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Chapter 19: Six Years, Three Months, and Four Days Later
“What do you mean, he’s got a beater’s bat lodged up his arse?!”
“I’m really sorry Mrs. Kemble, but it’s exactly what’s happened. We’ll be able –”
“You’ll have to get rid of it!”
“I was just getting to that. We’re in the process of removing it right now. There will be no lasting –”
“There’d better not be any lasting damage.”
I repressed the urge to reach over and throttle the lady currently seated in front of me. Instead, I satisfied myself with a mental image of her getting slowly squeezed to death.
Still ever the Pacifist, I am.
“There won’t be,” I said curtly, all traces of politeness gone. Hey, I’m the goddamn Healer in charge of removing the beater’s bat out of her son’s arse. If anything, she should be nice to me. Because honestly, I get paid either way. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to tend to my patient.”
Without waiting for her response, I spun and stalked out of my office, pulling on my lime green robes over the professional muggle attired I’d purchased in London. Knee-length pencil skirts, collared shirts, and ridiculously expensive heels that I could never stop myself from buying were so much more stylish. They even looked nice under the vile green robes.
“Has the situation changed?” I asked my assistant Benjamin as I closed the door behind the patient’s bedroom. Ben shook his head and shot me his idea of an alluring smile. This, along with every other flirtatious sentence, look, or touch he sent my way was expressly ignored.
“Brilliant,” I said, slapping on my gloves. The patient flinched, and I rolled my eyes. He’d been given a pain reduction potion as soon as he’d come in, there was nothing to fear.
“H-Healer Potter?” The patient – Markus, the chart said – asked in a shaky voice.
“Is it going to hurt?”
I allowed myself a small chuckle. “I’m going to pull a beater’s bat out of your rectum. Yes, it’s going to hurt, but we’ll try our best to make it as least painful as possible.”
In all honesty, it would be out with a single spell, no pain at all. But I wasn’t going to led the stupid sod know. After all, if he was slow enough to find himself with a bat shoved up his arse, then this was his fault.
Why yes, I am still a raving bitch. Nice to know things haven’t changed much.
“So, Adele,” Ben asked later that day, as I filled in the last of my reports.
Oh, bloody hell. This should be good.
“Dinner tonight? I know this really great place, and –”
“I’m married, Benji.”
He hated being called Benji. I’m evil.
He let out an impatient huff. “Yeah, we all know what’s up with that situation, Adele, so –”
“No thanks. Please, let’s just keep this strictly professional,” I said, putting away the files and tucking my folded Healer robes back into my purse. They disappeared into the depths of the bag, thanks to a handy expansion spell that Rose’s mum had put on it for me. Definitely the best Christmas present I’d ever gotten.
Ben looked slightly frustrated, but not deterred. His dark brown eyes took on that determined look that told me that I’d be here for longer than I’d like. I sighed.
“Come to dinner with me. Just dinner. Once,” He said.
“I can’t, Ben,” I told him, slinging my bag over my shoulder. “Do yourself a favor. Find a witch who isn’t me. I’m no good for you.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Aynes.”
I slipped out of my office and down the hall before he could get in another word. Yeah, this was something I had to do every day. At this point it doesn’t even bother me anymore. I keep it calm, cold, and smooth. It’s worked for me all these years.
You keep your shell up, and soon people are going to stop trying to break through. They’ll decide you’re a lost cause.
I suppressed a groan. “Rosie,” I greeted tiredly, accepting the hug that Rose gave me. She pulled away, her brown eyes glittering with an enthusiasm that was way too chipper for someone who had been given the night shift this entire week. Yeah, Scorpius wasn’t too thrilled about that, but we’d all come to accept that Rose’s boss was a psycho-anal dictator that hated everyone. I think part of it was centered around the fact that her last name was now Malfoy. Or that she was the daughter of Ron and Hermione Weasley.
Head Healer Brown needed to get over Ron.
“How’s everything? It’s my last night shift tonight! Come for dinner tomorrow,” Rose fired at me.
“It’s fine, that’s great, and I’m going out tomorrow. How about Saturday night?”
“I’m glad, thanks, and I forgot about that. Quidditch and then dinner on Saturday?”
“No Quidditch. You and Scorp go. Dinner sounds good.”
“You can go to a film or something, we’re going to the game.”
“No Quidditch,” I insisted. Rose rolled her eyes, and gave me a big kiss on the cheek on her way past.
I blew a wayward strand of hair off my forehead in frustration, then allowed myself a brief grin. Since when had Rose and I progressed to these kinds of conversations? It was almost as though we were so close we could content ourselves with hurried chats in a hallway and still feel completely comfortable with it.
I shook my head once and continued down the hallway towards the Floo room. I checked my watch as I grabbed a handful of powder and stepped into a fireplace. Right on time. I smiled as I dropped the powder and announced my address. Then with a whirl of bright green, I was whipped away into the heart of Muggle London.
“I’m home!” I yelled into the flat as I dusted myself off and stepped onto a rug.
“Oh thank Merlin, I thought you’d never be back!” Scorpius said as he staggered into the room. “Never stay late at work again.”
“Oh, you big baby, it was only for three hours,” I teased.
“Mum! Mum, mum, mum!” The five-year-old clamped onto Scorp’s back slithered down and landed with a thump on the ground, but didn’t seem to mind because he picked himself right up and sprinted towards me.
And instantly, the entire day’s work – all of those hours of frustration and exhaustion and irritating mothers – just sort of faded away. Suddenly, I was teeming with energy, bubbling with happiness.
(And I am not one to bubble with happiness. Ever.)
“Hey, you!” I said, picking him up and kissing him on the cheek. “How was your day?”
“Uncle Scorp and me watched Quidditch on the telly and then he told me he’d take me to the game on Saturday and oh mum can I go? Please?” My son burst out in a one long breath.
I shot Scorpius a sharp glare, but couldn’t hold the expression as I looked at Blake. He was a little devil, a mix between the mischievous bravery of his dad and the sharp wit of his mum. He was crazy, he was loud, and half the time he was a complete pain in my arse. I don’t know what I would have done without him. He was my entire life from the moment I’d found out I was pregnant.
“I don’t know Blakey,” I said, putting him down and kissing his unruly ebony curls, “We’ll see.”
He pouted, but knew that if he argued then it’d be an immediate no. Smart kid.
“B.S really wants to go,” Scorpius said quietly as I kicked off my shoes and left them by the door.
“Stop calling him that,” I said, laughing as I hit him. Scorpius responded with a half-hearted smile, but kept up his serious expression. Scorpius insisted on calling my kid B.S because if I was dumb enough to name my son Blake Sirius then someone ought to poke fun at the initials. I told him that he was a horrible uncle. He told me that he was building Blake’s character.
I don’t see how calling a child ‘B.S’ builds character.
“C’mon, Adele, I don’t think it’d be a huge deal –”
“Blake, love, have you finished reading your book?” I cut across. Blake shrugged one shoulder, still looking expectantly between me and Scorpius. He knew we were battling it out on his account – and hell if he was going to miss this show.
…bugger, this child is too smart for his own good. I see a Slytherin in the making. I need to stop inviting Scorpius over so much.
“Babbitty Rabbitty scares me,” Blake admitted, blinking his huge green eyes at me.
“Well then, how about you finish the tale of the Three Brothers, and we’ll get Aunt Rosie to tell you a really cool story about it, hmm?” I cajoled. Blake’s mind seemed to be battling it out: on one hand, he’d miss this awesome fight. On the other...well, he adored Rose.
“She’ll tell it to me tomorrow?” he asked hopefully.
“Tomorrow,” I promised.
With an excited squeal, he bounced off the sofa and disappeared into the depths of his room. I turned to Scorpius, who looked mightily impressed.
“I still can’t get over how good you are as a mum,” he said.
I grinned. Fuck yes, I’m an awesome mum.
(I mean, yeah, sometimes I do accidentally curse in front of Blake and there was that precarious time in the beginning when I was still doing hours during which Blake stayed with my mom more than he did with me…but he doesn’t remember it! That doesn’t make me a bad mum! …does it?)
“Scorpius, can’t we do anything other than a Quidditch match?” I outright pleaded.
“Adele, you can’t hide Blake from the Wizarding World forever –”
“Oh, please,” I scoffed, “As soon as someone finds out, the media’s going to be all over me. You know why I can’t. He’s Harry Potter’s first grandchild for Merlin’s sake…I’m not going to expose him to something like that. That’s why I moved out to Muggle London as soon as I figured out I was pregnant. I like keeping us out of the limelight.”
“I know how you feel, but we can still figure out a way to get him to just one measly game –” Scorpius haggled.
“How? Scorp, you know how much I love Quidditch! I don’t want to keep him from something like this, but I can’t bring him to a game without people noticing.”
“We’ll figure something out! Adele,” Scorpius put his hands on my shoulders as I let out a sharp incredulous breath and made to turn around, “Adele, doesn’t Blake ever ask about his dad?”
A sharp, stinging sort of sensation went through my chest. “Of course he does,” I said quietly, lowering my eyes to Scorp’s feet. Cute socks. “He’s a smart kid. Who wouldn’t be curious?”
“You have to let him see Al, Adele. Just once. Even if it’s at a match or something –”
“Don’t tell me he’s playing in this match,” I said dangerously, slipping out of Scorpius’ grip.
His expression took on a wary, careful edge. “He’s playing at this match.”
“No,” I said right away, “I’m not bringing Blake to a match that he’s playing at –”
“He asked about you yesterday,” Scorpius said quietly, eyes darting over my face to gauge my expression.
I rolled my eyes towards the ceiling and scoffed. “Yeah? Pleasant things, I hope?” I snapped snidely.
Scorpius grimaced. “Something about if you’ve managed to make yourself disappear for good.”
I scoffed again.
“I think he’s looking for you,” he admitted quietly. “Not…you know, really hard…but he is. Maybe subconsciously. It’s been five years. Don’t you think it’s time to let things go?”
“Honestly, Scorpius, I let it go a very long time ago. Al stopped being important as soon as Blake came into the picture,” I said tiredly. “That’s not the point. I can’t… I have more than just me to worry about now, Scorpius. Blake –”
“Blake. Yeah, Adele, Blake. It’s not fair that he doesn’t know his dad. And it’s not fair to Al that you’re hiding his own son from him –”
“His son?” I said cuttingly. My voice was edging on hysteria. “His son?! All he did was donate his chromosomes, Scorpius, being a Dad is so much more than that. Was he there when Blake used to wake up at all hours of the night? Did he nurse him back to health every time he got sick? Did he watch Blake take his first steps or say his first word or kiss his boo-boo when he fell down? Just because he’s blood related to him doesn’t make him a dad. I don’t owe Al anything.”
Bitter, much? Frankly, yes.
“You’ve never given him the chance to do any of those things!” Scorpius argued.
“Well he lost his chance from the second he used me, Scorpius!” My voice was louder than before.
“You both are so bloody stubborn!” He bellowed at me, “you don’t understand how utterly miserable you are – let go of your pride Adele, look past that stupidity that’s blinding you and give people a chance! It’s not a crime to let people in! Yeah, sometimes you get hurt but that doesn’t mean that you should give up altogether. Giving up just means you’re nothing but a spineless coward.”
I was shaking with anger by this point. “You don’t understand anything,” I said in a cold, quiet voice.
“I understand enough,” he retorted. His voice was cutting.
We both spun around, our expressions melting at Blake’s face, his eyes large and brimming with a light film of tears. Bugger, I just got home and he has to see this. I’m an awful mum.
“Mummy, I don’t wanna go to the Quidditch game,” he whimpered, pressing the back of his hand into his eye forcefully, as if he was angry at himself for wanting to cry, “Just please don’t fight with Uncle Scorp.”
A heavy weight settled into the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t fair, what I was doing to this kid. I sent Scorpius a helpless look, but he merely responded with a vaguely ashamed one.
“Baby, we’re not fighting because of that,” I said gently, holding out a hand. Blake walked up and hid his face in my knees. “You know I love Uncle Scorp, and he’s my brother and we always fight.”
“Yeah, but you looked so angry,” his muffled voice floated back up to me.
“I wasn’t angry,” I said automatically. He didn’t believe me, just continued to press his face into my knees.
I bit my lip, “I don’t know what else to do, Scorpius,” I whispered, closing my eyes and placing a hand lightly in Blake’s hair. “I’m scared.”
There. That was it. The first time I’d ever said those words to anyone, even myself. I don’t get scared. I wasn’t scared when I tried out for Quidditch or played my first ever game. I wasn’t scared when I got married to someone I didn’t quite know. I wasn’t (too) scared when I saw that humongous rabid rat. I wasn’t scared when I had to give birth.
But right now? I’m scared.
I’m scared for Blake, for the secret I’ve hid for so many years. I’m scared Al will hate me even more and Blake’s heart will break. I’m scared mine will. I don’t know if I can do it twice.
Bloody hell, motherhood has turned me into a fucking Hufflepuff.
This is so sad. I actually might cry or something.
“We’ll figure something out, Adele,” Scorpius said, a look of understanding in his eyes. He knew I meant more than just the Quidditch Game. He knew I meant everything, this entire situation.
I let a small smile light up my face and Blake rested his chin on my knee, looking up at me with excited eyes.
“That’s right,” I said, “I forgot you married a genius.”
“That I did, Adster. That I did.”
He looked at me expectantly.
I rolled my eyes, smiling. “Oh, fine.”
A large grin unfurled over his face as he ruffled Blake’s unruly curls, mussing them up even more. “Did you hear that, B.S? You’re going to your first ever Quidditch Game!”
Blake let out an almighty squeal and immediately squeezed my knees so hard I nearly fell over. He then launched himself away from me and onto the couch, where he proceeded to jump on it, shouting to high heavens.
“Thank you! Thankyouthankyouthankyou –”
“Blake, you’re ruining the furniture!”
“ – an actual Quidditch game! I can’t wait!”
“Right, I’ll leave you to it,” Scorpius said, dropping a kiss onto my cheek and offering me a cheeky smile and salute as he apparated out of my flat. I growled under my breath. Of course he leaves me with the five year old jumped up on excitement.
“ – there’ll be bludgers and snitches and waffles –”
“Quaffles,” I corrected automatically. Hey, I’m a Chaser. No son of mine will be calling the goal-making device a waffle. This is my bread and butter, right here!
“—quaffles and mummy when I grow up I’m going to be a Seeker and catch the snitch and win every game and be so cool.” He finally finished, letting out a deep contented sigh and flopping back onto the sofa. “I am so happy.”
That cold unfeeling rock in my chest region swelled with an emotion I have come to identify with…love (I’ve gotten better, I actually use the word now!) and suddenly, I knew I’d made the right decision, scary as it was.
I kind of wished I could go back to a time when one Quidditch Game could make me the happiest person in the world. Childhood was so innocent – and there was no way I was going to let Blake lose his so early. I didn’t care if that made me a coward. It wasn’t going to happen. End of.
“But first,” I said loudly, reverting back to ‘crazy mum’ mode, “we have to make dinner!” I jumped on the couch next to him and tickled until his squeals turned to gasps. I was smiling so big I couldn’t even feel my face, and as Blake wrapped his arms around my neck and told me with sparkling green eyes that he loved me very much, I couldn’t have been happier.
…then I remembered I still had to cook dinner.
my reviews recently seem to form a general pattern:
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PS UPDATE BREATHLESS. I DEMAND IT.
it must have been all the subtle hints, but i think it was high time i updated this thing ;) i know this might not be what everyone wants (i think like fifty people told me NOT to make her pregnant and some more told me to make her pregnant and one person even outlined to me just what he/she thought should happen) but it is what it is. it's staying this way because blake is important -- and come on, how can you not love the kid?! he's adorable beyond words.
i'm sorry for the wait, and for any mistakes that might be in this chapter, i literally just finished it and i haven't read over it or anything, i figured you guys waited long enough :)