This was written for the 2016 SSHG Prompt Fest on Livejournal. I wrote this story for the lovely Banglabou, and AdelaideArcher was kind enough to beta it for me. It is complete in 4 chapters. Forgive me for the lack of sequel for 'Summer' thus far, but I wanted to give you all this to make up for it. I shall post the chapters up as often as I am able.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to JKR.


Saturdays with Rosie

Chapter 1

2016

At last: home. He pushed the gate closed and trudged down the stone path. The early morning air was cold, bone-chillingly so, and the man shoved his hands deeper into the warm, welcome pockets of his worn-out coat. With a quiet, muffled word, lest his skin return again to the frigid air, the door opened and he toed off his boots before stepping into the hallway.

It was cosy inside; he'd left the heating on, a given this far North, and one economic flick of his wand had the fire in the sitting room filling the room with warmth and light. He grunted with a soft and content form of satisfaction and made for the kitchen, his mouth already anticipating a hot cup of coffee. It was a good day, he decided; studiously he ignored the thought that came to him immediately after: that for years, every day had been good and, thus, dully predictable.

Nevertheless, the view from the kitchen sink appeased and thrilled him. How could it not, when he was greeted with the foggy rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales? A slow smile spread over his lips as he switched the kettle on – a watched kettle will never boil, Mam always said, so Severus Snape stared at the water bubbling away, daring it to take its time and stretch out his excuse for looking upon his domain so smugly.

It was a good day, he knew. And, for a man that was rarely challenged, he decided that he would delight in it.

.

.

"Rose! Rosie!"

Hermione Granger's left foot was tapping incessantly against the lower stair as she waited. "Rose!"

"I'm coming, I'm coming!"

Hermione's left foot kicked the wall. "Then where are you?"

"Coming!"

With a roll of her eyes, the wild-haired witch moved to stand by the front door. One of these days, it would be worth her while to actually remember to change the wards of the house to allow Apparation. Ah, but then, she thought, one cannot pick and choose who can pop into existence at any moment inside the house. Still, perhaps the old outhouse could be taken out of the wards… But then my garden will be fair game for anyone and—ah. Enough.

After fumbling around in a small beaded bag for the umpteenth time to confirm the presence of her keys and various other parenting paraphernalia, she growled when Rose flew down the stairs. Her daughter was a blur of long, curly red hair, and Hermione sighed fondly when she came to a stop in front of her, panting.

"A few more minutes and we would've been late," she chastised gently, not bothering to set any significance to it, the way Rose's father might have. "Are you ready?"

By way of answering, Rose opened the door and jumped out into the crisp morning air. "Hurry up, Mum!" she called, and Hermione, too amused to scoff, followed the tall young girl as she bounded down the street.

When mother and daughter reached the nearest spot that was without windows from the surrounding terraced houses looking down upon it, they held hands and disappeared without a word. The only exception was the ghost of a tiny, excited giggle that stayed behind in the seconds after their abrupt exit.

.

.

"Are you sure about this, Mum?" asked Rose, staring up at the magnificent castle with barely disguised apprehension. "What if they say no?"

But it's still beautiful, isn't it Rosie? In a terrifying, abnormal kind of way. Hermione took a quick breath in, reining in her mind. "Then they say no, love," she said simply. "And we'll sort it out either way."

It was a struggle to ignore the flash of fear on her young daughter's face. Hermione covered her lips with her warm woollen scarf, determined not to allow Rose to see the way her mouth formed a downturned grimace. For Rosie was right, of course – Hermione suspected that this entire visit was redundant. She couldn't shake the feeling that Minerva was just appeasing her by agreeing to the meeting in the first place, but it was too important to ignore it. She had to investigate every single option – Ron might've been comfortable to let Rosie sit on the sidelines while the rest of the children began their formal magical education at Hogwarts, but Hermione was damn well going to do something about it.

She tossed her head of curls and tugged on the skirt of her robes. Her movements were awkward and fumbling, though she schooled her features into a bland, polite expression as she linked arms with her daughter and began to walk to the gate. Thankful that she had bothered to learn at least the most rudimentary skills in Occlumency during that horrid year on the run, the witch tucked her nerves away for the moment.

At almost thirty seven, Hermione felt too tired and too bloody old to return to the castle and its inhabitants. She hadn't been back in at least a decade – why should she, after all? She could recognise the value in some of the staff, and knew as well as any that she had needed guidance to develop her magical skills, but the unofficial lessons in war and tyranny were exhausting. Looking up at the castle as they passed through the gates, she suppressed a shiver at the way it morphed for a moment from imposing and regal to one half-ruined, with smoke and the scent of charred bodies wafting over the approaching pair.

She paused, and Rose tugged on her arm. "Come on, Mum," her daughter said, ever the matter-of-fact girl. "We can go to the bookshop in Durham after this. That one near the Cathedral that you've been wanting to visit again."

The curly-haired woman arched an eyebrow and grinned down at her daughter. "You mean the one that you've been asking me about all week?"

Rose shrugged, offering her one impish grin. "Might be. Or you could take me to York again, to see the museum."

Hermione opened her mouth then closed it again, opting to squeeze Rose's hand instead of responding. The doors of the castle had been pushed open, and it took all of her strength to swallow her pride and fix a pleasant, sunny smile on her face.

"Minerva!" she called, taking strength from the kind smile that the Headmistress bestowed upon them. The older witch, dressed in black robes with a subtle green tartan sash, clapped her hands together.

"Hermione, Rose! Welcome," said the Headmistress, ushering them inside the Entrance Hall with a wave of her hand. "How wonderful to have you both here, after all this time."

Hermione placed a hand on her daughter's back as they walked towards the stairs to Minerva's office. "Thank you for seeing us, Minerva. Or should I—"

"I won't have you calling me by anything other than my name, young lady," the Headmistress said firmly. "Being in my office as opposed to Order functions doesn't change a thing!"

Inwardly pleased, Hermione replied, "The same applies to us, of course. I'm sorry it's taken us so long to come and visit you."

"Nonsense," said Minerva. "We've both of us been busy – you, perhaps, more so than I," she added, a slight wistful smile playing on her mouth as she nodded to Rose. The poignant moment was soon lost, however, as the gargoyle leapt aside when the password was said with aplomb: "Sporran!"

Hermione spluttered and waved away Rose's curious look. "Go on, love," she said, allowing her daughter to take the first step as the staircase carried them ever higher.

Daughter, mother and headmistress stayed silent as they ascended, though the quiet atmosphere was broken immediately when Rose caught a glimpse of the office. With a cry of excitement, she burst into the room and stopped an inch away from the desk, in awe of the various odds and ends ticking and clicking away.

"Oh, this is so fascinating," exclaimed Rose, dropping to her knees to be level with the gadgets. "We simply must get some for the house, Mum!"

Ignoring Minerva's quizzical glance, Hermione snorted. "And have to hide them from the neighbours? I think not."

Rose nodded sagely as she said, "You're right, of course. Poor Mrs. Whitworth would need an appointment with a defibrillator."

Giving in to the flash of satisfaction, Hermione smiled. For a ten year old girl, her daughter was more intelligent than she'd ever been – her books and cleverness were, in Rose, combined with a natural wit that Hermione had only mastered after the war ended. How, though, she managed to morph wit with wry humour was a mystery.

Minerva, bemused, tilted her chin towards the seats in front of the desk. At her non-verbal command, another seat trotted over from the side of the room. The three sat and navigated social niceties, before Hermione could hold her tongue no longer.

"Have you heard back from the Board? About my request?" About our request, she might have said, for Rose was sitting with her back straight, her hands folded on her lap, quietly observing the two older women.

Minerva's eyes left hers for a fraction of a second, darting away to glance at the door, and Hermione's shoulders sagged. Rose, too, offered one small sigh.

"I have heard, yes. I forwarded your letter to the Board when I received it last month – and I included my own opinion," added the Headmistress, seemingly keen to distance herself from the cold decision. She reached over and placed one wrinkled, paper-soft hand over Hermione's knee. "They held their last meeting before the beginning of the new school year only two days prior. I apologise, but I had suspected you'd come to me in person so I didn't send an owl immediately, and—"

"It's all right." Hermione's eyes followed her daughter's form as she silently left the chairs and went to inspect a bookcase further away, her interested already lost. "All right," she repeated softly. "So, no?"

"They declined the possibility of formal private tutoring, yes."

"Ah." Ah. Ah. What else is there to say, then? She pursed her lips. "Did any of them agree?" It was probably foolhardy to hope that her sudden anger went unnoticed. For an instant, she almost wondered if she might track each pompous bastard down and—and. Well, and. It was folly to entertain such delightful notions, after all. She'd burn the world for her daughter—it felt like she already had—but bystanders caught in the blaze might not sympathise. Indeed, Minerva was watching her warily.

"Lucius Malfoy," said the Headmistress, a thread of disbelief in her tone. "I saw his signature on it. But the rest, no."

How curious, that Malfoy should agree and that the others—who had thrown him out during her third year before he found his way back in much later—should deny them! She almost laughed but caught herself before the breathy gasp eventuated into anything.

"This is very disappointing news," she said then, lulled by Minerva's honest eyes. "It's… why, it's unbelievable, is what it is. That they should—that they—ah." Enough.

She gathered her things. "Thank you, Minerva, for your efforts. I'm sorry that they bore no fruit." It was easy to hide behind social graces – far easier than blurting out the crass oaths that were whirling through her mind. "Let's go, Rose."

Minerva, with her hair that was silver though still threaded through with some of her original, stark black, looked affronted at their abrupt departure. Hermione wanted to scream. Instead, she smiled thinly and took her daughter by the hand, leading her out of the magical school that had denied itself to the girl, all because she was a squib.

Bloody no-good twits, the lot of them.

.

.

When Rose was settled in bed, her attention now safely fixed on a battered edition of The Hobbit, Hermione meandered down the stairs and collapsed onto the sofa. Rosie hadn't cried; it had been disconcerting, for she didn't quite know what to do for her daughter when they'd returned. She had only shrugged resignedly, spoken of going to the bookshop another day, and then left her mother in the kitchen while she took herself off for a bath.

Hermione wasn't a stranger to stoicism – she'd been on her own for close to six years, and was well used to scrubbing her face to hide puffy, tired eyes from Rosie. After separating from Ron, who, despite his bumbling, well-meaning acts of fatherhood, could never come to grips with having a daughter without any significant magical capabilities, Hermione had done it all alone.

The faint glow from the stairs left the sitting room, and without a second thought, she conjured the silver otter and sent it to her daughter's room. She'd already kissed her and murmured the words of love that Rosie thrived on, but her girl still preferred to slip into sleep with the otter swimming around the room.

Sighing, Hermione twisted until her body lay on the sofa, her head cushioned on the end. She stared at the ceiling, unable to will her pensive frown away. "What do I have left?" she asked herself quietly, snorting at the similarities to her first year on her own.

After leaving their small cottage that'd been built behind the Burrow, Hermione had headed North in search of cheaper rents. 'What do I have?' had been the only way she'd managed to start all over again – each night she'd gone to sleep in Rosie's bed while silently making a list. For six months, it had only included Rose, a roof over their heads, and Crookshanks. After twelve months, it was: Rose, Crookshanks, a larger flat and a position in one of the few Ministry offices located outside of London. She'd applied for a position as the Assistant to the local Muggle-relations officer for Northern England, and now, six years later, she had impressed even herself. She had a beautiful daughter, the position of Muggle relations officer entirely hers after the retirement of her predecessor, an old Volkswagen parked near the old privy, an even older and grouchier Crooks, and, best of all, she had her own home. It had been thrilling to sign her name on the mortgage papers to buy the terraced house on Prospect Street. Ron had visited once, a perfunctory check to ensure that he knew where to Apparate to if ever Rose needed collecting (Hermione preferred to drop her off herself), and his befuddled mien at the blue-collar area had only made her more satisfied.

She was at home, here. Her parents still pestered about nicer, homelier areas in Kent or Sussex, or even using the mortgage money to build a flat in the large garden behind their Exeter home, but Hermione didn't want to leave. She hadn't thought of herself as being a woman at home in a city, and even less so the North, where the winters were harsher and the people blunter. But Lancaster had taken her in and given her an affordable home; it'd welcomed her into its grimy embrace, and it was here that she'd truly come into her own.

And what do I have left? What else can I do? Hermione padded into the kitchen and turned the kettle on. She had exhausted all of the available options for Rosie, and it turned her stomach. She'd long discarded the avenue of persuading Hogwarts to take her on as a fulltime student. At first, this had been Hermione's only aim, but she had come to understand that her daughter would have been out of place and behind from day one. She'd tutored the girl herself since birth, but was well aware that Rosie desired to experience the Magical world in the way she had, the way her cousins did – through structured schooling. It was their luck that she had been born without the ability to do so, but that hadn't stopped their Herbology lessons on Saturday mornings in the garden, or, when it was warmer, Friday evenings in deserted parklands for Astronomy.

But it wasn't enough – it never would be. Rosie wasn't deficient, she wasn't unsuited to the magical world. She was simply a girl with only tiny amounts of magical ability; she could see a Patronus, she could feel wards sliding over her skin. The girl could see Hogwarts, for heaven's sake! Hermione knew that she couldn't allow her daughter to feel as if she didn't belong, for her two weekends a month at The Burrow would only reinforce it unless she found a way for her daughter to carve a place for herself in their society. Already Hermione was fielding Ron's letters of exasperation: couldn't she get the girl a play-wand from the joke shop? Couldn't Hermione bother just once to look into charming a broomstick that would work for their daughter, unable to successfully cast even the first: 'Up!'

Hermione had started throwing the letters into the fire before bothering to even open them. She was grateful—I truly, truly am; this could be far worse than it is—that Ron had never deliberately bypassed her wishes thus far. But his lack of original thought, the absence of a true understanding, was beginning to grate on her. If she could manage to treat her daughter with love and respect, why did Ron find it so awkward to include her in his family?

As a Muggle-born witch, she was more than comfortable with living on the other side of the fence – apart from wards, Apparation and the odd, basic spell, Hermione barely used magic at all. And why would she? Her daughter couldn't, and she knew more than most how it felt to be surrounded by people who looked through her, rather than at her. She'd gone to the Burrow for birthdays on occasion – she knew that it was only Fred and George who didn't give a flying fig. The rest treated Rosie like Argus Filch, the caretaker who had been gruff and dour, but somehow had managed to get a reputation for cruelty worse than Professor Snape's horrid social skills. They spoke to her long enough to tick a box, then scampered off on their toy brooms.

If she had any say in the matter, she'd cut them both off from the magical world in its entirety. But Rosie was adamant – she wanted to learn what she could learn. She wanted her place, she wanted to know her history. She wished to make her own way, and as her mother, Hermione could only hope to guide her.

Hermione stirred the tea with more force than necessary, her lips pressing together as the spoon continued to hit the sides of the cup. She thought then of the hissed arguments that she and Ron would have late at night – in those years, it was only when her husband would shut himself away in the bedroom that she'd managed to get any peace at all.

She huffed and plodded back into the sitting room. A wave of her hand had her latest book in her lap, and she resolved not to think further about her dastardly ex-husband, or her daughter's future. There would be time for that – there was always time for that, but for now, Hermione was content to lose herself in Mr. Darcy's atrocious manners for a while.

.

.

"Are you ready, Mum?"

Hermione looked up from her forgotten, now cold, toast and blinked. "Right! Yes. Come on, love. Have you got your purse?"
Rose tapped her bag with a self-satisfied nod. "I've been saving for a fortnight! I'll have enough for two new books."

"Two?" Hermione exclaimed, rising to tidy the table. "A better effort than mine – only one for me today."

With two hands planted firmly on her hips, her daughter said, "Have you been having those takeout lunches again?"

Hermione let out a hoot of laughter and squeezed Rose's shoulders. "Someone's got to keep the Fired Wok in business. It may as well be me, don't you think?"

They let themselves out and Hermione surreptitiously checked the wards.

"Where to today, Mum?"

Linking arms, mother and daughter began the walk down to the end of the street, aiming for the bus. It had been two weeks since Hogwarts; today, the first Saturday of the month, had been named Bookshop Day for the last three years. Using a combination of Apparation, Muggle transport and their own two feet, the Granger girls had scoured used and new stores from Brighton to Inverness, though Hermione had planned an outing slightly closer to home.

"Mum?"

"Durham," she answered promptly, grinning at her daughter's impish squeak.

"Not to the People's!"

"To the People's," Hermione confirmed, slightly surprised that she, too, was able to feel a thrill at the thought of spending an afternoon in the cosy shop above a shoe store. Her mouth watered as she decided on ordering a coffee from the café close-by; perhaps even Rose might like a white hot chocolate.

She knew that she was indulging her daughter – Rosie didn't need to be showered with affection and trips and sweet drinks. She had shouldered the disappointment and moved on. But Hermione couldn't – it was a relic from her crusading days, she supposed, and while it was terribly inconvenient for her financial position, she couldn't help searching for ways to keep the sweet smile on Rosie's lips.

.

.

"I don't know how you managed to get here so quickly," the thin, bearded man said, "but I'm bloody well glad that you're here. I booked him six months ago! Six bloody months, and he gives me a day's notice that he can't make it. Should've went local."

"I thought you did," Severus commented blandly, eyeing the shop with keen interest. "Grindley seems to be a common name in Durham."

The man looked down at his name badge and offered him a sheepish grin. "He's my second cousin – local, but not local. Know what I mean? Money before, well, anyone."

"And this way, you're not paying a penny."

"Eh? Well – yes, you could say that, but we were in a bind, weren't we, and—"

He sneered, more out of habit than anything else. "It was not an insult, Ted. Booking through an educational institution is an often overlooked, but sound, decision."

"And you get more experience under your belt, eh?" Ted's friendly brown eyes shone. "But you do look a bit…"

Severus cocked an eyebrow and adjusted the strap of his small shoulder bag. "A bit?"

Ted soldiered on bravely with a stammered, "Well, a bit old, don't you think? For an amateur photographer. I admire you though. Retirees with goals. Great to see."

He was unable to restrain the way his fingers moved to touch the strands of grey in his hair. Cut shorter these days, to his chin not his shoulders, his no-longer-black hair marked him – he looked every bit of his fifty six years. Possibly a good decade or so more. He wasn't grey all over, not yet, but he soon would be.

Registering that Ted, who was a tall, mousy-haired sod, was still rambling on, he tuned in just in case it was anything of worth.

"…And when my wife mentioned your group, I thought: perfect! Just perfect. Still – how on earth did you get from – where do you live again?"

Severus stared at him. "Dent."

"Dent! That's it. Great town. Nice views?"

"Enchanting views." This, at least, they could agree on.

"Too right. As I was saying – it's almost a miracle that we booked your group yesterday, and here you are. From the Dales. You must have wings."

Christ almighty. I shall geld Lucius at the next available opportunity. 'Dabbling in hobbies is harmless,' indeed. Wanker.

Severus cleared his throat. "Shall we get on with it?"

Thankfully, Ted gave him a brief tour and then left him to it. It was quite peaceful, Severus thought, as he meandered around the People's Bookshop, photographing the book displays. For his own interest, he snapped a few shots of the posters—'Meanwhile, what about Socialism?' 'SolidariTea!' 'The London Radical Bookfair!'—then turned to the stairs and headed for the street. Navigating it was easy—pedestrians only—and he stopped in front of a dull, white-washed Opticians. Keeping the lanyard around his neck clearly visible, lest someone took issue to a random old git taking pics of the public, Severus raised the viewfinder to eye level and squinted.

The exterior of the ground level was rather ridiculous, though strangely suitable. It housed an eclectic looking shoe shop, but the door to the left that led to the stairs for a café, jeweller's and the bookshop was… charming, he decided on eventually. He knew that he would return on his own time, purely to sift through the fascinating used and often rare books; granted, they were entirely Muggle, but he was retired. He could do whatever he damn well pleased.

Which is why, when he caught sight of a wild-haired woman heading through that very door, her knotted chestnut curls sprawling down her back and her jeans sensually sliding over long, long legs, Severus drew breath and smiled. She held the hand of a slim little girl who was gesturing excitedly at everything in the street, and, though he was mortified at himself, he found himself zooming in to where her left hand was absentmindedly twisting in her curls. No ring. Interesting.

A bookshop and a lovely woman. Suddenly nervous beyond the pale – for he had to return for Ted at least, and there was no hiding his windswept, battered appearance if she was making her way up to the Attic and the shop – Severus waited a few agonising moments, and then strode for the door.

Pausing just long enough to wonder at why his palms were damp, he cleared his throat. "Go on," he muttered. "Get in there."

And somehow, he managed to open the door and make straight for the stairs.

.

.

She was there. No longer holding the hand of the young girl, the woman crouched in one of the far corners. She was his kind of woman, there was no doubt in it; her nose was only inches from the titles and her fingers flitted over spines, searching, seeking. Severus stood at the entryway, unsure of himself, and flummoxed at just why she felt familiar. He couldn't recall ever meeting a woman like this in years, not that he'd bothered to venture out of the village unless he absolutely needed to.

Shapely hips, strong thighs, hair a wild mess. Her arms, covered in a ridiculously bright purple cardigan, provided a stage for delicate, finely-boned wrists. He knew a desire to hold her hand, to run his fingers through the unruly and surely unmanageable creature that was her hair.

Severus tilted his head and pondered the subject of the woman. He missed his lank hair, then; there was no curtain to hide his eyes, now only gazing upon her but not really seeing her. He wondered why it was that her presence felt like it sucked the air out of his chest, and sent a heavy-handed foot onto the throttle at the same time. Strange.

"All done?"

Ah. Duty calls.

"Indeed," he said, turning to face Ted. In the periphery of his vision he noted the copper-haired girl, flitting between the shelves in the Young Adult section of the shop. Ted waved at the girl, evidently familiar with her habit of soft exclamations. Her 'Oh!' reached Severus' ears and a jolt of warmth shot through his chest.

"Regular customer," Ted explained briefly. "One of my best."

"The girl?"

Both men turned to watch her fully. She was a sight for sore eyes – pretty but dangerous in her sharp intelligence. No more than ten or eleven, Severus deduced, and he wanted even more to meet the mother who had nurtured this summer storm of young woman.

"The girl, more than her Mam. That there is Rosie. Comes once every two months or so – has done for years now. Her Mam's more picky, but Rosie, oh." Ted snorted fondly. "Everything is new for Rosie."

"It's the age," commented Severus. Then, surprising himself, he admitted, "I miss it." Not being ten, but the new knowledge, the thrill of uncovering something. It was rare, these days.

"Oh aye," said Ted, slipping deeper into his accent. "To be young again. And here's the young miss now."

For Rosie had two books in her lightly freckled hands, and she was before them with an eager look of curiosity.

"Hullo," said the girl, ensnaring his attention with one polite smile. There was a very light Northern lilt in her voice; too light for a girl born here, he decided, and quite the same as what was left of his own after decades of smoothing it out at Hogwarts. "Who are you?"

With eyebrows at his hairline, Severus looked around for her mother, but she was out of hearing range, still immersed in making her selection. Returning his gaze to the girl, he crossed his arms. "The photographer. Amateur photographer," he added awkwardly, shrugging. "Who are you?"

"Rose," she declared. "I've never seen you here before."

"I've never been here before."

Ted's eyes, gleaming with amusement, flicked between the two. Rosie was not deterred.

She asked, "Why not? It's the best bookshop in the world. Except maybe Scrivener's in Derbyshire. Or Leakey's in Inverness. I do like Leakey's…"

Now, this – this was familiar. Severus realised that he was smiling, delighting in this tiny little thing and her openness. She reminded him of a girl many years before, who he'd disliked because of her freedom to seek and display knowledge, a freedom he hadn't had then. He returned the camera to his bag and linked long-fingered hands behind his back.

"I have not been to Leakey's. Perhaps one day I shall. I rather enjoy The Haunted Bookshop," he said slowly, knowing he made quite the picture in his old jeans, black woollen coat, mixed-up hair and black-rimmed glasses. Years of staring at pages had turned his eyes into pitiful things, and glasses were his only hope. He certainly couldn't be bothered with contact lenses.

"In Oxford?" asked Rosie, screwing up her nose. He opened his mouth but she got there first. "No! In Cambridge. It's red, isn't it? Bright red. With all of the illustrated books."

"An adequate description." It wasn't a common occasion, but Severus was partial to the odd splurge of an antique tome and a coffee from the café next door.

"Yes. It suits you. The Haunted, I mean. You look like someone who would like to buy books from a place called The Ha—"

"Rosie!"

The girl grimaced. "Uhm… sorry, sir." She waved over her shoulder, no doubt looking at her mother who he could hear tapping her foot near the register. He didn't turn around, not yet.

"It's quite all right. I have enjoyed our conversation." Rain had begun to fall on the roof, but Severus barely heard it. He was occupied instead with wondering why the girl's eyes, brown and clear like chestnuts on a winter table, looked so…

"Rosie?" The older woman's voice was sharp and clear, though not unkind.

And he knew it; he knew it.

Severus turned as Rosie trotted over to her mother. And there, with one welcoming arm open, ready to tuck her daughter to her side, was Hermione Granger.