Chapter 6 : Truth Without Freedom
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The entire way home it was hell. No one in my family was really bothering me to tell them what was going on with me but I could still feel Al’s eyes on me the entire time. Getting to the house was far more satisfying than I had imagined possible but the most horrible part of it was that I couldn’t even rush up to my room. If I did then it would be far too obvious that there was something terribly wrong with me. I really didn’t want my mother to ask me what was going on. if I had to tell her what was going on I would only hear a lecture from her right now but I would have to repeat the whole thing to my father later on as well and wouldn’t that just suck? It’s bad enough that my father is going to have a potential coronary when he hears about this but to have to hear about it from the two of them separately? That would just be one of the most horrible things in the world to have to experience. So, I didn’t run upstairs but as soon as I got the chance I made my way upstairs as quickly as I could without looking as though I were running for my life.
While unpacking my bag I considered what James had said. There was a very good chance that I could speak to him about my situation and not have to worry that he was going to go around talking about it to the rest of the family. He had always been rather good when it came to keeping secrets so that wasn’t really an issue when it came to him. Al would turn around and tell everyone even if he hadn’t meant to. He just seemed to have this inability to keep a secret for any of us. He had done it about a million and three times with his siblings let alone his cousins as bad as that sounds. I adore Al, I really do, but I didn’t trust him when it came to secrets.
James was different though. He was always, always there for all of us when we really needed someone and to be honest I had considered him one of my closest friends for quite some time. It can sound pathetic when you call one of your family members your best friend or one of your best friends but pathetic or not he has always been one of my closest friends. And at that moment I honestly needed a good friend. This was too much to be handling on my own. If I didn’t get the chance to tell someone soon I knew I was going to go mental. Keeping the fact that you’re pregnant a secret isn’t something that is easily done. With Scorpius and I being the only ones in the world who knew about the tiny little being gestating inside of me was becoming rather stressful. And I wasn’t even sure if he was ever, ever going to tell his family about the situation I had gotten us into. If it was difficult for me to tell my family how would it be for him? How was he going to break it to his pureblood parents that the person carrying their grandchild was of mixed blood? And not only that but the child of his father’s school time enemies was said mixed blood person. For me I only had the enemies part to deal with because I honestly don’t think his being a pureblood was going to upset my parents. They were a little more open-minded than that and besides that my father happened to be a pureblood.
Even if I was planning on telling James about the baby I wasn’t about to do it until after everyone had been settled in for a little while. The last thing I wanted was to add more stress onto anyone when they were just settling into their vacation. The holidays were right around the proverbial corner and they all deserved at least a moment of calm and quiet. Or at least a dinner that was undisturbed by an earth shattering revelation. No, after dinner I was going to find James and let him know what was going on. Whatever happened after that I would just have to deal with it.
I didn’t think he would freak out on my but anything is possible. Perhaps he could be completely and totally disappointed in me. But he was my safest bet. He was the lesser of all evils.
Dinner went on without a hitch and without any real problems to speak of. My father was home and the entire family had gathered around the table so that we could all talk. No one asked me what was wrong with me the entire time though James kept on looking over at me as if he were trying to read what was going on inside of my head. I made the effort not to look at him in response even though it was difficult to do with his eyes almost drilling into me. As much as I adored James he was persistent. He knew something was wrong with me and he knew that if he didn’t bug the heck out of me I wouldn’t just blurt it out. But he wasn’t the nag. That was his little brother. It seems funny to say because when we were younger it was the opposite. It seems like the switched personalities. Or maybe James just knew when to stop with the pushing. I wasn’t sure; I’m still not sure. All I knew was that he was the only one in the family I would trust with the truth just yet. He was actually the only one outside of Scorpius I was ready to trust with the truth just yet.
I excused myself to go upstairs as quickly as I could, as soon as dessert was done because all of this worry and uneasiness was making the nausea I was already feeling a thousand times worse. And now that my stomach was actually full I was just really, really frightened that I would in fact get sick. It wasn’t a pleasant prospect. Not even in the slightest. I just wanted to go upstairs, relax and try to decide how I should go about telling James about my current predicament.
Entering my room I found that I wasn’t alone. No, there wasn’t another person in my room but there was an owl sitting on my windowsill, eyes glowing strangely in the moonlight. I froze for a moment, watched the owl watching me, closed the door behind me so that no one else could see the owl sitting there, especially since I didn’t know why it was there. It seemed like I was keeping a lot more secrets from my family than I ever thought I would.
The owl flapped its wings impatiently, stuck out its leg so I could see the letter lying in front of it. I knew it had been a bad idea to leave my window open when I went downstairs. Having your window open when it is the dead of winter doesn’t exactly help the illusion of there being nothing wrong but I was feeling extremely hot today, like someone had taken to putting boiling water directly into my veins themselves. I had read somewhere that a lot of women tend to feel overheated when they’re pregnant and couldn’t help but wonder if there were a spell or a potion of some kind I could take that would counteract that. There had to be. There seemed to be a potion for everything else in the world.
I made my way over to the windowsill cautiously, not sure if this owl bit or was going to start flapping in my face but the moment the envelope in front of it was between my fingers it merely backed up, turned and flew right out of the window all so quickly I barely had time to register it leaving.
The envelope had my name on it but that’s really all and to be honest I couldn’t recognize the writing itself. That didn’t mean anything of course. If it was from a casual acquaintance then I wouldn’t recognize it. It wasn’t as though I had everyone’s handwriting memorized. It wouldn’t surprise me if my mother had memorized the handwriting of every person she knew though. She was an avid information collector.
I sat down on my bed as I opened up the envelope, listening to the sound of my family moving around, coming up the stairs and going into various rooms. Hugo slammed the door to his room behind him, predictably. Lily would be staying with me tonight but for now she was spending time with the rest of the family. For now she was chattering with Al as they headed down the hall, past my door. I didn’t care where they went as long as I got some time to rest and calm down my stomach. And read the letter.
Should I take it that you haven’t informed your parents of the condition you’ve gotten yourself into? It wouldn’t surprise me at all to know that you hadn’t. I don’t suppose you’re looking forward to the idea of having to let them know that they’re about to become grandparents. Or telling the rest of your family for that matter. I wonder who will react the worst to all of this: your mother or your father. Which do you suppose it will be? I’d heard they could both have rather horrid tempers.
You are aware, of course, that if you don’t tell your parents that you’ve gotten yourself knocked up that the school itself will have to inform them and I do think they’d rather receive that bit of information from you than from the school. I’m sure you’d prefer that as well.
If you’re wondering if I plan to let my parents in on this little bit of information then perhaps I should let you know now that no, my parents aren’t going to be informed of the situation now. It isn’t my body that is about to change nor am I the one in danger of having the school contact my parents. I don’t see any reason to let them know what you caused. Why should I ruin their holidays?
Now, before you go getting angry with me- and don’t pretend that you won’t get angry when we both know that right now the tip of your ears are probably red enough to rival your father’s hair- we can discuss all of this when we’re back at school. After all, I already said I wasn’t going to ignore the situation at hand. That hasn’t changed it doesn’t mean I’m going to spoil the holidays here with the revelation. Perhaps you aren’t aware but holidays with my family aren’t all that easy to take care of to begin with.
Tell me how breaking the news to your family went when we get back to school. I’m sure that story will be very, very amusing.
The thing was that he was right. I was annoyed that he wasn’t going to tell his family about the baby. I knew I had gotten into this situation on my own; that my own curiosity had been the cause of the whole mess but it just didn’t seem fair. He would get to enjoy his entire holiday without having to worry about upsetting his family while I was going to shake mine to the core. True, life was rarely fair but this went beyond the normal kind of unfair. At least normally when a girl got pregnant they were able to blame the guy as much as themselves. For me, however, there was nothing normal about it and I really couldn’t blame him. But still, I was rather annoyed.
Crumpling up the note in my hand I tossed it in the general direction of the rubbish bin near my door in time to nearly hit James as he opened the door. With the light visible from under the door he knew I hadn’t been asleep so I couldn’t even be annoyed at him for opening the door, couldn’t tell him he should be more careful about walking into my room. Besides, I always locked my door when I really, really didn’t want anyone just coming inside. It was my own fault for not doing so this time.
He glanced back and forth between myself and the crumpled up letter which had landed just shy of the bin. “Frustrated, are we?” His voice was very calm, very matter-of-fact, almost as though he weren’t actually asking me if I was frustrated but informing me that I was.
“Not particularly,” I lied. It came out of my mouth quite easily to my surprise. I had never truly lied to James- had evaded the truth of course- and I wasn’t sure I would be able to and yet I had done it, just as simple as if I told him what time it was. It was rather unnerving.
“Somehow I doubt that,” he said, his voice confident and still calm as he reached behind him and closed the door, listened for the click that signaled it was shut entirely. He made his way over to my bed, took a seat, watched me sitting there, watched me refuse to meet his eyes.
He reached over and laid his hand on my arm, squeezed down just above my wrist until I looked at him. “I know that something’s bothering you,” he told me, that same matter-of-fact tone that he had used when he first got inside of my room and asked if I was frustrated. He just had this way about him where he could be devastatingly calm. “And I’m sure that the rest of the family has noticed it, too.” He squeezed down again, shaking his head a little bit. “You know you can’t hide things from your mother for very long. Aunt Hermione is devastatingly perceptive.”
Unfortunately he was right. Mum had this habit of always being able to pick up on it when we were keeping something from her, to always know when we were lying. It was probably one of the most devastatingly frustrating things about having her for a mother. The fact that she was devastatingly brilliant was difficult enough since I was expected to live up to her but the fact that I couldn’t really keep anything from her made things quite a bit more difficult that I would have liked. No, she would surely notice that there was something wrong with me if I kept trying to hold this all inside, if I kept on pretending that everything was perfectly fine. And though that was the truth it was a bit of a bother having James point it out to me.
Heaving a heavy sigh I flopped backwards onto my bed, lifting up one hand to rest if over my eyes, covering my face almost as though I were hiding when I was honestly just frustrated at the moment. Not with James, of course. I was frustrated because for the life of me I couldn’t quite figure out how to explain all of this to my family. I had been trying to figure that out since the day in the hospital wing but I had yet to figure it out yet.
“You know,” I said as calmly as I could manage. “It can get rather bothersome to have such an observant family. I don’t like not being able to keep secrets.”
He lounged back on my bed, resting his weight on his elbows so his torso wasn’t on the mattress. “I only ask because you seem troubled,” he told me. “If there’s something wrong I would like to be able to help you. If I can.”
“You can’t,” I assured him. “Trust me when I tell you that there is absolutely nothing that you can do that could possible help the situation I’m currently in. If there were something I would tell you I would ask for your help. Sadly this is a situation that can’t be changed by anyone really.”
“Hey.” He reaches out, tapped my chin, waited until I moved my arm away from my eyes so I was looking at him as he spoke. “How can you possibly know that, Rosie? If you don’t let me know what’s wrong then you can’t possibly know that I can’t help you.”
“Trust me: I know.”
“Humor me,” he suggested. “Let me know what’s wrong and we’ll see if I can’t help, shall we?”
I bit the inside of my lip, considering whether or not I should just blurt it all out to him. Of course if I were able to gauge his reaction it might be helpful. It might make me able to guess how my parents would react. True, James wasn’t one of my parents but it would probably still give me an idea. He was family, after all. And I already knew I could trust him not to tell the others. And I knew if I didn’t share with someone I would surely go mental. He was giving me permission to share this with him, asking me to trust him and how could I say ‘no’ to that? How could I turn down the chance to reveal the truth to someone I knew I could trust?
“That,” I started, motioning towards where the letter was lying crumpled up on the floor. “Was a letter. From Scorpius.”
“Malfoy?” I don’t know why he seemed to want that confirmation. Neither of us knew of anyone else named Scorpius. “Why would he be sending you a letter?” He paused then, his dark eyebrows furrowing as he watched me. “Has he been bothering you, Rosie? Is that what’s making you so uneasy? Is Malfoy giving you a hard time?”
“No, that’s not it.” Actually, considering what had happened he hadn’t been being too bad. He was actually even a bit friendlier than I had expected him to be. The boy was just full of surprises.
“Then what’s wrong?”
“I want you to promise me that you won’t repeat this. Not to anyone, James. Not to my brother or your siblings; not to my parents or yours or our cousins. No one.”
“No.” I sat up slightly, propping myself up in the exact same way that he was propping himself up. “I want you to actually promise. Say the words. I need to hear them or I can’t tell you. I trust you when you say you’ll keep it a secret but I have to actually hear it. Alright?”
“Alright.” James nodded his head a little bit, keeping his eyes on my face. “I promise that I won’t tell anyone, Rosie. You don’t have to worry about me keeping your secret. Although if it’s as big as you’re making it seem I don’t think you’ll be able to keep it for very long.”
“I’m well aware of that,” I assured him, turning my head slightly to look ahead of me. “Do you remember that book of spells and potions I found? The one that was full of pranks.”
“Of course. I think Uncle George wanted to steal it, to try to use them to make things for his shop.”
“Well, I was playing around with one of the spells and I misread it. And that’s how Scorpius is involved.”
“That doesn’t really explain anything.”
“I know.” I paused, took a slow, deep breath; swallowed hard. “I didn’t think the spell was going to work. I thought it was a joke from the writer. He had just been frustrating that day so I thought it would be funny.” I glanced over at him, shrugged my shoulders the best I could in the position I was in. “I did the spell as a joke. When I read it what I thought I read was that whoever you think about when doing the spell ends up pregnant. I really didn’t expect it to work. Nothing I had tried that was that big never worked. But I thought the idea of Scorpius being pregnant was amusing. Impossible but amusing.”
“Wait.” He held up a hand, palm facing me to stop me in mid thought. “Are you telling me that you worked a spell and that because of that Scorpius Malfoy is pregnant?”
“No! No, of course not! That would be impossible, wouldn’t it?” I shook my head a little, hair flying in front of my face. “And I already told you that I misread it.”
I closed my eyes, counted to ten. “If a female thinks of a male when casting the spell it doesn’t impregnate the male. It impregnates the female with said male’s child.”
He was quiet for several moments, so quiet I was afraid he was about to explode. “So, are you saying…?”
“Unfortunately, yes. I’m, strangely enough, carrying the next generation of Malfoys as we speak.”
Of course life had to throw me another curve in the road and this one came in the form of a gaping redhead standing in my doorway. Which means I was utterly and completely ruined.
James may have been able to keep a secret but Lily? Well, she was an entirely different story.
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