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Chapter 17 : A late birthday present
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I was sitting in the Owlery, watching the birds fly far away to deliver letters to mothers or fathers who were still alive. I wondered if I were ever to receive a letter from someone but Lily again. I wondered what Jack was doing...sleeping? Eating? Staring blankly out the window with no thoughts at all? I still missed him, even if he was long gone from me. He was all that I had left and I prayed to whatever wanted to hear me that he was too unimportant for the Death Eaters to take an interest in him. He had no memories, no information to give them even if they tortured him endlessly with the Cruciatus Curse. Yet I knew their ways. They took pleasure in torturing people in order to get to their targets. They could hurt Jack, just to get to me and the sudden feeling of guilt and anexity hit me again. Ron knew me...and now that he was one of them, he could tell them all my weak spots...all my vulnerable memories and if he opened his mouth once...it was enough for them to go after my twin. I should have brought Ron back to Hogwarts...I would have at least made sure that I didn’t make the few people I had left even more vulnerable.
Dumbledore had been right...silence was sometimes the best mean of protection, even if it meant not sharing things with your friends. Ron had been with us on all those “adventures” when we nearly all died. How could he have turned to their side? What could have possibly made him hate Harry so much? Now that he was with them, he was
I looked up at the sky and saw the sunset. It seemed so peaceful and quiet and I wished so much I could be part of that abyss of nothing but air, that didn’t have to worry about the little, insignificant humans down there. But then I heard footsteps behind me and soon, Harry sat down next to me. He didn’t say anything, but just like I was, he was staring blankly at the sky.
“You know...he was the last person I expected this from.” Said Harry in a sad voice. “I know.” I replied and looked at him. He had heavy bags under his eyes and I wondered what was going through his mind.
I felt strange...I didn’t long for him anymore and I felt as if something or someone made me forget Harry and what had been between us. I just couldn’t seem to remember what that thing was.
“But maybe, he was under the Imperius curse...”
“Harry, I know what I saw! He wasn’t under the Imperius curse...now if there is a new spell that made him turn against us, than yes. But he did seem himself.” I said looking at an owl which was adjusting itself in a sleeping position after a long flight.
Lily’s voice started echoing through my mind...”stay away from him...” and I stood up abruptly, making Harry finally look at me, since he had been avoiding my eyes ever since he came in the Owlery. “I’ll see you later, Harry.”
I started walking away, but he grabbed my hand. “Wait.” He said.
“Stay with me.”
I sat down again, despite my mind telling me I was weak. “How are you?” he asked. “I feel so stupid...every time we’ve had a conversation it was all about me, or the war, or Ron. Your dad just passed away...I’m really sorry.” He said and I knew he felt guilty. He felt guilty because if it were not for him, Voldemort wouldn’t kill and torture my family to get to him. If it weren’t for him, the 6th June would not have happened. If it weren’t for him, maybe my life could be normal.
“I’m fine Harry. It was only a matter of time.” I said in a colder voice than I intended. “And this isn’t your fault. This is war. People die. Yes, it’s unfair, but this is the way it is and we have to deal with it.” I stood up again and Harry did too. But he was too close to me...it didn’t feel right when he placed his hands on my arms and it didn’t feel right when he kissed me, his lips crushing mine with great force. I felt wrong...I felt as if I was betraying someone...someone I didn’t know.
His hands were gaining confidence as he was unbuttoning my blouse and my hands were acting the same way with his shirt, despite my better judgement telling them not to. The breeze that came through the windowless windows in the Owlery made my skin shiver, but Harry only held me tighter as we lay down on his school robe on the floor. I closed my eyes and let him kiss at my neck, but then a stranger’s face penetrated my mind. He had the greenest eyes I had ever seen and pale skin...dark, messy hair. But it wasn’t his appearance which mesmerised me...it was the expression of pain and betrayal on his face. He wasn’t saying anything, yet I kept hearing the same phrase over and over in my mind, as Harry’s hand was going towards my skirt...”Anna...don’t do it! Please...what about us?”
“Harry get off!” I said in a mere whisper, which Harry didn’t hear. “Harry....GET OFF!” I shouted and Harry jumped away from me as if I hit him. “I’m sorry...I can’t do this.” I said standing up and grabbing my school blouse over me and my jumper following suit.
“But...” said Harry staring at me in a strange way.
“We’re over.” I said and stormed out of the Owlery. “And don’t you dare touch me again!”
“Shit, shit, shit, SHIT!” I screamed and hit a tree near the forbidden forest. “Shit...” I felt so stupid for doing that...I promised I would stay away from him for his sake, but no one told me it would be so bloody challenging, when he comes to me and looks at me like that and kisses me and for once in my life I feel good and I want it to go back to normal and ...”SHIT!”
And who was that dude in my mind, talking about “us” and why did he look so familiar? I never had a boyfriend other than Harry, yet he seemed so familiar. I sat down on a boulder by the Dark Lake and tried to pull it back together. I tried to calm down...breathed in and out a couple of times. I never swore so much before. Merlin...I had to stay away from him. I promised and I would not break that promise. If Lily Potter managed to stay away from her son for such a long time...then I should be able to do just that.
I pretty much avoided Harry for the next couple of weeks and he did the same. I think he was quite mad at me for reacting the way I had in the Owlery, but I didn’t care anymore. My feelings for him evaporated when I was too busy wondering what I’d do without him. I don’t know how it happened...one day I was crying after him and the next I stopped caring. It was like another story in between the two days...a story which I didn’t remember no matter how hard I tried.
I often dreamt the pale face of a young man, with penetrating green eyes. Then next day I would search for him with my eyes in the masses of students, only to be disappointed that he’s not there. It did not take me long to realise that the young man in my dreams was not a Hogwarts student. Then who was he? A muggle? There was something so familiar about him that I wondered whether I had met him before.
Not a month shy after the incident in the Owlery I turned eighteen. I felt grown up, yet in a way more vulnerable than ever. Hermione of course, remembered, but she respected my wish to keep the day a secret. It was too soon after my father’s death to party, and it wasn’t like I liked parties anyway. Nevertheless, I did end up with a few new books from Hermione as a present and a ginger cake from Ginny.
Two days after that I was lying in bed with a headache. I had finished my Transfigurations essay and now I was trying to gather up the courage to start my Potions one. Snape had been in a bad mood recently and he always asked for a bigger homework when he was angry. But my moods were so strange lately that I wondered whether Snape’s bad mood could rub on students through his stare.
I turned around to see Ginny’s head poking through my bed curtains.
“Hey.” I said and adopted a sitting position.
“Do you have any sanitary towels...I’ve run out.”
“Yeah, sure.” I said opening the drawer and taking out a MagiWitch
pack. But then it hit me. “Oh my God!”
“What’s the matter?” asked Ginny.
“Nothing.” I said automatically while handing her the pack.
“Your sure...you’re really pale.”
“I’m fine...just remembered something.”
“Okay. Thanks.” She said and reluctantly went away.
I didn’t reply. My mind was working up to the realisation of something really scary. I was late. Not just two days late...I was a whole month late. With all the things that happened recently, I didn’t even realise. But...it was impossible. I never had...sex with anyone. How could I be pregnant? Surely it was something else...but what else? Should I go to the Medical Wing? No....no. This was just a coincidence... I just needed some tests.
The next weekend I went to one of Hogsmade Healing shops and brought a few potion ingredients. I silently thanked Hermione for one of the books she got me...it showed one various potion ingredients for various uses. I didn’t even have to make several potions to find out what was wrong with me...one would suffice. It was complicated, but since Potions was my best subject, I didn’t worry too much.
I got back sooner than anyone else in the girls dorm and locked myself in the girls’ bathroom, knowing that it would be a few hours before my roommates returned. My hands were shaking, but I managed to measure everything just fine and one hour later I was ready to drink it. According to the book, the potion would act as an inner voice. Ten minutes after you drank it, a small voice in your head told you what was wrong with you.
I held the small cup to my mouth and closing my eyes I drank it. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. Ten minutes seemed like hours and I was getting more nervous by the second. But then I started seeing some words forming in my mind, in tiny gold writing. A P...then a faint R...then and E...
“OH MERLIN!!” I shouted, while staring at my reflection in the mirror. “Oh God!” I was pregnant.
Dumbledore was looking at me through his half moon glasses. The smile never left his face, even when I started looking very distressed.
“I believe it was your birthday, Miss Rider. Did you have a good day?” he asked in his usual calm voice.
“Err...yes...thank you.” I said, but my mind was far from my birthday.
An awkward silence followed, while Dumbledore helped himself to some lemon drops. “Would you care for one Miss Rider?”
“No, thank you.”
“I have to say, you look quite distressed.” Said Dumbledore leaning with his elbows on the desk and looking at me with some concern. “What can I do for you?”
“I was...err...wondering whether there is a spell that makes you forget a small part of your life...actions...something that happened recently?” I asked feeling slightly embarrassed.
Dumbledore just looked at me for a moment without saying anything. “Apart from Oblivion?”
My mouth opened slightly...who would Oblliviate me? I looked at Dumbledore and for the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I started crying.
“Miss Rider...Anna...can you be more specific?” he asked kindly.
I didn’t care he was a man...I didn’t care he was the Headmaster...I
just said it: “I’m pregnant.”
It sounded awful. I...Anna Rider...just turned eighteen and I’m pregnant with someone I don’t remember.
“Oh dear.” Said Dumbledore, yet the smile did not disappear. This annoyed me. “How can you smile?”
“Don’t distress yourself, Anna...a child is a lovely thing.”
“I’M NOT READY FOR A CHILD!” I burst out. “I can’t remember...you know...doing anything!” I said and looked down.
“I think you have been Oblliviated.” Said Dumbledore looking at me in a strange way. “It is easy to regain your memories if the person who did
the spell reverses it.”
“Well that’s just great. I can just go to everyone in the castle and ask them.....” I said and burst out in tears again.
Dumbledore handed me a handkerchief and I blew my nose. “Thank you.” I said embarrassed.
“Miss Rider...it’s really important that you don’t tell anyone else about it.” Said Dumbledore looking concerned again.
“I know...that’s why I came to see you. If the Death Eaters find out...they’d think it’s Harry’s.”
“Is it Harry’s?”
“No!” I answered determined. “I don’t think so...but there would be no
“Have you told Harry about it?”
“No.”I answered while images of Harry’s despair growing when I told
him the news that I was pregnant. “Professor...can you help me find
“I know who Oblliviated you, Miss Rider.” Said Dumbledore.
“You do?” I asked not believing what I was hearing.
“I promised that person I wouldn’t tell you anything...but taking the circumstances...” at this he stared down at my still flat belly... “I think
it is better you knew.”
“Professor Snape put the spell on you.” Said Dumbledore, watching my reaction carefully.
“WHAT? OH MERLIN! Is it his baby? Did I....?”
“No, Miss Rider. It is not Professor Snape’s baby. It’s his son’s.” Said Dumbledore, while his smile appeared again. I wondered why he found this amusing. It was far from amusing. It was terribly distressing that for one moment I actually though it was Snape’s baby.
“Snape has a son?” I asked wondering who would ever want to have a child with Snape.
“His name is Edwin. You two were quite close until Professor Snape Oblliviated you and took Edwin away.
“But....I don’t understand. Why doesn’t anyone else know about him?”
I asked feeling utterly confused.
“I think you will be able to answer these questions yourself when you regain your memory.” Said Dumbledore standing up from his desk and going towards the fireplace. He took a handful of floo powder and said: “I’ll be right back Miss Rider.”
With that he disappeared into green flames while I heard him murmur something along the lines of “Severus’ headquarters”.
And then I waited....getting more and more nervous by the second at what Snape’s reaction would be. Would he try to kill me? How did I even get involved with Edwin Snape if he was not a Hogwarts student? I felt frustrated and I wanted to chuck something at myself for being so stupid. I was way too dangerous to look after a child.
“Maybe this is a good lesson...you should not have these sort of relations unless you are married.” Said one of the former headmasters,
in a painting while giving me the disapproving stare.
“Oh shut up!” I said and stuck my tongue out at him in a childish way.
“Sure...that is a very grown up thing to do!” said the former headmaster, yet continued to stare at me.
“Do you not have someone else to annoy?” I asked, forgetting that I was talking to someone who had potentially been respected by many.
He did not reply. Instead he huffed off from the frame as is I was not worth the hassle. I was relieved.
“Don’t mind him...Phineas always likes to get into other people’s affairs uninvited.” Said another portrait. This headmaster had a softer look about him and his eyes were kinder. “I’m sure you’ll find a way out. I’ve heard you are a bright girl.”
“Thank you...but since I am in a situation like this, I doubt I am that bright.” I said feeling slightly embarrassed.
“Nonsense, my dear.” Said the man exchanging frames with another former headmaster so that he can be closer to me. “I agree with Professor Dumbledore...a child is a wonderful thing.”
“I’m really not ready for a child, Professor...”
“Professor Everard, my dear. And don’t you worry...Professor Snape may seem strict and unpleasant on the outside...but he will help you with this. He really is a gentleman...and he should know quite well what you are going through.” Said Professor Everard giving me a small, encouraging smile.
I could not say anything else to him because the flames in the fireplace turned green again and Professor Dumbledore returned with Snape, who was looking at me with something that resembled anger and pity at the same time.
“Rider....” started Snape, yet words failed him further.
“I have informed Professor Snape of your...delicate situation and he is ready to return your memory back.” Said Dumbledore looking at Snape in a straightforward way. “Severus?”
“Yes...I....” once again words failed him as he pointed his wand towards me.
Within seconds, a wave of memories flushed through my mind...and a strange feeling of love overwhelmed me when Edwin’s face flooded my senses. Images of me and him in the Room of Requirement sent chills down my spine...as my hands automatically embraced my belly. The fight with Draco...the swim in the Dark Lake...the painting...the walks...the kisses...they all came back to me like old friends which I had once lost. I looked up at Snape accusingly.
“How could you!?”
“How could I? It was for the best, Rider...he is not safe with you.”
Said Snape, adopting his usual cold voice.
“But that’s not for you to decide. I love him!” I cried standing up. I was still way shorter than Snape but it made me feel better...stronger
to confront him.
“You love him...” he said in a disgusted voice.
“Just because you’re not capable of love....”
“ENOUGH!” roared Snape as he took a step towards me. I moved backwards.
“You think you know me so well, don’t you Rider? Well I could teach you one or two things about love...sometimes you have to give up your reputation as a human being to save the one you love. But how could a spoiled brat like you know anything about sacrifices?” hissed Snape.
“Sacrifices? You think I didn’t have to sacrifice anything to get where I am? I lost my family...I lost Harry....I lost my life and now I’m pregnant. You can’t keep Edwin away from me too...” I said and struggled not to cry. “Don’t accuse me of not knowing what sacrifices are...”
“Severus...Anna? Are you quite finished?” asked Dumbledore from behind his desk, while all the paintings were staring at us with great interest.
Snape did not take his eyes off me.
“Is is even my son’s?”
“Yes.” I said in a cold voice.
“How do I know it’s not Potters’?
“It’s Edwin’s’.” I said looking up at Snape. “You can read my mind if
you want too...I don’t care. It is Edwin’s baby.” I said with
Snape’s face became a shade or two paler, while he looked at Dumbledore.
“I believe Miss Rider is no longer safe at Hogwarts.” Said Dumbledore. “We would be fools not to admit that the Death Eaters have eyes even within this school, since most of them send their children here.” Said Dumbledore. “I believe she should go and live with her aunt Emily for a while.”
The twinkle in Dumbledore’s eyes came back and I couldn’t help but smile. Lily always made any situation seem easier to bear...her optimism was easy to rub on.
“Of course, I trust you are smart enough not to give her any names...it would be best if you kept Severus and Edwin out of the picture for a while...until we make sure that our plan will not be interfered with.” Said Dumbledore looking at me strangely, as if some bigger secret were hidden beneath the plan.
“Okay.” I said and my bad mood started coming back again. When Dumbledore told me to go live with Lily I imagined how I could just tell her everything about Edwin and Snape and Harry and all that happened since we broke up. But it seemed like I still had to bear it all alone. “When can I see Edwin?” I asked. I missed him already.
“Soon, Miss Rider. Soon.” Said Dumbledore, looking at Snape who did not seem pleased at all. “Of course, all your work will be sent to you by all your teachers...so that you don’t miss anything. Since your aunt Emily is a witch herself, I believe it would not be too inconvenient to work on your potions assignment and Transfiguration work.”
I gave Dumbledore a small smile. I was glad I could finish up my studies before the final exams...I only had half of the year left to finish and when I got out of Hogwarts I could find a good job in the wizard world...even if I had to stay hidden...I had to make sure that when the war ended, I could take care of my child. Studies were the only things that were normal in my late teenagehood.
I could not believe how fast my life changed. One day I was just a little girl caught up in between love and hate, and the next day I had to think of the future more than I had ever done...I was pregnant. I was going to have a child with Edwin, and I didn’t even know where he was. I was not sure what the future would bring...I was terrified and nowhere near mature enough to have a baby. But one thing I was sure of was that I had something more to fight for. I had to become stronger...and then maybe things could turn out okay in the end.
A/N Sorry for the delay, guys. Hope you liked the chapter. Review if you like. :)
Thanks for reading
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