AN: I found time to update, so here it is.
Thank you for all the support! I deeply appreciate it.
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.
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?"
"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."
"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."
"He's trying to put Louis through the university."
"And Charlie is broke again too."
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."
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."
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."
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.