From the moment I woke up this morning, I knew this wasn’t going to be a good day. When I opened my eyes and looked at my watch, I noticed it was just gone a quarter past ten. On any other Sunday morning I’d just think ‘excellent, three more hours sleep’, but not today.
“ROSE! GET UP NOW!” I heard Mum screeching in the door at me. Why did she have to come home again? “We’re leaving in five minutes!”
That made me jump. I hopped out of bed and threw on the first pair of magically expanded jeans I could find on, and a very baggy t-shirt. I supposed I’d change later on the train (which is where I am now, however I haven’t changed yet). I started flinging everything I could find into my trunk and ran to the bathroom to brush my teeth. It’s so typical that on the morning we’re due to go back to Hogwarts, everybody oversleeps.
Dad drove us to the station, and we arrived with less than a minute to go before the Hogwarts Express left. We crossed through the barrier to see James, Al and Lily being shoved onto the train by Aunt Ginny and we followed them, waving goodbye to Dad and Ginny. There were no empty compartments, so guess what?
We – as in Scorpius, Hugo, James, Al, Lily and myself – have to share a compartment with the Scamander twins. If I wasn’t such a nice and considerate cousin, I’d laugh at Lily’s misfortune. Dom joins us in the compartment soon after, having spent quite enough time with Mark, who's sitting in a compartment with a bunch of random Hufflepuffs.
It’s very awkward. Apparently Lorcan is the only one who doesn’t know about what happened, because he seems as blissfully weird as always. Lily isn’t even pretending to know what he’s talking about as she usually does, but stares down at her feet. Lysander is doing the same. Really, it’s Lysander who should be feeling ashamed of himself. What kind of bloke cops off with his twin brother’s girlfriend? I swear, my life wasn’t half as dramatic when I was in fourth year.
Eventually Lily mutters that she’s going to go find Roxie, and Lysander says he’s going to talk to his friend, Phil. I’ve never heard of a Phil, but nobody asks any questions. Then Hugo drops out to find his scary emo-Goth-chain smoking friends. Then Lorcan, realising he’s been left with just sixth and seventh years, makes no excuse and just leaves the compartment.
“Well that was awkward,” James states, putting his feet up on the seat that Lorcan has just vacated. “Who’d have thought our little sister to be the school broom?”
“James!” Al growls, “That is Lily you’re talking about.”
“I know, but really –”
“Just shut up!”
“Are you two ever going to stop arguing?” I sigh.
“Are you two ever going to start arguing?” Al shoots back, looking at me and Scorpius. We look at each other.
“What are you on about?” asks Scorpius.
“We argue!” I protest.
“All the time!” Scorpius agrees.
James and Al look at each other and smile knowingly. I don’t like that smile one bit. Scorpius and I argue all the time! We didn’t talk for days before the wedding. We always argue. I mean, we argue even more than my parents do.
“Since you two got together, you haven’t argued once,” says James triumphantly.
"It's true," Dom agrees.
Scorpius and I open our mouths to retaliate, but neither of us can think of anything to say. Now that I think about it, we haven’t argued since we got together. Surely we’re not that disgustingly perfectly cute couple that never argues with one another? I mean, we don’t even have petty, fun arguments. How can this be happening? I live to argue!
Could I be actually content with life? This is awful – I don’t like it one bit.
And judging by the look on Scorpius’s face, neither does he.
"You're fat!" he throws childishly at me. I roll my eyes and ignore him.
“We argue,” I repeat.
“When was the last time you argued?” Al asks smugly.
“When…” I trail off. I have nothing.
“When Rose said she was leaving Hogwarts,” says Scorpius. Al and James glare at me.
“Thanks Scorp,” I mumble.
“You’re leaving Hogwarts?” Al splutters.
“Why? Why would you leave Hogwarts? You’re the brains of the family!”
“I don’t know,” I spit at James, “Maybe because of this?” I point to my bulging tummy. How can boys be so brain-numbingly stupid? Do they expect me to set up a cot in the Gryffindor dormitories and bring the kid to Transfiguration? It’s not practical! “I have it all figured out. I’m going to study from home and take my NEWTs a year later than planned.”
“But…you can’t just not do your seventh year!” James cries.
“My dad didn’t do his seventh year and neither did yours,” I point out, “They had other obligations. And so do I.”
They have nothing to say back.
“It’ll be okay,” I smile, “It might not be what everybody expected of me, but I think it’s the right thing to do.”
“But…couldn’t you live in your mum’s apartment in Hogsmeade?” Al asks, “You could hire a nanny during the day and you could see the baby in the evenings!”
“Okay, first of all, I don’t crap out money,” I say bluntly, “And secondly, I want to be the one looking after my baby, at least for the first few months.”
"You're right," says Dom after a few moments of contemplating what I've said.
James and Al look helplessly at each other, knowing they’re not going to talk me out of this one. I think deep down they know I’m right too.
Dinner is just about ready by the time we arrive back at the castle. It feels like we’ve been away for months – I only now realise how much I’ve missed the place. So much has happened in the last few weeks, it’s like another lifetime ago when Scorpius and I were still playing confusing mind games with each other and I was worrying about my parents’ relationship.
When we reach the Great Hall, I rush over to the Ravenclaw table to say hello to Jenny.
“Rose!” she hugs me happily. I have to say, it takes me by surprise how happy she is. I’ve gotten used to her being all depressed over Al. “How are you? How was the wedding? Wow, you’ve gotten bigger in the last two weeks!”
“The wedding was good,” I shrug, “Scorpius and I…we…sort of…”
“You got together, didn’t you?!” she squeals in delight, “Oh I’m so happy for you! I knew it was going to happen!”
“You did?” Apparently I’m the only one who didn’t see it coming. Even Al and James weren’t surprised when they found out.
“Of course I did! I have some news too.”
She wants Al back. I can feel it. This getting Al and Jenny back together plan is going to be easier than I first suspected.
“I’m going out with Robert Hitch,” she smiles happily.
I stare at her blankly. My heart drops.
“You know Robert Hitch?” she asks.
Of course I know him. Everybody knows him. Not only is he the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, but he’s Head Boy too. And he’s just about the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet in your life. Seriously, even I, the most pessimistic girl ever, can’t think of something bad to say about him. He’s one of those people that you hate the idea of because they’re so completely perfect, but when to actually talk to them you can’t help but conform and completely fall in love with them. He’s really funny and attractive and the annoying thing is that there is absolutely nothing annoying about him.
Al doesn’t stand a chance.
“Um, yeah, I know him,” I say, “That’s great, Jen.”
What else can I say? Dump your perfect boyfriend and get back together with my angry, spoiled brat of a cousin who isn’t even half as good-looking as said perfect boyfriend? I don’t think so.
“I know,” she blushes, “He’s really…nice.”
Of course he is. He is ‘nice’ personified. This is not good. But maybe deep down she loves Al more. Maybe she’s just using Robert to get back at him.
“And he’s been training really hard for the match on Saturday,” she says fondly, “I reckon we’ll have no trouble beating Slytherin.”
Or maybe she really does hate Al.
“So…you and Al then…” I start.
“I’m over that,” she shrugs, “I’ve given up caring. It took too much out of me. I have Robert now.”
Yep – Al really doesn’t stand a chance.
“Robert Hitch?” Al spits, “Robert arse-kisser Hitch? Are you for fucking real?”
Al is pacing up and down the Slytherin common room, while Scorpius and I sit beside each other in silence.
“Isn’t he gay?” asks James, sitting on the ground eating a packet of Every Flavour Beans.
“Apparently not,” Scorpius shrugs.
“Robert Hitch?” Al repeats, still pacing, “No, there’s just no way she’s with him. I mean, he’s so....so....so –”
“Gay?” James finishes for him.
“Actually, he’s smart, funny, athletic and sensitive. He’s what every girl wants,” I shrug, “I mean, he’s Head Boy and Quidditch Captain. And his family are quite wealthy –”
“We have money!” Al snaps.
“And he’s bloody gorgeous,” I finish. Scorpius looks at me, eyebrows raised. “Don't give me that look, you know you would if you were a girl.”
“That’s just weird,” Scorpius scoffs, “I mean, how would I know who I’d do if I were a girl? That’s just wrong. Just shut up.” He and Al look at each other nervously. Weird.
“Al, will you please sit down, you’re making me dizzy,” I say tiredly. Al ignores me completely and continues to pace the common room.
“We have to beat them,” he says, “We have to beat them on Saturday.”
“Even if you do beat Ravenclaw –”
“When,” Scorpius corrects me, “When we beat Ravenclaw.”
“If you beat Ravenclaw,” I look at him sharply, “That doesn’t mean Jenny’s going to all of a sudden want you back, Al. She’s into much more than Quidditch skill.”
“We have to beat them,” Al insists, “Scorp, round up the team, we’re training.”
“What, now?” Scorpius asks, “It’s ten o’clock at night. It’s past curfew.”
“Fine! Then half five tomorrow morning! Sharp!”
“Rather you than me, mate,” James grins at Scorpius.
James and I head back to the Gryffindor common room when Scorpius and Al head to bed, wanting to catch as much sleep as possible before their morning practice. Laura Phelps is in the common room when we arrive back, wearing pyjama bottoms and a rather large jumper, while reading – a very rare occurrence for Laura. James looks very guilty at the sight of her, mumbles something, and rushes upstairs to his dormitory.
“Hello Laura,” I say. She looks up from her book and says nothing. It’s hard to tell if she’s still angry with me or not. “How was your break?”
“I told my mother I wish her dead,” she says blandly, as if she were saying something like ‘oh, I just visited my grandmother’, “And my counsellor thinks I’m anorexic. It was fantastic.”
Hmm, Laura Phelps does sarcasm. You learn something new every day.
“My grandfather died,” I shrug.
“Well then we’ll call it even,” she says dryly. She does humour too, apparently. I sit down on the couch and wait for her to speak again. I’m always afraid I’ll say the wrong thing.
“Thanks,” she says finally, after minutes of silence, “For shouting at my mother, I mean. Dad told me what you said to her. Not many people have the guts to stand up to my mother.”
“Any time,” I smile back, “It was fun.”
“I’m moving in with my dad this summer,” she tells me, though I have no idea why. On some level, I’m still quite sure she hates me. But maybe she just needs someone to say all this to who isn’t some professional who’s being paid to listen. Maybe she needs a friend. “I told Mother I never want to see her again. She didn’t seem too broken up about it.”
“I’m sorry, Laura.”
She shrugs as if to say ‘it’s no big deal’. Then there’s some more silence, but it’s not awkward. I just know she needs some time to say everything she wants to say.
“And…Rose, I’m sorry,” she says in little more than a whisper, “I’m so sorry I told everyone about your pregnancy. I was such a bitch and I suppose…I was jealous of you.”
Jealous? Of me? Why would anyone be jealous of me?
“You’ve got such a great family who really care about you,” she goes on, as if she knows what I was asking myself, “And you’re smart and you’re a prefect and you’ve got so many friends. I suppose when I found out that you were pregnant, I just wanted to take you down a notch.”
“Well…you saved me from telling everyone. Although it would have been nice if Scorpius hadn’t found out like that,” I say, jokingly. She looks guilty, but smiles. “Don't worry about it, Laura. It’s all in the past now.”
“I’m dying,” Scorpius moans, “I’m actually dying. If our child is a boy, name him after me.”
He places his head onto the Gryffindor table at dinner on Monday evening and proceeds to moan loudly.
“Scorp, even if you do die, I will never curse our child with your name,” I say honestly.
“That’s good to know,” he says, though his voice is muffled because his head is buried in the table.
In fact, the entire Slytherin Quidditch team look just as shattered as Scorpius. The Scamander twins are actually falling asleep at the Slytherin table, Henrietta Flint is completely windswept, Kyle Montague’s lip is bleeding and he’s covered in muck and Jason Bates looks as if he’s been crying. Al, however, looks completely energetic and psychotic at the same time. The Slytherins were training from half five this morning until nine, then from three until half seven.
“I was thinking we could get another hour in before curfew,” says Al, wolfing down his dinner. Scorpius lifts his head off the table and glares at his best friend.
“No,” he growls firmly, “There is no way. I will kill you Albus Severus Potter, I promise you that. Just no.”
“Come on, Malfoy! There’s no ‘I’ in team!”
“Don't try my patience, Potter,” he retorts, “You’ve gone insane. You made Jason cry!”
“Jason’s a wimp,” Al shrugs.
“You whacked him over the head with your broomstick!” Scorpius cries.
“Well he shouldn’t have been talking during the game plan, should he?!”
“Okay boys, calm down,” I try to soothe the situation. Any chance of actually soothing the situation goes firmly out the window, however, when Jenny and her new boyfriend Robert enter the Great Hall, hand-in-hand. Scorpius and I look at each other, knowing this can’t be good.
Al gets up from the table and marches over to them, and Scorpius and I jump up straight away to stop him from embarrassing himself. Robert puts his arm around Jenny’s waist at the Ravenclaw table, and appears oblivious to the fact that Al is staring straight at him. Jenny cops on to the fact and stares right back.
“Can we help you?” she asks coolly. I have to admire her composure. I’d be hiding under the table if it were me. Robert now looks up too and smiles politely.
“Hello Albus,” he greets, “Hi Rose, Scorpius.”
“Hi,” I smile back. See, he even remembers my name and I’m only a prefect. Oh wait, there’s the ‘only-pregnant-girl-in-Hogwarts’ thing too…but I’m fairly sure he knew my name before that. He’s Robert Hitch – he knows everything.
“So Rob,” Al starts casually, “I hear you’re gay.”
He doesn’t say it quietly either. Whispers break out all around the Great Hall – Robert Hitch is gay?
“Al!” I cry, “Robert, I’m so sorry, Al’s just a bit –”
Robert puts his hand up to say it’s okay, but he has gone quite red. I could kill Al right now.
“Come on Al,” Scorpius tries to lead him back to the Gryffindor table where we were all eating dinner, but Al stays put.
“Can’t say I’m surprised, really,” says Al.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay,” says Robert, very dignified, “But I’m not. In fact, Jenny here is my girlfriend. But they do say that people accuse others of being gay may be trying to compensate for their own homosexuality. Not that I’m implying anything, of course,” he adds quickly when he sees Al getting angry, “I’m just merely stating a fact. Nice talking to you, Albus.”
Jenny smiles at Robert and kisses him, and Al storms back over to the Gryffindor table, grabs his bag and leaves the Great Hall.
“I’m so sorry about that,” I say helplessly to Jenny and Robert. Scorpius and I follow Al out of the Great Hall and find him sitting on the steps leading down to the Slytherin common room. I’ve never seen him look so angry.
“We have to beat them,” he hisses, “We have to beat that smug bastard.”
Over the coming days, Scorpius and I hardly have two seconds to spend together. Every spare second he has is spent training and working in the shop, while I spend most of my time sleeping, throwing up, doing homework and reading books on giving birth. The only time we actually have together is during Transfiguration class, and even then Professor Chang gives out to us for talking. And on the rare occasion that we do get a word in edgeways during Transfiguration, Al drags Scorpius away to show him some more game plans. I can safely say that my dear cousin Albus Potter has turned into a Slytherin fascist. It’s funny, I always thought it’d have been Lily to become the dictator of the Potter family.
I spend time catching up with Jenny, and it seems that all she talks about now is Robert. I don’t mind listening to her – after all, she listened to my problems for long enough – but the thing is, she doesn’t seem angry with Al anymore. In fact, she doesn’t seem to care about him at all. It’s as if he’s dead to her. Every time I try to bring him up, she greets the mention of his name with an indifferent nod and changes the subject completely.
By Friday evening, Scorpius is ready to die of exhaustion. He hides out in the Gryffindor common room, jumping every time the portrait hole opens in case it’s Al coming to hunt him down.
“I can’t take it anymore!” he whines. I rub his arm comfortingly, trying my best not to laugh. “The sooner we get him back with Jenny, the better. He was much more mellow back then.”
“Scorp, we’re not getting him back with Jenny,” I say, “She has Robert now. She’s happy.”
He looks at me incredulously. “What? All that planning for nothing? Is your whole family just insane or what? We have to get them back together! They’re Al and Jenny!”
“No, now it’s Robert and Jenny,” I tell him firmly.
“We could split them up!”
“Don’t be so evil!” I scold him, “Jenny is happy and if Al really likes her then he’ll accept that he’s not the one who can make her happy. He blew his chance with her by being an insensitive idiot.”
Scorpius looks like I just told him Christmas is cancelled. “So you’re telling me that Nazi-Al is here to stay?”
“I’m afraid so,” I shrug, “There’s nothing we can do about it.”
“We could start a rumour,” Scorpius grins.
“That Robert –”
“I said no!”
“is actually –”
“Scorpius…I think you need some sleep.”
“I love you,” he says randomly. It’s a little bit unexpected after the hermaphrodite talk, but it makes my heart do a summersault anyway.
“Where did that come from?”
“I realise I haven’t said it much recently,” he shrugs and puts an arm around me, “I wouldn’t want you forgetting.”
“You know, sometimes I think that you’re just a stupid idiot who talks about genderless Ravenclaws and complains about his Nazi-like friends,” I observe and cuddle closer to him, “But then you have to go and prove me wrong.”
“I’m good at that,” he grins back.
A/N - Hey folks! A quick update, eh? Thanks so much to everyone who has re-reviewed my story and to everyone who reviewed the last chapter. It cheered me up greatly so I hope you continue giving me your feedback! I hope you liked this chapter, it was a bit more light-hearted than the last few. And for all of you who are about to cry 'but I love Al-and-Jenny!', I'm sorry, but everything can't be perfect! But never fear, there'll be more crazy-Al-ness coming your way in the next chapter when Slytherin take on Ravenclaw in the Qudditch cup semi-finals! Do I hear people shouting for Slytherin?! There's a first time for everything!
And sorry for that little fluffy bit at the end...it had to be done!