Aidan is rushed up to the children’s ward; Hazel, Gladys and Linda look completely lost for words of comfort and they abandon their post at the receptionists' desk to see what is happening.
I hold Aidan’s hand as Healer Kennedy works on him; I can’t let it go for fear of losing him. It’s ridiculous, but I feel like he can’t go anywhere if I’m holding on to him. So many charms and potions have been thrown at him, and it makes me feel sick. He’s so small – how can his body take it?
Why isn’t he breathing?
“His throat’s still closed, the damn spell isn’t working!”
I’m going to get sick. My body is shaking, practically convulsing, and I think I’m crying, though I’m not actually sure if there are any tears coming. My heart is hammering against my chest so hard it hurts. He has to wake up. Why hasn’t he woken up?
“We’ll have to try a stronger dosage, give it here!”
More potions, more incantations. I don’t understand any of it despite the fact that I’ve worked here for so long. What is it doing to him?
He looks so much paler than usual. A true Malfoy in his looks. Yet when Dad looks at him, all he sees is Weasley, despite the snow-white blonde hair and slightly sinister look he can give when he doesn’t get his own way. They’ve torn the school uniform jumper and shirt from him and are now pointing their wands to his tiny chest, muttering more incantations that I have never heard before. Please wake up, Aidan.
I’m vaguely aware of Daisy somewhere behind me in the room. I can hear her crying and I wonder for the first time if anyone has called Scorpius.
I can’t ever remember feeling such fear before. I think this kind of fear can only be felt by a parent, because this kind of love can only be felt by a parent. If I lose Aidan, I will quite literally lose my purpose in life. He has to start breathing again...
My heart jumps when I see his chest rise and fall – he’s breathing! He’s alive!
“He’s breathing,” Damien sighs in relief.
But he’s still unconscious. He’s still ghostly pale. I need him to sit up and start chattering on about school, or his friend Mia, or Ollie, or some pointless subject that he feels so passionately about. I’ll never tune out again when he talks, even if he starts talking twenty-four hours a day. I need to hear it from him that he’s alright before I can start to believe it.
“I – I don’t know what happened,” I can hear Daisy sobbing to Damien. “He was f-fine one second, and the next he was coughing...it all happened so quickly...h-he went very quiet and his face went red, I thought he was choking –”
“Does Aidan have any allergies?” Damien asks me.
“He’s allergic to nuts,” I tell him in a croaky voice.
Damien nods, clearly knowing this already, while Daisy gasps. “He’s had a serious reaction that’s blocked his airways and caused hypotension. I’ve managed to unblock his airways and I gave him a potion that should get his blood pressure back up within the next hour. He should be awake soon.”
“Thanks, Damien,” I say. He pats me sympathetically on the shoulder before leaving the ward. I continue to hold Aidan’s hand, constantly watching his breathing to make sure he’s still okay.
“I didn’t know,” Daisy whimpers. “I didn’t know he was allergic to nuts. I put ground peanuts into the chilli I gave him...I never make chilli, I thought it would be special...”
I don’t bother responding to her; I’m not quite sure what to say to her, or how I feel about what she’s done. I can’t even think about how I feel about her because my mind is so focused on Aidan.
“Did you call Scorpius?” I ask.
“He’ll be here soon,” she responds meekly. “D-do you want a cup of tea?”
She leaves to get herself a cup. I get the impression she only left because she has no idea what else to do. I know the feeling; I feel utterly useless. I take a few deep breaths to calm myself down after the worst fright of my life.
He’s fine. He’s going to be absolutely fine.
I ring Mum and tell her what has happened, and ask her to spread the word to the rest of the clan. I also ask her to tell them not to visit until I know how long he’s going to have to stay in for. He’s had minor reactions before, but usually an anti-histamine potion clears it up in a second. But the fact that it was peanuts, not tree nuts that he ingested (he’s unfortunately allergic to both) makes it more serious.
“Rose! Is he alright? What’s happened?”
Scorpius looks terrified, having just ran in the door of the otherwise empty children’s ward. He rushes to Aidan’s bedside and begins stroking his hair softly and demanding details.
“He had a reaction to Daisy’s chilli,” I tell him. “Apparently she put ground peanuts in it. His blood pressure dropped and his airways became blocked, but he’s going to be ok. She got him in quickly.”
I say it all very robotically, and hopefully neutral. I don’t particularly blame her for this one; I know she wouldn’t intentionally hurt Aidan. I don’t like her, but I firmly believe she did not know about this.
“I told her he’s allergic to nuts!” Scorpius snaps furiously.
“Well she says she didn’t know,” I reply calmly, not taking my eyes off Aidan. “And I believe her.”
Just as Scorpius is about to speak, Daisy returns to the ward with two cups of tea, even though I told her I didn’t want one.
“I told you before he had a nut allergy!” Scorpius hisses, walking towards Daisy. His fear has quickly turned to anger, and unlike me, he apparently blames Daisy completely.
“No, you didn’t!” Daisy says tearfully. “I would have remembered! You just told me the food he likes and what he can’t eat –”
“Of course I bloody told you! Jesus, he could have died!”
“I’m so sorry!” Daisy is fully crying now, and I feel sorry for her. And now my fear is turning to anger – anger that is directed straight at Scorpius.
“You should be sorry, it’s your fault,” Scorpius says cruelly.
I let go of Aidan’s hand for the first time and stand up. My legs shake slightly – I suppose I am still overwhelmed with the whole situation.
“Scorpius, can I talk to you outside for a minute? Daisy, would you mind watching Aidan for me?”
Daisy looks completely bemused by the fact that I would let her watch Aidan after everything that has happened. I am shocked at myself that I don’t blame her for this. I suppose I know that you can’t always be a perfect parent. You can’t always get everything right. And blaming her for this isn’t going to help anything.
Scorpius reluctantly follows me into the hall. The children's ward is not busy today, so the corridor is completely empty.
“You need to calm down,” I say softly, trying to be sympathetic towards him, because I know the shock he has just had. “This wasn’t Daisy’s fault. Accidents happen.”
“I’m telling you, she knew about his allergies!”
“Clearly she didn’t,” I say reasonably. “You know I’m not exactly her biggest fan, but Daisy’s not a bad person, Scorp. You know she’s not. She loves Aidan.” It feels weird to say it, like I’m betraying myself.
“So you’re saying I just didn’t bother telling her that huge part of Aidan’s life?” Scorpius asks accusingly.
“I’m saying it’s not beyond the realms of possibility! Maybe you just thought you told her?”
“I told her, Rose. I know I did.”
I sigh, knowing I’m not going to get anywhere with this approach. I think it’s time to put on my bitching cap.
“Your attitude isn’t helping,” I tell him shortly. “We all make mistakes.”
He presses his hand up against the wall and sighs heavily. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him this angry. I should be happy that, for once, it’s not me his anger is directed at. A few days ago, I was delighted to hear that he and Daisy were arguing. In what demented twist of fate did I end up on Daisy’s side in all of this?
“That mistake could have killed him, Rose.”
I can’t even bear to think about what could have happened. It makes me physically sick to think about what might have happened if Daisy hadn’t gotten Aidan to the hospital in time. The point is she did get him here in time, and he’s going to be fine because of it.
I say nothing more to Scorpius and return to Aidan’s bedside. Daisy is still crying silently to herself, and I have a sudden urge to comfort her. Who am I? Is it unnatural that I have sympathy for her?
“Look, Daisy, I know this wasn’t your fault,” I tell her.
Daisy raises her eyebrows. “Y-you do?”
“Of course,” I shrug.
“I’m so sorry, Rose. I’m so sorry.”
I smile at her. What is wrong with me?! This has to be the first time I’ve ever smiled at the woman, or even in her presence. I think this must be post-traumatic stress that has caused me to completely lose myself.
“I think you should go home.” Scorpius has now returned to the ward and is staring coldly at his wife. He’s being such a little prick.
“Yes, of course...if that’s what you want,” Daisy nods. She stands up quickly and wipes her eyes. “Let me know how he’s doing.”
Scorpius doesn’t respond to her, but takes the seat she has just vacated by Aidan’s bed. Daisy disapparates, but the sour look on Scorpius’s face stays firmly in place. We sit in silence for the best part of twenty minutes, neither of us looking at each other. Aidan is now sleeping soundly, knocked out by one of the potions that he was given. A nurse comes in to check on him, and assures us that everything is fine. Yet I still have a horribly anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. How I wish he’d wake up.
“I still can’t believe this,” Scorpius mumbles quietly to himself. The anger is still radiating from him.
“Give it a rest,” I sigh, rubbing my eyes. I lay my head down beside Aidan’s and close my eyes for a moment in a feeble attempt to relax.
“I’m not going to ask for joint custody,” Scorpius announces. And thus ends my feeble attempt to relax.
“This wouldn’t have happened if he was with you,” he continues. “You can have full custody. You can decide when I can see him. Even if you decided on supervised visits I’d understand –”
“Shut up,” I say wearily. “Are you sure?”
Scorpius nods. And suddenly, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted – I have my son back. Of course my joy is clouded by the circumstances, but at least there is some silver lining.
“You can still see him whenever you want.” I’m repeating that infuriating line Scorpius once said to me. He takes it much better than I did, however.
“I’m going to call my parents,” he decides, and leaves the ward to do so.
Almost as soon as Scorpius is out the door, Aidan begins to stir. He slowly and groggily opens his eyes and takes a moment before looking around him.
“Aidan? Sweetheart? Can you hear me?” I ask softly, taking his hand again.
“Mum, my tummy feels ill,” he squeaks. I press the button next to his bed to summon a nurse or Healer.
“You got very sick,” I try to explain to him. “You ate some bad food, so now you’re in the hospital. But the Healer says you’re going to be fine in a few hours.”
“Will I need crutches?”
Oh God I missed this boy.
“No, you won’t need crutches. You only need those if you hurt your leg.”
“My friend Mia hurt her leg when she fell in the playground but she didn’t need crutches, just a plaster. Her Mum bought her pink ones with flowers on them.”
The nurse arrives, followed closely by a relieved (but still angry) looking Scorpius. She asks Aidan how he’s feeling, to which he replies ‘rather poorly’ – Scorpius and I simply look at each other and shrug. She then checks his blood pressure and tells us that he will be kept in overnight, but should be allowed home tomorrow.
“You’re going back to live with your Mum tomorrow, mate,” Scorpius tells him as soon as the nurse leaves.
“Because that’s where all your Chudley Cannons posters are,” Scorpius replies easily. This is clearly a good enough reason for Aidan because he does not question it any further.
After about an hour, Aidan is sitting up in the bed, full of life. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything that’s made me so happy. His stomach is still sensitive, but he is allowed to have jelly and ice-cream, and to be honest I don’t think he could ask for anything more. Mum, Dad, Draco and Astoria all drop in to visit him, but they are the only family members because he is only going to be here for one night.
Scorpius and I decide we are both going to spend the night with him, and Scorpius gives Daisy a very brief phone call to let her know. Aidan nods off quite early, and Hazel, Gladys and Linda all drop in before they head home to see how he is. I really couldn’t ask for better colleagues. My job may not be the most fulfilling, but those three ladies make it worth coming in every day. They tell me that they’ve told Chief Healer Wharton that I’m getting the next two days off and there isn’t a damn thing he can do about it.
Aidan is released from St. Mungo’s the next morning. Damien gives me a vial of potion that Aidan is to take every six hours, but apart from that there is no lasting damage. Actually, there doesn’t even appear to be any sign that Aidan was sick at all. He practically bounces the whole way home. Scorpius goes back to his place to collect Aidan’s things and says he will bring them round to mine later on.
From ten minutes after we arrive home, we are absolutely swamped with visitors, as is always the way when a Weasley family member has been ill. First past the post is Al and Jenny. While Al plays with Aidan in the living room, I fill Jenny in on everything while we get lunch ready in the kitchen.
“So Scorpius is just giving him back like that?” Jenny asks in disbelief. “Wow. Poor Daisy.”
Jenny raises her eyebrows sceptically at me.
“What? I feel bad for her!” I exclaim. “Come on, I don’t blame her. She didn’t know about his allergies.”
Jenny’s eyebrows are now in serious danger of disappearing into her hair.
“Don’t give me that look.”
“Who are you?” Jenny folds her arms. “Because you’re not my friend, Rose Jane Weasley.”
“Give over. I’m not that bad.”
“Yes you are, but I’m not going to argue.”
I don’t bother arguing either. I’m still quite shocked at my new attitude towards Daisy.
“So Al got a new job,” Jenny changes the subject casually.
“Yeah...he’s going to be the new Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. He was talking to Professor Flitwick about it at the Anniversary service, and he got a letter yesterday saying he got the job.”
“That’s brilliant!” I cry.
“So we’re moving to Hogsmeade at the end of August...”
My formerly smiling face falls into a frown. “You can’t move! You can’t leave me!” I exclaim childishly. “That’s out of apparition range from here! What will I do?”
“Oh Rose, I’m so lucky to have such a selfless friend like you,” Jenny says mockingly. “Don’t worry, we’ll see each other all the time.”
I can tell that even she doesn’t believe that. She changes the subject back to Aidan, clearly not wanting to discuss the matter of her move to Scotland any further. I can’t imagine what I’ll do without her. When I think of the weeks we weren’t speaking after the mishap at her wedding, they were some of the loneliest of my life.
After Al and Jenny comes Nana Molly and Grandad, and then Harry, Ginny and Lily. By the end of the day, almost every single member of my family has visited – and Laura too – which means I’m more tired than I would have been if I’d just gone into work. Aidan loves all of the attention and gifts being showered on him, and is now threatening to eat nuts more often.
When I tuck Aidan into bed, I decide to ring Tom Fox and let him know that his services will no longer be required. I get his answering machine and leave a rather short message, happy that I have at least one less pain in the arse in my life. If only there was some way of getting rid of Molly.
I change into my pyjamas almost immediately after Aidan falls asleep, hoping for an early night of my own, when all of my plans are shot to shit by Scorpius showing up on my doorstep. He doesn’t even bother knocking, but barges straight in with Aidan’s things and leaves them in the living room, not wanting to disturb him.
“Thanks for dropping those over,” I tell him hurriedly. “See you soon.”
“Can we...talk or something?”
Oh Scorpius, much as I love you, please sod off home.
I notice as he stands in the middle of my living room that he is swaying slightly as if there’s a breeze blowing him from side to side. He looks angry and frustrated, and more than anything he looks –
“Are you drunk?”
“I had a few,” he mumbles. I’d bet my right leg he had more than a few. “Had a fight with Daisy. She pissed off four hours ago. Dunno where she’s gone. Couldn’t care less.”
“What was your fight about?” I ask, even though I know fine well what it was about.
“I told her I can’t trust her and she got all offended.”
“I can’t imagine why,” I say sarcastically. “You’re too hard on her, you know.”
“Don’t talk about her,” Scorpius frowns. He then starts walking towards me, and I subtly take a few steps backwards away from him. “I’m sick of her. She’s not like you, Rose. With her, everything’s her way or the highway.”
“Eh, have you met me?”
I’m now backed against the wall. I can’t back away any further. It’s rare that Scorpius can make me feel so uncomfortable. It’s usually me who’s the drunken mess, not him. He’s now right in front of me, dangerously close. I’m not sure we’ve been this close since Al and Jenny’s wedding. I can smell the alcohol off his breath.
“I’m sorry I turned you down,” he whispers.
“It’s in the past. I think you should go home.”
“You don’t want me to go home. I don’t want to go home either.”
“You’re drunk,” I try to reason with him.
“I only had a few,” he says again. “I know what I’m saying. I know what I’m doing.” He takes hold of my hand, but I pull it away and slip out past him.
“Don't do this,” I tell him firmly. “Go home, sleep it off.”
He looks confused. “I thought you said you lov-”
“Just shut up, Scorpius!” I snap, trying not to be too loud so I don’t wake Aidan. “You can’t just make a booty call to me because life isn’t perfect with your wife anymore!”
“That’s not what this is!”
“That’s exactly what it is, and it’s not fair! You chose her! You made your bed and it’s time you lay in it.”
I fold my arms, indicating that I’m done talking. Quietly, Scorpius walks past me and out the door of my flat. Where he’s gone I’m not entirely sure, and for once in my life, I don’t much care.
A/N - First of all, kudos to those of you who remembered that Aidan is allergic to nuts! I slipped it in in an early chapter and looks like lots of you observant people remembered!
I hope everyone's opinion of Scorpius, Rose and Daisy aren't completely black and white - I'm not even sure what I think about them at the minute! What I can tell you is Scorpius and Daisy are not over! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and as always, thank you so much for all of the reviews!