AN: Thank you all so much for the support! As always, it is much appreciated!
They were coming for his brooms.
Ron hand trembled as he held up the note.
Pay by Monday, or the brooms are ours.
Tears flooded his eyes. He let out a whine.
How am I going to escape this mess?
The fireplace erupted.
Ron yelped and jumped. His heart raced. Okay, there's no need to panic. If I pretend I'm not home they'll have to leave...
He held his breath.
"Ronald, are you there?"
"Percy?" Ron answered.
"Please come here, Ronald."
Ron rushed over to the fireplace, almost tripping over the hearth. "Percy, what's going on?"
"I need your assistance in a certain matter," Percy began.
"Oh you do?"
Ron crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't know if I should help you. After all, you wouldn't help me earlier."
"Circumstances have changed," Percy replied.
"Let's just say that finances are no longer an issue."
Ron's eyes lit up. "You mean, you might help me pay off my debts?"
"If your assistance proves invaluable, then yes," Percy replied.
"Well, by all means, come in!"
Ron backed away from the fireplace. Within a minute, Percy materialized.
"How can I help you?" Ron asked.
Percy brushed the soot from his tan overcoat. "I need you to tell me the story of Rose Snape's conception."
Ron raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
Percy's frown deepened. "I do not believe I stuttered. I need you to tell me the story of Rose Snape's conception."
"Why do you want to know about it?" Ron asked.
"What more is there to say? I've told you my story a million times, but you never believed me."
"Now I am a little more willing to hear you out."
"Can I not want to give my brother another chance?"
Percy glared at him.
"Seriously Percy," Ron replied. "Why does Rose's paternity mean so much to you now?"
"So far people have been less than," Percy tapped his chin. "Supportive of my measures to protect them from the amnesiacs."
"Oh yeah, George told me about that," Ron replied.
"Of course that bastard did," Percy muttered.
"It sounds like it's quite the mess."
"What did he say about it?"
"George said you're down in the polls, but the people took it much better than Mum did. He said she really went off on you."
Percy groaned and shook his head. "My ears are still ringing from her screeching."
"Sorry about that," Ron replied.
Percy huffed and straightened his posture. "None of that matters at the moment. The only thing which should concern you is that I need a scandal to distract the public. If it can distract the Snapes from their little potions experiments at the same time, then all the better."
"The truth about Rose's paternity would rock their world," Ron mused.
"It would rock the Wizarding World," Percy's lips curled up. "It's the kind of scandal I need to distract everyone from the happenings of the Ministry."
"True," Ron scratched his hip. "But, you didn't believe me before. What if you don't change your mind?"
"I'm ready to listen to you now," Percy replied.
"I am going to listen to you. I will go into our discussion believing you are an honest man," Percy replied.
Ron twisted his lips.
"I am offering you the chance to redeem yourself not only in the eyes of the family, but in the eyes of the Wizarding World." Percy lowered his voice. "You would be a fool to pass up this opportunity."
"I don't need redemption," Ron replied. "I need cash."
"How high are your gambling debts?"
"I owe the moneylenders fifty thousand galleons."
"I'll give you sixty thousand in exchange for this proof."
Percy extended his hand. "Do we have a deal?"
Ron shook it. "Of course we do."
Ron embraced Percy. "You are such a lifesaver! I don't know what I would have done without you."
Percy pushed him off. "Do not become too elated just yet. I still need that proof."
"Uh sure, but," Ron's face fell. "Crap. How are we going to get proof that I'm telling the truth? I cannot very take a DNA spell with Rose in Britain and me here in Peru."
"You leave the DNA spell up to me. Right now all I want are your memories."
"Sure. Where do we start?"
"How about we start about at the beginning."
Ron smirked. "You want to see the night Rose was conceived?"
"The events surrounding it should be sufficient," Percy replied.
"Sure, but uh, I don't have a pensieve."
"I take it you sold you penseive."
"I figured as much." Percy reached into his pocket. He set a small object on the floor and tapped it with his wand. Within moments, the penseive grew.
"Now," Percy began. "Let's see those memories."
Ron pulled his wand out of his pants pocket. His expression became neutral. "What do you want to see?"
Percy replied. "Please show me the night Rose was conceived."
Ron snorted. "Which night?"
Percy put his hands on his hips.
"We shagged so many times during my break I lost count," Ron replied.
Percy moaned. "Just pick one night around the time Rose was conceived."
Ron glanced at the ceiling. Then, he smiled and cast his spell. From out of his head wafted a mist. It floated towards the penseive.
"Are you sure you want to see this?" Ron asked.
"I have little interest in seeing my brother naked," Percy admitted. "But desperate times call for desperate measures."
"Fair enough," Ron replied.
Percy took a deep breath and dunked his head into the penseive.
Ron could feel every artery pumping blood throughout his body. He took a ragged breath as Percy removed his head.
"What were you thinking?" Percy snapped. "'Casting the spell slows things down too much?'"
"It was taking too long," Ron complained.
"It only takes thirty seconds to cast a contraceptive spell, thirty whole seconds. How is that taking too long?"
"I didn't have thirty seconds."
"That's a load of bull and you know it."
"Well, everyone makes mistakes."
"Lying about your virginity while conceiving a child is a huge mistake."
"I said I was sorry."
"Is that the only memory you need?" Ron asked.
Percy sighed. "A few more from the same time period would be helpful, if only to prove that there is a high chance that you could be Rose's father."
"Sure," Ron replied.
"One where she claims to love you alone would be most helpful," Percy replied.
Ron smirked. "Oh I have so many of those."
Memory after memory was extracted from Ron's mind. Each time a new one was selected, Percy put it into the pensieve and stared at it. With each passing memory, Percy's face grew a little greener.
After six memories, Ron asked, "Do you need more."
"No," Percy gagged. "I have sufficiently established that you could be Rose's father."
"Okay," Ron replied.
"Now," Percy swallowed his bile. "Did Hermione ever claim Rose was yours?"
"Oh yes," Ron replied.
"When she told me she was pregnant wth Rose."
Percy cocked his head. "If she admitted Rose was yours then why did you never produce this memory when you first claimed Rose was yours?"
"I was too injured from my fall to do so," Ron answered.
Percy shrugged. "Fair enough."
Ron extracted one final memory from his mind. It wafted into the penseive. Percy took a deep breath before plunging in his head into it once more.
Ron folded his hands behind his back. He looked down at a crumb on the floor. For a fleeting moment, he wondered what was for dinner. Hamburgers sounded nice, but there was nothing like a nice lasagna.
Ron heard his jaw crack as Percy's fist made contact with it. He stumbled backwards
"How dare you run out on your own child?" Percy shouted.
Ron rubbed his jaw.
"That woman was pleading with you to stay. Not once did she claim the child was anyone but yours."
"Of course not, because Rose is mine."
"I…I cannot believe that Rose is a Weasley, not a Snape"
"I kept trying to tell everyone that she was my daughter," Ron whined. "But nobody believed me."
"We did not believe you because you allowed Severus bloody Snape to raise your daughter, Percy retorted.
"I made a huge mistake in letting Hermione run off with him," Ron whimpered.
"A huge mistake?" Percy snapped. "A huge mistake is falling off your broom. A huge mistake is gambling your life savings away. A huge mistake is turning over a child to Fenrir. This, this is…"
"This is atrocious!"
"I was stupid, okay! I was really really stupid!"
"No, you were heartless, you were selfish, you were willing to throw your daughter out on the streets, you were," Percy began to laugh. "You are going to solve all my problems."
Ron smiled. "Really."
"Yes," Percy answered. "Between these memories and a DNA spell, the Snapes will be too distracted to cause me any trouble. With the eyes of the Wizarding World on them I can finally get around to finding a cure myself."
"If everyone is distracted, then I'll be able to pay off my debts. Then I can get a pardon and return to Britain," Ron replied.
"Yes," Percy replied.
Ron embraced him. "How can I ever thank you?"
Percy hugged him. "Be a better father than Snape."
"That," Ron replied. "I can do."