Chapter 9 : Spreading the News
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“Why?” I ask suspiciously.
“Because Mum’s upset. Like, really upset. Like, I’ve never seen her that bad before. And when I tried talking to her, she just said your name. I assume she wants to talk to you.”
“Emilia,” I say, figuring this day can’t get any worse, “Have you considered that I’m the reason she’s upset?”
“It crossed my mind, but none of the shit you do could make her react like that.”
“What about getting pregnant?”
Her eyes widen. “Are you serious?”
“Oh, jeez. Wow. Um. Right. That’s…wow. I don’t…wow. Okay. That would explain it. Um. So you slept with…right. Uh. Who?”
“I thought so. Well, I didn’t think…well, if it was anyone…um. You and James…wow. Uh. And you’re…um. Right. Okay. That’s fine. Uh, I might go Floo Dad…come talk to Mum…See ya, Cass.”
She more or less bolts down the corridor.
Well, that went well.
“It won’t be as bad as Dad made it out to be,” I tell James, breaking the silence as we sit in our corner of the common room, Muffliato duly cast.
“No, it’ll be worse,” James responds, staring at the carpet. “Like he said, your parents were married, and two years older than we are now.”
“Yes,” I agree, “And they were also at war, under Voldemort’s regime, in the Order of the Phoenix, and Mum was infiltrating the Death Eaters.”
“Good point,” he says eventually. “Cass…how are you coping? Like, actually?”
I know exactly what’s brought this on. “James, when I start questioning why I get out of bed in the morning, I’ll let you know.”
“Your dad scares the living shit out of me.”
“My dad is not the scary one in the family.”
“You know what I mean. What he said.”
“I know. But between you and me, I’m tougher than he thinks.”
As I sort-of anticipated, the next time I see Mum is in DADA on Tuesday. Since Saturday, Albus has found out, and with Albus and Emilia in the know, naturally Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy have heard as well, because that little knot of fourth-year Slytherins is tighter than our own sixth-year Gryffindor one. As I understand it, the news is now spreading like wildfire through the entire Weasley-Potter clan. I, on the other hand, only have one cousin at Hogwarts, the first-year Ravenclaw Max Corner, and the school-wide gossip network apparently doesn’t extend to first-year Ravenclaws. Mercifully, it also hasn’t appeared to reach Little Lily Potter either, and James informs me he intends on telling her himself. Really carefully. Really awkwardly.
Mum doesn’t say anything to either of us in DADA, and if she wasn’t forty years old and the head of Ravenclaw I would assume she was avoiding us out of spite. As it happens, though, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know what to say.
I’m living in the hope that she just needs time to process it all before she wakes up and realises she’s still my mother and I still need her, but as each day passes I grow more and more despondent. Dad was wrong; I need Mum just as much as I need James, maybe more.
I assume the extended family has been informed of my predicament, and I notice the Corner family owl flying into the Great Hall one morning at breakfast. Max watches its progress, looking surprised when the owl drops a fat envelope onto the table in front of me and flies away without leaving anything for him.
It’s from my aunt Evelina, Dad’s younger sister. I only have two aunts, but even if I had two hundred Aunty Evie would still be my favourite. She’s lovely. I hope she doesn’t hate me as well.
Your father told me about your situation. Both he and your mother are understandably upset, but I know you know that anyway and it’s not something you want to hear. I have tried to kick some sense into Cassian and make him go to Hogwarts and talk to you, but he says he still needs time to process it all. I imagine Athena’s the same. Don’t take it personally, they’re your parents and I know they love you, but it’s a shock for any parent.
I hope James is treating you well. I know you’re very fond of each other and that, at least, is something to be thankful for. Whatever you’re struggling with, he’s probably going through the same thing. Except morning sickness, I’m afraid that’s your battle to fight. Though there are potions available to ease that, and I’m sure your brother, as a Healer, will have a ready knowledge of what they are and how to make them.
If you need anything, even just a cup of tea and a chat, I’m always here. Send me an owl anytime, or even Floo over from Hogwarts.
I fold up the letter, slipping it into my robes and smiling. Definitely favourite aunt.
James asks me to come with him when he tells Lily, something I’m not looking forward to. Parents are one thing, but twelve-year-olds are notoriously squeamish about sex. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted if Rory had gotten Lillian pregnant while they were still at Hogwarts.
“Hey Lils,” James says, approaching her with her group of second-year friends in the common room. “Can we talk?”
She looks at him, surprised. “Sure,” she says agreeably, trotting out of the portrait hole and waiting expectantly on the other side.
“Muffliato,” James says, which strikes me as a slightly useless precaution, because half of Hogwarts probably knows already.
“I know what this is about,” Lily declares, taking us both by surprise.
“Yeah,” she says confidently. “You two are together, right? But you want to keep it quiet.”
“Well, uh,” James says awkwardly, “We are together, but that’s not—”
“I knew it!” Lily says happily. “I told you, didn’t I, Cass? A couple of months ago when we talked, I told you he liked you back!”
James shoots me a look which says explain later and turns back to Lily. “Actually, Lily, there’s something else. And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone about it, unless they’re family.”
She looks at us, puzzled. “You didn’t blow something up, did you?”
“Er, no. The thing is…uh, Lil, you know how babies are made, right?”
Lily pulls a face. “I’m twelve, not five.”
“Right. Because, um, Cassia’s pregnant.”
There’s another long silence. James looks like he wants to run away. Or die. Or both.
Finally, Lily speaks. “You guys had sex?”
“Um, yeah, we did.”
“Thanks,” James says, looking irritated. “Real mature.”
“She’s twelve, what do you expect?” I ask.
Lily’s still staring at us, apparently torn between horror, disgust, and morbid fascination. “How many times?”
“Lily!” James says, going even redder.
“Okay, okay,” she says, holding up her hands in surrender. “Just so you know, that is really, really, really gross.”
“Thanks for calling my baby gross,” I say pointedly.
“I’m not calling the baby gross,” Lily explains patiently, “I’m calling the way it got there gross.”
“I think this conversation is over,” James decides, staring at the floor. “If you need me, I’ll be in the Room of Requirement.” He flees.
A/N: I apologise for my lack of review responses as I've been super busy with exams, but I do read each one of them and they really do make my day, so keep them coming! :)
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