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Expecting Otherwise by majamariamaja
Chapter 14 : So Frail
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 18


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Stunning ci by inspector @ tda!



Chapter 14. So Frail






"I miss my old walk," I complained while Clover and I made our way up to the Great Hall for our first dinner back at the castle.

I'd been here for less than two hours, and was already feeling like a circus freak again; huffing and puffing as I climbed up the (too) many stairs.

"Your old walk?" Clover asked, raising a brow at me. "Why? What's so fabulous about your old walk?"

"Well, it was less wobbly, for one," I explained, grabbing onto the railing for more support. "And I didn't waddle like some bloody goose."

"I find the goosiness kinda charming," Clo said and smiled down at me from the top of the stairs. She'd already climbed them all. That speedy wench.

"It's not charming," I argued. "Being this fat and bizarre-looking can't possibly be charming. Unless it's opposite day. The day where cold is warm, where black is white, where Gryffies are Slytherins. Only on that day can my pathetic excuse for a walk be defined as charming".

Clover just kept smiling, and reached out her hand to assist me on the last few steps. I drew a couple of near-death-sounding breaths after successfully ascending them all, and had half a mind to do a victory dance, but ignored the idea when I realised how much work it'd be.

Instead I did a victory fart.

Clover let go of my hand and jumped two feet away from me on pure instinct. The sound was as foreign to her as the word 'no' to Deuce Zabini.

"What was that?" she whispered, aghast.

Confess, or deny?

"I-It was...it was the rubber on my shoe scraping against the floor," I lied.

Apparently I went for denial. Oh, the shock.

Clover raised her brows, and then put her arms across her chest.

"Really?" she asked, and I nodded, willing the blush away from my face. "Then make it again."

I tried. Godric knows, I did. And there were sounds, scraping sounds - but none that sounded like...like that.

"You totally farted!" Clover accused in a low voice brimmed with mockery. "You totally just let one rip!"

"Shhhhh!" I hissed, eyes threatening to pop out of my skull. "I did not! It was my foot! It just-"

"Come on, Del, just admit it," Clo teased, now grinning for all she was worth, "you broke the hell outta that wind."

"Absolutely not!" I denied.

"Own up to it, Del," she urged. "Just say it. Just say that you farted."

"I didn't! I won't!"

"Well, then who did? The Bloody Baron?" Clover teased, and I cast a glance over my shoulder to assure myself that the ghost was far enough away to not hear this discussion.

"Lower your voice!" I mouthed, but there weren't too many people in this part of the Entrance Hall. "I didn't fart, okay? It was-"

"Who farted?"

I wheeled around and found myself face to face with one of the people I never wanted to know I even had bowels, not to mention noisy bowels.

"H-hi, Chase," I stuttered, and averted my eyes from him by pretending to get a blonde curl out of my eye. It could easily have been true.

"Hello. Who farted?" he repeated, and I felt myself transform into a tomato. Maybe McGonagall was standing behind me, teaching some second years how to turn a girl into a vegetable.

Or is it a fruit? I can never get that straight.

"The Bloody Baron," Clo responded coolly.

"Didn't know ghosts could do that." Chase looked at the two of us with squinted eyes. Clover with her not-a-damn-is-given stance, and me with my vegetable/fruit coloured face and shifty gaze.

"They totally do," Clo said and almost looked bored with this entire conversation. "You should listen more closely in class, Zabini."

Chase lifted his brows, and an amused smirk made his face disturbingly handsome.

Not that he is so handsome that it is disturbing, I mean that the whole idea that I even find him handsome is disturbing.

"Sorry," he said, "I must've been away the day they taught that."

"Well, your education suffered a massive blow," Clo told him, and sighed.

Chase grinned and stood still for a minute before grabbing around both me and Clo and giving us a hug.

"Need - oxygen!" Clover wheezed, causing Chase to let us loose from his strong grasp. "It's nice to see you too, but, blimey; easy on the squeeze, alright? Del might've popped."

At the sound of my name Chase's eyes dropped to mine. My heart gave a jolt, and I swallowed hard.

I suddenly flashed back to what we did before christmas break; how my mind had temporarily abandoned me, how my mouth attacked his, how my hands had tried to pull him closer, and-

"How are you?"

Other than freaked the fuck out? Just peachy.

"Still pregnant," I answered, looking away.

"And I'm hungry," Clover interrupted just as Chase was about to say something. This was one of those those times where her impatient self came to good use.

I needed to stop thinking about Chase like that! He was my friend - which is all he was and ever would be - and me acting like that just because of one moment of weakness was just silly. And I couldn't be silly anymore - I was about to be a mother. And mothers can't be silly.

I was heaving my way through the Entrance Hall and into the Great Hall, and - as per usual - every eye was on me. Me and my portruding belly, that seemed to have grown twice as large over the holidays. Apparently it's normal. Well, I've got news for those professional baby-doctor-people: HAVING YOUR OWN SODDING PLANET ON YOUR BODY IS IN NO WAY NORMAL!

Phew, that felt good.

Once we were at our usual "popular-end" of the table(which had turned into the end others avoided as if my "situation" was something they could contract by being too close) I plonked myself down opposite Deuce and Bray.

Bray barely gave me a smile. Deuce was too involved in eye-boinking a redheaded girl at the Hufflepuff table to even notice that three people joined his prescence.

My stomach was pushing uncomfortably against the edge of the table, and I growled. Would I never stop being reminded of how big I was?

"Back to the ever-staring masses," I mumbled, and barely noticed how Chase was putting cupcakes on my plate. "They all want a look at the fat freak."

"You're not fat," he said, putting a green cupcake with flowers on it in my hand, "you're just easy to see."

"Gee, thanks, that just makes me feel loads better," I deadpanned.

"Oh, Del! You're back!" Deuce had taken his eyes away from Red to put another few sausages on his plate and quickly noticed me. I was surprised it took him this long; after all, I really was the newly discovered planet Sweatpants. Pluto was no match for me. No wonder he got kicked out of the "planet club".

My stomach grumbled and I groaned as I clutched it. Being pregnant sucked.

"Er, is something wrong, Mama Bear?" Deuce asked with a worried wrinkle on his forehead. I guess he was afraid I might deliver the babies there and then...hah! Well, that just proved how little he knew about pregnancy. "What's going down?"

"Nothing," I complained, and took a bite of the cupcake before putting it back on my plate. "I'm telling you, nothing. Everything's staying still - painfully still."

I needed to complain; I think I've earned the right. I was annoyed, and I didn't care if they judged me. Not even Chase. I'd come to the conclusion that for me to stop being...attracted to him, I needed to gross him out.

"Painfully still?" Deuce asked, and looked at Bray for answer. He didn't produce one, and Deuce shifted his eyes back to me. "Which means?"

"I'm seriously constipated."

This information made Bray put down his fork and shove the plate of baked beans and ham away from him.

"And I'll never be hungry again," he murmurs before he gets up. "I've got to go. I have detention with Slug in five minutes."

"What? But how-?"

Did he wait for me to finish my question? No. No, he did not.

"How is it physically possible to already have detention?" Clover asked Deuce, repeating the question I'd wanted to ask Brayder.

"It's Bray," was his meek response. But, sadly enough, this was enough of an explanation.

The stomach cramps had subsided and I was now on full-out inhale-sustenance mode. It wasn't until Deuce started slowly sliding off the bench, away from me, that I noticed his attire.

"Oh, Deuce, you got a new robe," I noted. "It's nice."

"Yes, I did," he admitted while still moving away from us. "Christmas present from my godmother. And since you'll probably be eating for a while, I will go, rather than risk getting it stained."

"What is that supposed to mean?" I squeaked indignantly, which caused some gravy to shoot out of my mouth. "Some kind of crack about how much I eat?"

"Absolutely not," Deuce said in a soothing voice that was so fake that I wanted to start ripping his hair out again. "It's a crack about your table manners."

I was just about to lunge across the table when Deuce obviously noticed my intentions and jumped out of my reach.

"See you ladies later," he said with an soldier salute. "I have an appointment."

Chase scowled at his brother. Clover turned her attention(which had never really shifted in the first place) to the boy now towering over her.

"What? You've got detention, too?"

"No," he responded with a smirk. "A date."

This was enough to make Clover go all sour and begin a slow torture process on her baguette.

I put my hand over hers in a way that meant to be consoling, but Clover just pushed me away.

"I don't need your pity!" she hissed before rushing to her feet.

"Please, Clo, I just-"

"You just what?!" Clover whispered harshly, bending over the table and resting her hands on its surface to be as intimidating as possible. She succeeded. "Thought you'd be all comforting and shit? Well, I've got news for you: I can manage perfectly on my own! I don't need other people feeling sorry for me! Especially not you; you should stop focusing on my issues, and start focusing on your own!"

When that spiel was over, Clo walked briskly away, leaving me utterly speechless.

She had these tantrums from time to time. I was past the point of really acknowledging her hurtful words - I was used to them by now. But the fact that I wasn't even able to take care of my best friend made my shoulders slump down in defeat.

"Don't feel bad about what she said," Chase took my hand in his and squeezed it, "she didn't mean a word of it."

"I know..." I squeezed him back, enjoying his touch. "I was just thinking that... If I can't even cheer up my best friend, how can I possibly be a good mother? Mothers have to be able to do stuff like that."

"That's stupid," Chase said, using his other arm to wrap it around my shoulder. I leaned against it. "You know how she gets sometimes. It's got nothing to do with you."

"I dunno," I mutter, allowing a bit of exhaustion to seep into my voice. "Maybe I'm just not meant to be a mother..."

Chase's hold on me tightened, and I inhaled sharply.

"Del, do you love your kid?" he asked me in a calm voice.

"Yes?"

"Then you're meant to be a mother."

I turned my face up to give him a grateful smile. Then I suddenly remembered something, and leaned away from him. His arm fell back down against his side, and I needed to push away the feeling of still wanting it around me.

"And by the way," I started with a sheepy grin. "ehm, it's kids, plural."

It took Chase a few seconds to fully understand the extent of this. "What, twins? Like.. Like me and Deuce-twins? Seriously?" His voice had grown higher and higher, until it finally sounded like a smurf.

"Yeah," I told him and let out a long sigh. "Crazy, huh?"

"Uh-huh." There was a long pause where the both of us just picked at our breakfast. Then he let out a long whistle. "Bloody hell. Good luck with that."

He laughed, and I quickly followed his example - like I always tended to do.

Chase smiled at me, and I swallowed hard again. "Do you know the sex yet?"

"As a matter of fact, I do," I admitted, and put both my hands on my belly while letting out something that sounded a lot like a giggle.

"Not two boys, I hope? If it is, then may God be with you..."

"It's not..." Another giggle. What was wrong with me today? "It's one of each."

"Really?" It was unfair of him to look so excited. It just reminded me of how uninterested the other maker of these kids was. It made me a bit sad, to be honest. "Blimey, congrats, Del! Why didn't you tell me before?"

I shrugged. And struggled to keep the emotion out of my tone.

"I guess I got sidetracked by the fact that there were two."

A half-truth. I'd originally wanted Bray to be the first one to know. But I never saw him for long enough to be able to tell him. He didn't even know that it was twins. When I'd tried to talk with him on the train back to Kings Cross, he'd been mysteriously missing the entire trip.

"Understandable," Chase agreed with a nod, and then proceeded to give my belly a long pat. Before I knew what was happening he had leaned down and put his mouth very close to it, almost kissing the fabric of my magically expanded shirt. "Can't wait to meet you. I'm going to be the best uncle ever," he whispered. It was barely loud enough for me to hear, but I did.

Then he did something I never would've thought a bloke would do; he pressed his lips against the bump, and lingered there for what seemed like an eternity. But it was good that it didn't, because I'd consequently stopped breathing.

I spent the rest of breakfast, all through the free period and up until right before Defense to mull over Chase's actions. And my reaction to them. If it hadn't been for Deuce's stalked-ish tendencies and too-fascinating-to ignore women trouble, I doubt I would've resurfaced that week at all.

"I have got it," Deuce proclaimed when he slumped down next to me and Clover on the floor. Chase was standing up, leaning against the door to the classroom, waiting for it to open.

"You've got what? Chlamydia?" Chase guessed.

"It was only a matter of time," I teased, and gave a shrug.

Deuce swiftly ignored responding to this, but didn't neglect to acknowledge it by giving his brother the middle finger.

"I've figured out a strategy on how to seduce Jade," he said seriously. "Every thursday evening she takes a long bath at the Prefect's bathroom, and-"

"How do you know that?" inquired Chase with his brows raised in suspicion.

"She told me."

"Really?" More suspicion.

"All right, so I may have overheard her saying it to a friend."

"Define 'overheard'," I said with a grin, and grinned even more when Deuce turned to scowl at me for daring to interrupt his ravings.

Brayder then promptly came out of thin air and sat down on a vacant bench. It was vacant because he gave the Hufflepuff boys sitting on it the 'look'. They were scurrying off to the other side of the hallway.

He ignored my smile. His slightly glazed eyes set on his scowling best mate, and didn't make a move to flatten his insanely messy hair. Abnormally messy hair, really...

"What's going on?" His voice was rusty.

Chase took it upon himself to fill Bray in. "Deuce was telling us about how he was stalking Jade. Again."

"I wasn't stalking her, I overheard th-"

"You mean eavesdropped?" I interrupted.

"Whatever!" Deuce called out and threw his hands in the air. "Do you want to hear about my devious plan or not?"

"Yes," Clo responded dryly, furiously picking on her nail varnish. "Please continue this thrilling story."

"I will." Deuce didn't notice the bitterness in the girl's voice. "Well, when she gets back to the common room after this bath, the rumor is that she's usually as randy as a stoat."

"A stoat?" she asked him, and Deuce rolled his eyes at what he obviously believed to be a very ignorant question.

"Yes, it's a sort of short-tailed weasel, apparently they're horny a lot. Anyways, tonight she's going to find me waiting for her as randy as a... a-another stoat."

"Why are you going to such great lengths to get this one particular girl?" Chase questioned and crossed his hands over his chest. "You could get anyone else in this whole, entire school - anyone you want."

"That's exactly it," Deuce told him with enthusiasm. "Every girl I meet are charmed by the same exact lines, the same old routine, but this girl is...different. She practically hates my very existence. A fact that I happen to find intriguing."

"So..." Everyone's eyes were on Bray. "Breaking and entering. That's your plan?"

"I don't plan. I scheme," Deuce told his mate and held up his hand for a high five. Bray sat perfectly still, not moving a muscle.

"With all due respect, mate," he said after a few awkward seconds where Deuce refused to lower his hand, "I have to tell you something; you're bonkers."

And, after a very long time, my children's father was actually right about something. And when he winked at me, approving my chuckle, I once again felt the slight thrill of being his. But it was so....frail.

And I hated it.



----------------
A/N:

*holds up ipad to protect face* Sorry! I know I've been MIA for a very long time - and all I have to say about that is: I didn't have any inspiration for this story. But now I do! :)

What do you feel about this chapter? Any thoughts? Oh, and what about the fact that Del is gonna have a boy and a girl? :D Exciting, huh? :) Got any name suggestions? I might pick one if I like it :)

Isn't Bray just being more of an asshole than usual? Gah, I can't stand how he treats Del. what do you think?

Thanks for reading, my lovelies ^^

*Maria



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