Chapter 23 : Confrontation
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“These beds are still too small,” Lorcan whispered, kissing her lightly to show he was alright. “And you’re still too beautiful.”
“Is there such a thing?” Dom purred and Lorcan nodded, wrapping an arm around her as she nestled her head on his shoulder.
“Obviously, because you are it,” he pointed out. “Still, that’s what I get for falling in love with a veela, I should know better by now.”
“Oi, put a sock in it you, no pulling the veela card!” Dom pouted as Lorcan chuckled. Dom shoved him playfully and he rolled off the bed, muttering a low curse as he picked himself up. Dom, for her part, found it extremely funny and exploded into a fit of giggles as Lorcan attempted to clamber back on. His attempts proved unsuccessful as she unceremoniously shoved him back on his arse. Lorcan grumbled and then he froze for a second, his face falling as if something had punched him square in it.
“Lorc?” Dom asked quietly as he frowned and delved under her bed, as if looking for something. He came back out after a moment, looking a tad dishevelled. He threw something at her almost angrily and Dom caught it one-handed, frowning herself as she examined it. As she realised what it was, she let it fall to the floor and opened her mouth, all playfulness gone from the situation. “Lorc listen to me. I know you’re surprised and probably angry but I didn’t want to tell you until I knew for sure and when I realised I wasn’t, there seemed no point in worrying you over nothing…”
“Nothing?” Lorcan snorted. “You might’ve been pregnant Dominique, did not consider that worth mentioning to me? Or were you worried I might do something stupid? What would I have done? You could’ve told me. You should’ve told me. I would’ve wanted to know and I definitely would have told you if the shoe was on the other foot!”
“Lorc,” Dom replied hastily. “I only didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to worry. I know you wish I’d told you, but like you said, what could you have done? You couldn’t make the situation any better by knowing and yes, I might have felt better if you’d known, but then you would’ve worried non-stop. So I did the selfless thing and decided I’d tell you if I needed to, but otherwise I wouldn’t burden you with something you were helpless with.”
Lorcan softened at her words and leaned forward, kissing her forehead, before sitting on the bed next to her and rubbing her shoulder gently. Dom blushed and he hugged her gently, her words sinking in. He knew she’d done what she thought was best and even he had to admit, as much as he’d wanted to know, she was right. He’d have been absolutely useless and she’d known that.
“You could’ve told me Nique,” he whispered and she nodded, smiling tearfully. “You can always tell me these things. We’re a team, we suffer together, got it?” Another nod. “I love you Dommie, and nothing that happens is going to change that.”
“Okay, as much as I love you too and as much as I’m going to tell you things like this from now on because I’m happy to share our burdens,” Dom said with a raised eyebrow. “That nickname? Dommie? Not gonna fly. Nobody gets to call me Dommie, end of. Stick to Nique.”
“Rose calls you Dommie, Dommie,” Lorcan teased and she slapped him playfully on the arm as he chuckled.
“I can’t withhold sex from Rose!” Dom threatened, smirking as Lorcan’s face fell more than a touch. “I’m serious Scamander, don’t even try and test me. Nique, Dom, Dominique, take your pick. Just don’t push your luck.”
“Are you glad it was negative?” Lorcan blurted and the question threw Dom for a moment before she thought about it. She did want kids with Lorcan, didn’t she? It was a probing question, one that Dom wasn’t sure she could answer. But certainly, in the short term, the answer was an absolute definitive yes.
“Lorcan,” Dom replied with caution. “If you’re asking me if I’m glad I’m not pregnant now, then the answer is yes, without a doubt. We’re both too young, too stupid and still in school. My parents would kill both of us. My point is, just because I don’t want kids now, as in right now, don’t think that I don’t want them in ten years, or in five years, or hell even in two years. Why, did you want it to be positive?”
“I don’t know,” Lorcan sighed. “Part of me kind of wishes you were pregnant, if only so you would be all mine forever. You know? You and me, with our own little family…”
“We’ll have our own little family Lorcan,” Dom laughed. “Just when we’re not still children ourselves. You need to relax, just take your time over this and not let anything stress you out. We have all the time in the world to get old, get married, have kids. Right now, we’re two idiots, still in school, having the time of our lives. And I don’t want that to change. Understand?”
“Yeah of course,” Lorcan smiled. “I love you more than anything else in the world Dominique Weasley. Never leave my side.”
“I never will,” Dom promised, settling in beside him and kissing him gently. “I love you too Lorcan, more than I ever thought I would love anyone.”
There was something somewhat satisfying about having Neville pinned up against a wall when they kissed. Whether it was the fact that he had very little control over the situation and Rose was in total command, or whether it was due to nobody being able to see who was meshed onto her face, she wasn’t sure. But whatever it was, she loved it when they kissed like it. She gave Neville a chance to breathe and he gasped as she dropped him.
“You know walls hurt?!” he groaned as she snorted with laughter. “Seriously Rose, why don’t I ever get to shove you into anything hard and well, made of bricks…”
“Because I’m older and by default, in charge,” Rose explained, as they kissed again. “Now man the hell up Nev, I didn’t go out with you to listen to you whining twenty-four seven.”
“Well then you may find this relationship somewhat inadequate,” Neville smirked. “Because if there’s one thing I think you’ll find I am very good at, and always have been very good at, then it is whining. Whining more often than not gets me what I want, hell it got me you in the first place did it not? Although maybe you don’t see it that way?”
Rose was about to respond when a voice from behind her hissed: “Child shagger.” The words stabbed into Rose’s skull and she wheeled round angrily, but the sixth year girl had already vanished into a classroom. Rose sighed. It wasn’t the first time that she’d heard such comments, the derogatory things that came out of people’s mouths were hurtful. The fact that not only was Neville 16 but also that they hadn’t had sex was lost on most of them and Neville pointed out a couple of his ex-girlfriends were the ones starting it off, claiming they were just jealous he had moved up in the world. It shouldn’t have bothered Rose, but it did and she could feel her pride looming over her, like an all-encompassing shadow. She wanted to say something to Neville, but she knew what he’d say. And she must’ve known what to expect when she had agreed to tell everyone the truth and she had to put up with the jibes. He was worth it. She knew that much. Rose kissed him again and Neville responded but he had sensed her unease and pulled away, looking around to see what had disturbed her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked gently and Rose shook her head and kissed him again, her lips locking onto his in a vague and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to shut him up. “It was those girls again wasn’t it?” Rose nodded. “Just ignore them Rose, it doesn’t mean anything.”
“You’re not the one who has to put up with it!” Rose snapped without meaning to and then fell away from the wall, settling beside him as he put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry Neville, I didn’t mean to snap at you, I’m just tired of all of this.”
“Tired of me?”
“Of course not. Just tired.”
Despite all the advice of Kelly, Dom, Hugo and Lorcan, Lily was resilient in her defence of Lysander. He had pulled her out of a dark place and she was head over heels for him, so the idea of him using her was not one that she was willing to accept. Lysander, for his part, clearly felt horrified by his own treatment of her and apologised profusely again and again. Lily wasn’t bothered by it, but those around her acted more than a touch suspicious towards Lysander and Kelly treated him with downright hostility, which led to more arguments between Kelly and Lily. It was a rare point on which Hugo and Kelly agreed, but they were rarely able to put up a unified front as their seemingly coherent arguments fell apart when they were put together. Dom and Lorcan on the other hand, put up a much more combined effort, although they saw much less of Lily. Lorcan especially, warned her that Lysander was not who she thought he was. But, as far as Lily was concerned, they were wrong. Lysander might not be perfect, but he was sweet and charming and just what she needed. And the others needed to believe it too. They could easily be wrong and Lily maintained she knew him better than anyone. Elsewhere, news had filtered through that the wedding was off and Lily was furious, owling her brother to demand an explanation. None ever arrived. James had gone into hiding apparently and not even Teddy or Fred could talk to him. Lily ached to see her brother, to try and find a way to help him, but any attempt she made to contact him proved fruitless.
“You know I love you, don’t you Lily?”
The question took Lily by surprise. The pair had been strolling through Hogsmeade, along with most of the school. It had been a quiet sunny day, but the clouds seemed to roll in as Lily stopped in her tracks to answer the question that Lysander had posed to her. Of course, it was unquestionable that she knew that, but why would he ask her this? It probed her and she felt anxiety emanate from him as they stood in the street, watching the various couples.
“Of course I do,” Lily smiled, fitting snugly into his body as they carried on walking. “Why wouldn’t I? I mean, you’ve made it perfectly obvious Lys, and I love you too, you know that.”
“I don’t know,” Lysander stopped again and agitatedly ran a hand through his hair. “It’s just… I worry sometimes that we might be drifting or that you’re having doubts or…”
“Lysander, I don’t listen to what people say about you!” Lily reassured him. “I love you and I believe that you’re genuine. Everything we have is real and we’re as close now as ever, there’s no need for you to worry.”
“What do you mean you don’t listen to what people say about me?” Lysander sounded downtrodden and Lily kicked herself mentally. “I mean I didn’t know that people said things about me… I just wanted to make sure we were okay…”
“Lorcan,” Lily sighed. “He thinks you’re not who you are. He’s an idiot and he doesn’t understand you, but his heart’s in the right place. He seems to think you’re going to hurt me.”
“I would never,” Lysander promised, hugging her tightly and kissing the top of her head. “I would never hurt you again Lily, you’re so precious to me.”
Lily smiled, reassured by Lysander’s words. She kissed him, a kiss which he returned and then the two carried on walking, shopping and laughing, all the more secure in themselves and each other, knowing that whatever happened, they had each other to support them through it.
Lorcan had had another great day at Hogsmeade. Dom had showed him a secret tunnel she had helped create from a ventilation duct behind a building in the village, which diverted into the tunnel between the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack. Inside the Shrieking Shack, Dom had revealed that she and James had remodelled the place when they were younger and now it was actually quite nice on the inside. They had had a fun filled day inside the Shack and grabbed lunch at The Three Broomsticks. Dom had headed up early, giving Lorcan a chance to catch up with his mates and it was when he was walking back, alone, when he bumped into his brother in the Entrance Hall. Lysander looked pissed off and Lorcan regarded him with a wary scowl as he approached. His brother was not his favourite person at that moment in time.
“So you think you can turn my girlfriend against me do you brother?” Lysander growled and Lorcan raised an eyebrow questioningly, not in the mood for his brother’s particular brand of less than intimidating behaviour.
“Of course not brother,” Lorcan replied, spitting the word ‘brother’ in a similar fashion to Lysander. “I merely wanted to ensure that the delightful Miss Potter knows exactly what she’s getting into. The fact that you’re sneaking around behind her back, clearly attempting to threaten me indicates that actually, every word that came out of my mouth, was correct. You’re not a good person Lysander and you’re certainly not the guy you’re pretending to be to Lily. I don’t know what you’re up to, but I don’t want to see her destroyed by you.”
“You don’t know a thing about Lily or our relationship,” Lysander snarled.
“No, but I know you. You’re my twin brother, how could I not?” Lorcan said coolly. “So don’t pretend you can hide things from me Lysander, you were always shite at it, even as a child. I’m not going to play games with you and I’m not going to do anything to you whilst you and Lily are together. I’ve done my best to warn her, but she’s blinded by her faith in you. But if you don’t play nice with her, I’ll set Dom on you. Trust me; she’s itching to kill you.”
“She was definitely itching in that broom cupboard,” Lysander leaned in and whispered in Lorcan’s ear. As much as Lorcan wanted to punch his brother in the face, he didn’t take the bait. Instead, he walked away, his fists clenched and his wand less a centimetre from his grip as Lysander shouted after him: “You always were the loser in the family Lorc, so play puppy with your little girlfriend while you can; I’ve got my one wrapped around my little finger.”
“Rose? We need to talk.”
A phrase she had often expected to hear from her own Neville, it was surprising to hear it coming from the mouth of a different one.
“Of course Professor Longbottom, are we going to your office?”
“No, no, I don’t see the need. This classroom should suffice.”
Rose followed the Head of Gryffindor into the room and shut the door behind her. He looked old. Well worried. But then when you’re an adult, old and worried tend to look similar. Rose was confused. They often spoke but only ever about work or Head-Girl duties. Judging by the way Prof Longbottom was acting, this was going to be neither. He looked more agitated than worried now and his expression was flitting as he weighed up his options.
“Rose,” he said cautiously. “I’ve heard word on our old grapevine that you’re dating a fifth year. Now normally, we staff don’t bother ourselves with the personal lives of students unless they break rules or impact negatively or you know yada yada, but the fact is Professor McGonagall is not amused. We believe, or rather she believes, that it sets a bad example for the school if the Head Girl is seen kissing a boy two years younger than her and underage where everyone can see it.”
“You’re kidding me right?” Rose replied, trying to keep her temper and tone even, as she wasn’t about to shout at one of her favourite teachers. “I mean, it’s none of anyone’s business who I or who I do not care about or see. We’re not breaking any rules, nor do we intend to and I believe it sets a bad example for the school to be introducing rules saying who you can and cannot date. What I do in private is my business and if you catch me breaking any kissing in public rules, which I didn’t know existed, then let me know.”
“Rose,” Longbottom groaned exasperatedly. “This isn’t about rules, this isn’t about invading you or Neville’s privacy, it’s about the school image and your Headmistress believes it is being tarnished by your promiscuous behaviour, especially as you are a role model for the entire student body.”
“Promiscuous?” Rose failed to keep the anger out of her voice. “Not that it’s any of her business or yours for that matter, but I’m a virgin. And I thoroughly intend to remain a virgin. So with all due respect, please leave me and Neville alone.”
“I’m his godfather,” Longbottom said, more gently. “I’m just looking out for his best interests…”
“His best interests?” Rose was flaming now, tears threatening to drop. “He’s the one who’s desperate to have me as a girlfriend, who’s being labelled as a hero by his peers, who is happy with me and it would break his heart if you interfered. And I’m the one who has to put up with the jibes and the snide comments and now even you want to throw me into detention just because I care about him. Well screw you and screw McGonagall, I won’t be anyone’s bitch, I love him dammit. Dumbledore wouldn’t have stood for this.”
Longbottom paused for a moment. “Do what you must Rose. If anyone asked, this conversation didn’t happen. But I don’t want McGonagall to throw the book at you so just be careful. You’re playing with fire Rose, try not to get burned.”
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