Cyriac Weasley regarded his one-time friend with distaste.
"You are asking too much, Joshua. A betrothal cannot be passed on from generation to generation. This isn't the Dark Ages, you know."
A cruel smile crossed the man's face. Cyriac was well aware of the precarious situation that both he and his future issue were in at that point in time.
"I appreciate that, cousin, but the fact remains that a debt is owed that can only be repaid by marriage."
Cyriac cursed the day he ever went into business with Joshua Potter. He rebuked himself for having been stupid enough to trust a man even when his wife had told him that things had gone too far. But it wasn't until he'd realised that his very soul was in peril, that he finally listened to her. But by then it was too late and his only saviour was the man who now gloated at his misfortune.
"I am well aware of that," he spat, his anger mounting, "but I cannot bind a future generation of my family to the follies of its past."
His adversary gave up all pretence of friendship and, removing his half-moon spectacles, glared at his cousin with thinly disguised contempt.
"I fear that you have no choice, lest you wish to explain your family's failure to honour its agreements before the Wizengamot."
"You ask too much! How could a man do this to his own flesh and blood?"
"I ask only what is due to my family, Cyriac, nothing more."
Finally, seeing no other choice, Cyriac decided to acquiesce to the man's demands.
"Oh, very well then, I will have the papers drawn up in the morning."
His cousin's face was full of barely concealed glee. If it wasn't for the fact that the Potter family would lose face if the whole sorry affair became known, Cyriac knew that before the sun had set on tomorrow, his shame would be known up and down the land.
"Thank you, Cyriac, I knew you'd see sense. Now, let us drink to celebrate the future union of our two families."
Reluctantly, Cyriac Weasley took the glass of brandy offered to him.
"To the future," declared Joshua Potter smugly.
"To the future," replied Cyriac. And may my children and grandchildren forgive me.