Dinner is actually pretty normal, all things considered. We argued about what we wanted to eat until Dad took away the menus and just ordered pizza. I love that our home was built in what is now a Muggle area and his year away during the war taught him the beauty and value of a television, a phone and a microwave, even if they're the only Muggle appliances he'll ever know how to use properly. Or at all. Because once I move out, they'll be beauties and values I'll be glad I grew up with, especially now that it seems I'll be cooking for two.
Thank you for this, Daddy.
See, I still call him Daddy. I'm screwed.
I eat my pizza slowly, planning what to say to my dad when the time comes to tell him. Maybe Al can help me with that later, not that I put my faith in the guy's words in any situation, but still, it wouldn't hurt.
"So, Harry says you've been apartment hunting, Al. How's that going?"
Dad's question brings me back to reality. I completely forgot Albus had been looking for his own place when he wasn't researching the early signs of pregnancy. At least the kid will have its own room when it goes to see it's dad.
Oh, God. I'm a single mum! This kid is gonna have to go back and forth between parents. This kid is gonna be me and Kieron (some weekends, anyway)... Except it'll like its mum. Hopefully. I stuff more pizza in my mouth; it's a lovely distraction from reality.
I think both my dad and Albus notice my sudden distress, but neither mention it and Al answers his question. "Not bad, I found a couple of places that I like. I'm going to look at them next week."
I'm surprised by how calm and normal Al is sounding, considering how he was before, especially at the thought of staying. But here he is and he's not freaking out. Why is it that only I get to see the crazy? Or is he secretly a really great actor and he will be crazy-like with everyone once they all know?
"That's good. You taking Lexi with you? She won't ever visit if she hates it. I'd ask her myself, but she seems to be in her own little world."
"I'm here," I say, slapping Dad's hand away when he waves it in front of my face. They both laugh at me. Well, they've always gotten along. I wonder how long it'll last once Dad knows; he's very protective of his family. Well, me, Kieron, our cousin, Scorpius, and Aunt Astoria. He and Uncle Draco never really got along in school, but they're okay now. He and Mum... Let's not go there. Ever.
"I'm just thinking about my own living arrangements, the future and stuff," I tell them, which is kind of true. I had been thinking about what I was going to do after graduation. I haven't put much thought into it since I found out about this, though. I don't want to. But I'm going to have to.
"This explains why you look like you're about to cry. Please don't cry." I'm not gonna cry. Dad hates it when I cry; more because I rarely cry than that he doesn't know what to do. He's awesome at making me feel better, knows exactly what to do. But because it almost doesn't happen, he hates that there is something out there that causes his little girl to cry. His words, not mine.
"Can't I just live with you forever, Daddy?"
...Damn, I did it again.
"No, Daddy has plans for when you leave," he smirks at me and then at Al. I throw my crust at him; I don't need to know any of this. At all.
After dinner, it's pretty quiet. I don't know which movie we end up watching; Al picks it and I'm hardly paying any attention. I'm literally counting down the minutes until Dad says he's going upstairs and I can talk to Albus about our situation. But at the same time I don't want him to leave; I want him to stay with me so I don't have to talk. Every time Dad leaves the room, I hold my breath just waiting to know what's gonna happen.
It's almost midnight when he finally gets up off the floor and kisses my forehead. "Good night, guys. And actually get some sleep this time, yeah!" he calls on his way up the stairs.
The moment I no longer hear him, I point my wand at the door and close it, casting a Silencing charm for good measure, and when I turn back to face Al, the TV is off and he's waiting for me. "You handled yourself very well," I praise. I think Al needs the reassurance first.
"I pretended it wasn't real, easier said than done, though," he admits softly. "I sat there, talking and laughing with your dad and I kept thinking he's going to kill me when you tell him."
"When I tell him?" I ask, both curious and a little pissed. But I don't show it. If I don't like his explanation, then I'll show it.
"Yeah, I was thinking if you told your family and I told mine, we'd get it done faster and can focus on actually knowing what to do with the baby rather than what they're gonna say about it. And if we each tell our families at the same time, we don't have to worry about how one will take it to the other. What do you think?"
He's looking at me like this is the thing to be nervous about; he's probably really focused on the hormone part of the pregnancy. What did he say? That you can be more emotional? I bet he hates that part. But this is one of a small number of occasions where he's said something we can actually take on board since this started. I give my approval; I think it scares him a little more.
"That makes sense. I'll tell my family, you'll tell yours and we'll deal with the rest afterwards. Telling them can be the only thing we think about right now. One step at a time, you know?"
It takes him a minute to answer. He's still in shook because I agreed with him. I just sit there and wait; I'm used to it. Agreeing with him is not actually that rare of a thing for me to do, I just don't usually say it so nicely. I'm not mean, just more sarcastic in my response. It's one of our things. But how can he think we could be our usual selves today?
We have bigger things to think about.
"Yeah." He clears his throat. "Well, my family try to have dinner every Sunday, but it's more likely one Sunday a month. You know because I keep inviting you."
"Yeah, and I keep declining. What's your point?"
Albus rolls his eyes. Maybe I can blame pregnancy already or him for not being clear, but I don't get it. "This Sunday is the first in a few months where the whole family can actually be there for dinner, including Molly and Louis, so I can tell them then."
Oh. Why couldn't he have just said that? "I'll get my family here on Sunday and tell them then, too." I mess with the empty pizza box, prepared to just end the conversation and say Dad was right, we should go to sleep, when a thought comes to me. A very important thought. A thought Albus might just appreciate. "It's a good thing we've decided to talk to our own families separately and not together; Kieron would have killed you. He's less likely to do that now that you won't be here when he knows."
He looks pained, like the information could kill him at any moment. He pulls his legs up, tucking them to his chest, and wraps his arms around them. I remember when we were twelve and he stayed here for the first time; Kieron telling him that scary story about the woman in the attic had not been a good idea. He was terrified, didn't sleep all night and didn't come back for weeks. It's just like this. I might not see him for a while.
No. I will not let that happen.
"What are the odds of me just avoiding Kieron for the next eighteen years and eight months?" Al asks hesitantly. I want to laugh. Just the thought of Al trying to hide from my brother has me hiding a giggle. Keiron will find him and Albus will be lucky if he doesn't get torn apart. My brother can do that; he's a lawyer.
But I won't; he's obviously scared. Rightly so, everyone is; my brother has a temper. I haven't quite figured out how Nicky got past that or how he knows to calm him down. Before it was just my dad who could do that.
I turn my thoughts from Kieron's issues to my friend in front of me. "It'll be okay. I'll have my dad's help by the time Kieron gets to you and Nicky will not say no to me; you'll be fine."
I reassure him enough to drop his arms and cross his legs instead. He's no longer guarded Albus, he's slightly calm Albus; all is good.
Albus stayed for breakfast on Saturday, but left soon after, leaving me alone with my thoughts. What kind of friend leaves another alone during a time like this? A crappy one, that's who!
Okay, so maybe he has his own thoughts to deal with. And maybe he would have stayed if his mother hadn't called, asking him to accompany her shopping. And maybe he did try to get out of it, except his mum guilt-tripped him by reminding him of last Summer (something she doesn't even know the full story of and which I'm not allowed to ever talk about). But still, he left me alone. And when I'm alone he's not the only one who knows how to worry.
I only had to go through that torture for about an hour, though. Kieron came home and went through new apartments he'd found for me that I might like, like he promised. Then I went out with friends for dinner, then my mum came over and that managed to distract me for a couple of hours.
It was at night, when I was really alone, that was the worst, but I managed to calm myself down and come up with something I could tell them. In my head, it sounded reasonable and quick, while explaining everything, and I was able to sleep at night. It was once I woke up that I began to doubt myself.
I told my dad about my plan for a family dinner, told him I had something to tell him. He didn't know whether to be suspicious or afraid, but agreed. I tried to sound casual, hoped he'd think I'd wanna talk about moving (Kieron just told him over breakfast, he knows I'd want it all planned out first), obviously it didn't work.
Or maybe it did and he's just cautious about his little girl living alone; that's something Dad would do.
So, I'm sitting on the couch in the living room, squirming and fidgeting, jumping at every little thing while I wait for my family to come. And, unfortunately, I mean my whole (immediate) family. Yep, Mum included. And I hate it. I think Dad hates it more, though. The thought of her in his house makes his skin crawl.
...A story for another day.
Aunt Astoria is the first here, Uncle Draco right behind her. She let's go of his hand to hug my dad, gives a very excited 'hey, Theo' like she hasn't seen him in ages, even though she saw him the other day. She makes her way over to me while Dad shakes Uncle Draco's hand and I stand up quickly to hug her.
Maybe it's an expression on my face, like I look as though I'm hiding something, maybe she just knows, I don't know. But the look she gives me is not one I especially like. Astoria squeezes me gently just above my stomach, saying nothing, and Scor comes over.
"Cuz," he says, holding his hand out. We slap our hands together and he narrows his eyes just a little. "I was sleeping."
I shrug. "I don't care. Sit down."
His lips twitch slightly, but he doesn't smile and sits down next to me. Kieron suddenly pops up on Dad's right. I have no idea when he got here. He nods his head and shuts his eyes, leaning back against the couch. His thoughts are probably on the same page as Blondie's.
"Nicky at The Burrow?" I ask him.
He nods and grunts. I roll my eyes. "Why we here?"
"Your sister has something to talk about," Dad tells him.
He makes no move to get up or even look at me. "Get on with it then."
"Charming," I scoff.
"We're waiting for Daphne," Scorpius says.
That gets him to sit up. "I'm leaving."
"You have to stay, it's important." I try not to plead, but that's what it sounds like and I think Kieron notices that. Despite what he thinks of her, he loves me more; we were always there for each other, still will be, I know. He settles back into his seat, albeit a little stiffly, and nods.
As soon as Dad let's Mum inside, I consider that my cue to get up. I can feel the tension in the room between my family, the sudden drop in temperature the moment she walked in, their eyes focused on me in the middle of the room rather than anywhere else, and everything I had planned to say last night escapes me.
I've never been so nervous, I feel as though everything has sped up, especially my heart rate, and it just slips out. "I'm pregnant."
If the room didn't have my complete attention before, it does now. Dad jumps up, his back straight. "Come again?"
Now my brain decides to explain. Kind of. "He was really upset and it was the only way I could think of to distract him, so I got the drinks and it worked until the end and he started to think of her and he got depressed and he kissed me and I left and he followed and it just sort of happened. I had no idea it would happen, we never planned it I swear."
"Who the fuck is it?" Kieron demands.
I just continue to watch Dad. He's figuring it out, piecing it all together; he knows there's only one person in the world besides my family I would help. When he shuts his eyes and groans, I know he knows what was wrong that afternoon when he was at my door. "That's why he looked ready to be sick, you found out on Friday," he mutters.
Kieron digs into Dad's arm with his elbow. "You saw him? You know him?"
One minute his in front of me, the next he's gone; on his feet and down the hall. I hear him shout for The Burrow and I panic, eyes wide. Dammit! That I was not expecting!
"Kieron's going to kill him," Uncle Draco predicts.
"Dad, we have to stop him!"
"I will." I raise an eye-brow when he doesn't move, finding it hard to believe him. "I didn't say now."
"Make it now!" He still doesn't move. I turn to Scor and try to pull him up. "You have to help me. Kieron cannot kill Al, I need him to be alive to suffer."
"Why should I?"
I don't even have to think about my answer. I've got everything planned for rainy days such as this. "VPBC can't wait to see you. Imagine one day she finds her way to you."
His eyes widen. "You wouldn't!" But he knows I would, I wouldn't even blink, so I just smirk. He gets up. "We have to stop Kieron," he calls out as he runs to the Floo Room.
I follow. "Not so fast, young lady." Young lady? Seriously? "We're going to talk about this."
I turn to my mother. "You're only here because I didn't want to have to tell you separately. Nothing more. We have nothing else to say and you can leave now."
I run to the Floo, thinking thank God I chose to wear sneakers, and get to the infamous Weasley home. I knock into Scorpius when I get there and Albus is on the floor.
I think we're a little late.
A/N: Brand new chapter, quicker update and I wonder what's happened to Albus... ;)
And Theo, not a happy father right about now. Next: the reaction of the Weasley family. :P
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