“We were practicing for a play…” Draco said, lying through his teeth. “It’s a surprise for when uncle Harry…”
Molly shot him an angry glare, but Rose seemed to buy it.
“So it was a duel then…” she said cheerfully. “Like in the stories…”
“Yes, it was, sweetie.” Mrs. Weasley had no choice but to accept his version. “We were trying out some moves. It still needs some honing though, but we’ll do that another time…”
“Can I still watch some telly, Gran…? Like you promised?”
“Sure, sure, go on…” Rose went into the living room, oblivious to the tension between them.
“I guess we’ll have to invent a play now…” Draco smirked.
“It’s not funny…” she spat.
“I saved us… You should be grateful…” He followed Rose, leaving her to seethe. Molly was horrified by her actions but he had definitely pushed her into doing so.
Draco had already joined Rose on the sofa as Molly finally entered the room as well.
“Perhaps I should be off,” she said brusquely. She wouldn’t be able to stand another minute in the presence of this arrogant, cocky… “I’ll see myself out.. Goodbye Rose, dear… Don’t forget to practice those moves…”
Draco rose his eyebrows. “Weren’t you going to keep an eye on me?” he asked innocently.
“It’s no use…” she replied, through gritted teeth. “My daughter-in-law has a mind of her own, regretfully…”
“Bye Gran…” Rose smiled happily at her, but Gran’s smile didn’t come so easily.
Hermione arrived hours later. Draco had stayed up, becoming increasingly worried. He started pacing around the house, unable to focus on anything anymore: his own research, not even the television… That Muggle contraption that had already provided him with many pleasant memories; most of them involving Hermione and some sob story… causing her to seek comfort from him.
The clock told him it was near 2 a.m. when she finally came in through the Floo.
“Sorry, Molly… I…” she began, when Draco hurried towards her.
“Is everything all right? You are very late…”
“She went home hours ago. We got into a sort of fight…”
“What?” Hermione bristled. “Draco, no… Please tell me you didn’t do anything…”
“Me?! She reached for her wand first!” Hermione’s eyes grew big with horror.
“What?! What happened…?”
“Rose saw us… So it stopped before it started. Thankfully….” Draco was loath to think of what could have happened.
“I can’t believe this… After the day I’ve had…”
“Same here…” Draco mumbled.
“Harry’s condition is changing rapidly… Sometimes it seems as if he will wake up only to sink farther away a few minutes later… The healers don’t know what to do…”
Tears sprang into her eyes. Draco carefully hugged her as Hermione cried unto his shoulder. Her day had been horrible: good news one minute, and bad news the next. Ginny was out of her wits as well…
“And you?” she asked after a while. “You got into a fight with Molly… and what about your parents…?”
“It’s a long story…” Draco began as he related his day. The shame he had felt at seeing his father’s actions all those years ago, but also the shame he had felt at his own father disowning him, insulting him so harshly. He was careful to mention the hope as well, the investigation he and his mother would continue in the morning. Amidst all the memories that were stored, surely they could find something?
“I hope so… I truly do…” Hermione said. “We could use a change in fortune…”
“We will find a way,” he replied. Eager to believe it himself.
“You really grabbed your wand? Molly, what were you thinking of?!”
Arthur had left St. Mungo’s only to find his wife very upset, crying at the kitchen table. After a little digging, it turned out it was not about Harry’s condition…
“We’re going to lose her…. Her and Rose…” she cried. “To them… To them, of all people…”
“Molly, focus please… You were going to curse him? Battle him? He was a Death Eater once, for Merlin’s sake…”
“I can defend myself, you know…” His tone was far too patronizing for her taste. Did he forget her actions during the War? She could fight!
“I know…” Arthur sighed. “Of course, I know… We were in the Order… but Molly… We’re not at war anymore. At least, not with him…”
“I know that! I know! He was just… he’s infuriating…”
“I’m glad you’re unscathed…” Arthur hesitated, and continued: “I’m glad he is… I’d hate to think what would happen if…” Mr. Weasley was relieved Lucius was no longer around to defend his son… He sat down next to her, his arm around her shoulder.
“He mentioned Snape,” she said, more calmly now, “and that he had been called a blood traitor..”
“Narcissa?” Arthur was surprised. “I thought she and Dromeda…”
“Must have been Lucius then… All for Hermione, he said…”
“You’ll have to accept it sometime…” Her husband nudged. “He does seem to go to great lengths to…”
“But that’s what’s so painful…” Molly replied, hiccupping. “That I can’t even be angry because he tries so hard… That’s how he wins… and that awful smirk of his… ”
“I know… he does resemble a young… But we have to remember he is not his father. Imagine growing up with him…”
“Imagine Rose in that house…” Molly continued. “We would never get to visit anymore…”
“She could visit us…” Arthur said consolatory. “Let’s not live in the future, shall we…? The present is bad enough as it is…”