Exams are over! They were pretty all right! So I am pretty happy.
It’s been little over a year since I started this story. So join me in wishing the story a Belated Happy Anniversary! :P
Eighteen chapters in twelve months doesn’t sound really good, but it doesn’t sound bad either now does it? Efforts are, as usual, being made to write the maximum in minimum time.
Anyway, back to the story people!! :)
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to JKR. Copyright infringement unintended.
18. All I Want For Christmas Is You
Really sorry to let you know that Amelia won’t be able to make it today. She’s developed a rather nasty bout of cold so I thought it’d be better if she stays with me today.
I know you had been looking forward to spending some time with her, especially since you haven’t seen her for almost a fortnight. She was missing her aunt too.
And listen to this!! There is a possibility that Scorpius, Al, Dad, and Teddy would be coming back soon. There has been a buzz in the ministry that their mission is now over. I just can’t wait to see them!!
Anyway, we’ll see you tomorrow at the Burrow for Christmas.
Lily let out a breath that she had been holding ever since the letter had been delivered to her ten minutes ago. She relaxed in her rocking chair, sighing deeply. She waved her wand at the fireplace, and muttered Incendio
. She stretched her legs and yawned widely, allowing the warmth of the fireplace wash over her.
Peaceful moments like this were rather rare for her these days. All she did these days was counting the seconds till skeletons came out of the closet and ruined her life.
Her eyes fell on the most recent copy of Witch Weekly kept on the coffee table two feet away from her chair. The magazine was open at the page that had almost, almost
When Ryan had sent her the copy of the magazine two days after the incident
, to say that she was terrified was an understatement. With trembling fingers she had opened the cover enclosing the magazine, not bothering to open the letter he had sent with it. And the moment she opened the magazine to the page
, she had felt her heart stop.
For there were two pictures of Amelia’s pram, Ryan and her. But in both of them, she had her back to the photographer. And she was also wearing the gigantic hat of hers in both of them.
She had literarily cried in relief once she was done reading the article on her and Ryan. The article stated that Ryan had been spotted at the park getting cozy with a single mother with long flaming red hair. The photos had been clicked by a tourist and were sent to the magazine. And since the tourist hadn’t gotten a better look at the woman, and since he was a foreign national, he wasn’t able to recognize the woman with Ryan, despite getting enough glimpses of her. The article had then proceeded to guess the woman he was with. They had even managed to speculate whether the kid was Ryan’s biological child, since Ryan seemed extremely attached to it. So until Rose recognized the hat in the picture along with the Amelia’s pram, she was safe. But she knew she wouldn’t be so for long.
She had borrowed
the Rose’s latest edition of Witch Weekly to read
, since she had lost
her copy and there was an interesting article on fabrics she wanted to read
. Rose bought the lame excuse and allowed her to take the magazine and hadn’t asked for it since then. But then Lily knew that she had only bought more time for herself as the probability that the Witch Weekly had printed only two copies of the December issue was very small.
Ever since the incident with Ryan and the paparazzi, she hadn’t been able to sleep peacefully. She’d wake up in the middle of the night, having nightmares about Rose finally finding out the truth about Amelia’s secret visits to Ryan. An angry and a devastated Rose morphed into Albus, calling her a betrayer, disowning her from the family and then she would have no one to go to.
Except maybe Ryan.
Lily’s insides squirmed as she thought of the man who had almost kissed her the last time they’d met. They were so bloody close. She had seen the want in his eyes as he neared her. And she knew she wanted him as well. She loved watching him. She loved hearing him while he talked. She loved it when he bared his soul to her. She loved it when his fingers brushed against hers lightly. She loved it when his fingers brushed her cheeks. She loved it when his lips brushed against hers. She wanted him bad
A clock chimed four somewhere and she was pulled back into the real world. With a small groan, she realized that she had forgotten to let Ryan know that Amelia would not be able to make it tonight.
He had begged her (through a letter) to try and bring Amelia on the day before Christmas as he longed to spend time with the little girl and give her his Christmas present for her. He didn’t know how much time he had left with her and he wanted to make most of it. She had said that she’d try. And she did.
But Amelia was unwell. Therefore she would not be able to make it. Sighing, Lily slowly got up from her chair and got ready to go to Ryan’s place and inform him of the current situation.
Within half an hour, she apparated to outside Ryan’s mansion, shivering slightly as the snowflakes hit her face and melted instantly. She entered his property, marveling the scene before her. The entire ground was covered with blinding white snow; so were the roofs of the mansion. The place looked like a fairyland, and for a split second she couldn’t help but wish that she shared the ownership with the one who actually owned this place.
Shaking her head dejectedly, she walked to the front door and knocked loudly; bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet as the snowfall turned fiercer and the temperature seemed to dip rapidly.
The door opened and she bit back a laugh as she saw Ryan wearing an apron which said ‘I own this place’.
“Hey”, he said, smiling widely at her and ushering her inside, “Come in! I have been busy all day, preparing dinner for us, you know. I gave Silky off today so that she could spend time with her family. I hope Amy-Where’s Amy?”
His smile slid off his face as he realized that his daughter wasn’t there with Lily. She squirmed uncomfortably on the spot as he looked at her quizzically.
“Uh..she-she’s unwell. She’s with Ro-Rose at the hospital”, stammered Lily as she looked into his eyes. Good lord, she could certainly get lost in them.
“WHAT?!” he exclaimed loudly, worry clouding over his face “What’s wrong with her?! I’ve got to-”
Lily cringed as she realized that she didn’t word her sentence well.
“Uh sorry! What I meant was that she’s got a cold”, she said quickly, watching Ryan calming down, “Rose just thought it’d be better if Amelia stayed with her at the hospital. That way Rose can always keep an eye on her.”
He let out a deep breath of relief, “Merlin! You scared me big time. So she wouldn’t be able to make it here anytime soon I suppose?”
“And you came all the way to my house to tell me that? You could’ve just written, you know?”
Lily blushed furiously as soon as that statement came out of his mouth. This was utterly mortifying. Informing him through a letter would have been the most obvious thing to do. But no; she just had to visit
him and tell him so.
She let out a nervous giggle, making him frown at her in confusion.
“Uh then I better get going!” she squeaked, her voice several pitches higher than usual, “See you later-”
“Or you can stay to have dinner”, said Ryan, smiling slightly, “I mean I did put in a lot of effort in making all that food. It would be a sheer waste if I didn’t have company tonight.”
“What about your parents?”
“I’m meeting them tomorrow for Christmas.”
“He has other obligations.”
“Busy banging their girlfriends.”
“And what about-?”
“Lily look”, said Ryan tiredly, leaning against the wall, “We could do this all day long. You are one of the very few people I can actually spend time with and not want to either curse the person or myself. If you want to, do join me. If you have other plans, you are welcome to leave.”
Lily shrugged and took off her overcoat to hang it on the coat stand. Ryan winked at her and then moved towards the kitchen, making her flush with pleasure and embarrassment. Did he know about her current predicament regarding him? Of course he did! She wasn’t exactly what people called subtle.
“I’m giving you company only because I didn’t have anything else to do!” she lied, falling in one of the sofas by the fire. She felt herself becoming warmer by the second and she knew it barely had anything to do with the fact that she was sitting by the fire. She was alone for the first time with Ryan ever since their re-acquaintance. With Amelia not being around, things might be different. Her heart thudded loudly in anticipation of the things that may or may not happen between them in the next few hours.
“All right!” came Ryan’s voice from the kitchen, “It is good thing you are free. I wanted someone to taste this new kind of pasta Silky taught me.”
“You better hope it turned out well. Or else you would receive a lot more complimentary gifts from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes this Christmas!”
“It is beautiful”, muttered Lily softly as she surveyed the scene before her eyes. They were currently sitting on the highest balcony facing the front of the house. The sight was absolutely splendid, making her catch her breath in her throat. She looked above her head to see snow collecting overhead on the invisible shield conjured by the Shield Charm. She felt as if she was in an ice cave. A warm, pleasant ice cave.
“More wine?” asked Ryan softly, refilling his own glass. He too looked ahead, a pleased expression on his face.
“Please”, said Lily nodding.
“I hope you enjoyed the dinner”, said Ryan, turning to look at her.
“I think you know the answer to that”, said Lily, flushing lightly.
Ryan laughed, making her chuckle as well.
“I can’t believe that you finished an entire bowl of pasta on your own. You were supposed to taste it, not devour it!”
“Well what can I say? You do really own the kitchen”, she said, taking another sip of the wine.
Ryan looked quite smug, “There is another room I own, Potter. The bedroom to be specific.”
Lily choked on her drink and looked at Ryan, who was busy looking at his drink and smirking.
Was he hitting on her? Was this moment really happening? Or maybe he was just playing with her. He had always been quite playful. So why should this moment be any different?
“How many glasses of wine have you had till now?” she asked, looking at him warily.
“Four. And I am pretty confident about my bedroom skills. Want to challenge me?”
“Why?! You don’t think I’ll match up to your expectations? I’ll surpass
them. Quite easily if I may say. I may set a standard to be specific.”
Lily snorted. She couldn’t believe she was here with Ryan in his house discussing his performance in bed. Few years ago, just being with Ryan would’ve been unimaginable. Funny thing, time was.
“Yeah sure why not”, she said dryly, “It’s only that I’m too beneath your standards”
“You are actually pretty much above my standards, love. You have no idea
just how it is for me to resist you when you are slightly drunk, standing right next to me and look so fucking gorgeous!”
Lily let out another snort and turned to look at him. Instead of seeing a cocky smirk, she was greeted with rather a dead serious expression, eyes set on her. She gaped at him, mouth slightly open. Did he really mean what he said? Did he actually want her? She could feel her blood boiling as she saw his eyes rove appreciatively over her body. Something warm was building in her again. His eyes met hers, and she was blown away by how dark they looked.
His jaw was set he looked defiantly at her.
“You’ve done a lot for me”, he whispered huskily, moving towards her, “You could’ve lost a lot by helping me.”
Lily opened her mouth to say something but what came out was a squeak. She nodded curtly, not being able to break the eye contact. She was hypnotized by his gaze. And she didn’t know whether it was for good or for bad. He placed his hand on her cheek and stroked it lightly, his fiery stare still on her. She felt as if her cheeks were on fire.
It is winter now, right?
Her belly quivered as he gently placed his hand on her waist and gently pulled her closer. Lily fought the urge to moan as she felt his hands on her lower back under her shirt, his hands hot against her skin.
Her breathing became extremely laboured as his fingers traced her lips.
“I will continue to help you in whatever way I can”, she breathed, her eyes closing of its own accord as she felt his mouth next to her cheek, brushing it lightly with his lips.
“Glad to know that.”
And then Ryan pulled her into his body and crushed her lips to his.
Lily thought she had died and gone to heaven. Sure she had kissed a lot of guys in the past, and Ryan was one of them. But even that hadn’t prepared for the tempest she was facing now. She felt as if she was releasing all the pent up frustration and feelings in this one kiss, making her wonder if she knew she had so much cooped up inside her. She pulled back when she felt her chest ache due to lack of oxygen. But after a second, she pulled his head towards her, his lips meeting hers once again. She stood on her toes as he wound his arms rather tightly around her waist, making every bit of space between them disappear. His tongue slipped in her mouth, and his hand on the waist now fell down to her arse, pulling her lower body into him, making both of them moan. He broke the kiss after a few more seconds, gasping loudly, and rested his face in the crook of her neck. She gently kissed his throat, and nipped at his earlobe, making him groan and kiss her savagely.
Blood pounding in her ears, she felt Ryan lifting her and moving somewhere. She desperately hoped it was the room he so boldly claimed to be the master of. She didn’t know what would happen to her if this didn’t culminate in sex. The heat was too fierce; the emotions running were too high, the passion was intoxicating. Within seconds it seemed, she was lying on the softest of the mattresses she had ever known. The world around her receded as Ryan placed tantalizingly slow kisses on her neck, his fingers unbuttoning her shirt. She arched her back against him, moaning loudly as his mouth touched a soft spot on her neck.
His fingers ran across her bare stomach, sparks bursting on her skin as he touched her. Lily figured that if he kept teasing her so mercilessly, she would have to take control.
But shockingly, all of a sudden, he stopped
“What happened?” she croaked, coming out of her world of lust and passion and lifting herself slightly to see Ryan lying face down on her stomach, looking absolutely still. He slowly lifted his head to look at her with a guilty expression.
It had to be Rose. Why else would he look at her so guiltily at her? They both knew he was in love with Rose and yet he was about to shag her. Why was she so stupid to believe that Ryan actually wanted her?
“Hey”, she said softly, her vision blurring as tears filled her eyes, “It’s all right. I know you want Rose. I-so-I’ll get going.”
She quietly buttoned her shirt, wanting to scream at him, hit him for still being so in love with Rose. But it wasn’t really his fault now, was it? She was the stupid one to fall for him all over again. If she didn’t have any feelings for him, she wouldn’t have minded it if nothing was happening between them.
She slowly got off from the bed, feeling as if her heart had been crushed to pulp. She moved towards the bedroom door without sparing a glance at him. She couldn’t wait to get home, where she could unleash all her frustration and anger and in the end, cry to her heart’s content.
The firmness in his voice was what had stopped her. Her heart thudded loudly as she felt him grab her by her shoulders and turn her around. She looked up to meet his eyes, whimpering slightly as he rubbed his hands down her arms.
He pressed his body against hers and her eyes widened as she felt something press against her stomach, making her blush profusely.
“That is something that you
did”, said Ryan, whispering in her ears, “And not
“But you want her, don’t you?”, said Lily sadly, feeling herself welling up again.
He stared into her eyes for the longest time before he said in a firm voice, “But tonight, I want you
There. He had finally said it. He still loved Rose. He was merely fighting his sexual frustration with her help. But then he needed her help. He wanted her for the night. And she knew just how badly she wanted him as well. Who knew what was there for her in future?
She knew there was a huge possibility that she might regret sleeping with him in the future, but she also knew that she’d regret it more if she didn’t go ahead with it when she’d gotten her chance.
“Then tonight”, she said firmly, eyes locking on his as she threaded her fingers through his hair, “I’m yours”, allowing him to crush his lips to hers and take her into the world she’d never known to share with him.
“Wow! Someone’s looking happy today”, remarked Raymond Williams as he watched Rose attending every child enthusiastically in the Pediatric ward with a rather large smile on her face, “So damn glad to see your face light up! You look gorgeous you know. I wonder if you’re smiling so much just because I’m here to see you.”
“Oh no dear its not you!” snorted Rose, placing her index and middle finger on a young girl’s throat and looking at her watch. Her insides were literarily jumping with excitement. She felt as if she were floating. She honestly hadn’t felt this kind of anticipation ever before.
“Why do you this to me, Rose? After I have proclaimed my undying love for you-”
“Grow up Williams. You only want me because I’m married!” said Rose, putting a thermometer in the girl’s mouth, looking pointedly at her intern to take over and quickly moving over to the next patient, a child hiccupping bubbles.
“One of the many reasons dear. You don’t have many Healers in Mungo’s with that great a rack!!”
“I have an equally great mind that can remember the most dangerous and ridiculous jinxes I am sure you’ve never heard of. Want to get a peek at that great a jinx?”
“No love, I’m fine”, said Raymond, looking rather cautious as he watched Rose examining the patient’s throat, “Seriously what is up with you? It is almost ten at night, and you look as if your day has just begun!”
“You wont understand”, said Rose softly, trying her best to suppress the grin covering her face. A letter was responsible for her current state of euphoria.
Would be coming back home in a day or so. Hope you missed me. Because I definitely missed you and it wouldn’t be fair if you didn’t. Can’t wait to see you again.
Rose had never believed that a letter could cause so much havoc in her. But it did. And Merlin! It was the best chaos she had ever felt. She was literarily counting seconds till she could see him, be in his arms, and then have her way with him. She felt heat creeping up her neck as one of her fantasies involving him came to her mind. Oh yeah, he was in for a big surprise once he came back. She had waited too long now. It was time she finally got what she wanted.
She sighed as she looked at her patient.
“So Derek. I hope this is the last time I would be seeing you this year”, said Rose, hiding a small smile as her most regular patient blinked innocently at her.
“Ok”, said Derek, smiling widely at her, “Merry Christmas Rosie!”
Rose ruffled his hair, and left the ward towards Daycare room for Healers’ children, feeling extremely pleased. Her spirits were at an all time high after receiving Scorpius’ letter two hours ago. She checked her watch which showed that it was well past ten. Just over an hour or so before Christmas started.
She entered the dimly lit day care ward to see her various healers and trainees with their infants and toddlers, packing up to leave for their Christmas celebrations. As they were leaving the room, they wished Rose, while she nodded back at them in greeting. She went to her most familiar spot in the entire room.
Amelia was fast asleep in her bassinet, clutching a cuddly teddy bear in her tiny arms. Rose looked down at her daughter with a soft smile on her face. It had been almost two years ever since she started seeing her daughter sleeping. But every time she felt herself welling up. How could she have been blessed with someone so amazing and so beautiful? The little girl was the reason why she got the perfect life she had dreamt of. Every little nuisance of her daughter filled her with an affection she didn’t know really existed. Sure she had spent over five years taking care of children, and had a special corner for all her past patients. Despite knowing
that she’d love her child more than anyone could, going through it was a different thing all together. It was difficult earlier in the first few months, but it was worth it. She bent down slowly, trying to kiss her little girl, when it happened.
She had felt as if her eardrums had exploded when the noise happened. The air was suddenly filled with screams and cries. Rose turned around, extremely confused and terrified, to see that people were running around in the corridors. Most trainees and Healers who had left with their kids had now suddenly entered the room, looking panic-stricken. Their kids were wailing loudly, but their parents didn’t try to calm them. On the other hand, they were putting the kids down in the bassinets and exiting the room hurriedly.
The Daycare In-charge, who had been sleeping, woke up at the sound of the explosion and over a dozen kids crying. Amelia too had now woken up and was wailing along with the rest of the kids. Heart thudding loudly, she picked up Amelia, rubbing soothing circles on her back, trying to get some answers from the other healers who were putting their kids in bassinets and rushing out.
“What happened Teri?”, cried Rose, looking at the healer next to her, who was now hurriedly changing into her healer robes.
“A deadly explosion took place right outside Mungo’s”, said Teri, her voice shaking, “The front portion of ground and first floor has been blown up. The magical barrier shielding Mungo’s from the muggles has been broken. There are a lot of casualties, including the ones in the hospital! Hurry!”
Rose’s stomach churned extremely uncomfortably, absolute disbelief clouding her. An explosion outside Mungo’s that affected the hospital itself?? It had to be some form of dark magic because no muggle terror attack could have damaged the Hospital building.
“Sam, take Amelia. I need to leave”, said Rose urgently, handing her daughter over to the caretaker who seemed befuddled at the sight of dozen or so children bawling their eyes out.
Rose rushed through the corridors and the panicking people, her heart now just about to pop from her mouth. She watched the bloodied people being brought in. The hospital benches were now occupied by the injured. The healers were extremely hyper, shouting for various equipments. Unhurt people were looking petrified, some trying to help with the healers, some trying to get out of the chaos.
She hadn’t ever really expected the hospital to be in such a chaos. Since Christmas was dawning on them, most of the healers had already left for their homes, causing a severe shortage of Healers. Rose almost slipped as she took the next step. Her stomach lurched as she saw that she had almost slipped on blood
. What on bloody earth had happened that could cause such damage?
“ROSE!” came Roma’s voice from somewhere around her. Rose searched for the familiar brunette, and found Roma cleaning the wounds on the head of an old man in one corner.
“Go towards the entrance. The Trainees are bringing in the casualties. Make sure that they don’t fuck it up and end up killing the severely injur- Sir, hold still!”
Rose nodded hurriedly, her mouth extremely dry. She moved ahead towards the entrance, stopping the middle to help the injured. More than once she had to stop and look at the injured groaning, the ones bleeding profusely, or the ones in shock. As she had finished wrapping the bandages around a young girl’s arms and muttering an incantation to keep the bandages intact, a familiar streak of blue caught her eye.
A streak she had gotten accustomed to in the past twenty-five years she had lived.
“TEDDY!!!!” Rose cried, rushing towards him, “What-?”
Rose stopped immediately as she saw that Teddy’s robes were stained with blood in the front. She gaped in horror as he looked at her and tried to give her his usual grin, however he ended up scrunching his face in pain and swayed on the spot. She rushed towards him, fear welling up in her.
They were back?? They weren’t supposed to be back before yesterday or-
Were they all injured? Is that why they all-?
Did they know who caused the explosion? Were they really the targets?
And where was Scorpius?? And Al, and Dad and Chris?
Rose prepared herself as Teddy put his weight on her, almost slumping onto the ground.
“What happened out there? Teddy are you okay??”, cried Rose, tears welling up in her eyes rather fast. What on earth had happened out there?? Were the rest okay? Or were they worse than him?
Teddy tried to open his mouth but he ended up coughing blood. Rose felt helpless as she saw him losing more blood, knowing that once he loses a certain amount of blood, he wouldn’t survive. She looked around for help desperately, her mind absolutely blank in the time of dire need. Once again, she felt as helpless and clueless as the little girl who got separated from her parents while on a trip to the Ministry and got lost.
She was a Healer for Merlin for Heaven's sake!! How could she not know what to do when the dear ones needed help.
“Hey!” came a rather gruff voice from behind her, “We’ll take it from here.”
Before Rose knew it, the weight that was Teddy was now on a stretcher carried by two volunteers who were directed by a Healer she merely recognized by face. Rose looked behind them to see many Healers coming in, looking alert and determined, pushing past Rose to attend the injured.
And then she saw three other faces that sent relief flooding through veins. Chris seemed unconscious and was being carried by Ron in his arms, who was least injured of the lot with a few scratches on his face. Albus on the other hand, seemed to have scarred his right side of the face rather badly but seemed fine otherwise. But the relief wasn’t quite enough because Scorpius wasn’t there yet.
Feeling nauseous as she approached them, she threw herself in Albus’ arms as he neared her. He winced loudly, but wrapped his arms round her nevertheless.
“Where do I deposit
this lump in my arms?” asked Ron gruffly, tossing Chris slightly.
“Right ahead. Healer Waltham would be taking care of them in Ward Twelve- two doors from here”, said Rose hurriedly, pointing her fingers in the required direction, heart thudding loudly, “Where is Scorpius?”
Ron left without answering her question, making her look at Albus expectantly, hoping that he’d tell her that Scorpius was out there helping the other injured ones.
“I honestly don’t know Rose”, said Albus sadly, wincing as Rose gingerly touched his face, “I had just gotten out of alley-Teddy and Scorpius in charge-.”
“Rose!” came a voice interrupting them. Rose turned from Albus to see one of her Trainees with another person, levitating a stretcher with a blood-stained sheet covering the body.
“This one’s a goner!” gasped Michael, “There’s barely any pulse, he looks really bad in shape, he wont be able to make it! Can we take him to the mortuary instead?”
She was feeling myriad emotions at the moment. Anxiety, dread, fear, relief, sadness, disgust, but one rose rather sharply. That of absolute fury.
“You have no right, I repeat, NO RIGHT, to let a patient die!” she spat, “A healer never gives up till there is absolutely NO sign of life, do you get that?! I want you to take this one and try and bring him back to life! Until then don’t say he’s dead!”
“But you haven’t given him a look. He is awful
. He’s got only few minutes. His heart’s been damaged rather badly. He is surely going to die. We barely have any beds-!”
“I’ll keep this attitude of yours in mind while filling in your evaluation form, Mr. Johns”, said Rose coldly, fury radiating from every fibre of her being, “I would not tolerate this attitude of yours; I want you to leave right now.”
Johns looked rather abashed, “Sorry Ma’am”
“Get going!” said Rose sharply and then turned to Albus again, who was now staring at the sheet covered body blankly, all colour drained from his face.
“Don’t look there Albus! Where. Is. Scorpius?” asked Rose searching his face for an answer, but frowned when she saw his eyes plastered to the body passing them.
“There he is”, replied Albus in a voice of complete disbelief, looking at the body pointedly.
Rose felt her insides go cold as soon as he had said it. There was no way Albus could be right! Scorpius was yet to come inside the hospital. He swore that he would take care of himself. He wouldn’t just get injured like that. He had promised that he would come back safe and sound. He was Scorpius for the love of Merlin! He never broke the promises he made. He would never hurt her! She knew that, damn it!
But then her eyes fell on the bloody hand hanging limply from the left side of the stretcher, which bounced lightly as the stretcher moved ahead. The very familiar, now bloody gold band on the ring finger of the body confirmed that the dying person was indeed, her husband.
*Goes into hiding*
PS: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!