AN: Thank you for all the support! It is deeply appreciated!
"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."
"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.
"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."
"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."
"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?