AN: Thank you all for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
"How promising is her cancer research?"
Severus glanced up from his parchment. He spun his black swivel chair until he was facing Hermione. A smile crept across his face. "It is very promising."
There was a gleam in her eyes. "It is?"
She choked, "That's wonderful."
"Indeed," Severus replied. "I will see Rose tonight and discuss her findings. I have a few ideas on how to build upon her work."
"I'm sure the two of you can come up with something."
"Do not become too excited," Severus warned. "I cannot promise you anything. Rose and I have had promising theories before, some of which we were confident would yield a cure. All of us have been down this road more times than we can count, and this time could be no different."
"I know," Hermione answered.
"Still," a smile crept across his face. "Her research is sound. I am confident that in some way, it will prove fruitful, even if its use ultimately proves to be different than anticipated."
"I know," Hermione wrapped her arms around him. "Yet there's still hope."
He craned his neck and kissed her forehead. "Yes Love, there is hope."
"Whatever happens, I don't want you to give up hope." She brushed her lips against his. "Even if you cannot save me, there is a chance you can save someone else. Never forget that."
He pulled her closer. "I will not."
Severus pressed his lips against hers, only to break away within a few seconds. Hermione cocked her head.
"Someone's disrupting the wards," he muttered.
"Just the kind of romantic sentiment you want to hear while kissing your husband," she deadpanned.
With a sigh, Hermione broke away. "Who would want to venture out in this kind of weather?"
"No idea," Severus stood. "Still, if a little snow did not prevent them from coming then it is doubtful they intend to leave."
Hermione hummed. "I fear you're correct."
Together, they strolled to a nearby closet and pulled out their winter coats. After putting them on, they went outside.
At first, they could only see the snowflakes bearing down from the dark gray sky. The snow crunched beneath their feet. Hermione shivered as the gale whipped through her coat. Severus glanced at her, but she pressed on.
A shadowy feminine figure came into view.
"I was wondering when you two cowards would come out and face me!"
Hermione groaned as her stomach sank. She'd recognize that shrill voice anywhere.
"How can you two live with yourselves after what you've done to poor Ronniekins?"
Severus turned to Hermione. "Would you like to return inside?"
Hermione shook her head.
"Are you certain?"
"I have to face her eventually," Hermione answered. "I might as well get it done and over with."
"I need to speak with both of you right now!"
"I can deal with Molly on my own," Severus promised. "Better yet, we could return inside and call the aurors."
"Are you sure they would be helpful?"
"At the right price, they would be."
"Go ahead and hide behind your money," Molly scolded. "That's how you solve problems isn't it: just pay for someone else to solve it."
"Are you certain we shouldn't call the aurors?" Severus asked.
"I am positive," Hermione answered. "For some reason, Percy still runs the Wizengamot. If we call the aurors, he will find a way to release his mother by the evening, meaning she'll just return to our doorstep. She won't give us a moment's peace until she gets a fight."
"You'd better believe I'm not going to give you a moment's peace until you talk to me!"
Severus took Hermione's hand. She squeezed it before they faced the Weasely matriarch.
"How could you?" Molly hissed.
"Hello Molly," Hermione began. "It is nice to see you again. How are you doing?"
"I was fine until I realized that you kidnapped my granddaughter and poisoned her against me," Molly ranted.
"I assure you, we have never kidnapped anyone," Severus answered.
"You liar," Molly spat. "You are nothing more than a lowlife kidnapper."
"How can I be a lowlife if I'm drowning in galleons?" Severus asked.
Molly's face reddened. "You, you kidnapped Rose when you signed her birth certificate knowing full well she wasn't your child!"
"She was, is, and always will be my child," Severus argued.
"How can she be your daughter if you do not share a shred of DNA with her?" Molly asked.
"You do not need to share DNA in order to be a parent."
"Well it certainly helps! You are no father to her! You're just..."
Hermione waved her hand and muttered, "Intoarce pielea ei galbena."
Molly screamed as her skin turned neon yellow and a shock raced up her arms.
Severus' lips curled up.
"How did you manage to do it? How did you manage to take all of Ron's paternal rights away from him?" Molly demanded.
"I was married to her mother at the time of Rose's birth, and I signed her birth certificate," Severus answered. "By Wizarding law, that gives me full paternal rights to Rose."
"Ron is her father, not you," Molly argued. "He deserved to raise her, not you!"
"How did he plan on raising her when he told a horde of reporters that he had never had relations with me?" Hermione asked.
"He was confused!" Molly argued. "You took advantage of his confusion and handed her over to your former potions professor! How could you do that?"
"It was quite easy actually," Hermione replied. "Ron told everyone Rose wasn't his daughter, and I needed to provide her with a father. Severus stepped up and agreed to raise her. We have been a happy family ever since."
Molly made a fist. "Stop playing the victim and own your mistakes. You drove Ron crazy, and then stole his child."
Severus rolled his eyes.
Molly gritted her teeth and charged at the ward. A jolt ran up her body before repelling her backwards.
"For the record," Hermione began. "Trespassing is a felony."
"Don't get cute with me," Molly picked herself up and brushed off the snow.
"I am only telling the truth," Hermione replied.
"Listen you," Molly pulled out her wand. "It's time to end this once and for all."
Severus and Hermione pointed their wands at her. Molly didn't so much as blink.
"Do not force our hands," Severus warned. "You know that either one of us has the ability to overpower you. There will be nothing left of you if we fight you together."
"And together you are so strong that you'll just run right over anyone who stands in your way!" Molly shouted.
"Molly, please leave," Hermione replied. "You are embarrassing yourself and wasting our time."
"No," Molly replied. "There are certain things you need to hear right now."
Hermione and Severus took a few steps back, their wands still pointed at Molly.
"I can't believe I ever let you into my house, you bitch," Molly spat.
Severus hexed Mrs. Weasley, sending a shock up her spine.
"Never, and I mean never, insult my wife again," Severus growled.
"Fine," Molly replied. "But it cannot change who she is! She is a heartless bitch who ruined Ronald's life!"
"My wife is a wonderful witch who has brought more joy into my life than I deserve," Severus replied.
Molly glowered at Hermione. "All you have done is bring pain and misery into my life. How can you sleep at night?"
"I lie down and close my eyes," Hermione replied.
Molly pointed her wand to Severus. "And you, well the less said about you the better."
Severus did not react.
"I'll give you credit, you played your roles to perfection. First, you convinced everyone that you were loyal to Dumbledore, only to kill him. When you got caught you pretended to be Lily's poor, tormented former lover," Molly laughed. "How does that feel Hermione, knowing your husband spent the better part of two decades obsessing over a corpse?"
Hermione counted to ten under her breath.
"Still, I doubt any of that was true, because during half the Second Wizarding War he was clearly planning on ways to seduce students once they graduated."
"Molly if you do not shut your mouth…"
"You'll what?" Molly retorted. "Will you hex me until I can barely stand, and then bribe a judge to let you off? Will you pretend to be the poor misunderstood husband to garner sympathy with the public? Will you tell Rose that you couldn't handle a woman telling you the truth?"
"I will tell my daughter that a madwoman came pounding on my wards in the middle of a blizzard and began ranting nonsensically. Then I will tell her that after said madwoman refused to leave, I allowed her to freeze to death," Severus answered.
"You coward!" Molly replied.
Hermione shouted, "Taci dracului!"
Molly's lips fused together.
"If you are going to stand outside the least you can do is remain quiet and not disturb the neighbors or the wildlife," Hermione replied.
Molly's face reddened. She pounded on the invisible ward. Shocks ran up her body. Soon, her red frayed hair stood upright. She collapsed onto the ground.
Hermione turned to Severus. "Would you like some hot chocolate?"
"I would love nothing more," he purred.
With that, they left the now mute Molly.