Chapter 7 : Well, This Is Awkward...
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This is a direct continuation of the previous chapter and picks up where it left off.
I push off the doors and head off. Even if I'm ditching class again, I can't stay here. Being in motion clears my head enough to think.
The feeling of comfort that has been growing in me for the last day takes hold at last. I'm too young, I may not be ready, and I'm scared shitless. But I'm going to be a mother, and I'm going to do the best that I can.
I have always wanted to have a family of my own. Admittedly, it was a bit of a distant dream until now. A dream I wanted fulfilled after I had a career and was married. Well, the circumstances are definitely not ideal. I can't remember ever anyone being pregnant while at Hogwarts, although I have no doubts that it has occurred before. Students have been shagging since the founding.
"Ah, Miss Evans," I hear as I walk down an empty hallway. I turn slowly and see Dumbledore, a kindly smile on his face. "Such luck I stumbled upon you; it saves me the trouble of sending a student to find you, as you don't seem to be intent on your classrooms today."
I smile tightly at him and grasp a fistful of my school skirt tightly. In my other hand, I grip my wand more firmly. I hadn't expected to be this nervous when I met with him.
"Come with me," he says. Saying no to the Headmaster seems like a bad idea, so I dutifully follow him over a few hallways and down some stairs until we're in front of a gargoyle. "Chocolate frogs," he tells the winged creature and stairs appear. I've never been into the Headmaster's office, so I suppose it's a good thing Dumbledore is here.
He gestures to a seat and I glance at it before sitting. Dumbledore sits behind his desk and gazes at me over his spectacles, a kindly smile still gracing his face.
"Madam Pomfrey has informed me of your current predicament," Dumbledore says at last, folding his hands on his desk, "and I do believe the two of us need to talk about it."
I nod and look into my lap, where my hands are holding tightly together. I'm terrified I'll have to leave school. Even in an enhanced hormonal state, I still could do very well on my N.E.W.T.s, and I know I need them to find a job. I'd like to be able to provide for the kid.
"I take it you are planning on having the child?" he asks gently and I snap my head up.
"Professor, excuse me, but why in the hell wouldn't I?" I blurt. I hadn't even considered any other options. My grandma had my mum when she was still in school, and my grandma would hunt me down if she found out I didn't. I am terrified of my grandma, even if she's dead.
"It's necessary to ask," Dumbledore says mildly. "And from Madam Pomfrey's notes, it seems as though the Head Boy shall also bear this responsibility."
I turn beat red and nod slowly, purposefully avoiding his eyes.
"We do not question these things, you know," Dumbledore assures me gently. "What students do we cannot always control."
In my furiously blushing state, I manage to blurt out, "We were drunk!" I gasp and cover my mouth. I could get a lot of students into trouble if I say anything else.
"I am not going to punish you, Miss Evans," he says while chuckling slightly. I guess I look very alarmed. "Besides, I think you will be punished enough for your choices in the coming few months."
He laughs a little, and I can only stare at him in utter shock. I knew Dumbledore was different from everyone else because of his speeches at feasts and my few encounters with him, but I'd never anticipated he would make a joke out of my situation in much the same way Remus had.
"And now, you're wondering about your education," he plows on. I feel a little less stupid for worrying about my education in a school than I had just a moment ago worrying for my Headmaster's sanity. "Madam Pomfrey has informed me, and you as well, that you aren't due until the end of July, which is after your N.E.W.T.s and the end of term. I should think it would be perfectly acceptable for you to remain at Hogwarts. We can arrange it with St. Mungo's that the Healer who would be taking care of you could come to see you at our hospital wing."
"I—I would like that very much, Professor," I whisper, nodding for emphasis. "Only, Madam Pomfrey hadn't informed me of my due date. I think she was letting the information sink in before giving me particulars."
"Well, I hope she won't mind I told you." His kind, understanding smile breaks a bit of my defenses, and I smile back. "I think I've unloaded enough onto you for one day, and I do believe Mr Potter deserves much the same shock you have had today. We will discuss more next week, closer to the holidays. I will also leave you to tell your teachers in your way and in your own time, and I think you should deal with Hogwarts' infamous rumor mill however you see fit."
He winks after this, as if to tell me I may jinx a few students and in my increased emotional state, no one will be the wiser. I laugh delightedly. Dumbledore is a fantastic Headmaster.
"Thank you, Professor," I say quietly, standing up and leaving. As I descend the stairs, it's odd to know that my life has changed in so many ways that even the Headmaster is willing to help me make light of it.
I sigh as my feet touch the floor. Everyone is willing to make light of it, but I try not to. This is very serious; I'm now in control of not only keeping myself from dying but another helpless being. It deserves as much respect as I do.
It. I'm going to have to find a different way of addressing the baby. "It" is such an impersonal reaction to a human being and I really don't like it.
I continue quietly down the hallway as I try to decide where to go. I won't go where students are; that would be suicide. I try to discern if I'm hungry or not, but my stomach's silence assures me that I am too stressed to be hungry. I glance out a passing window, and at the sunset, I gasp. I check my watch. It's dinnertime.
Instead of heading to the Great Hall, I march off to Gryffindor Tower. It's been two days since I was in class, three since I focused, and I am going to get myself back on track. I will start with informing Potter, and I know the easiest way to catch him alone is to grab him in the common room.
The Fat Lady seems surprised to see me, but lets me in nevertheless. I glance around the familiar room and then seat myself in front of the fireplace. I should be able to see incoming students before they notice me, and right now that's exactly what I need.
A few students straggle in from dinner, and I wait. I stare determinedly into the fire, knowing I'll have to act the moment I see him or I'll lose my nerve. Right now, I'm going to need all the Gryffindor courage I have in me.
I listen to the gabbling girls as they come in, the pre-pubescent laughter of First Year boys, and the groans of older students facing life-changing tests in June. I hear his laughter before I see him, and I stand up.
Mary and Dorcas are following the three boys and wave to me in both excitement and nervousness, but I smile briefly at them before walking right up to Potter.
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