Rose came running down the stairs, a letter clutched in her hand. "Mom, I-"
There was a knock at the door. Rose froze her tracks, her breath catching in her throat. She had a pretty good idea who that was.
"Rose, darling, will you get the door?" came her mother's voice from the living room.
"Eh . . . sure, mum." Rose swallowed and gripped the letter tightly. There was no point showing it her parents now.
She walked to the front door of their house and pulled the door open. Scorpius Malfoy stood on the doorstep with his Hogwarts trunk and some additional luggage.
"Hi." He smiled at her. "Can I come in?"
It was the most awkward position Scorpius thought he had ever been in, worse even than the situation he'd just left. "I was hoping my letter would get to you sooner," he explained to the Weasleys as he sat with them at their dining room table. If it had, it might have eased some of the tension Scorpius could feel coming his way from Rose's father.
"So, your father threw you out?" asked Mr. Weasley.
"Yes, Sr. I mean," Scorpius hesitated. It was a little more than that. "He disowned me."
Rose took his hand and squeezed it.
"So you have nothing?" asked Mr. Weasley.
Scorpius thought he saw Mrs. Weasley kick her husband under the table. "I mean, I have my bank account at Gringotts, I think. My grandmother set that up for me. She dotes on me; I'm her only grandchild. I would hope my relationship with Rose wouldn't cause her too . . ."
It was the first time the full consequences of his decision had hit him. He'd know his father would overreact, and he expected, or rather hoped, his father would eventually come around. But he realized now it wasn't just his father he had to worry about, but his entire family. What if his mother didn't bring his father around? What if his grandmother shut off his inheritance and cleaned out his Gringotts account? What if he literally had nothing?
"Hogwarts tuition," he gasped. "Is paid in full for this year, so . . . that's good." He tried to compose himself in front of the Weasleys as he realized his family really could cut him off forever and refuse to ever see or speak to him. They could be a bunch of prats sometimes, but they were his family and he loved them.
Rose squeezed his hand even more tightly, and he couldn't have been more thankful for her presence.
"How long are you planning on staying?" Mr. Wealsey did not sound very welcoming, and Mrs. Weasley visibility shot him a look.
"I can go to the Leaky Cauldron if it's an inconvenience," Scorpius said, assuming his bank account still existed. "I just wanted to see Rose." Scorpius turned to see her smiling face. She leaned toward him and kissed him on the cheek.
A blast of air forced the two of them apart.
"Ronald Weasley!" Mrs. Weasley scolded. Her husband stared back her. "Leave this table at once!"
Mr. Weasley looked taken aback. He hung his head momentarily, raised it to shoot Scorpius a threatening look, then took his plate and walked off into the living room.
"So sorry about that," said Mrs. Weasley, turning to Scorpius. "We have a strict no-magic-at-the-table policy." She smiled at her two children for whom, no doubt, the rule had been set.
"Scorpius." Mrs. Weasley rose from her seat and walked down the length of the table to embrace him. He appreciated the gesture, but she wasn't the one he wanted a hug from right now. "You are welcome to stay as long as you need, even up to the first day of school."
"Thank you," he said.
"Rose, darling," she leaned over to her to speak more quietly. "I'll work on your father."
Rose smiled. "Thanks, mum."
Rose showed Scorpius the guest room where he dropped off his trunk and additional suitcase. It scared her a little to think it might be all he had. "Are you all right?"
He was standing looking out the window, and he sighed. Rose walked up to him and hugged him. She was surprised when she heard him sniffle into her shoulder.
"I'm okay," he said, pulling back from her and wiping his eyes. "I'm fine."
She took his hand. "Come sit with me."
They sat on the bed and she put an arm around him. He leaned his head on her shoulder. "I thought my father would come around," he told her. "Now I . . . I'm not so sure."
She rubbed his back. "I'm sorry, Scorpius. When I asked you to tell your parents, I wasn't expecting they would react this way. I mean, daddy didn't speak to me for a few days and that was rough. But I honestly never considered that your parents would act more drastically."
"It's not your fault," he said, turning to her. He raised a hand to caress her hair. "I'd rather be here with you anyway."
He kissed her gently. She kissed him back, tightening her arms around him. And for several wonderful minutes, the stupidity of their parents was forgotten.
The children having all gone upstairs, Hermione returned to her husband in the living room. She had to remind herself that they weren't children anymore. Soon they would be adults, graduating from Hogwarts, and off to make it on their own.
"You left her alone with him?" Ron demanded, breaking into her thoughts as she entered the room.
Hermione scoffed. "Ron, she's perfectly capable."
"She's sixteen." He paced the room, his wand drawn. "She doesn't know what she's doing."
"She knows better than you do."
He stopped walking. "What's that supposed mean?"
"Your behavior tonight was completely deplorable."
"My - my behavior?"
"Yes, your behavior." She crossed her arms.
"H-Hermione, he showed up on our doorstep-"
"Because his parents threw him out," she finished for him. "Doesn't that tell you anything?"
Ron shook his head, but it was more a gesture to indicate that he thought the topic was irrelevant than to show he didn't understand.
Hermione explained for him anyway. "It means that he cares about her enough to defy his parents."
"Or he's lying!" said Ron enthusiastically, apparently believing he had some evidence against Scorpius. He rubbed his hands together. "I'd like to see what's in that bank account. I bet they haven't cut him off at all."
"Rose and Scorpius have been dating since May," Hermione continued to cut though his thoughts. "They waited till they got home to tell us because they were both worried about how their parents would react. Doesn't that upset you? That Rose thinks you'll judge her by who she is dating? That she thinks you don't trust she's levelheaded enough to choose someone who is right for her?"
"I don't trust her," said Ron. "Not in this case. She chose wrong." He resumed his pacing.
"How do you know when you won't take the time to get to know the boy?"
"I don't need to get to know him."
"He's not Draco Malfoy, Ron," she reminded him. "He's Draco Malfoy's son."
Ron shook his head again. "That doesn't make him any better."
"It doesn't make him the same or any worse. It just means he's a different person, a person who Rose chose." Hermione uncrossed her arms and took a few steps toward her husband. "Rose, our baby girl, extremely intelligent and kindhearted, chose Draco Malfoy's son."
Ron stopped his pacing and turned toward his wife. "He's brainwashed her."
Hermione sighed. This conversation was going nowhere. "Fine. Let's say he did. For what purpose? To sabotage her grades?"
Ron fought for words to respond. "M-maybe."
Hermione crossed her arms again. "Draco Malfoy wouldn't have dated Ginny to sabogate your family. It would have been too great a blow to his reputation. So we can rule out sabotage for Scorpius dating our daughter." She leaned in toward him. "And the only other explaination is . . . ?" She waited for him to finish.
"He's trying to get into her pants," said Ron, marching toward the stairs. "I can't believe you left them alone together."
"Ronald!" yelled Hermione in frustration. She grabbed his arm. "Are you forgetting they've had three months together already? If they really wanted to - oh! Nevermind." She threw up her hands. "I'm owling Harry and Ginny."
Ron stopped in his tracks. "Wha - why? You don't need to-"
"Ooh, yes I do."
She left her husband alone in the room. As she walked away, she could hear him casting separation spells at the floor above him. "Ron," she tried. "You do realize that's-"
There was a clatter and a crash, and Hugo's voice could be heard from above as Ron's eyes widened. In his frustration, he had forgotten it was his son's room above his head and not his daughter's.
"Dad!" yelled Hugo. "What are you doing?"
This is a sequel to "Anything You Can Do," which explores how Rose and Scorpius' relationship started. You can find it on my profile.