Chapter 32 : Valentine's Days, Pictures and Daddy Drama
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I roll my eyes at her. “Milla, please, you know you look fabulous.”
“Don’t say that!” Milla whispers back to me, looking anguished. “I know I don’t.”
I can’t help myself: I roll my eyes again. I nudge Milla and nod towards the crowd of boys walking towards us, all gazing at Milla with gaping jaws and wide eyes. “Well they obviously think you do.”
“Yes, but this is Scorpius we’re talking about here!” Milla mutters, looking worried. (Though, admittedly, she couldn’t stop herself from waving and winking at the admiring boys.)
“Merlin, Milla! It’s obvious Scorpius is smitten with you. You could turn up in a potato sack and he’d still think you were gorgeous,” I exclaim, annoyed now.
Milla turns to face me and breaks into a grin. “Who says ‘smitten’?”
I sigh and shoulder bump her. “Oh shut it, you.”
Milla’s smile slides off her face and she bites the inside of her cheek. “Are you sure I look okay?”
Realising this is the only way to get her to shut up, I push her in front of me and stand behind her, gazing at her. She’s made a miraculous recovery from the flu or whatever and has returned to her usual glamour. Gone is the banshee and behold! the badass princess in pink. She’s wearing a light pink and white playsuit with a dark blue jacket that she wore despite my objections (“That will not keep the wind off you! You’ll be freezing!”) and has curled her hair, letting it hang around her face. She looks very glamorous and beautiful.
“You look brilliant Milla. Trust me,” I smile at her, attempting to reassure her. She looks mollified and walks down the corridor with her usual strut, confidence restored.
I follow her into the Great Hall and we head to our normal place on the Gryffindor table, Milla simply glowing from the looks she’s receiving. We sit down and I help myself to some toast, she taking a bowl of fruit. We’re about half way through our breakfast when Lara and Laura join us, both looking rather glamorously slutty.
Milla is making a good job of hiding her nerves in front of the girls, but I can feel her foot tapping besides mine. She’s so nervous. Which is odd: I’d never have thought Milla get nervous before dates- she’s been on enough.
She has, to be fair. She must really like Scorpius. Huh.
We finish breakfast at a leisurely pace, joking and laughing before getting up and leaving the Hall. Milla is pretending to be heading into Hogsmeade with me, claiming she feels bad for me being alone. I did have a choice of two dates, thank you very much! I chose to be alone! We’re at the Entrance Hall and Filch is there, as per usual, glaring at us and looking very disappointed when he can’t see anything wrong with our Hogsmeade slips.
“Merlin, how old is he? When is he just going to die?” Laura whines once we’ve left Filch, glowering, behind us. Lara and Milla laugh and I nudge her.
“You can’t say that sort of thing, Laura!” I roll my eyes at her but she just ignores me.
“Ooh, who’s McLaggen with?” Lara giggles, pointing to the tall, lumbering figure in front of us. Mark McLaggen has his arm round someone, but unfortunately, his arm obscures her mostly from view. We all squint at them, intrigued by the latest gossip. Finally, McLaggen moves his arm a little, revealing a head of curly red hair.
“Is that-” Laura starts.
“No way!” I mutter.
“Rose fucking Weasley,” Milla growls.
“I did not know they were dating! What happened between her and Scorpius anyways?” Lara murmurs quietly.
“Neither did I.” Milla says between gritted teeth. I know why- Milla and Scorpius were only keeping their date a secret to stop Rose from getting hurt. If she’s flaunting her new date, then would it have mattered about Milla and Scorp?
We mutter about it all the way to Hogsmeade and only stop when the couple halt suddenly, obviously discussing where to go. It’s cold, people, go inside! At that moment, a figure appears behind us. “Hullo!”
We all turn to see Scorpius stood, wrapped up well, beaming. “Hi, Scorpius,” I reply easily while Milla blushes and Lara and Laura bat their eyelashes at him. I watch him carefully and see his eyes drift towards Rose and McLaggen, widen as he recognises them, and then squint into a frown, a steely look glazing over them. Then, they are his usual shining grey eyes. He’s back to normal.
“You look amazing,” he says cheerfully to Milla who steels herself and manages a flirtatious smile.
“Thanks, so do you,” she replies easily.
“You ready?” he asks her loudly. She nods and he smiles, offering her his hand. She takes it and they both bid their goodbyes and walk off towards Madam Pudifoot’s. Don’t think I’ll be missing much at that Hell hole.
“Are they dating?” Lara asks me, eyes wide and expression shocked. Laura just gazes at their fading figures, gawping unattractively.
I shrug, trying to be nonchalant. “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”
“She didn’t tell me!” Lara cries indignantly.
Laura snaps out of stupor instantly. “Bitch.”
Both stalk off, huddled together, obviously scheming and gossiping. They’re headed in the general direction of where they were supposed to meet their dates. Well, I’m on my own. On Valentine’s Day. What a surprise.
As I wonder of towards The Three Broomsticks for a Butterbeer, I glance quickly at Rose and McLaggen. He’s chatting animatedly but Rose looks distant and is just nodding whenever he looks at her expectantly. I watch her for a moment and see her eyes slip into focus and slide to look at where Scorpius and Milla were clutching hands a few moments before. She looks troubled as she tears her gaze away. Unfortunately, she catches me looking at her and stares back. We just look at each other and I’m surprised not to receive a death glare. Instead, she just looks quite sad.
Biting my lip, I turn away, breaking the gaze, and head into The Three Broomsticks.
I almost feel sorry for her.
“Write to me!” I yell to Milla over the hubbub.
“ALRIGHT! SEE YOU IN A WEEK!” Milla screeches back, though nobody blinks in shock- it’s so loud anyway. I drag my trunk through the heaving crowd, knocking several bounding children out of the way with it.
I swear I was never that short. Oh wait, I still am.
I think I just dissed myself. Huh.
I finally break through the crowd and reach an emptier space near the wall back to the Muggle part of the station. I stop and catch my breath for a moment before peering through the crowd, searching for Angus and my mum. Mum was supposed to be meeting me here to give me and Angus a lift back home. I lean on my trunk deciding to wait here; if they come this way to get out of Platform Nine and Three Quarters, I’ll see them.
“Come on Rosie! Hugh!” a voice booms over the rumble of noise and I spot a tall redhead- Ron- hurrying through the crowd followed by Rose, Hugo, Hermione and a dark-haired girl I don’t recognise. Ron spots me and waves at me as they break free of the crowd.
“Alright, Kat? Need a lift?” he grins.
I shake my head and smile friendlily back. “No thanks, Mr Weasley! My mum is in the crowd somewhere, I’ll spot her eventually. Have a good holiday!”
Ron nods in return and he and Hugo disappear through the wall. Rose is pointedly ignoring me whilst the dark-haired girl looks at me curiously. Her near black eyes glint intimidatingly in the light; my guess is that she’s a Slytherin. Definite snake like qualities about her.
“Rose, say hi to Katrina!” Hermione looks at her daughter meaningfully before smiling at me.
“Hi.” Rose says curtly and shrugs off her mother angrily. Hermione looks hurt and frowns at me and Rose. She looks at me questioningly and I avoid her gaze.
What? I heard she’s a skilled Legilimens! I’m not risking her reading my mind!
Finally, she just shakes her head and falls through the wall, back into the Muggle world.
“Is that her?” the girl whispers audibly to Rose.
Rose nods back quickly before muttering darkly. “Come on, Connie.” So that’s Connie. Rose runs through the wall without a glance at me, tugging on Connie’s arm. Connie looks back at me one last time; I stare defiantly back at her but then Connie smirks at me and there’s something off with that smirk, something I don’t like. Suddenly, I have the urge to run after Rose and warn her but then I realise that I don’t have anything to warn her about. Then Connie disappears.
I don’t have long to dwell on Connie because I’m unexpectedly attacked by a large and heavy person.
“Hey little sis!”
“Tyrique?” I gasp and he breaks away from the hug, yanking hair out of my face and mouth. My brother is stood there, grinning mischievously as per usual, and behind him is my mum and a bored looking Angus. “I didn’t know you were back!”
“Wanted to surprise you, didn’t I?!” Ty laughs, throwing his head back. I stand up again and laugh too, though it’s not particularly funny- I’ve just missed my brother a lot.
“Count me surprised!” I chuckle and look Tyrique up and down. He looks older, stronger but he still looks young and carefree. The war hasn’t taken away that I’m pleased to see. His light blonde hair is still cropped short which I don’t like- I preferred it when it was long and messy. His bright blue eyes sparkle and his smile is, like always, shaped in such a way that suggests he’s plotting something or knows something you don’t.
“Hello, darling,” mum smiles and envelops me in a hug. I hug her back and let go when Angus interrupts-
“’Sup, bro?” Tyrique asks Angus over breakfast three days later. I don’t look up- I doubt we’ll get anything out of him. I’m just finishing a letter to Milla, quizzing her on the “deets” (as the young folk say) on her date with Scorpy boy.
Angus has been particularly moody since we got back; he disappeared into his room as soon as entered the house and only reappeared for meals each day. Then, when mum tried to ask if anything was wrong, he stalked out and slammed his bedroom door with a lot of unneeded force. I feel no pity for my for my fourteen year old brother- I have been through the shitty teenaged life stage (Heck, I’m not even out of it yet) and I ain’t looking back. I expect he’s moaning over something to do with Polly or Poppy or whatever the fuck her name is.
When he doesn’t answer I chip in with those thoughts. “He won’t say anything, Ty. Something to do with Poppy, Gus?”
To my upmost surprise, Gus lets out a sob and collapses onto the table, head into hands. Tyrique looks up at me, eyes wide in shock. He reluctantly pats Angus on the shoulder- it’s his attempt at comforting. Shit, it was Polly wasn’t it, not Poppy! You don’t think he’s annoyed I got her name wrong?
“Sh-she b-broke up with me!” Angus croaks in despair, not lifting his head from his arms. I have the urge to do a victory dance but I manage to stifle it. My brother may be a twat but he’s my twat, so I have to comfort him.
“Gus!” I coo at him, standing up and moving closer to him, hugging him to me. He bats my arms away. Okay, he’s not upset enough for a hug from his sister. I look at Tyrique pointedly, silently indicating that he should try his comfort tactics. Brother to brother and all of that.
Ty shrugs at me and then sighs. “Hey, bro, it’s okay. You’ll be okay! This girl sounds like an idiot from what Kat’s told me about her-”
Thanks, Tyrique for dropping me in it.
“-so you could do much better than her. Besides, you’re my brother which means we’re fucking hot stuff, Gussyboy. Our dad must’ve been a beast, I tell you. A beast.” Tyrique finishes off, giving Angus another reassuring pat on his back. I squirm uncomfortably at his comment about our dad: it just reminds me of what I’ve got planned for this holiday.
Fortunately, it seems to have the right effect on Angus who laughs a watery chuckle. He sits up and brushes away his tears and glares angrily at the other side of the room. “She dumped me for Avery.”
“No!” I exclaim, shocked. Avery is another of Angus’ best friends. Oh, the excitement in a third year’s life.
“Shhhllaaaagggg,” Tyrique hisses, drawing out the word and making us all laugh.
“My life sucks!” Angus wails, slumping back into his seat and folding his arms in an angry gesture.
“’Least some guy didn’t get your best friend pregnant and you didn’t snog your boyfriend’s brother. You know, life could be worse,” I say wisely, sitting down next to Angus. He laughs, understanding the reference but Tyrique just frowns at me, confused. I shake my head at him, promising to explain later.
“You’re right!” Angus says, looking a lot happier. He stands up and makes to leave the kitchen. “I’m going to owl Avery right now and tell him what a dick he is!” With that, he storms out of the room, leaving me and Tyrique grimacing.
“I don’t think he quite got our point,” I giggle to Tyrique who nods in agreement. We stay in silence for a few minutes, finding comfort in our relaxed silence. I stare around the room happily, glad to be home. As I reach for another piece of toast, I spot a photograph by the marmalade jar. I pick it up and look at it.
“What’s this?” I ask Tyrique quietly, gazing at it. He reaches for it and smiles before budging closer to me so we can both look at it.
“A picture of me and the guys back in Afghan. When we first got sent there,” Tyrique explains quietly. I peer at it, seeking out Tyrique and find him quickly. He’s stood next to a very tall lad and a short girl, arms wrapped around the girl. He’s in the middle of a laugh and his other hand is running through his brutally short haircut. He looks a lot younger, I notice. I didn’t think he’d aged much, but looking at this, I realise he has. His eyes are crinkled from the laugh and his mouth is wide open; a true smile. He’s surrounded by other men and women, all laughing and obviously sharing jokes. A few are posing funnily while one or two are stood on the outside, looking uncomfortable.
Then I notice something funny with the picture. Some of the people in it, including the tall man next to Ty, have crosses struck across their faces, scratched in with a finger nail or something sharp.
Tyrique jabs a finger at the first man on the left. “That’s Hunter. He was dead in a week.” Ty points at the girl next to the first man. “Died two months ago. Shot in the back of the head she was.” And the next. “Send home after we found her wandering alone in the town. Went mad from everything she saw. She’s still in a mental hospital, Lottie tells me. Poor sod. Kevin went missing after a raid. We never found his body.” His voice is oddly harsh.
His voice merely gets louder. He jabs at the man he’s next to. “Lee had his leg blown off earlier this year. Lucky bugger got sent home. Jasmine got blown apart in the second week. We couldn’t find anything to bury.”
“Dead. Dead. Sent home -”
“Tyrique, stop!” I beg him, trying not to shout.
“It’s just us five left from the original group. Me, Lottie, Yves, Alex and Vince. Just us.” Tyrique was trying to sound nonchalant but was failing. I could hear the emotion in his voice.
“Tyrique, I’m sor-”
Before I can say anything more, he’s on his feet, tense. “Don’t. Don’t. It doesn’t matter, nothing matters.” Tyrique shakes his head and, dropping the picture, he leaves the room quickly.
“What did the dentist of the year get? A little plaque!” Tyrique snorts in laughter and stops pulling the face he’s been pulling during the joke. I roar in laughter at Ty’s impression of Dennis. We’re all fond of Dennis- he makes my mum happy so that’s good enough for me- but that was such a spot on imitation of Dennis. He cracks such lame jokes, all to do with his career choice. That’s how he greets me; with a joke.
“Hullo Katrina! Now answer me this: Why didn’t the dentist ask his secretary out on a date?” He’d wait for me to say, “No, why didn’t the dentist ask his secretary out on a date?” before answering.
“Because he was already taking a tooth out!” Cue Dennis’ hysterical laughter and my weak smile (or a grimace if you prefer).
“I’ve got one I might suggest to him next time he comes round for tea. Are you ready? You better prepare yourself, it’s a cracking one!” Tyrique teases me.
“I’ll brace myself! Haha, gettit? Gettit? My humour is wasted on you Tyrique,” I sigh as Tyrique looks blank.
“What did the dentist see in the North Pole?” Tyrique asks me, looking giddy once more.
“I don’t know, what did the dentist see in the North Pole?” I respond easily.
“A molar bear!” Tyrique shrieks, laughing loudly.
I merely shake my head and tut. “That was certainly a joke worth of Dennis. It was terrible, Ty!”
“You have no sense of humour. I find Dennis’ jokes hysterical!” Tyrique chuckles sarcastically. I shake my head at him again and flop back on to my bed. We’re sat in my bedroom, me on the bed, him in my chair by the dressing table.
The room is painted a deep red- I repainted it after I was sorted into Gryffindor- and is littered with books and quills and various other school stuff. Tyrique always steals my books when we’re both home: he loves reading them even though he understands none of it.
“So what’s your mission, Kat?” Tyrique asks me suddenly. I look up and frown at him, confused by his question. When I don’t answer, he continues. “You left a letter from that Scorpius bloke on the kitchen table. I picked it up before Mum could read it, don’t worry. But I had a look, I know I shouldn’t have but I’m a nosy bastard. It just said ‘Don’t forget your mission!’ so I want to know what it is.”
I sigh. “You really are a nosy bastard, you got that right. Right. Well, Scorpius has only just relatively recently become a good friend. And he asked me about Dad,” I began, slowly picking the right words. Tyrique nods, showing he’s listening to doesn’t say anything. “He wanted to know why I didn’t know anything about him and so we started to research him-”
“Did you find anything on him?” Tyrique interrupts eagerly, leaning forward.
I shake my head. “I didn’t have anything to go off. But Scorpius gave me a couple of ideas. My mission was to question Mum.”
Tyrique nods, excited. “That’s a good idea. I’ve been waiting for years to ask Mum about Dad. We definitely should! But what were these ideas you came up with?”
I shrugged uncomfortably. “He, uh, suggested that perhaps…” my mouth suddenly went dry. “Perhaps there were two men involved.”
Tyrique frowned and shook his head. “I don’t understand you.”
“He got me thinking about… About the age gap between you and me. About how it’s strange how he had to be still around to get Mum pregnant with Angus and yet you don’t remember anything about him, even though you were old enough to have memories of people. About how me and Gus look alike but you…”
“I don’t. He reckons I have a different Dad.” Ty finishes for me, leaning backwards and looking like he’s thinking hard. “That’s a good theory. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you didn’t want to,” I whisper quietly.
Tyrique nods slowly before standing up, looking oddly calm. “Come on, then.”
“Come on where?” I ask him, surprised and confused.
“We’re going to confront Mum now,” he informs me, completely at ease.
Before I can say another word, he’s gone and without thinking, I’m following. He’s tapping on Angus’ door and telling him to come downstairs because he doesn’t want to miss this. Then we’re downstairs and we enter the kitchen where Mum is singing to herself, washing the dishes. Tyrique is telling Mum we want to talk to her and she’s frowning and dries her hands. She’s sitting down opposite us and trying to work out what we want and Angus is looking completely puzzled.
“We want to know who our Dad is,” Tyrique says bluntly, straight to the point.
Mum sighs and leans back. “What brought this on?”
“We’ve got two different Dads haven’t we?” Tyrique bursts out quickly. Angus yelps in surprise and turns to face us in shock.
“How did you guess that?” Mum asks, looking just as shocked but also a little relieved. I suppose she thought she was going to have to explain that shocker to us too. But she doesn’t.
“Kat’s been doing some thinking and research,” Tyrique answers shortly; I can feel him getting impatient. I blush at the mention of my name and mum turns to look at me, looking worried.
“Well, you’re correct. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I just wanted us to feel like one big family-” Mum begins, her voice pleading, begging us to understand.
“Just give me a name, Mum,” Tyrique cuts across her angrily. I turn to face him so quickly my neck cracks. Rubbing my neck, I gawp at him. I’ve never heard his tone so cold when he’s been talking to mum before.
“Your dad was someone I met at university, Ty. It all happened very quickly and he wasn’t ready to be a father. He did what he thought was best for you.” Mum rushes on, eyes wide.
“So my dad was just a dentist?” Tyrique whispers, his voice suddenly soft and disappointed. I blink, not understanding his tone.
“Yes, Tyrique. A few years later I met Kat and Angus’ dad and-”
“And he was a Wizard?” Tyrique interrupts again.
Mum frowns. “Yes, I believe he was.”
“Why did he leave?” I ask Mum, intrigued but once again Tyrique cuts across me and asks mum something.
“What was Dad’s name?”
“What was his name?” Tyrique yells angrily, standing up so quickly his chairs falls backwards and skids away from him with a bang. Angus winces at the sound and backs away a little.
“Christopher, Tyrique. Christopher Westwood,” mum says in a small voice.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME? WHY- WHY DIDN’T COME AND FIND ME?” he voice breaks on the final sentence.
“I didn’t think you were old enough. He wasn’t ready for a child, Tyrique, don’t blame him,” Mum whispers, voice frantic.
“NEITHER WERE YOU? WHY DIDN’T HE STAY? WHY WASN’T… WHY COULDN’T I HAVE HAD THEIR DAD?” He yells, pointing accusingly at Angus and me.
“Tyrique…” I murmur, tugging on his hand, trying to get him to sit down. I don’t understand what he’s getting out and he’s scaring me.
“WHY COULDN’T MY DAD HAVE BEEN SPECIAL? INSTEAD OF A GOOD FOR NOTHING PRAT WHO LEFT? Why couldn’t he have been a Wizard?” his voice trails off and my eyes widen, understanding him finally. Suddenly, his nostrils flare again and he yells again, anger back with a vengeance. “WHY COULDN’T I HAVE BEEN A WIZARD? GONE TO HOGWARTS? BEEN… BEEN SPECIAL?”
And now I understand. He’s jealous- I know he’d always been fascinated by Wizards, but I’d never realised he was jealous. Of course, that was stupid of me: imagine how I would’ve felt if had been me with two Wizard brothers and I was painfully, achingly normal.
“WHY? INSTEAD OF FIGHTING A STUPID WAR, SEEING WHAT I HAVE? HAVING TO WATCH MY FRIENDS DIE? Why couldn’t I have had a wand so I could’ve saved them?” Tyrique breaks off suddenly, chest heaving and forehead glistening with sweat. He looks crazed, mad. Angus is stood awkwardly between sitting down and standing up straight. Mum is gazing at Tyrique, plainly terrified. At his words, everyone freezes.
I was wrong- it wasn’t just jealousy. Survivor’s guilt, or something of that sort.
“You couldn’t have saved them, even with a wand. There are some things that even magic can’t stop,” I whisper softly, reaching for his hand. He opens his mouth to retort, but can’t seem to manage anything. Instead, he turns and storms out of the room. I hear his footsteps pound up the stairs and his door crack as his pulls it open with such force, it hits the wall. No-one moves; we’re all just listening to him, assuming he just needs time to cool off.
Five minutes pass, or maybe it was thirty seconds or several hours, days, years. Nobody moves. Nobody even appears to breathe.
And then the sound of his footsteps on the stairs. We are rising, to greet him, to accept his unspoken apology, to comfort him, to apologize to him but he doesn’t come. He’s standing in the hallway with a large rucksack slung across his shoulder and he’s reaching for the door. And I’m realising what’s happening and I’m running to him and I think I might be crying, but I can’t be sure. Mum is sobbing and shouting and Angus is attempting to pull his rucksack from his back. Tyrique is yelling again, and I’m grabbing his hand in an effort to pull him back, but he tries throws it away from him and I’m holding on, screaming,
“Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me, freak!”
And I let go as if he electrocuted me and we stare at him. Everyone is silent and Angus stares at Tyrique with a face of pure disgust. Tyrique realises he’s gone too far and looks shocked at himself. He opens his mouth, to apologize or to shout something else, I don’t know. Angus interrupts and hisses in such an angry voice, “Get out.”
A/N LONG CHAPTER WOOO! That’s a lot of words. Oops. I was going to do it two chapters but that would have meant two short chapters where one was funny and the other was horribly depressing so I tried to mesh them together. Plus it meant less queue time!
Anyways, it was sort of “Hi, Tyrique! Bye Tyrique!” but I hope you got it. I originally wrote in letters between Kat and Ty but I don’t know if I kept them in (that’s a bit bad, isn’t it? Meh, I do so many drafts of these things) because they sucked basically. So ta-dah here’s Tyrqiue. And hello, daddy drama (with more to come).
FINALS NEXT WEEK D: This is why I’m getting this chapter out now, so I can revise and work :( Next chapter will be up in about 2 weeks!
Thank you for reading, keep reviewing!
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