Chapter 15 : Wisdom and Cats
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“Cassia?” My brother’s voice comes from the Floo. “Have you packed up all your stuff?”
Oh, yeah. I’m leaving home today. As if baby and not going to Hogwarts wasn’t enough of a reminder that my childhood is well and truly over.
“Um, yeah,” I lied.
“You haven’t done anything, have you?”
Rory sighs, appearing in my doorway. “Got your trunk packed?”
“Um, yeah, I think so.”
“Haven’t forgotten anything?”
“Probably.” I wave a careless hand. “I can always come back and get whatever I’ve forgotten.”
“That’s true.” Rory steps into my room, seizing my trunk and lugging it down the stairs. I feel slightly bad for making him carry it, before reminding myself that I am very pregnant and yeah I should have people doing things for me because that’s what happens when you’re pregnant.
“Not long to go now, right?” Rory calls up the stairs.
“Allow seven, first babies are often late.”
I groan. “She better not be late, I want her out.”
Having sent my trunk on its way through the Floo, Rory comes back up the stairs to help me. I hate the thought of using the Floo – actually, I hate the thought of moving at all. Wizarding transport systems were not designed with pregnant women in mind. I’ll probably fall over, and I really, really don’t want to fall over.
Rory steers me into the fireplace and clambers in behind me. “Feet apart, you keep your balance better.”
“You think I’m going to fall over, don’t you?” I ask in a slightly huffy voice.
“Well, you did all the time before you were pregnant, and I don’t really want to risk it.”
Rory reaches for the Floo Powder, tosses it onto the floor, and shouts “The Lost City of Catlantis!”
The what? Momentarily sidetracked from the perils of the Floo Network, I try to work out if I heard him correctly.
“Rory,” I begin the moment we arrive in his fireplace, “What did you say when you threw the powder down?”
“It’s um…the name we gave it for the Floo Network,” he says evasively. “I don’t like people being able to overhear our address when we’re using it in public, it’s not Unplottable.”
“It sounded like you called it the Lost City of Catlantis.”
“Well, we have a few cats.”
“I didn’t know you even had one cat.”
“They’re recent acquisitions. Lillian likes animals and the landlady won’t let us have dogs, so…”
I narrow my eyes. “How many cats are we talking?”
“Just four? Rory, just is not a word you use when you say you own four cats.”
“It’s not that many. Once you get to know them on an individual basis…”
There are sounds of life coming from the kitchen, and Lillian emerges cradling a fat tortoiseshell cat. “Morning, Cassia,” she says cheerfully. “How are you?”
“I feel like a blimp,” I inform her, mirroring her cheerfulness.
“Well, there are worse things to feel like, I suppose. This is Juliet, by the way.”
“Uh…nice to meet you?” I offer, mentally striking Juliet off the possible baby name list. Good thing it wasn’t high on my list of favourites.
Juliet meows in protest, evidently sick of being held for so long, and Lillian reluctantly sets her down on the floor. “We have three other cats,” Lillian explains.
“Yeah, Rory told me.”
“I’ll go see if I can find them.”
“It’s really okay—”
Lillian's already bustled off to find the elusive cats, and Rory takesthe opportunity to take my trunk and show me to my room.
“Don’t tell me it’s upstairs.”
“It’s not upstairs.”
“Don’t tell me there are stairs between me and the kitchen and or bathroom.”
“Nope. Well, the bathroom was upstairs but I did a bit of DIY and gave you an ensuite.”
“No wonder you were in Ravenclaw.”
Lillian arrives in the doorway, a cat tucked under each arm and a black and white kitten weaving between her legs. “Othello,” she announces, dropping a fat black cat onto the ground, “Macbeth,” and a smaller ginger cat is unceremoniously dumped on the floor, “And Ophelia,” gesturing to the kitten.
“I’m sensing a theme here.”
Mercifully, Lillian then shooed the cats and Rory out of my room. “I’ll leave you to settle in. If you need any help unpacking, just give us a yell.”
I was meaning to unpack, but I got sidetracked, as I am wont to do, by Names for Witches. It’s about three hundred years old but no hand has scribbled on it quite like I have, or leafed through its pages so many times. I settle into the most comfortable position I can and scan the names once again.
This is so hard. There are plenty of names that sound pretty or have nice meanings, but none of them jump out at me as the perfect name. I could just go to my extensive list, close my eyes and pick the first two names I point at, but some part of me is insisting that when I find the right name for my baby I’ll know it immediately and that will be the end of the searching.
Maybe I’m overly idealistic. And I’m forgetting that minor factor that James needs to like the name as well. I sigh, closing the book, and absently fiddle with the clasp of my watch. I do that a lot. Or tip the Ravenclaw stone out, just to stare at it. The symbol of a mother’s eternal love and devotion to her daughter – it means so much more now that I know the baby’s a girl. I’ll be passing this down to her on her seventeenth birthday.
She better not be pregnant then, or there will be hell to pay.
I might as well get started on my parental hypocrisy early. Do as I say, not as I do, that’ll be the message I’ll indoctrinate her with while she’s growing up.
I’m sitting here, turning the stone over in my hand and thinking about my family’s connection to Ravenclaw. That heritage is important, yeah, but the whole philosophy of Ravenclaw doesn’t sit right with me for some reason. Wit and intelligence and learning stuff is great, yeah. But all the knowledge and intelligence in the world is useless if you don’t have the wisdom to know what to do with it—
Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
I tear through Names for Witches until I find the page I glanced over at three in the morning the other day and didn’t really take in but something must have stuck in my subconscious.
Yes yes yes yes yes.
I leap to my feet (okay, that’s a lie, I sort of stumbled and staggered) and bolt (waddle) through the house to the Floo Network.
“Seekers’ Garden!” I yell, throwing a handful of Floo Powder into the fireplace and hastily remembering to brace myself for the uncomfortable journey.
I arrive at the Potters’ in a cloud of ash and unused Floo Powder. “I’m fine, everything’s fine!” I call as a greeting before James can break his neck running to see what’s wrong.
“I’m glad you’re here,” James begins in a breathless voice. “Because I found a name for the baby—”
Oh no. I sense an argument coming on.
“Well, sort of, not her actual name, I mean, it is her actual name, but her middle name, you know, because I think it sounds better as a middle name, and honestly Cass I don’t care what you come up with for her first name, you can call her Boudicca for all I care as long as she has this middle name—”
“Well that’s good,” I say, cutting him off, “Because I have her first name and I don’t care what her middle name is as long as you let me name her—”
“I was kind of joking earlier though, I don’t really want you to call her Boudicca—”
“I wasn’t going to call her Boudicca, where on earth did you get that from? But I really hope you agree with me on—”
“Just as long as her middle name’s—”
“Potter,” I finish, and stare at James in shock.
“Sophia Grace Potter,” James repeats slowly. “Not…Rutherford?”
“She’s your child too.”
“Right. Yeah. Wow.” James stares at my stomach for a long moment. “So she’s…wow. Sophia Grace Potter. I can’t stop saying it.”
“You don’t want to wear it out before she’s even born.”
“I don’t think we could wear it out.”
“You’re right, we couldn’t.” I place a hand on my stomach, marvelling at the sensation of her kicking me. Normally I would get sick of it pretty quickly (she kicks a lot, and the novelty wore off a while ago) but like when we found out she was a girl, she seems that little bit more real and a little bit more alive.
“It makes it seem so much more real, right?” James asks, reading my mind. “It’s like…we’re not just the girl who got pregnant at Hogwarts and the guy who got her that way. We’re parents. Sophia’s parents.”
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