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Chapter 7: Unfamiliar
Now, I've never been the one to cause trouble. Willow... she'd had an insatiable curiosity, and one that – sometimes dragging me in, too – landed her often in deep water. She'd joked that she knew all of the detention records off by heart, seeing as she so often had to organise them as punishment. Filch despised her, as did Mrs Norris. She'd regularly broken into each of the different Common Rooms, broken curfew at least once a week, and I suspected that the teachers had all given up on trying to make Willow Evergreen toe to the line.
She'd had a quick temper. She'd often overlooked important details. She'd often only relied on her first impressions. She hadn't always taken other people's sides into account. She'd been a complete psycho. Yet I wouldn't have had anyone else for a best friend.
And now she was gone.
I wasn't stupid. I'd been up at the Hospital Wing often enough while the teachers talked in low voices over the unconscious Willow, for the pregnancy check ups. They'd discussed the fact how unlikely it was that she'd regain consciousness, and I'd been so relieved, and yet so worried at the same time when she had. They'd whispered about St. Mungo's. About how, if Willow hadn't recovered her memory by the end of the school year, she'd have to be sent there. And I knew that St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries was a bad idea for her. Over my dead body, I'd told the professors.
Maybe I was mistaken, but I reckoned I'd seen a tiny bit of the old Willow resurfacing over the last week. Her temper was still – most definitely, after the Kate Skeeter debacle – there, as was her quirkiness. Her worrying about Nathan being a lamp and her being a cyborg child proved that.
Her intuition, her gut feeling was present, as well. There was something not quite right about Scorpius, although maybe that was just me, being pregnant and hypersensitive.
He'd seemed a little... just slightly wrong, since, well, I couldn't really place my finger on it.
He seemed like an alright kind of bloke. Probably just going through a rough patch, with his family. Maybe he had a sense of responsibility for Willow's father's death. In that case, that was pretty cruel of Willow to bring it up, but she couldn't be blamed. I knew Willow, and she was genuinely scared of Scorp. And walking out because she didn't like the situation was her thing. She also had the tendency to overreact. A lot. Which was why she was in her situation, in the first place. But I didn't expect her to have been crying, when she finally turned up. That wasn't exactly characteristic of her. It took a lot to break down Willow, properly. She may shed a couple of tears now and again for weird things, she completely lost it for sad books or movies, but you almost never caught her sobbing over one of her own, personal issues.
“Hey,” I smiled at Soph and Willow when they eventually returned to the compartment. Nobody mentioned the red tear-tracks that marked Willow's face.
“Where's Scorp and Rose?” asked Fred.
“Dunno, haven't seen them,” answered Soph, “but I'm sure they be back in a minute.
“Dad's not gunna be happy with Rosie, eh?” Hugo remarked. “Dating a Malfoy, I mean.”
Hugo was thirteen, Rose was fifteen, even though she was in sixth, after skipping third year. She'd been too smart. They were the least alike pair of siblings I'd ever known. Hugo was a third year Hufflepuff who was heavily into Quidditch – hoping for a place on the team in future years – and spent hours over the holidays with his Grandfather, tinkering with Muggle gadgets. He also had the traditional Weasley appetite, and had no time for academic study. Rose, on the other hand, was not the sporty type, being a typical Ravenclaw – who liked being top-of-the-class – and didn't even like to watch Quidditch, despite its popularity at Hogwarts. She spent hours in the library each week, although she had confided in me that she preferred to study in the Kitchens, where she was particularly popular with the House Elves, considering her mother's work. Mrs Hermione Weasley was head of the House Elf Rights committee, working tirelessly to provide holidays and proper pay for Elf servants everywhere. Henceforth, Rose was adored, and no House Elf minded waiting on her – at any hour.
I saw Willow staring at me. She averted her eyes.
“So, Bella, you're pregnant?” she asked, probably just for something to talk about. Fred shifted defensively closer to me.
“Yep, and a bloody pain it is,” I remarked. Fred rolled his eyes at me. We both knew that me simply throwing up twice a day wasn't the major problem with that.
“How far along are you now?”
“Oh, about twelve weeks now. Stomach's starting to poke out.” I tried making jokes, but Willow was bent on feeling sorry for me.
“Do your parents know?”
“Nuh. We're going to tell them after Christmas.”
“How do you think they'll take it?”
Willow always had like asking questions. Soph glanced at me, pityingly.
“Well, seeing as I'm practically disowned already for being a Gryffindor... I'm not... I'm just going to drop by, tell them, then scat. They won't be happy, especially seeing as a blood traitor knocked me up. As for Fred's family, I don't know how they'll react.”
Willow frowned, and I sensed that she had more questions, and I braced myself for them. But she kept silent, or at least she was prevented from asking more by a loudly sobbing Rose, who waved open the door magically and flung herself onto Albus' lap.
“Where's Scorp, Cuz?” he asked insensitively. Wasn't it obvious that they'd just had a fight? Or was that just me? She sobbed louder, incoherently.
“He – he – he – he – didn't want – to – to – help...” that outburst brought forth another round of sobs.
“There there,” I scooched over closer to Albus and patted her on the back, “we don't need to know all the details, you just take your time.”
Apparently I was good with people. People liked me, Willow had said. She'd been jealous of my insane people skills. Yeah, right.
She slowly quit crying, then stood up abruptly, saying something about how we'd best change into our Muggle-type clothing, even though we were probably nowhere near the station. I was all for it, if it helped her snap out of her pity party. No, that wasn't fair. Rose wasn't one for self-pity, she was just in shock.
“Out!” I shooed the boys out, “you can't stay in here, while we're getting changed.”
“But... Bella!” Fred whined, “I've already seen you naked! And the others are my cousins!”
“Oh, I know, sweetie,” I leaned up and whispered in his ear, “but it gives us a chance to have a girl talk with Rose. She won't want you protective older cousins to hunt Scorpius down and kill him.”
He nodded with wisdom.
“You'll still tell me, won't you?” He hissed. “'Cause then I'll go kill him.”
The guys left. I didn't know where to, but knowing them they'd probably kick out a load of first years – out of their compartments. They were Wotters. They could do what they liked.
“So, Rose,” Eloise was playing tough love, “what the fuck happened? We need to know. We'll go kick some arse.”
“I – I don't know, exactly! All it – well, he wouldn't help Willow, and – and – and he called her a bitch and he – he – he was – was fucking that – that Zabini chick behind my back.” Rose burst into a fresh round of sniffling, the tears pouring down her face.
I patted her on the back.
“That. Bastard. Is. Going. To. Pay.” Eloise growled. She was always so violent, but I had to agree with her on this one. The Wotter girls, Sophia, Willow and I nodded and muttered words of agreement, although I noticed a slight smugness about Willow.
Don't you dare tell her you told her so, I thought fiercely at Willow.
She didn't. Good girl.
We changed quickly, and I donned a baggy T-shirt and jumper that hid my tiny baby-bump very well, thank you very much. Ok, so at the moment it just looked like I'd eaten a big lunch, but who knew? It wasn't like I had enough on my plate already, convincing people I wasn't a Deatheater and out to kill them. Oh, how I loved my parents.
Ugh, I'm horrible at sarcasm.
Then, Rose pleaded with us not to kill Scorpius, because she wanted the pleasure of denying him children to herself, the guys came back in (I don't know exactly how many people were in our compartment, but it must have been enlarged with magic to be bigger on the inside), and we all sat in awkward silence for the rest of the trip, apart from a loud game of Wizard's Chess, courtesy of James and Fred. Albus, wounded by his previous loss, was sulking, pretending to not be interested in their game at all.
We pulled into King's Cross Station, and I sighed with relief. The atmosphere was beginning to become unbearable.
I grabbed my trunk, out of the masses and masses of baggage that filled up the floor space. Dom simply waved her wand and her case rose gracefully. She sat on it, and it shot out of the compartment, like you'd expect a broom to do.
“What is the point,” I exclaimed to Soph, “of us not being able to do magic outside of school until we're seventeen? I'm sixteen and nine months! I should be just as mature as a seventeen year old!”
“I know!” moaned Soph, “I asked Dumbledore's portrait about it, and he just told me to 'stop moping like a wet towel', and that it was 'spirit building'. He's bloody crazy! Like he would even remember being sixteen, he's about 150!"
“Tell me about it,” I groaned, “he's as batty as they come! He told me that if I should need dire help, then I only need ask, or something. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I mean, come on!”
We ranted about that, Sophia and I, until we were on the platform itself. Then I saw a strange site.
Scorpius, Willow, Eloise, shouting, Rose's parents. Need I explain?
Well, you see, Eloise and Willow, they'd always been violent. And slightly crazy. Or completely crazy. So when they're together... and they aren't happy... all hell breaks loose.
It would have been comical, if it hadn't been so awful. Once the professors at Hogwarts heard about this misconduct of behaviour outside of school, they would be in deep trouble. So, of course, I had to cheer them on.
“GO WILLOW! POKE HIS EYE OUT!” I didn't know how, but Willow was clinging to Scorpius' neck, trying to rip his hair out, while shouting verbal abuse at him. Eloise was slapping him, while trying to curse him at the same time. Scorpius was shouting back, as well as trying to displace Willow and escape El.
Rose stared on in horror. I felt sorry for her. On the one hand, she wanted to go join her friends. On the other, she really did love Scorpius.
She stood next to me, and I coughed to hide my laughter. Her eyes widened. Strange, because I'd already thought that they'd reached maximum capacity of width.
I followed her gaze, and saw a group of parents.
Uh oh. Not good.
This was going to be more violent than the Second Wizarding War.
Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley, Hermione Weasley, Ginny Potter and Harry Potter, all striding this way. I stopped laughing.
“What is the meaning of this?” Mr Malfoy hauled Willow off his son with a mixture of contempt and distaste. “This – this filthy Muggleborn, attacking my son!”
“This fucktard is your son?” Willow, even sitting on the ground, being intimidated by a grown wizard, had no concept of danger. “Yes,” she added, “I can see the resemblance. Well, let me tell you a thing or two about your bitch of a son.”
She stood up and dusted herself off. Eloise moved in by her side, and the Potter and a few Weasley parents were approaching.
“He, the arsehole, hurt one of my best friends. And he's a fucking little retard, mother-fucking arse, and he's a filthy, rotten, sorry excuse for a wizard.”
“You attack my son, you accuse him of... sorry, what exactly did you accuse him of?”
Mr Malfoy. Don't wind Willow up.
“Why, I ought to -”
Eloise stepped in front of Willow. Which was a good thing, because Willow's face was turning an exquisite shade of violet.
“You filthy little Mudblood. I'll see you in court.”
“I don't think so, Malfoy.” Harry Potter, saviour of the wizarding world, to the rescue.
“You can press charges all you like, Malfoy. Willow is classified as 'not responsible for her actions', due to her present state of mind.”
A muffled sound came from Willow as Eloise clapped a hand over her gob.
“Shut up, idiot. He's not insulting you,” she hissed.
“And what, Potter, do you suppose, is that supposed to mean?” Mr Malfoy retorted.
“Listen, Malfoy. I have a lot of influence in the Ministry nowadays. Try anything and I can have you facing charges quicker than you can say 'Deatheater'.”
“Come on, son. We're leaving.” The two Malfoys walked off, all snooty with their noses in the air.
“Strange,” murmured Hermione, “he's normally decent. Not causing fights, and all that.”
“Bloody hell,” Ron's signature statement, as always, “what crawled up his -”
“Ronald!” Hermione snapped.
“Sorry,” he said, not remotely abashed.
“Liar,” whispered Harry, too loudly. Hermione gave him the stare.
Shit. Probably shouldn't have done that. But, let's face it, Malfoys were total and complete pricks. They deserved everything that Karma could throw and them, and then some.
I couldn't honestly give a crap about their superficial threats. They were as big-headed as a pair of top hats. With Engorgement Charms.
Apparently, I was, or had been, a violent person. I was glad that not all of my personality was wiped out. I still had my inability to keep my mouth closed in situations inappropriate for honesty.
And, apparently, I was brave to the point of stupidity.
Fantastic. What a great, honest-to-goodness (not), awesome type of human being to be. No wonder I was stuck, with magical powers and no way to use them, and no memory. I'd been – or was, not quite sure – an idiot.
“Wowzers, court here I come!” I muttered, sitting in the back seat of a sleek, black, very important looking car. Which looked like a sort of limousine to me, seeing as there was two couches in the back – which Bella, Lily, James, Albus and I were clinging to in an effort not to fall and be crushed by each other – and a different compartment at the front – where the adult Potters were seated.
You know, with seat belts.
Which we didn't have.
Apparently a lot of the Wotters lived near me, so they were dropping Bella and I home. Bella was staying with me. Apparently.
The car smelled nice. Probably because it was brand new. I got the feeling I liked the smell of new cars. It just made me have a nice, warm sensation inside my chest. I didn't like it, because I wanted to be grumpy.
The contrast of emotions was making my head spin. Although, that could have been the way that Ginny Potter was driving.
I wasn't sure exactly why, but Harry Potter trusted his wife too much. Just making it out of London was proving to be hazardous to mine and Bella's health. The three Potter children must have been used to that sort of driving somewhat, because they weren't going green, and they appeared to be quite relaxed.
“Now, Willow. You know that won't happen. Malfoy's always making threats. Don't let that frighten you,” Harry – you may be wondering why I am referring to them by their first names; which is simply because they asked me to – seemed very laid-back about the whole incident.
Rose's parents hadn't been, and neither had Eloise's. Once they'd discovered the whole truth, they'd gone off a bit.
Or a lot.
Yeah, a lot.
“I'm not,” I paused as Ginny swerved dangerously to avoid traffic, “I'm just mad.”
Harry almost replied, but was interrupted by the sweet sound of Bella turning her guts inside out, into a plastic bag.
Okay, not really her guts.
But most of what she'd eaten in the past four days, from the amount that came pouring out.
“Yuck,” commented Ginny, after we'd pulled over, “you get carsick, Bella?”
“Oh, no, I expect it's the-”
A hand was clapped over my mouth. Gross, Bella, you were just puking.
She didn't want the Potters to know about her being pregnant.
“The way you were driving, Mum.” Albus was a Slytherin. Apparently, they were good at cover stories. “Don't worry, Bella, Willow won't offend her too badly. You'll still be allowed back in the car.”
Nice save, Al.
The adults suspected nothing.
It was strange, walking through my own front door. Nothing was familiar.
No memories were instantly brought back by my own house, as I'd hoped. The shoes by the door were unrecognisable.
Even the house itself seemed like a stranger's.
We'd driven up my street. There were awesome, new, massive homes. There were a few Muggles, I'd been told by Lily, but mostly other magic folk.
I liked the houses. Until we reached mine. It was shoddy in comparison. With all of the cool, immaculate places, and then my dowdy, little thing.
The hat stand was hung about with hats that I was certain I've never seen before in my life. The house layout was higgledy-piggledy, and seemed like it hadn't been very well thought out at all. The pictures hanging on the wall, the paintings, the photographs on the mantelpiece, the kitchen.
Nothing was right.
I caught sight of a man, who must have been my Dad, in a photo, and blinked away my tears.
Bella wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
“I'm sorry,” she said, “I don't know how you feel, but I'm guessing pretty rough, eh?”
I nodded, unable to speak.
“I'm staying for a while,” Bella carried on, heedless of my inability to talk, “to make sure you're alright. Then I need to sort some stuff out. I'll go take your bags up, ok?”
I nodded again.
“Your mum and your brother should be back in a minute, call me if you hear the car.” And then she dragged the bags upstairs.
I kept staring at the bag, until I heard a car pulling in to the driveway. I didn't call Bella. She'd be down in a minute, anyway.
The door unlocked. I glanced at it.
A blonde-headed, blue-eyed boy, who looked like he needed a decent night's sleep, of about thirteen opened it, ran over to me, and gave me a hug.
“Nathan?” I asked.
“Yep,” he replied, popping the 'p'.
“Willow. You're home,” came a voice from a women standing behind him.
Oh - ma - gosh why have I not updated sooner?!
I'm lazy. With writer's block. Not a good combination.
Anyway, please review review review!
Don't just lurk int he shadows like a pen.
Yes, a pen.
They are never there when I need them.
Gimme your thoughts, your opinions, you know?
What do you reckon about the whole thing?
Why the hell is Willow being targeted by Death Eaters (or ex-Death Eaters, I don't know, whatever you want to call it)?
SPOILER ALERT BELOW.
It is to do with a book....
Ok, that's all!