Chapter 14 : The Forgotton
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I don't want to make this author's note too long, but I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon) who passed away on the 28th of March due to complications after heart surgery. I loved him and his character so much.
It's where your spirit seems to roam
Like losing faith to our abandoned
Or an empty hallway from a broken home.
The Forgotton - Green Day
I really hated the Hospital Wing.
This place held many awful (and embarrassing) memories for me.
That time in second year when I fell into the great lake and got hypothermia.
The night of Rose's fifteen birthday when I accidentally set fire to my hair with her birthday candles.
That incident in potions last year when I manged to turn my skin purple.
But none of them compared to now.
Never before had I been in so much pain, and never before had I felt so guilty. (Even more so than that time I fell onto Rose's cake)
The silence of the Hospital Wing was what irked me the most. Unusually, there were no other patients. This place was rarely empty, as someone was always suffering from some kind of illness or injury.
Every so often, I could swear I heard a noise coming from outside the double doors, as if someone were pacing back and forth. However, if I held my breath and listened intently, the noise would stop, and I would convince myself that it was all in my head.
As I sat alone in my solitary hospital bed, I contemplated the situation.
James knew I was pregnant.
Had he figured out he was the father?
What had happened after I had been knocked unconscious?
Where was Chastity?
I heard the click of the light in the Nurses office at the end of the hospital wing. Night was falling now. I laid my head back against the pillow and sighed in exasperation.
I knew nothing.
After my friends had left, Madam Pomfrey had sat down next to me, and told me about my injuries which she had managed to heal. My leg had been broken, as well as my right arm and wrist. Even my ribs had taken a bruising. But none of these mattered to me. All that mattered was that my baby was safe.
And for some unexplained miracle, it was.
I looked up when I heard the shuffling outside the Hospital Wing doors start again. I shook my head and held my breath. There was definitely someone out there.
I was about to call out to Madam Pomfrey in the Nurse's office when the doors were thrown open.
I sat up in the bed when I saw it was James who strode into the room. Although he walked with purpose, his thoughts seemed to be miles away. He walked to the foot of my bed, pulled out his wand, and with a cautious look to the closed door of the Nurse's office, whispered. "Muffliato"
I felt the nerves swirl around in my stomach as James started pacing back and forth, his eyes flicking around as though they were chasing his thoughts as they sprinted around the room.
A knot in my stomach formed when he stopped walking and finally raised his gaze to look me in the eye.
We stared in silence for a long time. Him, standing as still as a statue and as pale as a ghost, me sitting in the single hospital bed and holding my breath.
"Is it mine?"
His voice broke in the middle of his sentence and his eyes stared warily at me as he waited for my answer.
I swallowed hard and avoided his eyes, looking awkwardly around the room.
"Is what yours?"
James didn't seem to appreciate my cryptic answer. At all. He kicked the end of the bed in frustration "What do you think?" He shouted.
I winced and sat back in the bed. James, realising he was losing his cool, blew out a breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. "The baby. Is it mine?"
I ran a hand through my hair and looked down at the sheets which were covering the lower half of my body. I wanted to say something, but it was like I couldn't form the words. "Answer me!" James exclaimed
"Yes, okay?" The little colour that was in his face drained away entirely. "Yes! It's yours!"
I thought that once I had told the truth, I would feel better. James would know, and I wouldn't have to worry so much. I could actually concentrate on my baby and not all the secrets I was keeping. I was expecting it to feel like some weight had been lifted.
It didn't feel like that at all.
Watching James struggle to stay calm, as he turned his back to me, I felt even more guilty than before. Damn it, I should have just fled to Mexico when I had the chance.
"Fuck." James voice was loud and strong. He yanked his hands through his dark hair, making it even messier than usual. "Fuck!"
I bit my lip as I watched him walk around in a circle, trying to deal with the news.
"What are we going to do?" When his eyes met mine I could see they were full of torment, exactly as mine had been that night in the bathroom when I had just found out.
I cleared my throat. "I'm keeping it."
James looked back at me. I could tell he was at war with himself.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
I frowned, "I didn't know how you would react."
James let out a snort. "I didn't know how you would react, she says." He spoke out loud as if he were speaking to a third person in the room.
He turned back to me "You didn't know how I would react? That's it? You kept this secret from me for what, four months, because you didn't know how I would react?!" His voice was gradually getting louder and louder and I could physically see his face grow redder.
"How could I tell you? We weren't even speaking to each other until Christmas! And that didn't even last for a week!" I shouted back.
"Exactly! How do you expect us to raise a child together when we can't even last a week without fighting?"
"I never asked for this! It's not like it was a choice!" I yelled, tears threatening to fall.
James began grinding his teeth. "Neither did I! Do you think I wanted this? I'm seventeen, I don't even know the first thing about raising a child. I couldn't even keep a toad alive for more than a month!"
"That was when you were a kid!"
"Same difference! I'm not a father, that's the point."
The tears that had been brimming in my eyes spilled over as I stared at James, who was breathing heavily as he looked back at me.
I cleared my throat and wiped my eyes. "So what are you saying?"
James began pacing again. "I don't know. I don't fucking know!" His voice broke in the middle of the sentence. "You didn't even tell me, you didn't even give me a choice in the matter."
"What choice is there to make? What happened, happened."
"How could you keep something this big from me?" James turned his face away and I saw his swipe subtly at his eyes with his sleeve. "I just... I can't do this." And with that, he turned on his heel and marched back out of the Hospital Wing as he had earlier, once again leaving me in tears.
It was all out in the open now. I spent hours trying to fall asleep, I tossed and turned, thinking about what James had said. So he didn't want anything to do with me or our child now. Excellent.
I suppose there was only one thing left for me to do. Leave Hogwarts, go home to Mum, if she would take me, have the baby, and pray to Merlin that the media never find out my child's grandfather was Harry Potter.
Alright. I had a plan. That was an improvement, at least.
My resolve setting, I finally fell into a restless sleep.
I winced, scrunching my eyes against the morning light that was shining on my face.
I opened one eye slowly to see Madam Pomfrey standing beside my bed.
She had a cold flannel pressed to my forehead, as she dabbed lightly.
"Professor McGonagall has called for you." Madam Pomfrey gave me a tight smile, but we both knew what Professor McGonagall wanted me for.
"And does she...?" I coughed awkwardly, trailing off.
Madam Pomfrey nodded. "She is aware of your situation, yes. She agreed to wait until your health had improved before discussing the matter with you."
I took a deep breath. Of course McGonagall knew. I'm sure a duel between two students resulting in injury of one of them couldn't be kept a secret from the headmistress of Hogwarts. Is that what happened to Chastity then? Was she expelled?
"I have laid out your robes for you, take your time getting ready." With that, Madam Pomfrey left me to dress myself.
I noticed the robes she had given me were not my regular ones. These were bigger, especially around the middle. Were these maternity robes? Seriously?
I pulled them on over my head and my eyebrows rose in shock when I realised how comfortable they were. My Merlin, I could wear these all the time.
When I looked in the mirror on the wall, I saw my face was very pale. The dark bags under my eyes confirmed my sleepless night and my eyes themselves were puffy and blood-shot from crying.
Seeing my reflection only reminded my of last nights events. I blinked hard and swallowed harshly to fight against the lump forming in my throat. No. No more thinking about James. I could do this alone. I didn't need him.
I peeked out from behind the separator that offered me privacy from the rest of the hospital Wing. "Em... shall I go, then?" I called out to Madam Pomfrey. She emerged from the Nurse's office to walk over to me.
"I'll escort you."
The two of us walked in silence until we reached the ugly, stone gargoyle that guarded the Headmistress' office. I had never had to come here before. Only rule-breakers and disobedient students had to see the headmistress. I guess I was one of them now.
I clutched my stomach against the nervous butterflies that exploded when Madam Pomfrey uttered, "Albus Dumbledore." and the statue granted us entrance. Fuuuuuck.
Madam Pomfrey tapped a quick rhythm on the wooden door that lead to Professor McGonagall. A quiet but stern voice called, "Come in."
I looked to Madam Pomfrey who nodded at me and stepped back, suggesting I should go in alone. I took a deep breath and pushed open the door into the large circular room.
McGonagall sat behind the head desk in the room. I looked around in awe at the excessive amount paintings and shelves full of books that covered the walls in a way that should have looked cluttered, but somehow didn't.
As I approached the desk, Professor McGonagall stood, her tall frame draped in emerald green robes. Her grey hair was pulled back into a tight bun at the back of her head, and I couldn't help but imagine the horrid headache it must be causing her.
"Take a seat, Ms. Beale."
I gently lowered myself onto one of the chairs that were placed in front of the desk. Professor McGonagall eyed me as I nervously swallowed.
"How are you feeling?" McGonagall's voice was hard, but her eyes showed sympathy. I had never been a trouble-maker. In fact, in a group of people, I was always the quiet one. Not the one to end up sixteen and pregnant.
"Much better. Madam Pomfrey healed me almost completely." I was not surprised to find my voice sounded as quiet and meek as I felt. There was no denying it, I was utterly intimidated.
Professor McGonagall nodded. "And as I'm sure you have figured out, I have been informed of your situation."
I felt a blush spread over my cheeks. "Yes."
"I think it's time we discussed how this will affect your education."
I looked down at my lap and twisted my fingers around each other. McGonagall spoke again, "I also think this is a conversation that the father should be involved in, don't you?" her voice was surprising soft, like she were speaking to a reluctant hippogriff. "Who is it?"
I was about to make some excuse, when I heard a knock on the door of the office. She looked up at the noise in confusion.
"Come in." Her statement sounded like a question.
My eyes widened when the door opened slowly to reveal James.
He took a slow step into the office. McGonagall eyed him suspiciously. "I'm with another student at the moment, Potter." She gestured to where I sat, nervously twiddling my thumbs and looking everywhere but at the father of my child.
James cleared his throat. "I know." I heard him take a deep breath. "And I think this conversation is something I should be a part of." He released the breath and walked up to take the second seat facing McGonagall's desk.
"But.." I started.
James' head whipped to look at me. "What? You want to keep this from me too?" He asked angrily. I sunk back in my chair and reverted my eyes to look at the edge of the mahogany table, trying to ignore the petty tears I felt beginning to form.
Professor McGonagall began, "So, Potter, you are here because-" James interrupted, "It's my kid." He grit his teeth as he spoke. Out of the corner of my eye I saw McGonagall nod her head gently as if she weren't surprised.
I fought off the urge to look at James. I thought he didn't want to be involved? I had basically committed myself to the fact that I would have to be doing this alone, and now here he was, standing (okay, sitting) in front of the headmistress, admitting he was the one who got me pregnant.
I kept my eyes low and didn't say anything but out of the corner of my eye I saw McGonagall pick up a quill and begin scratching out a message onto a piece of parchment. James cracked his knuckles nervously just as she rolled up the parchment and walked over to one of the many windows adorning the wall of the office.
"Athena!" She called. Almost as soon as the words had left her mouth, a beautiful tawny owl flew to the window and outstretched it's foot for the letter to be tied to. McGonagall murmured, "The Potters." and the bird took flight.
She returned to her desk and sighed loudly. "Alright. Potter, Beale. I'm sure you both know what you did was wrong. I could sit here and lecture you all day about responsibility and the repercussions of your actions, but," Her eyes wandered to my stomach, which even though hidden by my new maternity robes, we all knew what was under there. "I'm fairly certain you already understand. It is not my place to discipline you about the results that come from recklessness."
"James, I have notified your parents and they shall be with us shortly. As for you, Ms Beale," McGonagall made a cradle with her hands and rested her chin on them as she looked at me over her small rectangular glasses. "I have been trying to get in contact with your mother since your..." She paused and pursed her lips. "accident." She rubbed a small hand across her forehead. "She was unable to come to Hogwarts due to her busy schedule."
As my eyes wandered around the room, I shrugged. I suppose some would wonder why I was not upset that my only parent had not made time to come and visit me while I was in hospital, but that was just how my mother was. She worked extremely hard, as she should. She was editor-in-chief at the Daily Prophet, and I understood how much she loved her job. Frankly it would be selfish of me to expect her to make unnecessary time for me.
I looked over Professor McGonagall's shoulder at the painting of Albus Dumbledore behind her. "However I have been assured that she would be joining us today."
I froze. "...Today?"
"I think it's about time, don't you?"
Frankly, all I had been really concerned with was James finding out, and now that I was over that hurdle, I was just faced with yet another challenge. I hadn't really given much thought to how my mother would react. We weren't very close, with her work and everything, but I hoped she would support me through this.
"As for your education, you are welcome to remain at Hogwarts until a few weeks before your due date." My due date. The day I would be giving birth. To an actual child.
I automatically looked over to the fireplace to the right of McGonagall's desk when it suddenly erupted in emerald green flames and the small frame of Ginny Potter stormed into the room. "Minerva?" She asked frantically, blinking rapidly as thought she were trying to focus on us. "What's wrong? I came as soon as I got your letter."
Her eyes flicked to me, and without waiting for McGonagall's answer, or even taking a breath, she raced forward and wrapped her arms around me in a tight hug. "Oh, Violet! We heard you were in the hospital wing. Harry and I, we were so worried for you!"
I automatically buried my face in her warm shoulder. The motherly care and sympathy I felt rolling off of her in waves only made the guilty knot in my stomach expand.
I heard, rather than saw the fireplace roar, alerting us to another person entering the office. I looked up over Ginny's shoulder, only to see the one and only Harry Potter, looking very confused and slightly uncomfortable by the scene in front of him.
He cautiously took a step forward. He looked over to his wife before speaking. "I came as fast as I could. What's going on?" His eyes fell to James who had been sitting silently through the entire exchange. "What have you done, James?"
"Why don't you both take a seat?" McGonagall extracted her wand and summoned two chairs to the front of her desk.
When Harry walked past me to take his seat, he placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it gently before sitting down to the right of James.
"Now," He took a breath, "Why are we here?" He asked McGonagall, shooting James and I a disconcerting look.
There was a moment in which nobody said anything. I could see McGonagall was struggling to find a nice way to phrase, "These children are irresponsible idiots and I suggest you punish them for being such insufferable fools." Just as she was about to answer, James beat her to it.
"Violet's pregnant." He uttered.
It took a moment for James' words to sink in before Ginny turned her head to look at me. "Really?" She bit her lip anxiously and grasped my hand. She seemed to be searching for the right words. "Do you need anything?" Her eyes examined mine before she began blasting question at me like a beater whacking bludgers. "How far along are you? Have you told your mother yet? Have you been to Madam Pomfrey? Are you on prenatal potion? Who's the father? Wha-" She stopped mid-sentence and turned to look at James. Nobody said anything and I could practically see the wheels in Ginny's head start turning. She let out a gasp. "No."
Harry hadn't said anything. It seemed as if he had worked out why he and his wife had been called to this meeting as soon as his son had spoken. He stared at the two of us with an unreadable expression as Ginny began babbling.
"Tell me this is some kind of joke." She reached across and shook James arm. "James Potter! Please, for the love of Merlin, tell me this is a prank!"
James looked up into his mother's eyes. He shook his head, a guilty expression his face.
Like a strike of lightening, Ginny's expression changed from one of confusion to absolute fury. "Are you serious?" She breathed out through her nose. "How could you possibly be so careless? You're only seventeen."
James kept his face low, not bothering to argue back. I understood why. He and I both knew what we had done was stupid. But there was no way to take it back.
Harry chose that moment to speak up. His voice was calm, but I could tell it was taking him a lot of effort to control himself. "I'm disappointed in you, James. What about your education?"
McGonagall cleared her throat. "James is in his seventh year. He can still continue his education as before and graduate as planned."
"What about Violet?" Ginny asked. "Does her mother even know what's going on?"
I heard James clench his teeth from the chair beside me. "Her mum didn't even bother to come and see her when she was in Hospital Wing."
I frowned, not liking what he was implying. It's not that my mother doesn't care about me, she just doesn't have a lot of time on her hands. "Hey. I was fine. She was busy. It has nothing to do with you, James."
James looked me in the eyes for the first time. His eyes were blazing with anger and I noticed for the first time just how stressed out he looked. He had circles under his eyes deep enough to even rival mine and he looked like he may fall asleep at any second. "Nothing to do with me? It had something to do with me when I was my your beside, day and night, for three days!" He slumped back in his seat. "Not that you give a shit."
"James!" Ginny scolded.
Before anyone could say anything, the flames in the fireplace turned green for the third time. But this time, my mother was the one who strode out into the office. She was wearing grey robes, and her hair was pulled up into a bun at the back of her head. Her dark brown hair had gained a few more silver and white strands since the last time I had seen her.
She looked at me through her small cat eye glasses that were perched at the end of her nose.
I squirmed under her gaze. Mum always had a way of looking at me as if I were under examination and could never measure up to her expectations.
Mum didn't usually bother with greetings. She liked getting things done quickly and efficiently. She spoke to McGonagall. "So I assume you've called me in because of this..." She waved her arm around as she thought of the correct word to use. "mishap that led to my daughter's hospitalization."
Ginny blinked and intervened. "I wouldn't call it a 'mishap', Adele. From what I heard, Violet was targeted by another student."
Mum gestured her arm through the air like she were waving away smoke from her face, dismissing what Ginny was saying. "It doesn't matter. Where is the other student now?"
I sat up. This was a question I had wondered about too.
Professor McGonagall wiped a hand over her shoulder. "Ms. Everlynch is in St. Mungo's Hospital at the moment. We believe her spell rebounded and threw her back against a wall." For some reason, McGonagall kept her eyes on James as she said this. "However, once she has regained her health, she will be expelled from Hogwarts for using magic against another student with the intention of harm."
Mum smiled. "Excellent. So are we done here? I need to get back to work. The newspaper's going to print in a few hours and I still haven't worked out the kinks in the layout of the front page, so if you would excuse me, I really must be go-"
McGonagall stood. "I don't think we have finished here, Ms. Beale."
Mum furrowed her brow and clicked her tongue. "Can we please speed this up a little, then?"
I took a deep breath, knowing she would prefer if we moved swiftly. It's best to do it fast, like ripping off a plaster. "Mum" I swallowed. "I-I'm pregnant."
My mother's expression didn't change. It was as if I had told her I had gotten a haircut or bought a new shade of nail polish.
She pursed her lips and continued to stare me down with her cold eyes searching mine. "Well." She said sharply. "I can't say I'm surprised."
I blanched. "What?"
Mum's stern expression didn't falter. "I always knew you would never amount to much."
I heard Ginny gasp behind me. My mouth popped open slightly as my mum continued. "You always were a disappointment to me."
Each word from her mouth hit me like a blow to the stomach. Where was this coming from? I knew my mother and I weren't very close, but I never, ever thought she thought so lowly of me.
"You have no ambition, no drive. You haven't achieved anything in your life, except getting yourself pregnant at sixteen." She laughed without humour. "And I can assume that you're the father, yes?" Now she spoke to James. His jaw was clenched and I could see a vein throbbing in his neck as he nodded at my mother.
She scoffed. "Well congratulations, Violet. You're having a lovechild with the son of the chosen one. A boy who can live off his father's fame for the rest of his life without ever having to work for anything." She held her nose high in the air.
"Oi!" It was Harry who spoke. "That's my son you're talking about."
Mum didn't remove her icy stare from me. "I am well aware."
She moved on, "How could you possibly be so stupid?" I couldn't reply due to the rather large lump in my throat at the tears that were blurring my eyes.
"You'll end up alone and caring for a child by yourself. Mark my words." She turned on her heel and started walking towards the fireplace.
"Mum..." I choked out through the tears.
She flipped back around to stab me with her cold stare once again. "You are no daughter of mine."
And with that, my mother flooed out of the office, leaving me alone, in tears, with no back-up plan.
Ginny rushed over to be and wrapped me into a hug. "Oh, Violet." Her voice was choked up and it was then that I realised that she had begun to cry too. "I'm sorry, sweetheart." She rocked me gently back and forth. "I'm so so sorry." Her kind, motherly words induced the tears that I had been holding back to begin to flow once again. The sobs that emitted from me were honestly really embarrassing, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. My mum was my only family. Now I had no one. No one but my baby, who would have to deal with my shitty parenting and would probably end up hating me.
Ginny pulled back and looked at me as if she could hear my thoughts. "You have us. We'll help you through this." Ginny reached out and placed her hand on top of James. "This isn't the end of the world."
Harry placed a hand on his son's shoulder. "We'll get through this." James wouldn't look at me, but it seemed like he was close to tears too.
What a mess.
That night I was sat up in bed, unable to sleep. Again.
After I was welcomed back to my dorm by Rose, Alex, Ruby and Missy, I spent the majority of the day in bed. The girls all assumed it was because I was too tired after my stint in the Hospital Wing, but the truth was the emotional strain was beginning to take it's toll on me. Not only losing my mother, but the pressure of keeping this secret from my friends.
Only Rose knew that I was pregnant, but even she didn't know who the father was.
They all slept soundly in their beds, except for Rose's expected snoring, oblivious to my struggles. What was I going to do about money? Where would I live? I had been relying entirely on my mother, and now she had abandoned me... well, I have no idea how things would play out.
And James. His parent's had agreed to help me, but him? I had no idea how he felt. He had showed up at the headmistress' office, and owned up to being the father, but he had not given me the impression that he wanted to do it. I didn't want to force him into something he didn't want, especially if it meant he would end up resenting me, or worse, his child.
I ran a hand over the my stomach through the fabric of my tank top. Looking around in the dim light at the beds of my friends and insuring they were all asleep, I cautiously lifted my top up, revealing my small bump. I ran a hand over the slight swell protruding between my hips. It's so weird to think that there was a baby in there. Like, an actual kid. My kid. I haven't even met it yet and already I could never imagine leaving it the way my mother had left me.
My thoughts were interrupted my a quiet knock on the window of the dorm. The heavy red curtains had been drawn so I couldn't see outside. Unsure what to do, I instinctively picked up my wand and pointed at the window. The knock sounded again, but slightly louder this time.
Quietly, I climbed off of my bed and tip-toed to the window. Keeping my wand pointed forward, I lifted my left hand and slowly peeled back the curtain. Outside the window, floating on his broom, was a tired looking James.
I stared at him for a moment before unlocking the latch that held the window closed. I pushed it open wide enough for him to climb in, taking his broom with him. He clambered in, landing softly on his feet and checking to see if he had woken anyone.
I took a deep breath and ignored the slight dizziness I felt at the sight of James in his pyjamas. I looked down at myself and blushed when I realised my top was still bunched up under my boobs, revealing my stomach. I reached up to pull it back down, but James grabbed my hand.
James looked down at me, as if silently asking permission. My breath hitched in my throat as I slowly nodded. He reached down warily, unsure of himself, and gently pressed his hand against my stomach. He exhaled and slowly looked at me, a glimmer in his eyes that made me smile. He moved his hand across my bump, making my heart beat harder.
He swallowed hard. "We're in this together." He whispered.
I nodded, unable to speak.
"This is my kid too." James muttered fervently. He removed his hand from my stomach and helped me pull down my tank top. "I just wanted you to know that, I don't want you to worry about me not being committed to this."
He stood back up to his full height. "I should go."
He went to the window to leave, but I found myself reaching forward to touch his arm. "James... could- could you stay with me? I don't want to be by myself tonight." I chewed on my lip nervously.
James ran a hand through his messy hair, in thought. After a moment, he nodded. "Sure."
I sat down on the bed and made room for him on the other side. He climbed in under the covers and I reached to turn off the lamp beside my bed. Half-pulling the curtain around my bed closed, I got under the covers and stared at the ceiling in the dark.
And just like that, with James beside me, for the first time in a long time, I slept through the whole night.
A/N: Thank you all so much for reading! I'll try and update the next chapter sooner than I did this one. As usual, please review, they always inspire me and make me smile :)
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