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Take Me Down (Make Me Strong) by Aisu Hoshino
Chapter 3 : Chapter III
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12


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Lily tried hard to avoid her family – particularly her mother – as much as possible over the next few days. James’s invitation had not only given her so much relief that she hugged him extra tightly, but also gave her a way to keep herself busy. She took it upon herself to single-handedly clean his flat before she moved in. She had refused any help her family offered, and resigned herself to making sure the flat was completely spotless. The more work she had to do, she reasoned, then the more time she had alone.

It had hit Lily that she wasn’t being very much of a Gryffindor by hiding from everyone, but she didn’t particularly care at this point. She did make up for her cowardice with her family in her arguments with the owner of the Wimbourne Wasps.

When Lily had informed Elizabeth Shingleton that she couldn’t play, the owner was livid. Eli sent Lily several letters that ranged in tone from lecturing Lily for lack of morals and giving the team a bad image to assuring Lily that everything  would be fine and almost begging Lily not to leave the team for another once she was able to play again. Lily got a great headache from the whole ordeal, and Eli’s later letters did nothing to assure her of her job. She knew how wishy-washy Eli could be.

This got Lily to thinking about what she would do after the child was born, particularly if Eli decided to kick her off the team. She could always join the Harpies, a team that was very liberal minded when it came to issues such as this, but Lily hated the idea of leaving the Wasps. At the same time, Lily wondered if she would want her Quidditch career after the baby was born. It was a demanding job, and Lily had resolved herself to being the best mother possible.

This, along with the fear of how her extended family would act around her when they saw her after hearing of her news from Harry and Ginny, was weighing on Lily’s mind when she returned to the Potter house after she had cleaned James’s flat to the fullest extent possible. She had planned to go straight up the stairs to her room, but as she passed by the living room, her mother’s voice stopped her.

“Oh, Lily, it’s good your home.” Ginny said in a voice that indicated she was up to something. “You have company in the living room.”

“Who?” Lily asked, a feeling of anxiety washing over her. What was her mother up to?

“Caleb Smith,” Ginny answered.

What?” Lily asked in disbelief. What was her Hogwarts ex-boyfriend doing in her home now?

“I invited him.” Ginny stated simply. “I thought you two needed to…discuss some things. I’ll leave you alone.”

Ginny stalked into the kitchen, leaving Lily open-mouthed and furious. Her mother had no right to do something like this, and it was for this reason Lily wished to be alone until the baby was born. Still, Lily composed herself quickly before walking into the living room.

Caleb Smith was sitting casually on the couch, his right foot resting on his left knee. His brown eyes held a lazy look. Lily noted that Caleb was more handsome than ever now, his face less boyish than she remembered. His dusty blond hair was also a bit longer than he used to keep it, but the look worked well for him.

His eyes brightened when he noticed her in the room. “Lily! It’s been to long!”

“What are you doing her, Cale?” Lily asked in a more exasperated voice than she had planned.

“Your mother invited me.” Caleb said simply. “She said we had things to discuss.”

“What things?” Lily asked impatiently, the pregnancy hormones kicking in.

“She didn’t say.” Caleb replied shortly, uncomfortably sensing Lily’s bad mood. Things were not going according to his plans, he noted as he took in her appearance. She was more beautiful than ever, but he noticed that her hair no longer fell down her back. “You’re hair’s short.”

“It’s convenient for Quidditch.”

“I like it better long.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter much what you like or dislike about me, now does it?” Lily spat as she sat down in a chair. Her words came as a blow to Caleb. The truth was she preferred it long and was planning on growing it back out, but she would never tell Caleb that.

“I guess not.” Caleb said, frowning, and wondering what he was doing in the Potter household. It had ended with Lily ages ago, and it was obvious that that wasn’t going to change. He wondered why Ginny Potter had invited him in the first place. He had hoped that maybe Lily had said something about him, but he realized from her behavior that this was a false assumption.

There was an awkward silence between them and they both found themselves gazing at useless objects throughout the room. It was during this silence that Lily realized why Ginny had invited Caleb over. Her anger rose and she could not suppress a “Damn” from escaping her lips.

Caleb looked at her quizzically. “Excuse me?”

“I just realized why Mum asked you to come here.” Lily stated. Caleb stared at her with a look that asked her to go on. “I’m pregnant.”

What?” Caleb asked, not sure he heard her right.

“I’m pregnant.” Lily repeated.

“What does that have to do with me?” Caleb questioned, shocked from her announcement. Lily – once his Lily – unmarried and pregnant?  It didn’t seem possible.

“She thinks you’re the father.” Lily answered. Caleb stood up, a mixture of surprise and anger washing over him.

“But we haven’t even seen each other in ages, much less that!” he shouted. “What is this – a trap? You get yourself knocked up and think that you’ll save yourself by trapping me into a marriage when it’s not even possible for the kid to be mine?”

“Of course not!” Lily shouted back at him as she stood up. “Listen to yourself – do you honestly believe I would do something like that to you? I would think that you knew me better.”

Caleb thought for a minute as he scanned her face and went over his words again. He realized that his accusation had sounded rather absurd, but he also could think of no explanation for Ginny’s accusation and invitation. “Then why does your mum think – “

“I don’t know.” Lily cut him off.

“Wait – who is the father? Shouldn’t she know?” Caleb asked, practically ignoring Lily’s statement as he voiced what was going on in his head.

“I told her I didn’t know who he was.” Lily said truthfully. Caleb burst out laughing.

“You’re kidding,” Caleb said through his laughter.

“No, I’m not.” Lily said. “She won’t believe me. Why she thinks you’re the father is beyond me, but here we are.”

Caleb quit laughing abruptly. “Who is the father?”

“I told you I don’t know.”

“I don’t believe you.” Caleb stated, reading his ex-girlfriend’s face. “It’s Wood, isn’t it?” Lily remained silence as Caleb stepped closer to her. She turned her head away from him but he pulled it back to face him.  “Isn’t it?”

Lily shook her head lightly, not liking the way his eyes held her gaze or his finger under her chin.

“Why are you protecting him?” Caleb asked in a whisper.

“I’m not.” Lily muttered.

“I don’t believe you.” Caleb said before doing something Lily never saw coming. He moved his face towards hers in a kiss. Lily’s eyes widened as their lips touched. He tried deepening the kiss, which brought Lily to her senses. She pushed him away and angrily slapped him.

“What…the…hell do you think you’re doing!?” Lily asked angrily, putting extra emphasis on the first three words. Caleb looked at her in surprise, making her wonder if even he realized what he just did.

“I – “ Caleb stopped short, wondering what he was going to say. This meeting had been nothing like what he had pictured in his head. “I just thought that maybe we could – “

“Could what? Go back to our Hogwarts days?” Lily questioned. “Come on Cale, we were horrible together!”

“We had our good moments.” Caleb stated in his defense. Lily raised an eyebrow at him. “Okay, so they were few compared to our bad moments, but still…”

Lily sighed. “What are you doing here, really?”

Caleb also sighed and looked down at the floor, scratching the back of his head. “I’m lonely.”

“And what, you thought you would give it another go with me?” Lily scoffed. “You know we ended ages ago.”

“I know.” Caleb replied. “I was just hoping.”

“Why?” Lily asked. “There are plenty of girls out there – why me?”

“Because you know me, and I know you.” Caleb answered as he continued to look down at the floor, shifting his feet uncomfortably. “Meeting new girls is…difficult.”

Lily laughed. “Oh, come on Cale, any girl would be lucky to have you. But you know it can never work between us.”

“I know.” Caleb said, looking up from the floor. “I just thought it would be easier.”

“Easier?” Lily laughed again. “We hexed each other more than we did anything else while we were together, and I’m pregnant with another guy’s kid right now. In what universe is that easier than meeting someone new?”

Caleb smiled. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but you know I’m a bit shy when it comes to new people, and I’m not exactly good with first impressions.”

Lily thought for a moment. “You remember my cousin Molly?”

Caleb nodded. “A little. What about her?”

“She’s in Diagon Alley today.” Lily answered. “Mum told me this morning, I think she wanted me to go with her, Dominique, and Lucy. Knowing them, they’re still shopping.”

Caleb smiled. “She’s older than me.”

“She’s not that much older.” Lily stated. “She always liked you. I caught her staring at you a lot.”

Caleb’s smile widened. “Thanks, Lily.”

“Anytime, just don’t mess things up with her.” Lily said with a smirk on her face. “She is my cousin, after all.

“If there’s anything I can do for you or the baby, then let me know.” Caleb told her.

“I will.” Lily replied. “Now go on, before you miss her.” Lily ordered before he disapperated.

When he did disapperate, she plopped back down in the chair she had been sitting before. She shook her head from the whole meeting, and could not help but laugh. A few minutes later Ginny came in.

“How’d it go with Caleb?” she asked, a knowing look on her face.

“Great.” Lily answered. “I sort-of set him up with Molly.”

Lily silently thanked Caleb for the expression on Ginny’s face as she stalked off, peeved that her theory was obviously wrong.

~*~



In the home of Ron and Hermione Weasley, a young couple sat together at a small kitchen table, smiling and holding hands as they discussed their upcoming wedding. Well, really Rose was saying different ideas she had for the wedding while Scorpius Malfoy merely nodded his head and gave a “that sounds nice” to almost every one of her suggestions.

“Oh, you’re no help!” Rose said after he gave this response for the umpteenth time.

“I’m sorry love, but if you like it, I like it.” Scorpius replied. “Besides, we haven’t even set a date yet. We have plenty of time to decide things.”

“It doesn’t matter how much time we have if you don’t cooperate.” Rose argued as she poked his nose. “Besides, I think your mother and grandmother would like my ideas better if they knew you had a hand in coming up with them.

Scorpius sighed. “That doesn’t matter. It will be our wedding, and they will deal with that.”

“You’re the one that wanted me to work with them since they wanted to give us the perfect wedding.” Rose pointed out.

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean they get the final say in anything.” Scorpius said. “In the end it’s still up to you. You’re the one who jumped on my suggestion and said it would be the perfect opportunity to bond with my family.”

Rose sighed. This was true. Neither of their families had been thrilled when she and Scorpius started dating and both families hated it when they got engaged. Rose had loved Scorpius’s suggestion of working with Narcissa and Astoria for this reason – she wanted to mend the rift between the families. She wanted to be accepted by the Malfoys, for Scorpius’s sake. On the other hand, both women were very domineering and Rose couldn’t help but wonder if her attempts were in vain.

“So did I tell you about Lily?” Rose asked, wanting a change in subject.

“What about her?” Scorpius asked, interested.

“She’s pregnant.” Rose answered. “Three months along at that.”

“Really?” Scorpius asked. “Who’s the father?”

“That’s the worst part, besides the fact she went so long without telling anyone.” Rose stated. “She says she doesn’t know.”

“Really?” Scorpius asked again in a slightly disinterested voice.

“Yes. I don’t know whether to be angry and disappointed with her or feel sorry for her. I think someone should reach out to her.”

“Maybe so,” Scorpius said, looking at the sky outside through the window as Rose continued to talk.

“The thing is, Hugo is the closest to her, and he’s too upset she didn’t tell him. I’ve always been so different from her that I wouldn’t know what to say. So I was hoping you could talk to her. Let her know she was irresponsible, but that the family’s still here for her.”

Scorpius turned his attention back to his fiancée and looked at her like she was mad. “I don’t think that that’s the best idea, Rose.” He said flatly.

“Oh, come on Scorpius, why isn’t it a good idea?” Rose questioned.

“Because I’m not part of the family yet, and I’ve never been friends with her or anything.” Scorpius answered.

“But you will be part of the family soon, and you’ve always gotten along with her well.” Rose replied. “Besides, if I can reach out to your mum and grandma, you can reach out to my cousin.”

Scorpius sighed at the determined look on Rose’s face.  “All right, just give me a few days.”

Rose smiled and kissed his cheek. “I knew you would. That’s why I love you.”


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