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Final Vows by Magical Ginny
Chapter 1 : Brown Owls and Uncomfortable News
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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A/N Sequel to New Identity. Shout out to Torch who requested it ;) Will make more sense if you read NI, but it's totally up to you. Enjoy!

            "Talk to me, Patrick," I told him soothingly. "You have been distant and distracted with me all week. What's going on?"

 

I was in the kitchen cleaning up after breakfast while he was sitting at the dining table. He looked up from his newspaper momentarily to stare at me. There was something odd in his eyes. Was it fear? Anger? Irritation? I couldn't tell. Grunting, he looked down again, and I felt a twinge of annoyance.

 

            "Just tell me."

 

            "What is there to tell, Lily?" he shot back suddenly. "It is none of your business. You wouldn't understand anyway."

 

            "I'm your wife. You don't keep secrets from your wife. You'll be surprised what I do understand. I'm not stupid, you know."

 

            "You could've fooled me," he mumbled from behind his paper.

 

I stood up suddenly. I had my mother's temper, and when I get angry, I really let fly.


             "Just listen to me. You're not usually like this. I can tell something's up."

 

            "And what do you know about me?" he yelled, slamming the newspaper down on the table to hard I flinched. "Nothing. You know nothing about me. Where do I work? Tell me that much?"

 

            "At the Ministry."

 

            "Half the bloody wizarding world works at the Ministry, Lily. But it was a good guess. Which department?"

 

My mouth went dry and I felt my cheeks burning. I didn't know. But it wasn't my fault he never came home with stories from work. He never told me, so how should I know?

 

            "Exactly what I thought," he whispered dangerously. "I rest my case. You know nothing about me."

 

With that, he got up from the table, dropping his newspaper and grabbing his jacket. He slammed the door forcefully behind him as he left on his way to work. I sighed, running my trembling hands through my red hair. I should've been more sympathetic. He had to work late nights sometimes and he often suffered from stress. I had very important news to tell him, but I figured it would be better to tell him when he came home, rather than harping him while he was still fuming.

 

I went into the bedroom and got ready for work, apparating into the main foyer of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I instantly forgot my argument with Patrick as I was rushed by assistants and other Healers, reporting cases and asking advice. After I signed two floating clipboards prescribing some potion or other, I was ushered along the corridor by my assistant, June.

 

            "He refused to have anyone but you," she told me quickly, bobbing up and down beside me. "He fell off his broom, but won't even take a pain relief potion until you get there. According to the Medi-witch with him, he's been chewing on a piece of cord to relieve some of the pain."


I just nodded, glancing down at her as she spoke. I wasn't overly tall, but this woman was still a head shorter than me. I had to keep reminding myself that she was about ten years my senior.

 

            "What level?" I asked, approaching the lifts.

 

            "Just down here, Healer Williamson," she said, consulting her notes as she hurried along. "Ground Floor, Ward 5."

 

I was usually called to the more major incidents on the upper levels, being a senior Healer despite my young age, so I was surprised I would be attending a patient on the ground floor. He must have either been really hurt or pissing everyone else off with his insistence.

 

As we entered the ward, a very relieved Medi-witch rushed over to us. 

 

            "She's here, Mr. Potter. Could you please stop chewing on that cord now?" she asked the man behind the curtain.

 

Did I hear right? Mr. Potter? I pulled back the curtain to reveal the one and only James Potter. My older brother.

 

            "What are you doing here, James?" I sighed, slightly harassed. "You're wasting my time."

 

            "Hello, sis. How are you today?" he asked sweetly, casting the piece of broken white cord aside. "I fell off my broom during practice today."

 

            "I realised that," I said, checking his leg which he seemed to be holding at an odd angle. "I think your leg is broken. June, can you go out and ask Healer Matheson for a pain relief potion while I try to heal this?"

 

She hurried out of the room, and I was left to deal with James. I prodded his knee with my wand, and he cried out sharply in pain. I nodded slightly, a grim smile on my face.

 

            "Yep. Definitely a broken leg," I muttered to myself, scribbling on the clipboard. "How's it going at the Tornados? I heard they're in hot contention for the cup this year."

 

            "It's going really well," he grinned in spite of himself. "I can almost feel the cup, Lily. That's how close we are. The Canons aren't going to well though."

 

He sniggered and I couldn't help but smile. Dad, Albus and Uncle Ron were avid fans of the Chudley Canons, and were devastated when James joined the enemy camp. Mum and I were impartial, as James couldn't have joined the Holyhead Harpies even if he had wanted to.

 

            "Does it hurt anywhere else, Mr. Potter?" I enquired professionally.

 

            "My heart," he said dramatically, and I knew he wasn't talking literally.

 

            "Did she dump you again?" I asked, bordering on pityingly.

       

            "She said she never wanted to see me again."

 

            "That's what she told you last time," I rolled my eyes, but not looking up from his leg. "Didn't she come crawling back two days later, begging for forgiveness?"

 

James had been going out with Elise Dwyer on and off for nearly six years. Just about every month, they would break up, and every time they both insisted it was for real this time, but always ending up back together again a few days later. It got boring about the third time it happened.

 

            "True," he said slowly, grimacing in pain as I poked his leg again. "Do you think I have a chance, then?"

 

I couldn't help but laugh at the hope on his face.

 

            "If she had any sense, no. But unfortunately, or fortunately for you depending on the way you look at the situation, she's off with the fairies, so I suppose you're in with a chance."

 

June returned, puffing and clutching a vial of bright red potion which looked suspiciously like blood. However, after working at St Mungo's for four years and dishing out at least six of these potions every day to various patients, I knew better than that.

 

            "Just gulp that down and the pain should numb in a few minutes before I attempt to heal your leg," I instructed, handing him the vial. "It seems like a pretty bad break, but I will be able to fix it fairly quickly."

 

He raised it to his lips and drunk it all, shuddering involuntarily as he handed June back the empty glass.

 

            "That's disgusting."

 

It took several minutes for him to fall into a relaxed pose, allowing me to heal the broken bone without causing him any further discomfort. Usually, minor cases like this would be assigned to junior staff, but as he was my brother, I didn't mind doing it. Just this once.


 

 



When I returned home that night, I had completely forgotten about the argument with Patrick, whistling happily as I closed the front door behind me. As I entered the dining room, I was interested as to why there was a brown barn owl sitting on my dining table, looking very annoyed. I unattached the letter tied to its leg and it flew straight out the open window, which I hadn't remembered leaving open when I had left the house that morning. Pushing this thought aside, I opened the letter.

 

I read it over and over, my eyes darting across the parchment. My eyes suddenly started to sting and I let out a small sob, collapsing into a heap on the ground.

 

What had I done to deserve this?

 

I cried until it was physically impossible for me to cry any more. Clawing myself to my feet with shaking hands, I flooed to my parents' house, desperate to see a comforting and supportive face. However, the journey had thrown me off whack, and I stumbled into the living room, sending clouds of ash and dust across the carpet.

 

            "Who is it?" my mother called from upstairs, appearing at the top of the stairs.

 

Her face conveyed her delight at seeing me, then to confusion at the tear tracks and my obvious grief, and then to fear.

 

            "What happened?" she asked worriedly, hurrying down the stairs towards me. "Where's Patrick?"

 

I had been quite sure that my tears had been all dried up, but at the mention of Patrick, I started sobbing again. Mum put a comforting arm around me and led me over to the lounge, where she held me close like she used to do when I was a child after having fallen off my toy broomstick. When my tears finally subsided and I started hiccupping, she slowly pulled away, holding my shoulders tightly and looking into my grief-stricken face.

 

            "Now. Tell me what happened," she said softly.

 

            "T-the... the letter," I stuttered.

 

            "Letter? What letter?"

 

I handed her the crumpled and tear-stained letter I hadn't realised was still clutched in my hand. She fearfully unravelled it, her eyebrows knitting together as she read it.

 

            "Oh Lily," she cried, pulling me closer and planting a kiss on my forehead. "I'm so sorry. Did you tell him?"

 

I shook my head and she groaned, smothering me with kisses again, like I was a child again, not twenty three. I didn't mind though.


            "I was going to tell him this morning, but we had a... disagreement. Then I was going to tell him tonight when he had calmed down a bit. But now..." I bit my lip, willing myself not to cry. "I don't think he's coming home, mum."

 

I could hear dad slam the back door shut, trudging into the house. Neither of us moved until he entered the living room.

        

            "Hey, Ginny, James just called and said he was going to come over for dinner tonight with Elise. Al can't make it, and he sends his apologies and his love and I haven't... oh. Hello Lily," he stopped in his tracks, noticing me. "What's the matter?"

 

Mum waved him away impatiently, mouthing something to him over my shoulder. He must have got the message, because he disappeared into the kitchen, coming back moments later with a full tea tray. Wordlessly, mum handed him the letter in exchange for the tea. She handed me a steaming cup as dad read the letter.

 

            "Right," he said angrily, his lips pursed and scrunching up the letter again. "Where is the bastard? I swear I will sever his head from his shoulders."

 

            "That's enough Harry," mum warned, rubbing my arm protectively. "There will be no need for that. And don't talk to Ron about it either. You know it'll set him off. If James and Elise are coming around, why inform me? Go and tell Pierce, then help him out. They should be here soon."

 

Dad hung his head, but nodded anyway, leaving the room. Pierce was our house elf, who had been assigned to dad through work. Dad was sceptical about accepting the arrangement, but neither Kingsley nor Pierce would take no for an answer. The poor elf was bursting with excitement and enthusiasm when he found out who he would be serving. His previous master had died suddenly, so was left in the care of the Ministry.

 

Mum and I sat in silence, staring into the blazing hearth until the doorbell interrupted our thoughts. I heard Pierce answer the door, and mum made to get up off the lounge to greet them.

 

            "You can stay here for the night," she told me. "I don't want you going home just yet."

 

I didn't even think to disobey her, going into the bathroom to wash my face before going out to face James. He and Elise were standing in the hallway, chatting with mum, holding hands. It looked like they had gotten back together. Again.

 

            "Happy birthday, mum," James said, pecking her on the cheek.

 

I froze. With all that had happened, I had completely forgotten it was mum's birthday. I grimaced guiltily and gave James a fleeting hug.

 

            "Hello Healer Williamson. Fancy seeing you here," James grinned. "Thanks for fixing my leg this morning. Good as new."

 

He moved his leg around, showing no signs of pain. I smiled appreciatively, though warned him not to go to practice for a few days. Dad called us for dinner, and we all filed into the dining room after mum. Pierce had just set the table and dad sat down in front of a steaming bowl of French onion soup.

 

            "This looks lovely, Mrs. Potter," Elise said sweetly, sitting down beside James.

 

            "Oh I didn't make it," Mum waved her praise away with a small laugh. "Pierce and Harry did. Although, seeing as though it is still edible, I would say it was mostly Pierce's doing. I was in the lounge with Lily."

 

Elise went slightly pink in the cheeks, accepting a piece of bread dad offered her. All throughout dinner, we talked about little things, like dad's recent raids, James' big games coming up, mum's new press release and Elise's current book she's writing. Mum and dad tried to steer the conversation well away from me, but they couldn't defend a full frontal attack.


            "Where's Patrick?" James asked. "You don't usually see one without the other. Is he working late?"

 

I tensed, but decided not to lie to him. I realised long ago that lying doesn't get me very far.

 

            "He left, James. We had an argument... and he left me," I sighed, rubbing my nose.

 

James froze, his fork hanging comically between his open mouth and his plate. Mum threw dad a warning look, as he glared at his pork chop like it had done him a great personal injustice. It was Elise who finally broke the tense silence.

 

            "Are you serious? You two were perfect for each other," she said, shocked.

 

I shrugged, playing with my mashed potato uncomfortably. After a few minutes, normal conversation resumed, but I suspected that it was fairly forced, and James kept looking towards me worriedly when he thought I wasn't looking. I was glad when dinner was finished, and Pierce came out with a birthday cake. We all sang happy birthday and mum glowed appreciatively. Pierce passed around plates of cake and I thanked him before tucking in. I was pretty tired, so I could use that excuse to go to bed as soon as possible. However, no matter how quickly I tried to eat, James just couldn't keep away from the uncomfortable topics.

 

            "So, Lily," he said, spooning birthday cake into his mouth. "You were saying the other night that there's something you wanted to tell me. What is this 'Big News'?"

 

            "Do you really want to know?" I sighed, placing my spoon beside my empty plate.


He nodded, but I knew he didn’t have a clue about what he was requesting. It would break him, and I knew it. I glanced briefly at mum, who gave me a small nod. Now or never, I told myself, taking a deep breath.

 

            "Well… this may be a bit of a shock, and it's really not the right time, but..."

 

            "Just get on with it, we don't have all day," dad said, earning himself another warning look from mum.

 

            "I'm pregnant."

 

There was a tense silence as this news sunk in. I instinctively glanced towards my father first, but my head instantly snapped back towards my right at the sound of a plate smashing. To my surprise, James was on his feet, his face contorted with rage.

 

            "I'm going to kill him!" he yelled.

 

            "Calm down, James," Elise told him in a low voice, reaching up to gently touch his arm. "You should be happy for her."

 

            "How can the bastard possibly get away with getting my sister pregnant, then leaving?"

 

Mum was staring at her plate, not showing any signs of surprise. Dad, unfortunately, noticed this.

 

            "You knew?" dad asked her.

 

She didn't answer, avoiding his eye as she smiled slightly.

 

            "YOU KNEW ALL ALONG AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN THINK TELL ME!" he bellowed, jumping to his feet as well.


            "Of course I knew. I was the first one she ever told!" she rolled her eyes at him, unnerved by his temper.

 

            "And when was I meant to find out?" he asked angrily. "I'm her father!"

 

            "Oh for goodness sake, Harry!" she slammed her fork down onto the table and glared at him. "You may be her father, but the father of the baby doesn't even know yet! How do you think he would feel should he find out?"

 

            "Terrible, and it would serve him right," James growled, finally allowing himself to be pulled back into his seat by Elise.

 

Dad sat down shakily as well, looking unsure and slightly panicked.

 

            "Shit," he muttered, burying his face in his hands. "What're we going to do?"

 

There were anxious glances thrown around the table, but nobody spoke. Dad's shoulders were shaking, and if I didn't know better, I would've thought he was crying. I shouldn't have told them. They needed to get over the shock of Patrick's sudden desertion before being bombarded by the even bigger news that I was pregnant with his baby.


            "Congratulations, Lily," Elise said softly after a while, gripping her boyfriend's leg so hard he winced.

 

I smiled at her, and then quickly excused myself from the table, placing my plate in the sink for Pierce to clean when he had finished his nap. Strangely enough, he liked to wake up with work to do, so I didn't want both of us to be miserable by washing up the plate myself. I climbed the stairs and pushed open the door to my childhood bedroom, collapsing onto my bed.

 

That went well, I thought sarcastically.


A/N I hope you enjoyed that first chapter. Please leave a review to tell me if you liked it or what I could improve on. Thankyou.


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