Chapter 4 : Wants, Needs, and Escapes
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For potterfan310. I agree with Fryan.
Things were going strangely well.
Practice was working out. Teo and Beckett were great new additions and Rose hadn’t killed either one off yet. In fact, everyone was alive and the only one with a bruise was Ollie for sneaking a kiss in the air. James dodged the Bludger.
Classes were okay. I was passing. No professor had knocked me over the head with a text book yet.
I had a whole list of things for the WWW shop to show Dad when I went home from break. Mostly candy, even though I knew he hated the idea for candy that wasn’t extremely magical almost as much as he hated the renovation idea.
Managed to successfully avoid the library for a week.
I had kissed Annie another couple times that week. She came to visit me after Prefect rounds and I kissed her in the office. And then she came to my room to borrow my Charms notes and I kissed her against the wall. Nothing was official. Nothing was talked about, but I really liked the calming feeling that came over me when I kissed her.
Everything was just easy.
Life wasn’t complicated.
Well, until the complicated could no longer be ignored.
I hadn’t been more confused than hearing Ryan Davies screaming outside of the Prefect’s bathroom door. She sounded livid. Pure hatred. Of course, I’d heard her angry before. In past Quidditch matches she’d gone after a couple Slytherins for firing Bludgers right at her. One of them she hexed across the pitch, breaking part of his spine on the fall. Luckily, easy fix for the nurse.
Slytherins tended to aim away from her after that.
During Herbology third year she viciously attacked a plant for looking at her wrong. It then spit pus all over her. Then she hexed it into mush. Professor Longbottom damn near sobbed.
Never had it been directed at me. Freddie Weasley. Overall nice guy Gryffindor.
Not according to Alessandra, but she was a bint anyway.
It was her punch I wasn’t expecting. Powerful right hook to the jaw, which sent me flying back into the bathroom and skidding across the floor. My back had tile burn. I could taste the blood.
My eyes looked up, finding hers. Shocked.
It was in that moment I thought Ryan Davies might kill me.
She took two steps in, abandoning her bag, and slammed the door shut. Her chest was heaving, though I tried not to stare. No, her eyes were provocative enough to keep my focus. Angry. Filled with absolute loathing. Fists balled at her sides, nails cutting into her palms.
I brought my fingers to my jaw, massaging it. They were dampened with blood.
“I was sick this week,” she announced. I could see she was trying to regain control. Probably so she wouldn’t kick me backward and drown me in the tub.
“Yeah,” I said, nodding. “Yeah, you weren’t in Herbology the other day. Feel...better?”
“I never get sick,” Ryan went on, clearly not listening. “I don’t get sick.”
“Al told me you have a great record of showing up on time,” I choked out, still rubbing my jaw. It hurt like hell, the dull ache of fire on rod iron.
“But it didn’t go away,” she said. “It wasn’t just a stomach bug. Or the flu. Or something curable with a tablet.”
“Get a disease?” I asked, scooting further back.
Ryan took a step forward. “In a way,” she said dangerously.
“Are you going to tell me why I’m bleeding on the Prefect’s bathroom floor?” I asked, wincing again. Fuck. Pain. Everything hurt. How much blood was I losing?
“Because the disease belongs to you, Weasley,” Ryan spat. “You and your bar stall antics got me pregnant.”
“You fucking heard me,” she snapped, taking another step forward. “I’ve got a fucking kid growing inside of me, I can’t fucking do anything, and in turn, you are going to die.”
I groaned and leaned back onto the tile. The blood had gotten into my hair now. I stared at the ceiling. “Go ahead,” I mumbled. “If you don’t, my Grandmum will.”
Ryan paused. Then she cleared her throat. “I’m serious, Weasley.”
“Sweetheart, I believe it.”
That earned me a swift kick to the kneecap.
“Fuck--Ryan, what do you want me to say?” I asked, flying up to clutch my knee. This woman was going to send me to the hospital. “Want me to say sorry? Take it back? What the fuck do you want from me?”
She kicked the other kneecap. “I HAVE A CHILD INSIDE OF ME,” she cried. “I WANT YOU TO FUCKING DO SOMETHING.”
“You want me to propose?” I asked, looking up at her seriously.
“You are a pig.” She punched me hard in the nose before I got my arm up to block it and everything went black.
When I woke, I was back in the dormitory. I had two cotton balls stuffed up my nose, a bandage on my jaw, a dry mouth, and I could feel the bruises on my knees. Everything hurt.
I blinked a couple times and glanced toward the window. The sky was an orange haze.
“Morning, Sleeping Beauty,” said James, pulling his legs up under him. He had been reading a magazine, but had eagerly tossed it aside when I woke. “How’re you feeling?”
“Bugger off,” I grumbled. “What time is it?”
“Six,” he said. “You slept through the night.”
“Ah.” I reached over for the glass of warm water on my nightstand. It tasted terrible.
“Going to tell me what happened?” James pressed. “Molly said she got told by some twittery Ravenclaw that you were knocked out in the Prefect’s bathroom. She got you up here and fixed you up instead of going to the hospital wing. She knows how much you hate that place.”
Molly was right. That was something I inherited from my father. A serious loathing of hospitals and everyone inside of them.
“Don’t want to talk about it.”
“Who beat the fuck out of you?” James asked. “Slytherin? Big Slytherin? Woolly mammoth?”
“I’m in trouble, James,” I said, eyes searching his stare. “I’m in big, big trouble.”
“Are we talking assassination trouble or cheating on an exam trouble?”
I adjusted myself so I could sit up, but my knees felt like they were being gouged with ice picks. “Leaning toward the first,” I admitted. “I don’t think I can talk about it. I haven’t even started to think about it.”
“Is this going to turn into twenty questions?” James asked impatiently. “You know I’m horrible with that game. I’m only good with the nouns. Is it a noun?”
“Not the time,” I grumbled, reaching up to touch my swollen jaw. “I need to talk to Ryan.”
“Ryan?” James asked. “French’s best mate? My brother’s star Chaser?”
“That one,” I said with a nod, taking another sip of the disgusting water. At least it kept me from having to explain things.
“Just tell me one thing.”
“Tell me Ryan Davies didn’t kick the shit out of you.” James motioned to my cotton balls.
I frowned. “I can’t tell you that.”
“We have to agree never to tell the family you got beat up by a girl,” he huffed, standing. “Want me to tell Annie you’re alive?”
“Because she’s been up here four times,” he explained.
“Yeah. Mention it. I don’t want her being worried.”
James nodded. “We’re going to have a talk later. Want me to blow off my date with Ollie?” he asked, looking concerned.
I shook my head. “Have fun,” I said. “We’ll chat later. It’s not serious.”
Only that I was going to be a father.
Ryan arrived twenty minutes later. I had pulled a book out of my nightstand, forcing my attention on Charms instead of impending doom or of my urge to blow chunks. She still looked angry, but her fury was gone and her hands weren’t in fists anymore. She closed the door behind her and leaned on it.
“You’re lucky,” she said. “I thought about bringing Gemma with me.”
“Does she know?” I asked, dog-earing the book and placing it on the bed beside me.
“Yeah. She was there.”
“She knows it’s me?” I asked.
Ryan shook her head. “I told her I had a random hook-up over the summer,” she said. “Which I did. Which I shouldn’t have.”
I sighed. “Look, this is serious. Forgive me for being blunt, but you know for sure it’s mine?”
“Are you calling me a slut, Weasley?”
Digging myself a hole. Dig. Dig. Dig.
“I need to ask,” I said, keeping my jaw clenched. I hoped she didn’t hit me again. “Just answer the question.”
“It’s yours,” Ryan replied, just as tartly. “You were the only person I had the pleasure of getting semi-naked with this entire summer.” She spat the word pleasure like it was cabbage.
“Lucky me,” I shot back.
Ryan crossed one leg over the other. “Yeah, well, you were piss drunk the whole time anyway.”
“You trying to say I don’t have moves?”
“Not if you tried,” Ryan said, rolling her eyes.
“You weren’t exactly sober either, cupcake,” I said. “As I recall, you had a similar bad attitude and were also in that same pub stall.”
“Drop it, Weasley,” Ryan snapped angrily. “It’s done. It happened.”
“So what now?”
I didn’t want to keep thinking about it. Or talking about it. I didn’t want to let my mind wander to the place it had threatened to go since she told me.
Ryan Davies was pregnant with my kid.
We could play the blame game all day long, but the truth was it was over. What was done was done. There was no regard for consequences or futures or anything. In approximately nine months, the two of us were going to be parents. Whether we liked it or not.
“Are you going to keep it?” I asked, teeth tugging on my bottom lip. It hurt, but it made me less nervous. I stopped when I began to taste blood again.
She looked at me. I saw the bumps rise on her arms. “I’m not in a rational state of mind to make those decisions right now,” she said.
Spoken like a true Ravenclaw.
“Have you freaked out yet?”
She shook her head. “Other than gotten angry at you? No.”
I paused. “Want to hit me again?”
“Can I advise against it?”
The sides of my lips tugged into a brief smile. “I guess the plan is to keep it a secret,” he said. “Am I correct?”
“I wasn’t really looking forward to the entire student body calling me a whore for sleeping with a Gryffindor,” Ryan said. “So yes, I’d like to keep it quiet. At least until I make a decision.”
“Okay.” I nodded. Everything felt numb. I didn’t know if that was because the pain finally became too much or if it was because of the words coming out of her mouth. “Give French my love.”
“If she finds out it was you, she will murder you.”
“You already got close enough,” I ventured, shrugging and then wincing.
Ryan turned and put her hand on the doorknob. “Our lives just got a lot more complicated,” she said softly. I had never heard her voice anything but cold in the past.
“And a lot more intertwined,” I replied, frowning as she left.
It didn’t take a lot for it to sink in. I removed the cotton from my nose and began a morning and afternoon of tossing, turning, and whining. Oh, and feeling sorry for myself.
A thousand options raced through my mind.
She could get rid of it. I’d never be able to look her in the face again.
I would always be left wondering: What if?
I was seventeen. Definitely not old enough to be having a kid. James and I were still kids. We still got sweets for our birthdays.
Or maybe she would keep it.
I could run away to Romania with Uncle Charlie!
Or to Russia and be … Russian. Play ice hockey and all that.
Or I could stay.
I could own the shop one day with James and take the kid in there like my dad used to do with me.
Who’s to say how much I would see it?
Who’s to say I wouldn’t accidentally let it hit its head on something sharp?
Who’s to say Ryan wouldn’t fall in love and move?
Okay, that one was the least likely to happen, as Ryan Davies was allergic to boyfriends. And love. And commitment.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
This wasn’t me. This wasn’t something I got myself into. I was a good kid. I got passable grades, I worked at the shop, I treated girls well. I took Annie out for a milkshake.
What was she going to say?
We weren’t dating, but it wasn’t exactly great to mention to the girl you kind of like to kiss that you have a baby growing in another woman’s stomach.
Annie was going to hate me.
Mum was going to decapitate me.
Dad was going to have another sodding fit.
And Grandmum was going to disown me for life.
I rolled again. And again. There was no easy way to solve this. No formula. No back escape route.
Still, I kept thinking about Ryan. About the anger in her eyes. I wished I knew more about her. What her life was like. Why there was pain in her expression. Why she hated the idea of relationships so much.
Not that I needed to know. No, we were two people who happened to be in a similar situation.
We just needed a plan.
And I needed to never have sex again.
Glad to hear you took Annie for a milkshake. And you gave her a good snog. I’m telling you: She’s a good girl. Your mother and I are both really fond of her. Don’t be scared to use a little tongue. It’s healthy, I promise.
I have court again tomorrow with that old hag that owns the property. Positive thoughts tomorrow! Did you start that product list yet? I want to have a look at it. When’s your first match? November, right? I think your Uncle Ron is already talking about it considering every one of Rose’s sodding letters is about Quidditch. Can you tell her to take a swim or something?
Does she have any friends? She does, right? If not … try and solve that. I’m sick of hearing about Quidditch.
Do your best though. Win because Gryffindors win.
Well, Weasleys win, but we’ll throw James in there too. Not Albus because he plays for the enemy.
Have you talked to Roxanne? She hasn’t written recently.
Of course I hadn’t talked to Roxy. She was so involved with being a Ravenclaw she didn’t care about what I got up to. Like getting one of her housemates pregnant. I saw her at breakfast that morning, but she was chatting away with her mates. And Scorpius bloody Malfoy: Brother Figure Extraordinaire.
“Tell Uncle George I send my love,” cooed James, draping an arm over my shoulder. I still hadn’t told him about Ryan and I, though he constantly pressed me about it. In the end, I told him Gemma might have to take remedial Herbology and Ryan needed my notes. When I refused, she punched me and then proceeded to decorate my body in my own blood. That did the trick.
“I’ll do that,” I said, nodding. I folded the letter and stuffed it in my pocket, determined to concentrate on breakfast, as opposed to Roxy or my father’s court date.
Instead, my eyes found Ryan at the Ravenclaw table. She was sitting across from Gemma, facing me, eyes downcast. She moved her fork back and forth over her food as they talked. She kept shrugging lazily. She looked distracted and pale.
“You okay?” asked James, nudging me.
“Yeah, sure.” No. Not at all.
One image kept playing through my head. A little girl with red and gold ribbons in her hair racing through the aisles of WWW. She spread out her fingers, knocking a few boxes off the shelves. Then she blushed furiously and scrambled to pick them up, putting them in the wrong places.
Over and over.
The same image.
Ryan stood quickly, the bench moving out. She excused herself and walked with haste toward the door, shoving it open. I barely saw her take off into a run.
“I have to check on … outside.” I stood as well, finishing off my cup of tea.
“Check on outside?” James asked. “You think it went somewhere?”
“Something happened.” I ruffled his hair. Luckily, Ollie plopped down beside him and distracted him while I rushed out into the Entrance Hall.
It was empty.
I heard the far off noise of a door slamming shut and moved swiftly up the marble staircase and onto the first floor landing. Where had she gone? I checked a few empty classrooms and an old broom cupboard. Then my eyes fell on the girls’ loo.
Nothing. Then the unmistakable sound of a girl being sick.
I pushed the door open, hoping there weren’t any naked pillow fights going on behind it.
Mental note: too many Muggle movies.
The girls’ loo was cleaner than the boys. The tiles were a pastel blue instead of navy and there were frosted glass windows on the opposite end. Four stalls sat opposite a row of sinks, the nearest closed with a pair of dress shoes poking out.
I heard the quick intake of breath and the choke of a sob. “Get. Out.”
Shit. I didn’t want her to come at me with her fist again. I leaned against the frame of the stalls, staring at myself in the mirror. Disheveled hair. Jaw was healed, but still had a couple marks on it from the ring Ryan wore on her right hand. Gryffindor tie that needed ironed.
I tapped my knuckles on the stall door. “Just let me in.”
“I want you to leave,” Ryan said, her voice strangled. She was fighting not to throw up again while I was on the other side of the door. “Now.”
“I’ll get you a glass of water if you want,” I offered.
“I want you to leave,” she repeated.
“How about some crackers?”
“How about I swell the other side of your jaw?”
I rolled my eyes. “Come on,” I said, lowering my voice. I tapped my knuckles again.
She caved and I heard the sound of her losing her breakfast in the toilet bowl again. She was sniffling and though I didn’t like Ryan, didn’t like her attitude or her Quidditch team, I hated it when a girl cried. Not that she was crying because she was emotionally unstable. I knew it was because throwing up was one of the single-worst feelings in the world, but it still broke my heart.
I shoved the door open with my shoulder. She didn’t move, both hands clutching the edges of the bowl. Her skin was lit up in goosebumps, elbows trembling.
“Damn it, Weasley,” Ryan said. Her knuckles were white. “Just leave.”
I moved forward, pulling her hair off her shoulders and up away from her body. I didn’t dare try more or risk an elbow somewhere unpleasant, but she didn’t stop me.
She threw up three more times and by the time she was finished, her entire body was trembling. I helped her to her feet and she rinsed her mouth out with cool water from the sink, then used her wand to brush her teeth. She faced away, but I saw how red her eyes were in the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed.
I knew all of the reasons behind it, but I still took the moment to appreciate Ryan Davies looking remotely human.
I didn’t see her for a few days after the bathroom incident. We parted ways, her talking about needed to catch up with Gemma and finish her Transfiguration homework. We both knew she never did homework outside of class. I went back to Gryffindor Tower and started pacing.
Annie found me a few hours later, holes worn into the bottom of my socks.
“Something’s bothering you,” she said, lips pressing together. Why was she such a good person?
“I’m sorry I haven’t been the most attentive of people lately,” I said, ignoring her observation. “A lot is on my mind.”
“This early in the school year?” Annie asked. “Is it Quidditch? Ollie said things had been stressful since Teo’s save percentage went down.”
I shook my head.
“Family stuff?” she asked. Aside from my own relatives, Annie knew the most about my family. She’d seen some of it first hand.
“You could say that,” I admitted.
Without warning, she closed the distance between us, her arms around my middle. She pressed her forehead into my chest. “It’ll be fine,” she said. “Trust me.”
I wanted to trust her. But my trust for Annie, unfortunately, did not quite span to pregnant women. I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her close so I could smell her hair. She was going to be devastated when she found out. Even if she wasn’t mad. Even if she didn’t hit me. She was still going to have that hurt look in her eyes that made me want to shrink.
“Do you have Prefect walks tonight?” she asked.
I nodded. “I’ll probably cut corners.”
“Do you want company after?”
I glanced down. “Are you offering?”
“In a roundabout way,” Annie said, lifting her gaze to meet mine. She was smiling a little. “Are you saying yes?”
“In a roundabout way.” My hands moved to her hips as I kissed her.
Thankfully, kissing Annie let me escape, for even a little while.
At least until James walked in, started making obnoxious snogging noises, and then began to narrate. At least he made sure I wasn’t late for walks.
I stared at the ceiling for hours, Annie beside me on the bed. She fell asleep an hour after we started chatting. Her clothes were on, shoes still on her feet. I didn’t move her, though. I stayed where I was, fingers moving gently over her back, distracted.
I had been very distracted this week.
Ryan taking this long to make a decision was killing me.
I didn’t know what I wanted.
I couldn’t know what I wanted.
The word ‘father’ was pulling at my mind. It was starting to send me into a blind panic. Every time I thought about it, I pulled Annie a little tighter against me for no reason other than to recognize someone else was there.
I was going to have a child.
I thought about when Roxy was little. She followed me around like a puppy.
Mum and Dad always told me: Get everything out of the way before you settle down.
I wasn’t settling. I was being forced to settle.
Not that Ryan was forcing me. No, this was as much my doing as it was hers.
Godric Gryffindor, what the hell was I going to do?
No, no that was stupid.
Was she going to be a single parent? Was everyone in Hogwarts going to find out?
What would happen to Ryan? Hell, what would happen to me?
WWW Heir: Knocks up Star Chaser.
Ryan was going to hate me. James was going to hate me. Annie was going to hate me.
And I was still going to be a father.
My quill hovered over the parchment for what seemed like hours. Ink dripped onto the paper. I created more circles and ovals than words. I had nothing to write.
In every situation, I could turn to my dad for help. Girls, coming-of-age-boy-things, joke products, classes, anything. I could always get his opinion. He would always tell me what he thought. Honestly. Even when he thought the class was dumb and I should go get ice cream instead.
Maybe I relied on him too much.
Another circle appeared. But I still wanted to know what he thought. If he was disappointed in me. If he could spin it into a positive. If he would be happy.
Godric, what would he think of Ryan?
I frowned. It was late, past midnight, and the boys were snoring around me. James’ leg was halfway off his bed. He’d let Ollie paint his toenails again. I repeatedly gave him shit for it and he repeatedly told me he was regularly getting laid. This shut me up fairly quick.
I hadn’t been able to sleep since Ryan told me. I was staring at the ceiling, imagining various shadows were images. Trying hard to escape.
“Fuck,” I grumbled, pushing off from the desk. I wasn’t going to get any writing done since I knew I wouldn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t. Not when Ryan didn’t want me to.
If I was James, I would have told her that this was half my decision and I should have an input. That I should be able to tell anyone I wanted because I could make my own decisions.
But I wasn’t James.
I was Freddie Weasley.
I found myself staring at the entrance to the Ravenclaw dormitory. It had already asked its question full of logic and annoyingness. And I was staring blankly at it. Gaping, really.
I should have brought gray and blue robes to trick it.
Who was I kidding? It would read my brain and know I couldn’t get into sodding Ravenclaw. I groaned, shoving the wall briefly before falling back to the stone opposite.
“Look at you, Weasel.”
I glanced up, spotting Gemma. “Hey there, French. What brings you to the corridor this late?”
“People who use the word corridor, clearly.” She rolled her eyes, digging her shoulder into the wall as she faced me. “What are you doing out here so far from home? Get lost?”
I shrugged. “I was strolling the halls to find people out of bed after hours.”
“Caught me,” Gemma said. “You need some assistance? You look kind of drunk.”
I scratched my back against the stone. “Tired is all,” he said. “I should give you a detention.” I glanced back at the door, wondering if Ryan might venture out for a stroll.
Even two weeks ago I would have wished the polar opposite.
“You’re being suspicious. Why are you out here?” She kicked me in the shin.
“See you later, French.” I ruffled my hair and turned, walking back toward Gryffindor Tower. “Give my sister my love.”
“That why you were out here?” Gemma called.
“Ten points from Ravenclaw,” I said in reply, turning the corner and stuffing my hands in my pockets.
Things just got a lot more complicated in my life.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the fourth chapter! Please share your thoughts!
Also, happy summer! WHY IS IT SO HOT?!
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