Thank you so much for all the support! I am grateful for it!
"Neville is better than this."
Arthur and George kept their eyes on Percy.
"Neville knows how outrageous it is for a headmaster to blindly accept any sort of behavior which comes from his employees," Percy ranted. "How could he make the same mistakes as Dumbledore and allow a snarling Snape to run rampant around the school?"
"It is rather sad that Neville has forgotten how difficult it is to be on the receiving end of a vengeful Snape," George replied as he sat on the faded orange couch.
Arthur sat up straighter in his recliner. "I feel sorry for Rose."
"You feel bad for Rose?" Percy spat.
Arthur nodded. "As a child her only real role models were a cheater and a dungeon bat. Perhaps if she'd had some more positive influences in her life she would not behave as she does."
"She's not some teenager experimenting with mind altering potions," Percy huffed. "She's the professor tormenting your granddaughter."
"All I'm saying is that she shouldn't feel as if she needs to bully Gryffindors to exert her authority," Arthur answered. "I had hoped Severus would raise her to be better than that, but I suppose he can only teach her what he knows."
"How could Snape raise her to be anything but his clone? She's surly, sarcastic, and all around unpleasant to be in the same room with," Percy replied.
Arthur's throat tightened. "Did she at least seem happy?"
"Yes," Percy admitted. "She takes an unusual amount of joy in torturing unsuspecting Gryffindors. Being told she could continue her course of action made her absolutely giddy."
"Did she appear to be healthy?"
Arthur bowed his head. "I suppose that's all that matters."
"No," Percy's eyes were aflame. "What matters is that Professor Snape II is tormenting your granddaughter and Headmaster Longbottom has no intention of stopping her."
"Perhaps we should see things from their point of view."
"Molly can be a handful at times," Arthur began. "Perhaps at least one of those detentions was warranted."
"Dad," Percy snapped. "None of them were warranted and you know it. My daughter is being unfairly persecuted and it needs to stop."
"I would be careful before speaking. After all, if you want to make such a strong accusation you will need to make sure Molly's hands are completely clean."
Percy glowered at his father.
"Unfortunately, Dad's right," George cut in. "Molly is very proud of her house, and doesn't always know when to stop teasing others. It isn't beyond the realm of possibility that Molly may have taken a couple of jokes too far."
"Oh, so now you're on Rose's side," Percy retorted.
"No," George answered. "All I'm saying is that before you go off and promise to reform Hogwarts, you may want to provide clear, indisputable evidence that Molly has been treated unfairly."
Percy opened his mouth but then shut it. He tapped his chin. "Perhaps I could use more proof than simply pointing out that Rose and Severus share the same bloodline."
Arthur could not hide the pain in his eyes. "Yes, you probably shouldn't make too much of Rose's bloodline."
"Still, the second I get into office Headmaster Longbottom will need to account for more than a few of his actions," Percy vowed.
"Which ones?" Arthur asked.
"The most egregious blunder has been the renovation of Hogwarts. I am still unclear as to why Headmaster Longbottom found it necessary to rebuild the Astronomy Tower," Percy replied. "I understand spending a few thousand galleons on a memorial at the base of the tower, but I still think he could have repaired the old structure for half the cost."
"Maybe he had access to certain financial records that we did not," Arthur offered.
"Or maybe he was spending taxpayer money on an unnecessary building project," Percy replied.
"Perhaps," George admitted.
"Well, we don't have to worry about Neville for long. He will give an account of his actions soon enough."
The three men turned to Molly, who skipped in with a tray of four pink tea cups.
"Our little Percy will become the new Minister of Magic, and cut all that wasteful spending. Headmaster Longbottom will have to starting towing the line with his professors soon enough."
She set the tray on the table. Percy grabbed his cup and took a sip. "Thank you for the confidence, Mum."
"There is not reason not to be confident in you," Molly trilled. "There is nobody better qualified than you to take the reins of the Ministry and lead Wizarding Britain to greatness."
"The fact that I have no real competition helps," Percy noted.
"Don't get too ahead of yourself," George warned. "There's still time for another person to declare a candidacy and run a respectable campaign."
"It's highly doubtful will ever consider running against me," Percy replied. "Nobody in the Ministry has expressed any interest in the position, and few outsiders have even shown interest in launching a campaign."
"Exactly," Molly answered. "You're as good as the next Minister of Magic."
"We shouldn't count out the possibility of another runner though," George warned. "Especially if said runner gets wind of your proposal to pardon our brother."
Molly let out an exaggerated sigh. "If people want to raise a fuss about those kidnapping charges against Ronald then they can jump off a cliff."
"Rose was almost eaten by Fenrir thanks to Ronald's stupidity," Arthur argued.
"But she wasn't, and that's all that matters," Molly replied.
"It will matter to most wizards though," Arthur noted. "Ron never should have so much as considered taking her."
"Damnit Arthur," Molly's face was red. "I've told you several times that poor Ronnikins was not in his right mind when he took Rose. He didn't hand Rose over to Fenrir either. Fenrir kidnapped Rose from Ron. The circumstances were all beyond Ronald's control."
"That isn't how most people view the situation," George replied.
"Only because the blasted Snapes have turned everyone against us," Molly answered. "Hermione drives Ron crazy by telling him she's baring his child, and then becomes upset when he acts upon the delusion. She cannot have it both ways!"
Arthur wiped his eyes before taking a tea cup. "That isn't exactly how it happened."
"Of course that's what happened," Molly replied.
"Who cares what the Snapes think? Whether anyone likes it or not, Percy will be the next Minister of Magic, Ron will be pardoned, and we will be a family again. Well, all of us except Ginevra, who still refuses to see reason and demand a divorce."
"If she hasn't requested a divorce yet I doubt she's going to," George replied.
"Then it's her loss," Molly answered.
"Could we please discuss something else?" Arthur asked in a weak voice.
Percy cleared his throat. "We should move onto a more pleasant topic than Draco bloody Malfoy."
"Agreed," Molly answered.
"Now, I'm very proud of my Lucy," Percy began. "She's currently shown quite an interest in Muggle Studies."
"Oh I'm so thrilled to hear that," Molly turned to Arthur. "It's so exciting that one of your grandchildren is following in your footsteps, don't you agree?"
Arthur looked right through her. Instead his mind was focused on the image of a black-clad woman with Severus Snape's scowl.
Hermione cleared her throat. "Now in order to bring out the full magical effects of the albus lupine root, one must expose it to moonlight. The more moonlight the plants absorbs, the more potent its effects. This is why for potions such as this, the plant should only be exposed to the moon for no more than four hours."
The fireplace erupted.
Hermione set down her note cards onto her bed. Am I ever going to finish this speech?
Hermione stepped towards the fireplace. "Yes, Rose?"
"Is Dad there?"
"He's in the basement."
Hermione's eyes softened. Her daughter's voice did not exude the same amount of authority as usual, and her eyes were more distant.
"Rose sweetie," Hermione asked. "Is there something you would like to discuss?"
"Actually, there is," Rose answered.
Hermione backed away from the fireplace. Rose stepped on through and brushed herself off. Hermione smiled as she watched Rose's black robes billow in the air.
She truly was a Daddy's girl.
"I fear I cannot stay for long," Rose began. "I simply wanted to borrow Dad's crystal cauldron and seek his advice on a matter."
"What kind of matter?" Hermione asked.
Rose swallowed. "My issue isn't anything overly concerning. In fact I believe I'm overreacting to the situation."
"What situation?" Hermione asked.
Rose took a deep breath. "Percy Weasley believes I am treating his daughter unfairly."
"Oh he does."
"Yes. Yesterday he went as far as to demand an audience with me in Headmaster Longbottom's office."
"I take it said meeting took place."
"Unfortunately, it did."
"How did it go?"
"As well as could be expected," Rose replied. "Headmaster Longbottom applauded my ability to maintain control in my classroom, and sent Percy on his way."
"But it was still a jarring experience," Hermione concluded.
"Indeed it was," Rose admitted.
Hermione outstretched her arms. Rose rushed into them and trembled. "I should not be as rattled as I am, but the fact that he could be the next Minister of Magic is concerning."
"I agree," Hermione answered. "Percy Weasley as Minister of Magic is not a pleasant thought in the slightest."
Rose broke away from the embrace. "How did you and Dad handle the Weasleys when you were first married? How did you learn to ignore their tantrums?"
"We learned to treat them as the nuisances they are," Hermione answered.
"Percy will be more than merely a nuisance if he takes power," Rose replied.
"His position in the Ministry should be of no concern to you."
"If he begins cutting off funds to Hogwarts because of me, then it will be of the utmost concern to me."
"Percy is not the first person to threaten Hogwarts. He's far from the most intimidating as well."
Hermione sat down on her bed. She patted the place beside her. "Lucius Malfoy is a very forceful man."
Rose sat beside her. "Indeed he is."
"When I was a student he attempted to suspend Dumbledore from his office and overhaul the curriculum to make it more friendly to his worldview."
"I've heard a little about this."
"Then you know how it ends."
"Albus Dumbledore was ultimately able to prevail over Lucius." Hermione grinned.
"True," Rose relaxed. "He did."
"Percy Wealsey is no Lucius Malfoy. Headmaster Longbottom will do just fine against him."
"I suppose so."
"Hopefully that story has eased you fears," Hermione replied.
"Indeed it has," Rose replied. "Though it does make me wonder how you could ever have wanted to be involved with the Weasley family."
"Temporary insanity, I assure you," Hermione replied.
"You cannot be intimidated by the Weasleys. At the end they are only a group of people, not a legion of dementors," Hermione promised.
"Thank you Mum," Rose replied.
They faced the doorway. "Dad."
"I didn't think you would be up from the basement so soon," Hermione replied.
"I was able to finish my brewing earlier than anticipated," Severus answered.
"I am glad to hear it," Rose replied. "I came to request your crystal cauldron."
"What need to you have for it?" Severus asked.
"I am looking into a treatment for splinching. Since I'm working with lupine and the plant is more powerful when brewed in a crystal cauldron, I thought I could borrow yours," Rose replied.
"Sadly my crystal cauldron is in use at the moment," Severus replied. "Though I can loan you one of my tin ones. Lupine reacts quite well in one of tin."
"I suppose tin is doable," Rose replied.
Severus motioned for her to follow. She obeyed the unspoken request.
Hermione watched them leave and raised her eyebrow.
What is Rose not telling me?