Rose lazed in the sun, contemplating how to tell Sirius finally the truth about herself and Severus. She feared the encounter as much as she anticipated it, but she was tired of not seeing Severus only because Sirius had no idea. Severus had promised they´d made their relationship official for the family, he had also suggested to take her birthday as reason to do so. But her birthday was still two weeks away and she preferred to spend more than four weeks with Severus before school started again and she therefore had to hide her feelings.
Rose sighed and opened her eyes as someone stepped between her and the sun. She blinked against the sudden brightness.
“Hello darling,” he said and crouched down next to her. Rose sat quickly up and wrapped her arms around Remus´ neck. She had not seen him in over a week because he´d been away on Order business.
“I´m so glad you´re back,” she said into the crook of his neck as he returned her embrace, holding her tight and kissing her hair.
“Me too, but I brought guests. Come down, will you?”
Rose leant back and frowned. She didn´t like the seriousness of his tone and even less the weary expression in his eyes.
“Is something wrong?”
Remus sighed in way of agreeing and pulled Rose to her feet. He slung one arm around her shoulder and guided her inside. Rose shivered. Grimmauld Place was always chill even with fires flickering merrily in every hearth, but Remus´ wordless confirmation of a problem only added to the cold feeling.
As they came into the kitchen, they were greeted by almost the complete Order, but the mood was heavy and quiet.
Rose scanned the room but couldn´t see Severus. Remus squeezed her shoulder.
“He´s late, but he will surely come.”
“He´s never late, except something happened,” Rose replied uneasy, swallowing around the lump in her throat.
Hermione waved through the room and Rose walked over, joining her friends. Draco leant closer and kissed her cheek with a smile. They hadn´t seen each other since holidays had started because he´d spent his time at the Burrow, much to Molly´s joy who wouldn't stop praising what a nice boy Draco was.
While the silence threatened to suffocate the whole room, Dumbledore gazed at his pocket watch and frowned. His gaze roamed once around before descending again to the watch. He shook his head and looked back up.
“I´m afraid we can´t wait for Severus,” he said with regret heavy in his voice. “I got word from Lucius this morning. Bellatrix seemingly found a way to finally manipulate the Dark Marks to locate each Death Eater. Lucius reported she plans an attack on Azkaban to free them.”
“Azkaban? How does she think she will succeed?” Sirius asked, laughing in disbelieve.
“We don´t know. She shares only the minimum information with the others. But Lucius is confident she has something up her sleeve, otherwise she´d not chance such a risk.”
“Holy hell. Attacking Azkaban,” Sirius muttered and a few others agreed.
“Kingsley and the Ministry are informed. They sent Aurors as additional guards to Azkaban and will evacuate some of the prisoners to unknown locations to make it more difficult to trace them.” Dumbledore looked indeed sour about the whole topic, pursing his lips.
“But if Bellatrix can locate the Marks, won´t she be able to trace everyone, no matter where we hide them?” Rose asked.
“If it works like Lucius suspects, yes, then she will be able to trace them all, but we borrow time with bringing them to different locations all over the country. At least we hope that,” Dumbledore said and nodded.
The sudden sound of apparition startled everyone.
Rose made a high-pitched sound and rushed forward the moment she recognised the newcomer as Severus. He was covered all over in blood. His white shirt was soaked and clung wet to him, dripping blood on the floor. Without thought Rose slid her hands over his chest, trying desperately to find the cause of that much blood. Severus took her frantic moving hands in his, holding her still.
“It´s not mine. I´m ok,” he whispered and then wrapped his arms around her. He pressed her tight against him and kissed her forehead, ignoring the confused looks from the others in the room and the impatient cough of Dumbledore.
“It was a trap!” Severus said finally, gazing over Rose´s head to Dumbledore. “Bellatrix never planned to attack Azkaban. She used our stalling tactics and freed those who got shipped away. She put two guards under the Imperius Curse and killed everyone else.”
Chaos broke loose as everyone raised his voice and talked at once. Rose took a step back from Severus and peered up. He shook his head, weary, and took her hand, but Rose leant into him again, bringing her arms back around his waist.
“Quiet!” Dumbledore demanded and silence fell over the room again. “Why were you there?”
“Lucius informed me because he couldn´t contact you. I informed Kingsley as the call for help came from the evacuation team.” Severus tightened his arms around Rose. Until now no one had said a word about them, but surely that would come after the first shock was over. Sirius shot them burning stares through slitted eyes.
“Who´s freed?” Dumbledore seemed barely able to contain his anger, his eyes blazed furiously behind his half-moon spectacles.
“The Lestrange brothers, Mulciber and Avery are free. They disappeared with Bellatrix.”
“Avery?” Rose whispered and her eyes widened fearful. Severus only nodded and kissed her forehead again.
“I have more bad news,” Severus added gravely. “Bellatrix knows that Rose is here and…”
“Grimmauld Place is under the Fidelius, she can´t find her here,” Sirius snapped. He eyed the ongoing embrace of Snape and his goddaughter already all the time and he´d have long said something if the other topic wouldn´t be more urgent.
“And Bellatrix found a way to specifically locate Rose´s Trace,” Severus finished his sentence much louder than he´d started. Immediate silence filled the room.
“Impossible,” Dumbledore said, shaking his head.
“No. Rose is not safe anymore. Bellatrix can locate her everywhere.”
Dumbledore went ashen and slumped back in his chair. Molly rushed to his side, aiding him with a glass of water.
Severus turned his attention to Rose, pushing her on arm´s length away. He regarded the blood on her clothes and face with disgust before scouring it with his wand. His own clothes, though, were too soiled to be cleaned this way.
“I need to change,” he said in a low voice and glanced at the fireplace.
“No, don´t go,” Rose begged, audible for everyone. Before Severus could hold her back, she wrapped once again her arms around him, this time around his neck and pulled him close. Her lips found his and Severus couldn´t summon a single reason why he shouldn´t give in. His arms encircled her waist and before long they stood entwined and kissing in the middle of the kitchen of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, gawped at by everyone else in the room.
“You ruddy bastard!” Sirius yelled and launched forward, though gladly his way was blocked by the table and so Remus managed to catch him before he could reach Severus. “You fucked her for everyone to listen! You filthy child molester! I´ll kill you. Remus, let me go! Let me…”
“Shut up!” Remus shouted, ending in a definitive wolfish sounding growl. Sirius stilled and glanced confused at his lover. Then understanding dawned to him.
“You knew it. You knew it all the time. No wonder you suddenly all but worship this arsehole,” he spat and yanked his arm free. The hurt was obvious in his gaze and with a last withering gaze to Severus, Sirius turned and stormed out of the kitchen.
“That was not exactly how you meant this to happen, was it?” Severus asked Rose, gazing after Sirius. But instead of answering, Rose tugged on his shirtfront and pulled him into another kiss. To hell with everyone who had objections against them. Rose had definitely enough of it and there was nothing she wanted to do more right now than what she already did.
Rose grinned as she parted, again sullied with the blood of someone else, but she didn´t care. She turned around and faced her family and friends. Her eyes narrowed into slits as she lifted her head challenging.
“Someone else who doesn´t agree with this?” she asked but added already with the next breath, “Because I really don´t care. I fought for this, harder than most of you can imagine and nothing you could say would deter me from being with this man. I love him and if you don´t like it you are free to ignore us because I will do so with everyone butting into my relationship.” With a last glance around the room she turned, threw Floo powder into the fire and dragged Severus along.
“Well, I guess she made clear what choice we have,” Arthur said. He patted soothingly Molly´s back and gazed to Remus. “And you knew it?”
“Yes, I knew. Rose asked me for help or more for an open ear. It was hard for her, but Severus loves her. He´d never hurt her intentionally. He´d literally would die for her. I can´t imagine two people who match better than they do,” Remus said with a smile and his blessing was apparently enough for everyone else to accept it. Though Molly looked not happy and Fred and George exchanged bewildered gazes before turning to Hermione and Ron.
“I´m afraid I need to calm Sirius,” Remus said into the silence and gazed to Dumbledore who still looked too pale but nodded and smiled again.
“We can´t do much at the moment, anyway. I need to see Kingsley and then we´ll come together again later on.”
Rose stumbled out of the fireplace and certainly would have found herself on the floor hadn´t it been for Severus. In a swift motion, he pulled her into his arms and without hesitating a second, apparated them into his bathroom. Rose gasped surprised, but even before she could utter a word, Severus sealed her mouth with his while his hands peeled her quick, yet with skilful delicacy, out of her clothes. He pushed her inside his shower, though Rose had again no time to say anything as Severus banished his clothes and followed her, attacking her mouth anew.
Rose shrieked as suddenly cold water poured down on her. She shivered and her skin was covered in goose bumps, but nothing seemed to distract Severus from kissing her because he never stopped, only tightened his arms around Rose´s waist, bringing her closer. The water turned warmer, almost hot and still Severus kissed her and held her firmly pressed against his body.
Rose reached blindly for the water tab and turned it off, twisting and bending in Severus´ grip until he let go. Only now she saw his gaze, haunted and scared. Her heart stuttered and she reached up to stroke tenderly over his cheek.
“Dumbledore finds a way to keep me, if not hidden, than at least safe.” She kissed him lightly, reassuring, and then took the soap and directed Severus to turn, starting to scrub his back and ending with lathering his hair. Severus sighed with clothed eyes and Rose could see the tension leaving his body the longer she massaged his head.
They kissed again until they were rinsed clean, the remnants of blood long flushed away. Severus was the first to leave the shower, dripping water all over the floor as he searched for a towel to give to Rose.
“A shame you have to wear clothes and then so many of them,” Rose said, leering, while her gaze roamed over Severus´ naked body. He returned the favour, sizing her up and slowly came closer. His hands gripped her hips as he dragged her to the floor with him, pulling her into his lap.
“Yes,” Rose gasped and lifted her hips.
“No one will hurt you as long as I´m around to prevent it,” Severus growled in a rush of possessiveness, but his voice turned into a deep moan as Rose sank back down, rocking her hips.
Still a little flushed and with wet hair, Rose and Severus returned to Grimmauld Place. The kitchen was considerably emptier but still occupied.
“Rose, dear,” Molly started, glancing unsure towards Severus.
“Please, spare us. I´m sure you mean well, but your concern isn´t necessary,” Rose cut in, silencing the older woman. “Where´s Sirius?”
“Still sulking somewhere. Remus tries to calm him,” Charlie said, nodding to the door.
Rose nodded too, released a heavy sigh and turned to leave.
“I´ll go and fetch them, you sit down,” Charlie demanded more than he offered and left before Rose could argue.
No one said anything. The others traded shy glances and Rose rolled repetitive her eyes until Severus took her hand and squeezed it.
Though the moment Charlie came back, followed by Remus who shoved Sirius ahead of him into the room, the calm waiting shifted into tense expectation.
“Why´s the greasy bastard here?” Sirius spat, his eyes twinkling furiously.
Before Rose could prevent it, Severus stood up, both hands braced on the table and glared at Sirius.
“Because we have to talk, you brain-deprived, stinking mutt,” he sneered with open disgust.
“Talk? About what? That I sanction that you stick your filthy Death Eater prick into my goddaughter?”
A unison gasp sounded through the room. Severus straightened and without another word crossed the three steps to the fireplace.
“Severus Tobias Snape, don´t you dare walk off on this!” Severus turned, Floo powder already in hand, and stared at Rose with utter puzzlement. “Oh don´t look like this, did you think I´d not know your full name?” Rose huffed, then added, “You will stop insulting my godfather, is that clear?” Rose didn´t wait for an answer but turned her annoyance to said godfather. “And you!” She pointed her index finger at him, rising finally from her chair. “You will stop insulting the man I love! You won´t have to love each other, Remus and I will take care of that respectively, but you fucking damn well will try to get along! And I promise you by every higher might if you don´t put some effort into it I´ll hex you both and you won´t be happy with the result!” With an angry snort she flopped back down in her chair, hissing, “Sit. Both of you.”
The whole room was silent, but then Severus shrugged, sat down next to Rose and kissed her cheek. “But of course, darling. Whatever you want,” he said sweetly and chanced a sly glance at Sirius who still stood at the door, positively seething.
“Sirius, please,” Rose begged softly.
Sirius gazed at Rose, but Remus pushed him forward and so he sat down with a sigh. “Fine. I´ll try.” He eyed Severus. “Blimey, Rose, how did that happen? And when?”
Rose chuckled. “Sirius, honestly, it just happened. Just think about how much time we spent together the last year, alone last summer.”
“You…You developed feelings for him last summer? And never told me?” Sirius asked blatantly obvious hurt.
“You would´ve hexed me. You hated even the idea of us getting along. How could I have told you that I´m in love with him?” Rose asked and lifted both hands as Sirius started to object. “Please, only an hour ago you threatened to kill Severus for exactly that reason. If I´d known you´d react more like Remus did, I had told you. We would´ve spared us a lot of fighting over the Christmas holidays. But I knew you´d explode and so I kept it from you.”
To everyone´s surprise, Severus cleared his throat and looked at Sirius, no longer hostile but still only remotely friendly.
“Black, I can understand that it chafes at you. We have a long history and I´m not even sure we can ever overcome it. But you have to believe me that I´d never willingly hurt Rose. Though I admit, it never would´ve come to that if Albus hadn´t insisted that I teach her again privately and therefore spend so much time with her. But it happened and I love her, with everything I am.”
Sirius stared over the table and then rubbed over his face. “Holy fucking crap,” he muttered and jumped up, chair clattering backwards to the floor. This time no one was fast enough to keep him from approaching Severus who had jumped up too, obviously ready to defend himself. Though the expected punch or hex never came, instead Sirius stopped short before Severus. He hesitated a second and then seized the other man at his forearm against his chest.
“I´ll swear to you, if you ever hurt her, I´ll free you from your miserable, petty life by ripping your throat out,” Sirius growled while holding Severus in a steely embrace. However, Severus didn´t even blink, only lifted his face a little higher and nodded.
Sirius released him from his grip and both men regarded each other for a few silent seconds.
“I´ll have a word with Albus,” Sirius muttered.
“Good luck. He´s overly happy his scheme has played out like this,” Severus retorted with a snort.
The mood in the room brightened and conversations started again.
Remus shuffled over and smirked before he embraced Severus.
“I think we all need a drink,” he said and summoned a bottle and glasses.