concluded.

“Yes, it has. Obrigada.”

The woman in the audience sat down.

“Next question,” the moderator called.

The man waved his hand. The woman beside him gave him a look.

The moderator pointed to someone in the middle of the room. “Yes.”

The man pouted.

“First of all, I really enjoyed your talk. The creation of Tensiune Arteriala is fascinating,” a man in the audience began.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the presentation,” Hermione replied.

“My question concerns your work in charms though,” he continued. 

“Oh?”

“If it’s okay, could I ask you about one of your other most notable contributions to the Wizarding World?”

Hermione shrugged. “What is the question?”

The audience member scratched his chin. “I was wondering if you could tell me what inspired your creation of the opriti sangra.”

Hermione’s eyes lit up.

“I only ask because your husband is famous for his invention of the sectumsempra. I’ve always wondered why you felt it necessary to create a nonverbal counter spell to it,” the audience member continued.

“It’s a fascinating story actually,” Mrs. Snape’s grin grew. “It began innocuously enough when we were taking our children to the playground. My son-I believe he was six at the time-scraped his knee. He was bleeding profusely, and being the mother I am, I panicked. After cleaning him up, I asked Severus if we should return home. He told me that Victor was fine, which of course he was. As Victor ran back onto the playground, I continued to fret. Severus turned to me and said, ‘you are behaving as if Victor is the victim of a sectumsempra.’  He the preceded to tease me, saying that I should sing to Victor if I was so concerned about his injury. That was most unwise.”

The audience chuckled.

“Severus needed to be taught a lesson. I began researching the sectumsempra and realized there may be a way to dispel the dark magic nonverbally. Within two weeks, my husband was infuriated because one of his most notable creations had been effectively neutralized,” Hermione explained.

“How did you two stay married?” the audience member asked.

Hermione gave him a sly smile. “Now do you truly think I would disclose that piece of information?”

The audience burst out laughing.

The man rolled his eyes.

“Thank you,” the audience member replied.

“You’re welcome,” Hermione answered.

The moderator scanned the audience. “Next question?”

The man jumped up and down. The people beside him grunted, but he only leapt higher.

The moderator laughed. “Yes, you in the back.”

“I would like to change the topic from your work in potions to your time fighting in the Second Wizarding World” the man asked.

Hermione appeared as if she’d just seen a grim.

“Can you tell me a little bit about your relationship with Ron Weasley?”

She gulped. 

“Please?” The man asked. 

Hermione's brow was furrowed. “Why are you here?” 

“It’s a public forum,” he answered. “I wanted to see you again, so I came here.”

Hermione’s muscles tensed. 

“So tell me,” the man continued. “What did you think of your time with Ron Weasley?”

“I don’t know exactly what to tell you Ron. You were there for the entire thing,” Hermione answered.

“Which is why I’m so confused,” Ron snapped. “I was supposed to be the love of your life, yet all you ever talk about is Severus bloody Snape.”

“Given that he is my husband, the father of my children, and the one with whom I create potions, it seems only logical that I mention him every so often,” Hermione answered.

Ron’s muscles tensed. “We fought Voldemort together.”

“Harry and I fought Voldemort together,” Hermione snapped. “You abandoned us when we needed you the most.”

“I came back.”

“Am I supposed to be impressed?”

“You claimed to love me. We were engaged. Everyone called us The Golden Couple. Why don’t you mention me anymore?”

“Because there’s nothing to say about you,” Hermione replied.

“Oh I think there’a a lot to say,” Ron argued.

“Securitate,” the moderator called.

“So that’s it? You’re just going to kick me out like I was nothing to you?”

“I’m going to resume my question and answer session without any additional drama.”

“Just tell the world once and for all, 'Mione. Did you ever love me?” Ron asked.

Hermione shook. 

“Did you love me?”

Her voice was barely audible. “I thought I did at one point.”

“What do you mean thought?” Ron demanded. “Shouldn’t you know if you love someone?”

“I felt a very deep affection for you,” Hermione replied. “No, that isn’t entirely accurate. I had a deep affection for the man I thought you could be. As for the man you truly were, I do not think I ever loved him.”

“Liar,” Ron hissed.

A big hand fell onto Ron’s shoulder. He spun around.

“Let’s go,” a security guard ordered.

Ron gave Hermione one last parting glance before leaving.

“I apologize Mrs. Snape,” the moderator gasped. “I did not know he was here. If I had seen him he would have been thrown out immediately.”

Hermione’s expression lightened. “There was little you could do about Ronald. Once he wants something he will throw a tantrum until he either gets it or is forced to be quiet.”

“Nonetheless I do apologize for his presence,” the moderator replied.

Hermione smiled. “There is no need for apologies. Now, if we can return to our previous discussion, I would deeply appreciate it.”

“Indeed we will,” the moderator turned to the audience. “Who would like to ask the next question?”

Four hands were raised.

Chapter Text

Nothing could have prepared her for Ronald Weasley.

For months she had rehearsed and refined her speech. Every step of the procedure was well-explained, every nuance was covered, and the audience was engaged. Once she heard the roar of the applause, she could not have smiled any wider. All had gone perfectly.

Then Ron entered the picture.

With a few slicing words, her confidence had been stripped away from her. Instead of a strong woman, she felt like the eleven-year old girl who was nothing more than a nightmare honestly who hasn't got any friends. Despite the fact that the other audience members had raised excellent points, she had counted the minutes until she could return to her hotel room and cocoon herself under the blankets.

At least there was sunshine. That alone made the walk to the hotel room more bearable.

“‘Mione!”

Hermione quickened her pace. In a few meters she’d reach her room, if she could avoid looking back.

“Oy, ’Mione!”

Hermione darted down the street, but had to slow down once she reached the crowd mulling around two blocks from her destination.

“Come on ‘Mione! You can’t run from me forever!”

Hermione stopped and took a deep breath. Summoning every ounce of Gryffindor courage she possessed, she spun around. “What do you want, Ronald?”

Ron gave her a sheepish grin. “I only wanted to say hello.”

“Hello.”

She turned around.

“How are you doing?”

Hermione’s frown deepened as she returned her attention to him.

“Please ‘Mione, it’s been so long. I’d really like to know how you’re doing,” Ron repeated.

“I was doing just fine until you barged into that lecture hall," she answered.

“I didn’t mean to upset you,” he replied. “I only wanted to see for myself that you were doing fine.”

She glared at him. “Do not insult me. You meant to upset me.”

“I’m not trying to insult or upset you,” Ron insisted. “I just wanted to see you again.”

Hermione crossed her arms over her chest. “Why would you want to see me again?”

“Because I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.”

“Why?”

“Can’t I give an occasional thought to my former fiancee?”

“I would prefer that you not.”

Ron huffed. “Must you always be this way?”

She replied. “Be what way?"

"This way. Why do you have to be so rude to me?"

"I think my response to you is perfectly reasonable given the circumstances."

“Oh, so every time someone from your past not named Snape appears you blow them off.”

“I didn’t blow you off. I answered your question and you were escorted out of the lecture hall.”

“Why don't you want to talk about the Golden Trio?”

Hermione raised her voice. “I have no problem discussing the Golden. What I have a problem with is…”

She closed her mouth.

Ron smirked. “Admit it, you’ve missed arguing with me.”

“No, I have not. Goodbye.”

Ron ran his fingers through his hair. “Rosie just had a birthday, didn't she?”

Hermione’s limbs went numb.

“I’ve been wondering how she’s been doing. I’ll bet she’s grown up to be quite the Quidditch player,” Ron continued.

Hermione’s muscles tensed. “If you knew anything at all about my daughter, you’d know that she despises Quidditch.”

“Only because you taught her to hate it,” Ron replied.

“She came to her own conclusions about Quidditch.”

“I’m sure those opinions were not influenced in any way by you badmouthing it.”

“If you knew Rose you’d know that she is very capable of making up her own mind about things. I only gave her my input.”

“Did you ever take her to a game?”

“I did not see it necessary to spend an afternoon watching a game my husband and I despised.”

“Then you raised her to hate Quidditch.”

“I raised my daughter to draw her own conclusions about the game.”

“I’m sure you raised all your children to draw their own conclusions about a game you hated.”

"It isn't my fault they all decided it was a waste of time."

Ron approached Hermione. “If I had raised Rose she’d be a professional Quidditch player now.”

“It’s a good thing nobody cares about how you would have raised her then,” Hermione spat.

Ron’s grin sent a chill don Hermione’s spine. “You still haven’t told me how Rosie is doing.”

"Her name is Rose."

"Fine, how is Rose doing?"

“She is well.”

“What has her life been like?”

“That’s none of your bloody business.”

“It is my business and you know it.”

“Fine, I’ll tell you a bit about her,” Hermione replied. “She graduated with the highest OWLs in her class. She went on to college and received a degree in potions.”

“Potions?” Ron exclaimed.

Hermione’s lips curled up. “Yes potions.”

“You-you raised her to be the greasy git.”

“No, I raised her to be the person she wanted to be. It is not my fault that she wanted to be a potions professor, nor is it my fault that she insisted on becoming the head of the Slytherin House.”

Ron’s eyes looked as if they would burst out of their sockets. “She’s the head of the Slytherin House?”

“She is,” Hermione answered. 

“Neville m-must’ve sent her in as a joke.”

“Nope, she’s been a proud Slytherin since the day she was sorted into that house.”

“T-the hat got it wrong.”

“No, I think the Sorting Hat did just fine with her.”

Ron’s mouth gaped open.

“If you wish to know more about her, she enjoys Gobstones, dresses in all black, and can never quite beat Severus at Wizarding Chess,” Hermione lowered her voice. “Don’t worry, she’ll outsmart him eventually.”

Ron hissed, “You raised her that way to spite me.”

“Again, I raised her to be the person she wanted to be. She decided she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps, and I allowed her to do so,” Hermione answered. 

“You, you wanted a clone of Severus, so you forced her to become a Slytherin and later a Hogwarts professor,” Ron argued.

“Actually, Severus did everything in his power to dissuade her from teaching. He attempted to warn her of the dunderheaded students, the mountains of essays she would need to grade, as well as Headmaster Longbottom’s penchant for Sunday staff meetings. Alas, she was determined to go into teaching, and we supported her in her endeavor.”

“You bitch!” Ron shouted.

Hermione smirked. “Such language, Ronald.”

Ron snorted. “You look and sound like Snivellus.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Hermione replied. 

“It’s meant to be an insult.”

“I know.”

Ron sputtered, but couldn’t spit out a coherent word.

“You’ve already heard from my talk how I am doing,” Hermione replied. “So if we are done here…”

“I need you to drop the kidnapping charges,” Ron ordered.

The air left Hermione’s lungs. “Excuse me?”

“Drop the kidnapping charges,” Ron repeated. “Tell everyone that I as temporarily insane when I took Rose, that I’m sorry, and that you forgive me.”

“Why in Merlin’s name would I do that?” Hermione demanded.

“It’s been twenty-five years,” Ron replied. “For twenty-five years I’ve been exiled from my family and friends. Isn’t that punishment enough?”

“Ginny says your family visits you quite often,” Hermione interrupted. 

“What would Ginny know? She never visits me.”

“That is not my problem.”

“Come on ’Mione! It’s been twenty-five years. I need to go to Britain and see the Burrow and my friends again. It’s been so long, and I miss my home so much.”

“Do you want me to feel sorry for you?”

“No, I want you to drop the charges.”

“That will never happen.”

Ron placed his hands on her shoulders. She pushed him off of her.

“Please ‘Mione,” Ron purred. “Please remember who we were before Snape entered our lives.”

“How could I remember how we were before meeting Severus? I met you the same day I met him.”

“You know what I meant.”

Hermione bit her tongue.

“Please,” Ron began. “Please remember those nights we spent in each other’s arms, kissing and making love. Don’t you ever miss those times?”

“I suppose I do miss you somewhat,” Hermione sighed. 

“I’ve missed you too,” Ron whispered. 

“Between you and me,” Hermione sniffed. “My marriage is in shambles.”

Ron startled. “It is.”

Hermione lowered her head. “Things have been difficult with Severus for the last twenty-five years. He doesn’t flirt with other women, he comes home when he says he will, he didn’t abandon me when I was at my most vulnerable, and he enjoys spending his spare time with me. There hasn’t been a day which he has gone by when I’ve absolutely despised him for all these reasons.”

“Damnit Hermione!” Ron snapped. “Can’t you be serious for ten seconds?”

Hermione made eye contact with him. “That speech wasn’t half as insulting as you expecting me to drop those charges.”

“I’m begging you ‘Mione, please drop the charges,” Ron folded his hands and got down on his knees. “Let me go home.”

“No,” Hermione barked.

Ron glowered and her. He stood up and growled, “Drop the charges or I will prove that I am Rose’s biological father.”

“How do you plan on doing that?” Hermione asked.

“I’ll find a way,” Ron warned.

“If you had found a way to prove you were Rose’s biological father, then you would have done so already,” Hermione replied. 

Ron stomped his right foot on the ground. “Drop the charges.”

“Oh how mature,” Hermione replied. “You won’t get your way, so you’ll pout, kick, and scream. That will persuade me to take you seriously.”

Ron stomped again. “Just drop the charges!”

Hermione began walking away.

“Don’t mess with me ‘Mione!” he shouted. “If I don’t make you pay, then Percy will.”

Hermione waved at him. Then she turned the corner and strolled into the hotel.

She trudged down the hallway, her body growing heavier with each step. What did I ever seen in Ronald Bilius Weasley? Every good memory of him is tainted by some tantrum or snide comment. Each good deed I’d attempted to perform for him was always thrown back in my face. All of our arguments were blamed on my actions, and mine alone. Being totally honest with myself, Ron isn’t half as physically attractive as he thinks he is. What did I ever see in him?

Hermione took a deep breath and opened her room door. She needed a nice long nap and a relaxing hot bath. Better yet, she needed to take her nice, soaking bath with her husband in the tub. Once the water ran cold, he would scoop her into his arms, and the world would evaporate.

Hermione moaned as she plopped onto the bed. 

Severus can’t come soon enough.

Chapter Text

There were few things more pleasurable in life than reading the latest edition of Potions Monthly by a crackling fire with a cup of steaming black tea. Granted, most of this month's articles were lackluster at best, but there were two which could be of some use later.

Rose turned the page before taking a sip of tea. Then she huffed. There was no conceivable reason one would insert gillyweed into an anticoagulant, but some portioners were determined to repeat their predecessors' mistakes.

Thud! Thud!

She folded the top of the page and set the journal on the table. What could be the source of those noises? Most students at this hour were sneaking about as quietly as possible. Granted, many first years had not mastered the art of stealth, but even the densest Gryffindor had some survival instincts. 

Thud!

Before Rose could contemplate charging upstairs and determining the sounds' origin, the fireplace erupted. She shrugged and made her way towards the flames.

“Rose? Are you there?” 

Rose stuck her head over the hearth. “No Victor, I’m not.”

“Ha ha,” Victor muttered.

Rose grinned. “What is on your mind?” .

“Oh nothing,” Victor answered. “I simply wanted to say hi.” 

Rose tapped her foot.

“Can I not just call to say hi to my sister without some ulterior motive?” Victor asked.

“I suppose I have no real objection to speaking with you,” Rose replied. “Provided I am not simply a means of distracting yourself from a certain witch.”

Even through the flames, his blush was visible. “I…I attempted to call her, but it was getting late.”

“I presume you agonized over the decision to call her for hours.”

“Perhaps.”

“For someone who allegedly possesses great Gryffindor courage, you are pathetically inept at speaking to a Slytherin,” Rose continued.

“We’ve been through this, Rose…” Victor grumbled.

“Apparently not enough times to get it through your thick dunderheaded skull,” Rose shook her head. “For Merlin’s sake, Carina Malfoy is a girl, not a goddess. All you need to do is ask her if she would like a butterbeer or a sandwich. If you can accomplish that task I guarantee you that you will be a happier man.”

“Carina wouldn’t want a butterbeer or a sandwich. She would want a bottle of rosé and the finest escargot Paris could provide,” Victor sighed.

“Are you certain of that?”

“She’s a Malfoy. She wouldn't settle for less than the finest dining.”

“The last time I checked, Draco was a Malfoy. He is not exactly opposed to a bowl of chicken soup. On a few occasions I’ve even seen him indulge in a hamburger.”

Victor hummed.

“Even if she does like to indulge in French food, you are not lacking in funds,” Rose continued. “You can afford to indulge her for one evening.”

“I know,” Victor replied. “Still, I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard.”

“Then ask her if she’d like a butterbeer with you. There is nothing too difficult about that.”

“But a butterbeer and sandwich are too informal.”

Rose burst out laughing. “I swear you make everything ten times more difficult than need be.”

Victor gave her a half grin.

“Other than being hopelessly attracted to Carina, how else have you been faring?” She asked.

“Overall I am well,” He replied. “My case load has not been too strenuous, and the clients I represent are more than cooperative. Things have been going quite smoothly as far as my law career goes.”

“That is very good to hear,” Rose replied.

“Indeed,” Victor answered. “Since I’ve been at court recently, I’ve had contact with a few Ministry officials.”

Rose’s stomach sank. “So you have.”

“The word around the Ministry is that Percy Weasley isn’t happy with the current direction of Hogwarts,” Victor began.

Rose sighed.

“I take it there is a grain of truth to these rumors,” Victor replied.

“Unfortunately,” Rose answered.

“I apologize,” Victor replied. “The last thing I’d ever want is to be on Percy Wealsey’s less than pleasant side.”

Rose snorted. “I was not aware that he has a pleasant side.” 

Victor laughed.

“I have far more important things in my life to worry about than a blowhard like Percy Wealsey,” Rose continued. 

“Yes, you do,” Victor replied. “Like his bratty teenaged daughters.”

Rose groaned. “I have Molly in class tomorrow.”

“That is rather unfortunate.”

“Indeed it is.”

Victor’s face moved from the right, and then to the left. In a low voice he continued, “Would it improve your mood if I told you that there are rumors of Draco running against Percy in the election?”

“I would not pin my hopes upon them. It is very unlikely Draco will run for any type of public office.”

“Carina says he is seriously considering a run."

“You spoke more than two words to Carina?”

“I saw her during my lunch break and struck up a conversation with her.”

“Yet you did not ask her on a date.”

"No, I suppose I did not."

Rose covered her mouth in a feeble attempt to hide her laughter.

"All right, you've had your fun," Victor scowled. “Why don’t you think Draco will run for office?” 

Rose grew serious. “Let’s look at the situation form Draco’s perspective.”

Thud!

“What motive does he have to run?” Rose asked. “Draco already has wealth, prestige, and a certain degree of political power. He has a thriving business which keeps him occupied, so becoming the Minister of Magic would be nothing more than a headache for him.”

“Carina says he wants to implement some new technology in Wizarding Britain.”

“How long did you speak with her exactly?”

“Roughly twenty minutes.”

“Do you mean to tell me that you can talk to this witch about a potential political campaign, but the second it comes to casual dining you lose your nerve?”

Victor looked away from the fireplace.

“I swear on Merlin’s beard you are one of the most vexing people I have ever met.”

“Perhaps,” Victor sighed.

“Indeed” Rose replied.

“The original point I was trying to make is that Percy Weasley may not become minister,” Victor replied. “That should help dispel any unease you may have.”

“At this moment, I am very much at ease,” Rose answered.

“I am very happy to hear it,” Victor replied.

Thud!

Rose jumped up. Victor leaned closer to the flames. “What’s going on?”

“I do not know,” Rose admitted. “I’ve been hearing sounds from upstairs all night.”

“Have the ghosts gone wild again?” Vitor asked. 

“No,” Rose answered. “These sounds are different.”

“Well, if you are busy I should let you return to your work,” Victor replied.

“I suppose I should allow you to return to finding excuses not to ask Carina to go out on a date as well,” Rose replied.

Victor’s face reddened again.

“Do not let yourself be too bothered by your lack of romantic finesse,” Rose continued. “Even Dad, brave as he was, had great difficulty confessing his sentiments to Mum, at least initially.”

“I suppose he did,” Victor replied.

Rose gave him a soft smile. “I love you, Victor. It is always great to speak with you.”

Victor grinned. “I love you too, Sis. You are always a pleasant person to call.”

The flames died.

Thud!

 

***

Severus clasped shut his suitcase before setting it upright. It was a half hour before he was scheduled to be in Brazil, but at this point in the marriage Hermione should be accustomed to him being early. Her lecture had concluded, and she should have returned to the hotel room. He only hoped she would find his early appearance to be a welcome surprise.

Outside, the clouds parted.

Severus’ lips twitched upwards. In his youth he’d never considered himself one who enjoyed the sunlight. Most days were spent in the dark of the dungeons, and his most pleasant nights were spent in dreamless slumber. Sunny places like Brazil were for others who enjoyed the sun and warmth, not for ones like him.

Then he married Hermione. 

A beam of moonlight crept into the room.

In the span of a quarter century so much had changed. For the first time sunlight and beaches were appealing. Granted, she could make dental work sound appealing, but...

The moon shone brighter.

Severus’ heart raced. His palms began to sweat. He scanned the room and shuddered.

Where am I?

Chapter Text

“What the hell were you thinking?” Percy hissed at the ashen face below him.

From within the flames, Ron gulped. “I was thinking that if I told 'Mione what she wanted to hear, then she would drop the kidnapping charges.”

“What in Circe's name could you say to Hermione which would convince her to drop the kidnapping charges?” Percy asked.

“I stated by reminding her that she was once in love with me...” Ron began.

Percy huffed. "She was so in love with you that she ran off with the greasy git."

"No she didn't," Ron began. "She was loyal only to me."

Percy rolled his eyes.

“Anyway, I was hoping that if I spoke with her long enough she’d remember the love we shared. She’d realize how spiteful she was being, and that there was no point in pressing charges against me for kidnapping Rose. Then she’d feel bad, and then drop the charges,” Ron explained.

“Hermione is a heartless bitch,” Percy began.

“She wasn't always a heartless bitch though."

"But she is now, and a heartless bitch doesn’t drop her plans of revenge thanks to some stroll down memory lane. Instead, she makes a PR disaster out of her ex-boyfriend crashing her lecture.”

Ron’s voice grew weaker. “She would do that, wouldn't she?”

Percy took a deep breath. “I know you want to return to Britain, but for once in your life be patient.”

“I’m trying,” Ron whined. “But it’s getting hard.”

“Things will be much harder if I lose this election thanks to your inability to keep your mouth shut,” Percy warned.

“The election is still eight months away,” Ron replied. “I don’t know if I can wait that long.”

“What exactly is the rush?” Percy asked. “You wanted to return for the Quiditch World Cup, which is still ten months away. That’s plenty of time for me to take office and give you your pardon before the games begin.”

“You’re right…”

Percy furrowed his eyebrows. There was a ‘but’ in here somewhere.

“I mean, I guess I can try to be patient until then,” Ron concluded.

“What aren’t you telling me?” Percy asked.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re dancing around something, and I want to know what it is.” 

Ron's voice grew soft. “They want their money now.”

Percy groaned.

“I’m trying everything I could think of to stall them. I’ve told them that Peru has already qualified for the Quidditch World Cup, and that we’re guaranteed to win. They won’t listen. If I don’t come up with the money soon they will repossess every single broom I have,” Ron complained.

“If you would stay away from the baccarat tables then your brooms would be in no danger,” Percy replied.

“But baccarat is so much fun, and sometimes I win,” Ron argued.

“When was the last time you’ve walked away with a profit?” Percy demanded

Ron swallowed.

“How much did you win?”

“I think it was a couple hundred galleons."

"Yet you owe those debt collectors thousands." 

Ron squeaked.

Percy’s voice lowered. “I rest my case.”

“Look, I know I’ve screwed up,” Ron replied. “But I need that pardon now, if only to convince them that I can go to Britain and make back their money. They won’t get off my case until I can prove that I can pay them back.”

Percy exhaled. “I’ve already told you, there isn’t much I can do at this moment other than focus on winning the election.”

“Come on Percy,” Ron begged. “You’re a shoo-in for the Minister of Magic. Surely you could arrange for me to get some kind of pardon within the next couple of weeks.”

“Oh yes that will go over so well,” Percy argued. “The second Minister Scott signs that pardon is the second Hermione Snape will decide to run for Minister of Magic.”

Ron gagged. “She’d make a horrible Minister of Magic.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Percy replied. "But she is a member of the Golden Trio, and is partly responsible for defeating Fenrir. That alone will win her a view votes."

"Sh-she could actually win if she ran."

“Exactly, which is why we must do whatever is necessary to keep her from running, even if it requires being a little patient.”

Ron deflated. "Is-isn't there anything you can do for me?"

“I fear not,” Percy began. “I’d give you the money myself, but I can’t put my political career in jeopardy for you.”

“If you could hide the transaction…”

“Sometimes the public wants a financial rendering of accounts. If they so much as suspect I have a secret Gringotts account or that I’m giving money to criminals, then my campaign is as good as over.”

Ron groaned. “Please don’t tell me I have to ask Ginny for galleons again.”

“If you need galleons so desperately then it’s worth a try to ask her for some.” Percy replied.

Ron snorted. “The last thing I want is another lecture on what a piece of crap I am.”

“Fair enough,” Percy admitted.

“I,” Ron swallowed. “I haven’t ruined anything for you, have I?”

Percy grinned. “I’m sure the Snapes are riled up, but that isn’t anything unusual. If you lay low, then this will be a non-event.”

Ron exhaled. “Thank Merlin.”

“But I’m telling you, don’t talk to Hermione for another six months. Don’t even think about her. Leave her and her husband alone,” Percy ordered.

Ron gave him a salute.

Percy laughed. “There you go. Lay low, stay away from the baccarat tables, and have some faith in me. I promise you, your pardon will be my first act as Minister of Magic.”

Ron smiled. “Thank you.”

“Now, if that’s all…”

“There is one more thing.”

Percy closed his mouth.

“When I spoke to Hermione, she mentioned that Rose taught potions and dressed in all black,” Ron replied. “Is that true?” 

Percy sighed.

"How could you allow that to happen?"

"What could I realistically do?"

"You could've told 'Mione to raise Rose to be a normal human being, not create her to be a clone of her father."

“None of us approves your ex-fiancee’s parenting methods, nor do we approve of the direction Rose has chosen to take her life.”

Ron gritted his teeth.

"But we have no say over how the Snapes choose to parent their children."

"I should have a say!"

“Don’t you dare start speaking that way again,” Percy warned. “The last thing I need is the scandal of you running around and claiming Rose is your child."

“No, I suppose claiming Rose as my own wouldn't increase your chances of getting elected,” Ron admitted.

“Glad we could reach an understanding,” Percy replied.

“Still, I don’t know why you didn’t tell me about her life sooner,” Ron replied.

“You never asked after her, so I found it unnecessary to inform you of her actions,” Percy answered.

“Fair enough,” Ron replied.

“Do you have any further questions?” Percy asked.

“No,” Ron answered.

“Good,” Percy’s voice softened. “Take care of yourself. You’ll be back in Britain soon enough.”

“Thank you,” Ron replied. “I look forward to returning.”

The flames were extinguished. 

 

***

Where am I?

Severus scanned the room. He’d never seen that king sized, canopy bed, nor had he ever laid eyes upon that black suitcase. His eyes fell on the bedside table. There was a glass rose shimmering in the moonlight. Surely he'd recognize something that unique and beautiful, yet he did not.

Where the hell was this place?

In front of him on the wall was a photograph of a woman in a royal blue dress. Her caramel eyes glistened as a breeze blew through her hair.

Severus gazed at her image. His muscles relaxed. Something about this woman inspired trust, a feeling of security. Even if this room was unfamiliar, there was a friendly face, or at least someone he believed to be friendly.

A man came into the photograph. He scooped the woman into his arms. Then he faced the outside.

Severus’ chest constricted. He gasped for air. How could he be looking at his own face?

He examined the woman more closely. That smile, those eyes, that hair.

Hermione!

Severus’ heart raced. No, no that couldn’t be Hermione. She was only an adolescent, whereas this woman appeared to be in her mid to late thirties. Could that woman be Hermione’s mother? No that couldn’t be possible. There was no reason Severus would be holding Mrs. Granger in his arms.

What kind of place was this?

Severus spun around. There was a fireplace with a bucket nearby. He ran towards the bucket and stuck his hand inside. After grabbing a fistful of floo powder and throwing it into the fireplace, he cried out the name of the one place where he knew he would find refuge.

Chapter Text

Rose sighed and tossed the Potions Monthly onto the mahogany side table. She rubbed her face and groaned, “Madame Serpent."

The cobra raised her head until she was touching the mesh atop her cage.

Rose continued, "It is a terrible day when the only article of value was written by your parents.”

Madame Serpent flicked her tongue.

Thud.

Rose grabbed her wand. The sounds were increasing in volume and frequency. Perhaps it was time to go upstairs and see for herself what was happening. 

The fireplace erupted.

Rose leaned forward in her chair. A man’s figure materialized before her.

“Dad?” 

He glanced over at her.

"Dad? What are you doing here?” 

“What am I doing here?” he demanded. “The question is, what are you doing here?”

“I live here,” Rose drawled.

Snape’s eyes were hard, as if he expected her to wilt under him. Rose stood up, her eyes still focused upon him.

“Why are you wearing my robes?” he demanded.

“These are my robes," she answered.

“Take them off and put on a Hogwarts uniform.”

"No."

Thud!

"Excuse me?"

"I am not putting on a Hogwarts uniform."

"Are you defying me?"

“No," Rose replied. "I am telling you that there is no reason whatsoever for me to dress in a Hogwarts uniform."

“I have no time for your games,” he snapped. “Go to the restroom, take off my robes, and put on your own uniform at once.”

Thud!

“I have not worn a Hogwarts uniform in eight years, and I have no intention of doing so now,” Rose argued.

“This is not amusing,” Snape snapped. 

“I agree,” Rose replied.

“You are not fit to wear my robes.”

“Excuse me?”

“I did not stutter. You are not fit to dress in my robes, nor are you permitted to sit in my dungeons.”

“Oh,” Rose's eyes grew wide. “I see.”

“I am glad we have reached an understanding,” he replied.

“I have had a dream like this before,” Rose answered.

“A dream?” Snape asked.

Rose nodded. “You berated me for being a cheap imitation of you and told me I would never be half the person you were. If I recall, I woke up crying and flooed you. We spoke for a few hours, and you gave me a warm apple juice.”

“What are you blabbering on about?” Severus hissed.

Rose tapped her foot. “I am not quite sure when I fell asleep, nor am I quite sure why everything appears so clearly. Still, this will pass, as all dreams do."

"This is not a dream."

"I assure you that it is."

“Stop blabbering, get out of my clothes, put on your uniform, and leave my dungeons at once,” he demanded.

Rose sat down on the chair and smirked. “No.”

“Twenty points from Gryffindor for defiance,” Snape snapped.

Rose raised an eyebrow. “Why would you deduct points from Gryffindor if your goal is to punish me?”

“Are you so deluded that you've forgotten your own house?”

“Trust me, I remember my house quite well. Nobody within it will mourn the loss of Gryffindor's house points.”

"Then I deduct fifty points from Gryffindor."

"I fail to see how this affects me in any way."

Severus furrowed his eyebrows. “I have little patience for your games tonight.”

“And I have little patience with this subconscious exercise,” Rose argued.

“If you do not stop defying me, you will wish I resided only in your subconscious,” Snape warned.

Rose kicked up the recliner and leaned back. “I am not affected by your threats. Within a few minutes I will awaken, and I will call you for reassurance. If I am fortunate I will receive a heated apple juice for my troubles.”

Snape blinked.

Rose yawned and gazed at the ceiling. 

“Get out of my chair,” he demanded.

“Whatever you say,” Rose made scare quotes with her fingers. “Dad.”

“What did you just call me?” Snape asked. 

“Dad,” Rose answered.

“You think,” Snape burst out laughing. “You think I’m your father?”

Rose’s stomach sank. This dream is becoming a bit too dark.

“You, you called me Dad,” Snape chuckled.

“Yes Dad,” Rose began.

"Why would you ever call me that?"

“Because I consider you to be my dad.”

Severus’ frown deepened. “Fifty points from Gryffindor for your delusion.”

“Dad…”

“I swear if you call me that one more time Ms. Granger, I will deduct every point from your house,” Snape barked.

Thud!

Rose sprang up from the chair. “This isn't a dream at all!”

“You've just now reached that realization,” Severus snapped.

Rose rushed over until she was between him and the fireplace. “You, you really have no idea who I am, do you?”

“Of course I know who you are.” Severus snorted. “Everyone knows who the brains of the Golden Trio is.”

“Oh God,” Rose muttered. 

“If you are quite done having a panic attack, I request that you return my robes and put your uniform back on,” Snape ordered.

Rose shoved Snape into the recliner. “Okay, Da-Professor Snape?” 

“Yes, that is the proper way of addressing me,” Severus replied.

“What is the last thing you remember?” Rose asked.

There was a flash of fear in Snape’s eyes. “That is not for you to know.”

“Let’s try a different question then,” Rose suggested. “What decade is it?”

“Surely you’ve invested in a calendar.”

“I left it off my school shopping list this year.”

“Tsk tsk. Such oversights are not in your nature.”

“It was a horrid day,” Rose argued. “Now please tell me, what decade is it?”

Severus let out an exaggerated breath. “We are in the 1990's.”

Rose’s limbs went cold.

“If we are quite done with this interrogation…” Snape began sitting up.

Rose pressed him against the chair. “Are you the potions professor?”

“Unfortunately,” Snape muttered.

“Oh shit,” Rose whispered.

“Remove your hands from me this instant, lest I reconsider my position on never hexing students,” Snape ordered.

“I am afraid I cannot release you,” Rose replied.

“Why ever not?” Snape demanded.

“Because,” Rose twisted her lips.

Severus furrowed his eyebrows. 

Rose’s eyes lit up. “Because Dumbledore told me to take occlumency lessons from you.”

“Excuse me?” Snape spat.

Rose backed away from him and nodded. “Indeed he told me to take occlumency lessons from you.”

“What would possess him to make such a request?” Snape asked.

“Well, as you stated earlier, I am the brains of the Golden Trio. I know all of Harry’s secrets, and I create all of his plans. Somehow, I must keep all of them hidden, lest I am captured by Voldemort.”

“I doubt he will interrogate you. He will kill you and be done with it.”

“If he has any degree of intelligence, he will interrogate me before my demise.” 

Snape huffed.

“I know this is not how you wish to spend your evenings, but I need to learn occlumency and I need to learn it now.”

“Please tell me I do not need to teach Mr. Weasley this art in addition to you and Mr. Potter.”

“No,” Rose exhaled. “You do not.”

Thank Merlin for small favors.

“Now,” Rose found a wooden chair from across the room. She grabbed it and pulled it up. “Let us commence our first lesson.”

“No,” Snape argued.

“How could you refuse me?” Rose asked.

“You are quite unwell at the moment,” Snape answered.

“I, I apologize for my earlier erratic behavior."

"You consider your behavior and matter of dress to be merely erratic?"

"Oh, those were just a series of strange exercises."

"Do explain."

"My choice of clothing was an odd gesture on my part to identify with you.”

“Identify with me?”

Rose nodded. “I believed that if I pretended we were closely related then I would be more accepting of your teachings.”

Snape scowled. “That does not explain your insistence that this was all a dream.”

“Yes, well,” Rose gulped. “I may have gone too far in my exercise.”

Snape grumbled something under his breath. He examined her. “I thought your eyes were brown.” 

“They’re blue,” Rose replied.

“Why would I have mistaken them for brown all these years?” Snape muttered. 

“Because I’ve always wished they were brown,” Rose admitted. 

Severus leaned closer to her. “Wishing for an eye color does not make it so.”

“Trust me,” Rose answered in a soft voice. “I know.”

“You appear to be a decade older than fifteen.”

“War ages you.”

“So it does.” Snape cleared his throat. “How much occlumency do you know?”

“I have only read about it,” Rose lied.

“Occlumency is not something one reads about,” Snape warned. “It is a skill which must be honed and practiced. Do you think you can manage that?”

“I will practice every day,” Rose promised. 

“At least someone is dedicated to hard work,” Snape muttered.

“Indeed I am,” Rose vowed.

“In order to practice occlumency properly, you must suppress your emotions. Weak people who wear their hearts on their sleeves do not stand a chance against You-Know-Who,” Snape warned.

Rose took a breath. Do I deceive Dad into believing I am Mum? It would not be difficult for me to raise my occlumency shields and envision what life would have been like for Mum as a child. Dad would remain calmer if I allowed him to remain in his delusion. Still, if I allowed him to view one of my actual memories perhaps he will begin to remember me...

"Are you prepared for your lesson?"

Rose's heart pounded against her chest. Think! Think! Pick a course of action and act upon it.

Crash!

“What the bloody hell?” Snape grumbled.

“I, I’ll take care of it,” Rose replied.

Madame Serpent hissed. Snape turned around and stared at the cobra. “Where did you come from?”

The snake hissed again.

Rose flung open the door. “Scorpius?”

Scorpius raced into the dungeons and slammed the door behind him. Then he embraced Rose. “Thank Merlin you are safe.”

“Why would Hermione not be safe?” Snape demanded. "More importantly, when did you begin caring for her safety?"

Scorpius turned to Severus. “What is he doing here?”

“The better question Mr, Malfoy, is what are you doing here?” Snape interrupted.

“Please, please tell me you think my first name is Scorpius,” he pleaded.

“Do not begin playing games with me as well, Draco,” Snape warned.

“Not good,” Scorpius released Rose. “This is not good.”

“What is not good?” Rose asked.

Scorpius yelled. “Everyone thinks they’re still fighting for the soul of Hogwarts, and they’re out for my blood!”

Chapter Text

Rose took Scorpius’ hand. He flinched, but allowed her to lead him to the couch. 

“What exactly is happening?”

Scorpius sat down and shuddered. “Around eight o’clock, I was patrolling the hallways. At first, nothing was out of the ordinary. Suddenly, someone was banging on the front door. I walked over to one of the windows, and saw about thirty people standing at the gates. All of them were shouting and demanding to be let in.”

Rose let go off Scorpius' hand.

“I wasn’t clear on what to do next, so I sent a Patronus up to Headmaster Longbottom asking for his advice. Before he could respond, the people outside began pounding on the door and shooting hexes. I decided that it was less important to figure out what they wanted and more important to get the students back to their dorms. A few of them were quite peeved with me, but when they saw what happened next…”

Rose grasped Scorpius’ shoulders. “Is there a school left?”

Scorpius recoiled. He let out a whine.

Rose released him and glanced at her hands. There were traces of blood on her palms. “I am so sorry.”

“There’s no need to apologize. You didn’t do anything to harm me,” Scorpius answered.

"Still, you should not have had to go through this."

"I will be fine."

“Back to the topic at hand: what about the school? Is there anything left of it?” Rose asked.

“The building is intact, but if this fighting continues then it will take on substantial damage,” Scorpius answered.

“What are you going on about?” Snape demanded.

Rose tugged at her cape. “Please tell me, what happened next?”

“The mob managed to break on inside, and they began scouring the grounds for former Death Eaters,” Scorpius explained.

“Death Eaters?” Rose exclaimed.

Scorpius nodded.

"Why were they trying to round up Death Eaters?" Rose asked.

“Most of the people in the crowd were former aurors. They were convinced that You-Know-Who had recently been resurrected, and that they were fighting for the soul of the school. With most of the faculty, they were quite pleasant. When they saw the son of a former Death Eater though…”

In the firelight, Rose could see the bruise on his cheek.

“The other professors stuck up for me as best they could, which only agitated them further. Things only escalated when they noticed the other children of former Death Eaters. Before I could ascertain what was occurring, they began firing on us and claiming we were traitors to the Order.”

“Are, are any of the students injured?” she asked.

“To my knowledge, no student has reported an injury,” Scorpius answered.

Rose let out the breath she’d been holding.

“I tried to help as many students as I could, but the aurors were convinced that I was my father. I was able to fight back for the most part, but one can only do so much against thirty people. Once I escorted all the students out of the library, I realized that I was becoming more of a liability than a savior. It dawned on me that they may be coming for you as well, so I went to check on you,” Scorpius answered. 

"Thank you for your concern," Rose replied. "As you can see though, I am quite well."

"I am glad to hear it," Scorpius answered.

“This is preposterous,” Snape cut in.

Scorpius swallowed, “Does he think…”

“He believes he is still the potions professor.”

“Shit.”

“I truly expected better of you, Draco,” Snape stood up. “I expect Ms. Granger to waste my time with her inane adventures, but you are not as prone to mischief as she.”

“Does he think you are your mother?” Scorpius asked.

Rose sighed.

Scorpius muttered. “I’m beginning to wish I looked a bit more like my mum. It may have saved me a little trouble tonight.”

“Where is Headmaster Longbottom?” Rose asked.

“When I last saw him, he was trying to persuade two of the former aurors that he was more than capable of defending himself against his alleged attackers,” Scorpius answered. “He was proving less than successful.”

Snape burst out laughing. “Mr. Longbottom has spent far too much time among the mushrooms if he believes he can hold his own in any sort of magical confrontation.”

Rose gave her father a look before returning her attention to Scorpius. "Where are the aurors now?"

Scorpius scratched off some of the blood on his hand. “Right now, the aurors are still upstairs. Still, I knew that if they believed Hogwarts was in danger they would find a way to come down here. I can’t help the students anymore than I already have, but perhaps I can assist you in some way.”

“Thank you.” Rose waved her right hand. While the blood did not disappear from Scorpius’ clothing, the cuts faded.

“No, thank you,” Scorpius answered. 

“If you two are quite done with this little affectionate display,” Snape barked. “I need to see for myself what type of tomfoolery you two have gotten yourselves into.”

“No,” Rose argued.

Snape glowered at her. “Do not defy me. Potter and Weasley may tolerate your domineering nature, but I will not.”

“Listen,” Rose began. “I know you are confused and that you are uncertain of what's happening around you, but you need to remain here.”

“I will do no such thing.”

“Yes, you will.”

“I refuse to argue with you.”

“I refuse to argue with you as well.” Rose stood between him and the doorway. “Please trust me when I say you need to remain here.”

Snape snorted.

Rose gritted her teeth. She swore in that moment her father looked just like Violet when she wasn’t getting her way.

Violet!

Rose's heart pounded against her rib cage. “Wh-where are the aurors headed?” 

“I don’t know,” Scorpius answered.

“If they’re aurors and they think Voldemort has taken over the school, then they’re going to arrest all those they think are in collusion with the no-nose numbskull. There’s only one house which is automatically associated with You-Know-Who,” Rose replied.

Scorpius’ eyes grew. 

“I am through asking you nicely,” Snape cut in. “Move out of my way.”

“I…I,” Rose stuttered.

“Do not stand in my way,” Snape warned.

“Stay with Scor-Draco,” Rose ordered.

“I will do no such thing.”

“Damnit I don’t have time for this! Teach Draco occlumency while I’m gone. I don’t care what you do, so long as you stay here!”

“Why would I teach Draco occlumency when he's already taking lessons from Bellatrix?”

Rose’s face went rouge.

“We can play chess,” Scorpius suggested.

“I will do no such thing,” Snape pushed Rose aside.

“Don’t take one more step,” Rose ordered.

Snape opened the door.

“Stupefy!”

Snape collapsed to the ground.

Scorpius gasped. “You…you…”

Rose gripped her wand tighter. “Please watch my father. That spell should last for eight hours. You know where the healing potions are. Feel free to ingest as many as you require. In the meantime, I’m going to protect my students.”

Without waiting for him to answer, Rose charged out of the dungeons. 

She reached the top of the stairs. Hexes flew around her. A cacophony of shouts flooded the hallway. Professors and former aurors darted about. Yet Rose’s only focus remained on reaching the Slytherin Dungeon.

As Rose raced down the Dungeon Corridor, she scanned the area for Violet. It was unclear how good an omen it was for her presence to be lacking. If need be, Violet could fly away, provided she wasn’t caught off guard. If she had been caught unaware of her situation though...

Rose’s chest constricted. A mob had formed in front of the Slytherin Common Room. Pushing through them would prove impossible. Her only option was to fly above them.

Rose cringed as the ceiling scraped the back of her heels. A few times she put her hand on an auror’s face and pushed him aside. Despite the minor difficulties she was able to descend before the crowd with relative ease. 

She cast a sonoros spell. “What are all of you doing?”

The aurors grew silent and still. 

“Do you not understand how counterproductive storming the Slytherin Dungeon is?” Rose asked.

“Hermione?” someone from the center of the crowd asked.

“Yes, I’m Hermione,” Rose asked.

“Wh-why are you dressed in Professor Snape’s robes?” 

“That is none of your concern.”

“How do we know you’re really, Hermione Granger?” another one asked.

“Yeah,” another noted. “You don’t have the same shade of eyes as she does.”

“I’m experimenting with different eye coloring charms,” Rose argued.

"Why would you do that?"

“The ability to change one’s appearance is quite a valuable skill, would you not agree?”

They murmured their assent.

“Returning to the issue at hand,” Rose continued. “Storming the Slytherin Common Room and harassing the students will only serve to infuriate them." 

“We are not harassing them,” one shouted. “We’re trying to arrest them.”

“For what crime?”

“For being involved with the Dark Lord.”

“There are better ways to go about this then to sneak in and capture them in the dead of night.”

They said nothing.

“If we do not go about this properly, the consequences will be dire. Those who have no interest in the Dark Lord might join his ranks simply to avenge their Slytherin comrades, and those who do have an interest in him will only be emboldened by this attack.”

The aurors stared at her.

“My proposal is to return in the morning and only arrest those who can be proven to have committed a crime. Leave the rest be,” Rose proposed.

“They’re going to escape if we wait until the morning,” one argued.

“The school is more than capable of detaining them.”

“What the hell has gotten into you?” 

Rose remained impassive.

“These Slytherins are current and future Death Eaters. You-Know-Who recruits from this house. Why are you sticking up for them?” the auror asked.

“As a muggleborn, I have experienced discrimination myself,” Rose replied. 

“Discrimination at the hands of Slytherins,” one added.

“True,” Rose pointed to a Slytherin emblem. “This house has a sordid history. Still, many a great wizard has come from Slytherin. We cannot disgrace them by discriminating against an entire house.”

A few backed away.

“Why are you standing up for people who have attacked you?” an auror asked.

“I am not standing up for anyone,” Rose replied. “I am trying to prevent an injustice from occurring. Come back in the morning. We can work things out from there.”

Three fourths of the mob strolled away.

One auror approached Rose. “Something doesn’t seem right about you.”

“Why would you think there was anything not right about me?” Rose asked.

“First of all, you’re too old to be Hermione,” he replied.

Four aurors drew closer to her. 

“As stated before, I’ve been experimenting with various charms,” Rose replied as she grabbed her wand. “Some of them may not have worn off yet.”

“You,” the auror’s eyes were inflamed. “You aren’t Hermione! You’re an imposture helping the students to escape.”

Rose hexed him into the wall.

The others charged at her. Before she could cast a protective spell, a hex shot up her left leg. The limb buckled under her. Blood trickled from her knee.

“Incarcerous!”

Rose flew up before the ropes could touch her body. 

Another hex shot up her right arm. She winced, but somehow managed to maintain control of her wand. Another hex struck her stomach. Rose took a deep breath before shouting, “Protego!”

A shield formed around her. The hexes rebounded from it.

Rose shouted out her own hexes while dodging the aurors’ hexes. One by one, the aurors scurried away. The last one fired a hex which slammed against the door.

Rose’s ears rang. The room spun around.

“Let’s try this again…”

“Sectumsempra!” Rose pointed her wand at his arm and made a downwards motion.

The auror dropped his wand and screamed. Seizing her opportunity, Rose fired off one more hex which pushed him down the hallway. With a yelp, he limped down the Dungeon Corridor.

“Rose?” 

Rose swallowed her bile. “Violet?”

“Yes?” Violet asked.

“Is everyone in there well?” Rose asked.

“Yes, although we’re scared out of our wits,” Violet answered.

Rose groaned.

“What is going on out there?” Violet asked. “Why were people trying to attack us?”

“Nothing, just,” Rose slurred “Don’t leave the dorms for any reason. Stay inside until I tell you that it is safe to leave.”

“Fine,” Violet replied.

Rose panted and forced herself to stand up. Then she stared down the empty hallway. She pleaded with her mind to focus on anything other than her father’s stupefied body lying on the Dungeon floor.

Chapter Text

What do I do with Uncle Severus?

Scorpius wrung his hands while pacing from one end of the couch to the other. It’s rude to leave a stupefied body on the ground, but I don't know if Rose would appreciate finding him on her bed. The couch seems like the best place to leave him, though I have no idea if he'd be uncomfortable there. Then again, he may be uncomfortable on the bed. Oh Merlin! How do I ask a stupefied amnesiac where he would feel most comfortable?

Scorpius touched Severus' neck. He counted how many times he felt his uncle's carotid artery bump against his fingers. 

The heart rate was still seventy beats per minute.

 Scorpius tilted his head towards the ceiling and removed his fingers from Severus' neck. I haven’t heard any crashes in the last half hour. That’s a good sign, right?

Scorpius leaned on the armrest of the sofa. He glanced back at the doorway. At some point, I need to check on Rose, but knowing her she’ll only yell at me for leaving her dad alone. Then again, it isn’t like Uncle Severus is going anywhere. Perhaps she would appreciate my help.

The light of an auror’s wand flashed in his brain.

No, if I leave Severus alone then there will be no one to protect him if someone attacks. If anything ever happened to Severus, Rose would never forgive me…or herself.

The fireplace erupted.

Sweat trickled down Scorpius’ brow. He took a deep breath and stood up.

“Rose?” 

Scorpius strolled over to the fireplace. “Hello, Aunt Hermione.”

“Scorpius?” she asked.

He gulped.

“What are you doing in Rose's quarters?” Hermione asked.

Scorpius inhaled. “She needed me.”

“Is she well?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Scorpius answered. “Rose is doing fine, at least as far as I know.” 

“That’s great to hear,” Hermione replied. “Is Severus with her?”

Scorpius shot a look back at the person on floor. “More or less.”

“What on earth does that mean?” Hermione replied.

“It uh, means he’s with her right now,” Scorpius answered.

“Where exactly are they?” Hermione asked.

“Not here,” Scorpius answered.

Even in the fireplace, Hermione’s glare made him feel ten inches tall.

“What are you not telling me?” Hermione demanded.

“Nothing,” Scorpius answered. "I'm withholding no-nothing from you."

“No, something’s wrong, and I need to know what it is right now.”

“Why would you suspect that anything’s wrong?”

“Severus promised to meet me in Brazil two hours ago. I have yet to see any sign of him,” her voice grew softer. “I’m worried that something may have happened to him.”

“There’s no need to worry,” Scorpius replied. “He is safe with Rose.”

“Why is he with her in the first place?” Hermione asked. 

“She had an emergency.”

“An emergency?”

Scorpius nodded.

"What kind of emergency?" Hermione demanded. "Does she need me there?"

"No, no, it isn't that kind of emergency."

"Then what is she doing?"

“Rose needed help locating a dragon lily.

"A dragon lily?"

"Yes, a dragon lily," Scorpius answered. "If she didn’t find it in a timely manner she wouldn’t be able to brew curagripa. When she told Severus about her dilemma he agreed to help her find the plant. Right now they’re out looking for it. I’m sure once they find it he’ll be off to South America.”

“That makes no sense whatsoever,” Hermione argued. “Rose knows where to find dragon lily, and is more than capable of collecting it herself. She does not require Severus’ aid.”

“Perhaps she felt it was dangerous to go alone and retrieve it.”

“Dragon lilies are found in Greece or in some of the more exotic greenhouses. There is no danger in collecting one.” 

“Perhaps she and Severus needed to discuss something along the way.”

“That I could somewhat believe,” Hermione admitted. “But it still makes no sense. If Severus was going to be delayed, he would have contacted me somehow.”

“I wish I could tell you why Severus didn’t go to Brazil.” Scorpius lowered his head. “I really do.”

“This isn’t like Severus,” Hermione replied. “This isn’t like Rose either. Something is wrong, and I demand to know what it is right now.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong,” Scorpius answered. “All I know is that Rose and Uncle Severus ran off somewhere, and she asked me to watch Madame Serpent for her.”

“How long exactly do they plan to be gone?”

“I wish I knew.”

“Is there any way I could enter the dungeons on my own and wait for them?” Hermione asked. 

“No,” Scorpius answered. “No, no, no, you cannot come in here right now.”

“Why not?” Hermione asked.

“Because there are volatile potions being brewed at the moment. The last thing anyone would want is for you to get injured.”

“If these potions are so volatile, then why would she allow you in the dungeons?”

“You'll have to ask her when she returns. Right now, I’m only following orders in saying you cannot come in.”

“Orders?” Hermione exclaimed. “You mean to tell me that my daughter and her father are searching for a potions ingredient, and they have ordered me not to locate them?”

“I don’t understand any of this either,” Scorpius admitted. 

Hermione's voice grew more forceful with each word. “Severus doesn’t behave this way. Even if he was trying to surprise me, he would have told me to wait for him in Brazil. Something is not right, and I need to know what it is.”

“I really wish I could help you,” Scorpius replied.

“I suppose there’s little you can do,” Hermione took a shaky breath. “When you next see Severus, please tell him that I’ll be in the mansion waiting for him. I’m in no mood to enjoy the beach, at least not at this moment.”

Scorpius grinned. “I will be sure to let him know you were looking for him.”

The connection died.

Scorpius shook. Aunt Hermione will be out of that mansion within a half hour. She won't rest until she finds Uncles Severus. What do I do if she somehow manages to break in and sees him in this state?

Scorpius stood over Severus. He whispered, “I hope you recover your memory soon. Your wife needs you, and from the looks of things, you need her too.”

 

***

“Are you going to tell me what’s in there yet?”

Ginevra sat up in the bed. The sheet floated down, revealing her bare chest. “Was that what tonight was all about?”

Draco smirked.

She stroked his hair. “Did you only seduce me in order to gain information about what’s inside a pamphlet?”

“You must admit, there are worse reasons to seduce one’s wife,” Draco replied.

She captured his lips. “I think I can hold onto my secret for a few more weeks.” 

“Ginevra,” he groaned.

Ginevra laughed. “For someone who was less than forthcoming when we met, you certainly do not appreciate anyone holding a secret over you.”

Draco gave her a playful pout. Ginevra laughed harder.

CRASH!

The house shook. Down the hall a vase shattered. 

THUD!

“Mummy?”

Ginevra raced out of bed and threw on her night robe. “Yes, Orion?”

CRASH!

Orion ran into the room and clung to his mother. “Mummy, why is it so loud?”

“I don’t know,” Ginevra replied.

Draco pulled on a pair of silk night pants and threw on a shirt.

“Come out of there, Malfoy! We know you’re in there!”

Draco and Ginevra turned to each other.

“We aren’t going to ask again! Come out here now!”

“Orion,” Ginevra ordered. “You hide in this closet and do not come out until Mummy and Daddy tell you it’s safe. Do you understand?”

Orion whimpered and obeyed.

Draco cast a few concealment and protection spells around the closet. Then he and Ginevra charged down the hallway and out of the mansion. 

Ginevra shouted, “What in blue blazes are you doing here?”

“Ms. Weasley?”

Ginevra cocked her head. “Williamson?”

“Shit, Draco’s taken a hostage,” he shouted.

“Hostage?” Ginevra spat.

“Don’t worry Ms. Weasley,” Williamson shouted. “We, we’ll think of something. You’ll be free soon enough.”

Ginevra raised an eyebrow. “What exactly am I supposed to be free from?”

“I know you’re terrified…”

“Of course I’m terrified!” she shouted. “You’re destroying my house. At the very least I’d appreciate an explanation for your behavior!”

A beam of light flew towards Draco. He cast a protego spell before it could hit him. It bounced off his shield and hit the side of the mansion, leaving a smudge mark in its wake.

“Don’t fire on him,” Williamson ordered. “Draco could use Ginny as a human shield.”

“A what?” Draco yelled.

“Listen,” Ginny stomped towards them. “I don’t know what this is all about, and I don’t particularly care. All I want is for you to leave and allow me to get a good night’s sleep.”

The three aurors beside Williamson took aim at Draco.

“Good,” Williamson replied. “Just come over here nice and slow.”

Ginevra stopped. “Get the hell off of my lawn.”

One of the aurors fired another hex at Draco. Ginevra cast a protego and fired upon her. 

“Have you,” Williamson’s eyes grew huge. “Have you defected to the Dark Lord’s side?”

“Defected?” Ginevra exclaimed.

The aurors surrounding Williamson fired upon Draco at once. Although he managed to dodge one beam of light, two other hexes hit his legs. His knees buckled under him.

Ginevra fired a hex onto Williamson’s chest. It flung him a few meters away.

Another auror fired upon Draco. He managed to crawl away from the light, but it came at the sacrifice of his front door.

Ginevra’s eyes were aflame. She shouted as many stinging hexes as she could name. Draco soon joined her barrage. The aurors fired upon them, though most of their ammunition only hit the mansion. 

Together, Draco and Ginevra yelled the name of a curse. The aurors were flung several meters away. Instead of regaining their position, they ran away.

After they were out of sight, Ginevra darted over to Draco. 

“What the bloody hell just happened?” Draco asked.

Ginevra stood up and extended her hand. “I don’t know, but in the morning, I intend to find out.”

Chapter Text

 

The hallway was silent, the dungeons still. No passerby would’ve ever suspected that a battle had taken place. If not for the bruises on her body and the throbbing of her skull, Rose would have wondered if the past few hours had been nothing more than a vivid nightmare.

Rose sat down on the ground, her eyes drooping shut. I can stay awake. All I need to do is get in a more comfortable position and I can stay awake.

She leaned against the wall. A pain shot up her back. 

With a yelp, Rose jerked up. She gagged as the room spun. After taking a few deep breaths through her nose, the sensations subsided.

Rose gripped her wand tighter. What a pitiful excuse of a daughter I am. Dad taught several classes with nothing but willpower and a pepper up potion. I get knocked on the head and I cannot so much as stand upright. I do not deserve to bear his name. 

The image of her stupefied Dad sprawled on the floor flashed into her consciousness

Rose’s eyes watered. Dad would’ve found a way to save me without injury. Had he been in my position, he would’ve rescued the students and me, and still had the energy to conduct research the next evening.

“My greatest fear in life was that you and your siblings would be ashamed of me.” Her father's voice echoed in her mind.

Rose traced her finger along a crack in the floor. 

“I thought if you understood the true extent of my crimes, you would grow to despise being my daughter.”

“Oh Daddy,” she whispered. “How could I grow to despise you when I am not even half the person you are?

 

***

The day Rose discovered the truth about her parents' roles in the war was etched in her mind. She believed that she was eight years old, but she may have only been seven. Regardless of her exact age, the pertinent details were clear.

Rose held Mr. Snake in one hand, the fourth edition of Hogwarts: A Revised History in the other. She crept down the hallway, following the voices of her parents.

“What did you do?”

Rose turned to her side. 

Victor poked his head out of a small guest bedroom. “Why are Mum and Dad so angry?”

“I was bad,” Rose answered.

Victor’s eyes grew. “How were you bad?”

Rose held up the book. "I wanted to buy this book, but Dad told me it was awful.”

Victor cocked his head. “Mum didn’t think it was so bad. I mean, she bought it for you anyway.”

“She did,” Rose answered. “But Dad was very angry with her for doing so.”

He shrugged. “I guess you should’ve bought the book on animagi then.”

“I know,” Rose squeezed Mr. Snake harder against her chest. “But I’m going to make everything better.”

“Good luck,” Victor replied.

“Thank you,” Rose looked at the end of the hallway. “I may need it.”

Rose continued along her path. The closer she came to the library, the more distinguishable her parents’ words became. Although they were not shouting at each other, the conversation was animated.

“It is time Rose learn the truth,” Mum began.

“There are certain truths of which she should remain ignorant,” Dad argued.

“She’s going to learn about our roles in the war at some point in the future. We might as well allow her to learn about us now when we’re still available to answer her questions,” Mum replied.

“Let me ask you something,” Dad’s voice was lower. “How many questions about Ronald Weasley would you like to answer over the course of the next two weeks? Would you like to explain your previous connection with him to our daughter?”

“It isn’t realistic to think that I could keep our relationship secret forever,” Hermione admitted.

"So you are comfortable answering questions about how you could be such good friends with Ronald?"

Rose gasped. Wasn't Ron Weasley the man who kidnapped her as a baby? How could Mummy have ever been his friend? 

"It will be uncomfortable, but she will learn about us at some point."

"Just like she will learn about Lily and me."

Rose bit her lip. Who was Lily?

“If you think it's uncomfortable answering questions about Ronald then just wait until she begins to ask about Lily. I’m sure Rose will be riveted by the rumors that you are a cheap replacement for the true love of my life.”

“If Rose truly thinks I would ever consent to being a replacement for a corpse then she does not know the first thing about her mother,” Mum replied.

Rose stepped through the doorway. She observed her father. Although was frowning, there was a spark in his eyes.

“Severus.” Mum rubbed his hand. “Rose knows and loves you. She isn’t going to care about who you were before she was born. All she’s going to remember is the magnificent husband and father you are today.”

“I pray you are correct,” Dad answered.

“Mummy? Daddy?”

They turned to Rose.

Rose held out the book. “I’m sorry I wanted to read this book. I didn’t know it was bad. You can take it back to the store now.”

Mum released Dad’s hand. He bent down and touched Rose’s shoulder. “No Little One, I apologize for becoming so angry about you looking at the book. Hogwarts: A Revised History is a fine book, one which you should read.”

“But they made changes to it after Mummy bought it,” Rose replied. “You said those changes were bad. I’ll just read the book Mummy had and forget this one exists.”

“No, you will not,” Dad answered. “You will read this version, and you will enjoy it greatly.”

“No I won’t!” Rose clung to him. “It makes you angry just to see it, and I don’t want to make you angry.”

Rose could hear Mum exit the room. 

“Victor?” Mum called.

“Yes?” he answered.

Dad rubbed Rose’s back. “May I make a confession?”

Rose looked up at him. 

“Sometimes when you are bad, you do not wish for me to discover your misdeed,” Dad began.

“I’m not bad,” Rose sniffed.

“I seem to recall an incident last Sunday where you snuck a cookie out of the jar when you believed that I had turned my back,” Dad continued.

Rose blushed.

“You did it behind my back because you feared my disappointment, did you not?” Dad asked.

“Yes,” Rose muttered.

“Well, sometimes I want to hide things from you because I fear your disappointment.”

“You do?”

“Indeed, I do,” Dad explained. “I have done some deplorable things in my lifetime, things I shudder to remember. When you presented that book to me, I became upset that you would discover who I was before I became your father. Because I did not like who I was before you were born, I became upset and took it out on you.”

Rose cocked her head. “Why wouldn’t you like yourself?”

“Because I am not likable.”

“You’re lovable!”

Dad laughed. “At least according to you I am.”

“Anyone who doesn’t like you is a dunderhead,” Rose argued.

He kissed her forehead. “Go on and read that book now.”

“Are you sure I should?” Rose asked.

The humor evaporated from his eyes. “If you have any questions about anything in the book, please come see me.”

“Are you saying that it's homework then?”

“More or less.”

Dad glided out of the room.

For the love of her, Rose couldn’t remember half of what was in the book. Unlike her mother, she could never quote it by verse, in large part due to the fact that her first time reading it was also her last. All Rose remembered about the book was that after the third day of reading it, she came across the names Lily Evans, Voldemort, Hermione Granger, and Severus Snape.

Once Rose reached the appendix, she closed the book and marched into the library. 

Dad sat in a chair, his back to the entrance. He held up a potions journal, but judging from his expression he hadn’t read a single word.

“Daddy?”

He set it down on a nearby side table. “Yes, Rose?”

Rose approached him. “You’re right, this book is bad.”

He took a deep breath. 

“I didn’t like it,” Rose continued.

“I pray my insecurities did not cloud your enjoyment of it,” Dad answered.

“No, you didn’t make me hate it,” Rose replied. “I didn’t like the book because it was inaccurate.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me.”

Rose set the book on top of his journal. “It said that you were in love with some lady named Lily, which is ridiculous because you only love Mummy. Then it said your Patronus was a doe, which isn’t true because it’s an otter.”

Dad grinned.

“It was a very inaccurate book, and I didn’t much like it,” Rose replied. 

Daddy’s expression became somber. “What were your thoughts on the sections regarding the Death Eaters?”

She shrugged. “You did bad things, but then you stopped. If you don’t hate me for all bad things I’ve done, then I won’t hate you for what you did.”

He scooped her into his arms. “I love you so much, Little One.”

“I’m not little,” Rose replied.

“When did you become taller than me?” Dad asked.

She giggled. “I’m not yet, but I will be.”

“Well, until you are taller than me, you will remain ‘Little One,’” Dad replied.

 

***

Rose choked as she meditated on the sensation of her father’s arms around her. What had become of him? Would he regain his memories of his family, or was he doomed to live in the past? If he did regain his memories, could he ever forgive her for stupefying him?

“Rose?”

“Yes?” 

Rose tilted her head upwards. 

“Have you been here all night?” Headmaster Longbottom asked.

“Yes,” she groaned.

“You look as if you had a run in with the aurors.”

“I may have faced down five of them.”

“Oh gods, what did they do to you?” Headmaster Longbottom asked.

“They fired a few hexes, one of which slammed me into the wall,” Rose admitted. “All things considered, I am quite well.”

“Are you in pain?”

“No.”

He folded his arms over his chest.

“I may have a minor headache,” Rose admitted.

Neville pulled out his wand and muttered an incantation. The wand turned red. “You have a concussion.”

Rose stared at him.

“You need to leave for your quarters.”

“No!”

Headmaster Longbottom jumped back.

Rose stood up. Her brain felt as if it was being pummeled by a centaur, and her vision was blurry. Somehow though, she managed to keep her gaze on Headmaster Longbottom. “I’m not leaving my students.”

“The aurors have left,” he replied. “There is no reason to remain here.”

“Are you certain of that?” she asked.

“I am,” he answered.

Rose took a few steps forward. “What time is it?”

“Four in the morning,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

Rose moaned. “I can get a couple of hours of sleep before my class then.”

“You won’t be teaching a class today,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

“Of course I’m teaching class today.”

“You are taking the day off.”

Rose took a few steps forward. “No, I am not.”

Headmaster Longbottom blocked her path. “Today will be spent resting and beginning your recovery.”

“I only need a couple of hours to recover.”

“That is not true and you know it.”

Rose snarled. “If Dad can teach a few hours after he’s been beaten to a pulp, then I can teach with a concussion.”

“Your dad was horrid after a Death Eater meeting,” Headmaster Longbottom began.

“But he still taught.”

“He didn't teach us so much as he yelled at us.”

“He was still there though.”

“I will not have another foul-mood Snape teaching in one of my classrooms.”

“I won’t be in a foul mood if you step aside and allow me to teach.”

“Your mood will improve once you receive eight hours of sleep.”

Rose cried, “Dad could teach injured, so why can I not?”

Headmaster Longbottom replied, “Because I am not Albus Dumbledore, and this is not the Second Wizarding War.”

Rose’s knees shook.

“Your father never should’ve been asked to teach while injured. His body needed time to heal, just as yours does,” Headmaster Longbottom continued.

Rose sank to the ground. “I only want to make him proud.”

Headmaster Longbottom pointed to the doorway. “There isn’t a hole on the doorway to the Slytherin Dungeon. The students are sleeping safe and sound. You are the reason why. Your father would be very proud if he were here right now.”

Rose’s lip quivered. “There is no need to flatter me. I will never be the hero he is.”

Headmaster Longbottom’s eyes softened. “You cannot spend your entire life comparing yourself to your parents. Those unfair comparisons can turn a promising young wizard into someone who is convinced he is a nobody. You are your own person with your own set of obstacles and your own way of overcoming them. In a way that is uniquely you, you are heroic.”

Rose relaxed.

He extended his hand. “Nobody expects you to be Severus Snape, and I am deeply grateful every day that I do not live in terror of your wrath as I did his.”

“You would be,” Rose grasped his hand.

Neville pulled her up. “Let’s get you back to the dungeons where you can rest up.”

“What if I feel well enough to teach in a few hours?”

“Then I will give you an official suspension until you are concussion free.”

Rose forced her lips upwards. “Fair enough.”

In silence, they made their way to the dungeons, the same dungeons where her father lay.

Chapter Text

Hermione glanced at the two suitcases on her bed. One was crimson, the other was black. She had packed the former, and her husband had packed the latter. Despite the difference in color, both of them were filled to the brim with clothing and other toiletries. 

Why would Severus pack his bags, but never join me? What could have kept him away?

She picked up a handful of floo powder and threw it into the fireplace. “Headmaster Longbottom’s office.”

No face appeared in the embers. She tapped her foot and bit her lower lip. Nothing manifested itself.

The flames sputtered out. Hermione ran her hands through her frazzled hair. It was a long shot to assume that Neville would be awake at six in the morning, but then again, he should have been awake at nine in the evening. Why is he not answering his floo?

Why can I not get in contact with anyone?

Another face popped into Hermione’s mind. She grabbed another handful of floo powder, but did not throw it in.

I'm not sure if he's awake at this hour or not. I keep telling him to get more rest, but he is just as big a workaholic as I was at his age. I should allow him to sleep.

Hermione's arm itched.

No, if he understood the situation he would want to help. At the very least he'd know people who could search for Severus.

Floo powder leapt into the fireplace. “Victor Snape.”

The flames erupted. 

Hermione scratched her left arm. “Victor?”

Nothing.

“Victor honey, it’s me, Mum” Hermione shouted. “I-I know it’s early, but I must speak with you immediately.”

A face appeared. “M-mum?”

Hermione released the breath she’d been holding. “Yes.”

His eyes grew. “Mum, are you well?”

“I’ve been better,” she admitted.

“Oh dear,” he looked to his side.

“Victor, I need to speak with you right now,” Hermione replied.

“Uh, I’m still wearing my pajamas,” Victor answered.

“I don’t care.”

“You don’t?”

“I changed your nappies. You cannot show me anything I haven’t seen before.”

“Fair enough,” he replied. “You may enter.” 

“Thank you,” Hermione replied.

Victor’s face disappeared. Hermione waited a few seconds before leaping into the flames. Then, she stumbled past her son's hearth.

“Mum, what’s wrong?” Victor asked.

Hermione brushed herself off. “I cannot locate your father.” 

Victor raised an eyebrow. “Dad is missing?”

Hermione nodded. 

Victor’s eyes widened. “Oh Merlin, what do you think happened to him?”

“Honestly,” Hermione put her hands to her side. “I was hoping you had some clue.”

Victor motioned down the hallway. Hermione nodded and followed him down to the kitchen.

“I don’t have the foggiest clue where Dad would be,” Victor replied. “The last thing I heard was that you and Dad were going to South America.”

“Well apparently those plans have been cancelled,” Hermione answered.

Victor pulled up one of his oak kitchen chairs. “Did he leave a note explaining his absence?”

Hermione sat down. “No.”

“Did you cast a tracking spell?”

“It didn’t work.”

Victor pulled up another kitchen chair and moved it until he was facing her. “What exactly did he tell you before you left?”

Hermione leaned forward. “The last thing he said to me was that he would leave for Brazil the second the last potion was bottled.”

“I take it he finished the task,” Victor replied.

“I checked the basement myself,” Hermione answered. “The potions were all bottled and put in their crates. His work desk was clear, and the potions which needed to be exposed to the full moon had been set out. From what I gather, he had every intention of going to Brazil. The only thing out of place was his packed suitcase on the bed.”

Victor blanched. "What about Rose? Does she have any idea where he may be?"

“I tried flooing Rose, but I could only get a hold of Scorpius.”

“Scorpius?”

"Yes," Hermione replied. “He was in her chambers.”

"Why was he in her chambers?"

"He said she had asked him to watch over things."

“I see,” Victor drawled. “What else did he say?”

Hermione pressed her back against the chair. “He told me Severus and Rose were searching for dragon lilies.”

“The same dragon lilies Rose can buy at almost any greenhouse?”

“The one and the same.”

Victor buried his head in his hands. 

“I know you usually call Rose this time of week,” Hermione began. “Did she mention anything at all about hunting for potions ingredients?”

“No,” Victor replied.

“Did she mention any plans to meet with your father?”

“No, nothing.”

“Did she mention anything unusual?”

“No,” Victor answered. “We discussed my work and she teased me about Carina. There was no mention of any trips with Dad.”

Hermione scratched her arm. Victor swallowed. 

“Things aren’t adding up,” She mused.

“No, they aren’t,” Victor replied.

Hermione stopped scratching. “I did not mean to wake you up so early, but I was running out of options.”

“No, I needed to know this,” Victor answered. “Thank you for telling me.”

“You were my last hope.” Hermione deflated.  “Nobody else will answer their floo.”

"What do you mean by 'nobody?'"

"As mentioned earlier I have tried flowing Rose. After I spoke with Scorpius I attempted to contact Draco, Lucius, and Neville. None of them will answer their floo."

Victor gulped.

Hermione stood. “Once the clock strikes seven I am going to apparate to Hogwarts. Neville should be awake by then. If anyone knows Rose’s whereabouts, it would be him.”

“Will he let you into the school?” Victor asked.

“If he knows that Severus and Rose’s lives could be in danger, then yes,” Hermione answered.

“Very true,” Victor answered.

Hermione slid back into the chair. “I truly apologize for waking you up at this hour. I knew it was unlikely that you knew anything, but if your father and sister are in danger I cannot afford not to follow every lead I could think of.”

Victor put his hand on her hers. “If you cannot find them, then I know a few bailiffs who are adept at locating people.”

Hermione’s expression softened. “I’d appreciate the help.”

Victor kissed her on the cheek. “We will find them, I promise.”

“Yes,” Hermione whispered. “We will.”

“In the meantime,” Victor rose. “Let me make you some tea.”

“No,” Hermione got up. “I should allow you to get your rest.”

Victor put his hands on his mother’s shoulders. “I insist.”

“Victor.”

He pressed her downwards. “Mum.”

Hermione sat. “I suppose I am somewhat thirsty.”

“Would you like peppermint or earl grey tea?”

“Peppermint.”

Victor strolled over to stove. With a wave of his hand, the flames appeared.

“There’s a reason you’re my favorite son,” Hermione noted. 

“I work very hard to defend my title,” Victor answered.

Hermione chuckled. She watched him pull out the tea pot and turn on the sink. 

For the first time all night, Hermione’s arm did not itch.

 

***

Rose crawled out of the bathtub. At the moment, it was difficult to determine if the pounding in her head was caused by the concussion, a lack of sleep, or soaking in the hot bath for too long. Then again, did it matter? So long as Rose could slip into her nightgown she would consider her night a success.

Her toothbrush dangled from the top of the sink. Rose groaned. Grandma and Grandpa may kill me for thinking this, but I’m positive my teeth will not fall out if I forego brushing my them for one night.

Rose knelt and threw her gown over her head. She took a few deep breaths before standing upright. The nausea returned. Rose gagged before grabbing her illuminated wand. Then, she hobbled out of the bathroom.

She trudged towards her bed, her body pleading with her to lie down with each step. After what seemed like an hour, she pulled back the covers and plopped onto the bed. She threw them over her head.

Here’s to hoping things improve by tomorrow.

“Rose?”

She rolled over. 

“Little One.”

She stuck her wand into the dark. A familiar silhouette approached her.

“What is troubling you?”

Her heart began to race. A thousand emotions flooded her consciousness, but all she could mutter was, “Dad.”

Chapter Text

Where the hell am I?

Severus felt as if he’d fallen asleep for twenty years, yet had not received a moment's rest. He stretched his aching muscles, but froze mid-motion when his feet touched the leather armrest of a sofa.

Why am I here?

His eyes darted around the room, but there was only darkness. He counted to ten on his fingers and took a few deep breaths. Once his thoughts stopped racing, he focused on the area in front of him.

The shadows became more distinguishable. There were three bookshelves lining the wall, the fireplace was unlit, and there was a wooden footrest to his right. There was also a hissing in the northern corner of the  room, though he could not determine its cause.

Snort.

Severus turned around. A blond-haired man was slumped in an armchair, his mouth agape. Severus twisted his lips. What role did he play in my coming here?

A better question would be, how do I escape?

I could try apparation, but the man may have cast a spell which prevents one from doing so. Even if I can apparate, the crack will only alert this man to my absence. He could pursue me, thus putting Hermione’s life in danger.

How did he capture me in the first place?

Severus scratched his leg. The best way to determine where I am is to try and remember how I got here, or at least consider how I may have come here. The last thing I remember is being near my fireplace, ready to vacation with my wife... 

Shit! Hermione! Does she know what has happened to me? Where is she? Could these people have taken her too?

Severus startled. He turned to the fireplace. The outline of a golden pot was visible. His lips curled up.

If I can run over and throw the powder into the floo, I may be able to escape from this place. I'll put the rest of the pieces together from there.

Before Severus could formulate a concrete escape plan, a nearby door opened. He reached for his pocket and grabbed his wand. Then he smirked. Whoever had taken him had been too stupid to confiscate his wand.

Wait, how could someone idiotic enough to let me keep my wand have kidnapped me?

A woman stumbled out of a nearby room. She groaned and paused. After taking some time to catch her breath, she proceeded to make her way across the room.

Severus’ heart slowed. “Rose?”

Everything in the room became more distinct, the surroundings more familiar.

Snape's heart pounded against his chest. Nobody captured me: I came here of my own volition. Still, why would I come here when Hermione expects me in Brazil?

Does Hermione know I’m here?

Rose groaned again. She leaned on the threshold of her bedroom and held her head. Then she continued trudging to her bed. 

It matters little how I came here. All that matters is Rose needs tending to.

Severus leapt off of the couch. His legs wobbled. Within a few moments, his balance returned. He glided over to her bedroom.

“Little One.”

She stuck her wand into the dark. Her eyes grew.

“What is troubling you?”

“Dad?”

He knelt at the foot of her bed. “Little One, what happened?”

Rose embraced him. She sobbed. “Thank Merlin you recognized me.”

Severus raised an eyebrow. “Why would I not recognize you?”

Rose slid back onto her bed. “I don’t know. That's what I’ve been trying to discern all night.”

A lump formed in Severus’ throat. “What do you mean by that?”

Rose sniffed. “Around nine o’clock you barged into my sitting room and demanded that I go to the Gryffindor Common Room.”

“Why ever would I give you that command?”

“Because you thought I was Mum.”

“I thought you were your mother?” Severus asked.

Rose nodded.

“H-how could I ever mistake you for her?”

“I have been wondering that all night.”

Rose adjusted her wand. There were scratches on her cheeks, and a bruise near her left eye.

Severus’ body went cold. “Did I become combative?”

A tear fell from Rose’s right eye.

He bowed his head and trembled. “Please for the love of all that is good, please don’t tell me I injured you.”

“No. No,” Rose exclaimed. “I injured you.”

Severus looked at her.

“I injured you,” Rose repeated.

“How?” Severus asked.

Tears trickled down her cheeks. “The situation is complicated, but in essence, you believed yourself to be in the middle of the Second Wizarding War.”

“What?” Severus asked.

Rose wiped her eyes. “After you entered my room, you began berating me for wearing your clothes and told me to put on a Hogwarts uniform. At first I believed the whole thing to be a nightmare, but soon it became obvious that everything was all too real. You truly believed yourself to be my potions professor.”

“Oh Merlin,” He whispered. 

“The only way I could prevent you from going upstairs was to pretend I was Mum. I told you that Dumbledore expected you to give me occlumency lessons because I knew too much about Harry. You were less than enthused at the prospect initially, but after some badgering you agreed,” she explained. 

Severus swallowed.

“Things proceeded to become even more complicated when Scorpius entered the room. He claimed that aurors were chasing him. You were demanding to leave the dungeons, but the aurors believed themselves to be in the middle of the Wizarding War as well. They were attacking everyone they considered an enemy, which would have included you.”

Severus hummed.

Rose shook. “They were heading for the Slytherin Dungeon. Someone had to defend the students, but you were attempting to escape, so I….”

Severus touched her shoulder.

Rose trembled. Tears streamed down her eyes. “I didn’t want to do it, but I was running out of options. I was so scared for you and for Violet and for my students. It was wrong, I shouldn’t have done it, but I felt I had no choice.” 

“What exactly did you do?”

“I stupefied you!”

“Oh Little Rose,” Severus whispered as he sat on the bed.

Rose was gasping for air. Her face was drenched in teardrops. “I should have found a better way to keep you in the room. There was a better way…you…you would’ve known it. How…how could I not? How could I not have found a way to save the students without injuring you?”

Severus shushed her while he massaged her back.

“I failed you Daddy. I completely failed you.”

“Were Violet or any of the other students injured?”

“No,” Rose squeaked. 

“Then you did not fail me," Severus answered.

“No, no I did, because there was a better way to save both you and them.”

“What would that be?”

“I…I don’t know. That’s why I failed.”

"What about the students? Are they safe?"

"For the moment, yes."

“How did you manage to protect them?"

“I pretended to be Mum and managed to talk most of the aurors out of attacking the Slytherins. There were five which wouldn’t listen. They noticed I had blue eyes instead of brown. Then they attacked me.”

Severus’ body went cold. 

“I managed to get the upper hand and forced them to leave, but I sustained a concussion in the process,” Rose replied.

“Have you taken anything for it yet?” Severus asked.

“No,” Rose choked out.

Severus stood up. “That will be remedied immediately.”

“Why?”

“Because you have sustained a serious injury and you need medication.”

“No, I mean,” she sniffed. “Why are you helping me?”

Severus looked at her as if she had announced she was going to become a professional Quidditch player. “What kind of question is that?”

“I stupefied you,” Rose argued.

“I fail to see how that relates to your predicament,” Severus replied.

“Do you not understand?” Rose propped herself up on her elbows. “I injured you because I panicked.”

“You stupefied me so you could perform your duties as Head of the Slytherin House.”

“I ran out of ideas and performed the stupidest action possible.”

“You behaved as prudently as possible under the circumstances.”

“No I did not.”

Severus’ eyes softened.

Rose resumed crying. “If the positions were reversed, you would have known how to keep me in the dungeons while saving Violet. Stupefying me never would have crossed your mind.”

Severus blinked.

“You would have saved everyone, and managed to teach the next day. I’d imagine you would not have sustained a concussion either.”

“Do you truly believe I’ve never sustained a concussion or been injured in any way?”

“No, I mean you have, but…”

“But what Rose?”

“You would not have panicked.”

Severus sat back down and locked eyes with her. “I want you to look at me.” 

Rose buried her head in her pillow.

“Rose, look at me.”

She whimpered and obeyed.

“If I were twenty-five and had no combat experience, I would have behaved far less admirably and prudently than you did.”

“That is not true.”

“Yes it is.”

Rose opened her mouth, but Severus put his finger over it.

“You were in an impossible situation. Very few people would have been able to keep their wits about them. You did what was necessary to save your sister and your students.”

“But I…”

“I do not wish to hear any more counterarguments,’” Severus continued.

Rose gulped.

“You did what was necessary in that situation to save the lives of those who could not defend themselves. For that, you should commend, not criticize, yourself,” Severus replied. “And I will not listen to any arguments to the contrary.”

She nodded.

“Oh Rose,” Severus scooped her into his arms.

“Daddy,” Rose wept. “I was so scared you’d never see me as your daughter again. I didn’t know if you’d forgive my actions. I was terrified Dad, absolutely terrified.”

“I know,” Severus whispered. “I cannot imagine what your night has been like.”

“I am sure, you have been through worse.”

“I’ve never feared losing a family member during a skirmish.” 

“True,” Rose answered.

“Here is what I am going to do,” Severus replied. “I am going to go home and give you a potion which will protect you against the long-term effects of your concussion as well as reduce your recovery time. Then, I will heat up some apple juice for you. Does that sound acceptable?”

Rose’s eyes gleamed. “I believe that’s the best offer I’ve received all night.”

He kissed her on the forehead.

How could I ever forget my own daughter? 

Chapter Text

Sometimes, Severus wished the dungeons had windows.

For the most part, Severus spent his tenure as a professor thankful for the seclusion. His chambers were his own; his one sanctuary from the chaos of the universe. Granted, this security was a delusion; still everyone had a right to harbor at least one fantasy.

Now that the chambers belonged to his daughter, he wished she had more access to the sun. Her skin tone was almost identical to his, and if she wasn’t careful she would develop his aversion to light. She deserved brightness and a view to a much kinder world. It would also be lovely if she had something to look at as she recovered from her concussion.

Tonight-or was it today?-the windows would have been a benefit to him as well. It always helped to cast a messenger patronus when one could get a better view of the world. Instead, he needed to imagine Hermione sitting in the sun, her face etched with concern, perhaps even a few tears. 

The guilt tore at his soul, and transported him to a time he’d just as soon forget.

 

The vial was minuscule, yet she gazed upon it as if it was the most precious present she could have ever received.

“I did what I could,” Severus began.

Hermione’s hands trembled as she took it. “Thank you.”

“Do not thank me just yet.”

“Why not?”

Severus’ eyes trailed down the pathway from the IV bag to the catheter in Hermione’s hand. He gazed into her hollow yet somehow glistening eyes. Her signature wild mane had long since fallen out, yet a few holdout strands remained on her scalp.

“My potion cannot prevent the cancer from recurring,” he began. 

“But it can delay it?” she asked.

“Yes,” Severus whispered. “It could delay a recurrence of the cancer, but it cannot prevent it. Eventually you will become ill again.”

“How soon will that be?”

“By my estimates, if you take that potion every month, then you have at least a few more years before your relapse.”

She gestured for him to come closer. He stood frozen in place.

“Severus.” She set the vial at her side.

He crept closer to her.

She clung to him. “Thank you.”

“Why are you thanking me?” Severus backed. “I have done nothing but delay the inevitable.”

“You gave me time,” Hermione answered. “You gave me more time with the children and you.”

“I could not find the cure, nor could I find a way to flush all the residual dark magic from your body,” he replied. “For those reasons alone, you should despise me.”

“How could I despise the person who worked for such a long time to give me this?”

“I promised you a cure, and all I have given you is a way to delay the inevitable. There is nothing admirable in that.”

“But you gave me time,” she answered. “Last week I believed this to be my final month on earth, but now I might have several years left.” 

“You should have decades and centuries left.”

“I was never guaranteed a long life. None of us are. All I wanted was to see my children graduate from Hogwarts, to see them get married, and to laugh a few more times with you. Now I have it.”

“I wish I could give you more.”

“You’ve already given me far more than I thought I’d ever receive.”

Severus’ throat constricted. “The potion will work so long as you are under minimal stress. If you become too distressed the dark magic remaining in your body could flare up, prompting a relapse.”

“I suppose I’ll have to work hard at having a happy and relatively stress-free life then,” Hermione answered.

Severus’ expression softened. “Yes, I suppose we will have to work on giving you the most pleasant life possible.”

 

A happy and relatively stress-free life? Severus snorted. How arrogant could I have been? I cannot even give her a pleasant vacation without mucking it up. What will become of her if she discovers what has occurred? Will this memory lapse only happen once, or will it be a nightly occurrence? Worse, what if one morning I awaken with no memory of her? What will become of us then?

The creaking of Rose’s bed interrupted his musings. He glanced back at her. There was a hint of a smile on her face, as if she had found peace amidst the turmoil of the night. 

What will become of Rose, Victor, and Violet if this memory lapse is permanent?

Severus scowled. This meditation does me no good. Right now I should be focused on communicating with my wife, not worrying about the future.

He faced the doorway and held out his wand. Then he took a deep breath and shut off every memory, save one…

 

Hermione held up her hands, just in time to prevent the water from splashing her face.  She laughed. “Severus! Stop!”

“Why ever would you want me to stop?” Severus asked before kicking up the water again.

“Because you’re making me wet,” she gasped.

Severus glided across the still waters until he was seated beside her. “I thought the entire point of skinny dipping in our hot tub was to become wet.”

“It is,” Hermione admitted. “But I’m trying to keep my hair dry.”

“Why would your hair need to be dry?”

“Because it’s a horrid mess when it’s half wet, and half dry.”

“It looks perfectly wonderful to me.”

“That’s because you don’t have to untangle it.”

“I see,” he answered before grabbing his wand.

Her eyes grew. “What are you doing?”

He smirked.

“Severus I’m warning you, don’t you dare.”

His wand glowed a bright red.

“If you turn on the jets so help me.”

A thornless black rose appeared on the side of the tub.

“Oh,” Hermione muttered as Severus dropped his wand.

He picked up the flower and put it in her hair. “I swear witch, you give me no credit.”

“No,” Hermione admitted. “I suppose I do forget that you are the kindest, sweetest, and cutest wizard I have ever met.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Did you just call me cute?”

She grinned. “I did.”

He gave her a playful scowl. “I should dunk your hair in the water for that insinuation alone.”

“If you do so then you will be sleeping in one of the guest rooms tonight.”

“Witch,” he purred before capturing her lips.

 

“Expecto Patronum.”

A wispy otter appeared before him. He stared down at it.

“Find Hermione Snape and tell her: I deeply apologize for not meeting you in Brazil. The situation I have encountered is complicated. All will be explained when we next meet. Right now, I am in Rose’s quarters tending to her needs. All that being said,” he swallowed. “I do love you more than I ever thought it possible to love a woman.”

 

*** 

“Would you like another cup of tea?” Victor asked.

Hermione shook her head. “No, but thank you for the offer.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “I can make more.”

She ran her index finger along the rim of her cup. “I’m positive that I don’t want anymore.”

Victor extended his hand. She gave him the cup.

“You should get some rest,” Hermione suggested. “You have a big day ahead of you in court.”

“I could say the same to you,” Victor answered. “Get some sleep before finding Dad. Merlin knows he doesn't want to see you stressed.”

“I wouldn’t be so stressed if he was with me in Brazil.”

“I know.”

Victor put the cup into the sink. He snapped his fingers. The cups began cleaning themselves.

“The only place where a tracking spell doesn’t work is Hogwarts,” Hermione mused aloud.

“Do you still believe he’s there?” Victor asked.

“Perhaps,” Hermione sighed. “Perhaps I just hope he’s there because at least he’d be safe if he was with Rose. Then again, they may both have gotten in trouble, but you’d think someone could have come and helped them out of whatever trouble they had found themselves in.”

Victor turned to her. “We’ll find him, I promise.”

She exhaled. “I just pray he isn’t in the Shrieking Shack.”

“Why would he be there?” Victor asked.

“I don’t know,” Hermione admitted. “But sometimes I still have nightmares about seeing him bleed out after Nagini's bite. I wonder if I should’ve done more to save him. Sure, he survived, but it was such a close call.”

“Mum,” Victor whispered.

“Then I suppose there are the wolves,” Hermione’s eyes bulged. “Nagini’s bite was mild compared to the wounds Fenrir inflicted.”

“Mum, stop…”

“I can’t,” Hermione choked. “I’ve seen your father in so much life harrowing situations. Twice he’s almost died before my eyes, and twice I almost mourned him.”

“Let’s not think about that right now.”

“I would love to think about something else. If I could obliviate those moments from my mind I would, but I can’t!”

Victor swallowed.

“They always say that you’d know if something happened to a spouse. They claim there’s some the of soul connection between them,” Hermione continued. “But I was originally one half of the Destiny Duo. It was my responsibility to keep the Golden Duo together, even if it killed me. You wouldn’t exist had that worked out. I would be miserable if fate had worked out as people claimed it would.”

Victor sat down and grasped Hermione’s hand. “You and Dad are connected. I’m convinced that if Dad was in peril, you would know.”

“I don’t know what to think anymore,” tears flooded Hermione’s eyes. “My life is far more wonderful than anyone projected that it would be, and I’m terrified that everything will come crashing down on me. I’m afraid that in a half hour I will be in Neville’s office, and he will explain that there was an accident in that stupid Shrieking Shack…good God why has no one torn it down?”

“I don’t know.”

“I am so terrified that he will tell me that Severus’ body is out somewhere in the Forbidden Forest, and…why am I telling my son any of this!”

“Because you need someone to talk to, and Aunt Ginevra is still asleep.”

“No, I should be stronger,” Hermione argued. “I should be keeping you children out of my crises.”

He squeezed her hand. “I’m here for you Mum.”

“No, no I should be there for you. I’m your mother, the one who’s supposed to protect you from all of this.”

“You’re allowed to be human.”

“Hermione.”

She looked up. A wispy otter stood before her. It opened its mouth and began to speak.

The otter could only complete its first sentence, for Hermione broke down and wept at the sound of her husband’s voice.

Chapter Text

What has become of my Patronus?

Severus’ mind wandered to Hermione and her possible emotional state. How stressed is she? What was her reaction to the the sound of my voice? Is she relieved, infuriated, or disappointed? Does she even want to be in my presence?

A beam of light illuminated the room.

Rose groaned and tossed the blankets over her head. Severus scowled at the ray of light. After all these years, one would think that Neville Longbottom could create a corporeal Patronus. Perhaps some things do not change though, even with increased life experience.

“There is a staff meeting at four this afternoon,” the Patronus began.

Severus nodded.

“If Rose is unwell, I do not expect her to attend. Still, if she is able to attend, we would appreciate her perspective on last night’s events.”

“I will be sure to inform her of the meeting,” Severus replied.

“Thank you.” 

The room went dark.

Severus stared at the spot where the Patronus had been. Did Hermione ignore my Patronus? Is she heading here as we speak? Where is she?

“What did Headmaster Longbottom want?” Rose moaned as she poked her head out from under the covers.

“There is a staff meeting at four this afternoon to discuss the events of last night,” Severus replied.

“I see,” Rose pried open her eyes.

"Do not feel compelled to attend," Severus warned. "You should not further injure yourself."

"No, I will be fine."

"You will be fine if you rest."

Rose yawned. "I will not set an alarm. If I am awake at four then I will attend, but if not I will remain asleep. Is that acceptable?"

"The only acceptable solution is for you to stay asleep and not push yourself," Severus argued. 

Rose frowned.

"Still, you are just as stubborn as I am. Thus I will accept your conditions."

"Thank you."

Rose shut her eyes. Her breathing slowed. Severus continued to stare at her.

How could I have ever forgotten you? 

The fireplace erupted. 

Severus startled.

“Severus?” 

He rushed over to the fireplace. “Hermione?”

She leapt through the hearth and grabbed him. She ran her hands along his back. “Severus, is it really you?”

“Who else would I be?” he asked.

“Oh Severus,” she laughed through her tears. “I was so worried about you.”

He embraced her. “I am here now, love.”

Her body was racked with sobs. “I’ve been searching for you for hours. I was so scared something had happened to you.”

“I’m here now,” Severus whispered before kissing the top of her forehead.

She looked up at him. “Where have you been all night?”

“Here.”

“Here?”

“Yes, I was here all night.”

“Why?”

Severus pointed to Rose’s bedroom. Hermione detached herself from Severus and peeked into the doorway. She lowered her voice. “Why is Rose asleep? Doesn’t her first class begin in a half hour?”

“She will not be teaching today.”

“Why not?”

“She has sustained a concussion,” Severus replied.

“A what?” Hermione exclaimed.

Rose groaned.

Hermione put her hands over her mouth. “Sorry.”

“There is no need to apologize,” Severus took her hand. “Let’s sit down.”

“Yes, let’s,” Hermione replied.

Together, they made their way to the couch. They sat down without releasing each other's hands.

“How did Rose sustain a concussion?” Hermione whispered.

“Colloportus,” Severus intoned.

The door to Rose’s room shut itself.

“Severus, what is going on?” Hermione asked.

Severus cleared his throat and cast a muffliato spell. “I completed my brewing an hour ahead of schedule. I did not know if you were still speaking at the conference, so I decided to floo Rose for a friendly chat.”

“I thought I told you that my conference would finish four hours before your estimated time of arrival.”

Severus twisted his lips.

“Even if the conference had not concluded, I would have been more than happy for you to attend my lecture.”

“I know, but I did not want to interrupt the proceedings.” 

“Fine, you didn’t want to interrupt the conference, but that doesn’t explain why you flooed Rose.”

“When I last spoke with Rose, she had mentioned that she was on the cusp of conducting a sensitive experiment. I was curious as to whether or not she wanted my advice.”

“Did she?”

Severus took a deep breath. He glanced down at her arm.

How can I tell her the truth about my condition if I do not understand what occurred myself? If this was an event which will never repeat itself, is it wise to upset her? Perhaps nothing will come of what occurred tonight. It may be better to leave well enough alone.

Yet, can I look myself in the face tomorrow knowing I am deceiving my wife today?

“Severus?”

“Rose and I discussed the experiment for twenty minutes,” Severus continued. “She mentioned needing a dragon lily, but believed that the younger its blossom, the better.”

“There are plenty of places where she could have bought a dragon lily on the verge of blossoming. Why could she not have bought one in the morning?”

“She felt it was too urgent to wait until the morning.”

“No,” Hermione replied. “This story makes absolutely no sense.” 

“Please love, let me finish," Severus answered.

“Don’t you dare call me ‘love’ when you’re lying to my face,” Hermione snapped.

Severus swallowed.

“I want you to tell me exactly what happened, no matter how unpleasant the truth may be. Why did you not come to Brazil?”

Severus gazed into her eyes. Even now he could smell the disinfecting spells and hear the murmuring of the Mediwitches in the hall. Hermione could never be placed in that situation again, never.

“Damnit Severus,” Hermione hissed. “Don’t you dare start shutting me out.”

“I apologize for my distance,” he replied.

“If you’re so sorry, then give me the truth,” she snapped.

How can I give you the truth when I’m not entirely sure what it is?

“What are you not telling me?” Hermione asked.

Severus released her hand. “Just before I left for Brazil, Headmaster Longbottom informed me that Rose was injured in the middle of a potions accident. I panicked, and flooed over to tend to her.”

“Why did Scorpius not tell me that in the first place?” Hermione asked.

“We were afraid you would become overly stressed,” Severus admitted. “We wanted to ensure that Rose was healthy before informing you of anything.”

Hermione gritted her teeth. “I am not helpless.”

“I’m all too aware of that fact.”

“Apparently you aren’t or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” 

“Hermione, please listen…”

“No, you need to listen.”

Severus recoiled.

“For the last six hours I have been making floo calls, scouring our apothecaries, and searching our mansion for some trace of you. Every possible horrendous scenario which could have happened to you ran through my head. When I finally saw that Patronus,” Hermione shook. “I’d never been so happy to see mist in my life. I almost ran into the fireplace without throwing in the floo powder because I was so relieved. Then I come here and…”

Severus leaned closer.

Hermione’s face was rouge. “Instead of being given a reasonable explanation from your absence, I am told one lie after another. Instead of being united with my loving husband, I am forced to interact with a liar.”

Severus bowed his head.

“I understand being scared for our daughter, and I could understand being unable to send a Patronus for a couple of hours. There is little time to floo during an emergency such as a concussion, so I can forgive that oversight. Yet for six hours? You couldn’t contact me for six hours?”

Severus slouched down further.

“How could you neglect to contact me for six hours?

“I,” Severus gulped. “Time escaped me.”

“This isn’t you,” Hermione replied. “None of this is like you, and I’m trying to piece everything together.”

“I have behaved abysmally tonight,” Severus admitted.

“Well you couldn’t have picked a worse night to decide and be an arse,” Hermione argued.

Severus asked, “What exactly happened earlier?”

The tears returned to Hermione’s eyes. “Ron attended my lecture.”

“What?” Severus hissed.

Hermione nodded. “Ron interrupted my talk to ask if I had ever loved him.”

Severus buried his face in his hands.

“Security escorted him off the premises, but he waited for me outside,” Hermione choked. “He attempted to seduce me into dropping the charges. When that failed he threatened to expose his relationship with Rose.”

Severus’ eyes hardened.

“I made,” Hermione took a shaky breath. “I made a speech to him about how loving you were, how things were so much better with you than they were with him. How could I have ever known that on the day I made an impassioned speech defending you, you would lie to my face?”

Severus’ voice was soft. “I cannot take back my actions, but if there is anything I can do moving forward which would give you the slightest hint of joy, then tell me. I will do it.”

“Can you force the Ministry to get off their arses and extradite Ron?”

“If only I could.”

Hermione wiped her face. “Please Severus, I am pleading with you, never lie to me again. You are the one person I trust. I, I do not know what would become of me if I discovered my faith in you was misplaced.”

“I will never attempt to deceive you again,” Severus promised.

Hermione choked, “thank you.”

He brushed his lips against hers. “Aside from your emotional distress, how are you faring?”

“My arm itched somewhat today, but the scars did not reappear,” Hermione answered.

He captured her lips again. “I am thrilled to hear that.”

“What about Rose? What is her prognosis?”

“She has a nasty bump on her head, but she will recover within a week.”

“May I see her? I know she is resting, but I would appreciate seeing for myself that she is well.”

“That is an excellent idea.”

Severus undid the muffliato spell. He stood up and extended his hand to Hermione. She smiled and took it. 

“Thank you,” Hermione whispered. “Thank you for taking care of our daughter.”

He kissed Hermione on the cheek. “There is never any reason to thank me for taking care of her.”

Together, they left to check on their daughter.

Chapter Text

Draco slammed the newspaper onto the kitchen table. Orion dropped his spoon, splashing milk and Cheerios all around his bowl. Ginevra took a sip of tea, her expression impassive.

“I shouldn’t have expected anything other than this,” Draco muttered.

Ginevra set down her tea cup. “What’s wrong?”

Draco held up the newspaper and pointed to the front page. “Have you seen this headline?”

Ginevra took the paper from him. She scratched her chin. “New Magical Water Filtration System Reduces Number of Squibs.”

“Yes,” Draco growled.

“What’s so bad about fil-fa,” Orion put his spoon back in his bowl. “Whatever you’re talking about?”

Ginevra’s eyes trailed down the article. “Other than Percy sounding like a pompous jerk again, I’m not entirely sure what’s offensive about it either.”

“Where is the mention of the aurors attacking innocent civilians and destroying their homes?” Draco demanded.

“Good question.” Ginevra thumbed through the pages, her eyes growing with every flip. 

“The aurors aren’t going to arrest you, are they Daddy?” Orion asked.

His eyes softened. “No. Nobody is going to arrest me.”

“Good,” Orion replied. “I was really scared about that last night.”

Draco went over to his son and kissed him on the forehead. “Your mother and I don’t plan on leaving you alone for a very, very long time.”

Orion smiled. “Good. I don’t want you to go.”

Ginevra glanced up from the paper. “There’s nothing here about any attacks on anyone.”

“Exactly,” Draco replied. “The Ministry’s aurors are abusing their power and nobody is saying a word about it. Then again, compared to what outfit Aaron Cobb plans to wear during the International Gobstones Tournament, I suppose an auror destroying your house is a minor story. ”

“Perhaps what happened to us was an isolated incident,” Ginevra suggested.

Orion took a bite of his food.

“How certain are you of that?” Draco asked.

Before Ginevra could utter a word, the fireplace erupted. She strolled over to it. Her heart stopped upon seeing the condition of the man on the other side. “Scorpius?”

“Mum!” he exclaimed. “It is so great to see you.”

“What happened to your cheek?”

“I got into a bit of a scuffle.”

Draco approached the fireplace. 

“Did one of your students misfire their wand?” Ginevra asked.

“I wish that were the case,” Scorpius replied.

“Did an auror attack you?” Draco asked.

Scorpius swallowed. “Why would you ask such a thing?”

“Because the aurors attacked us as well,” Draco replied.

“I see,” Scorpius drawled.

“Wait, did the aurors attack Hogwarts?” Ginevra asked. 

Scorpius nodded.

“Scorpius!” 

“Orion?”

The child pushed his parents aside. “Look at my tooth. It wiggles.”

“Let me see,” Scorpius replied.

Orion moved one of his front bottom teeth with his tongue.

“It’ll be ready to come out soon,” Scorpius noted.

Orion nodded. “I’ll get a visit from the tooth fairy when it comes out. Daddy said she may give me twenty galleons.”

“Twenty galleons,” Scorpius gasped. “I only received ten galleons.”

“Wow,” Orion replied. “I must be very special then!”

“You are,” Scorpius answered.

“Orion honey,” Ginevra placed a hand on his back. “Please finish your breakfast.”

“But I want to say hi to Scorpius,” he protested.

“I know,” Ginevra replied. “But right now Daddy, Scorpius, and I are discussing a very serious matter.”

“Can I talk too?” Orion asked. 

“Maybe when you’re older,” Draco answered.

Orion pouted.

“Finish eating so we can ride your unicorn,” Ginevra offered.

Orion’s face lit up. “Bye Scorpius.”

Draco watched his son scurry back to the table. He shook his head. If only it were so easy to get Orion to make his bed…

Ginevra lowered her voice. “How many aurors attacked the school?”

“About thirty of them invaded Hogwarts,” Scorpius answered.

“Thirty?” Ginevra exclaimed.

“Yes, thirty,” Scorpius replied.

“Oh my,” she exhaled.

“Did they ever give you a clear indication of why they attacked Hogwarts?” Draco asked.

“All of them believed they were in the middle of the Second Wizarding War,” Scorpius replied.

“All of them?” 

“Yes, all of them.”

Draco hummed.

“Perhaps the weirdest thing was that Uncle Severus believed himself to be the potions professor at Hogwarts as well,” Scorpius continued.

Draco’s eyes bulged. “Excuse me?” 

Scorpius spoke softer, “Rose wants to keep it a secret, but yes, Uncle Severus was convinced that he was still employed at Hogwarts.”

Ginevra bit her lower lip.

“Rose finally had to subdue him so she could guard the Slytherins against the aurors.”

“Please tell me nobody was seriously injured.”

Scorpius gave them a small grin. “As far as Headmaster Longbottom can tell, none of the students was injured last night. Most of the faculty is banged up pretty good, but from what I understand nobody's injuries are life threatening.”

“Thank goodness for small miracles,” Ginevra exhaled.

“Did Severus ever regain his memory?” Draco asked.

“Yes,” Scorpius replied. “He regained it early in the morning. When I last saw him, he was tending to Rose’s injuries.”

“That is great news indeed,” Draco replied. “Still, it doesn’t answer the question of why none of this is being reported in The Daily Prophet.

“It didn’t make the newspaper?” Scorpius asked.

“Apparently the Ministry doesn’t find it necessary to inform the public of why it’s being attacked,” Draco replied.

“I see,” Scorpius answered. “What about Grandpa Lucius? Was he attacked?”

“No, he is in Marseilles at the moment along with your grandmother,” Draco replied. “That being said, I should check on Malfoy Manor to see if there was any damage done, and if so, how much.”

“That would be wise,” Ginevra answered. “It would also be wise to contact Antlia and Carina to see how they are faring.” 

“They’re fine,” Scorpius cut in. “I flooed them this morning. They weren’t aware that anything was amiss.”

“Thank goodness,” Ginevra muttered. 

“Indeed,” Draco mused.

“Anyway, I need to leave soon. Headmaster Longbottom has called a meeting to discuss the auror incident. He wanted to get all the information he could before making a concrete solution, which is one of the reasons I called you.”

“I don’t believe there is anything left to tell you. We were attacked, and The Daily Prophet refuses to so much as allude to it.”

“Okay, thank you Dad,” Scorpius answered.

“Sweetie,” Ginevra began. “Do be careful. We worry about you.”

“I worry about all of you as well,” Scorpius replied.

“Take care of yourself, and if you ever need help we are only a floo call away,” Ginevra offered.

“I know,” Scorpius replied. “I’m only a floo call away as well.”

“I know.” Ginevra blew him a kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too Mum, Dad.”

Draco gave him a small grin. “I love you as well Scorpius. Take care of yourself, and let us know if anything further develops.”

“I will,” Scorpius promised.

The flames died.

Draco crumpled the paper. “Those lying, conniving Ministry snakes.”

Ginevra raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t you see?” he continued. “They’re covering all of this up. They won’t publish it in the news because they are in some way responsible for this.”

“How?” Ginevra asked.

“I don’t know,” Draco admitted. “But somehow, someway, the Ministry is tied to all this, I just know it.”

“Well, perhaps you should do something about it then,” Ginevra suggested.

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Draco asked.

She gave him a sly smile. “I think you know exactly what needs to be done.”

Ginevra sauntered out of the room before he could respond.

 

***

“Hermione?” Severus whispered into her ear.

She did not open her eyes or make a sound. 

Severus ran his fingers through Hermione’s hair. It was so soft yet so wild. He pressed her body against his. It was so warm, so real.

His stomach lurched as she placed her hand across his torso. Aside from one regrettable incident early in our marriage, I have never lied to her. She is the only person who has never pressed me into service, who has never attempted to become my master. All she has ever asked in return for her love was honesty. How could I lie to her face in light of all that?

He felt her hair underneath his palms. For now, it existed.

Severus relaxed. I did what needed to be done. This incident will pass, and Hermione will be none the wiser. In no way will this little protection measure have a long-term effect upon our marriage. 

He closed his eyes and settled into bed. Hermione is here with me, and she is healthy. In the end, that is the only truth which matters.

Chapter Text

Rose would never take a clear head for granted again.

For the first time all day, spots did not form before her eyes when she stood. Her stomach had settled, though not enough to take an interest in food. Still she could walk, and given a few moments to rest every now and then, she could climb the steps to the Headmaster’s Office.

No, she would never take her non-concussed brain for granted again.

“Rose.”

She panted and stared at the gargoyle. “Hello.”

The gargoyle grinned. “Headmaster Longbottom will be pleased to see you. He was worried that you wouldn’t make it.” 

“I will admit that when we last met, I was somewhat queasy,” Rose admitted. “Still, I feel quite refreshed after a day of rest.”

“Well, don’t overdo anything,” the gargoyle replied. “We wouldn’t want Headmaster Longbottom to substitute a potions class for an extended period of time, now would we?”

Rose’s face drained of color. “No, we would not want him substituting a potions class for so much as five minutes.”

The gargoyle winked. “Relax, Headmaster Longbottom knows his limits. Your classes will be safe in Professor Khan’s hands.”

Rose raised an eyebrow. “Professor Khan?”

“Yes,” the gargoyle replied. “She is currently a graduate student at Marduke University. She is substituting for the experience and to earn some side money.”

“I see,” Rose muttered. “I can only hope that the students do not become too accustomed to her. I would not want them to fall under the impression that my classes are easy.”

The gargoyle laughed. “No, we wouldn’t want that.” 

“Indeed.”

The gargoyle cleared his throat. “All that being said, we do have a ritual to uphold.”

“That we do.”

“Password.”

“Petunia blossom.”

The door opened, and the gargoyle stepped aside. “Have a wonderful meeting.”

“Thank you,” Rose replied as she stepped inside.

In the center of the office was a long, rectangular, oaken conference table. Seated around the table were Scorpius, Hagrid, Madame Pomfrey, Professor Sweeney, and Professor Vector. At the head of the table in a plush chair was Headmaster Longbottom.

Rose pulled out chair and sat beside Scorpius. “Have I missed anything?”

Scorpius embraced her. “No.”

She returned the gesture.

“It is so great to see you out and about again,” Scorpius began. “I was so worried for you when I left the dungeons. I would have flooed you this afternoon to check up on you, but I didn’t want to disturb you if you were sleeping.” 

“After taking the proper potions and getting a few hours of sleep, I feel much better.”

“Let’s hope you remain well."

“I intend to do whatever is necessary to restore my health and resume my teaching duties as soon as possible.”

“Even if it means taking it easy for a few days.”

Rose sighed. “Yes, even if it means I must relax for longer than I would like.”

“Rose!”

She flinched.  

Hagrid rushed over and hugged her. “’S so great to see yeh.”

“It’s great to see you as well,” Rose squeaked.

More professors entered and took their seats.

“I was so worried ‘bout everyone. I didn’ see any jurors on account of my new baby dragon, but I saw the damage they did to the fron’ of the school. It looks like everything was jus’ awful,” Hagrid replied.

“Indeed it was,” Rose choked.

Hagrid released her. “Take care of yerself. We wouldn’ want you to work yerself to death like your father almost did.”

“No,” Rose’s voice grew softer. “I suppose we would not want that.”

Hagrid’s eyes lit up. “Aurora! Yeh were able to come.”

Rose covered her ears and groaned.

“Yes I was,” Aurora began.

Hagrid rushed over to the autonomy professor. “I was so worried ‘bout yeh. The Headmaster said yeh took a real beatin’.”

Scorpius put a hand on Rose’s back. “If you need to leave and get some more rest, then please do so. I can take notes for you.”

“No,” Rose whispered. “I need to be here. Besides, there is nothing else to do in my quarters other than count the cracks on the walls.”

“Surely you can read,” Scorpius replied.

She shook her head. “I cannot read or perform any strenuous mental activity. My use of magic is limited to the simplest spells as well.”

“Oh,” he replied. “Well then, let’s hope your brain recovers soon.”

“Thanks,” Rose groaned. “I am honestly tempted to go to my Grandpa and Grandma’s house. At least I would have company there, and there may be a few muggle activities I could engage in which would not cause me too much harm.”

"Like what?" Scorpius asked.

Headmaster Longbottom cleared his throat.

Half of the professors, including Rose and Scorpius, turned their attention to him. Others continued their conversations.

Headmaster Longbottom cleared his throat louder.

The conversations continued.

Headmaster Longbottom hit the desk. “This meeting will be called to order!”

Rose flinched.

The other professors grew silent.

“Thank you all for coming on such short notice,” Headmaster Longbottom began in a quieter voice. “I believe we all know the reasons for being here, making a formal introduction unnecessary.”

Everyone nodded.

“Then allow me to being by saying thank you,” Headmaster Longbottom’s smile was warm as he looked around the battered and bruised professors. “Thank you for defending our students. Not a single one of them reported a major injury, and all are accounted for. That would not have been possible without your courage and dedication. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for defending our students.”

The professors broke into applause. Headmaster Longbottom joined them.

Rose clapped before covering her ears once more.

After the room quieted, Headmaster Longbottom continued, “From the time I sent out my Patronus to the current moment, some new information has come to light.” 

Rose uncovered her ears.

He turned to Scorpius. “Would you like to share with us what you have learned?”

All eyes turned to him.

He took a deep breath. “This morning, I flooed my sisters and my parents to check up on them. My sisters are well, thankfully. Yet around the same time as the aurors infiltrated Hogwarts, my parents’ mansion was attacked.”

There were a few gasps and murmurs from the crowd.

“The aurors who attacked them were under the delusion that my mum had been kidnapped by my dad. Their goal was to liberate her,” Scorpius continued. “My parents were able to fend them off, but not without significant property damage.”

Rose hummed.

“Were the only people who attacked your parents’ home aurors?” Headmaster Longbottom asked. 

“According to Mum and Dad, yes.”

“So that leaves the question of, were only aurors affected by the amnesia?”

“No,” Rose answered in a weak voice.

Now the attention turned to her.

“My father believed himself to be the potions master at Hogwarts,” Rose continued.

Headmaster Longbottom folded his hands.

“So it isn’ only aurors bein’ affected by all this then,” Hargrid muttered.

“Correct,” Rose replied. “Others from the Second Wizarding War are being affected by this amnesia as well.”

Headmaster Longbottom tapped his fingers on the table.

“What were the other developments?” Madame Pomfrey asked.

“The Ministry is covering up the entire affair,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“What?” Professor Sweeney exclaimed.

Headmaster Longbottom pulled out a copy of The Daily Prophet from his pants pocket. He slid it to the center of the table. The professors leaned towards it. 

“Nothin’,” Hagrid whispered. “There’s nothin’ abou’ any attack here.”

“Nope,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

“Could the story have changed?” Professor Sinestra asked.

“That front page story has been the same all day,” Headmaster Longbottom replied. “From what I can tell, there is no Evening Prophet.”

“What does that mean for us?” Scorpius asked.

Headmaster Longbottom answered, “It means that if another attack occurs, we are alone in defending ourselves.”

“How likely is another attack to occur?” Rose asked.

Headmaster Longbottom shook his head. “I wish I knew.”

A tense silence suffocated the room.

“We cannot control the information which the Ministry chooses to release, but we can control how we prepare for another attack should one come,” Headmaster Longbottom began.

“How?” Professor Vector asked.

“First,” Professor Longbottom replied. “I am instituting a curfew which goes into effect at eight in the evening.”

A few of the professors nodded.

“Also, we will begin construction on emergency exits.”

“Where?” Scorpius asked.

“The Slytherin Dungeon would be my first order of business,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“Why there?” Professor Vector asked.

“The aurors were all headed for the Slytherin Dungeon. Had they broken through our defenses, then the students would have been trapped under the lake with no viable means of escape. We need the castle to help us build an emergency exit which would be activated by a professor in a situation such as this. That way, the students could have a realistic chance of avoiding getting caught in the crossfire,” Headmaster Longbottom proposed.

“That is an excellent idea,” Rose replied.

“Agreed,” a few others muttered.

“We could stand to build some fire escapes in the upper towers as well. Once again, these would be activated by a professor in a time of crisis. If a student tried to use any of these exits, we would be alerted immediately. There would be severe punishments for trying to enter them when danger is not present,” Headmaster Longbottom continued.

“Agreed,” the professors replied.

“The castle will of course help us build these features, though it may be wise to have an architect look into them as well,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

“I have a good friend who’s an architect,” Professor Sinistra offered.

“Thank you,” Headmaster Longbottom answered. “We could use that person’s services.”

“What if there is another attack before these features can be built in?” Scorpius asked.

“You all have proven yourselves capable of holding your own in combat. I hate,” he gulped, “I hate to call upon your services again. You should be focused on teaching, not fighting. Still, if the need should arise, I would humbly request that if you are capable of combat at all, please defend the students.”

“We will,” the professors responded in unison.

“Thank you,” Headmaster Longbottom answered. “The students and the school already owe you a debt we cannot repay. A ‘thank you’ is inadequate, but I fear that’s all I can give you at the moment.”

“You don’ need to thank us for doin’ our jobs,” Hagrid replied.

“No,” Rose added, “you do not.”

The others muttered their agreement.

“Very well then,” Headmaster Longbottom replied. “Are there any further questions concerning this matter?”

Nobody spoke.

“Then,” Headmaster Longbottom concluded. “Meeting adjourned.”

Chapter Text

Hermione stepped out of the pool, martini glass in hand. She stood for a moment and sipped the blue beverage. A cool breeze brushed against her skin, sending a shiver up her body.

Severus strolled over and handed her a black towel. She nodded before wrapping it over her hair. Then, she set the drink down and picked up another towel from the ground. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Severus asked.

“For tonight,” Hermione wiped herself off with the towel. “It was wonderful.”

Severus wrapped a towel around his torso. “There is no need to thank me. It is well within my rights to spoil my wife every so often.”

She picked up her drink and sipped the last remaining liquid. “Perhaps, but you do go above and beyond spoiling me.”

He nuzzled her neck. “My carelessness ruined our vacation in Brazil. The least I can do is arrange a substitute holiday.”

“You didn’t have to do anything,” Hermione breathed. “Still, the effort is more than appreciated.”

He frowned. “My only wish is that I could have provided you with sand and starlight.”

“Sand creates too much of a mess for my liking,” Hermione replied. “I would much prefer a wooden deck.”

“Perhaps,” Severus replied. “But I still could not provide the starlight.”

Hermione pointed to the sky. “They sky is starting to clear up. Perhaps in another half hour or so there will be a few stars.”

“Are you suggesting that we stay awake to watch the clouds clear?” Severus asked.

Hermione yawned and stretched. “I fear we will have to save that for another night. Right now, I’m exhausted.”

“You have every right to be fatigued,” Severus replied.

She whispered. “Shall we resume our little vacation tomorrow?” 

Severus picked her up. “I was planning on it.”

She laughed as he carried her into the bedroom. 

“I would get plenty of rest if I were you,” Severus continued. “I have quite a few plans for tomorrow.”

“Oh?” Hermione asked. “What would those be?”

Severus set her down on their bed. “That, Love, you will need to wait and see for yourself.”

“Very well then,” Hermione strolled over to her closet and pulled out a silk, crimson nightgown. “I shall either wait until tomorrow or find a way to coax the truth out of you tonight.”

He smirked. “You have yet to force me to divulge any of my secrets.”

“That’s far from true and you know it,” She teased.

“Perhaps you have caught me when I was under duress once or twice,” Severus admitted.

“You were quite pleased to tell me everything going inside your head,” Hermione replied.

“It was an act, I assure you,” Severus answered. “I was quite distressed.”

Hermione chuckled. “I make you happy, and you know it.”

“Perhaps I am somewhat content in your presence,” he replied.

She gave him a soft smile before closing the door.

 

***

“You want to come over to our house so you can watch TV?”

Rose exhaled. “Yes Grandpa Wilford, I would like to come over to enjoy the pleasure of your company and to watch your television.”

He raised his eyebrow. “I thought you believed TV was inane and obnoxious.”

“The soap operas Grandma Muriel and Violet watch are beyond idiotic,” Rose replied. “Unfortunately, I have sustained a concussion and every other activity gives me a headache.”

“Did you say that you had a concussion?” a woman’s voice called from within the fireplace.

“Yes Grandma,” Rose replied. "I have a concussion."

Another face appeared in the flames, “Honey, how did you sustain a concussion?”

“There was an accident,” Rose replied.

“What kind of accident?” Wilford asked.

Rose cocked her head. Was that a thump from above?

“How did you get your concussion?” Muriel asked.

“Let’s just say an auror and I wanted to demonstrate our defensive spells to my Slytherins,” Rose replied.

“Why were you fighting an auror?”

Was that a thump from above?

“It, it’s actually a long story,” Rose replied. “One which I fear I do not have the time to tell at the moment.”

“Well, I suppose you’ll just have to come here and tell us all about it,” Muriel replied.

Thump.

“Indeed,” Rose replied in a distant voice. She tilted her head towards the ceiling.

“Rose,” Muriel asked. “Is there something more going on?”

Rose shook her head. “I apologize. I thought I heard a noise.”

“Is there someone at the door?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?” Wilford asked. “If you need to leave we are more than happy to allow you to attend to your guest.”

“No,” Rose answered. “I believe my best course of action would be to see both of you as soon as possible.”

“Dear, you know that you are welcome here at any time,” Muriel replied. “We’ll go ahead and make your bed.”

Thump!

Rose’s heart stopped.

“If you’d like, we can even make you some onion rings and french fries,” she continued.

“Thank you for the offer,” Rose replied. “At the moment, food does not appeal to me in the slightest.”

Thump!

Rose gasped.

“Rose sweetie,” Wilford asked. “Is everything okay?”

“Sure,” Rose drawled. “Just give me an hour so, and I will floo over.”

“Okay,” Muriel replied. “In the meantime, don’t overexert yourself. The last thing we need is for you to be more hurt than you already are.”

“Do not worry, I’ll be fine,” Rose promised.

“See you in an hour,” Wilford replied.

“Indeed,” Rose’s voice was softer. “See you in an hour.”

The flames died.

Thump!

Rose’s pupils dilated. Her muscles tensed. She could feel the color draining from her face.

Thump!

She took a deep breath. There was a small chance that these noises have little to do with what occurred last night. Perhaps there is a troll running amok, or there is some type of duel being fought between two students. The sounds may have nothing to do with a band of amnesiac aurors.

CRASH!

Rose raced over to her coffee table and grabbed her wand. Then she darted for the door. The moment she burst into her classroom, a splitting pain overwhelmed her brain.

She collapsed onto the floor. After taking a few breaths, she crawled back into her quarters. Perhaps if she cast a Patronus, she could warn her students of the upcoming danger. All she needed to do was focus on a happier time.

Magic blasted her brain. Tears rolled down her eyes as pulled the door closed. I cannot fight like this. I’m useless, completely useless.

The image of her father’s stupefied body flashed before her eyes. 

She glanced back at the fireplace. A silent prayer rang out in her mind.

For the love of all that is good, don’t let Dad walk through that hearth.

 

***

Severus adjusted his pillow beneath him. His lips curled up. “Are you coming to bed, Love, or have you decide to transfigure the bathtub into a bed?”

“Now there’s an idea,” Hermione called back. “I’ll transfigure the bathtub into the most comfortable bed either of us has ever slept on, and I will deny you access until you tell me what tomorrow has in store.”

“It’s going to take more than a fancy bed to entice me, and you know it,” Severus called.

“Uhg,” Hermione groaned. 

Severus called, “You are too curious for your own good, witch.” 

Wait, who was too curious for her own good?

His heart race increased as he glanced around. Once again he was trapped in the unfamiliar room.

What is this place? How did I get here? Why am I here?

“You know Severus, you are incorrigible.”

Severus’ throat dried. Very few people addressed him by his first name. When had he given this woman to address him as only Severus?

The door opened. “Yet for some reason, I find you absolutely endearing.

Severus gazed at the woman. She was even more beautiful in person than she had been in the photograph of her. Yet there was something eerily familiar about her, as if she was an older version of someone he should know.

"What on earth am I going to do with you?"

When she looked at him, her eyes shimmered, almost as if she more than tolerated his presence.

This woman loved him.

Oh shit, this woman loved him!

“Severus, are you well?”

“I am more than well,” Severus answered.

She slipped into bed. After yawning she snuggled into him.

Severus wrapped his arms around her. The gesture felt natural, as if I’ve held her more times than he could count. How can this be considering I cannot recall ever seeing her before in my life?

“Goodnight Severus,” she kissed his lips. “I love you.”

“Indeed,” Severus stroked her hair. “Goodnight.”

The woman looked at him as if she was expecting him to say something more. 

Severus froze. What does this woman want from me?

The pain in her eyes intensified. 

"Severus?"

“Yes well, I love you too,” he whispered.

She stared at him, as if taken aback by his tone.

Severus took a deep breath. What more did this woman want from him?

"Are you well?" Hermione asked.

"I feel more than well," Severus answered. "Why would you ask?"

"Nothing, you just seem very distant."

"I am no more distant than usual." 

"Yes, you are."

Severus swallowed. What exactly was he supposed to do with this woman? His mind was screaming for him to return to the dungeons, yet he knew if he left the bed he would have a weeping woman on his hands. This woman was not expecting a one night stand, yet how could Severus give her anything more?

"Please, tell me what's wrong."

"Nothing my love," Severus replied before brushing his lips against hers. "There is nothing wrong at all."

She twisted her lip.

He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "goodnight."

"Goodnight," she mumbled before closing her eyes and relaxing in his arms.

A child raced up Severus’ spine. How did I allow myself to fall into this situation? This woman loves me, and she believes I love her in return. The only woman I’ve felt any affection for has long since died, yet this woman seems unaware and uncaring of that fact. What makes her think she has captured my heart when I cannot so much as recall her name?

Severus scowled. It’s doubtful that she loves me. She may love certain aspects of me such as the dangerous bad boy or the intellectual professor, but it is doubtful she could ever love who I am behind those masks.

Yet she remains in my arms.

Severus stroked her hair. No woman has ever remained in my arms. Usually we sleep together and go our separate ways. This woman is content being held though. It’s as if she simply desires my presence and nothing more.

Severus darted a look at the fireplace. I could sneak off into the night. It would not be difficult to go, yet she does not expect me to leave. If anything, she trusts the fact that I find her absolutely captivating. Am I so starved for affection that I would delude myself into believing that this woman could feel any affection for me?

Severus stared into space. There is no harm in indulging this woman's fantasies of me for another hour or so. At the moment I am not being summoned, and I do not recall any arrangements to have a meeting with Dumbledore.

For one hour, I can indulge in the fantasy of being loved.

Chapter Text

“Professor Snape!”

Rose's heart pounded against her ribs.

“Please Professor Snape, come out!”

Beads of sweat trickled down Rose's brow. Why on tonight of all nights, did two of the most headache inducing people in Britain decide to pay her a visit?

“Professor Snape! Come out! We need you!”

Rose stood. What could these dunderheads possibly want with Dad?

“He isn’t answering.”

“Do you think he’s gone?”

“Only one way to find out.”

Rose held her breath. Perhaps if I am still they won’t sense my presence.

Pound! Pound!

“We know you’re in there Professor Snape!”

“We aren’t leaving until you open this door.”

The banging was now louder.

“I’m coming,” Rose called, holding her head in her hands. Why must Arthur and Bill pester her tonight?

Bang!

She opened the door. “What do you want?”

“Hermione? Is that you?"

Rose groaned. The only thing more obnoxious than a Weasley is a Weasley with amnesia. 

Arthur embraced her. “It is so great to know you’re safe.”

“Sure,” Rose mumbled before poking up her head.

Bill scratched his chin. “Your eyes look different.” 

“Yes,” Rose squeaked. “I’ve been experimenting with various eye color charms.”

“Why did you choose blue?” Bill asked.

“Because I had difficulty casting the spell to make my eyes black,” Rose explained.

Arthur released her and examined her face. “You did an excellent job on your eye coloring charm. Your eyes look quite lovely.”

Bile crawled up Rose’s throat.

“What in blazes were you doing in Professor Snape’s chambers?” Bill asked.

“Dad-er Professor Snape and I are having an occlumency lesson,” Rose lied.

“An occlumency lesson?” Arthur asked.

Rose nodded. “Headmaster Dumbledore believed since I knew so much about Harry Potter, my mind should be protected from Vol…He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”

“That is wise of him,” Arthur admitted. 

“Indeed,” Rose replied.

“Does he plan on teaching Ron occlumency?” Arthur asked.

“Dumbledore believes Ron’s mind is safe from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” Rose replied. After all, does one need a mind in order to protect it.

“Why are you dressed in all black?” Bill asked.

Rose shrugged, “I believed that if I dressed like Professor Snape, I would be more able to mimic his mannerisms. If I can mimic his mannerisms then perhaps I can learn the secrets of occlumency more easily.”

The men stared at her.

"I read in a magazine that mimicking someone builds trust. I do not know how accurate the article is, but it was worth a try."

“Whatever you say,” Bill drawled.

Arthur crept towards her chambers.

“Who said you could come in here?” Rose demanded.

“I’m sorry to intrude, but we need to speak to Professor Snape about the order meeting,” Arthur replied. 

“He is not available at the moment.”

“Why not?”

“He,” Rose bit her lower lip. “He is dealing with a personal issue.”

“What would that be?” Arthur asked.

Rose answered, “Let’s just say last night’s beef was not cooked properly.”

Bill’s face turned green.

“That’s just great,” Arthur threw up his hands. “We are in the midst of a crisis and Professor Snape is stuck in the bathroom.”

“I do apologize for the inconvenience,” Rose stepped between Arthur and the restroom. “But you will need to return at a later time.”

“We need to speak with him now,” Bill insisted.

“He is not available now.”

“Then he needs to make himself available.”

“Excuse me?” Rose spat. “Do you believe he’s nothing more than your glorified house elf, that if you snap your fingers enough times he will obey your command without question?”

“We need to speak with him,” Bill argued.

“He needs to rest,” Rose asked.

“Perhaps we could speak with him, but tell him he does not need to take any action tonight,” Arthur suggested.

“Now there is an improvement,” Rose argued. “You will only talk to him, but you will do it in such a way that he understands that he must take action now. If you cannot order him around directly, then why not do it indirectly?”

“Don’t get self-righteous with us,” Bill warned. “We are in the middle of a crisis and we need Professor Snape now.”

“He is not available at the moment, so you need to leave,” Rose insisted.

Bill stood over her. “No.”

Rose glowered at him, She smirked as he began to wilt under her gaze.

“There’s no time for arguing,” Arthur insisted. “If Professor Snape is out of commission then we need a new plan.”

“Great,” Rose answered. “You are more than free to formulate a new plan outside of Professor Snape’s, office.”

“Aren’t you interested in helping us?” Bill asked.

“Honestly,” Rose replied. “I am far more concerned with my occlumency lessons.”

"Occlumency?"

She nodded.

“How could you turn your back on your friends?” Bill snapped. “Harry and Ron are out there fighting somewhere, and you’re busy cozying up to Snape.”

“I cannot speak for Ron,” Rose lied. “But I have already seen Harry. He is quite well.”

“Where is he?”

“In the Forbidden Forest," Rose replied. Please let that be believable.

Bill exhaled. “Well at least at he's fine.”

“Now that you know where Harry is, you may leave the Hogwarts grounds," Rose replied.

“What about Ron?” Arthur shook. “Where is he?”

“That, I do not know,” Rose replied.

“Then we need to search for him,” Bill answered.

“No, you need to search for him,” Rose replied. “I need to finish my business here.”

“Do you not care for Ronald at all?”

“At the moment, I couldn’t care less what becomes of him.”

“How can you care so little for Ron after all you two have been through?”

“I do apologize if I am coming across as unfeeling,” Rose replied. “Still, I have a long night ahead of me. I would like to begin my work in peace.”

Arthur’s eyes softened. “You’re scared for them, aren’t you?”

Rose bowed her head and answered in a soft voice, “I will admit to being very scared for Harry.”

Arthur lifted her head. “What about Ron?” 

Rose backed away from him. “No, I can safely say I am not frightened for him in the slightest.”

Arthur sighed. “I know things have been turbulent between you two as of late…”

“Turbulent is an understatement.”

“But I also see how you look at him. You adore him.”

Rose covered her mouth and gagged. 

“I know Ron isn’t the easiest person to love…”

“Love?” Rose spat.

“Yes,” Arthur replied. “Love.”

Rose groaned. How did Dad tolerate all this “destiny duo" tripe during the first years of his marriage of Mum?

“Love is a powerful force,” Arthur continued. “It can help us forgive a multitude of wrongs, can help us overcome insurmountable obstacles, and can help us become the people we want to be. You and Ron have something special. Don’t throw it away in a fit of rage.”

“That’s enough,” Rose snapped.

The men stepped back.

“I have had enough of both of you,” Rose continued. “I told you that Professor Snape is not available, and I told you that I am tending to him in exchange for occlumency lessons. I have no intention of neglecting my duties, so you will need to search for Ron on your own.”

Arthur took her hand. “You need to come with us.”

She pulled herself away from him. “I will remain here in order to keep my promise to tend to Professor Snape.”

“Hermione, it’s too dangerous to stay here,” Arthur argued.

“Believe me, I am quite safe here,” Rose argued.

“Arthur! What are you doing?”

Rose flinched. 

Arthur’s face lit up. “Thank goodness you’re here. I just found Hermione.”

Rose buried her head into her hands. As if the night could not get anymore obnoxious...

"She's a bit upset about Ron, Mum," Bill replied. "Perhaps you could talk some sense into her."

Molly glared at the other woman. “That isn’t Hermione. That’s her spawn, Rose.”

Bill cocked his head. “How can Hermione have a spawn?”

Rose glanced up.

Molly’s frown deepened. “Have you forgotten all the pain this person’s existence has caused us?”

“Indeed my existence caused all of you quite a bit of pain,” Rose put her hand on Arthur and Bill’s backs. “Given how troublesome my existence is for you, I would strongly suggest you leave and allow me to get on with my evening.”

Rose pushed the Weasley men towards the door.

“Not so fast,” Molly shouted.

Rose cringed. 

“We have things to discuss.”

“Why would I want to converse with you?”

Molly pointed to Rose’s chest. “I’ve heard all about you and your teaching methods. You have been unfairly targeting my grandchildren. How can you defend your deplorable behavior?”

Rose rolled her eyes. 

“Don’t you look at me like that,” Molly ordered.

"Molly dear," Arthur began. "What are you going on about?"

"We will discuss it later," Molly returned her attention to Rose. "As for you, there is no defense for your teaching methods!"

“As much as I would love to discuss my teaching methods, my office hours have concluded,” Rose replied. “If you would like to speak with me you may do so in another century or so.”

Molly’s face reddened. “You won’t get away with this forever! One day, you will get exactly what you deserve!”

“Just like your son has received what he’s deserved for kidnapping me.”

“Oh would you let that go?”

“No,” Rose snapped. “I refuse to forget that I almost died at Fenrir’s hands courtesy of your son’s idiocy.”

“You, you’re just like Snape,” Molly argued.

“A fact of which I am quite proud,” Rose replied.

“I’m sorry Mum, but what are you and Hermione talking about?” Bill asked.

Molly glared at Rose. “We’re discussing how badly she wishes she was a Weasley.”

“I would rather kiss a centaur’s arse than be a Weasley,” Rose replied.

Molly snorted, “And to think Hermione thought she could convince Ron to raise you.”

“I am very grateful she failed that endeavor, assuming she attempted it at all,” Rose answered.

Molly huffed before turning to the men. “Let’s go. Rose needs time to stew in how pathetic her life is.”

Bill followed her out.

Arthur took one last glimpse of Rose. “Please ignore my wife’s outburst. She is under an enormous amount of stress at the moment.”

“From what I gather, she’s been under an enormous amount of stress for the last twenty-five years,” Rose replied. 

“She means well.” 

“No, she really does not mean well at all.”

“Come Arthur!”

He nodded before shutting the door behind him.

Rose slumped down into her sofa and moaned.

She’d more than earned her trip to Australia.

 

***

“I can’t believe it”

“Neither can I.”

“After all their efforts to break in, after all their pushing and shoving,” Scorpius shook his head. “All they wanted to do is play Quidditch.”

“It would appear that way,” Headmaster Longbottom answered.

Scorpius and Neville watched the players whirling about the sky. The snitch buzzed around their heads before ascending into the clouds. A few players chased it while others attempted to throw the blunger into the hoop. The crowd cheered and applauded.

“Is this how people used to love Quidditch?” Scorpius asked.

Neville’s eyes misted. “Yes.”

For five more minutes they watched the game.

Scorpius asked, "Should we find a way to escort them off the premises?”

Headmaster Longbottom shook his head. “Right now they are causing no harm. If we force them to leave, though, a riot may break out. It would be better to monitor them and only step in if things become too rambunctious."

“What about the students?” Scorpius asked. “This game could keep them awake.”

“Another battle would keep them awake as well, and would put them in physical danger."

“Very true.”

Neville made his way for the staircase. “All that being said, I should go out and ensure that they do not become unruly.”

“May I go with you?” Scorpius asked. “At the moment I am not tired, and I haven’t seen a crowd this enthusiastic about Quidditch since I was a child.”

“I suppose there’s no harm in you watching for an hour or so,” Neville replied. “Provided that you do not become too devastated when Slytherin loses.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Scorpius followed him. “Slytherin is going to cream Ravenclow.”

“Is that so?” Neville asked.

“It is,” Scorpius replied. “They’re already up by fifty points.”

There was a twinkle in Neville’s eyes. “I suppose they are.”

Chapter Text

The screen was black.

Rose pulled the blankets up to her chest and groaned. 

“Oh no! Is that a stain on your carpet?”

She grabbed the remote and muted the television. The only thing half as annoying as a Weasley was a commercial.

Soft footsteps approached the sitting room. Rose turned until she was facing the hallway.

“Sweetie, do you need anything?”

“No Grandma,” Rose replied.

“Okay,” Grandma stepped closer to her granddaughter. “I’m going to be out in the garden doing some weeding. If anything at all comes up don’t hesitate to let me know.”

“I will,” Rose replied.

Grandma kissed Rose on the head. “I hope you are feeling better soon.” 

“As do I,” Rose replied before kissing her on the cheek.

“Don’t forget to call your parents and tell them that you made it here safely.”

“I won’t.”

Grandma picked up a blue bowl. She raised it until it was eye-level with Rose. “Are you finished with the chips.”

“I am.”

“I’ll go ahead and put the bowl on the kitchen table then.”

“Thank you.”

Grandma gave her a grin before leaving the room.

Rose glanced up at the television. If she called the number on the screen now she would get two commemorative Beauty and the Beast coins for the price of one.

The patio door creaked open, then clicked shut.

Rose crawled out of the couch and trudged towards the fireplace. She grabbed a fistful of floo powder and threw it inside. “Snape Manor.”

The flames crackled. Rose’s heart slowed. Perhaps Mum and Dad are still asleep. There is a chance that Dad was never afflicted with amnesia. Perhaps my fears that he ran into my dungeons and behaved as a formidable potions master are unfounded.

One minute passed without a response.

A chill ran down Rose’s body. Perhaps Mum and Dad are not in the mansion. There is a chance that Mum followed Dad into my classroom. Once they reached their destination…

Rose squelched that train of thought.

A face appeared in the embers. “Rose?”

She exhaled. “You recognize me.”

“Indeed I do,” Severus drawled.

Rose’s stomach dropped. She could only remember two times that disoriented expression had been on her father’s face. The first was when he had a high fever, the second when he had awoken from a nightmare.

“Dad, did anything unusual happen last night?” Rose asked.

Severus looked behind him. He looked to his right and to his left. Then he waved his hand. Rose stepped back.

Within a few moments, Severus was standing before her. He made no attempt to brush the soot from his robes.

“Where did you wake up this morning?” Rose asked.

“In my bed,” Severus answered.

Rose relaxed.

“I would not be relieved just yet,” Severus replied. “I have little idea of what occurred after nine o’clock.”

“What was your last memory?” Rose asked.

“I was preparing for bed.”

“Where was Mum when you blacked out?”

“In the bathroom,” Severus smirked. “Once again she took an eternity in there. I swear I’ve never seen a woman spend so much time preparing her hair for bed.”

“That’s Mum,” Rose replied. 

“Indeed it is.”

“Do you know where Mum is at the moment?”

“She is currently in bed.”

“In bed?” 

Severus nodded. “I woke up beside her this morning.”

Rose blinked. 

“I do not remember anything after she entered the bathroom, but I awoke with her beside me as if it were any other night,” Severus answered.

“Odd,” Rose whispered.

“Did anything occur at Hogwarts last night?” Severus asked.

Rose grabbed the end of her cape and twirled it around her finger.

“Did I return to my old quarters?” Severus asked.

“No, I did not see you, but a few of the Weasleys paid me a visit.”

“What do you mean by ‘a few?’” 

Rose strolled over to the sofa. “Arthur and Bill barged into my office. They were convinced I was Mum.”

“Lovely,” Severus flicked a pile of ash from his shoulder. “Did they say anything to you?”

Rose sat down and picked up the remote. “They were pleading with me to join them in searching for Ronald.”

“Did you tell them his true location?”

She turned off the television. “I did not wish to explain his situation, so I told them I did not know where he was.”

“That is for the best,” Severus replied.

“But Molly,” Rose smirked. “Oh she remembered me well.”

“Wait,” Severus drawled. “How did Molly recognize you when Bill and Arthur did not?”

Rose leaned back. “I wish I knew.”

“Why would she follow them into your office if she had not lost her memory?” Severus asked.

Rose ran her finger along her cape. “Again, I wish I knew.”

Severus’ frown deepened. “What have I told you about sleeping in your cape?”

“I’m not sleeping in it,” Rose replied. “I’m sitting in it.”

“Judging from the blanket and the pillows I would say that your goal is to sleep at some point in the day, as it should be,” Severus replied. 

Rose yawned. “I suppose I could stand to get a little rest in the near future.”

“Then take off your cape.”

“Dad,” Rose groaned. “I know how to iron out the wrinkles.”

“Do you know how to prevent it from strangling you in the night?” he asked.

Rose shook her head as she unfastened it. Then she folded it and set it on the coffee table. “Are you happy now?”

“Quite,” Severus stepped towards her. “Are you staying here for the foreseeable future?”

She nodded.

“I am pleased to hear it,” Severus replied. “It is much safer here than it is at Hogwarts, or even at the mansion.”

“What about you?” she asked in a soft voice. “How are you going to prevent yourself from returning to Hogwarts during an episode?”

He sat down beside her. “Do not worry about me. I have faced far worse than this.”

“You deserve a bit of peace in your life, not another crisis.”

“I have endured much worse than this.”

“True, but what about Mum?" Rose asked. "How do you plan to explain your condition to her”

Severus swallowed. “So long as I can keep my condition from her, she should remain healthy.”

“Are you sure it is wise to lie to her?”

"Given that I do not to aggravate her condition, it is my only viable option.”

Rose twisted her lips.

“Do not focus on me,” Severus continued. “I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself and your mother. You should focus on your recovery, not on what may happen to me once the sun sets.”

“What about…”

Severus put a finger on her lips. “You need to focus on recovering.”

His expression left no doubt that the discussion had concluded.

“Now,” Severus removed his finger from her mouth. “It seems as if your grandparents are taking excellent care of you.”

“They are,” Rose replied.

He glanced over at the television. “What were you watching earlier?”

“It was a movie entitled Galaxy Quest.” Rose answered.

Severus raised an eyebrow.

“The film is quite interesting. It concerns a group of actors working on a space show. Much to their surprise, an alien civilization has taken them to be real space explorers. Now the crew has to save the aliens from invaders.”

“That sounds convoluted.”

Rose shrugged. “The only real complaint I have about the movie is the science officer. The actor who plays him is mediocre at best.”

“I will take your word for it,” Severus replied. “How much pain are you in?”

“Not much at the moment.”

“I will give you a potion for headaches just in case your pain flares up again. I can also grab a couple of your nightshirts so you do not sleep in your teaching robes.”

“I brought a few nightgowns, but I wanted to be presentable when I spoke with you. I was too concerned for your well-being to sleep anyway.”

“I hope that fear has been put to rest.”

“It has not.”

“Considering that there is little you can do for me, I would dispel those fears from your mind and focus on getting well.”

“I will try.”

Severus gave her a small grin.

“Dad,” Rose swallowed. “May I ask you a question?” 

“Sure,” Severus answered.

“When Arthur believed me to be Mum, he gave me a speech on how I should reconcile with Ron. He claimed our love could conquer anything,” Rose began.

Severus snorted.

“How did you do it?” Rose asked. 

“How did I do what?”

“How did you sit through those speeches on how Ron was Mum's true love?”

“It was simple,” Severus answered. “When they spoke, I remembered that each night, she fell asleep beside me. Every day she professed her love to me. Most importantly, she gifted me with her children. Nothing they said could ever change those facts.”

Rose smiled. “That is true enough.”

Severus kissed her forehead. “I love you so much Little Rose. Never forget that.”

“I won’t,” Rose promised before embracing him.

“Also, do not spend a moment of your time worrying for me,” Severus continued. “I will find a way to resolve this issue.”

“How?”

“That is not for you to know.”

She nodded. “Do be careful. I would prefer not to search for another father. I quite like the one I have at the moment.”

Severus chuckled. “Do not fret, I will be around for quite some time.”

Rose hummed, hoping he was correct.

Chapter Text

Hermione stretched and groaned. After a few moments she pried open her eyes. The sound of distant footsteps grew louder. 

“Good morning, Severus.”

He gave her a small smile. “Good morning love. I trust you slept well.”

Hermione sat up. “I slept quite well.”

Severus stood in the doorway. “I am glad to hear it.”

Hermione yawned. “Where were you earlier?”

“I went to check on Rose,” he answered.

Hermione’s eyes were wide. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to see her? I would have gone with you.”

“I thought you would appreciate the extra sleep,” Severus replied.

“I would have appreciated seeing Rose much more,” Hermione answered.

“There was nothing much to see. Rose is well.”

“Still, I would have like to have seen so for myself instead of simply taking your word for it.”

“I apologize then. If you would like you may come with me to see her later on in the day, though she may be asleep.”

"Was she particularly tired when you saw her?"

“No, but I encouraged her to rest."

“Hopefully her students will all her to do so.”

“I do not see how they could distract her too greatly. Even the peskiest Gryffindor would have difficulty disturbing someone in Australia.”

Hermione nodded. “So she decided to see her grandparents after all.”

Severus sat down on the bed beside her. “Indeed she did.”

Hermione leaned against him. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Severus replied.

She sighed. “Thank you.”

Severus brushed his lips against hers. “There is never any need to thank me for professing my love.”

“True,” Hermione replied.

Severus gazed into her eyes. Although her usual twinkle remained, there was a question lingering behind them.

He swallowed. “I hope you never feel as if I have taken you for granted.”

“I don’t,” Hermione replied.

“Yet…” Severus drawled.

“Last night you were somewhat distracted.”

“How was I distracted?” 

“When we left the pool you were ecstatic. When I crawled into bed though, it was as if you were reliving a much less pleasant time. It worried me.”

“There is no need to fret. What I experienced was simply a passing mood.”

“A passing mood?”

“Indeed.”

Hermione frowned. “Would you care to elaborate on this mood?”

Severus shrugged. “There is not much to tell. It was a mood which vanished as quickly as it appeared.”

“Are you certain that's all it was?” Hermione argued.

Severus swallowed. 

Hermione locked eyes with him. “I know you Severus, and over the last few days you have not been yourself. I would like to know what is troubling you.”

He remained silent.

“You’re shutting me out again,” Hermione continued in a gentle voice. “Ever since Rose was injured you’ve been shutting me out. I would like to know what is troubling you so we can work through it together.”

Severus took a shaky breath. 

“Severus?” she whispered.

He took a stray strand of hair and put it behind her ear.

Hermione shook. “What are you thinking about?”

“I am trying to put into words what is going through my mind.”

Hermione said nothing.

Severus stroked her hair. “Last night I was meditating on my life during the Second Wizarding War. I reflected upon the sacrifices I had made, the people who had been injured along the way, as well as the sorrows I had endured. When you stepped out into the bedroom, I was in awe how someone like you could ever come into my life and bring me such peace.”

She relaxed.

“If I seemed to be lacking in affection last night,” Severus’ throat constricted. “I deeply apologize. Sometimes you overwhelm me. Even if I am reluctant to display my true emotions, I do love you. Hermione Snape, I love you beyond all reason.”

Her eyes misted. “Oh Severus, you are the most romantic man I have ever met.”

“No I am not,” Severus replied. “I am merely being honest with you.”

Her lips crashed into his. She began unfastening his buttons, but stopped when she was midway down his shirt.

Severus leaned into her ear and whispered, “Keep going.”

With a grin, she obliged.

 

***

Lucius dropped his suitcase. He clenched his jaw and drew his wand.

Narcissa gasped. Her rosebushes were little more than twigs strewn about the yard. The mums were shreds of petals and stems. Still, the flower beds were not half as ravaged as the mansion itself. 

There wasn’t a window not shattered. The walls were littered steaks of magical residue, the drapes nothing more than rags.

Narcissa and Lucius glanced at each other.

“Do you think someone is inside?” Narcissa asked.

Lucius stepped forward. “Stay behind me.”

She pulled out her wand.

They crept past the tattered front door.

Lucius shouted, “Hello?”

POP!

Narcissa jumped.

The house elf took a breath. It hugged Lucius leg and wailed, “Blossom is so happy to see you!”

“What happened?” Lucius asked.

“They attacked us!” she cried. “We tried to defend the house, but they were too powerful.”

“Who are they?” Narcissa asked.

“The aurors,” the elf replied. “The aurors come and destroy the house.”

Narcissa looked at Lucius and mouthed, “The aurors?”

Lucius furrowed his brow.

The Ministry would be getting a visit from him in the very near future.

Chapter Text

Jordy Driver was sex on a stick. 

The secretary fanned himself as he drooled. He’d seen pictures of Driver in other publications, but Witch Weekly was able to get a few images of him shirtless. Those images alone were worth the subscription increase.

Bang!

The secretary startled.

A woman stormed into the room, a copy of this morning’s Daily Prophet under her arm. Without acknowledging the secretary, she made her way to the door on the other side of the room.

“Ma’am,” he set down his magazine. “You cannot go in there.”

The intruder put a hand on the door knob.

“Ma’am,” the secretary stood up. “Mr. Weasley is busy at the moment and does not want to be disturbed.”

“He’s not too busy for me,” she snapped.

“Ma’am, he is in the middle of…”

The intruder burst through the office door. “Percy!”

The door slammed behind her.

The secretary swallowed before sitting down. Perhaps if I tell Percy I was in the restroom when she came, he’ll forgive me for letting her through.

After shuddering, he took another look at his magazine. A smile crept across his face. It was impossible to be upset when Jordy Driver was looking up at you…

 

***

“Percy!”

He glanced up from the fireplace. 

“We need to talk."

He glared at her.

"Now!”

“What in blazes, Ginevra. Can you not see that I am in the middle of an important meeting?”

Ginevra grabbed nearby oak chair. She pushed it until it was in front of his desk. Then she plopped down and crossed her arms over her chest. “I’ll wait.”

Percy cleared his throat and returned his attention to the fireplace. “Well, I uh, believe our meeting has concluded.”

“Indeed it has,” the woman on the other side replied. “Expect an official endorsement from the Pediatricians of Wizarding Britain within the next few hours. Your plan to reduce the number of squibs is brilliant, and we're thrilled you could get it through the Ministry in such a timely manner.”

“I deeply appreciate all of your support,” Percy answered.

“The pleasure is all mine,” she replied. 

The flames died.

Percy strolled over to his sister. “What is so important that you felt the need to disrupt my day?”

“This.” Ginevra tossed the newspaper onto his desk.

Percy scratched his chin and examined the headline. “What exactly is so infuriating about the average wage of muggleborns increasing?”

“I’m not upset about muggleborns receiving equal pay,” Ginevra growled.

Percy wiped his brow. “That is a relief. For a moment I believed you were absorbing the pureblood supremacist views of your spouse.”

“First of all, my husband is not a pureblood supremacist.”

“Excuse me, former pureblood supremacist. My deepest apologies.”

"Like hell you are."

Percy's frown deepened. 

“Anyway, I am outraged that this story was on the front page. There is a far more important event which the paper should be focusing on,” Ginevra argued.

Percy raised an eyebrow. “What would that be?”

“The random attacks on various citizens.”

“Attacks on citizens?”

“Yes, citizens such as me are being attacked in the middle of the night.”

“You were attacked?”

Ginevra rolled up her sleeve, revealing a gash on her left arm. “Last night, I was struck by several cutting curses.”

“Someone hit you with a sectumsempra?” Percy asked.

“No, these will not leave a scar.”

“That’s a relief. For a moment I believed there was dark magic afoot.”

Ginevra scowled. “Aren’t you the least bit curious as to who gave me these wounds?”

Percy twisted his lips. “Who?”

“Proudfoot.”

“Proudfoot?”

“Yes, Proudfoot.”

Percy tapped his fingers on his desk. “I was unaware that he had launched an investigation against the Malfoys.”

“He hasn’t,” Ginevra argued. “Nobody has launched an investigation against us, yet for the past two nights aurors have been attacking my house.”

“Aurors have been attacking you?” Percy asked.

“Yes, aurors,” Ginevra answered, “and we have not been the only victims of their attacks. We went over to Malfoy Manor. There’s barely anything left of it.”

“Ginevra,” Percy slid his leather padded chair out from beneath his desk. “I deeply apologize for the trouble you seem to have found yourself in, but you were warned that an event such as this could occur. I believe Mother and Father tried to discourage you from marrying an ex-Death Eater in part because of his various enemies. You refused to listen though, so you cannot come crying to me because our worst fears are being realized.”

“According to Blaise Zabini his house was attacked last night as well,” Ginevra replied.

Percy sat down. “Again, the former Death Eaters have various enemies. I cannot assist you in tracking down all of them.”

Ginevra asked, “How many enemies does Hogwarts have?” 

Percy shrugged. “Not many I’d imagine.”

“Well, Hogwarts has been attacked as well.”

Percy closed his mouth.

Ginevra continued. “According to Scorpius, for the last two nights aurors and former students have burst into Hogwarts and attacked the staff. So far there are no  injured students, but how long can we expect that to last?”

Percy scratched his desk.

“You’re the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. You’re also a candidate for the Minister of Magic. Surely you can think of some way to protect us,” Ginevra demanded.

Percy glanced down.

“Damnit your daughter goes to Hogwarts!” Ginevra exclaimed. “If you can’t help me, then at least help her.”

“I will admit that the aurors’ latest actions have been distressing.”

“So you are aware of them?” 

“Indeed I am.”

“Great. Do something about them.”

“I fear it isn’t that simple.”

Ginevra’s eyes bulged. “H-how complicated can this be? People are attacking us, and we need protection. Shouldn’t that be enough of a reason to act?”

“Of course we must act,”  Percy admitted. “But we must behave rationally.”

“B-behave rationally?” Ginevra sputtered.

Percy nodded.

"How would we go about doing that?"

"We should not speak of these attacks until we know more information about them."

"So in other words, cover it up."

Percy said nothing.

“What is rational about covering this up?” Ginevra demanded.

Percy’s voice lowered. “Do you understand what you are claiming?”

“I am claiming that I was attacked, an accusation I can back up with the condition of my house and the scratches on my body.”

“No, you are accusing Wizarding Britain’s finest of assaulting you for little reason.”

“They believe their fighting in the Second Wizarding World.”

“So they’re sick?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know the source of their illness?”

“No.”

“Then there’s nothing left to say.”

Ginevra’s face reddened.

“Dear sister,” Percy began. “I cannot have people running amok claiming that they are being attacked by amnesiac Ministry employees. It would erode people’s faith in those who are supposed to protect them. They will begin to doubt the efficacy of the Ministry.”

“If you refuse to act, then people will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Ministry is ineffective.” 

“Can you explain to me why the aurors are attacking?”

She pursed her lips.

“Can you explain to anyone where their amnesia originated?”

Ginevra squirmed.

“That is what I thought,” Percy leaned back in his chair. “The Ministry is all too aware of the attacks. We are diligently working on ascertaining the origin of this amnesia. Until we have concrete answers though, we refuse to release an official statement.” 

“So in other words,” Ginevra drawled. “The people have no one to defend them.”

“No,” Percy raised his finger. “The Ministry is doing everything in its power to prevent an unnecessary panic. The minute we can determine the cause of the amnesia is the minute we will inform the public.”

Ginevra gritted her teeth.

“Now that that’s settled,” Percy continued. “How is Orion faring?”

“He’s terrified out of his mind because his home is being attacked on a nightly basis,” Ginevra argued.

“Tell him not to fear,” Percy replied. “The Ministry will protect him.”

“No,” Ginevra stood up. “The Ministry will cover its ass until it can take credit for solving a problem it helped perpetuate.”

“Ginevra, don’t be this way,” Percy replied. “Settle down and consider my viewpoint.”

She stomped towards the door.

“If you were in my position then you would understand the wisdom of my actions,” Percy argued.

Ginevra placed her hand on the doorknob. “Oh I understand your actions perfectly well. As for being in your position…” she chuckled. “Be careful what you say. One day I may be sitting in your chair.”

Percy raised an eyebrow.

“Good day,” Ginevra trilled before stepping outside and closing the door behind her.

“Mr. Malfoy,” the secretary began. “You cannot…”

He stopped. “Ginevra?” 

Ginevra grunted. “I take it you’ve returned from France.”

“I arrived home roughly a half hour ago,” Lucius replied.

“I’d imagine you would like to speak with my brother about the condition of Malfoy Manor.”

“It seemed like a logical course of action anyway. After all, he is a Ministry candidate. You would think he would be interested in the well-being of his citizens.”

“Don’t bother discussing anything with him,” Ginevra answered. “He has his head so far up his arse he can barely breathe.”

Lucius hummed.

Ginevra lowered her voice. “Whatever you’re planning on doing, don’t.”

“Who said I was planning anything?” Lucius purred.

“I know you,” Ginevra replied. “You have a plan.”

“This time I do not.” Lucius patted her on the shoulder. “For once, I will allow the chips to fall where they may.”

With that, Lucius glided away.

Chapter Text

“I know it was stupid to expect Percy to help us, but even at his worst I never thought he would be callous enough to turn his back on his family...” Ginevra deflated. “What am I saying? Of course he’d turn his back on his family in order to further his career.”

Draco gave her a sympathetic smile. “You were hoping he was a better person.”

Ginevra crumpled onto the sofa. “I was hoping he would act like someone who cared not only for his family but also for the citizens he promised to protect. I suppose that was, to use his own words, ‘irrational.’”

Draco sat down beside her. “I wouldn’t call your beliefs irrational, but I do believe your faith in him was misplaced.”

“Apparently,” Ginevra sighed.

Draco rubbed her shoulder.

“Perhaps the most troubling thing about all of this is that, unless someone runs against him, he will be our next Minister of Magic,” Ginevra replied.

Draco blanched. “Indeed.”

“We’re going to have a Minister of Magic who cares far more about covering his arse than he does about defending others.”

“It would appear that way.”

“I still can’t believe it.” Ginevra bowed her head. “I never should have gone to see him. Seeing him only upset me.”

“No, you needed help, and you hoped he cared enough for you to offer assistance.”

“Pretty stupid looking back, huh?”

“No,” there was a fire in Draco’s eyes. “People in office are supposed to care about protecting others. They are supposed to watch out for their constituents and act in their best interest. Their time should be dedicated to public service, not covering up scandals.”

Ginevra’s expression lightened. “Is that a campaign speech?” 

Draco swallowed.

“If it is the beginning of a campaign speech, it’s a pretty good one.”

“Someone needs to tell the people what they need to hear. We need decisive leaders who are capable of solving problems. The Wizarding World needs.” Draco groaned and buried his face into his hands. “Now I sound like my father.”

Ginevra replied, “No, if you sounded like Lucius you would be blackmailing someone into changing the election results so you’d become the Minister of Magic without so much as declaring your candidacy.”

Draco raised his head. “True.”

Ginevra massaged his back.

“The Ministry is useless,” Draco continued. “The Wizarding World will either have to fight these amnesiac aurors on their own, or hope the issue becomes too big to ignore.”

She pressed into his back harder. “Then maybe it’s time for us to fight back.” 

“We have been fighting back.”

“Have we?”

Draco raised an eyebrow. “Yes, we have been fighting back the aurors. If we hadn’t fought back then there would be nothing left of this house.”

“I don’t mean have we physically fought back. The answer to that question is an obvious yes,” Ginevra replied. “I mean, are we using all of our resources, or are we allowing Percy to put our lives at risk because we’re too busy moping to take action?”

“What would you have us do?”

“We could beat Percy at his own game and take away his power.”

Draco blinked

Ginevra removed her hands from his back. “I know about your political ambitions.”

“No,” Draco snapped. “I have no intention of running for public office.”

“Why not?”

“Because I would be running against Percy. If I run then I would be putting you between your family and me.”

“You don’t think I’m already wedged between you and my family?”

“This will be different.” 

“How?”

Draco threw up his arms. “It just is.”

Ginevra asked in a soft voice, “What is this really about?”

“What do you mean, ‘what is this really about?’”

“Why are you afraid to become Minister of Magic?”

“I’m not afraid of becoming the Minister of Magic.”

“Then why not run?”

Draco gulped.

Ginevra continued, “We’ve spoken at length about your Wizarding communication system. It’s brilliant! The Wizarding World needs something like the muggle internet, but it won’t gain traction unless it receives government backing.”

“We need to update our communication systems,” Draco replied. “We’re falling behind the muggle world at an alarming rate. If we don’t find a more efficient method of communication soon then witches and wizards will decide to live as muggles because it is more convenient.”

“Exactly,” Ginevra answered. “Wizarding Britain needs this system.”

“Yes, it does.”

“Then why are you not running for office on the platform that such a system is not only possible, but that it is necessary?”

“Because I’m afraid of what they’ll say about me,” Draco argued.

Ginevra folded her hands on her lap.

“We’ve both lived through some nasty elections. They’ve been rocked by scandal after scandal until it’s impossible to determine what the issues even are.”

“Then run a clean campaign.”

“It doesn’t matter how fair I am. Percy will drudge up my history as a Death Eater, he will expose every mistake I’ve made, and then he will mock you.”

“I don’t care what he says about you or me.”

“Perhaps you should.”

Ginevra closed her mouth.

“Look love,” Draco’s lip quivered. “I know what it cost you to marry me. Your family’s rejection stings you even today. Everyone thought you were mad for marrying me, and I’m sure some people still question the wisdom of that decision. I can’t subject you to such scrutiny, not again.”

“First of all,” Ginevra took his hands. “I gave up on my family the day they used their influence to halt Ron’s extradition. Second of all, I have become quite good at ignoring the idiots around me.”

“What about Orion? How will he react to the accusations and insults being flung our way?”

“He will learn to ignore them the same way our other children learned to ignore their Grandma Weasley.”

“Rita Skeeter is harder to ignore than your mother.”

“She’s also easier to blackmail than Mum is.”

He gave her a half smile. “True.”

She squeezed his hands. “If you want the absolute truth, I’m surprised it has taken you this long to consider a political career.”

“You are?” Draco asked.

Ginevra nodded. “From the day you began courting me, I knew you had a future in politics. How could you not? You are from a high class pureblood family, and you have a deep desire to help others. Sure, you were happy running your corporations, but you’ve spoken about handing everything over to Carina and Antlia on numerous occasions. You’re ready to move on and fulfill other dreams.”

“Fine, let’s imagine,” he stuck up his finger, “and we’re only imagining, that I am interested in a political career.”

“Okay.”

“We need to honestly look at my baggage, the first and foremost I was a Death Eater.”

“You were eighteen when you took the mark, and there’s ample evidence that you were coerced into doing so.”

“I was not coerced into holding pureblood supremacist views.”

“You were a teenager spouting off what the adults around you were stating.”

“I was a git.” 

“You act as if nobody knows these tidbits, and that everyone has forgotten how far you’ve gone to reform your ways.”

“I was accused of killing Harry Potter.” 

“Falsely.”

“It still happened.”

“You were also the person who funded the international efforts to administer the lycanthropy cure. Nobody has forgotten that.”

Draco relaxed. “True.”

Ginevra leaned in closer. “I know all your skeletons. There’s nothing Percy or the press can throw our way that I’m not aware of.”

“No,” Draco replied. “Sometimes I feel as if you know me better than I know myself.”

“Then you need not worry about how the children and I would fare during a political campaign. Your children know you as well, and they will disregard any attack on your character,” Ginevra promised.

“I suppose so,” Draco mused.

“Listen,” Ginevra concluded. “I do not want you to feel pressured into running for an office you take no interest in holding. All I’m saying is that I should not be the deciding factor in whether or not you run.”

“You,” Draco rubbed his thumb along her hands. “You would really support me running for Minister of Magic?”

Ginevra kissed him on the cheek. “I already do.”

Draco released her. His lips curled up. “Hogwarts has been attacked, and Percy has ignored them as well.”

“He has,” Ginevra replied.

“I’d imagine that Neville isn’t too keen on having a Minister of Magic who ignores the needs of the school so blatantly.”

“No, he is not.”

There was a spark in his eyes. “If I could immediately procure an endorsement from Hogwarts, then my candidacy would already have some legitimacy.”

Ginevra smiled. “Now you’re thinking like a Malfoy.”

“Indeed,” Draco stood up. “I need to write a letter.”

“Yes,” Ginevra answered. “You do.”

Draco brushed his lips against hers. “Thank you for helping me get my head out of my arse long enough to see what’s in front of me.”

Ginevra replied. “That’s what I’m here for.”

Draco kissed her forehead before strolling out of the room.

Ginevra took a deep breath, praying she had pointed him in the right direction.

Chapter Text

No matter how many times Hermione tried to remind herself that Rose was twenty-five, her daughter would always be that baby cuddling her toy snake against her chest. Something about watching her daughter sleep would always transport Hermione back to those sleepless nights when baby Rose would look up at her at Severus with an innocent expression, as if to question why her parents appeared so exhausted. While Hermione was proud of the adult Rose had become, part of her could not let go of the infant she had once been.

“Do you think we should leave?” Severus whispered. 

Hermione shook her head. “I would like to check in with my parents. It feels wrong to come here and not at least say 'hello' to them. If Rose hasn’t awakened by the time I finish speaking with them, then we may go.”

“Fair enough,” Severus replied. 

Rose groaned and buried herself deeper into the blankets.

Hermione crept towards the hallway.

“Mum?” Rose groaned.

“Yes?”

“Uh.”

“Go back to sleep,” Hermione whispered. 

"No, I'm awake," Rose pried open her eyes. “What brings you here?”

“I only wanted to see how you were doing.”

“I am well,” Rose replied before scanning the room. Her eyes rested on her father.

“Hello Little One,” Severus replied.

Rose sat up straighter. “Dad. I did not expect you to be here.”

Hermione raised an eyebrow.

“I thought it would be best to check on you before I begin brewing,” Severus replied.

Rose blinked. “Thank you for the consideration.”

Hermione cocked her head. Her husband and daughter were hiding something, but she was at a loss for what it could be.

“Is there something troubling you, Rose?” Hermione asked.

“No, no I’m fine,” Rose stretched, allowing the blanket to slide off her torso.

Hermione frowned. “Is that your father’s t-shirt?”

“No,” Severus replied. “It’s Rose’s t-shirt.”

Rose smirked. “Indeed it is.”

Hermione groaned. “Severus, that was supposed to be a Christmas gift from your father-in-law.”

“I know,” Severus replied. “But wouldn’t you agree that Rose pulls off short sleeves better than I ever could?”

“You pull off short sleeves just fine.”

Severus’ impish expression matched Rose’s.

“Honestly, it would not kill you to bare your arms every so often. At the very least you would look less conspicuous when we go to the beach.” 

“Perhaps I do not mind standing out in a crowd,” Severus replied.

Hermione rolled her eyes. “I suppose it would be too much to ask that you behave like a normal person.”

“It would be,” he purred. "Yet, I never took you for someone who was drawn to 'normal people.'"

Rose rolled her eyes. Must they do this now?

"I will admit that I have always had a taste for the exotic," Hermione blushed.

Severus pulled her closer. "Indeed you do."

“How exactly did you intimidate young couples again, Dad?” Rose interrupted.

“It was quite easy," Severus replied. "The Snape glare is quite effective on lovesick dunderheads, as you well know."

“I wonder how effective your glare would be if your students could get a glimpse into the future and see how flirtatious you are with Mum."

Hermione laughed. "While attending Hogwarts even I had difficulty believing that your father had a romantic cell in his body."

"Yet your children are living proof that he does," Rose replied.

“Hermione? Severus?”

Hermione looked in the direction of the hallway. “Hello Dad.”

Wilford hobbled over on his cane and pulled her into a hug. “It’s so great to see you again.”

Hermione returned the embrace. “It’s great to see you as well, though I wish we were meeting under more pleasant circumstances.”

“Yes,” Wilford turned to his granddaughter. “How are you feeling, Rose?”

“Much better after my nap,” she replied.

“You look better than you did this morning anyway,” Severus noted.

Wilford cut in, “Severus. It is nice to see you as well.”

“Indeed,” Severus replied. “I only wish I could stay longer.”

“Oh?” Muriel strolled down he hallway. “Are you leaving so soon?”

“Indeed I must,” Severus replied. “Rose had a few potions she put on stasis before her untimely accident. I want to grab a few ingredients and finish the process of brewing them so they do not lose their magical properties.”

All eyes fell on Rose.

She smiled. “Yes, in all the excitement of the last few days I almost forgot about my potions. Thank you for tending to them.”

“It is my pleasure.” Severus kissed her forehead and continued in a quiet, low voice, “Keep your mother busy for as long as possible. If I am healthy I will send a Patronus within the hour. If you do not see it then stall her.”

“I will,” Rose whispered.

“Thank you.” Severus kissed her on the cheek. “I love you Little One.”

There was a spark in Rose’s eyes. “I’m not little.”

“You have yet to surpass me in height,” Severus teased. “Ergo you remain Little One.”

Rose giggled. “Fair enough.”

He looked at Hermione and her parents. “Thank you again for taking care of my daughter.”

“It is our absolute pleasure,” Muriel answered. 

“Listen, if you need anything, please let us know,” Wilford offered.

“I will,” Severus answered.

Hermione swallowed. “I love you.”

Severus gave her a half grin. “I love you as well.” 

With that, he threw the floo powder into the fireplace and called out his address. Then he stepped into the flames.

Hermione stared at the spot where he stood, wondering what on earth he wasn't telling her.

 

***

Neville leaned back in his leather chair and folded his hands. “I never thought I would see the day that Draco Malfoy asked me for a favor.”

Draco frowned. “Believe me, I despise myself at the moment, but desperate times call for desperate measures.” 

“Fair enough,” Neville sat up straighter.

“Do we have a deal, or not?” Draco asked.

Neville glanced up at the sleeping portrait of Dumbledore. Then his eyes drifted to the placard on the wall which simply read, “Severus Snape.”

“The headmasters of Hogwarts have always had a complicated history with politicians,” Neville admitted. “No matter what we do, it seems that we cannot run a school without having an opinion on the Ministry.”

“Unfortunately that seems to be the price you must pay for being the only Wizarding school in Britain,” Draco noted.

“Yes,” Neville returned his attention to Draco. “Under most circumstances I would tell you to find another endorsement, but it seems that present circumstances do not allow me to remain neutral.”

Draco exhaled. “Believe me, I am just as incredulous about the turn of events as you are. Never in my life did I think I would need a thing from you.”

“Please do not think our previous relationship-or lack thereof-is influencing my course of action. Still, I want to be honest about where I stand,” Neville replied.

Draco nodded. 

Neville set his hands on the desk. “My issue with giving an official endorsement from Hogwarts is that I have not consulted any other staff members about doing so. If Hogwarts is to give any endorsement, it must be an unanimous decision.”

“I understand,” Draco replied.

“This puts me in quite a bind because my professors are in the middle of a crisis, one which the Ministry is perpetuating by remaining silent. The best way to resolve this crisis is to draw attention to it. I fear the only way to draw attention to it is to make it a campaign issue.”

“It is.”

Headmaster Longbottom stood up. “My solution is that I will give you an official endorsement. It needs to be clear that I am acting along though. An official endorsement from Hogwarts will not come until an unanimous decision is made on who to endorse, if we decide to back anyone at all.”

Draco released the breath he’d been holding. He grabbed and shook Neville’s hand. “Oh thank you Headmaster Longbottom. You won’t regret this.”

“Of course I won’t,” Neville’s lips curled up. “I can now throw it in your face that you owe me a favor.”

Draco’s face fell. The headmaster laughed.

“Don’t laugh too loudly,” Draco warned. “I will control the budget.”

“And I will retain control of the minds and hearts of the next generation,” Headmaster Longbottom replied.

Crash!

“Arthur Weasley! What in blazes are you doing here?”

Headmaster Longbottom’s expression hardened. “Would you like to help me protect the school again?”

Draco grinned. “It would be my honor.”

Neville pulled out his wand. “Then let’s not waste any more time.”

Chapter Text

There is no chapter today. My grandmother has just died, so I will not be updating my stories for at least a week. I thought about uploading a chapter today, but I don't have the energy to edit it properly. Also, I won't be able to respond to comments right away, just because I don't want them to be rambling messes.

When I begin uploading chapters again, please forgive me if they aren't up to my usual quality. It's just going to take a bit for me to recover. Still, I have fifty more chapters written, so I have plenty to upload when the time comes to start again. 

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the support you give me! Writing is a huge release for me, and is often my best way of dealing with emotions. It truly means a lot to me that people enjoy my work. Thank you, thank you again!

Chapter Text

Rose yawned as the credits rolled across the screen. She stretched out on the sofa. “I almost forgot how enjoyable watching a movie could be.”

“Indeed,” Hermione replied as she rocked in the recliner. 

Rose glanced at the clock. Her stomach sank. An hour and a half had gone by, with no word from her father.

Hermione hummed before sitting up straighter.

Rose aimed the remote at the screen. “Let’s see what else is on.”

“Are you tired of forgetting your keys?”

“No,” Rose muttered before changing the channel.

“I never thought I’d find you again.”

“No," Rose muttered.

The channel flipped again.

“I think it would be wise for you to turn the television off and get a little sleep,” Hermione suggested.

“No, no,” Rose flipped the channel. “I am wide awake.”

“You appear exhausted,” Hermione answered.

“Appearances are deceiving. I am more awake now than I have been all day.”

“It is ten o’clock in Britain.”

“It’s that late?”

“Indeed it is.”

“How surprising. I am not tired in the least.”

The channel changed again. A ballerina leaped across the screen.

“Even if you are not sleepy at the moment, you should lie down and close your eyes," Hermione replied.

“No, I am in the mood for another movie," Rose answered. 

“You’re going to upset you sleep cycle if you watch another film,” Hermione replied.

“Fine, we do not need to watch television.” The television screen went black. “We can talk.”

Hermione folded her hands. “What would you like to discuss?”

Rose locked eyes with her. “How did you and Dad fall in love?”

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

“How did you and Dad fall in love?”

“I believe I have told you this story on numerous occasions.”

“It is a romantic story, one which I would like to hear again.”

Hermione frowned. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with what Percy said a few weeks ago, would it?”

Rose blanched. “How did you hear about Percy?”

“Your father told me.”

“I see.”

“From what he said, he thought the issue had been resolved.”

“To a degree, yes it was resolved, yet I felt as if we did not answer my most pressing question.”

“What would that be?”

“Why did you not use a contraceptive potion during your time together?”

Hermione lowered her head. “Why do you ask?”

“Dad made no secret as to how little he desired a child, and you were attempting to conceal an illicit affair. Shouldn’t contraceptive potions have been a requirement before every encounter?” Rose asked.

“I suppose they should have been.”

“Then why was it that nobody so much as cast a contraceptive spell or at the very least purchased a condom from a muggle gas station?”

Hermione looked into her daughter’s eyes. “This is quite a personal question which mother should not have to discuss with her daughter.”

“Under normal circumstances I would agree, but when it involves my paternity then it seems only fair to question you about your behavior in the days prior to my conception,” Rose argued.

Hermione’s eyes hardened. “What exactly are you suggesting?”

“I only want to put my doubts to rest once and for all,” Rose replied. “Why did you and Dad not use any contraceptive measures during your torrid affair?”

Hermione whispered, “Because we were arrogant.”

Rose’s dragged herself forward until she was leaning over the sofa’s armrest.

“The first time your father and I came together, well, I was already falling in love with him, and he was falling for me. Still, we were unsure how deeply our sentiments ran, so our encounters were spontaneous. For the next month it was as if we were trying to determine how we felt about each other. Once it was clear that we had a strong connection, we began to tease each other.”

“How?”

“We would touch each other discreetly or stare at each other longer than necessary. Our favorite game though was sitting in a hotel room with a book. We would read until the tension became too much.”

“Just like you do at home?”

Hermione’s eyes widened.

Rose smirked. “It isn’t difficult to figure out your little game. Even as a child there were nights when I knew the library was where Mummy and Daddy spent alone time together.”

Hermione blushed. “Indeed.”

“Regardless,” Rose cleared her throat. “If you two knew you were going to engage in this type of game, someone needed to come prepared.”

“I suppose that would have been the responsible thing to do,” Hermione admitted.

Rose exhaled. “Perhaps I should be more grateful though. If you two had taken proper precautions then I would not have existed.”

“That is true,” Hermione replied.

Rose replied, “I guess what I intend to ask is; did you and Dad ever consider the possibility of a child during your affair?”

“No,” Hermione admitted. “We were too arrogant to entertain the thought that our affair would ever be discovered. Neither of us truly sat down and considered that a pregnancy may result from our actions.”

“Then I have one more question.” 

“What would that be?”

“What would you have done if you had been unable to contact Dad after discovering you were pregnant with me?”

"First of all, I never would have ceased trying to get in touch with him,” there was a spark in Hermione’s eyes “If I discovered he was going to marry another woman though I would have barged into the wedding, displayed my baby bump, and explained why I was trying to get in contact with him.”

Rose giggled. “You would have made quite a scene.”

“I am very thankful we reunited when we did."

"I believe Dad is as well."

Hermione stood and approached her daughter. “I know you have questions, and I wish your father and I could give you satisfactory answers. The reality is though that we made some questionable decisions which resulted in a beautiful baby girl.”

Rose nodded.

Hermione sat down beside Rose. “It does not matter how you were conceived. The only thing which should concern you is that your father and I love you. Please do not ever forget that.”

“I will not,” Rose promised.

“Good,” Hermione kissed her on the cheek. “Now, it is becoming late, and I should be heading home. Your father will begin to worry for me if I stay away for too long.”

Rose grabbed Hermione’s hand. “Mum, I don’t think you should leave here after having such a heavy conversation.”

Hermione blinked.

“I believe chocolate ice cream is in order.”

“Does your grandmother even have chocolate ice cream?”

“She bought some for me earlier.”

Hermione’s lips curled up. “Between your father and your grandparents you truly are a spoiled girl.”

Rose smiled.

“Fine,” Hermione replied. “I will have one bowl of ice cream with you, but then I must leave so you can get some rest.”

“That sounds reasonable enough,” Rose replied.

Hermione stood. “Then it’s settled.”

Rose raised herself and groaned, knowing that within a half hour she would need another plan to distract her mother.

 

***

Her eyes still haunted him.

Her eyes contained so much devotion, so much joy, so much-dare he think it?-love. In her eyes he saw the domesticity he could enjoy had he been someone, anyone else. 

Yet circumstances were what they were. The idea of having a family was not one he could afford to entertain. Never could she be his, no matter how much he wished circumstances were otherwise.

Severus stirred the cauldron once more. He wasn’t sure why he had allowed the potions to remain in stasis for so long, or even why he was making them. There had to be more important things to brew than fifty vials of disinfectant potions. Perhaps illnesses was more rampant this year than usual though. 

The cauldron hissed. Severus stepped away and allowed it to settle.

Those eyes flashed into his mind again. His body shook. Her eyes were not the only thing troubling about this lady. Why did this woman have such a similar appearance to Ms. Granger? Could this mystery lady be related to Granger somehow?

Severus snorted. There is no point in dwelling upon her for one moment longer. She is nothing more than a fling. Within a few hours she will have forgotten all about me. It is best to forget her too.

Still, her glistening eyes haunted him. 

Chapter Text

Rose had not been this resistance to sleep since she'd been six.

Rose’s ice cream was half melted before she took her first bite, and she ate at a sloth's pace. In spite of the threat of brain freeze, Rose wanted another bowl. Once the tub of ice cream was finished, Rose pleaded with Hermione to play Gobstones. After a few minutes of protests, Hermione capitulated to the demand with the stipulation that after the game Rose would go to sleep. Once Rose had won two out of three games, she posed several questions about the latest potions experiment her parents had engaged in. Although Hermione suspected Rose knew the answer to each question, she indulged her. A half an hour passed, and now Rose wanted to watch another movie.

Hermione sighed. “I will watch a movie with you only if you promise to lie down on the couch during it.”

"But Mum..."

"No more 'buts,'" Hermione answered. "You need to rest, and I need to return home to your father."

Rose swallowed, but obeyed. After minutes of searching, they settled on a Steve Martin movie.

Within five minutes, sleep overtook Rose.

During the first commercial break, Hermione stood up. She crept over and removed the remote from Rose’s hand. Then, she turned off the television.

“Goodnight, Rose," Hermione whispered before kissing her daughter on the forehead.

Rose did not stir. 

Hermione yawned before sneaking towards the fireplace. She whispered out her address before stepping inside. A few moments later, she stumbled across her fireplace threshold. 

“Severus?”

Only silence.

Hermione pulled out her wand. “Lumos.”

Something was wrong.

Instead of seeing Severus on their bed, she only saw untouched sheets. The bathroom door was open, but there was no light. Severus’ nightshirt was still hanging from the closet. No note explaining where he was could be found on the dresser.

She raced through the house, calling Severus name every few meters. All of the rooms were empty. It was as if he had never returned home.

She climbed down the stairs into the basement laboratory. 

“Severus?

None of the candles were lit. All of the vials were arranged in tidy rows, all of the cauldrons were glistening clean. There was no unusual smells. Nobody had been in this room for quite some time.

Hermione’s stomach sank. Severus said he was going to conclude Rose's experiments, but that shouldn't have taken more than a couple of hours. Did he get sidetracked by something? Did he decide to start another project?

Is he injured?

She darted upstairs to the library. Then she threw in the floo powder and called out, “Rose Snape’s living quarters.”

Once again she stepped into the flames, and was transported to her destination. 

As Hermione stumbled out of the fireplace, she could hear the clanking of glass and the mutterings of her husband. The room smelled of peppermint and dragon liver. There was a light in the doorway.

Her muscles relaxed. “Severus?”

The room grew silent.

“Severus,” Hermione called again before heading towards the lab. “Are you in there?”

There was a rustling.

Hermione opened the door, only to be met with a wand to the chest.

She held up her hands. “It’s just me.”

He kept the wand focused on her.

Hermione gasped. “I, I did not mean to surprise you.”

“What brings you here?” Severus growled.

“I came here looking for you,” Hermione replied.

The wand was still pointed at her chest.

"I wanted to see if you are well," Hermione replied.

He lowered his arm. “I am quite well.”

“I am glad to hear it,” Hermione stepped inside.

“You never told me what brought you here,” Severus snarled.

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “What kind of a question is that?”

“The kind one asks when one is baffled by the presence of the other,” Severus answered.

Hermione frowned. “Why would you be confused at my presence?”

“Because you are not supposed to be here,” he snapped.

“Well, if you had simply finished Rose’s potions and gone to bed as you told me you would, I would not be here.”

“Rose’s potions?”

“Yes, Rose’s potions.”

“Who is Rose?”

“Your daughter.”

Severus twisted his lips. “My daughter?”

“Yes, your daughter,” Hermione repeated.

“I have no daughter,” Severus replied.

Hermione took a few steps closer to him. “Are you sure that you are feeling well?”

His eyes darkened. “I’ve told you several times that I am well. There is no need to ask me again.”

“I beg to differ,” Hermione answered. “You are disoriented.” 

“I am as clear headed as can be.”

“Then why are you looking at me like you’re trying to remember the last time you’ve seen me?”

“I know when I last saw you,” Severus answered. “You provided me with a much needed distraction last night.”

A chill raced down Hermione’s spine. “What exactly did I distract you from?”

“Do not play games with me,” Severus huffed before sticking his wand into his cauldron. “I assume we know each other well enough to know my position in the Order.”

Hermione’s heart slowed. “In the Order?”

“Yes,” Severus replied.

Hermione gulped. “Did, did the Order tell you to do anything last night?”

“You know I cannot answer that question.”

“Humor me.”

Severus growled. “I am growing weary of this exercise.”

Hermione twisted her lips.

“State your purpose for being here so that you can leave,” Severus replied.

“I came to take you home,” Hermione answered. “But I strongly suspect we must make a trip to St. Mungo’s first.”

“What?” Severus barked.

Hermione took his hand. “I want you to listen to me, and I need you to remain calm while I speak.”

Severus’ muscles tightened.

“My name is Hermione Snape.”

“Hermione Snape!” He pulled his away hand from her. 

“Yes, I am Hermione Snape,” she continued in a slow voice. 

“I only know of one Hermione, and her last name is not Snape.”

“I’m aware of her too.”

"How?"

"I am her."

"What?" 

"I am Hermione Snape, nee Granger," she repeated. "And I am your wife."

“Wife?” He shouted.

Hermione’s voice was even, “Please listen to me.”

“Listen to you?” he spat. “You have done nothing but lie to me since the minute you’ve barged into this room.”

“Okay,” Hermione took a deep breath. “I understand you are confused, but you need to listen.”

“No, I do not,” Severus answered. “I need you to leave.”

“No, you need me to take you to St. Mungo’s.”

“There is no need to take a healthy man to the hospital.”

“You are not as well as you believe yourself to be,” Hermione replied. “You have inhaled some type of fume which is distorting your memory.”

“My sense of reality is intact, but yours,” he burst out laughing. “You not only expect me to believe that we are wed, but that you are a member of the Golden Trio."

"Yes, yes I am."

“You cannot be Hermione Granger," Severus argued. 

"Why would you say that?" she asked.

"For one, Ms. Granger is fifteen."

Hermione’s heart stopped. “Fifteen?”

“Did I stutter?” Severus demanded. “She is fifteen.”

“You, you don’t remember at thing about our life together, do you?" Hermione asked.

“I remember you well enough,” Severus loomed over her. “I remember you in bed next to me, providing some much needed distraction from my dunderheaded students and the stresses of my life.”

Hermione’s mind raced. Is Rose aware of her father’s condition? Was this the reason she insisted on keeping me in Australia for such a long period of time? How long has this been going on?

What the hell is wrong with my husband?

Severus glided away from her. “I am still confused as to how you knew I would be here and how you managed to break through the wards.”

Hermione approached him. “I am quite intelligent, and more than capable of breaking through a few wards.”

"Where did you learn to break through wards?"

"Let's just say it was a skill I developed over time." 

“Fair enough, but I am still unclear as to how you knew I would be here,” he answered.

A smile crept across her face. She wrapped her arms around him. “I was able to deduce your whereabout through the process of elimination.” 

“Process of elimination?” Severus drawled.

“We planned on meeting sometime tonight,” Hermione twirled a tendril of his hair around her finger. “You did not grace my doorstep, nor were you at the bookstores we frequent. I cast a few spells to determine if you were in a hotel room, but to no avail. My last resort was finding you here.”

Severus broke free, only to back into a table. “You are not allowed to be here.”

“Because of the students?”

“Amongst other reasons.” 

“Where is your sense of danger?”

“I have enough danger in my life without some delusional woman throwing herself at me.”

“What danger are you in? Dumbledore doesn’t so much as suspect I’m here, and other professors are asleep.” Her voice was soft and low. “Why don’t you set aside work for a few hours and come with me?”

“I am busy,” he ground out. “Much too busy for you.”

Hermione smirked. “Come with me.”

“No,” he growled. “You need to leave.”

She stared at him.

“Now,” he barked.

“Very well then,” Hermione answered, unfazed by his demeanor. “The least you can do is walk me to the fireplace though.”

“You are quite capable of walking there yourself."

"Perhaps, but it is rude not to show a guest out."

"You are a trespasser, not a guest."

"Fair enough."

He spun around, but she did not move.

"You may leave whenever it suits you," Severus answered. 

"It will suit me to leave when you walk me to the fireplace," Hermione answered.

Severus scowled. He grabbed her wrist and dragged her to the fireplace. Before he could take a handful of floo powder, Hermione yanked her hand away from his. After flicking her wrist, she took his hand and squeezed it. “It has been a pleasant evening.”

“So you say,” he grumbled.

She grabbed the floo powder. Then she clasped his hand as tightly as possible. 

“St. Mungo’s.”

Snape did not have time to react before he was pulled into the fireplace.

Chapter Text

He was better a better spy than this. 

Many a woman had piqued his interest, but they had never proved distracting. Neither man nor woman had been able to capture him, at least not until now. How did she manage to do it? What was her goal? Was her name even Hermione?

No, it couldn't be Hermione. That name was too uncommon to be shared by both his student and this person. From here on out, she was to be referred to as "the woman."

What was it about the woman which made her so alluring? How could she, with one word, entice him to forsake decades worth of training? She knew how to whisper in his ear, how to excite him with a touch of her hand, and how to lower his guard until he was trapped in a hospital waiting room surrounded by sneezing and groaning patients.

How did she accomplish all this without casting a single spell?

“May I help you?”

“Yes,” the woman grasped Severus’ hand until he swore he heard one of his bones crack. “My husband inhaled some fumes from one of his potions, and now his sense of reality is distorted.”

Severus glanced at the front door. It would not be difficult to flee his captor. Granted, if he fled he would have his back to her, a dangerous position indeed. She’d already proven herself able to overpower him. If provoked she could become violent, and make him regret ever gracing her bedroom. 

“Do you know what he was brewing?” 

“No,” the woman admitted. 

“Okay,” the receptionist slid a clipboard in front of her. “Can you at least tell me what his symptoms are?”

“Physically, there's nothing wrong with him. He is not wheezing, and he is not feverish. Yet, he cannot remember a thing about our life together.”

Severus steadied his breathing. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to escape. If this receptionist heard the woman’s nonsensical ramblings she would be a padded cell and he would leaving having learned a valuable lesson about crawling into the bed of women he did not recognize.

“What do you mean he cannot remember a thing about your life together?”

"He doesn't remember a thing about our marriage," the woman answered. "He believes that he is a bachelor living at Hogwarts."

Severus remained stoic.

“How long ago was he at Hogwarts?”

“Roughly twenty-five years ago.”

The receptionist sighed and shook his head.

“I don’t know if any potion fumes off the top of my head which would cause these symptoms, but he may have been experimenting with something…” the woman began.

“I highly doubt he inhaled a fume."

No I did not inhale a fume. Now force her to unhand me and call the aurors to arrest this woman so I can resume my life.

“How can you say that?"

The receptionist shook his head.

"Do you believe he was hit by a curse?”

“If he was hit by a curse then half of Wizarding Britain was struck as well.”

“Excuse me?”

Severus’ stomach sank. This receptionist was proving unhelpful…

“Over the course of the last three nights we’ve had over four hundred reported cases of amnesia,” the receptionist began.

“Four hundred?” she answered in a weak voice.

The receptionist nodded. “People have been coming in here around eight o’clock in the evening complaining of forgetting the past twenty or so years of their lives. By dawn their memory has completely returned.”

“My memory is quite well,” Severus barked.

The receptionist turned to Severus.

“What exactly is the last thing you remember?” the woman asked.

Severus’ body went cold. How can I tell them I was standing in her room for no apparent reason?

“Did the memory confuse you?” the receptionist asked.

Severus furrowed his eyebrows.

The receptionist looked at Hermione. “He isn’t the first person who’s come in with these symptoms.”

“I am not exhibiting any,” his next words were laced with venom. “symptoms. This woman is mentally unwell, and should be locked in the psychiatric ward for her own protection as well as for mine.” 

The woman glanced at him. Her expression pierced his soul. Instead of manic defiance, her face was that of a person who was watching a loved one slip away before her very eyes.

“I’m sorry,” the receptionist answered. “But there’s little we can do.”

“Is there no treatment for him?” the woman demanded.

“At this point all we can do if give him a room for observation, but that’s assuming we have one left,” the receptionist answered.

“But it’s doubtful that one is available.”

“We’ve had so many cases these last three days that it’s difficult to determine which rooms are available and which are not.”

“And this isn’t the first night you’ve received any amnesia victims.”

“No.”

“This has been going on for three days?”

“Yes.”

“H-how have I not heard about this? If this is such an epidemic at the very least The Daily Prophet should have had a blurb on it.”

The receptionist shrugged. “Apparently this issue doesn’t warrant mention in The Daily Prophet.”

“The bloody hell it doesn’t!”

Severus startled.

“If there’s an epidemic then the public should be informed. I,” her face was rouge. “I should have been informed of this.”

“I wish I could do more for you,” the receptionist answered. “But the best we can do is observe him and hope his memory returns.

“No, I apologize for my outburst. None of this is your fault. You’re only doing your job,” she replied.

The receptionist gave her a small smile. “If you would like, I can see if there is an observation room available. Perhaps there is one left. The Healers can run some tests on your husband to make sure he didn’t inhaled some type of fume, but there may be little else we can do.”

“Any assistance is greatly appreciated,” Hermione answered.

“Okay,” the receptionist reached into a drawer and pulled out a form. “Now if you could just fill out this form.”

“No!”

The woman jumped.

“Can you not see that you are encouraging this woman's delusion?”

The others in the waiting area turned to the Snapes.

“I do not know if you are aware of who I am…”

“Believe me, I know who you are," the receptionist replied. "You’re Severus Snape, the greasy git, the bat of the dungeons."

He closed his mouth.

"I had you in Hogwarts,” he shuddered. “More than once I sat in my dorm crying over one of your comments.”

“Apparently you have forgotten my temperament,” Severus argued. “If you remembered anything about me you would know that I would never date, much less marry, a woman such as her.”

Tears filled her eyes.

“This woman is in desperate need of psychiatric services, and I refuse to leave until she is in a padded cell,” Severus continued.

“I’ll see what I can do about giving her a room in our psychiatric war then,” he winked.

The woman exhaled as Severus smirked.

“You two just take a seat somewhere. I will be back shortly,” the receptionist replied.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Thank you,” Severus grumbled.

Together, the couple strolled over to the padded chairs. She pushed Severus down on one, before sitting down herself. Not once did she release his hand.

“I hope you receive the help you need,” Severus began. 

“I could say the same to you,” she answered.

“I am not in need of assistance,” he argued. 

She swallowed.

“You on the other hand,” Severus continued. “You cling to the belief that we have some type of future together, when nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Please stop talking."

“I will not.”

“Just. Stop,” she warned.

“No,” Severus replied. “You and I need to be clear on some things…”

“No! You can’t take him in here!”

All eyes turned to the front door. 

“George, I’m warning you!”

“Listen to your mother!”

George shoved a blood stained Arthur inside. “Trust me Dad, you need to be here.”

Severus felt the woman’s hand trembling. 

“No, I do not,” Arthur answered.

“Listen to your father,” Molly replied.

“Dad just hexed his own grandson,” George cried. “Isn’t that enough of a reason to take him here and get to the bottom of this?”

Molly yelled. “Not if it means we open ourselves up to a criminal investigation!”

Severus looked at the woman. She was as pale as death. 

“If you check your father into here then they will see the scratches on him. If they record your father’s injuries then the Malfoys will have all the medical proof they need to bring a lawsuit against us," Molly argued.

“Ginny won’t allow Draco to sue us.”

“How certain are you of that?”

George groaned.

“The Malfoys aren’t like us. They, they’re a brood of vipers just waiting for any reason to pounce on some unsuspecting victim,” Molly argued.

“I must agree with your mother,” Arthur began. “No Malfoy can be trusted."

"Well then I suppose we should stop trusting Ginny then."

"Stop insisting your sister is in love with Draco. All of us know she only has eyes for Harry.”

George groaned again.

“If you check your father into this hospital then we will be ruined.”

“How can we be any more ruined than we already are?” George exclaimed. 

“We…” Molly paused. Her head turned to the woman. “You.”

The woman was rigid. Her face was blank.

“May I help you?” the receptionist asked.

“Yes,” George answered before dragging his father over to the front desk. “My father has been unwell for the last three nights…”

“What are you doing here?” Molly demanded.

“Please Molly,” the woman whispered. “Please not now.”

“I’ll bet you’re enjoying all this aren’t you?” Molly began. “You must revel in seeing my family suffer.”

“Do you honestly believe that I came all the way to the hospital in the dead of the night to watch George check your husband into St. Mungo's?” Hermione answered.

“No,” Molly admitted. “But you do take joy in our disgrace.”

“Molly, I understand that you are upset, but please don’t take it out it out on me. Not tonight.”

“I don’t know what is going on with Arthur, but I know that the best experts are out of our reach thanks to your insistence that Ronald was sane when he kidnapped your daughter.”

“He was sane.”

“He was in desperate need of help, help which he has since received.”

The woman bit her tongue.

“You refused to forgive him because you are a wench. Why can’t you do the right thing for once in your life and drop these charges.”

The woman’s breathing was ragged.

“Drop those charges, learn to forgive, and start acting like an actual human being.”

“Enough.”

Molly grew quiet.

“You have said your piece,” Severus growled. “Now leave her alone.”

“Oh don’t think I have nothing to say to you,” Molly began.

“Molly,” Severus replied in a low voice. “Do not say anything.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think there are any other rooms,” the receptionist began behind them.

“I refuse to be silenced..."

“Mrs. Weasley.”

Molly shut her mouth. 

“Leave us in peace before I make you regret having ever laid eyes upon us.”

She huffed. “I have more important matters to attend to other than you anyway.”

Molly stomped towards her son and her husband.

The woman turned to Severus. In a soft voice, she began, “Thank you.”

“Do not confuse my kindness for acceptance of your behavior,” Severus warned. “I simply do not enjoy watching a woman being cowed into submission.”

“I know,” the woman answered. “That’s one of the things that attracted me to you.” 

“You genuinely mean that, don’t you?”

“I do.”

Severus relaxed his hand. He gazed into her eyes. There was affection there, yet no evidence of madness. 

Who on earth was this woman?

Chapter Text

I hate everything about this place. I hate the aroma of the disinfectant potions, I hate the murmurings of the healers, and I hate the smiles plastered on the Mediwitches’ faces.

Everything about this place is detestable.

Hermione stared at the empty cot before her. The white sheets were stark, as if they had just been removed from their package. The cot was manufactured to perfection, just like every other cot in the ward. On the wooden door there was a clipboard with all the medical information one would ever want to know about her husband. All that was missing from the room was Severus himself.

What is taking them so long? Why hasn’t anyone told me what’s become of my husband? Did they need to sedate him because he was being too big of a git? Is he frightened, or is he merely upset? 

Does he still hate this place as much as I do?

 

Hermione slid onto the examination table. “I don't know why you insisted that I come here."

Severus frowned.

“I am perfectly healthy,” Hermione continued, her eyes resting on the ink pot and quill across the room. "Or so I think I am."

“You have been complaining of discomfort for some time now."

"It's a minor inconvenience really.  Whatever I have will pass," Hermione replied. "The only productive thing to come out of this appointment will be a discussion of how likely it is that I can give Violet a little sibling." 

Severus raised an eyebrow.

"While I believe Violet enjoys having us to herself, it would be nice for her to have the experience of having a sibling in the home with her while her brother and sister are off at Hogwarts,” Hermione continued. "We should focus on that, and not on some ache I have."

He kissed her on the cheek. “Whatever happens, I assure you that Violet will thrive.”

“I know she will,” Hermione replied.

“She’s a strong witch, just like her mother,” Severus answered. “If she must, she can go without a younger sibling.”

Hermione cracked a smile. “I’m certain she can.”

The door burst open. “Hermione Snape?”

Severus backed away from his wife. Hermione sat up. “Hello Healer Branigan.”

“Hello Mrs. Snape,” the Healer shook her hand before turning to Severus. “Hello Mr. Snape.”

“Hello.”

Healer Branigan sat down on a medical stool. “I hope everything is going well.”

“It is going as well as can be expected given the circumstances,” Hermione answered.

“Yes,” Healer Branigan reached over to a table and grabbed a clipboard. She skimmed the page before stating, “I heard that you were suffering from a little bit of pain in your pelvic area.”

Hermione nodded. “I’ve been experiencing some non-menstrual related spotting as well.”

Healer Branigan grabbed an ink pot and dipped a quill into it. “When did your symptoms begin?”

“The pain began about a week ago, and it’s only intensified. As for the bleeding,” Hermione swallowed. “I noticed it yesterday.”

The Healer jotted down a few notes. “And you aren’t menstruating?”

“No, I am not.”

Healer Branigan tapped the feather against her chin. “Well then, let’s try and see what’s going on and get it resolved in a timely fashion.”

A chill ran through Hermione's body. “Yes, let’s.”

Healer Branigan stood up and set her items on the table. Then she pulled out her wand, approached Hermione, and uttered an incantation.

“Okay,” Healer Branigan began. “I’m not detecting a pregnancy.”

“What about a miscarriage?” Hermione asked.

She whispered another spell. “No, there’s no sign of a miscarriage.”

Hermione released the breath she’d been holding.

The Healer cleared her throat. “Now, I only ask this in the interest of the medical knowledge, but you two have had a monogamous marriage, correct?”

“Of course we have,” Severus growled.

“Yes,” Hermione answered in a gentler voice. “We have remained faithful to each other.”

“Okay,” Healer Branigan pointed her wand over Hermione’s womb. “I always ask in cases such as this to eliminate any possible conditions.”

“I know,” Hermione replied.

Severus muttered something under his breath, but Hermione didn’t ask what had been said.

Healer Branigan whispered a few more spells. Each time, the wand turned red. She frowned. 

“Is anything showing up?” Hermione asked.

“Not yet,” the Healer muttered. 

Hermione’s stomach sank.

“Before I continue, I must ask if you have a family history of cancer.”

“My mother developed uterine cancer shortly after I was born."

"Do you know if she has Lynch Syndrome."

"She does, have it. Why do you ask?”

Healer Branigan whispered, “Are vteri.”

The wand glowed blue.

 

“Mrs. Snape.”

She startled.

“I apologize,” a Mediwitch crept into the room.

“No, you’re fine,” Hermione replied. “H-how is my husband?”

“At the moment we’re interviewing him to see what exactly he remembers and when his black outs began,” the Mediwitch answered.

“What have you discovered?”

“From what we’re gathering, he’s woken up disoriented in your bedroom for the last two nights.”

“Has he said anything else?” 

“He’s convinced that you are either a Death Eater or a test from Dumbledore to prove test his loyalty to the cause of the Light.”

Hermione stifled a chuckle. Nobody but Severus would accuse me of being beautiful enough to seduce a double agent.

“So far, we haven’t learned much else from him,” the Mediwitch concluded.

“Is there any chance he could recover from this?”

“We don’t know. Perhaps he will recover come daybreak as he has been, or perhaps his state is permanent. At this moment, we don’t know.”

“I see.”

The Mediwitch wrung her hands. “In the meantime, would you like me to get you a drink, perhaps a tea or a gillywater?”

“No.” Hermione waved her away. “At the moment I’m fine.”

“Would you like a snack? We have crackers and cookies.”

“I am not hungry.”

“Would you like me to transfigure your bed so you can get a few hours of sleep?”

“I am not tired in the slightest.”

"Well," The Mediwitch replied. “If you need anything, please let us know.”

“I will,” Hermione promised,

The Mediwitch scurried away. Hermione took a ragged breath and rubbed her face. 

I promised myself years ago I wouldn’t fall asleep in another hospital room. Tonight I have no intention of breaking that promise.

 

Hermione pried her eyes open. Although her vision was blurred, she could make out the voices from across the room.

“We were unable to perform the hysterectomy vaginally,” a woman’s voice began. “The tumor was in such a position that the only safe way to perform the surgery was to perform an abdominal hysterectomy.”

“What does that mean?”

“Severus,” Hermione rasped.

“It means that she will be in the hospital longer than anticipated. She will also have to wait another week or so before beginning treatment. Otherwise she runs the risks of developing an infection,” the woman continued.

“I’m aware of the complications of the potions she will be taking,” Severus answered.

“Then I don’t need to explain them.”

“No, you do not.”

“Severus,” Hermione whispered.

“There, there was another complication,” the woman’s voice was softer.

“Yes?” Severus drawled.

The Healer cleared her throat. “When we performed the wand scans, we detected a high level of dark magic. Now, most cancers in magical beings are accompanied by an uptick in dark magic, but your wife has elevated levels even for people with her condition.”

“What are you saying?” Severus asked.

“Your wife…”

“Hermione,” Severus snapped. “Her name is Hermione.”

The woman coughed. “Excuse me, Hermione, was exposed to quite a bit of dark magic during the Second Wizarding War. From what I understand she endured torture for an extended period of time at one point.”

“She did,” Severus answered.

“Anytime someone uses dark magic, a residue remains within the victim. Normally it’s negligible and the body can overcome it. If the body becomes out of whack so to speak, though, then the effects of the dark magic can flare up once more.”

“Stop dancing around the issue and tell me: what are Hermione’s chances of a full recovery.”

“Unless we reduce the amount of dark magic in her body, any treatment will simply buy her a few more months.”

Severus’ voice cracked. “Months.”

There was silence.

“Mr. Snape, I know…”

“No, you do not know. Do not insult my intelligence by pretending you have any idea as to what I am enduring.”

“Severus?” Hermione croaked. 

Her husband ran over to her side. “Hello, Love.”

Hermione rubbed her eyes. “What, what’s happening?”

“Mrs. Snape,” the Healer began.

She groaned.

“Are you in any pain?”

“No.”

“Good,” the Healer replied. “The potions are working.”

For the life of her she couldn’t remember the Healer’s next words. All she could meditated on was that she had another scar on her body, and that from the corner of her eye she could see the faint words “mudblood” on her arm.

 

“How did you get him to fall asleep?”

The Mediwitch adjusted the sheets over Severus’ body. “While we interrogated your husband, we lit a candle charmed to make those around it drowsy. We are used to its effects, but your husband is not.”

Hermione gave her a half smile. “That was quite clever.”

“It’s a standard tactic,” the Mediwitch answered. “He is not the first patient who’s refused to be put to bed, and he will not be the last.”

“No, he will not be,” Hermione replied.

“He should be asleep for the next few hours or so. If you would like we can get you a cot…”

“No.”

“With all due respect Mrs. Snape, you appear exhausted.”

“I am quite awake.” The tone of her voice warned the Mediwitch not to continue any further.

“Okay,” the Mediwitch replied. “If you need anything, feel free to call us.”

I need to leave this place and never return.

“Mrs. Snape?”

“Yes, I heard you,” Hermione replied. “I promise that if anything comes up, I will contact you immediately.”

The Mediwitch scurried into the hallway.

 

“I’m dying.”

It was said as such a statement of fact, in such a detached voice, that even Hermione was shocked it had come forth from her lips.

Severus pulled the blankets over her. Then he straightened out the sleeves of his nightshirt.

“I am going to die.” Hermione pulled the covers up to her chin. “Within the next year…”

“Don’t say another word,” Severus warned.

“Love,” Hermione removed a stray clump of hair from her head. “I understand what the Healers are saying. I know I am not progressing as they would like. I, I’m dying.”

“No,” Severus slid into bed beside her. 

“It’s time to start facing reality.”

“I am facing reality. At the moment I have several promising leads into a potential cure for the dark magic flaring inside your body. If we can control that magic we have a fair chance of destroying the tumors.”

“We,” Hermione turned to him. “No, you need to prepare for what your life will be within the next few years.”

“What do you wish your life to be within the next five years?” Severus asked.

“I want you to be happy.” 

“I am happy with you.”

“You won’t be with me.”

“Yes, I will. This potion will be created, and I will be by your side for the next century or so.”

Hermione choked. “Severus, you have done the impossible on numerous occasions, and I am in awe of your intellectual capacities. Still, there are limitations to what you can accomplish.”

“No,” Severus argued. “We are going to fight this together. You, you will not give up on fighting.”

“I won’t give up if you make me this promise.”

“I will promise you anything.”

A tear came to Hermione’s eye. He brushed it away with his thumb.

“If anything were ever to happen to me, if I perish before you,” she took a ragged breath. “You need to remain open to happiness, even if that means moving on from me.”

“Moving on?” Severus asked.

Hermione draped herself over him. “I know you, Severus. You will always be emotionally available for the children. No matter what happens, they will always know how they loved because of you. Other people are a different matter altogether.”

“Most people are too tedious to warrant my attention,” Severus answered. “I will never regret being more discerning than most.”

“Trust me, I am happy you are so discerning. It makes the guest lists at dinner parties much shorter, which I tend to appreciate.”

“Indeed it does.”

“That being said, you deserve happiness,” Hermione replied. “If I perish, and you find yourself falling in love again, know that you are not disgracing my memory. I want you to find joy in life, not spend your entire existence grieving over me.”

“I won’t fall in love again because there is only one woman I will ever love, and she is in this bed with me,” Severus answered.

 

She exhaled.

“Hermione,” Severus swallowed. “I may not have gone into this marriage with the most romantic of intentions, but you did prove to be the perfect wife for me. Nobody will ever be you, and for that reason alone, I am fine with remaining a hermit after you perish.”

“Now Severus,” Hermione grinned. “You said you would grant me my wish.”

“I should have clarified,” Severus answered. “I will grant you any wish within reason.”

Hermione gave him a playful huff.

“Thus I propose a new deal.”

“Oh?”

“I will find a way to be happy if you promise to fight for your life,” Severus answered.

Hermione sniffed. “I will.”

They sealed their agreement with a kiss.

 

Hermione watched Severus’ chest fall and rise. It was as if the last few hours had never occurred. He was at peace.

When I was sick, he  fought so hard for her health. Even now, he and Rose are slaving for hours in end for some cure to my condition. If there is one man worth fighting for, it's Severus. Still, how can I fight for someone who doesn't remember me, much less want me around?

She stepped closer to Severus and whispered in his ear. “I love you Severus. I will always love you. Somehow, we will get through this together. I swear my life on it."

Severus’ lips twitched upwards.

Chapter Text

Rose stretched out her legs and her arms. She pried open her eyes and moaned. Weren’t the lights on when I went to sleep? Wasn’t the television droning on about something?

“Oh good, you’re finally awake,” Muriel began.

“Finally?” Rose yawned.

“Yes,” Muriel approached the sofa. “Your grandfather and I thought you were going to sleep the entire day away.”

“I guess I did take a bit of a nap.”

“That you did.”

Rose’s stomach sank. “Where is Mum?”

“She went home after you fell asleep,” Muriel answered.

"Did Dad come in to check on me?"

"No, he hasn't stopped by yet."

“How long ago did I doze off?”

“It’s been several hours.”

“Several hours?”

“Yes, why?” 

Rose shot up. “Oh shit.”

Muriel shook her finger at Rose. “Watch your language.”

Rose gulped. “Oh unicorn dung.”

 

***

Severus groaned and rolled over. He buried his head into the pillow, yet sleep did not return.

“Did you have a nice rest?”

Severus moaned, pried open his eyes, and raised his head.

Before him, the walls were a stark white. The odor of sterilizing potions was almost strong enough to cause him to gag. From a few meters away, he could hear voices mumbling.

"Are you feeling well?" a familiar voice asked.

He turned his head. Upon seeing the woman to his right, his stomach churned.

Hermione lowered the parchment she’d been reading. Her eyes were fixed upon him, as if she was unsure of who he was at the moment. 

Severus’ throat dried.

“Who am I?” Hermione asked.

“Hermione Jean Snape nee Granger,” Severus replied.

“How old am I?”

“You just turned fifty.”

“When?”

“On September 19th.”

“Who is my spouse?”

Severus bowed his head. “Me.”

Hermione rushed over and embraced him. “Oh thank God, thank God it’s you!”

“Indeed, I am here,” Severus choked before pulling her into his arms.

“I didn’t know if you’d remember me,” Hermione cried. “The Healers thought you would recover, although even they weren't entirely confident of that. They didn't know what was going on. Nobody has been able to explain any of this to me.”

“I’m here Love,” Severus whispered. “I am here now.”

Hermione pulled away from him and wiped the tears from her eyes. “I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am that you remember me.”

“I am relieved to remember you as well,” he replied.

Hermione embraced him again. “I love you, Severus, I truly do.”

“The feeling is quite mutual,” he answered.

Hermione pulled away. Then the light in her eyes died.  “How long have you had these nightly memory lapses?” 

Severus gave her a blank stare.

She frowned. “Severus, how long have you had these symptoms?”

“Love,” he began. “My episode has concluded. Perhaps it would be best to enjoy the present moment and ignore the past.”

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. “This isn’t your first episode, is it?”

Severus fidgeted.

“You had one the night we were supposed to travel to Brazil, didn’t you?”

He twisted his bottom lip.

Her voice betrayed no emotion. “You lied to me.”

“I did not intend to deceive you.”

“What did you intend to do then if you were not attempting to deceive me?”

“I was trying to protect you.”

“Protect me from what?”

“I did not want you to fear for my safety.”

“Did you not think I would eventually discover that you were ill?” 

“I did not know the origin of this memory loss or how frequently it would occur. For all I knew it would only occur one time,” Severus argued. “I did not want to cause you any undue stress so I decided not to disclose it that first night.”

“But you disclosed your condition to Rose,” Hermione replied.

“Rose?”

“Yes, Rose.”

“I did not disclose my condition to my daughter.”

“Don’t insult my intelligence,” Hermione snapped. “When I found you three nights ago you were with Rose. Last night Rose was desperate to keep me in Australia as long as possible. Before you left I remembered you whispering something in my ear. You wanted her to distract me, didn’t you?” 

Severus’ expression said it all.

“So not only did you lie to me, you also enticed my daughter to deceive me as well.”

“It was meant as an act of love, not of deception.”

“An act of love?” Hermione spat.

Severus wrung his hands.

“How could persuading my children to lie to my face be an act of love?”

“I have already explained that to you.”

“You asked Rose to,” Hermione shuddered. “H-how did Rose get her concussion?”

“Neville told me there was a legion of amnesiac aurors heading for the Slytherin Dungeon. She managed to talk most of them down, but a few of them were defiant. She was injured in the midst of the ensuing combat.”

“So there was no potions accident?”

“No.”

“And you’re positive that you…”

“Gods no!” Severus exclaimed. “I do not know who injured her, but if I did I would hex that person into oblivion immediately. Even as an amnesiac I never threatened Rose, not that she wouldn't have been able to defend herself. She's the only person who was ever able to sneak up on me and stun me."

“When did she stun you?”

"During the first episode."

"So, even when you were at your surliest, Rose was able to overpower you?"

He couldn’t suppress his grin. “Indeed, my daughter is powerful and cunning enough to cast a stunning spell when my back was turned.”

Hermione gave him a half smile. “You’ve trained her well.”

“We’ve trained her well,” Severus answered.

Hermione exhaled. “Why didn’t you just tell me what had happened? We would have worked through it together.”

“I was terrified of you becoming overly stressed.”

“I am not a china doll.”

“I know,” Severus replied. “Still, if this was only to happen once, and you became overly distraught about it…”

“I would have found a way to calm myself and solved the problem to prevent it from happening again,” Hermione concluded.

Severus nodded. “Indeed you would have.”

“I need to be your partner, Severus,” Hermione replied. “I want to be your equal in everything.”

“I know,” Severus replied. “From the bottom of my heart I apologize for deceiving you. It was wrong of me to do so.”

Hermione kissed him on the cheek. “Apology accepted.”

He relaxed.

“Now,” Hermione strolled over to the chair and picked up her parchment. “I’ve been going over every memory spell I know and determining they’re efficacy, duration, and strength.”

She handed him a two meters long parchment. Severus hummed. “You have been quite busy.”

“Well if anyone would know about memory altering spells, it would be me,” Hermione answered.

“Indeed,” Severus replied.

“Now,” Hermione answered. “I only used charms on my parents because I was unaware of any potions which could cause amnesia. Still, a charm couldn’t be this widespread.”

“What is your suspicion then?”

“I suspect someone has created a potion which causes amnesia.”

“Yet how could a potion affect some, but not others?” Severus asked.

Hermione sighed. “I’ve been trying to work through that very problem with little success.”

"A potion would need to be distributed somehow, yet how could anyone give it to so many people?"

"I wish I knew."

Severus set the parchment aside. “Perhaps you need a partner to help you in your endeavor.”

“Perhaps I do.” Hermione’s eyes glistened. “I need an esteemed potions master to help me. Someone who knows the dark arts well would be of great use as well."

"Those would be useful skills at a time such as this."

"Is there anyone you’d suggest then?”

He replied. “Lucius Malfoy.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Lucius Malfoy?”

“Indeed, he could aid you.”

“I had a much more qualified and much more handsome applicant in mind.”

"Anthony Daniels?"

"No, he is not tall enough for my liking, and he doesn't wear enough black. I love a black-clad man."

Severus captured her lips. “When do we start?”

Chapter Text

A woman sobbed. “There was no body, Zach! They told me to give up."

"You told me you would never give up on me," Zach argued.

"I honestly thought you’d died in that boat crash," she emoted, "I honestly thought you were dead!"

“I honestly thought you were in a contract dispute which was only recently resolved,” Rose muttered.

Muriel shushed her.

“If I had known you’d survived then I never would’ve slept with Ryan,” she continued.

“But you did, Kendall!” Zach growled. “My body wasn’t even cold before you landed in Ryan’s bed.”

Tears streamed down Kendall's cheeks. “I am so sorry.”

“H-how could you betray me like this?” Zach barked.

Rose rolled her eyes. Did these actors know the meaning of the word "subtlety?"

“I don’t know, it just, you know, happened.”

Rose huffed. Why must I be subjected to this?

“No, I don’t know how you just wound up pregnant!”

Rose glanced over at her grandmother. There were tears in the older woman’s eyes. 

The camera zoomed in on Kendall’s face. “I, I was too distraught to use the pill. If I thought I could get pregnant I never would’ve slept with Ryan.”

Rose’s heart rate slowed.

“Yeah, well, I don’t know what to say other than,” the violins stopped for maximum effect. The camera shifted over to Zach. “If this baby isn’t mine, I want a divorce.”

The screen went black. 

Rose's body ran cold.

“No!” Muriel shouted. “They can’t be over, not like this!”

Rose’s shuddered. Can one illegitimate child destroy a twenty-six year marriage? Is it ethical for me to continue questioning Mum and Dad when the answers may lead to the demise of their union?

“Next week on Stanley's Corner…”

“I refuse to raise a child that isn’t mine!”

If I am a bastard, would Dad love me anyway, or will I only be a sign of his betrayal?

The fireplace erupted. Rose startled.

“Rose?”

She leapt up from the couch as Muriel turned off the television.

“Dad?”

“May I enter?” 

Rose stepped back. “Yes, you may.” 

Severus materialized before them. 

Muriel stood up and gave him a warm smile. “Hello Severus, it’s lovely seeing you again.”

“Likewise,” Severus replied.

“Yes,” Rose drawled. “You look quite well.”

“Is there a reason he shouldn’t look well?” Muriel asked.

“No,” Rose replied, plastering a smile onto her face. “I only feared that I kept him awake for too long last night.”

“If I were you I’d be more worried about your mother,” Muriel answered. “You kept her up well into the night.”

“I know,” Rose sighed. “I was simply enjoying my time with her, perhaps too much.”

“I can’t fault you for wanting a little more time with your mum, especially after enduring a head injury.” Muriel stretched. “Unfortunately, I need to call the doctor and schedule a check up.”

“Do you feel ill?” Rose asked.

“I feel perfectly healthy,” Muriel frowned. “Your grandfather on the other hand is long past due for his physical. He’s putting off calling the doctor though, in large part because he doesn’t want to hear the lectures on changing his diet.”

“I see,” Rose replied.

Muriel kissed Rose on the forehead. “If you need anything, please let me know.”

“I will,” Rose promised. 

Muriel turned to Severus. “We’re having dinner in a few hours, if you and Hermione would like to join us we’d be more than happy to have you.”

“Do not worry about me,” Severus replied. “I will not be here for long.”

Rose gulped.

“If you change your mind, just let me know. We’re having tilapia with my famous kale salad.”

“As enticing as that sounds, I will have to decline your offer.”

Muriel shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

Muriel gave him a peck on the cheek before strolling off to the kitchen.

Rose stepped closer to Severus and muttered, “She’s probably going onto some chatroom to discuss how horrid the writing was for today's Stanley's Corner. Then she will subject herself to another episode tomorrow.”

“She still watches that vapid show?”

“Indeed she does, and because this is her house, I had to suffer through it as well.”

“My sincerest apologies.”

“There is no need to apologize,” Rose backed away from him. “I should be the one apologizing to you. I tried to keep Mum occupied last night, but…”

“Do not apologize,” Severus began. “I am the one who should be the one apologizing. It was wrong for me to ask you to help me deceive your mother.”

Rose swallowed.

Severus put a hand on her shoulder. “It was wrong enough for me to deceive your mother outright, but it was even worse for me to involve you. For that, I deeply apologize.”

Rose took a shaky breath. “Did she discover your condition?”

“She did.”

“Does she know…”

Severus nodded. “I told her everything.”

Rose grabbed the edge of her cape. “How did she react?”

Severus cracked a smile. “I am very fortunate that your mother is not one for holding grudges. After a long discussion we have reached an understanding.”

Rose twirled her cape around her finger. “What kind of understanding?”

Severus gestured towards the couch. Rose bit her lower lip and walked over to it. Severus brushed off a stray clomp of ash from his cape before going over and sitting down beside her.

“Your mother and I have decided to find a cure for my ailment.”

“How?”

“First we need to determine which populations it’s affecting and what their members all have in common.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Rose noted. “How do you plan to go about obtaining your data?”

“First we need a list of names,” Severus answered. 

“I can help with that,” Rose replied. “I did not get a clear look on every auror I came in contact with, but I know who I fought. I can give you their names.”

“When you are recovered we can discuss it further in depth.”

“No, we can discuss it now.”

“I do not want you to injure yourself.”

“I’ll be fine, I promise,” Rose tapped her finger against the couch. “I know one of the aurors I faced down was Beetlerog, another was Hestia Jones, the third was Camilla Baden….”

“Rose,” Severus drawled.

She grew silent. 

“When you are recovered we will take your memory of the event and put it into a penseive. That will be the best way to identify who exactly you saw. In the meantime, I refuse to put your recovery at risk by performing such a procedure on you,” Severus replied.

“I suppose I cannot give you a memory of the event until my condition improves.”

“No, you cannot.”

Rose exhaled. “Fine, but the second I am well enough to teach, I will find a way to aid you in your endeavor.”

“I would love nothing more than your assistance, assuming it does not interfere with your teaching duties,” Severus replied.

“Do not worry,” Rose answered. “If you could teach and spy I can teach my classes and find a cure for this disease. While I’m at it I will continue to research a cure for the dark magic overtaking Mum.”

Severus frowned. “Do not overexert yourself.”

“I won’t.”

“You should remain focused on your career, not on resolving every ailment known to Wizarding kind.”

“I can perform the duties of my career much more effectively if I do not need to protect my students from amnesiac aurors.”

“Fair enough.”

A moment of silence fell between them.

“How will you compile the list of names?” Rose asked. “From what I understand there were several more aurors than the ones I combatted. Then there’s the fact that some of the Weasleys were affected by this illness as well. Surely there were several other victims that I did not lay eyes upon; ones which perhaps didn’t fight anyone. Then there’s the fact that the Ministry is not discussing this issue. How will you get all of their names?”

Severus smirked. “Let’s just say that this issue is about to become much more public.”

Rose raised an eyebrow.

Severus reached into his pants pocket and handed her a parchment. Her lips curled up.

“I was wondering when he’d finally run.”

Chapter Text

Pinky raised, Percy sipped his coffee. Any day which began with a perfectly roasted French Vanilla promised to be an excellent day indeed.

He glanced down at his newspaper. Squib Births at Lowest Rate In Recorded History: New Ministry Water Initiatives to Thank. 

A smile crept upon Percy’s face. Great coffee and great news. What else could go right today?

“Mr. Weasley?”

“Yes, Michael?”

Michael tiptoed into the room. “There’s something you need to see.”

“It will have to wait until I finish my coffee.”

“I think you need to see it now.”

Percy took another sip of coffee before gesturing for Michael to come closer. The secretary went over and set the parchment in Percy's hands.

Percy frowned. “What is this?”

“The worst news possible,” Michael replied.

Percy bit his tongue. So help him if this was a report about Aaron Cobb’s blistered toe or Jordy Driver’s bad hair day.

 

Fellow Citizens of Britain:

For the last three nights our country has been plagued by a terrible illness. Many of our citizens believe themselves to be in the middle of the Second Wizarding War, and have acted accordingly. The origin of their condition is unknown, but its devastating effects are immediately felt. Instead of restful nights, we are forced to watch our loved ones agonize over a war which has long since ended. This has led to a collective feeling of helplessness, which if left unchecked, could deteriorate into hopelessness.

I doubt any of this is news to you. Still, the press has been silent on this important issue. Reading The Daily Prophet, you would assume that the most pressing issue is the rising price of firewhiskey.

On the face of it, this failure to report such a massive issue is baffling. If there is a  crisis, it only makes sense that our newspaper reports on it. Yet one must remember that The Daily Prophet is owned and operated by the Ministry. Thus it is not only the press which is silent on the issue, but the government is as well.

The Ministry’s behavior is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate a government which takes such little interest in its own citizens. It is time that we made our voices heard. We need change in the Ministry, and we need it now.

That my fellow citizens is why I, Draco Malfoy, have decided to run for Minister of Magic.

At the moment, my two campaign promises are simple. First, I will assemble a team which will research and discover the cure for what is ailing our loved ones. We will restore their health so the Wizarding World can finally sleep peacefully in the knowledge that our families are safe. My second promise is to create a more transparent Ministry. I will allow our media outlets more freedom to report on the news we need to hear while passing laws demanding accuracy. Then I will help pass laws which are intended to decrease corruption and increase transparency. We will have a Ministry which is meant to serve the people, not one which only exists to be served.

Many may find it odd that a Malfoy is promising increased transparency. In order to prove how seriously I take these vows, I will discuss my time amongst the Death Eaters. As the history books record, I did take the Dark Mark, and I was selected to kill Albus Dumbledore. Although I have never murdered anyone, I will admit to casting hexes on muggleborns and supporting prejudicial laws against them. I deeply regret my actions during the Second Wizarding War, and will not patronize you with excuses.  

After the war, I learned firsthand what it was like to be at the mercy of a frivolous Ministry investigation. T wenty-five years ago, I was investigated for the murder of Harry Potter. Despite there being little evidence against me, my house was raided on numerous occasions, I was interviewed several times, and lived under the constant threat of imprisonment. Had I been sent to Azkaban, I would have missed out on raising my oldest son, and would not know the happiness that I do today. We all know the result of the Ministry’s investigation of me: Fenrir was given the time to launch several attacks on the Wizarding World. As a victim of corruption and a gross oversight, I understand the importance of having a transparent Ministry. That is one of the many reasons I promise all of you a more transparent Ministry.

In the coming months, I look forward to meeting all of you, hearing your concerns, and hopefully, gaining your trust. The road ahead of us is not easy, but I know together we can begin the long process of creating a Ministry which answers only to the people. Thank you for your attention, and regardless of your affiliation, remember to vote!

-Draco Malfoy

 

Percy slammed the document on his desk. “That bastard!”

Michael leapt and yelped.

“He…” the veins in Percy’s neck were bulging, “he thinks he can just take this from me, doesn’t he?”

Michael gulped.

“Okay,” Percy took a deep breath. “There is nothing about which to worry. Perhaps only I am the only one who has seen this. Yes, it is tradition to send one’s notice of a candidacy to his opponents. It’s doubtful he could disseminate this quickly. My position as the next Minister should be quite safe.”

“I’m pretty sure everyone has seen this” Michael replied.

Percy blinked.

Michael cleared his throat. “When I opened the window to let his owl inside, I saw a parliament of well over a hundred owls flying overhead, all with similar parchments.”

“A hundred?”

Michael raised his hands, as if to shield himself.

“One hundred!”

“Yes, there were at least one hundred owls.”

Percy’s face was redder than his hair. “Draco is not going to ruin this for me. This is my time, not his.”

“Mr. Weasley, perhaps a little competition is a good thing. It will make your victory all the more sweeter if you can defeat your brother in law.”

“Don’t you hear me?” Percy snapped. “I’ve worked my whole like for this. Everything I have done has been leading up to this moment. Nobody, especially not some ex-Death Eater prat, is going to ruin this for me. Nobody is going to destroy my dream.”

“I’m sure Draco won’t win,” Michael squeaked.

“It does not change the fact that he is spoiling my moment.”

Michael twisted his lips.

“My path to the Ministry was supposed to be clear. I’m so close I can almost touch it. This was supposed to be my moment of glory.”

“It still could be…”

“Do you hear me?” Percy shouted. “This is my time! Nobody, I mean nobody, is going to ruin this for me.”

Michael nodded, knowing Percy had just made a promise, not a threat.

 

***

“I cannot believe that tart!”

“Molly, don’t talk about our daughter like that.”

“Well, I think that’s actually a compliment after all she’s done,” Molly shouted. 

“Damnit she’s still your daughter. Can’t you show her an ounce of respect?” Arthur demanded.

“My daughter?” Molly huffed. “My daughter would never support her husband in destroying her brother’s most cherished dream.”

Arthur buried his head in his hands.

Molly punched the dining table. “Really, I don’t know what we expected. If Fred were here he’d be so disappointed in her.”

“That’s enough!”

Molly leapt up.

“I will not have you insulting our daughter in the name of our dead son in my presence.”

“I’m not insulting her,” Molly argued. “I’m simply pointing out what a traitorous bitch she has become.”

Arthur stood up and stormed out of the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” Molly called.

“To my office.”

The door slammed behind him.

 

***

“I must say,” Lucius chuckled. “Renting out every owl from the post office was a stroke of genius.”

Draco smirked as an owl pecked at the window. “I thought so anyway.”

“I’m impressed with you. Not many people would’ve found a way to prevent their words from being twisted by The Daily Prophet. Very well done,” Lucius answered.

Draco let the owl in. “Thank you.”

Lucius frowned, though the spark remained in his eyes. “Now, all you need to do is to find a way to go about keeping your promises.”

“I have already started on that,” Draco opened the window.

“Oh?”

Draco removed the parchment from the owl’s leg. “One of the first things I did this morning was contact Uncle Severus asking for help on researching the cure.”

“Have you heard back from him?” Lucius asked.

Draco put the parchment up to his face.

“Draco?”

Draco’s smile widened. “Hermione just agreed to be our head researcher. If anyone can find the cure within a matter of months, it would be her and Uncle Severus.”

Lucius grinned. “Excellent.”

Chapter Text

I need a good speech and a good plan.

Percy wrote down a few sentences, only to pull out a tuft of hair. He crossed out what he’d written until the parchment ripped. Then he crumpled it and threw it into the wastebasket with his other ten failed attempts. After letting out a groan, he opened the drawer and pulled out another parchment.

“Mr. Weasley?”

“What now Michael?”

“Mr. Cuffe is here to see you.”

Percy growled. “Send him on in.”

Mr. Cuffe pushed Michael aside and locked eyes with Percy. He pulled out a letter from his pocket and unfurled it. “Can you explain this to me?”

“If I could explain it, I would,” Percy replied.

Barnabas Cuffe stormed into the office. “Do you realize the sheer volume of letters I’ve received in response to this, this slanderous garbage?”

Percy’s frown deepened.

“My newspaper looks like a joke,” Barnabas seethed. “Before today, I could tell people that we refused to report on the epidemic because of the limited information. We could assure them that the Ministry was hard at work resolving the issue, so there was no need to panic. Now though, now that this has come out…”

Percy watched Barnabas throw the paper to the ground.

“This is going to ruin us.”

“No, it won’t.”

Barnabas snorted.

“We are going to quell this scandal and regain the respect of your readers.”

“What about Draco’s campaign? He’s already attacked the newspaper in his letter. How can we defend ourselves if he is elected Minister?”

“I’ll admit that ignoring the rumors of Draco’s possible candidacy was unwise.” Percy sat up straighter. “I should not have harbored the delusion of running unopposed. Still, a little friendly competition may help me to refine my positions.”

“Well you need to refine them quickly,” Mr. Cuffe hissed. “Everyone from former Minister Shacklebolt to the youngest first year Hogwarts student is riding my arse demanding an explanation for why we didn’t cover this story.”

“Perhaps you could begin controlling the damage by interviewing Minister Scott,” Percy suggested.

“He won’t so much as grant me an audience,” Barnabas replied. “He claims that this is an issue best left to his potential successor, aka you.”

Percy hummed.

“Do you have any official statement you would like me to publish tonight?” Barnabas asked.

“If I did you would already have it.”

“Do you plan on having an official statement within a few hours?” 

“I can do better than that.”

“You can?”

“Yes,” Percy steepled his hands. “You can interview me. That way I can explain my positions fully and in a way the common wizard can grasp.”

“That plan would work,” Barnabas furrowed his eyebrow. “Except nobody believes a thing we say at the moment.”

Percy huffed. “The Daily Prophet has seen far worse than a few accusations hurled by Draco bloody Malfoy. We will weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.”

“I wish I shared your optimism,” Barnabas argued.

Percy replied, “Right now we need to focus on what we can do. Leave the long-term planning to me.”

“Do you have a long term plan?” Barnabas demanded.

Percy’s lips curled up. “I may be in the process of developing one.”

Barnabas blinked.

“Listen,” Percy’s voice was low. “At the moment your only concerns should be conducting and publishing this interview. Allow me to develop a long-term strategy for defusing this situation.”

“If I may sir,” Barnabas cut in. “This situation won’t be resolved in one day.”

“Allow me to deal with it,” Percy answered. “Right now, I would like to be interviewed.”

“Okay,” Barnabas took a deep breath. “Do you have a quill and some parchment?”

Percy scooted the clean parchment, the ink pot, and the quill towards him. 

“Are we ready to begin?” Percy asked

Barnabas squeaked. “I believe we are.”

“Good,” Percy’s expression softened. “Let us begin.”

 

***

“For only five easy installments of nineteen ninety-nine, you can own the entire Shakatak discography.”

Rose muted the television. There shows were insufferable enough without being interrupted by commercials every few minutes.

The fireplace erupted. Rose raised an eyebrow. Could Dad be coming back? I did not think he left anything behind. Still, he may have found some new information to share with me.

“Rose?”

She strolled over the the fireplace and peeked inside. “Violet?”

“Yes,” she replied. “I, I don’t have much time, but I do need to speak with you.”

“Does Headmaster Longbottom know you are here?”

“He’s the one who sent me.”

Rose’s stomach sank. She stepped back, allowing her sister to enter.

“What is so urgent?” Rose asked.

Violet dusted off her school robes. “On behalf of the Slytherin House, I must give you something.”

“Yes,” Rose drawled.

Violet she reached into her pants pocket and pulled out a package. 

“What is that?” Rose asked.

“Last night the students had another early curfew.” Violet engaged the object. “Since none of us was tired, we decided to occupy our time doing something productive.”

"Such as?"

"We decided to make cards."

The cards were wrapped in an emerald bow. Rose took them and smiled. “Thank you Violet. This is quite touching.”

“You are very welcome,” Violet answered. “It’s the least we could do after you defended us.”

“It was my duty to protect you,” Rose replied. “There is never any reason to thank me for performing my duty.”

“You don’t have to be so nonchalant about it,” Violet answered. “We all know you did not act out of duty, but rather because you really like us."

Rose rolled her eyes. “I only like my Slytherins when they are not blowing up my cauldrons."

Violet laughed. 

“Well, at the very least reading these cards will give me something to do when Grandma is not inflicting me with her horrendous choices in television shows,” Rose replied.

“Oh yeah,” there was a spark in Violet’s eyes. “Did they ever find Zach on that deserted island?”

“Unfortunately yes,” Rose replied.

"Kendall must be so happy about that."

“Yes, she was so happy that she slept with Ryan just as he was being rescued.”

“What?” Violet exclaimed.

Rose shook her head. 

“That-that can’t be true.”

“I wish I was joking, but alas, Kendall and Zach may be no more.”

“But, but she knows how much Zach loved her. She never gave up on reuniting with him. Just, just why would she sleep with any man after being so in love with Zach?”

“Because the writers decreed it.”

“Please tell me she isn’t pregnant.”

“Unfortunately she is with child.”

“No,” Violet panicked. “She knows how much having a biological child meant to Zach. She knows how desperately Zach wanted a family, and that he’d only found love with her. If she has another man’s baby it will destroy Zach. He’d leave and never come back to her.”

The image of her heartbroken father flashed in Rose's mind.

"The writers have to make this right, they just have to."

“If you only came here to discuss that insipid soap opera then please talk to Grandma. I refuse to dwell on it for one more second.”

“No,” Violet blushed. “I only wanted to see how you were doing and to give you those cards.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your concern,” Rose’s expression softened. “As you can see, I am quite well.”

“Good,” Violet embraced her. “I was so worried about you.”

Rose returned the embrace. “I was worried for you as well.”

“I am fine, as is everyone else,” Violet released Rose. “We’ve been observing our curfew, and have not given your substitute any trouble.”

“How do you like her?” Rose asked.

Violet shrugged. “I have not had her yet, but I hear she’s adequate.”

Rose chuckled. “I am happy to hear it.”

“I have to go, but thank you again for protecting us. We truly hope your get well very soon,” Violet answered.

Rose replied. “Tell everyone I said, ‘thank you.’”

Violet kissed her on the cheek. Then she picked up the floo powder, shouted “Hogwarts,” and disappeared into the fire.

Chapter Text

“I assure you that the Ministry is keeping abreast of all the latest developments surrounding this epidemic.”

Severus rolled his eyes. “Of course it is.” 

Hermione ran her finger along the front page of The Evening Prophet. She cleared her throat and continued reading. “Barnabas Cuffe askes, ‘Mr. Weasley, the Ministry is being accused of gross negligence in not informing the public of this amnesia epidemic much sooner. Your political opponent is demanding increased transparency of the Ministry and widespread reform. How would you respond to your detractors?’”

“I was too busy covering my arse to care about a silly thing like aurors endangering innocent lives,” Severus muttered.

Hermione snorted.

Severus scratched the arm of his recliner. “What pathetic excuse did Percy give for his oversight?” 

“His answer is as follows,” Hermione coughed. “First of all, I want to make it clear that the Ministry has always acted in the best interests of the people. Every action we took had only the best of intentions. When this epidemic began, we were unsure of what had occurred. When the patients recover their health in the morning, we feared creating a panic. After all, errant spells have been cast before, and magical illness have ways of resolving themselves. We remained silent not to ignore the plight of the people, but because we wanted to prevent an unnecessary scare.”

“Was attacking Hogwarts not enough to cause a scare?” Severus spat.

“Apparently not,” Hermione replied.

Severus huffed.

“The Ministry wanted to ascertain the cause of this amnesia so we could begin creating a cure which was to be administrated promptly. We had already contacted the best disease experts on the face of the planet, and were hard at work discovering the cause of the amnesia as well as a cure.”

“You’d think we would’ve received some notification from the Ministry given the success of our lycanthropy cure.”

“According to Percy Weasley, anyone who bears the name Snape must be wrong about everything; hence we were not worth contacting," Hermione replied.

“Now, Love that is quite uncharitable,” Severus smirked. “I think our invitation was merely lost in the mail.”

“Those owls are liable to lose letters every now and then.”

“Indeed they are.”

Hermione straightened the paper. “While I appreciate my opponent’s call for transparency, I fear he may have created an unnecessary panic. Right now, we have no real solutions to offer, so discussing this epidemic only leads to unresolved anxiety. Rest assured though, we are hard at work on a cure.”

“What tripe,” Severus muttered.

Hermione skimmed the paper. “The rest of the article is him pandering to his supporters. A few times he goes on about the glories of the Ministry, and…”

“And?”

Hermione shook her head, “I wish my opponent, Draco Malfoy, the best of luck in his campaign. I hope he remembers how important family is. I know his wife and children will.”

Severus scowled. “I’m sure Ginevra will appreciate reading that.” 

“I’d imagine that at this point she is so accustomed to her family’s taunts that she won’t react at all,” Hermione replied.

“Indeed,” Severus replied. “Did Percy ever mention his role in the Ministry during the war?”

Hermione ran her finger along the front page. “Not that I can tell.”

“Good,” Severus answered. “Draco could exploit it if necessary.”

“He could,” Hermione replied. “Though I would appreciate it if someone ran a clean campaign.”

“Do you honestly expect Percy to run a clean campaign?” He asked.

She sighed. “No, I suppose not.” 

“Draco needs to brace himself. The Weasleys are still part of the Order. While their political power has greatly diminished, they are not without connections.”

Hermione nodded.

“It was wise for Draco to discuss his past preemptively, Percy won’t rest until he uncovers some type of scandal and drags Draco through the mud. It is best to get as much out in the open as he can now instead of waiting for Percy to dig it up later.”

"Very true."

“Still, Draco won't be alone. Lucius is just as devious and relentless as any campaign manager. I suspect that they will be able to overcome whatever scandal Percy attempts to create.”

“Indeed they will.” Hermione’s lips curled up. “Also, Draco has the two best researchers in Britain resolving this amnesia crisis. That alone should give him more than a chance to fight Percy.”

Severus gave her a grin. “Indeed he does.”

Only the sound of the falling rain could be heard.

“You may hide amongst the bookshelves at any moment. There is no need to watch me deteriorate before your eyes,” Severus began. 

Hermione shook her head. “I told you, I need to get a full view of your transformation myself. I’m staying.”

"You can view my memory of the transformation. There is no need to witness it first hand."

"No matter what we did, we couldn't obtain any memory of your last three transformations. I have every reason to suspect that we will not be able to obtain a memory of this transformation."

Severus clenched his jaw. “We can try putting my memories in the pensieve once more. Perhaps the image will not be as hazy this time.”

“If we couldn’t get a clear picture from your memories on our fourth try then what makes you think we’ll get it on the fifth try?” Hermione asked.

Thunder resounded through the room.

“You need to leave,” Severus answered in a low voice.

“I cannot leave, and you know it,” Hermione argued.

“Yes, you can,” Severus replied. “And you will.”

Hermione dropped the paper onto the floor. “Why should I be forced to leave when staying would provide me with invaluable insight?”

“You are not observing some random patient: you are observing your husband.”

“Which gives me all the more incentive to see what occurs for myself.”

“The emotional stakes are too high.”

“What emotional stakes?”

“To begin with, I treated you horrendously at St. Mungo’s,” Severus replied.

“You were not in your right mind,” Hermione answered. “I hold none of it against you.”

“Next time I may be even more derogatory towards you.”

“I can handle it.” 

“No,” Severus’ voice was more forceful. “You need to leave.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Hermione answered.

The thunder rumbled.

“Please Hermione,” Severus’ voice was almost a whisper. “Don’t give me a chance to hurt you again.”

Hermione picked a piece of lint from her arm. Severus winced.

“It’s fine,” Hermione whispered. “My arm doesn’t itch at all.”

“I am more than pleased to hear it,” Severus answered.

Ran spattered onto the window.

“Please Hermione, do not put your health at risk for me. Leave before I say or do something which hurts you,” Severus pleaded.

Hermione stepped over to him. “I’ve told you several times over the years, you aren’t getting rid of me very easily. If you wouldn’t leave me when I was sick, then I won’t walk out on you now.”

“I suppose there’s nothing I could say to dissuade you.”

“No, there is not.”

Severus scooped her into his arms. “And your arm is not itching?”

“It feels no different than usual.”

“Has there been any increase in your magic?”

“It feels as it does every day. The dark magic levels don't seem to be spiking.”

Severus kissed her cheek. “If you become too ill, please do not feel pressured to continue searching for a cure. If you must care for yourself…”

“You will be by my side whether you like it or not,” Hermione interrupted.

“Will I still be beside you if I cannot remember your name?”

“You, you came back once. I have every confidence that somehow you will remember me again.”

“Do not be such an optimist.”

Hermione swallowed.

“We do not know if my condition could become permanent,” Severus warned. “If one morning I awaken and cannot remember a thing about the last two decades, then please, seek out your own happiness. Finding a wizard who will love you should be no difficult task for you, not after the world realizes how amazing you truly are.”

Hermione ran her finger along his chin. “I’m not going to stop fighting for you. Even if it takes my dying breath, I will ensure that at the very least you will remember your children.”

Her captured her lips. “I love you.”

She deepened the kiss. “I love you too.”

The rain pounded against the window.

After a long moment, Hermione pulled away. “Now that we’ve settled that, we need to determine how to spend our evening.”

Severus raised an eyebrow.

“Well, we need to think of some way to kill time. We cannot very well spend all night sitting around and staring at each other.”

“I suppose we cannot.”

Hermione reached into her pocket and pulled out a small bag. “Care for a game of Gobstones?”

“Gobstones?” He asked.

She nodded.

“What in Merlin’s name inspired you to bring Gobstones?”

“I thought we could use the distraction, and I believed you would enjoy being defeated once more.”

He purred, “I’ve won the last three games.”

“But I won the four before that,” she replied.

Severus released Hermione. “Get out the marbles.”

Outside, the rain continued to batter the window.

Chapter Text

Hermione scooted the jade marbles towards her husband. Her eyelids were as heavy, and her muscles had long since lost their strength. Still, she managed to groan out, “One more game.”

Severus flicked two crimson marbles in her direction. "No."

She sat up straighter.

“We need to sleep," he continued.

Hermione yawned. “We can’t go to sleep, not until we understand exactly what is going on with you.”

He moaned, “Perhaps that is a mystery best resolved in the morning.”

She tried to blink, but her eyes remained closed. “No, we need to understand what’s happening now.”

“Right now, I do not foresee anything productive coming out of observing me further.”

“No, no I need to continue observing you. We need to stay awake in case something happens.”

Severus stood up. “If you want to observe me then you will have to go into the bedroom. I am retiring for the night"

Hermione hummed.

“Are you going to join me?”

She slumped over, as if she were a discarded doll.

He scooped her into his arms and kissed her forehead. “We will have a better idea of what ails me in the morning.”

Her breathing slowed.

“Hermione?”

“I’m here, I’m listening. We just need one more game, one more…” Her body relaxed.

He plodded towards their bedroom. Not since Violet was a screeching baby had Severus felt this worn. One would think that with an empty nest would come more restful nights, but of course his health would interfere with that sleep-filled fantasy.

“Do you want a kneazle-cat hybrid?”

He stopped. “Excuse me?”

Hermione muttered, “I want a kneazle-cat hybrid.” 

“Why would you make such a request?”

“They’re so furry and so soft. They make excellent companions.”

Severus resumed trading towards the bedroom. “So they do.” 

“I would buy one at this moment, but my husband hates pets," Hermione muttered. "He’s a git that way.”

Severus chuckled as he placed her on the bed. “I suppose your husband is a bit of a greasy git.”

“No, not all of the time,” she mumbled. “Sometimes he’s sweet.”

“Be careful Mrs. Snape,” he whispered. “If he ever heard you making such statements about him, he would need to silence you forever.”

“How?”

“His techniques are too numerous to list.”

Hermione startled. “What, what did you say?”

Severus flashed her a smile. “It would be wise for you to put on a night gown.”

“No,” she argued. “You could have an episode and I need to be there when you do. We need to know what is wrong with you.”

“Love, if nothing has happened by two in the morning then I may be in the clear tonight.”

“How could you be well tonight, but not last night?”

Severus undressed himself. “That is a mystery best left for the morning.”

“Perhaps,” Hermione trudged to her closet and pulled out her black, satin nightgown. After stripping herself of her garments, she put it on.

“You look beautiful,” Severus whispered.

Hermione stepped towards him. “Thank you.”

He exhaled as she began to button up his nightshirt. 

“You, are quite attractive yourself,” Hermione replied as she finished her task.

“You need to get some rest, lest your eyesight deteriorates any further,” Severus teased before taking her hand.

Hermione squeezed his hand before allowing him to lead her to their bed.

 

***

Ginevra shut the blinds before turning to Draco. “I almost forgot what it was like to have a quiet night.”

Draco threw the blankets over his body. “I would not count on too many of them. Whatever was afflicting the aurors will reemerge at some point.”

“I know it will,” Ginevra mused before crawling into bed beside him. “I just hope we can get a few nights sleep before they return.”

“A little sleep would be nice.”

“Yes, it would be.”

Draco ran a finger along her jaw. “Are you sure you’re fine with me running for office?”

“Why would I not be?” Ginevra asked.  “I was the one who encouraged you to do so.” 

“I know,” Draco replied. “Now that it’s becoming a reality though, I wanted to make sure you didn’t have any second thoughts.”

“If this is about the article,” she sat up straighter. “Percy is going to make snide comments about me throughout this campaign. Knowing him, he will paint me as an easily manipulated woman who turned her back on her family because he husband has cowed her into doing so.”

Draco smirked. “Anyone who knows you would know how little control I have over your actions.”

Ginevra brushed his lips with hers. “Exactly.”

“Besides,” Draco laughed. “If we want to play the who manipulated who game, then Father should have his say. According to him, you were the one who manipulated me into marriage.”

“He has said that, hasn’t he?” Ginevra purred.

“Yes, he has,” Draco replied. “When we first began dating he accused you of spiking my drinks with Amortentia.”

“What was your response to him?”

“I promised Father than I would call Uncle Severus and tell him to make me a love potion antidote. If it worked then I would obviously fall out of love with you, but if my emotions towards you did not change then my feelings of hatred would be directed towards him.”

“Clearly you never took it.”

“No, after that threat Father never broached the subject again.”

Ginevra rubbed his back. “I love you Draco.”

“And I you,” Draco replied.

“For the record,” Ginevra whispered. “I would much rather be the wife of the Minister of Magic than the sister of one.”

“I am thrilled to hear it,” Draco replied before capturing her lips again.

 

***

The first sensation which entered Hermione’s consciousness was that of a warm body pressed against her chest. She felt a toe caressing her leg, and muscular arms wrapped around her. 

“Good morning, Love.”

Hermione opened her eyes. Tears came to her eyes. “Good Morning, Severus.”

He pressed his lips against her forehead.

“What time is it?” Hermione asked.

“It is a little past nine,” he answered.

Her eyes flew open. “If it’s nine, then does that mean…”

“No,” Severus answered. “I did not develop an episode.”

Hermione lowered her head. “If you did not experience an episode tonight, then what does that mean?”

“It means,” Severus kissed her lips. “We are not getting a kneazle-cat hybrid.”

“Kneazle-cat hybrid,” Hermione blushed. “I thought that was a dream.”

“You were sleep talking,” Severus answered.

“I didn’t know I talked in my sleep.”

“When you are in a deep sleep you do not speak, but sometimes when you are extremely fatigued, you will speak a little.”

Her face was redder. “I apologize.”

“There is no need to apologize,” Severus ran his fingers through her hair. “You can say the most sensual things when you are in that state.”

“What kinds of things?” Hermione asked.

“Oh if I recalled what kinds of fantasies you have relayed to me while in that state, I believe you would die of embarrassment,” Severus purred.

Hermione’s eyes glistened. “In other words, if I want to get any information out of you, I’ll need to coax it from you.”

“Perhaps,” Severus replied.

Hermione crashed her lips into his, determined to revel in the moment as long as it lasted.

Chapter Text

To All Hogwarts Staff:

In response to recent events, a research team has been assembled to determine the cause of what ails our fellow wizards. The members of said team have requested that we share our memories of the two hours leading up to the appearance of the amnesiacs. They hope that by viewing these memories they can determine what, if anything, these victims have in common. I have every confidence that they will discover a cure, but they will need our help to do it.

If you would like to donate your memories, please come to Headmaster Longbottom’s office by 9:00 PM on Wednesday, October 27. The only memories which will be taken are those surrounding the appearance of the aurors. All memories will remain confidential. No memory which could cause any physical, psychological, or emotional harm to you or others will be taken. You may volunteer to share your memories for all of the nights, or only one of the nights. All participation is voluntary, and there will be no penalty will be leveled against those who opt not to share their memories.

Thank you again for all the work you have done to ensure the safety of our Hogwarts students. Without you, our school would be nothing but rubble. Let us all hope that the worst is behind us, and that we can return our focus to academics.

-Headmaster Longbottom

 

***

Hermione rolled out a meter long parchment over the kitchen table. She stuck a quill into a nearby ink pot. “Let’s start with what we know.”

“Fine,” Severus replied.

“As far as we know, you did not have an episode last night,” Hermione began.

“Or so we believe,” Severus answered.

Hermione frowned. “What do you mean ‘or so we believe?’”

Severus scooted his chair closer to the edge of the table. “There are no gaps in my memory of last night.”

“At least none that you are aware of.”

“Fair enough, but in incident could have occurred last night while we were both asleep. We need to leave open the possibility that I lost my memory and fell back asleep.”

“True, but there is evidence that you did retain your memory.” Hermione tapped the table. “According to Draco, nobody attacked his mansion last night either.”

“Did Neville report any attacks?” Severus asked.

Hermione muttered, “No.”

Severus gave her a half grin. “Then I suppose there is no reason to believe that I had an episode.”

“Exactly.”

Severus relaxed.

“There was something different about last night,” Hermione concluded. “Somehow the conditions were not right for triggering an attack.”

“Indeed,” Severus answered.

Hermione picked up the quill. “Let’s go ahead and get an overview of the last few nights. That way we can more easily determine how they differed.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Severus answered.

“I’m going to compare last night to two nights ago,” Hermione answered. “Where were you when you blacked out?”

“At home.”

“Which room were you in?”

“I do not know,” Severus twisted his lips. “I believe I was in the bedroom when my episodes began.”

“Bedroom,” Hermione hummed as she wrote it down. “What were you doing?”

“Various things.”

“Various things?”

“Yes, each night I was doing something different.”

“I see,” Hermione replied. “Let’s stick to two nights ago: what were you doing before the episode began?”

“I went home to obtain a few ingredients for some potions I knew Rose was in the process of creating,” Severus paused. “I do not believe that I ever reached the basement.”

Hermione set the quill down on the parchment. “That helps us very little. It’s highly doubtful that everyone was in the process of obtaining a potions ingredient, nor was anyone else in our room.”

“There’s also the fact that you went into that same bedroom on the same nights, yet your memory is unaffected,” Severus noted.

“Indeed,” Hermione set the quill into the ink pot. 

“Perhaps I am a poor example of an amnesiac,” Severus began. 

“No, you’re perfect,” Hermione argued. “You’re easy to interview, and I have seen one of your episodes first hand.”

“Perhaps, but I am too small a sample size from which to create a working theory. It may be wise to wait until Draco gives us the memories he has promised to obtain and Neville can garner more information from his staff before drawing any conclusions.”

“I would like some type of working theory though, if only to determine what kinds of things I should be looking for,” Hermione answered. 

“Fair enough,” Severus admitted.

Hermione scratched the table. “Perhaps we’re going about this the wrong way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, right now we’re looking at the actions of the individuals affected by this condition, but we aren’t looking at the conditions of night itself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Last night,” she picked up the quill. “It was rainy.”

“It was.”

“Rainy,” Hermione muttered as she wrote the sentence: last night was rainy onto the parchment.

“It was clear two nights ago though,” Severus offered. 

“You’re positive of that?”

“I am.”

Hermione wrote down, “Two nights ago it was clear.” 

“Was the weather clear the night you were to leave for Brazil?”

“I believe it was.”

“I know it was cloudy three nights ago since we were in the pool together, but I also remember the moonlight coming in from the windows. I was going to ask if you wanted to go back outside, but it was clear that you were not yourself.”

“Indeed I was not,” Severus replied.

Hermione crossed out two nights, and wrote, all amnesiac nights.

“There was a full moon three nights ago as well,” Severus noted.

“What is the phase of the moon right now?” Hermione asked.

“It,” Severus’ eyes grew. “It is a waxing gibbous.”

“Are you certain of that?”

“Of course I am. Yesterday I removed two potions I had left to sit out in the full moonlight.”

“So, we know that the three nights people had amnesia were clear with a full moon. If anyone understands the power of the moon it would be us.”

“The moonlight must be interacting with some other environmental factor which triggers these episodes,” Severus concluded.

Hermione snapped her fingers. “That’s my theory anyway.”

She wrote, The nights were clear with moonlight. Then she circled it.

“Where does that leave us then?” Severus asked.

“Well,” Hermione hummed. “It means we need to figure out why exactly the moonlight is bringing on this illness.”

“My first theory is a potion.”

“A potion?”

“Yes, a potion could be disseminated widely,” Severus tapped the table. “Yet if it’s a potion then I am unclear as to how it affects me yet you are unaffected.”

She wrote, Potion is widespread, perhaps too much so.

“I am also unclear as to what kind of potion could create these effects.”

“Perhaps it’s a new potion which interacts poorly with the moonlight.”

Severus scoffed. “I would never ingest a new potion without understanding its effects completely.”

“True,” Hermione answered. “You would not.”

Severus exhaled. “Still, it cannot be ruled out.”

She underlined the word potion and wrote, maybe?

“A curse could lead to devastating effects, and there are memory altering charms,” Severus proposed. “Yet I am uncertain as to how someone could get close enough to me to cast it.”

“I doubt anyone could. Besides, they’d have to cast it over a wide range of people, many of whom live kilometers apart,” Hermione replied.

“One person could not affect this many people.”

“No, they could not.”

“Still,” Severus drawled. “If this was some type of organization doing this…yet what would be their goal? How were their victims chosen? Why would anyone want an entire populace to develop nightly memory loss?”

“I have no idea,” Hermione replied. “Yet why would anyone administer a potion whose effects could prove so detrimental?”

“How could it be administered to anyone without their knowledge?” Severus asked.

Hermione sighed. “I have no idea.”

“Still,” Severus noted. “We know that the amnesia is brought about by clear, full moon nights. That’s more than what we knew yesterday.”

Hermione grinned. “Indeed it is.”

Chapter Text

Why couldn’t anyone understand that he was acting in their best interests?

Percy ripped open the seal and unfurled the letter. He skimmed over the parchment, his muscles growing more tense with every curse word. With a snarl he thrust the letter into the trash bin. He pulled out his wand and flicked it. The letter, along with the other fifty or so parchments, disappeared. 

Percy paced the floor. Why can't these people understand that covering up this crisis was the best course of action? What would they have me do, cause an unnecessary panic? How is it that one letter from Draco Bloody Malfoy can rile people up to the point where they no longer see their own gracious government as benevolent?

Two owls pecked at the window. Percy stomped over to them. Judging from the smudges on the seals, these letters were written in haste. From the distance he could see five other owls. An hour from now the trash bin may need to be emptied again.

“Mr. Weasley?”

Percy spun around. 

Michael gulped. “There’s someone here to see you.”

“I told you not to let in anyone without an appointment.”

“Not even your own father?”

The secretary stepped aside, allowing Arthur to enter the room.

“Father, uh yes,” Percy shooed the seven owls away. Six of them hooted while the seventh glared at him before flying away in silence.

Michael snuck out of the office and shut the door behind him.

“I wasn’t quite expecting to see you here,” Percy began.

“I debated on coming here, but there are some things I didn’t feel comfortable telling you over the floo,” Arthur folded his hands. “I hope you aren’t too busy.”

Percy gestured towards the chair in front of his desk. “I wasn’t preoccupied at all. I was just shifting through my mail.” 

Arthur sat down. “It doesn’t look like you’ve gotten too many letters.”

“Let’s just say that hasn't been the case for most of the day,” Percy answered.

“I see.”

“I’d imagine you did not come here to discuss my mail, though.”

“No, I did not.”

"Then what do you ned?"

Arthur cleared his throat. “First and foremost, I wanted you to know that I did not have an episode last night.”

Percy’s expression softened. “That is wonderful to hear.”

Arthur grinned. “It’s wonderful to be able to say that.”

There was a spark in Percy’s eyes. “This will be wonderful to report to the populace. If these episodes cease, then it will make Draco appear prematurely alarmist. Wizards will finally understand why I behaved as I did.”

Arthur's eyes widened. “You cannot be serious about using my lack of an episode as a political talking point.”

“I need to report this,” Percy replied. “Draco played his hand too soon. If there is no amnesia then his whole platform of exposing the Ministry coverup falls apart. It appears as if the Ministry was wise in holding off on acting, thus justifying my behavior.”

“People were injured during those episodes,” Arthur snapped. “We’re lucky nobody lost their life.”

“Nobody died, and the amnesia is over for now. That is all the people should be concerned with.”

“Damnit Percy this is my life you’re playing with!”

Percy closed his mouth.

“During one of my episodes I attacked my own grandson because I believed him to be his father. I could have seriously injured a member of my own family,” Arthur answered. “How could I have lived with myself if I hurt Scorpius?”

“You did not seriously injure him though…”

“It doesn’t change the fact that I still attacked him.”

Percy frowned.

“What on earth is the Ministry doing to prevent these episodes from occurring again?” Arthur asked.

Percy shifted his eyes to his Newton’s cradle.

Arthur raised his voice. “Is anything being done about this?”

Percy cleared his throat. “There is a research project in the works…”

“Then can I be a part of it?” Arthur asked.

Percy swallowed.

“Please Percy, please tell me how I can help resolve this crisis. Let me participate in a study which will resolve this issue.”

“Does Mother know you want to participate in a study?”

“No.”

“No?”

Arthur slumped in his chair. “I only speak to her when necessary.”

“You didn’t find it necessary to share this plan with her?” Percy asked

“It,” Arthur swallowed. “My relationship with your mum is complicated.”

Percy’s voice was low, “Are you considering a separation again?”

“I don’t know.” His voice grew stronger. “But that is none of your concern. Right now we need to focus on getting me involved in some type of study which will end this illness once and for all.”

Percy took a deep breath. “Offering yourself up as a test subject will not erase Scorpius’ memories of you attacking him, nor will it resolve your martial problems with Mum.”

“I need to do something,” Arthur answered in a quiet voice. “Surely you understand that.”

“I do,” Percy replied. “Still, you are putting me in a difficult position. How can I allow my father to offer himself up as a test subject, even if he is pleading with me to do so?”

“You can remember that this will benefit not only our family, but the Wizarding World as well,” Arthur answered.

Percy lowered his head.

“Please,” Arthur pleaded. “Please tell me who I can contact who is working on this problem.”

“Very well then,” Percy reached into his desk drawer. “I can give you the name of a few doctors who are on tap to work on this epidemic.”

“Have they started work yet?” Arthur asked.

Percy froze. 

Arthur buried his face in his hands.

“Relax Father,” Percy replied. “The Ministry is hard at work resolving this crisis.”

Arthur sighed. “For our sakes I sincerely hope so.”

 

***

Draco rapped on the door. Nobody answered. After a few moments he pressed his ear against the door. He could hear the rustling of papers.

He knocked again.

“I’m coming,” a man shouted.

Draco backed away from the door. The man opened it and gave him a small grin. “Hello, Uncle Draco.”

“Hello Victor,” Draco answered. “How have you been?”

“I have been well,” Victor stepped out of the threshold.

“Good,” Draco walked inside. “I am happy to hear it.”

“Can I get you anything? A coffee or a tea perhaps?” Victor offered. “I have a muggle machine which is capable of making them both.”

“No,” Draco waved his hand. The door shut behind him. “I actually came to ask something of you.”

“What would that be?” Victor asked.

Draco’s eyes glistened. “How would you like to work as a member of my campaign staff?”

Victor’s eyes grew. “I am not sure. It would be an honor to work for you, but I have little experience in politics.”

“You wouldn’t necessarily need to work in the field of politics in order to be of assistance,” Draco answered. 

“If I’m not working in politics then what do you have in mind then?”

“I was hoping you could write the rough drafts of statements I plan to give.”

"Haven't you been writing your own letters?"

"At the moment, yes," Draco replied. "Still, they could use some polishing, something a good lawyer could provide."

Victor twisted his lips.

“I’ve heard your opening and closing arguments in court. You are a persuasive writer. Between you and my father, I could have a potent writing team.”

“I always have enjoyed writing.”

“You are excellent at it.”

“Still, I am a defense attorney, not a speech writer.” 

“I am certain you can expand your skill set very easily.”

“True,” Victor answered.

“I won’t lie,” Draco began. “Being on my campaign staff is a risky venture. You will more than likely need to quit your job in order to give this your full attention. Also if we lose you could wind up on Percy’s bad side, which could impact your career prospects. Still, I believe the risk is worth the potential benefits.”

Victor stood up straighter. “I remember how terrified Mum was when Dad disappeared that first night, and how distraught she was when she called me from the hospital. The Ministry has proven that it will do nothing to protect her from ever experiencing those emotions again. I feel obligated to help her somehow.”

“You would be doing her a great service,” Draco answered. “Especially since she is one of the researchers I’ve hired to look into finding a cure.”

“I wondered if you had hired her.”

“Indeed I did.”

Victor shuffled his feet.

Draco locked eyes with him. “If you agree to be my speech writer you will be working closely with Carina.”

Victor paled.

Draco smirked. “I would say that is an outstanding reason to enjoy my campaign.”

“I uh,”

“Don’t pretend you aren’t interested in her.”

Victor bowed his head.

“You’re a total Gryffindor, just like your mother. Every emotion you have is exposed for the world to see,” Draco put a hand on Victor’s shoulder. “I see the way you look at my daughter when you think nobody else is around. You are quite taken with her”

Victor bit his lower lip.

“Don’t fret. She could do worse than you,” Draco answered.

Victor made eye contact with him. “So you would approve?”

“I will approve of you more if you ever get up the courage to ask her out to dinner,” Draco replied.

“Sure, uh, I can do that,” Victor answered.

Draco extended his hand. “Do I have a new speech writer?”

Victor took it and shook his hand. “You most certainly do.”

Draco beamed.

Everything was coming together beautifully.

Chapter Text

There has to be some way to help Dad.

“Zach, I know you’ll grow to love this baby if it’s yours.”

Rose suppressed a groan.

“Damnit Kendall, I didn’t want a baby. I never wanted my own baby, and I sure as hell don’t want anyone else’s.”

Muriel sobbed and dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief. Rose scowled.

How does Grandma endure this inane show?

“I know you didn’t want children, but this baby is a miracle. I know you’re going to love it.”

“Assuming that it’s even mine.”

Rose pinched the edge of her blanket and allowed her mind to wander to her dad's latest predicament, and how she could best help him.

When Dad says I am healthy, I will hand over my memories to him. Yet by the time I am able to do so he may have already determined the cause of his ailment, if not found a cure. Even if he hasn’t found a cure by the time I am well, I was one of the last to come into contact with the aurors. It’s doubtful I saw anything significantly different than anyone else did.

“I know we can get through this.”

“There’s nothing to get through. If you aren’t pregnant with my baby then I am filing for divorce.”

Rose’s heart skipped a beat. Dad will have the memories of my colleagues as well as the Malfoys, but he may have difficulty in obtaining them from anyone else. I wonder if I could help with that somehow.

“You didn’t just sleep with anyone, you slept with the one person I hate above all. How could you do that to me?”

Rose’s eyes grew. There is someone I could interview about his episodes-someone Dad would never contact.

“Next week on Stanley’s Corner…”

“I want you to perform a DNA test on my baby.”

Rose’s body numbed. How would Dad react to my reaching out to him? Would he consider it a betrayal, or would he see it as the attempt to help that it is intended to be? What if the amnesiac in question doesn’t respond to me, or spends most of our meeting criticizing Mum?

“Can you live without her Zach?”

Am I meeting with this person for the right reasons? If I contact him, would my motives be purely academic, or would this be more about resolving some of my other recent questions? Should I trust that Dad can gather enough data, or is this interview vital for helping Dad understand the cause of his illness?

“I will always love Kendall, but I don’t know if I can be in love with her.”

Rose raised her chin. I cannot just sit on a couch and hope everything resolves itself. When I was kidnapped, Dad fought a pack of lycanthropes to rescue me. I need to return the favor, if only in a small way.

“Damn you Zach,” Muriel muttered.

Click.

Rose turned to her grandmother.

Muriel blew her nose. “I apologize Rose. I shouldn’t get this emotional over a stupid soap opera, but if you saw how these two began and how many obstacles they overcame, well, you would understand why I’m so invested in them.”

“No, I somewhat understand. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good love story?”

“Indeed.”

Rose stood up. “Do you have a pen and paper?”

“Sure,” Muriel answered. 

“Good,” Rose replied, knowing full well what needed to be done.

 

***

To All Citizens of Great Britain:

I would like to extend my sincerest appreciation for your support. Thanks to our calls for action, the Ministry has finally addressed the issue of this amnesia epidemic. Despite my esteemed opponent conceding that a problem exists, however, there has been no clear solution offered. At the time of this letter, there has been no proposed widespread research project, no calls for test subjects, and no hint as to a timeline of resolving this crisis. This is unacceptable.

Many may argue that action is unwarranted at the moment. Last night there were no reported cases of nocturnal amnesia, so it would seem as if the crisis has been resolved. This could prove to be an illusion. All of us understand the dynamics behind long-lasting curses and potions which only manifest themselves under certain conditions. Until we understand the cause of this amnesia, we cannot afford inaction.

Since the Ministry has shown little interest in putting together a research project, I am calling for amnesia victims and those who have witnessed their loved ones suffering from a bout of amnesia to send in their memories of the few hours before the episode to my team of researchers. The memories will be used solely for the purpose of determining a cause of this illness. Any memories which could physically, mentally, or emotionally harm someone will not be used. Full confidentiality is assured.

I hope you will consider aiding me in any way possible. Together we will strive towards a cure for this disease.

-Draco Malfoy

“What do you think, Dad?” Victor asked.

Severus nodded. “That is quite eloquent and precise. Very nicely done.”

Victor beamed.

 

***

Arthur’s hands trembled as he held up the letter. A tear stained the parchment. For so long he had dreamed of this moment. Even as he reread the letter he wasn't sure if it was real...

“Arthur?”

He glanced at the woman standing in the doorway.

“Who was the owl from?”

“Nobody you should be concerned with, Molly.”

“Why would you say that? If we’re married then what concerns you should automatically concern me.”

Arthur rolled his eyes and sat down at his desk. “Believe me when I say the contents of this letter are none of your concern.”

Molly furrowed her eyebrows. “Don’t, don’t tell me it’s Draco’s latest dribble."

Arthur bit his tongue.

“It’s treasonous to help him. Simply treasonous! I, I cannot believe you’d even read his awful letters…”

“Damnit let me conduct my own affairs!”

She gasped. “You, you really are considering helping that fiend!”

“Do not call the father of my grandchildren a fiend," he retorted.

“I’ll call him whatever I bloody well want to."

“If you must call him names, then do so out of my presence."

“Fine,” Molly snorted. “I’m off to bed. Join me when you can.”

“I might,” Arthur answered.

“You might?” Molly snapped.

“I, I’m not feeling well,” Arthur answered. “I may sleep in one of the guest rooms tonight.”

“How is sleeping in a guest bedroom going to make you feel better?”

“It will assure me that you don’t catch whatever bug I’ve picked up.”

“You can’t be that sick!”

“Well I am!”

“Fine! Whatever! Good night!”

She stormed down the hallway.

Arthur took a shaky breath before rereading the letter. Then he pulled out some stationary. He thrust his quill into the ink pot before writing:

Dearest Rose,

I would love nothing more than to have lunch with you. Would Sunday at noon work?

Best,

Arthur

He folded the letter and sealed it. As he tied it to the owl he said a little prayer that perhaps he could begin to find healing.

Chapter Text

Am I committing treason?

Rose reread Arthur’s letter. On the surface his words are innocuous. There is no obvious reason for me not to speak with him. Researchers interview human subjects all the time. There is nothing out of the ordinary about accepting this invitation and going to meet with him. 

Except he is not just a test subject. He is a Weasley who at one point believed me to be his granddaughter. 

Rose folded the letter and placed it under the sofa cushion. I should give myself more time to formulate a response, or at the very least consider whether or not I want to respond. Perhaps after a day or two I will reconsider this lunch. If Arthur writes me again asking why I never answered him, I can always say that I was not feeling well.

What would Dad do if he were in my place?

Her mind wandered to a night when she was roughly four years old. Although Rose’s body was shaking, her forehead was drenched in sweat. Severus knelt beside her bed, holding an empty vial in his hand. She could still taste the bitterness of the potion, though she knew Dad did his best to sweeten it.

Rose kept her eyes open, despite yawning. Dad put his hand over her chest and whispered, “Rest, Little One.”

“No,” she moaned.

“You need to rest,” he insisted. 

Rose opened her mouth, but no words escaped it.

“I am certain you will feel better after a nap,” he assured her.

“Fine,” she groaned. “But I want to hear a story.”

“Which story would you like to hear?” he asked.

“The half blood prince,” Rose was shaking less. “I love that story. It’s very romantic.”

“Very well then,” Dad began. “Once upon a time there was a small prince. He felt very angry, because nobody loved him.”

Rose drifted to sleep before he could get much further. Still, when she awoke, he was still beside her bed. He kissed her on the forehead and took her temperature once more. The fever was beginning to subside…

Speaking of heat, the fireplace had erupted.

“Rose?”

Rose rushed over to the fireplace, “Dad?”

“May I enter?”

Rose stepped back, allowing him to materialize before her. 

“Hello Dad,” Rose replied. “I am thrilled to see you again.”

Severus brushed himself off. “I am thrilled to see you as well, especially now that you are up and about pain free.”

“I feel much better.”

“I am happy to hear it.”

“How has your research gone?” Rose asked.

“There are some promising leads,” Severus flicked the soot from his sleeve.

“What kinds of leads?”

“Well, for one, several wizards have sent in their memories.”

Rose’s eyes lit up. “That’s great.”

Severus gave her a half smile. “Indeed.”

“Have you begun shifting through them yet?”

“Right now we are categorizing them by the victim's age and the length of the memory. We will begin to view them this Thursday after the Hogwarts staff gives us theirs.”

“I will give you my memories as soon as I am able.”

“That will be fine, but do not hurt yourself in the process.”

“Trust me, I will be just fine.”

“That’s all I ask.” Severus finished brushing himself off. “Speaking of Hogwarts, you mentioned a few days ago that you felt well enough to teach.”

“I am well enough to teach,” Rose replied.

“Very well then,” Severus answered. “I will run a few tests on you to determine if you are fully recovered.”

“That will not be necessary,” Rose replied. “Madame Pomfrey…”

“Is allowing me to perform the tests in her place.”

Rose cocked her head.

“Headmaster Longbottom knows that my standards for your recovery will be stricter than that of Pomfrey. He wants there to be no doubt as to whether or not you have recovered, hence the reason he requested that I perform the tests.”

“Did he approach you about performing these tests, or did you insist on performing them?”

“I may have been forceful in my request to administer the test.”

“Dad…”

“I do not want you injured anymore than you are,” Severus pulled out his wand. “Which is why I want to see your recovery for myself.”

“If you had your way I wouldn’t teach for the rest of the year,” Rose argued.

“Would that be so terrible?” Severus asked.

“Yes,” Rose answered. “At some point I would like to resume my career.”

Severus chuckled. “At your age, I would have sold my wand if it meant I never had to read another dunderhead’s essay.”

Rose’s stare was blank. 

Severus twisted his lips. “Is there some sort of problem?”

“No,” Rose answered. “I only forgot how much you initially despised children.”

“I despise dunderheads.” Severus kissed her on the cheek. “None of my children have ever been dunderheads; hence I find your siblings and you more than tolerable.” 

Rose relaxed. “I am glad you feel that way.” 

“Now, that we have that out of the way, I would like to administer the tests, unless you do not feel well enough for me to do so.”

“I feel quite healthy”

Severus raised his wand.“Aveti o contuzi.”

It glowed red. 

Severus huffed. He directed his wand at the floor and made a line. “Please walk along this line to the best of your ability.”

Rose walked along the line, careful to keep her feet on it.

“Excellent,” Severus answered. “Now, for the cognitive portion.”

“Okay.”

“What is the strongest love potion in existence?”

“Amortentia.”

“Who invented felix felicis?”

“Zygmunt Budge.”

“How many times do you stir vindecarea gripes when brewing it?”

“Initially you stir it twenty times, but after it sits for twelve hours you stir it another seventy-four times.”

“What was the name of your mother’s half-kneazle?”

“Crookshanks.”

Severus nodded. “Personally I believe you should wait another week before resuming your teaching duties. That way you will not need to endure the Halloween festivities.”

Rose groaned. “Perhaps that is a wise course of action. The last thing I want is the headache of rowdy students.”

“Still, if you are desperate to reclaim your job then I will tell Headmaster Longbottom you can resume teaching on Monday,” Severus answered.

Rose tapped her chin. “I am torn. Halloween is the time when students are at their most unruly, but I sense Professor Khan is too lenient with them. Someone will need to remind my students that potions must be taken seriously at all times.”

“Indeed,” Severus answered.

“In all honesty,” Rose frowned. “I am beyond weary of watching Stanley’s Corner and listening to Zach prattle on about Kendall’s affair.”

Severus chuckled. “I would be wary of that drivel after two episodes.”

“Try two minutes,” Rose answered. “If I need to hear Zach say one more time that he never wants children…”

“So that is why you pointed out how I initially viewed children.”

Rose closed her mouth.

“Did you believe that I was like Zach in my youth?”

Rose bowed her head.

Severus put and hand on her shoulder. “That soap opera bears no resemblance to reality. Zach and I are in no way similar.”

“I know that on an intellectual level,” Rose replied. “Still, you were so averse to having children before marrying Mum. What changed your mind about wanting us?”

Severus’ voice softened. “When I was younger, I said many idiotic things, one of them being that I could never love a child. The moment I learned of your existence though, I wanted to be your father.”

Rose’s lower lip quivered.

“I love you so much Little Rose. Never forget that,” Severus whispered.

Rose embraced him. “I love you too, Dad.”

Severus wrapped his arms around her. 

Rose cast a glance towards the sofa. She exhaled, knowing exactly what needed to be done.

Chapter Text

Rose ran her right hand over her cape. She stared at the doorway, vacillating between willing Arthur to enter, and willing him never to arrive. After a few moments she looked down at her menu and brushed aside the napkin she had placed atop it.

For noontime on Sunday, the crowd was light The brunch diners were sauntering out the front door while the waiters picked up the dirty dining utensils from the tables. Although there were windows in front of her, the bright green words “Voted Best Cafe in Hogsmeade!” obscured her view of the street.

Rose took another sip of her coffee. She cringed as the liquid trickled down her throat. Straight black coffee was distasteful enough, but putting sugar in it had not improved its quality. Perhaps she should ask the waiter to replace her cup with a French Vanilla cappuccino, but it would be a travesty to let a coffee go to waste, especially a cup as expensive as this. 

“Rose?”

She glanced up. Her body was chilled, despite the unseasonably warm weather. Before her, Arthur was staring at Rose, taking in her every physical feature. 

Rose pursed her lips and sat up straighter. What does he see when he looks at me? Does he see a Snape, or does he see a Weasley? Am I convincing as Severus’ daughter, or does he see a little girl playing dress up in her daddy’s clothing?

“Rose,” Arthur breathed.

Rose pointed to the chair across from her. “Hello Arthur. You may take a seat.”

Arthur rushed over and sat down across from her. He extended his hand, but her frown only deepened. Deflated, he withdrew the appendage.

“Thank you for agreeing to dine with me,” Rose replied.

“I was honestly surprised you would contact me,” Arthur answered. “Though I was far from disappointed to receive your invitation.”

“I need to discuss a few things with you,” Rose replied.

Arthur hummed, “I suppose you do.”

Rose cleared her throat. “How have you been faring as of late?”

“Very well,” Arthur answered. “Things have been great.”

“I am glad to hear it,” Rose replied.

“What about you?” Arthur’s voice was quick. “How have you been?”

“Very well,” Rose replied. 

“I’m so happy to hear it,” Arthur answered.

Rose took another sip of her coffee.

“I,” Arthur’s eyes were agleam. “I was honestly surprised that you contacted me.”

“I was honestly surprised myself that I would ever find myself in a circumstance where I would need to discuss anything with you.” Rose twirled the edge of her cape around her finger.

“What do you mean?” Arthur asked.

Rose released her clothing. “I am going to be blunt. During one of your amnesiac episodes you barged into my office.”

He lowered his head.

“You did me no harm, but nevertheless I’m aware of your recent nocturnal activities.”

“I suppose you would be.”

“I contacted you because I need an idea of what you did in the last few hours before your episodes.”

“I am in contact with some researchers who are prepared to extract my memories…”

“But you have not contacted Mum or Dad.”

“No,” Arthur admitted. “The Ministry’s researchers are not in touch with your parents.”

Rose took another sip of coffee.

“Did you only call me to obtain information from me?” Arthur asked.

Rose’s stomach sank at the expression in his eyes. When students looked upon her in that way, it was after she refused to allow them to leave detention early. She’d need to be sure that moving forward, she did not make him feel any more uneasy than necessary.

“If, if you would like to discuss other things I suppose we can,” Rose replied.

There was a small grin on Arthur’s face. 

“Excuse me?”

They looked up at the waiter. “Yes?”

“What would you like to drink?”

“A water would be fine,” Arthur answered.

“Is there anything you would like to eat?”

Arthur turned to Rose. She shrugged. “I am ready to order when you are.”

“I’ve been here enough times to know what I’d like,” Arthur answered.

“Okay,” Rose replied. “I will take two eggs, sunny side up.”

The waiter turned to Arthur. 

“I’ll have a cinnamon roll.”

“Okay.” The waiter collected Rose’s menu and walked away.

“I will make you a deal,” Rose replied. “If you tell me exactly what happened in the few hours before your episodes, I will discuss other matters with you.”

Arthur smiled. “I would like that very much.”

“Good,” Rose steepled her hands. “Now from what Mum and Dad have said, the memories proceeding the attacks are often too distorted to be of any use. Thus, I do not expect you to recount everything you know, but every little bit of information helps.” 

“I actually remember things fairly well until, well, you know,” Arthur answered.

“Indeed I do,” Rose drawled.

Arthur sighed. “You look and sound just like your father.”

“I consider that a compliment.”

“It is meant as one.”

Rose raised an eyebrow.

Arthur’s expression was distant. “You have mastered his facial expression perfectly. Sometimes looking at you really is like looking at a younger female version of him.”

Rose maintained her expression.

Arthur continued. “Severus has parented his children well. It is obvious that you are happy and healthy.”

“I was very fortunate to have the parents that I did,” Rose replied.

“They were lucky to have you as their child,” Arthur answered.

Her pinky twitched.

“What kinds of parents are Hermione and Severus?”

“The kind who do not appreciate being harassed and criticized every time they so much as breathe.”

“I am not trying to critique them,” Arthur shrunk. “Any insight I could have on their parenting methods would be pointless given your age.”

“I cannot think of anything they have done which could be held against them,” Rose replied. 

“What are they like, then?” 

“Mum is caring yet strong. She always ensured that we understood right from wrong, yet were strong in our convictions Dad is encouraging, patient, and loving.”

Arthur cocked his head.

“Despite the previous image he’d constructed, Dad does have a heart,” Rose replied. “He is simply careful as to whom he allows to see it.”

“Fair enough.”

“Their marriage is loving as well. Mum always supports Dad, even when he was being what she called, ‘a right old git.’ As for Dad,” Rose lowered her voice. “He treats Mum like an empress.”

“After everything your parents have been through, they deserve a partner to love,” Arthur answered. 

"Indeed they do," Rose replied.

“Here is your water, Mr. Weasley.”

“Thank you,” he muttered as the glass of water was placed in front of him.

Rose took another sip of coffee as the waiter slipped away.

Arthur gulped. “I, I didn’t understand who deeply Ron had hurt Hermione until they broke up.”

“He did not break up with her. He abandoned her.”

“That he did.”

Rose’s expression was impassive.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes,” Arthur admitted. “One of my biggest mistakes was allowing Ronald to treat you mother so horribly. I should have stepped in and stopped him much sooner.” 

“I suppose your treatment of Dad was justifiable though.”

“I have treated neither of them well, and for that I am sincerely sorry.”

Rose shrugged. “You should apologize to them, not to me.”

“No, you are owed an apology because my actions did affect you. Had I not been so blinded by my love for Ron your life never would have been put in danger. Again, I cannot apologize enough for my actions surrounding your kidnapping.”

“No, you cannot.”

Arthur slumped until he appeared to be only half his size.

“I am not going to deceive you, I am infamous for inheriting my father’s ability to hold a grudge. There is no real reason for me to forge a relationship with you, but my parents are desperate for a cure. For that reason, I will be civil towards you, at least for the moment.”

“I suppose I should not ask for more.”

“No, you should not.”

Arthur squeaked. “Could you please answer a question for me.”

“It depends on the question.”

“Why did you decide to be the potions mistress at Hogwarts?”

There was a spark in Rose's eyes. “It was a gradual process. From the time I was an infant, Dad would take me into his lab and allow me to watch him brew. I was always captivated by how magic interacted with such common substances. Sure, a wizard can cast charms which affect the outside world, but those are done with the flick of a wrist and/or the motion of a wand. To caress a vial though, to feel the grit of cobra scales between your fingers, to stir a cauldron at precisely the correct number of times-it was as if my body and my mind could experience magic equally. I could make the common into pure magic. I could bottle fame, brew glory, and on occasion, put a stopper on death. When I am brewing, I feel as if I am who I was always meant to be.”

Arthur’s lips curled up.

“By the time I was eight, I had determined that my life’s ambition was to become a potions mistress,” Rose concluded. “No other line of work was even remotely appealing.”

“Why did you want to go into Slytherin though?”

“Because the bravest man I’ve ever known was from the house.”

“I suppose that is a fair reason.’

“Indeed it is.”

“Still, you must know the history behind the house.”

“I will admit that the house’s reputation has taken quite the beating. Some students have gone so far as to plead not to be enrolled in it. This always upset me because some of the kindest people I have ever met were Slytherins. I felt it was my duty to expose another side of Slytherin and continue my father’s legacy. Thus when Hogwarts began their search for a potions mistress, I applied. At first they did not need a head of the Slytherin House. Within a year though, the Professor Greengrass had taken a different job, leaving an opening for their Head of House.”

“I’m sure Neville was eager to hire you given your lineage.”

“Actually he was somewhat reluctant, but he was unsure as to how to face Dad if I did not receive the job.”

Arthur laughed.

Rose’s expression remained neutral.

“Thank you,” Arthur began.

“For what?” Rose asked.

Arthur sat up straighter. “I know that you are a Snape, but Ronald did claim at one time that you were his. Because of that, I have always cared for you.”

“If you cared so much for me you should have returned me to my parents upon finding me.”

“I know.”

“Okay you two. Here we go.”

The wizards glanced up at the waiter.

“Two sunny side up eggs?”

Rose raised her hand.

The waiter set the plate before her. “Cinnamon roll?”

“Yes, thank you,” Arthur replied.

The waiter set the plate before him. “Let me know if you need anything.”

“We will,” Arthur muttered.

The waiter scurried away.

“Regardless, thank you for telling me a little bit about yourself," Arthur continued. "I’ve really enjoyed learning a little more about you.”

“At this juncture it would seem wise for you to reciprocate my efforts and tell me something about yourself; namely what you were doing before your episodes," Rose replied.

Arthur picked up a folded napkin and unwrapped it. A fork fell out and onto the table. “The first night I had an episode, I was arguing with my wife.”

“How heated was the argument?” Rose unwrapped her own napkin.

“More heated than I would have liked,” he admitted.

“What were you arguing about?” Rose asked.

“I’ve honestly forgotten,” Arthur replied. “We argue over so many things anymore that it’s difficult to keep track of it all.”

Rose hummed. He’s leaving out a significant detail, but given that Dad was not alone during his first episode, I’d do well not to push Arthur on this, lest he stop cooperating with me.

“What is the next thing you remember?” Rose asked.

“I was back in bed with my wife. She told me that she appreciated my change in attitude. It was just like things were before we began to drift apart.” Arthur answered.

“I see,” Rose cut her eggs. “What happened the next night?”

“I was alone in my room watching a muggle movie. It was a classic called The Room.”

The Room?”

“Yes,” Arthur answered. “It is apparently very popular muggle movie.”

“What was this movie about?”

“It’s about a man who has a cheating fiancee. It is all very dramatic.”

“What part were you watching?” 

“The lead actor said that his lady love was tearing him apart, and then, I was in bed being yelled at by Molly for bursting into Hogwarts.”

“What of the third night?”

“On the third night I was brushing my teeth preparing to go to bed. Then I woke up in St. Mungo’s to the sound of George and Molly arguing over whether I should be in there at all.”

She scratched her chin. “Is that it?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Arthur answered.

“Thank you,” Rose replied. “I am certain Mum and Dad can use this information to further their research.”

“Are you sure?” Arthur asked.

“Trust me,” Rose replied. “If any two people can make sense of all this and discover a cure, it would be Mum and Dad.”

"Yes," Arthur replied with a smile. "If anyone can make sense of this, it would be them." 

Chapter Text

Violet poked her bran muffin. Was it necessary to serve this three days in a row? Sure it’s healthier than Fruit Loops, but the least they could do is allow us to put some butter on it.

The Slytherin table erupted into whispers. Around her students were tugging on each others sleeves and pointing to the head table. Violet shrugged and took a bite of her muffin. 

“Violet?”

“What?”

The other student pointed to the front of the room. “Look who’s back.”

Violet raised an eyebrow before turning around. Her face lit up.

So Dad did allow Rose to return.

“Did you know she was coming back?”

“No,” Violet answered. “I thought she was still watching TV at Grandma’s.”

“I’m so glad the radiation from the television didn’t melt her brain,” a sixth year began. 

“Television doesn’t contain radiation,” Violet replied.

“Really?”

Violet nodded.

“Then how does it rot your brain?” 

“It doesn’t.”

“Huh. Why do people say it does then?”

“Because they know that if wizards started watching soap operas they’d never want to return to the Wizarding World.”

“What’s a soap opera?”

Before Violet could answer, a second year shouted, “Excuse me!”

He held the tray over his head as he made his way to the Ravenclaw table. As he walked past everyone, he noticed several Ravenclaws staring at the head table. Some grinned while others gave a small wave. In the distance he could see a few Hufflepuffs doing likewise. As he trudged through the crowd, he could not help but overhear the comments made by a certain red-headed Weasley.

Molly huffed. “I cannot believe she is allowed to show her face around here.”

The girl beside her took a sip of milk.

“Professor Khan was so much nicer than her. She never gave me a detention or made a snide comment at us.”

“She still gave us essays though.”

“Maybe, but it was better than listening to Professor Rose bark at us,” Molly continued. “Perhaps I shouldn’t get upset over this. When my daddy takes over the Ministry, the first thing he is going to do is fire her.”

Another Gryffindor asked through chewed food, “Fhow can he fhire mher? Fhe isn’ the Fheadmmaster.”

“Daddy wants to make sweeping changes to the school,” Molly continued, her voice growing louder with each word. “One of them is going to be that the government will have more say over Hogwarts, and if necessary, the ability to fire a headmaster.”

A seventh year turned to her and put a finger over his mouth.

“Once a more reasonable headmaster is in play we’ll finally get rid of gits like Professor Rose,” Molly continued.

“Shush!”

Molly gasped. “How dare you tell me to shush.”

“Damnit Molly, she just saved the entire Slytherin house. The least you can do is show her a little bit of respect.”

Molly raised her chin. “I refuse to respect someone who is so cruel to us.”

“Then speak softer,” he argued

“I’ll speak as loudly as I want.”

Another seventh year piped in, “Shut up, Molly. Nobody wants to hear it.”

“Well apparently people do…”

“If you don’t can it then we’re telling Headmaster Longbottom about your midnight rendezvous with Soren.”

Molly crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.

In the meantime, several other Gryffindors waved at Professor Rose.

Rose continued eating, with a hint of a smile gracing her face.

 

***

Any positive feelings towards the students evaporated by third period.

Four cauldron explosions in third period was frustrating enough, but none of the fifth years could handle their eel eyes without dropping them. It would take at least an hour to sweep them up, and another hour to mop up any gunky residue. House elves had in the past proven to be inept at this task, so she’d need a human. Thanks to Professor Khan’s desire to be loved rather than feared, nobody was serving a potions detention. Making matters worse was the fact that it was Scorpius’ week to oversee detentions. Although she considered assigning them for her class, she knew Headmaster Longbottom would hear none if it. Rose needed to rest, not that cleaning up eel’s eyes constituted rest…

“Professor Rose?”

She looked at the doorway. “What do you need, Dolores?”

The student stepped inside the now empty yet filthy classroom. “I just wanted you to know that I’m glad you’re back. Things weren’t the same without you.”

Before Rose could react, the student hugged her.

“Yes,” Rose’s lips curled up. “I am quite happy to be back.”

It was uncanny how every time Rose reached the end of her rope, a student came to give her a shred of hope for wizardkind. 

 

***

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Hermione shook her head and lifted her head from the pensieve. “All of the victims’ memories are too fuzzy to make any sense of them.”

“Great,” Severus growled.

Hermione picked up another vial. “We can try one more memory, but I am beginning to think our energies would be better spent elsewhere.”

Severus exhaled. “That is probably wise.”

Hermione tapped her foot. “When speaking with the victims, it’s clear that they know what occurred immediately before their episode; yet the memories in the pensieve are too vague.”

“Why would that be?”

“I don’t know, but it must be significant.”

“Perhaps that discrepancy is the key to determining the source of this amnesia.”

“Perhaps,” Hermione’s eyes lit up. “Perhaps the hour or so before the amnesia is when the magic causing all this begins to flare up. The victims may not feel its effects yet, but it’s already beginning to affect the brain.”

Severus nodded. “That is feasible.”

“What isn’t feasible is interviewing every victim and hoping we collect enough data before the full moon.”

“No, that sounds too arduous of a task.”

“Still, we do have somewhat of a test subject in you,” Hermione drawled. “Perhaps if I accessed the memories you had immediately after the episode I could determine how long this magic stays in a wizard’s system.”

“Once we determine that we could at least begin to narrow down a few curses and perhaps a few potions.”

“That’s what I am hoping for anyway,” Hermione replied. “In the meantime though, we should continue go through the memories of those who witnessed an episode. At the very least we can begin to deduce a pattern of who is affected and who is not. If we’re lucky their memories will render the victims’ accounts unnecessary.”

“Indeed,” Severus replied.

Hermione sighed. “I think we should quit for tonight.”

“Agreed,” Severus embraced her. “Now that we’re through, have I told you lately how beautifully intelligent you are?”

“You have,” Hermione purred. “That being said I never tire of hearing it.”

Severus brushed his lips against hers.

Behind them, the fireplace was aflame.

Severus tightened his grip on Hermione and growled. “Perhaps if we ignore it then our unwelcome guest will disappear.”

Hermione moaned. “Knowing our luck though, our visitor will have the key to resolving this whole crisis.”

“Indeed,” Severus conceded.

Together, they strolled towards the fireplace. Severus raised an eyebrow upon reaching his destination. “Headmaster Longbottom?”

“Oh good, I was afraid you might not be at home,” Headmaster Longbottom began. “I do apologize if I’ve interrupted anything.”

Severus’ stomach sank. “Is Rose well?”

Neville smiled. “She is doing quite well. The students are happy to see her, and I believe that despite her usual grumblings, she is happy to be back performing her duties.”

“She did not overexert herself, did she?”

“It did not appear so.”

“When was the last time you saw her?”

“An hour ago at dinner.”

“In other words, she could be doing rather poorly now and you would not know it.”

Hermione giggled.

Severus glanced at her and frowned.

“I’m sorry,” Hermione giggled. “It’s just, that nobody ever thought the big bad potions master would ever fret so much over his daughter’s safety.”

“Witch, I spent a fortune putting my daughter through the university. I simply want to ensure that my investment bears fruit.”

Hermione laughed harder. 

Severus shook his head and muttered, “I am glad to hear that Rose seems to be doing well.”

“Her improved health is not the only good news I have for you.”

“Oh?” Hermione caught her breath.

“Are you ready to catch?” Neville asked.

Hermione and Severus held out their arms.

Neville tossed something into the fireplace, which the couple caught. Severus examined the bag. “What is it?”

“Those are the memories from all the professors.”

“You did not need to give them to us until Wednesday.”

“Yes, but every professor, save Rose, has donated their memories.”

“All of them?”

“All of them.”

Hermione pressed the bag against her chest. “Please give them our sincerest thanks.”

“No,” Neville answered. “They all want to thank you for working to find a cure. We know how much we’ve already asked of you, and we thank you for your efforts.”

“Still, we are quite grateful.”

“Indeed we are.”

Neville hummed. “Sadly I cannot stay and chat for long. I just thought you should know that your daughter has finished teaching for the day. If you would like to chat with her she should be available.”

Severus’ bottom lip twitched.

“Thank you Neville,” Hermione replied with a warm expression.

“Indeed, you have our sincerest gratitude,” Severus added, his expression lighter.

The flames died.

Hermione glanced at Severus. “Would you like to resume our previous activities, or would you like to speak to Rose first?”

“Why don’t you clean up the penseive while I floo our daughter? Assuming she is as healthy as Neville claims,” there was a gleam in his eyes. “I would very much like to conclude our previous discussion.”

Hermione purred, “I very much look forward to it.”

Chapter Text

“For the last time, Dad, I do not need to go through the concussion protocol,” Rose grumbled.

“I beg to differ.” Severus replied. 

Sparks flew from Severus’ wand. They landed on the emerald carpet, creating a straight line. He pointed to it.

“It’s been a little over a week since I’ve returned to teaching. I assure you that I am well,” Rose protested.

Severus did not move his arm.

Rose groaned. She stepped onto the line and walked atop it. “I assure you that it is perfectly safe to extract my memories.”

He watched her every motion.

She reached the end of the line. “Are there any more tests you would like to administer?”

“No,” Severus replied. “You appear to be well.”

“Thank you,” Rose answered.

Severus relaxed. “Now, in addition to your memories of the attacks themselves, you claimed you were able to obtain an interview from one of the victims.”

Rose grinned. “I was.”

Severus gave her a half smile. 

Rose sat down in a leather, wingback chair. “Still, I should warn you who I interviewed.”

“Why would you feel the need to warn me about anything?”

“I do not want you to be taken off guard.”

“Why would I be taken off guard?”

Rose scratched the back of her neck. “The circumstances surrounding the interview were less than ideal.”

His stomach sank. “Please tell me you did not put yourself in danger.”

“No, I did not,” She replied.

Severus grabbed a vial from a nearby wooden work desk. “That is good to know.”

Rose pulled out her wand and aimed it at her temple.

He gestured towards the ground. She lowered the wand.

“Is there something in your memory which could put someone in danger?”

“No.”

“Then be forthcoming with me; who did you interview and what were the circumstances surrounding this interview?”

Rose took a deep breath. “I interviewed Arthur Weasley.”

Severus’ face was drained of any color. “You interviewed Ron Weasley?”

Rose’s expression was that of a child caught shoplifting a candy bar.

In a controlled voice, he asked, “Why in Merlin’s name would you allow Arthur Weasley near you, much less interview him?”

“I knew that the Weasleys were infected with the amnesia, and that they would not speak with you or Mum. It was only prudent to obtain information from them.”

“You are correct in believing that they will not speak to us, but would also be correct in believing that even if they did want to speak with us, we would not speak to them.”

“I know,” Rose cleared her throat. “I know this situation is not ideal, but I did what needed to be done.”

“No,” Severus replied. “We have enough information as it is. You did not need to put yourself at risk unnecessarily.”

“Arthur would not have physically harmed me.”

“I am not worried about him physically attacking you. I am worried about him putting ideas in your head.”

“I know he is untrustworthy.”

“Do you?”

“How could I not?”

“Let me ask you something,” Severus locked eyes with her. “Of all the victims you could have chosen to speak with, why him?”

“I knew he would not give you a memory, and I thought he may have a valuable piece of information you were overlooking.”

“Did he tell you anything which you knew would aid in our quest for a cure?”

“I do not know,” Rose admitted.

Severus crossed his arms over his chest.

“I do not have access to all the data you and Mum do. I cannot determine if his account will be useful or not,” she argued.

“Fair enough.”

The tension in Rose’s muscles eased.

“I cannot help but find it suspicious, though, that in the midst of doubting your paternity, you turn to Arthur Weasley to interview him.”

“I did not ask him anything about Ron’s actions, I swear.”

“Did you want to ask him any questions about Ronald?”

“No,” Rose insisted. 

Severus raised an eyebrow.

Rose lowered her head. “I mean, I will not lie, part of me wanted to ask him about the events surrounding my birth.”

“Why?” Severus asked in a quiet voice.

“I,” Rose turned away from him. “I thought if I saw for myself how crazed he was then I would drop the issue.”

“Did it work?” Severus asked.

"Not in the way I thought it would."

Severus hummed.

"I thought he would behave like an obsessive madman, but he was quite reasonable, at least for a Weasley."

"I see."

"Despite that, I have decided to drop the search into any potential connection to the Weasleys."

"You have?"

"Yes, I have." Rose looked up at him. “In all honesty, though, I did not make my decision to drop the search for my paternity because of Arthur.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. When I finished meeting with him, I returned home and considered a few things I had not before. From there I made my decision not to pursue my inquiry any further.”

“Why did you finally give up on trying to dig up the past?”

Rose slumped further into the chair. “Do you promise not to be upset with me if I tell you?”

“I promise,” Severus replied.

“It was that insipid soap opera.”

“The soap opera?”

“Indeed.”

“How could a soap opera determine your course of action?”

She took a deep breath. “As I watched it with Grandma, I realized how much trouble my paternity doubts could cause your marriage.”

“My marriage?”

Rose nodded. “I do not want to create a rift between you and Mum.” 

Severus rubbed his hands together.

“My questions concern a painful time in your life. Neither you nor Mum want to relive the months surrounding your separation. If I continue asking questions, if I continue this trivial pursuit, then there is a chance it would reopen old wounds. The last thing I would want is for you and Mum to begin arguing because of me. I should not cause trouble between you and her, especially not now.”

“Rose.” Severus put a hand on her shoulder. “I want you to listen to me.”

Rose swallowed.

“You could never be a hinderance to the happiness of my marriage.”

“But…”

“You are not a source of unhappiness for me or your mother.”

She closed her mouth.

“The events surrounding your conception do not upset me in the slightest. You have been such a joy that I have had no difficulty overlooking the past. I would strongly suggest you do the same.”

Tears filled her eyes.

“Oh Little One,” Severus embraced her. “You have been one of the greatest joys of my life. Nothing will ever change that fact.”

“I love you, Dad.”

“I love you too.”

They remained in the embrace for a few moments.

Severus released her. “It must have been difficult to remain in the room with Arthur without strangling him.”

“It was awkward at times, but not as awkward as knowing you and Mum are ill and you need me.” There was a flash of fear in her eyes. “Mum is taking this all in stride, correct?”

“Your mother is fine for the moment. I have seen no sign of her scars, nor has she so much as picked at her arm.

“So there’s still time.” 

“Indeed there is.”

Rose scratched her right arm. “Does she take her medication tonight?”

“She does.”

Rose bit her lower lip. “I hope she does not become too ill from it.”

“There is little we can do to help her at the moment, other than extract your memories.”

“No, there is not.”

Severus grinned. “It must have taken no small amount of cunning to persuade Arthur to have lunch with you.”

“I rewrote the letter at least four times.”

“How did you keep him focused on the topic at hand?”

“I made it clear that if he veered too far off course, I would leave immediately.”

“Was he able to stay focused?”

"For the most part, yes."

He kissed her forehead. “I knew there was a reason you were sorted into Slytherin.”

“I suppose so,” she replied.

Severus pulled out his vial. “Your memories are not getting any clearer. It is best to extract them while they are still vivid.”

“You are not upset with me?” Rose asked.

“No,” Severus answered. “I am grateful that you would go to such lengths to aid me.”

“How could I not help my own father?”

“It would have been quite easy.”

“No,” she replied. “I could never turn my back on you.”

He embraced her once more. 

I could not have asked for a more amazing eldest daughter. 

Chapter Text

Scorpius shook his head. “It wouldn’t kill you to be a little less like your father.”

Rose scowled as a student twirled by her. “My father is not wrong in this matter. This entire event is a waste of time.”

“It’s a dance, Rose, not another one of my Grandma Weasley's rants.”

“This Halloween dance is completely unnecessary, and I am at a loss as to why I must endure it.”

“You were the one who insisted on returning to work last week rather than rest at your grandparents' place.”

“I am beginning to reevaluate that decision.”

A few of the students meandered over to the nearby punch table. 

“I do not know why you are so opposed to dancing.” Scorpius took a sip of his punch. “You are an excellent dancer.”

“I am quite mediocre actually,” Rose replied. 

“No, you are quite proficient in dancing, and you know it," Scorpius answered.

“I am only proficient in comparison to you," She snorted. "Then again, anyone who can manage to take five steps without crushing their partner’s foot is a superior dancer to you.” 

"Fair enough," Scorpius muttered before snapping his fingers. The cup in his hand disappeared.

Soon, the final chords of the song faded in inaudibility. A few of the students grumbled while others began shouting out their requests for the next song.

“What time is it?” Rose asked.

“Not yet time to leave,” Scorpius replied.

In the front of the room, a fifth year Hufflepuff scrounged around the stack of records, searching for the perfect song. 

“I’ll tell you what, Rose,” Scorpius began. “If they play a slow song then you and I shall dance to it.”

Rose put her right hand on her wand and watched the DJ place a record on it. If I aim just right I will be able to speed up the record so it will not matter what he has selected.

The bass rumbled as the guitar chords filled the room. Scorpius glanced at Rose, but she frowned. He deflated.

Rose’s eyes fell on two students. “Melissa, Artemis.”

“Yes?” they asked.

“Tell your friends to come here and watch me.”

They stared at her.

“I have had the unfortunate displeasure of watching all of you flail about all night. That is simply unacceptable for next year’s Yule Ball.”

Scorpius grinned.

“But the Yule Ball is still two years away,” one of the girls argued. 

“Meaning you have precious little time to prepare.”

“Are you really going to give us dance lessons in the middle of the Halloween Party?”

“Can you think of a better time to do so?”

One of the girls shrugged. The other called out, “Bertha, Gertie, Athena…”

“What?” One of them called back.

She motioned for the friends to join her. “Professor Rose wants to prepare us for the Yule Ball.”

“But it’s still two years away.”

Scorpius whispered, “thank you,” into Rose’s ear.

She gave him a half smile.

 

***

Hermione raised her head from the pensieve. With a sigh, she walked over to her desk. She removed a quill from an ink pot and scribbled down two other names.

Once more she reviewed the list of names. Seventy of the members were aurors, thirty others had some type of criminal record, and one hundred twenty had not so much as gotten a broom flying violation. If the memories of those who witnessed their loved ones’ transformations were to be believed, on the night of the first attack fifty of the victims were reading a book, another fifty were in the course of their bedtime routine, ten had completed intercourse, and the other ninety had been engaging in various other activities. The second and third days contained similar statistics.

Perhaps it was time to see which houses they had belonged to…

Hermione slammed down the quill. Nobody’s cared much about house affiliation since the war. Why should it even come into play?

Then again, with her husband’s memory at stake, nothing could be ruled out.

Hermione read the list a third time. While many of the names were unfamiliar, she knew a fair amount of the victims. Gryffindors and Slytherins were represented with forty members apiece, there were thirty Ravenclaws and twenty Hufflepuffs. It was unclear which houses the others belonged to. Unless she was going to claim that Hufflepuffs were more likely to be immune to this epidemic-which she could not do with such limited data-she would need to go elsewhere for an answer.

“Do not tell me you are still working.”

Hermione turned to her husband. “I didn’t intend to work for long, but I wanted to test out a few of my theories.”

“Did any of them bear fruit?”

Her eyes said it all.”

“Perhaps Rose’s memory will reveal something,” Severus offered.

Hermione’s throat dried. “It might.”

“Yet…” 

“Yet I fear I am in no mood to see to Arthur Weasley at the moment.”

Severus approached her. “Then why don’t you cease working and celebrate with me?”

Hermione’s eyes glistened. “You remembered.”

He took his hands into his. “How could I ever forget?”

“I guess you couldn’t, but with everything going on, I figured my anniversary had fallen by the wayside,” Hermione replied.

“Yes, but twelve years of remission is something to be celebrated, not ignored.”

“I would hope so anyway.”

Severus kissed her cheek. “I made you a sausage pizza.”

Hermione threw her arms around him. “You are a wonderful wizard.”

“Actually I am a horrible git,” he replied. “Still, even the surliest gits has his occasional moments of romance.”

“Or so I’ve been told,” she whispered.

“Indeed.”

They allowed themselves to soak in the peace of the moment.

Hermione whispered. “So, should we go to the dining room?”

“We could,” Severus’ lips curled up. “Or we could play illicit rendezvous.”

Hermione giggled.

“Just think,” Severus purred. “There is a room in our mansion which appears identical to the home room in which our alleged affair began. I have a chilled resiling just waiting to be drunk…”

“This may be the year we finish it before it becomes warm,” she whispered.

“Perhaps,” he replied. 

“If we’re disciplined we can finish our pizza as well.”

“We could.” 

Hermione brushed her lips against his. “Shall we begin?”

She yelped as he picked her up. He rasped, “I’m ready when you are.”

Chapter Text

Molly stood in front the closed door. From inside she could her husband humming, but she could not decipher the tune. She raised her hand, but could not bring herself to knock on the door.

What is there to say? Every time I try to say something, he just brushes it off. There's hardly a point in uttering a word anymore. 

She lowered her arm and trudged towards the master bedroom. Once she stepped inside she reached into a drawer for her nightshirt. It may have been a little early for bed, but there was little else to do at this hour.

Green flames illuminated the room. She pulled out her nightshirt from the drawer.

“Mum?”

Molly set the clothing down. “Ronald?”

“Oh thank goodness you’re here,” Ron called. “I tried getting a hold of Percy, but he won’t answer his floo.”

Molly ran over to the floo. “Percy’s in the middle of a fundraiser right now, but if you want I can tell him you tried to floo.”

“No, I wanted to speak with you too.”

She examined her son. Even from the other side of the world she could tell the light in his eyes had died. 

“Ronniekins, what’s wrong?”

“Must you call me that, Mum?” 

“Yes. Now why did you call?”

Ron’s left eye twitched. “I uh, really just needed someone to talk to.”

Molly’s voice was less strident. “What do you need to talk about?”

Ron sighed and stepped out of view. A few moments later, he held up a jar.

“What is this?” Molly asked.

A tear came to Ron’s eyes. “It’s the remains of a Cleansweep Eleven.”

Molly gasped, “Is it the one that I gave you when you became a prefect?”

“No, thank goodness,” Ron replied. 

“I’m so happy to hear it,” Molly caught her breath. “Who would destroy a broom and give you the clippings though?” 

“It’s Gregorio and Raul,” Ron whined. “They wanted to show me what would happen to my broom collection if I did not give them forty thousand galleons by the end of this month.”

“Those brutes,” Molly whispered.

Ron burst into tears. “I don’t know what to do Mum. I keep telling them that I need more time to collect my funds, but they won’t listen.”

“Have you set aside any money to give them?”

“I mean, I could give them ten thousand galleons right now, and I know a lady who may be willing to loan me another ten thousand, but they’ll demand more.”

“I wish your father and I could help, but we don’t have twenty thousand galleons lying around.”

“I know,” Ron sobbed. 

“I’d tell you to contact your sister, but she’s too busy betraying this family to give a thought to any of us."

"I thought Percy was joking when he said Draco was his opponent."

"No, he was not. Draco is trying to become Minister of Magic, and your sister fully supports him without a second thought to how her actions are affecting us."

“How can she stay married to that bastard?”

“Who knows?”

“She’d probably help me if her husband didn’t hate me so much.”

“She’d probably do a lot of things if she’d ever develop enough of a spine to leave her husband and remember who her real family is.”

“She would.”

“In the meantime,” Molly continued. “I don’t have any money, Draco won’t allow Ginny to donate to you, and if Percy gave you money it could create a political scandal.”

“I know,” there was a spark in Ron's eyes. “What about George?”

Molly answered, “He’s just now got his store making a profit again. I don’t think he has enough discretionary income to loan you any money.”

“Bill?”

“He’s trying to put Louis through the university.”

“And Charlie is broke again too.”

“He is.”

Ron’s lower lip quivered. “I tried not to gamble, I really did.”

“Oh honey,” Molly replied. “We all make mistakes.”

Rom whimpered, “But this is a pretty big one.”

“We’ll find a way to fix this,” Molly promised. “Even if it involves selling off some of your brooms.”

“No,” Ron whined.

“Yes,” Molly snapped. “There is a very real possibility that you will need to sell some of your brooms to repay these men.”

“But it took my years to collect all my brooms.”

“And it took me years to raise you!”

His mouth hung open.

“Damnit Ron, those brooms are not worth your life. If they want a few of your brooms in exchange for your kneecaps then you need to part with some pieces of your collection.”  

“I,” Ron hung his head. “If I cannot think of something, I’ll give them a few of my brooms. I have a couple of weeks though. I’m sure I can think of something.”

“You’re a very resourceful man,” Molly gave him a half grin. “You will think of a way to persevere.”

“I know,” Ron answered.

“In the meantime,” Molly continued. “How has your team been doing?”

“As of late, things have been great,” Ron laughed. “We beat Argentina, and are heavily favored to beat Brazil.”

“I am so glad to hear that,” Molly answered with misty eyes.

Somehow, someway, she was going to ensure that Ronald lived a long and happy life.

 

***

“It is very nutritious.”

“Yet…”

Severus scowled and stalked from the cauldron. “But we’ve only succeeded in creating an energy drink without the side effect of a crash.”

Rose did not remove her eyes from the concoction. “Are you certain that it will not absorb the dark magic properly? Perhaps it needs more time.”

“Cast another hex into if you must, but the curse will merely bounce off.”

Rose waved her hand. Severus muttered, “protego.” A shield formed around him.

She cast her own protege before aiming her wand at the cauldron. “Acesta-ex.”

A beam of purple light radiated from her wand. It hit the potion before bouncing onto the wall, where it dissipated.

Rose hung her head.

“I am sorry it did not work.”

“No, we are missing something.” 

“Yes, we are missing a patent for an energy drink,” Severus replied. 

“No, I mean our calculations are perfect. Every ingredient reacted with each other exactly as they should. I cannot think of another thing we could have done differently,” Rose replied. “Why won’t this treat cancerous dark magic?”

Madame Serpent hissed and raised her head.

“That is a question better saved for the next time we meet,” he paused. “Assuming there is a next time.”

Rose looked into his eyes. “Mum and you will find a cure to your episodes.”

“I know she will eventually solve the mystery of what ails me, but I am not confident she can do it before the next full moon.” 

“You have four days.”

“That is not much time.”

“No, I suppose it is not. Yet…”

Severus’ expression warned her not to continue. 

“I appreciate your optimism,” Severus replied. “Yet your mother is becoming too stressed from her research. She needs to relax.”

“She isn’t scratching her arm, is she?”

“No, but it may only be a matter of time before she does.”

Rose released the breath she’d been holding.

“In the meantime-and I do not mean this sarcastically-your Mum will be pleased to know that you’ve created such a successful energy drink,” he concluded.

She shrugged. “I suppose an energy drink without a crash or any other harmful side effect is something to be celebrated.”

“Indeed it is,” he replied.

Rose shifted her eyes to the ground. “I only wish I could do more for you and Mum.”

Severus lifted up her chin. “You have given your mother hope that even if she perishes, her death will inspire you to continue fighting for those afflicted by dark magic. For that alone, she is grateful.”

“It doesn’t feel like enough though.”

“Yet for the moment, it needs to be.”

“Perhaps.”

Only the sound of Madame Serpent’s hissing could be heard.

Severus cleared his throat. “I believe there is only one thing left to do.”

“Bottle our latest creation?” Rose answered.

“True, we must do that as well,” Severus strolled over towards the vials. “Once we complete that task though, you must help me sharpen my Gobstones skills.”

Rose smirked. “How many times has Mum recently defeated you?”

“She beat me three times in a row last week,” Severus scowled. 

Rose’s smirk grew.

Under his breath he muttered, “That is the last time I offer to help her decompress with a friendly game.”

“I am unclear as to why you would turn to me though, considering that I can easily defeat her.”

“Yes, but I taught you how to play the game. There is not a strategy you could use of which I am not aware.”

“True.” 

Severus gave her a peck on the cheek. “After a few games I suspect we will both feel much better than we do at the moment.” 

“Agreed,” Rose answered.

In silence, they grabbed the vials and began bottling their newest creation.

Chapter Text

To All Hogwarts Professors,

First and foremost, thank you for donating your memories of the auror attacks. Thanks to your generosity, the researchers have been able to identify many of the amnesiac victims. Once all the victims are identified, the researchers hope to discover a commonality amongst them, which will hopefully lead to a cure.

The most recent theory put forth by the researchers is that these episodes are caused in part by exposure to the full moon. In two nights, a full moon will be upon us. Thus I feel it is necessary to have in writing the safety procedures we discussed during our last staff meeting.

As of tomorrow, there will be an 8:00 PM curfew for all students; no exceptions. No student will be permitted to leave their quarters until 8:00 AM. All professors are expected to be on standby. Professors Malfoy and Sinistra will keep guard at the front door. If there is an attempted breach they will send out a signal. I have no doubt that all of you will respond appropriately to it.

Although these are trying times for Hogwarts, I have every confidence that we will come through stronger and more united than ever. Thank you again for all the work you have done for our students, both inside and outside the classroom. If you have any questions or concerns please see me. Otherwise I will keep you updated on any and all new information I receive.

Best Regards,

Headmaster Neville Longbottom

 

***

Percy stared out at the window, a scowl etched onto his face. He swished his lowball glass, unleashing the aroma of his firewhiskey. After inhaling the spicy scent, he took a sip.

“Uh Sir?”

Percy remained rooted in place. 

“Barnabas Cuffe is here to see you. He wants to know if you have any comment for the upcoming full moon.”

Percy held up his hand.

Michael muttered, “Mr. Weasley has no comment at this time.”

“How can he have no comment?” Barnabas snapped.

Percy sniffed the firewhiskey again.

Michael yelped as he was pushed aside. “How can you not have a comment at a time like this?”

Percy said nothing.

“Surely you have something to say.” Barnabas stomped into the room. “Have you not read the latest newsletter Malfoy put out?”

Percy waved his hand down. 

“Don’t you want to at least respond to it? I mean, how could you stay silent in the face of,” Barnabas unfurled a parchment. “‘Once again the Ministry has no plans to protect you. The full moon is approaching, yet they remain silent. This is unacceptable.’”

Percy tilted his head up.

“Well, he’s damn right that your silence is unacceptable. We cannot afford any more bad publicity.”

Percy took another sip of his drink.

“You’re losing ground in the polls, and The Daily Prophet is losing credibility. Something needs to be said. Now!”

Percy turned his head. “I do not want to release a statement until I am absolutely sure that Malfoy is correct in correlating the episodes to the full moon.”

Barnabas crossed his arms over his chest.

Percy continued, “If I release a statement now discussing my fears that another episode will occur during the full moon, and no such episode occurs, then the Ministry will appear alarmist…”

“Whereas if nothing happens it will appear as if this was a false alarm.”

Percy grinned.

Michael shut the door, “And if you wait until after the full moon passes you will have a better idea of what you’re dealing with.”

Percy replied. “Exactly.”

“It’s a pretty big gamble though,” Barnabas warned. “If there is another outbreak then it will appear as if the Ministry was taken off-guard again.”

“It would only appear that way if we had no plan in place to deal with the amnesiacs,” Percy replied.

Barnabas’ eyes grew. “You have a plan?”

Percy nodded.

“Would you care to enlighten us as to what this plan consists of?”

“Only if it is done so off the record.”

Barnabas furrowed his brows before shrugging. “Fine, what is your plan?”

The light in Percy's eyes sent chills down the other men's spines.

***

How am I going to convince an amnesiac Dad that I am Mum?

Rose licked her lips. Perhaps Dad will not have an episode. Even if he does, there is no guarantee that he will come to my quarters. Perhaps he will stay home, and Mum will handle the entire situation. There may be no reason to convince him that I am Mum in order to keep him calm.

Then again, when have I ever been that lucky?

Rose flipped through the pages of her mother’s old yearbook. There was too much to learn, too much to absorb in two days time. Yet if she did not learn every bit of information, then her amnesiac father would see through her ruse. If he saw through her....

She took a deep breath and cleared her mind. Once her muscles were relaxed she could hear her father’s voice echoing in her mind:

“The best occlumens can convince a legilimens of anything. They can create any false memory and display it as vividly as if it had occurred yesterday. Once you are able to accomplish this, Little Rose, you will have become a great occlumen.”

Questions soon barraged her brain.

How can I persuade one of the most powerful legilimens alive that not only am I Mum, but that I am also a terrible occlumens? None of the memories I need to access were witnessed by me, and I am positive that I am getting more than a few details incorrect. Dad is a brilliant man. If I make even one mistake he will pick up on it. 

Rose turned the page. Hermione twirled around on a dance floor with some Quidditch player whose name Rose could no remember for the life of her.

How can I display a memory correctly if I cannot remember the names of those involved?

In the corner of the photograph, Ron pouted. 

Rose’s stomach churned. What did Mum seen in that arse?

I’ve only seen Mum in love with Dad. She has not said one kind thing concerning Ronald. How can I convince Dad that I, as Mum, am falling in love with Ronald when I cannot picture his face without becoming nauseous? Better question: how can I convince him that I am dating a man whose name I cannot remember?

In the next page, Severus was scowling as two other dancers twirled before him. Hermione paid him no heed.

As a student, Mum had never degraded Dad like others did. Still, she did not have a schoolgirl crush on him either. How can I convince him that I see him as only a professor when I know the opposite is true?

Rose buried her face in her hands.

With everything inside of her, she prayed Dad was not going to develop another episode. If he did…what would become of their family?

Chapter Text

“I do not want you here.”

“I am here whether you like it or not.”

Stars were replacing the last rays of the sun. There was not a cloud in the sky. Within five minutes, the full moon would appear.

Yet Hermione continued to sit on the bed beside him.

“There is not much time, but if you hurry you may be able to obtain your mother’s cell phone and record my transformation,” Severus asked.

“Where should I place the camera?” Hermione responded.

Severus sighed. “I cannot think of a place where it would capture my transformation perfectly, yet remain obscured.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Hermione answered.

Severus’ throat constricted. “Still, I do not want to hurt you.”

Hermione placed her hand over his. “I can survive whatever insults you throw at me.”

“Insults are not my only fear,” he replied. “During my last episode you claimed I was quite agitated with you.”

“You were,” she admitted.

“What if I consider you my enemy?” Severus released her hand. “What if, in the name of self-defense, I hex you?” 

“You won’t hex me.”

“How can you be certain of that?”

“If you were going to attack me you would have done so at St. Mungo’s, but you did not so much as squeeze my wrist too tightly.”

“Fair enough.”

Hermione stroked his cheek. “You won’t hurt me.”

“I pray you are right,” he whispered.

The room grew darker.

“What if this transformation destroys our relationship?” Severus asked.

Hermione whispered, “Excuse me?”

“What if this time I do not regain my senses once the dawn arrives?” Severus asked. “What will become of you and the children then?”

“You will find your way back to me, unless,” Hermione shook. “Unless there is someone else you would run to.”

Severus kissed her lips. “Before my debt to Lily was repaid, I did not allow myself to love. After the War, you were the only woman I found worthy of my affections.”

Her lips curled upwards.

“You will never need to compete with a woman for my heart. If my amnesiac self understood who you were and how much you love me, then he would love you as well.”

“Perhaps he could fall in love with me.”

“Perhaps,” Severus answered. “Still, I do not know what will become of the children. I cannot imagine the pain they will feel knowing their father is alive yet has no memory of them.”

“They will fight for you,” Hermione replied. “We all will.”

“You need to dedicate your life to finding happiness, not to chasing a man who does not remember loving you.”

“Can’t you see that you are the man who makes me happy?” 

“I suppose you do seem content enough with me in your life.”

“I am more than content, and you know it.”

A moonbeam crept into the room.

He kissed her on the cheek. “I love you, Hermione.”

“I love you too, Severus.”

The moon illuminated their bedroom.

Hermione watched the light soften Severus’ features. Then the shadows overtook him. His brow furrowed, and his mouth twisted up into a snarl. Even his clothes were darker.

It was almost reminiscent of…

Hermione gasped.

“What are you doing here?” Snape snapped.

She shook.

“Why are you not in Azkaban?” Snape demanded.

“I,” she maintained eye contact with him. “I was released on a technicality.”

He snorted. “Why am I not surprised?”

Tears filled Hermione’s eyes. "I don't know."

"I ask you again, 'what are you doing here?'"

"You wanted me to stay with you."

"Excuse me?"

A single teardrop fell from her eye. "You wanted me beside you."

“Why would I want you here?"

"I told you earlier, but you wouldn't believe me."

"Oh yes, apparently we are espoused."

She nodded.

He huffed.

“I am sorry you are so confused at the moment. I truly wish I could help you," Hermione croaked.

“I am not confused, but you seem to be," Severus snapped.

“No, I am not confused."

"Then why are you staring like that?"

"Because I'm contemplating something."

He raised an eyebrow. “What exactly are you contemplating?”

“Are you truly interested?” She asked.

“I would not have asked you the question if I had no interest in an answer.”

“I was thinking of an illness which may have no cure.”

“How unfortunate that this illness is incurable.”

“Indeed.”

Severus shifted his focus to a photograph on the wall. His expression softened. 

Hermione turned around and took note of the photo. A smile graced her face. “Do you remember that picture?”

“How can I remember an event I had no part in?” He answered.

Hermione watched the Severus in the photograph scoop her into his arms.

Snape barked, “I do not know what kind of sorcery you have cast, but it will all end tonight. I am leaving this mansion and never returning.”

Hermione pointed to the floo. “Go ahead and leave. I will not stop you.”

Snape blinked.

There was a light in her eyes. “If you would like to stay though, I could use your help with a very important research project.”

Snape’s expression hardened. “Conduct your own research. You will never see me again.”

“Yes, I will,” Hermione answered.

He stopped dead in his tracks.

“We will see each other again,” she repeated. “I am certain of that.”

Robes billowing behind him, Severus strolled towards the floo. He grabbed the powder and called out, “Hogwarts.” Then, he disappeared into the flames.

Once Severus had vanished, Hermione released the tears she’d suppressed. Only one question raced through her mind.

Did we do this to you, Severus?

Chapter Text

They were coming.

If Scorpius had to guess, there were over fifty aurors marching onto Hogwarts, all of whom were brandishing their wands. Flanking them was a legion of giggling civilians. Half of them were wearing Quidditch uniforms while the other half were wearing the jerseys of their favorite players. Upon reaching Hogwarts, the citizens took to the skies while the aurors stood at attention.

One of the stepped out from the crowd and knocked on the door. 

In silence, Scorpius pulled out his wand and gave the signal.

The auror knocked again.

Scorpius looked behind him. Professor Sinistra grasped her wand and aimed in at the door.

The lead auror cast a sonoros and bellowed, “Is there anybody in there?”

No answer.

An orange beam emanated from his wand and slammed into the door. It dissipated upon contact.

“Open the door!”

Scorpius gripped his wand more tightly.

“Open the door and tell us where Severus Snape is located!”

Scorpius glanced at Sinistra. She took a deep breath and braced herself.

“Snape isn’ here right now. Yeh need to come back later.”

“Thank Merlin for Hagrid,” Sinistra whispered.

Scorpius nodded, but did not lower his wand.

“We need to speak with him concerning the death of Albus Dumbledore,” the lead auror replied.

“Now look Kingsley,” Hagrid replied. “I know yeh are confused….”

“I’m not confused about anything,” he interrupted. “I am perfectly clear on the fact that Snape killed Dumbledore.”

“Now let’s not make accusations we can’t back up.”

“We have several witnesses who pinpoint him as the killer.”

Hagrid said nothing.

“Now tell us, where is Professor Snape.”

“Snape isn’ here now.”

“Then where is he?” 

“Have yeh tried goin’ to Spinner’s End?”

There was silence for a moment.

“I imagine he wen’ there.”

“Where is Spinner’s End?”

“I don’ know.”

“If you don’t know where Spinner’s End is, then why did you say he went there?”

“Because that’s his home.”

There was another pause.

“Thank you for your help Hagrid. You’ve done the Wizarding World a great service.”

“It was a pleasure servin’ yeh.”

Scorpius poked his head out of the window. The aurors had turned around and were strolling into the night.

“Kingsley?”

They stopped.

“Yes?” Kingsley replied.

“If yeh fin’ Snape, please let me see ‘im. There are a few things I need to say to ‘im.”

“As soon as we finish interrogating him, you will be free to say whatever you’d like to him.”

“Thank you.”

They continued their trek into the night.

Scorpius lowered his head and asked Sinistra, “Did the aurors really come for Uncle Severus immediately after Dumbledore’s death?”

“They attempted to interrogate him,” she replied. “But when it was clear that Voldemort was in charge and that they could not take him into custody, they dropped their investigation. After the war…well, let’s just say that the memories went a long way in exonerating him.”

Hagrid knocked on the front door. Scorpius jumped. Professor Sinistra allowed the giant to enter. 

Hagrid strutted into the school. “That oughta keep them occupied for the fereseeable future.”

“Do you think they’ll return tonight?” Scorpius asked as he closed the door behind Hagrid.

Hagrid sighed. “I wish I knew.”

The roar of the crowd echoed throughout the school yard.

“Right now though, we should probably git those Quidditch players off of the field,” Hagrid suggested.

“Agreed,” Sinistra replied. “Scorpius, please stay here. I’ll find some backup for you, in case the aurors return.”

“Sure,” Scorpius replied.

With that, Sinistra and Hagrid raced down the hallway. 

***

Green flames erupted from the fireplace. Madame Serpent hissed and spread out her hood. Rose sat up in the chair, her occlumency shields raised.

Please let me be convincing.

Severus Snape appeared. He examined his surroundings, his scowl growing deeper with each passing second. 

Why has my furniture been taken away? I could never afford a chair made of such fine leather. Why is the coffee table not scratched? When did I start stockpiling books on top of it?

He crossed his arms at the thought of spending the rest of the night reorganizing the room.

Madame Serpent hissed.

A chill ran down Snape’s spine. Why on earth would I keep a king cobra in my quarters? Why would anyone allow that thing near the students?

“Professor Snape?” Rose began in the weakest voice she could muster.

Snape snapped his head towards her. Of course Hermione would come early for her occlumency lesson. Insufferable know-it-all.

It was not until he got a good look at her in the glow of the fireplace that he realized how much older than her years she appeared. Her body was much more developed than that of her peers, and her uniform appeared to be a half size too small. Then again, she had been using a time turner. Perhaps that is why she appeared to have aged a decade within the span of a summer.

“I’m ready for my occlumency lesson,” she continued.

Snape huffed. Why did the job of babysitting the Golden Trio always fall to him?

“Sir?”

“I heard you,” he growled. 

She swallowed.

“Was there a particular reason that you broke into my living quarters to have said lesson?”

“You were not in the classroom, and I thought we’d be more comfortable here.”

“Comfortable?” Snape snapped. “Do you believe that fighting the Dark Lord will be comfortable in any way?”

Before the girl could respond, Severus invaded her mind. Within moments he discovered memories of her speaking with Potter and her playing with her parents. They may have been fuzzier than he expected, almost as if she was trying to recall the events herself. The fact remained though, her mind was an open book.

Satisfied that he’d gotten his point across, he exited her mind.

“Tell me, was that comfortable?” Snape asked.

She rubbed her forehead. “No.”

“Then stop blabbering on about comfort and come into the classroom, the appropriate venue for teaching occlumency,” Snape replied.

She followed him without protest.

Snape pointed to a chair behind a table. She sat down.

“First and foremost,” Snape began. “You need to clear your mind of all emotions.”

“Yes Professor,” she replied.

From the look in her eyes, it was clear that she was far from emotionless.

“You need to suppress your emotions in order to perform this properly.”

“I am trying to do just that.”

“We will see how well you have succeeded.”

Once again, Snape entered her mind. This time, he was able to obtain a few memories concerning her being rescued from a troll. Then he noted another memory of her on the beach as a child. The faces of her parents were blurred, but there was something eerily familiar about them.

“I see your point,” she shouted. “This is not comfortable and I need to clear my mind of emotions.”

How could she yell during a lesson? Only the strongest occlumens could retained enough consciousness to speak during legilimency.

What the hell was going on?

Snape left her mind. “Now do you understand the dangers of showing your emotions?”

“I do,” she replied.

“Good,” Snape answered. “When you occlude, remember that emotions are for the weak. Only fools allow others to know their true feelings on a matter.”

“I will keep that in mind," she promised.

“I’m sure you will,” Snape mumbled. 

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, he reentered her mind.

As expected, he recovered a few memories of her studying in the library, and of Harry’s less than stellar table manners. Still, there was a particular one he honed in on.

A girl of about eight was sitting at the table. She watched as a man brushed his lips against those of a woman.

“Daddy, why do you always kiss Mummy?”

The father smiled. “If you ever love a person even half as much as I love your mother, then you will understand why I kiss her constantly.”

Why does this father’s voice sound so familiar?

“Perhaps,” the girl replied. “Still, what about de-de..."

"Decorum," the mother offered.

"Yes, decorum," the child answered. "You said it was improper for people to kiss in public, yet you always kiss Mum.”

“Decorum is only for when you are out amongst others,” the father’s low voice rumbled. “At home the rules are much more lax.”

Once again, the father kissed the mother’s lips.

Severus focused in on the parents’ face. Where have I seen them before?

They looked right at him. Severus’ heart almost stopped.

 Why were he and that woman kissing each other as if they were a married couple? Why did he appear to be so in love with her?

Better question: how did Hermione Granger know about them? Why was she calling him Dad?

What the hell was going on?

Snape exited her mind as quickly as possible.

“Professor Snape?” she asked.

His voice was low as thunder. “Get out.”

“But our lesson…”

“Get out of my classroom!”

She darted outside.

Snape bowed his head and groaned.

Why could he not escape that woman? 

Chapter Text

“I mucked everything up.”

Scorpius leaned his back against the front window. “I’m certain you did not muck anything up.” 

“Have you not been listening to a thing I’ve been saying? I have ruined everything. I thought I could keep my occlumency shields up. I thought the false memories would be enough to appease him.” Rose let out a sigh. “I was wrong.”

“Perhaps the damage is not as extensive as you believe it to be,” Scorpius replied. “Perhaps your dad went to bed and won't wake up until morning.”

“That is not how Dad operates. If he is confused he will do whatever it takes to gain some clarity,” Rose's voice decrescendoed. “It’s only a matter of time before curiosity gets the best of him and he leaves the dungeons. When that happens…”

Scorpius hugged her and whispered, “We will deal with that if it comes.”

Rose’s throat constricted. “I do not want to be responsible for Dad becoming injured, especially when he would be in no danger had I handled the situation differently.”

“No matter what happens, you won’t be responsible for him being injured."

"But I was the one who failed him."

"No, you tried to protect him as best you could, but he wouldn't cooperate." Scorpius let her go. “If he leaves the dungeons then whatever happens is his responsibility, not yours.”

“How can I look Mum in the eyes and tell her that Dad is injured because I could not sustain my occlumecy shields?”

“You will look her in the eyes and tell her that your dad was persistent. Then you will tell her that you had students to guard, so you could not watch over him the entire night.” 

"That is fairly close to the truth anyway.”

“That Quidditch game was some good fun.”

Scorpius’ eyes grew as his heart slowed. 

Rose scowled. Of course the Weasleys would arrive.

“I agree Charlie, but we need to find your brother soon,” Arthur continued. “It isn’t like him to miss a game. If he needs our help, then I need to know now.”

“I doubt he’s in any trouble.” Charlie smirked. “I believe he and Lavender have snuck off somewhere.”

Scorpius ducked out of the window’s view.

Bill huffed. “More like him and Hermione.”

Rose gagged.

“Well, that whole poisoning incident does seem to have brought them closer,” Arthur mused.

Bile ran up Rose's throat.

Arthur cast a sonoros. “Excuse me.”

Rose took a deep breath. Just think about Dad, and what he needs right now. You can do this if you just focus on protecting Mum and Dad.

“Excuse me. Could you please lower the wards so we can enter?”

Rose cast her own sonoros. “I am afraid that will not be possible.”

Bill squinted. “Hermione?”

Scorpius raised himself but Rose put a hand on his head before he could peek out of the window. 

“Hermione, is that you?” Bill asked.

Scorpius lowered himself.

“Yes, it is,” Rose responded.

Charlie asked, “Why are you dressed like Professor Snape?”

“Because I find his wardrobe to be quite fashionable.”

The Weasleys burst out laughing.

Rose's snarl could have frozen blood. Within seconds the Weasleys quieted themselves. 

“Hermione,” Arthur began. “Could you please tell us where Ron is?”

“He’s in his bedroom,” Rose answered.

“Why is he in there and not at the game?” Arthur asked.

“Because he is being punished for a multitude of serious infractions.”

“What would those be?”

“Ron was caught trying to cheat by looking off my test, he exploded his cauldron, he frightened a baby unicorn, and he’s a real ginger git.”

Scorpius choked back his laughter.

"Someone sure is in a foul mood," Charlie noted.

"Indeed I am," Rose muttered.

“Can you at least tell us how he’s doing?” Arthur asked.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have not seen him all night.

Arthur exhaled. “I had really hoped you two had gotten through your issues.”

“Well, we did not get over our issues, and I doubt we ever will,” Rose replied.

“Hermione, please don’t be this way,” Arthur answered.

“I will be however I bloody well please," Rose answered.

Scorpius covered his mouth, but a few chuckles still escaped.

"Hermione, please be reasonable."

"Tell your son to be reasonable, and then I will be as well."

Silence filled the air.

“Look, you know where Ron is, and why he wasn’t at your game," Rose concluded. "Goodbye and good night.”

Charlie shouted, “I take it you don’t want to have lunch at the Burrow anytime soon then.” 

Rose called, “I would rather dice my own liver than eat with you.”

Scorpius giggled.

“What on earth has gotten into you?” Bill answered.

“Dad! Bill! Charlie!”

All eyes fell on the man approaching the castle.

“Oh thank goodness I found you,” he panted.

“Percy,” Arthur’s eyes softened. “It is so great to see you again.”

Bill crossed his arms over his chest while Charlie glowered at his brother.

Rose gestured for Scorpius to look out the window. He took a deep breath and poked up his head.

“It is great to see you as well, Dad,” Percy replied.

Arthur outstretched his arms. Percy rushed into them.

“What do you want?” Bill demanded.

“Why,” Percy released his father. “I want us to spend time together.”

“So you can convince us to remain loyal to the Ministry?” Bill snapped.

“It would not kill you to show a bit of gratitude for all the Ministry has done.”

“Go to hell!” Charlie shouted.

“Now, now,” Percy’s voice was smooth. “Let’s not be hostile.”

“Not be hostile?” Charlie spat. “Why should we treat you with any degree of civility? You haven’t so much as responded to the news of Bill and Fleur’s engagement.”

“You and Fleur got engaged?” Percy gasped.

“Yes,” Bill answered, “And we sent you an invitation to the wedding.”

“Oh my,” Percy replied. “It must have gotten lost in the mail.”

“Sure it did,” Bill grumbled.

“Wow, you’re engaged,” Percy breathed. “You know what must done then?”

“You give them a proper response before buggering off?” Charlie answered.

“No,” Percy put his arms over Bill and Charlie’s shoulders. “We need to celebrate.”

Bill pushed his brother off of them. “Why on earth should we celebrate anything with you?”

“Because,” Percy bowed his head and lowered his voice. “Because I have missed all of you so terribly. I, I am so sorry that things have become so tense between us.”

Bill bit his lower lip while Charlie tapped his foot.

“I should not have allowed my career to come between my family and me. If, if you could find it in your hearts to forgive me-oh if you would only forgive me I would be the happiest man on earth," Percy replied.

A tense silence follows.

“Well, I for one forgive you,” Arthur answered.

From the corner of Rose’s eyes, she could see Scorpius turning rouge.

“I know I cannot properly make up for all of our lost time, but please,” Percy began. “Please accept my proposed celebration as a first step towards reconciliation.”

Arthur’s eyes were agleam. “I would love that.”

They turned to Charlie and Bill.

Bill put his hands behind his back. “I forgive you, Percy.”

Charlie grunted. “I will tolerate you again.”

“Oh thank you!” Percy exclaimed before pulling out a chess pawn. “Now, let’s waste no more time dwelling on the past. This portkey will take us to The Three Broomsticks. We will have a bachelor party like no other.”

He held it out. Arthur put a hand on it. After a few moments hesitation, Bill and Charlie did likewise.

With a CRACK they disappeared.

Scorpius stood up. He was shaking.

“So, they’ll forgive Percy for betraying the family just like,” he snapped his fingers. “Yet they’ll never forgive Mum for marrying a man who treats her well? H-how can they live with their hypocrisy?”

“I do not know,” Rose mumbled.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I know who Grandpa can be, especially when Grandma gets her say. But to see it, to actually see him forgive someone who hurt them so deeply when Mum doesn’t get a moment’s peace from them…”

“Do you truly believe they went to the Three Broomsticks?”

“Why should I care where they went?”

“I suppose you should not. Still, all of this seems odd.”

“How so?”

“Do you not think Percy appearance was more than a little convenient?” Rose asked.

“What do you mean?” Scorpius drawled.

“Why would Percy take three amnesiacs to a bar, especially given the outcry that he and the Ministry are not doing enough to resolve the amnesia crisis?” Rose asked.

“I,” the color drained from Scorpius’ face. “I don’t know.”

“Neither do I,” Rose replied. “But I have a feeling that we need to find out exactly what just happened.”

 

***

How could Hermione know about the woman?

Snape lay down on the bed which was barely long enough for him. He stared at the cracks on the ceiling. No matter how firm his resolve not to dwell on the woman was, every time he closed his eyes he saw her face. He could felt her lips brushing against his, her arms wrapped around his torso, and her hands combing through his hair.

Severus rolled over and buried his face into the pillow. This woman was dangerous. She was distracting him from his mission, which could put the entire Wizarding World in jeopardy. 

Screw the world! What about his emotional well-being?

If he did not stop dwelling on the woman, then he would betray Lily’s memory. There was only one woman who had captured his heart, and it was not the woman who was proving to be a diversion.

What was this woman thinking pursuing him, anyway? Severus Snape did not deserve happiness, especially with someone as beautiful as her. Why could she not see that?

Better question: why was she so beautiful to him?

A few meters away, the cobra hissed. Snape gave it a pointed glare. The snake gave him one last look at him before turning its head in another direction.

As soon as Snape was able, he was getting rid of the snake.

Snape closed his eyes. Perhaps if he focused on rehousing the blasted snake his mind would be clear of her.

How could Hermione know about her? Why did Hermione resemble her? What could this woman possibly see in a git like him?

Perhaps the most pertinent question of all: why did he feel as if he was already in love with the woman?

Chapter Text

Severus gazed at his sleeping wife, a thousand thoughts racing through his mind.  Did I say something atrocious to her last night, or was I wise enough to keep my mouth shut? Does she still view me as her beloved husband, or am I becoming a monster to her? When all this has concluded, is there any way I could show her how grateful I am that she remains in my life?

Hermione rolled over.

Severus swallowed and threw on his nightshirt

It would be too cruel to sneak off into the library without at least giving her a proper greeting. Even if she is hurt by my actions, she deserves to know that my memories have returned, and that I am available, should she want me.

He slid onto his place of the bed.

“S-Severus?” Hermione breathed.

“Yes, love?” he whispered.

She moved closer to him. Her lips curled up into a half smile. “I was wondering when you would return.”

“I am here now.”

“Hmmm.”

Severus kissed her cheek.

Hermione pried open her eyes. “Severus, we need to talk.”

His stomach dropped. “What do you wish to talk about?”

“I did some research which will be of interest to you,” she yawned.

Severus stroked her hair. “Can it wait until later in the morning?”

“I honestly don’t know.” Her eyes drooped closed. 

“You need some sleep.”

“No, no I need to tell you about my conclusions.”

He wrapped his arms around her. “Later in the morning, you may tell me anything.”

“No, I mean, what time is it now?” She asked.

He kissed her forehead. “It is a little after the dawn.”

“Then I need,” she opened her eyes. “I need to speak with you.”

"You need to sleep."

“But, I did some research.” She yawned again. “You need to understand my research.”

“Am I going to perish within the next five minutes if I do not hear your conclusions?” he asked.

“You won’t,” she admitted as she closed her eyes.

“Then let’s wait until you are more conscious to discuss this,” Severus suggested.

Hermione buried her head into Severus’ nightshirt.

“Severus?”

“Yes?”

“I’m glad you returned home safely.”

Severus pulled her closer. “As am I.”

He watched as her breathing slowed. His eyes fell upon her arm.

She had been scratching at it again.

 

***

I shouldn’t care about them.

Scorpius allowed the floo powder to sift through his fingers. The fireplace was as cold as the November morning.

After everything Grandfather put Mum through, I cannot believe he would forgive Percy so easily. You’d swear my uncle’s only crime was littering. What gives Grandfather the right to refuse to forgive Mum for marrying a man who adores her, yet he can forgive Uncle Percy for abandoning him?

I really shouldn’t care where Percy took them.

Still, it is Mum’s family. She deserves to know what Percy has done, if only for her own curiosity's sake. For all I know, this information could aid in Dad’s campaign, or it could cause unnecessary drama. I suppose there's only one way to know how Percy's actions will affect Mum...

Scorpius threw the powder into the fireplace and called, “Malfoy Manor.” 

The orange flames crackled. Within a few moments, they became azure.

“Scorpius?”

“Hello Orion. Are Mum and Dad awake?”

The boy grinned. “Maybe.”

Scorpius frowned. 

“Maybe not. I don’t want to say.”

“Orion, this is no time for playing games. I need to speak to them as soon as possible.”

“Why?”

“Because someone may be doing some bad things, and that person may need to be stopped.”

Orion gasped. “Did someone attack Hogwarts again?”

“Someone tried to, but they were stopped,” Scorpius replied.

“Well, that’s good,” Orion answered.

“Indeed it is,” Scorpius replied.

“So now that you aren’t in danger, you can come over and play action heroes with me, right?”

“Maybe later.”

“You always say that.” 

“Well this time I mean it. I will play action heroes with you if you tell me whether or not Mum is awake.”

“I am quite awake.”

The tension in Scorpius’ body evaporated. “Hello Mum.”

“Hello Scorpius.” Ginevra’s face appeared in the flames. “Are you hurt?”

“No,” Scorpius replied, “But I do have some news which you may find important.”

Ginevra gave Orion a look. “Dear, it’s time to set the table.”

“Can’t the house elves do it?”

“I suppose they can, if you would not like a sickle for your efforts.”

Orion’s eyes lit up. “Bye Scorpius! I love you!”

He disappeared.

Ginevra sighed. “My son is turning into Abraxas. All you need to do is wave a sickle in front of him and he’ll do whatever you ask.”

Scorpius chuckled. “At least he’s willing to work for his sickles.”

“He does have that going in his favor,” Ginevra cleared her throat. “But I suspect you did not call me to discuss Orion.”

“No,” Scorpius answered. “I did not.”

“What do you need?” She asked.

He coughed. “Last night, Grandfather, Uncle Bill, and Uncle Charlie attempted to enter Hogwarts.”

“Great,” Ginevra muttered.

Scorpius continued, “Rose and I were about to stop him from entering before Uncle Percy came.”

Ginevra’s eyes grew. “Percy was there?”

“Yes,” Scorpius replied. “And he convinced them to take a portkey to The Three Broomsticks.”

“Wait,” Ginevra drawled. “Why would he take Dad, Bill and Charlie, to a bar?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Scorpius answered.

“There are a few other things I would like to know as well.”

“What kinds of things?”

Ginevra rubbed her chin. “First, how did Percy know where to find them? Second, if they believed to be fighting in the Second Wizarding War, then why did they trust him so willingly? Third, and perhaps most importantly, where did he actually take them?”

“I wish I had the answers,” Scorpius answered.

“So do I,” Ginevra hummed. 

Scorpius fidgeted.

“Thank you for telling me about this. You've been a huge help.”

"You're very welcome."

Silence fell between them.

“What are you planning on doing now?” Scorpius asked.

“I have no idea," Ginevra answered.

Scorpius exhaled.

“Still, I will find some way to get to the bottom of this,” Ginevra promised. 

“I’m sure you will,” Scorpius answered.

Ginevra examined him. “Is their disappearance the only thing bothering you?”

“No.”

“What else is wrong?"

“I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it.”

Ginevra's expression softened. "If I didn't want to hear about your issues, I wouldn't have asked you."

Scorpius grinned. "No, I suppose not."

"Then please tell me," Ginevra answered. "What is wrong?"

Scorpius continued, “When Percy and the others were talking, they discussed how Percy had abandoned the family.”

“He hurt Dad deeply when he left.”

“Yet they seemed to forgive him there on the spot.”

Ginevra frowned. "Well, in retrospect I suppose Percy did very little to get back into their good graces. After a few of his apologies and a few of my mum's speeches, it was as if nothing had happened."

“Why did they forgive him, yet they won’t give you a moment’s peace?” Scorpius asked.

Ginevra looked up at the ceiling. “They wanted Harry to be their seventh son, and I did not comply with their wishes. Sadly, there’s nothing more to it than that.”

“That is no reason for them to treat you as they have,” Scorpius noted.

Her voice was just above a whisper. “No, it is not.”

Scorpius swallowed. “I did not mean to upset you…”

Her expression lightened. “Do not worry about me. I am fine.”

“Still…”

“My family is my business. You need not worry about them or me. Do you understand?”

Scorpius stared into the flames.

“Do you understand me?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Good,” Ginevra answered. “Now, I would strongly suggest you get a couple hours of sleep before classes start. You need to be at your best when discussing the best ways to ward off a vampire.”

“You’re right,” he replied. “I do.”

Ginevra blew him a kiss. “I love you son.”

“Yes.” He blew one back, “I love you too, Mum.”

The floo connection died.

Scorpius took a moment to stare at the ashes, wondering how someone like Mum could be related to someone like Uncle Percy.

 

***

“Pancakes?” Hermione asked.

Severus adjusted the table tray until it was in front of Hermione. “Yes, I thought you would enjoy them.”

“I do enjoy pancakes, but you did not need to make them for me.”

“Yet I wanted to.”

Hermione fluffed her pillows before sitting up straighter. “I, I don’t know what to say.”

He kissed her on the lips. “You need not say anything.”

Hermione picked up her fork and began to cut her pancakes. Severus looked on, his eyes agleam.

“Severus?”

“Yes?”

“There,” Hermione dropped the eating utensil. “We need to talk, now.”

“What is troubling you?” he asked.

Hermione shook. “Last night, after your episode, I conducted some research. I compared a few lists, and I have reached a few conclusions.”

“What would those be?” Severus asked.

Hermione trembled as she gazed into Severus’ eyes. “It's my fault that you are having episodes.”

Chapter Text

Severus raised an eyebrow. “Why on earth would you blame yourself for my episodes?”

Tears filled Hermione’s eyes. “Because I helped you create a potion without testing its long-term effects.”

“What potion?”

“The lycanthropy cure.”

Severus shook his head. “Why would it cross your mind that the lycanthropy cure is connected to this amnesia?”

A tear trickled down Hermione’s eye. “Because these episodes are very similar to a lycanthrope transformation.”

“Please explain,” Severus answered.

“When your episode began it was like,” Hermione swallowed. “It was as if you were undergoing a physical transformation. Everything from your posture to your expression changed.”

“I suppose the way I present myself now is different than I did then.”

“The changes reminded me of Remus Lupin becoming a werewolf.”

“Perhaps the transformations are similar, but I fail to see the connection between lycanthropy and my current condition.”

“While you were gone, I looked over the list of amnesiac victims. Then I went downstairs and dug up the receipts for the lycanthropy cure,” Hermione replied. “Every victim I had listed was attacked by Fenrir and his army. Each one had received a cure from us.”

“Did you review every victim’s name?” Severus asked.

“I did not have the opportunity to do so last night. I was too exhausted to see straight around midnight, so I decided to get some sleep.”

“You needed your rest.”

“No, I need to find a cure so our lives can return to normal.”

He rubbed her shoulder. “Love, this may all be one coincidence.”

“Perhaps, yet when I reviewed the memory of Rose discussing the case with Arthur, all I could think of was the night of her kidnapping. I still,” she shuddered. “I can still see you using the last of your strength to pop open the cap of that potion and drink that potion.”

He lowered his hand.

“Then,” she continued. “I remember the Order demanding that we provide wolfsbane for Arthur, Bill, and Charlie. They were bitten by Fenrir, as were you and the other victims.”

He raised his head. “Fenrir and his lycanthropes bit thousands of people. It could be sheer coincidence that the victims of these episodes are the same as those bitten by Fenrir.”

“What if it is not a coincidence?”

Severus blanched.

The tears flowed from Hermione’s eyes. “We need to start looking at things from a more scientific point of view. These attacks happen during the full moon, just like a werewolf transformation. The amnesiacs lose track of themselves and their sense of time just as the werewolf would. The amnesia concludes come the dawn, as does a werewolf transformation.”

“True, but Fenrir’s attacks occurred seven years after the war. Why would the victims believe they were fighting in the Second Wizarding War and not when he was still running amok?”

“The Second Wizarding War occurred earlier than Fenrir’s attacks,” Hermione answered. “If a werewolf transformation is about returning to a more animalistic state, then perhaps the memory loss is in some ways the mind returning to an earlier time. The body cannot transform because our potion prevents it from doing so, but the mind can still devolve into the past.”

Severus blinked.

“We were in such a rush to cure lycanthropy that we never considered the long-term effects of our creation. The cure was administered en mass within only a few months because nobody died during the initial tests. Nobody ever considered what would become of the lycanthropes twenty-five years into the future,” Hermione continued.

“How could we have behaved any differently?” Severus asked. “We wanted to cure lycanthropy so desperately, and Fenrir was gaining power. The cure needed to be mass produced immediately.”

“So we created a potion with no thought to its long-term effects,” Hermione concluded.

“What would you have had us do?” Severus asked. “Fenrir was attacking at that moment. He was on the cusp of enslaving the entire Wizarding World. We couldn’t afford to wait twenty-five years to understand the full effects of the potion. The cure needed to be administered at that moment.”

“We did what needed to be done,” Hermione scratched her arm. “Yet, it may have permanently altered your memory.”

“I administered that potion along with you. If the potion is the cause of the amnesia, then I am as much to blame as you are.”

“No you aren’t to blame for your condition, I am!”

“I am still unclear as to how you could say such a thing.”

“Because I, I put you in this position,” Hermione answered. “I should have fought Fenrir face to face with you.”

“No,” Severus replied. “You needed to remain with Rose to ensure that Fenrir did not recapture her. You did the right thing in hiding under the invisibility cloak.”

She gasped for air. “I could have done more for you. Somehow, I should have found a way to do more to protect both you and Rose.”

“I needed to know that Rose was safe. That is all I required from you,” Severus replied.

Hermione broke down and buried herself in his chest. “You, you were right to be wary of leaving her at home. I, I should not have insisted on a babysitter that night. I..I should have…I should have taken her to that blasted press conference. You, you…you would have been safe then! Fenrir, he never…he never...”

Severus massaged her back once the gasps prevented her from breathing. Several times he whispered, “This is not your fault. My condition is not your doing.”

“I am so sorry,” Hermione wept. “I am so sorry for all of this.”

“There is nothing for which to apologize.”

“Yes there is because I put you in this situation.”

“We did what we thought was best at the time,” Severus whispered. “Nobody can blame us for acting as we did.”

“I should have filed a restraining order on Ron. We should have had a restraining spell placed on Rose which would have prevented him from taking her.”

“It takes months and a lengthy court battle to implement such spells.”

“Damnit we could have tried though.”

“No, what we needed were stronger wards. I could have discovered and cast them, yet I did not. I failed to protect Rose.”

“I failed to protect Rose, and now you’re paying the price.”

He kissed the top of her head. She took a few shaky breaths before raising her head.

“I do not blame you for this,” he replied. 

She whined.

“None of this is your fault.”

She sniffed.

“I am not convinced that yo have discovered the true source of my amnesia, but let’s assume for a moment that you have. If our lycanthropy cure did cause this disease, then we will find a cure.”

“How?”

“I do not know,” Severus admitted. “All I know is that if we discovered a cure for lycanthropy, then we will discover the cure for this.”

“I know we will,” Hermione answered. “It does not eliminate the guilt I feel though.”

“Do not feel a moment’s guilt over this,” Severus ran his fingers through his hair. “If given the choice to act differently, I would not.”

Hermione wiped her face.

“Now,” Severus rubbed her left arm. “Please relax, Love. We will resolve this problem.”

“I should be telling you that,” Hermione noted.

“Then you may say it to me,” Severus answered.

Hermione gave him a small grin. “Please relax, Love. We will resolve this problem.”

“Yes,” he whispered. “We will.”

Hermione smiled, before scratching her arm.

Severus’ eyes fell on her left arm. “How long has it been itching?”

She gulped. “I have been scratching it on and off since midnight”

He raised it and examined it. So far, the only marks were those created by her fingernails.

“I will be fine,” Hermione choked.

Severus trembled.

“I will be fine,” Hermione repeated. “We still have time.”

“Yes love,” Severus answered. “Both of us still have time.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, he hoped they were true.

Chapter Text

It was difficult to believe two decades ago, he averaged over one thousand customers a month. In the store's heyday, customers would laugh as they shook potions. They would test the latest technology on each other, all in good fun of course. Once they had decided upon what to buy, they would crowd around the register, if only to get a glimpse of the famous Weasley twins.

Now, George was lucky if he received a hundred customers a month.

George glanced out the window, wondering not for the first time what Fred would say if he were still alive. Would he berate George for his nostalgic attitude, or would he rue the current state of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes? Would the twins have forced themselves to find a new venture, or would they have found a way to weather this storm? Would they have been able to regain the public’s favor, or was the fall of the house of Weasley inevitable?

The ringing of a bell interrupted his musing.

“George?”

“Ginny?” George rushed over to her. 

Although Ginevra was smiling, her eyes were a hurricane of emotions, none of which were particularly pleasant. In a soft voice, she began, “I know I’m probably the last person you want to see, but I need your help.”

“Please don’t talk like that.” He embraced her. “I always want to see you.”

She returned the hug. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too.” George patted her back. “You should stop by more often.”

She held him tighter. "I would if I could."

George sighed. "I know."

They released each other.

“What brings you here, anyway?” he asked upon releasing her.

“I need to find Dad, Bill, and Charlie,” Ginevra replied.

George cocked his head. “Why?”

She folded her hands. “Last night, Scorpius saw them in the middle of one an amnesiac episode.”

George groaned. “So they did have them again.”

“I’m afraid so,” Ginny answered.

George buried his head in his hands.

“According to Scorpius, Percy found them at Hogwarts.”

“Wait, Percy found them?”

“Yes, Percy.”

“Was he suffering from an episode?”

“Scorpius didn’t seem to think so.”

“So then, how did he find Dad, Bill, and Charlie?”

“I have no idea,” Ginny answered. “All I know is that Percy was able to persuade them to go with him somewhere.”

“But you and Scorpius don’t know where,” George answered.

Ginny replied, “Correct. Percy said they were going to the Three Broomsticks, but when I asked Madam Rosmerta if she'd seen them, she said she had not.”

George sighed. “Given how little the family thinks of you at the moment it’s doubtful they’ll tell you where they are.” 

“I suspect the only thing I’ll get out of Mum or Bill is a rant on how I should be more loyal to Percy than to my own husband.”

“Ah, yes, Draco,” George replied. “Does he know you’re here?”

“He knows that I’m attending to a family matter which I will explain more fully to him once I receive more information,” Ginevra replied.

“Hmmm.”

“Don’t look at me like that,” Ginny’s eyes hardened. “I’m keeping nothing from him. I simply don’t want him worked up over what may amount to a grocery shopping trip.”

“This is not a grocery shopping trip,” George answered.

“No,” Ginny replied. “Still, you get my point.”

“Indeed I do,” George gestured towards the floo. “I suppose the best place to begin looking for them would be to contact Mum. At least she’ll know where Dad is. If we find Dad, then I suspect we’ll find Bill and Charlie as well.”

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Ginny answered.

“Well, you’re in luck,” George led her to the fireplace. “I have time on my hands, and I do love a good mystery. It would be my pleasure to pump information from Mum.”

“Thank you,” Ginny answered.

He grinned. “There’s never any need to thank me for helping out my family.”

Before he could grab the floo powder, Ginny grabbed his hand. “If, if Percy’s done something to Dad, and it affects other victims, then I may need to tell Draco. Is that acceptable to you?”

“If Percy’s done something to Dad then I would love to have it plastered all over the news.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“So, you would actually support Draco in using this for his own benefit?”

“In this instance, I wouldn't say a word about it.”

Ginevra raised an eyebrow.

“Draco may be a snake, but I trust you to keep him in check. Percy though, uh,” George tapped his foot. “I’ve seen how far he’ll go to get what he wants. I do not trust him to keep his nose clean.”

Ginny released his hand. “Draco will appreciate the vote of confidence.”

“Don’t put words in my mouth. I said I trusted you, not him.”

She chuckled.

He motioned for her to move away from the fireplace. She scurried behind a comic book shelf.

George threw in the floo powder and called, “The Burrow.”

The flames erupted before becoming light blue. “G-George? Is that you?”

“Yes Mum,” George replied.

“Oh thank heavens you’ve called!” Molly cried. 

“What’s wrong?”

“Your father left me.”

“What?” Ginny and George exclaimed in unison.

Molly’s eyes grew. “George, is someone there?”

“No. I’m the only one in the store.”

“Huh, I could’ve sworn I heard Angelina in the background.”

“Mum," he growled. "Don't start up again with that."

"Oh come on George, you can't say that over the past decade you haven't missed her."

"We are much happier apart than we were together."

“Well, perhaps you only think you're happier. You must miss her so much that you've convinced yourself that you're happy.”

“We are far better co-parents than we are lovers.”

“I wish I could have your cavalier attitude towards divorce,” Molly exhaled. “So far, I’m in too much pain to think at all.”

“Could you please tell me what happened before Dad ran out on you?” George asked.

“We had another fight over his stupid DVD player, and how much time he spends watching movies. After five minutes he stormed out of the Burrow. He hasn’t come back,” Molly answered.

“Did he take anything with him when he left?”

“No.”

“Nothing at all?”

“No, nothing all. He just stormed out and then vanished.”

“Are you concerned that something may have happened to him?”

“Why should I be worried about him when he’s the one who left me?”

“Okay,” George muttered.

“It’s all Hermione Snape’s fault!” Molly shouted. “If she hadn’t claimed that Rose was Ron’s child then Arthur never would’ve become fixated on that child. We would still be happily married if that bitch had never entered our lives!”

"Can we please not start in on the Snapes again?"

"I'll say whatever I want to about them!"

"We can blast the Snapes to your heart's content later." George held up his hands. “Right now, we need to stay focused on Dad.”

“Fine.”

“Dad is gone then?” 

“Yes, he is.”

“We need to find him.”

“I don’t want to see him ever again!”

“Fine, but he at least needs to pick up his things.”

Molly burst into tears. “It isn’t fair, George! Why does everybody get to be happy except for me?”

“I really don’t know,” he answered.

“I deserve a bit of happiness! I deserve to have my loving marriage back, to have a daughter who isn’t married to a snake, and to have everyone gathered around the table just as they used to be!”

George swallowed.

Molly’s mascara ran down her face. “None of this is fair, George! None of this is fair! I deserve to be happy!”

“I know, Mum. I know,” George replied.

Molly sniffed. “I shouldn’t be weeping in front of you like this. I need to be strong for the family.”

“It’s okay to break down sometimes.”

“No, no it isn’t. I must be strong.”

“We will get through all this,” George promised. “Somehow, we will get through this.”

“I, I know,” Molly hiccuped. “Please, please don’t tell anyone about your father and me. I want to break the news in my own time.”

“My lips are sealed,” George pretended to zip his lips.

Molly cracked a smile. “Okay then. Goodbye George. I love you.”

“I love you too,” George answered.

The floo connection died.

“Something isn’t right,” George began.

Ginny crept out of her hiding place.

“When Angelina left me, she took a couple of outfits and some toiletries. Why wouldn’t Dad do the same?” George mused aloud.

“Because Percy did something to him,” Ginny replied.

“Exactly,” George answered.

“So where does that leave us?” Ginny asked.

George looked up at the ceiling and crossed his arms. “If Percy has Dad stashed somewhere, then he won’t come clean easily.”

“He won’t come clear to me at all.” 

A few moments passed.

“We could try to contact Victoire and see if she knows where Bill is,” Ginny suggested.

“If Percy took both Dad and Bill away, then she wouldn’t have any clue where to find them either,” George answered. 

“So where does that leave us?” Ginny asked.

"It leaves you free to return home to your adoring husband," George answered.

Ginny's eyes grew. "Excuse me?"

"Yes, go home. As far as anyone is concerned, all you did was tell me that Dad was missing."

"That's the truth anyway," Ginevra replied.

"Exactly," George's lips curled up. "All you need to do is worry about your husband's campaign. Leave everything else to me."