Having completely forgotten to change into my pajamas, and thus having fallen asleep in my regular clothes, I wake up late on Monday morning and run around in a frazzled hurry, trying to get a bath and don my uniform while still having time to rush down to the Great Hall for a frantic breakfast. Still feeling as though I haven't gotten enough rest, and feeling the dull lower-back ache that has accompanied me through the past several weeks of my pregnancy, I find myself in a rotten mood as I grab my books and fly from my dorm room, down the spiral staircase, and into the nearly completely empty common room.
I scurry forward blindly, the long black locks of my still-damp hair flapping into my face. As my hands are currently loaded down with my textbooks, however, I can't move the annoying strands. Instead, I shake my head violently in an effort to clear my vision as I make my way through the portrait hole. As the Fat Lady swings her portrait closed behind me, I begin shuffling towards the staircase. Looking up momentarily to make sure I don't accidentally bump into any students who are re-entering the common room, I see Draco directly in front of me, leaning against the railing and wearing a concerned look.
Though curious as to what's got him so concerned, I'm more shocked and excited to see him here, waiting for me outside of the common room. My heart and stomach do coordinated flip-flops, and a huge smile spreads across my face as I think to myself how wonderful it is to finally be Draco's girlfriend... how great it feels to see him - my boyfriend - standing near the Fat Lady's portrait early in the morning and to know he's waiting for me. I'm also pleased to see that the cut on his bottom lip is gone; he must have kept his promise to go see Professor Snape after he dropped me off at the common room last night. I open my mouth to greet him as I approach, but he speaks before I get a chance to.
"You've nearly missed breakfast," he says quietly. He begins shuffling his textbooks into his right arm so that he can wrap his left one around my waist as a guide as the two of us start making our way down the first flight of stairs. I walk at a hurried pace alongside him and revel in the feeling of his arm around my waist but don't feel that a response is necessary. After a moment of silence, however, he speaks up again, indicating that he'd like a response. "I was getting really worried," he says, casting me a sideways glance. "Is everything all right?"
Still overwhelmed by how much Draco’s and my attitudes toward each other have changed recently, I'm curious as to why my tardiness would cause Draco to worry, but my heart swells at the notion of his concern nonetheless. "I'm fine," I reply. "I just woke up a little late." I look up at Draco to catch his reaction to my response and watch as some of the concern eases off of his features, but not all of it. I start to feel sorry for causing Draco to worry as we walk in silence for a moment, nearing the fifth floor. A few seconds later, curiosity gets the better of me and I ask the question that's weighing on my mind. "Why were you so worried?" I ask as I cast a sideways and upward glance at him.
"I just... don't want anything to go wrong," he replies quietly, without meeting my gaze. "I don't want to lose you. I've wanted you for so long... now that I've finally got you, it all seems almost too good to be true. I'm afraid something's going to go terribly wrong soon... like this is all some sort of dream. I keep hoping that if it is a dream, I never wake up."
Though Draco's sweet words bring tears to the corners of my eyes and I have to blink to prevent them from escaping onto my cheeks, I'm unable to keep myself from shifting my gaze down to the floor as a feeling of uneasiness begins to grow in the pit of my stomach. I'm unsure whether to take his concern as a sign of love for me, or as a sign that he regrets the decision to be with me. Seeming to sense my uneasiness, however, Draco speaks again, dispelling my uncertainty.
"I'm sorry... I don't mean to make you worry," he says, wrapping his arm around my waist a bit tighter in an effort to comfort me. "Don't pay me any mind... I've just had a rough night, is all."
At this, I look back up to find Draco smiling down at me with a tender look, but as I gaze into his beautiful grey eyes I see something hiding there behind his smile. I realize at once that there's something more... there's something he's not telling me. "Draco, what's wrong?" I ask, feeling the uneasiness build up in my stomach once more.
"Nothing," he replies, immediately looking away as we near the second-floor staircase. "There's nothing for you to worry about, love."
"Your insistence that there's nothing to worry about is making me worry!" I reply, coming to a halt.
At this, Draco stops walking and looks at me intensely; I can tell he's having an internal argument over whether or not he should divulge what's got him so worried this morning. Then, seeming to have made up his mind, he pulls me off the staircase and onto the second-floor landing. Looking around to make sure there are no students or ghosts anywhere nearby that might overhear our conversation, he takes a deep breath before beginning.
"It's Professor Snape," he says quietly, with concern. "He knows."
"He knows what?" I ask, thoroughly confused.
"He knows about the baby," he replies, lowering his volume to barely above a whisper.
Immediately feeling at ease and breathing a sigh of relief, I take a moment to calm my nerves before responding. "I already knew that," I say sweetly, with a nod of my head. "He had to know... he makes my potion for me. In fact, all the teachers know. It's nothing to worry about... they won't tell any of the students."
"Darling, you're missing my meaning," Draco replies, and I'm surprised to find that he still looks just as nervous and worried as before. "What I mean is, he knows the baby's mine."
My heart sinks slightly in my chest at this statement, but I'm still not quite sure why that's got him so worried. "Well, I didn't know that," I reply, "but you still don't have anything to worry about. If Professor Snape won't tell anyone that I'm pregnant, he certainly won't tell anyone that you're the father. He's your Head of House, after all; I'm sure he's got your best interests in mind." At this, I pause for a moment to gather my thoughts and catch my breath. "How did he find out, anyway?" I ask a moment later.
"He just... guessed," Draco replies, looking more and more uneasy as time passes. "When I went to his office and asked for a potion to heal my lip last night, he asked me about it. He'd heard that you and I were dating and wanted to make sure I knew about the baby... he said he'd figured it was mine as soon as he heard you were pregnant because I'd gone to him for advice the morning after we... you know... after the baby was conceived. I tried not to answer, but he's a Legilimens, and a damned good one at that... he saw right through me, and I wound up having to confess."
A look of disgust crosses Draco's face as he finishes speaking, and I still can't help but wonder why Professor Snape's knowing about him being the father of my baby has him so worried. I am surprised to learn that Professor Snape has known my child's paternity the entire time, and can't believe I'd completely forgotten that he knew Draco and I had been intimate, and I can't help but wonder whether or not he's told Professor Dumbledore. However, the only reason I was afraid to reveal the paternity of my child at first was because Draco didn't know about the baby, and because I didn't want to have to face him... it honestly makes no difference to me now who knows that Draco is the child's father, and I'm admittedly confused as to why it matters so much to Draco whether or not Professor Snape knows.
I'm slightly upset at the way he said he “had to confess,” as though being the father of my baby were a crime he was afraid of being punished for, but I try my best to ignore that feeling and concentrate on easing his fears. After all, he's had less than forty-eight hours to get used to the whole “I'm going to be a father” thing, and he's been taking the news very well so far... I can excuse his fretting for the time being. I take a deep breath and gather my thoughts before responding to his obvious paranoia.
"I understand that this is all really new to you," I say slowly, "but like I said, you don't have anything to worry about... Professor Snape won't tell any of the students what he knows."
"Darling, you don't understand," Draco replies immediately with a shake of his head, "It's not the students I'm worried about him telling! Professor Snape is a good friend of my father's, and..."
Though Draco wasn't finished speaking, I don't hear another word of what he says. My eyes widen and my heart feels as though it's in my throat as I gasp loudly and cover my mouth with my hand in shock. I suddenly and completely understand why Draco's so worried about Professor Snape knowing he's my child's father, and a sense of foreboding crashes over me with such force that I fear I might faint. "Oh no," I say quietly, more to myself than to Draco. Then, panic evident in my tone, I press Draco for more information. "Well, he's not going to tell your father before you get a chance to, is he?" I ask.
"I'm not sure," Draco replies, looking at me sympathetically. "I told him that I'm meeting my parents in Hogsmeade on Saturday to tell them, and I practically begged him not to talk to Father until I've had a chance to tell him. He said he wouldn't say anything... but I'm afraid he will anyway... he's more loyal to my father than he is to me."
Now completely terrified and nervous, I find myself incapable of looking up into Draco's eyes any longer, and instead find myself staring at the bare wood of the second-floor landing. For what seems like the millionth time in the past twenty-four hours, I feel extremely guilty; Draco is clearly horrified of his father's reaction to the baby news, and I can't help but feel that his having to face his father in this difficult situation is entirely my fault. In addition to the guilt, however, there's also a feeling of foreboding as I wonder what Draco's father's reaction will be when (and if) Professor Snape tells him about the baby.
"I shouldn't have told you," Draco says suddenly, causing me to finally turn my eyes upward towards his face once more. Seeming angry with himself, he continues. "I knew it'd only upset you and make you worry, not to mention it's making you even later for breakfast, if you haven't missed it already."
"No, Draco, I needed to know," I reply, casting him a serious look. "I'm glad you told me. Besides, I don't think I could eat now anyway."
"See, that's exactly why I shouldn't have told you!" he says in an exasperated voice. "Come on, love, you've got to eat something. You going all morning without eating can't be good for the baby." With this, Draco wraps his arm back around my waist and begins trying to lead me back to the staircase and downstairs. Though I'm once again amazed by how quickly he's grasped the concept of being a father, and I know he's right, I keep my feet rooted to the floor, refusing to move.
"Draco, I'm sorry, but I really don't think I can eat right now... I'm too nervous," I explain.
"Listen, love," he replies, releasing my waist and coming to stand right in front of me, "I know it's hard, but you've got to try not to worry about this. We'll just take this one day at a time... we'll play it by ear and hope that we can make it to Saturday without Snape telling my father. If he doesn't, great! But even if he does, I don't want you to worry about it at all - I'll deal with my father. And I promise you, no matter what, everything's going to be okay... Okay?"
Though I'm no less concerned or nervous, I can't help but feel slightly more at ease at Draco's words. "Okay," I reply quietly, nodding my head in agreement. Draco smiles in response.
"Good. Now let’s go get you some breakfast," he says meaningfully, wrapping his arm around my waist once more.
I allow Draco to guide me to the staircase and down the next flight of stairs this time, though I'm still unsure of just how much I'll be able to eat when I reach the Great Hall. He makes small talk in an effort to distract me as we descend the final flights of stairs, and though I occasionally comment on a statement he's made or ask him a question, my mind is anywhere but here at the present... it's hiding up in Gryffindor Tower, staring at a calendar in horror, dreading the surprise that could be waiting on each of the next five days and thinking that Saturday can't be here and over with fast enough.
I am a complete basket case over the next few days, and though he tries to hide it, Draco is as well. Since nearly everyone now knows that Draco and I are together, almost all the students of Hogwarts, with the surprising exception of the Slytherins, have started spreading gossip and malicious lies about us and our relationship, including the very popular belief that Pansy is planning revenge on me for “stealing her boyfriend.” Though we know that this isn't true, the dirty looks Draco and I receive several times a day, combined with our constant fear of his parents showing up unexpectedly, make for a very stressful first week of our “official” relationship. Even more stressful for me is the fact that neither Harry, Ron, nor Seamus have spoken to me - or even looked at me, for that matter - since they found out that Draco and I started dating.
Hermione and Ginny are still being fairly nice to me, though I occasionally catch them rolling their eyes any time they see Draco approaching. There are also times when, out of consideration for Harry's feelings, they have to avoid speaking to me. Though this fact doesn't make me happy at all, I try to be understanding; I've put my friends in a very difficult position.
In addition to all of these stressful situations and changes, homework begins to pile up on Draco and me. At my insistence, we spend many of our free periods together in the library, trying to eliminate some of our mountain of assignments. Draco seems a little less concerned with his homework than I am, though; although he does work on his homework some during these library sessions, he spends the majority of the time watching me and starting conversations by asking me questions about myself and my life before coming to Hogwarts. He says he's making up for the time together that we've lost by avoiding each other; I say he's being distracting.
Although we're both severely stressed this week, our relationship progresses smoothly enough; we're nearly inseparable, unless we're in class, asleep, or Draco's making his rounds as prefect, of course. Though we've spent five months avoiding each other and less than five days actually together, it feels as though we've known each other for all of our lives, which makes me wonder if Draco is really on to something when he says that we're “making up for lost time.”
Together we press on through the classes, homework, and jeers from other students, and as the week progresses into Thursday and Friday, we become less afraid of Draco's parents finding out early and more nervous about what their reactions will be when he tells them on Saturday. Though Draco tries to hide his nervousness in an effort to comfort me, I am so nervous that, by the time Saturday morning rolls around, I find myself in the bathroom with my hands wrapped around my stomach, feeling almost certain that I'll vomit at any moment.
When I finally meet up with Draco outside of the Fat Lady's portrait a short while later, he smiles at me nervously, but doesn't speak. The two of us make our way down to the Great Hall for breakfast silently, and when we arrive, I'm unable to eat anything, and simply stare down at my empty plate the entire time. When it's time for the students to leave for Hogsmeade just after breakfast, Draco tries to reassure me and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek before departing for the day, with Crabbe and Goyle walking ahead of him for once.
Per a plea from Draco, I remain behind at Hogwarts, and decide to go back up to my dormitory, thinking that, if it's at all possible, I'll sleep until Draco gets back, thereby avoiding having to deal with this nervousness the entire time he's gone. As I lay there trying to sleep, however, I realize just how foolish of an idea that was. I toss and turn every which way, trying to make myself more comfortable. While I continue to lay there fruitlessly, a thought occurs to me that makes me sit straight up and widen my eyes in horror; I haven't told Ms. Fitzpatrick or Mrs. McGreggor about the "Draco" situation yet... they have no idea that Draco and I are together, that we've decided to keep the baby, or that we're planning on getting married at some point.
Although it would seem that the solution to this problem would be an easy one, the paranoid part of my mind starts to worry about what effect the Malfoys' reaction will have on how my guardians will find out about this recent string of developments. Will they storm up to Hogwarts, demanding a meeting with Dumbledore and my guardians? Will Dumbledore be forced to send for Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor? Will he tell them about this situation before I get a chance to?
These thoughts make me even more nervous, if that were even possible, but instead of crippling me, this nervousness puts me into action. I realize that the only hope I have of avoiding another disaster like the one that's sure to come this afternoon is to do exactly what Draco's doing right now; tell my guardians myself. I scramble off of my four-poster and locate a quill and several pieces of parchment; I'm going to write to my guardians and hope to God that my letters reach them before Dumbledore does. I realize that my chances for success are slim-to-none, but I've got to at least try.
I use up nearly all of my spare parchment, and have to write several drafts, but I finally come up with a two-page letter that I feel will best explain the situation to both ladies in the most delicate way possible. I prepare to make a second copy of the letter for Mrs. McGreggor, but quickly think better of it; Mrs. McGreggor is the more hot-headed of the two women, and would almost certainly Apparate to Hogwarts immediately after receiving the letter, fussing the whole while. I quickly scribble a note on the bottom of Ms. Fitzpatrick's letter, giving the excuse that I was nearly out of parchment and asking if she wouldn't mind passing my letter along to Mrs. McGreggor for me. Then I fold the letter, stuff it in an envelope, and slowly begin making my way through the castle and out onto the grounds, up towards the Owlery.
I walk over to a nearby owl that just so happens to be awake, hand him the letter, and ask him to get it to Ms. Fitzpatrick as fast as he can. Just as I watch the owl fly out of the window, the Owlery door bursts open, permitting a cold gust of air to blow in and push my hair up all over my face. I hear someone call my name as I fight to free my face and eyes from their hair-covered prison, and once my vision has been unobstructed I glance towards the still-open door and find Crabbe and Goyle standing there, both of them red in the face and gasping for air.
"What are you two doing here?" I ask, a little wary of the answer I might receive.
"Draco sent us," Crabbe manages to gasp out. "He said... his parents are... on their way to the castle... to talk to Dumbledore. He wanted us to... warn you."
I wince at Crabbe's statement, and at the way he and Goyle are both still panting heavily. They've clearly run all the way up to the Owlery to catch up with me, and the fact that Draco's urged the two of them into doing physical labor tells me just how serious the situation must be. "So his parents took the news that badly, did they?" I ask, already knowing the answer.
"His father's... not happy," Goyle replies, bending over and clutching his side with a grimace. "His mother's trying to... calm him down, though."
"Okay, boys, thank you for telling me," I reply, suddenly feeling the urge to run up to Gryffindor Tower and hide under the covers of my four-poster. At this, I leave the Owlery and slowly make my way back up to the castle, followed closely by Crabbe and Goyle. Just as I step into the entrance hall, a little Hufflepuff first year walks up to me, a letter in his hand.
"You're Jayde Newsome, right?" he asks. I simply nod my head in response, and he continues. "Professor Dumbledore asked me to give you this," he says, extending the letter towards me. I take the letter from him, and he scurries off as soon as I do so. With shaking hands, I open the letter slowly and begin reading it.
Miss Newsome, it reads. Please come to my office as soon as you receive this letter. Sincerely, Professor Dumbledore. P.S. I rather enjoy treacle tart.
Though this last line causes me to raise my eyebrows in confusion, I am more concerned with what will happen once I reach Dumbledore's office. Still clutching the open letter in my hand, I start walking in the direction of the headmaster's office, feeling more dread build up inside of me with each step I take.
When I reach the familiar corridor in which the entrance to the headmaster's office is located, I'm terrified to find that Professor Snape is standing in front of the stone gargoyle waiting for me, wearing a very serious expression. He and I step onto the first steps of the staircase without a word to each other, and he quickly says, "Treacle tart," which was apparently the password to the office's entrance. My palms start sweating profusely and my breathing becomes labored as the staircase moves upward in a spiral motion.
By the time I can see the headmaster's office door a few moments later, I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. Professor Snape opens the door quickly and silently indicates that I should enter ahead of him. Taking a deep breath in an effort to steady myself, I can't help but think Here it comes, as I warily step into the headmaster's office.
Well, here's another chapter, folks! I know it seems like every chapter recently has been about revealing either the relationship or the pregnancy to somebody, but I promise that'll change soon; there's just really a LOT of people who have to find out about this! :P I apologize for the ridiculous amount of time it has taken me to get this written, but I hope the fact that it's fairly long will make up for that somewhat, and I really hope you enjoyed it. And now for the shameless plug: PLEASE review!