Chapter 20 : Donít Panic.
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Bloody face paint.
That’s what the genius mind of Rose Weasley had come up with after an entire day of deliberation. She decided to paint my son’s face.
That’s it. Rose is being stripped of her ‘brilliant mind’ status and instead it’s going back to her mum. Hermione Weasley clearly got the smarts in the family and didn’t bother passing them down to anyone else.
“You can’t be serious,” I hissed at Rose when she actually appeared at my flat holding a pallet of paints.
“It says here that these are completely harmless,” Rose rattled off loudly, stepping past me into my apartment holding the brightly colored box as a shield. Smart woman; she probably knew I was on the verge of hexing someone until they had turned into nothing more than a babbling exoskeleton of their former self.
You think I can’t do it? Bitch, I invented that spell.
I understand that it’s sadistic. But sometimes, it’s just necessary.
“We’re not turning my son into some sort of art project gone wrong!” I exclaimed, letting Scorpius step in and close the door behind him. “And there is no way you’re even coming near me with that thing, so don’t even think about it.”
“I foresaw that one,” Rose said vaguely, still engrossed in the ingredients of the facial paint. “Scorpius is transfiguring your hair and eyes.”
“Scorpius is not allowed within three feet of me with a wand.”
“We can’t do it to Blake, obviously, since he’s still a child –”
“ –but we’re still going to turn B.S’ eyes brown or something. They’re too similar to his eyes, people will be able to tell right away –”
“ – and the effects of any face-altering spell would quite possibly be permanent. Eye color’s fine since –”
“BE QUIET!” I screamed.
Blake giggled into his hand, then quickly adopted a somber expression when I gave him my Mum Glare. I mentally patted myself on the back. I still got it.
Rose sighed exasperatedly. “Look, Adele, I’m sure you want everyone to take a deep breath so we can talk about this rationally…or whatever your therapist slash yoga teacher taught you…but we don’t have time for that.”
With that, she pointed her wand at me and I fell over rigid. Blake yelped in horror, but Rose placated him with a cheerful lesson on how to use the body-bind, a harmless hex. And since he loves that traitor gingerbitch, he calmed down pretty quickly.
I see where your loyalties lie. I carried you around in my uterus for nine months and ten days, allowing you to leech off of my own body, and this is what I get in return? UNGRATEFUL CHILD.
Fine, I just don’t like not getting my way. Whatever.
I sulked in my frozen state on the couch while Rose got to work on my son’s face. I wasn’t going to admit it, but I kind of needed this – a moment of forced calm, that is.
I’d spent all of Friday and Saturday in a state of nervous, frantic energy. Blake was ecstatic; I didn’t want to spend a second at home. While I usually decomposed in front of the telly on Fridays (as a beautiful side-effect of working only four days a week), refusing to budge unless Blake wanted to pee, at which point I’d grudgingly let him escape from my clutches, this week was just not okay for me to be mentally idle. I’d start thinking about Al and that’s just not good for my blood pressure.
So we’d visited the zoo, gone to a Museum (we left after I fell asleep standing up out of sheer boredom), watched a film at a muggle cinema about some blonde with obscenely long hair, mucked around in Trafalgar Square for a couple of hours, and gone on the London Eye three times in a row. Then we watched films at home after I’d run out of other things to do.
…and here I am, Saturday evening. Hexed to stillness in my own home by the godmother of my child.
If my life got any better I’d start to worry.
I was glaring balefully at the ceiling when Rose finally lifted the charm. She then pushed Blake into my vision so I wouldn’t go straight to my “rampaging psychopath” side. I hate that she knows me too well. She deserves at least some sort of retribution for this.
I looked thoughtfully at Blake. His face was painted half black and half red. His hair was still an untamable mess of curls. His eyes were a deep, dark brown. They made me shudder a bit to look at – it was completely wrong on his face. His eyes were supposed to be green. A deep, rich, glistening emerald-Potter green.
It worried me sometimes, that someone from the Wizarding World would come into muggle London, take one look at Blake, and immediately realize he’s a Potter. His features certainly give it away – the only place where I’ve had a say is his curly hair. Otherwise he’s completely Al’s, from his dark messy hair to his almond eyes, straight to his scrawny build.
But right now…he looks different enough. I can’t even tell what his face looks like, and if his eyes weren’t sparkling with an extremely Blake-like excitement, and his hair wasn’t sticking up the way it usually did, I’d probably wonder whose kid is staring eagerly back at me.
“I suppose this works,” I said reluctantly. Rose grinned proudly, then waved her wand over me. My hair was transfigured to a sleek black instead of messy blonde, and my eyes were changed to the same shade as Blake’s. My skin was turned a shade darker.
I think it’s bloody fantastic that I have to disguise myself just to go to a fucking Quidditch Game.
“Mum?” Blake asked as I held his hand tightly in mine. We were walking at a reasonably quick pace towards the Magpies’ private box. Apparently Scorp and Rose always watch the game from there. Spoiled brats, both of them.
“How come we’re hiding?” he asked.
I blinked, surprised. In that one sentence, he’d managed to capture every unasked question Rose and Scorpius always seemed to throw at me with their eyes. Oh, they hid me well enough. They avoided talking about me altogether – people knew that they were still in touch with me, but that was it. No, they kept quiet. But they could never fully understand why they had to keep quiet, why I was so adamant about hiding Blake.
They’d lived their entire lives in the spotlight, and didn’t mind a second of it. They didn’t know what it was like to be normal – and I wanted Blake to have some sense of normal.
“It’s a really long story,” I finally said heavily, squeezing his hand slightly, “maybe one day I’ll tell you.”
He pouted, but didn’t press. Sad, really – I was fully prepared to pull out The Mum Glare if necessary.
Blake seemed to forget all about it as soon as we reached the top box. He let out a huge squeal of excitement and started jumping up and wiggling around so much I could barely hold onto his hand. Some of the other Quidditch Wives gave us mildly irritated looks. I resisted the urge to flip them off. Blake would probably catch me, believe I was communicating in some sort of special sign language, and use the hand gesture at other people in the hopes that some of them knew said special sign language. Then he’d get beat up.
…Merlin, my kid’s only five and I’m already worried about him getting beat up.
“Alright, little man,” Scorpius said, picking Blake up and perching him on his shoulders. I nodded my approval; that was the only acceptable height at which Blake couldn’t wriggle down and run amok. And for some reason, Blake thoroughly enjoyed running amok. It drove me absolutely nuts.
“The two teams playing today are the Mapies and Puddlemere United,” Scorpius said, walking up towards the glass of the box so that Blake got a full view of the craziness. I scurried after them, half because I wanted to actually see the game (how long has it been since I’ve seen a live Quidditch Game? Six…Seven years? Bloody hell, and this is supposed to be my favorite sport. I’m a disgrace to Quidditch players everywhere) and half because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. Rose had disappeared as soon as we got here.
“We’re rooting for the Magpies,” Blake chirped. “Because that team is awesome.”
“Exactly. And they’re paying for this lovely box we’re currently standing in,” Scorpius added. “Remember B.S, if someone ever gives you something for free, you plead your unending allegiance to them so you’ll get more free stuff in the future.”
I punched Scorpius aggressively on the arm.
“Stop teaching my kid wrong things!” I hissed at him, “otherwise I swear to Merlin when Rose and you have children I will turn them into obnoxious spoiled brats.”
“Not unlike yourself?” He asked innocently.
“I’m sorry, what was that? You dance around in your boxers to “You and I” while you sing into a pink plastic hairbrush?” I asked loudly. Blake laughed.
I grinned. Point for Adele.
“Anyway!” Scorpius said quickly, turning back to the glass. “There are three Chasers –”
“Two Beaters, One Keeper and a Seeker,” Blake filled in. “Mum taught me. She said I should be a Chaser instead of a Seeker because Chasers are awesome and Seekers are losers.”
I nodded proudly. I taught my kid well.
“That’s only because she’s a Chaser,” Scorpius said.
“Mum! You play Quidditch?!” Blake shrieked, excitement evident on his disguised face.
I grimaced. “I used to play Quidditch. In the past. Once upon a time.”
“She was brilliant, your mum,” Scorpius said fondly. “I swear, Adele, you could have gone pro.”
I shrugged. I loved Quidditch, but not enough to put up with all the shit Pro players had to go through.
Blake was thoughtful as he gazed out over the crowds.
“What about…what about my dad?” he asked hesitantly. Ice seemed to spread through my entire body, freezing me to the spot. Scorpius caught my expression before I could turn away. I let out a shaky breath and closed my eyes, hiding in my thick black hair.
“Er, yeah. A little,” Scorpius said hurriedly. “Oh – look!”
“Look at what?”
“Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes Advertisement,” Scorpius said, nudging me on the arm. I glanced up, and my heart lurched when I saw Al’s grinning face proudly advertising his cousin’s shop. He looked…different. Older, yeah – and I mean, we all looked older. But that carefree kind of light in his eyes had diminished. He still had his boyish grin and his sparkling emerald eyes and his messy black hair – but he’d grown up.
And bloody hell, he looked absolutely fucking gorgeous.
“Who’s that?” Blake asked.
My mouth ran dry.
“Quidditch player,” Scorpius said. His voice had taken on a strange tone, and Blake knew not to ask any more questions. I let out another breath. This was such a bad idea. Such a bad idea. What the hell was I thinking?
“Adele,” Rose hissed, slipping next to me, “Uncle Harry is here.”
My spine snapped upright. Harry. Oh god – I didn’t even have words to describe how much I’d missed Harry. Dad. Harry. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to call him. Mr. Potter seemed too formal for the father-daughter like relationship we’d formed in the short time I was with Al.
That was it, what I loved so much about the entire family. With them, you just felt so loved. There wasn’t a single awkward moment. You walked in and suddenly you were a part of the family. There wasn’t any transition. It was like I was born to be a part of it. And Mr. Potter – Harry, dad – was someone who made me feel that way.
And he was here.
…in the same room as his grandchild.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Alright. Okay. I can do this. Just act cool and calm. Cool and calm. I can do that.
NO I CAN’T DO THAT. I CAN’T EVEN BE COOL AND CALM IN REAL LIFE, HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO ACT THAT WAY NOW?
Buggering shit. This is never happening again. Even with disguises. I am never again going to a Quidditch Game. It’s just not happening. I refuse.
“Good God,” Harry Potter muttered under his breath as he stepped up next to Rose. His normally messy hair, lightly streaked with grey, was even more windswept than usual. I swallowed forcefully and tried to look as insignificant as possible. Maybe I’ll be able to melt into the glass or something…
“I can’t stand these Quidditch Wives, Rose, I’m telling you,” he continued in an undertone, smiling pleasantly at a lady wearing enough make-up to sustain a small country of females. “They’re awful, gold-digging –” here he dissolved into quietly muttered curses that I couldn’t quite catch. Rose was grinning widely as she stared out at the Stadium.
“He’s my favorite Uncle for many reasons,” she whispered to me, “his hatred for Quidditch Wives being one of them.”
I would have been a Quidditch Wife.
…technically, I am a Quidditch Wife. I just don’t really count.
“ – but I don’t get it!” Blake said from above me.
“What don’t you get about it? It’s Quidditch Stats!” Scorpius argued.
“I don’t like math, Uncle Scorp,” he whined. “Stop trying to teach me!”
“But B.S, this is crucial for you to learn –!”
I’m not even going to bother.
“You know who would’ve been a good Quidditch Wife?” Harry said suddenly, turning to Rose.
Her expression turned stony. “Uncle Harry –”
“Adele,” he said forcefully, looking strangely angry, “she would have been hilarious with these women.”
My heart was beating so loudly I was surprised no one else noticed.
“I’m not telling you where she is, Uncle Harry,” Rose intoned.
“Why not?” He demanded.
BECAUSE SHE’S FUCKING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU! LOL WHAT A FUNNY SITUATION THIS IS.
…I just said LOL in my head.
I need to get out of here.
“She’s happy where she is,” Rose hissed, “and we’re going to let her have that.”
“I just want to visit her – just once –”
“Harry Potter?!” Blake squealed from his perch on Scorpius’ shoulders. I tried not to scream, grab my kid, and sprint headlong out the doors. Instead I counted slowly to ten in French, and closed my eyes. Maybe when I open them again I’ll be asleep in my bed, and this would actually just have been a really elaborate nightmare.
Un, deux, trois…
“Er –” Harry said. It’s been over twenty years of fame and he still stutters when confronted with fans. I found this strangely adorable.
“Oh, Uncle Harry,” Rose said nervously, “This is, er, my colleague’s son. It’s his first Quidditch Game.”
She gestured to me and I nodded weakly at him. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything.
“Nice to meet you,” Harry responded. I think I might have squeaked. Thankfully, he misunderstood that as my way of being starstruck.
“Oh my god!” Blake said excitedly, wiggling around enthusiastically on Scorp’s shoulders until he finally put him down, “I’ve read like, a billion books on you! Is it true that you escaped from Gringott’s Bank on a dragon with Aunty Rose’s mum and dad?
“Er,” Harry blinked, clearly overwhelmed by Blake’s exuberance. He turned to Rose and mouthed ‘Aunty Rose?’ to which she shrugged and nervously tugged on her hair. “Um, yeah, I guess we did do that…”
“That’s awesome,” Blake said eagerly, “I once asked mum if I could get a pet dragon but she laughed and said only if I could buy a place large enough to put it. But I can’t even find a place large enough to put it so I don’t think I’ll get a dragon. But if I did, I’d name it Severus. I think Severus is a cool name, don’t you? I read that he was a war hero which I thought was really cool because he was a Slytherin and so was mum.”
Sept, huit, neuf…
A slow smile was spreading over Harry’s face as he looked down at Blake. I briefly cursed the undeniable charm I’d unwittingly passed on to my child. I didn’t know a single person who met Blake and didn’t fall a little in love with him. “I do think that’s a nice name,” he said, bending down so that he was at Blake’s level. “What’s your name?”
“Blake,” he answered, “Blake Sir –”
DIX. DIX, DIX, DIX.
“Oh look, I think they’re starting!” I blurted. My heart was pounding somewhere around my ears. Sure enough, Puddlemere was being announced on the speakers. The captain zoomed out over the pitch, waving at his fans. One of the Quidditch Wives paused to let loose a disdainful sniff before turning back to her riveting conversation about cuticles.
Harry glanced out the glass window, but turned back to Blake. “Well, Blake, it’s a real pleasure to meet you.”
“You too! I can’t believe it, you’re like my biggest hero –”
“Alright, sport,” Scorpius grunted, heaving Blake back up onto his shoulders and shooting Harry and apologetic look, “let’s watch the game, yeah?”
But Blake was having none of it. He twisted around precariously on Scorpius’ head to keep Harry in his line of vision. “Can I have your autograph?”
The very little color on my face drained away. Oh god, this was wrong on so many levels. I couldn’t even begin to describe –
But Harry merely smiled fondly, and said, “Sure thing.” He rummaged around in his pockets for a quill and a spare bit of parchment, not noticing that Rose’s face was horrified, that Scorpius was still and unseeing as he stared rigidly at the crowd, that my eyes were filling up with tears.
And we all watched on as Harry Potter gave an autograph to his own grandkid.
I’m sure somewhere a person with an extremely sick sense of humor (probably my dad) will find this situation ironic in a vaguely funny way – but all I could feel was my heart breaking over and over again for my son, who was so innocent and happy and…he didn’t deserve this. He doesn’t deserve this.
I’ve always felt that I was doing this for Blake’s own good. But watching the way that Harry interacted with him made me realize that all this…it was just for me. It was because I was scared, because I didn’t want to swallow my pride and go crawling back to the first good thing that’s ever happened to me. And because of that, I took away any chance of Blake having the most incredible, loving family in the world. I don’t cut it. I’m not half as good as having Harry and Ginny and James and Lily and Al…oh god, and Al.
I just didn’t know what to do. I felt so helpless as I watched the way Blake’s face lit up when Harry handed him that little piece of parchment – on one hand, there’s the family. And on the other, there’s the political turmoil of the world that watches every step of the most famous family in existence. And Blake would be right in the thick of that.
This beautiful kid, with his glimmering eyes and his thunder-shot smile.
And I can’t do that to him. But doing this to him is equally as painful.
Well, this is the most irritating lose-lose situation anyone could ever come up with.
“Mummy!” Blake said excitedly, pulling me out of my depressing internal strife. I smiled weakly up at him. “Mummy, can you hold onto this for me? Don’t lose it,” he warned, handing me the parchment.
“I won’t lose it,” I muttered, but he was turning back around to wave goodbye to Harry, who had to trudge over to the other side of the box and talk to some important-looking people. He didn’t look happy about it at all, but I suppose that’s what happens when you save the world as we know it.
I glanced down at the parchment.
Blake, if you ever get a dragon, I’ll teach you how to fly it. –Harry Potter
A small smile lit up my face. Like hell he will.
Quidditch has the amazing ability to make you forget about your suckish life for a bit.
“ROLL! ROLL, YOU IDIOT, THE MAN’S COMING RIGHT AT YOU AND YOU’VE GOT MORE THAN ENOUGH TIME –”
“Mum! He can’t hear you,” Blake laughed as I screamed at the idiotic Chaser that the Magpies had hired. He was ignored as I started yelling instructions at the other Chaser as well.
“Your mum’s a bit mental about Quidditch,” Rose called over to Blake, “don’t worry about it.”
“Gods,” I groaned, annoyed, as Puddlemere got possession of the Quaffle. I slumped against the window and faced Blake, who was staring up at the game in awe and alternatively looking at me as though he’d never seen me before. He grinned down at me and I beamed back.
“Mummy, will you teach me how to play?” he asked, beaming as the Magpies Beater knocked the Quaffle away and the more competent Puddlemere Chaser seized it out of thin air and shot towards the opposite end.
“’Course I will,” I replied fondly, turning back to the window. I forgot to think about how dangerous Quidditch is or the alarming number of ways that Blake could hurt himself by playing the sport. I suppose that’s what happens when Quidditch is involved: I lose every ounce of my motherliness and turn into a raving psychopath who decides that five years old is totally okay to go flying around on a charmed cleaning utensil.
You can’t be serious. You’ve got to be shitting me right now. Two in one? Honestly?
James Sirius Potter stepped up on Rose’s other side, slinging his arm around her shoulder and ruffling her hair.
I cursed under my breath and Rose shot me a wary glance before turning a nervous smile onto her cousin.
“Hey, Jimmy,” she shot back, “enjoying the game so far?”
He snorted. “Hell no. The little brother’s been completely useless so far.”
This was true. Al was sitting motionless on his broom, his eyes darting around the pitch. Occasionally he shot the opposing Seeker a mirthful smirk. I tried not to stare. Or even look in his general direction, really. Is it normal for a person to look that sinfully delicious while sitting on a broomstick? Because I don’t think it is. He should probably be fined for that.
“When did you get here?” Rose asked him as two of the Magpies Chasers did this incredible move and I had to physically restrain myself from screaming. As it was, I managed to tame my overwhelming excitement to a slightly less exuberant, “YUS!” that made me sound like I had escaped from the local mental bin.
James laughed. “Just around the time that your friend started screaming instructions to Dooney on how to correctly handle a quaffle.” He leaned around Rose to grin at me and I realized that he’d noticed my eavesdropping. I gave him a sheepish kind of smile and turned back to the window, praying to every deity I’d ever heard of to send him away.
No such luck. He switched spots with Rose and offered me a hand. “James Potter.”
“I know,” I muttered, shaking it quickly and turning back to the game. “I’m…Elle.”
Adele. Elle. Wow, love, you’re just a born genius, aren’t you?
“You play Quidditch?” he asked.
I shrugged. “I did.”
There was a short silence as he scrutinized the side of my face and I swallowed nervously. I think I’m sweating. Gross.
“You look familiar,” he said abruptly.
“Do I know you?”
Shit. “No,” I said too quickly, shuffling away from him. He stared at me some more and I cleared my throat awkwardly, giving him a little glare and darting my eyes back towards the players. His eyes narrowed. Shit.
“No way,” he said quietly, voice simmering with something I couldn’t quite identify.
I was just starting to go into full panic mode (arms flailing, hair whipping around, face tomato-red as I screamed a strange mixture of profanities, hexes, and French. It’s not pretty) when the crowd let out an almighty roar.
“Mum!” Blake screamed, bouncing up and down on Scorp’s shoulders and flapping his hands at me to get my attention, “Mum, mummy, mum, mum, mum! Look! Look at that!”
I turned back to the window just in time to see Al pull out of a steep dive about five feet off the ground, his hand clenched around a fluttering golden ball. He raised it above his head with a proud grin at the camera before his team slammed into him from all sides. I supposed I should be happy, but all I could see was the way James’ face turned a shade of ghastly white, his eyes snapping between me and Blake. They finally latched onto mine, and his mouth flattened into a line. Without another word, he whirled around and stalked out of the box.
My heart sunk down to my toes, beating furiously in my panic.
"You and I" is a song by Lady Gaga. i don't own the song or (heaven forbid) Lady Gaga.
the bits in French (in case you can't tell already) are numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4 etc etc. dix means ten.
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