Chapter 10 : Getting Better
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Ever since I’d been sorted into Slytherin, James and I had grown further and further apart. I don’t know why, but for some reason we seemed to become interested in different things and we turned into completely different people, despite the similarities in our appearances. However, The Easter holidays in my fifth year had been different. James had started to mature slightly and we got on better, I even told him my biggest secret, one that I had been too embarrassed to mention before. You see, throughout my fourth and fifth years, I began to develop a crush on my best friend Scorpius’ sister, Viola, yet again highlighting how similar my father and I can be as he also fell for his best friend’s sister; my mother. But after a while, that crush became deeper. I couldn’t get Viola out of my head; I wanted to care for her, kiss her, cuddle her, take her out on romantic walks and spill all my secrets to her. I told James as he himself had told me about a small crush he had on a girl called Claire Summers and I felt that if I contained my secret for any longer then I would explode. James seemed surprised at first but he seemed to understand what I saw in her. I even went on to tell Scorpius himself, but he wasn’t surprised at all; I think he’d noticed my prolonged stares into his sister’s beautiful pale blue eyes.
I’d been spending quite a lot of time with Viola as she and Scorpius tended to frequently hang out together at Hogwarts and of course whenever she came over to our house to tutor Lily with her Potions. I loved talking to her and finding out her interests; she was such a nice, friendly girl considering the family she came from. I desperately wanted to tell her how I felt but I could never find the right time so I decided to do it at Lily’s birthday party as Viola was invited. That night I got dressed up in my best clothes; a black jacket and trousers with a thin, sleek black tie over a crisp white shirt. I also tried endlessly to tame the messy hair which I’d unfortunately inherited from my father, but it wouldn’t work. I then put on my glasses and made my way downstairs where the party had already started. The entire ground floor of the house was alive with chatter, food, drinks and fairy lights. Then I noticed her; her hair was a long, shiny pale blonde and she was wearing a beautiful blue dress to match her eyes. I began to walk towards her, desperately flattening my hair, when suddenly I was beaten by James who had walked right up to her and started a conversation. My stomach sank and I turned away to go into the kitchen. Of course James had to get there first. He was always the most popular, most confident person. Why the hell did I ever think I had a chance with Viola? She was pretty, smart, well-liked and generally a lovely person; why would she want to go out with me, a scrawny, shy first-year whose only real friend was her own brother?
I spent the rest of the night sulking in the kitchen where there were only a few people; all of whom were thankfully too drunk to notice me sitting there on my own. I’d never wanted to drink as I’d never seen the point in it; why would you voluntarily choose to waste money by poisoning your body and consequently ending up in many embarrassing and dangerous situations that always ended with you throwing-up in some drain somewhere?
I should have known that something would have happened between James and Viola that night; it was inevitable yet it still hurt so much to think about it. I remember sitting in a carriage on the Hogwarts Express and seeing a solemn-looking Viola making her way into the compartment. I couldn’t help but notice how she seemed overly-tired but I turned a blind eye towards it. And, of course, I remember when I suddenly saw her apparate into the grounds just outside the Hogwarts gate. We got into an argument when I noticed something had dropped from her pocket; a photo. But not just any photo; it was a baby photo, from a muggle ultrasound machine. As soon as I saw it I felt like a ten tonne weight had been dropped in my stomach and my head started spinning as I realised that it could only mean one thing; Viola was pregnant. I wanted to vomit. It couldn’t be true, how could lovely, innocent Viola be pregnant? It was even worse when she told me it was his. I suddenly felt the urge to kill my brother as anger, jealousy and frustration burst through me. How could he do this to her? He knew that I loved her and yet he slept with her! But then, as always, I had to mess everything up by blurting out in front of crowds of students and Viola herself that I loved her. I also happened to tell him about the baby. Viola’s baby. I couldn’t stand the thought so I let out all my anger on him. We carried on our fight in the castle until Professor McGonagall caught us and consequently made him tell her what was going on. Then my parents and Viola’s parents found out of course. It was horrible. I think Dad could tell that I loved Viola somewhat and therefore he was deeply disappointed in him. I decided to remain silent throughout the whole thing, too angry and embarrassed to say anything.
The meeting ended when he ran out and I decided to leave too; I didn’t want to have to explain myself to Viola so I quickly went back to my dorm. In the common room I received a tirade of questions about him, but I just ignored them and went straight to bed. I couldn’t deal with the whole situation. If that baby should have been anyone’s, it should have been mine; not that I particularly wanted to be a teenage dad but I knew I’d make a damn better father than him. What if he decided not to support Viola? Would she let me step in instead? I was confused and frustrated so I decided to just try and get to sleep.
The next day, the news had unfortunately spread around school. People shot looks of pity at me in the corridors and I hated it; I didn’t need their sympathy, for merlin’s sake! I spent the majority of the day avoiding everyone, my only company being Scorpius who looked almost as tired as Viola:
“Listen Al, I’m sorry about all this.”
“Don’t be, it’s not your fault.”
“Yeah I know, but I know how you must be feeling at the moment.”
“No you don’t.”
“Honestly Al, can’t you just try and let someone empathise with you for one in your life?!”
“Sorry, it’s just…”
“Yeah, I know,” he said awkwardly, “but I think you should know that Viola never meant for any of this to happen, she was drunk and well… y’know.”
“Yeah, I realise that. It’s not her that I’m angry at, it’s him.”
“Well of course you are, I mean, you have every right to be, but try not to give him a hard time about it; the rest of the school has already sought to do that.”
“But Scorp, he knew that I loved her and still do! And now she’s having to become a teenage mother and look after a kid at seventeen all because of him! It’s all his fault!” I exclaimed angrily.
“Look Al, I know you see Viola as being completely innocent in all this but she’s really not. Part of her wanted to sleep with James that night. She’s always had a small crush on him.”
“What?” I said, nonplussed.
“Didn’t you know? She’s always had a little soft-spot for him, although, mind you, I doubt she does anymore.” I was in shock. Was it true, had I actually missed this? Surely if she had fancied him then I would have noticed? However, my thoughts were soon distracted by a clatter at the table as the ever-clumsy Ciaran Finnigan sat down on our desk and slammed down a copy of The Daily Prophet. Ciaran was a friend of mine however we’d never gotten too close as we were in different houses so didn’t spend so much time together.
“Albus!” he exclaimed, “have you seen this?”
“What?” I asked, confused.”
“Rita Skeeter’s been invading everyone’s personal lives without knowing sufficient information again!” he said angrily. I looked at the paper and groaned as I read the headline and the first few sentences, which was enough to know that carrying on reading the article would have been a waste of time due to the lies it probably contained.
“Oh merlin.” I said, my heart sinking. I hated how everyone in the wizarding world was now going to think that Viola was some sort of slut. I also hated how the article mentioned me, how had Skeeter even known all this information anyway?
I was relieved when the lesson was finally over and we could leave. I immediately left and made my way to my dormitory. I saw Lily on the way and she asked me how I was:
“Hey Al. How are you?”
“Not great.” I replied in a bored manner.
“I heard about the baby.”
“Oh did you?” I asked, trying to act surprised.
“Look Al, I’ve already given James a good earful for you.” She said, half-smiling.
“Thanks Lil, I always knew I could rely on you to improve a situation.” I said jokingly, my face feeling quite stiff as I smiled.
“So, a niece or nephew, how about it eh?” she said.
“Mmm,” I replied sombrely, “Look, I’ve got a lot of work to do, I’ll see you later.” I said before walking back on the route to my original destination.
However, I was interrupted again when I walked into the potions corridor to find it empty except for one person; Viola. She was sitting with her head in her knees, crying. My heart panged as I resisted the urge to go up and hug her. She soon noticed me as I walked up to her.
“Al?” she said in between tears.
“Hey Viola, rough day?”
“Yeah.” She said, sniffing. There was an awkward silence for a minute before she spoke again, “Al, I’m so sorry about this. I had no idea that you… love me.” She said, trying to hold back her tears.
“It’s alright, I mean, I had no idea that you fancied my brother.”
“How did you..?”
“Scorp told me.”
“Oh,” she said, wiping her eyes on the arm of her robe. “Well I don’t anymore, incase you were wondering.”
“Not really, I kind of guessed that you wouldn’t after all this.”
“I guess.” She muttered.
“Vi, has James decided what he wants to do yet?” I asked.
“I don’t know, he doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do.” She said, before bursting out crying again. It was horrible to see her in such a vulnerable state that I automatically hugged her to try and calm her down. “What if he doesn’t want anything to do with it?” she blubbered, sniffing maniacally.
“I’m sure he will, but if he doesn’t then you’ve always got me.” I said hopefully.
“Yeah I know, but I want my child to have father.” She murmured.
“And if James doesn’t step up, then I can be just that.”
“What, you’d help me with this kid even though it isn’t yours?”
“Well of course! My whole family will help and besides, I’m still related to this child, it’ll probably even look somewhat like me considering the fact that James and I look so alike anyway.” I said.
“Thanks, Al.” she said, before getting up and pulling me up too, “Al, you know how I’ll be six months gone next month? Well I’ve got to have a scan again and I hate going alone and-”
“Of course I’ll come Vi.” I said softly.
“Thanks Al.” she said, smiling in relief.
“It’s alright.” I said as we walked into the deserted common room.
“I’ll see you at dinner, okay?” she said.
“Sure.” I said before suddenly being caught by surprise; Viola kissed me on the cheek. I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline race through me and my heart skipped a beat. I must have gone bright red as Viola chuckled to herself before ascending the staircase to her dorm. How could something as good as that come out of such a messed up situation as this? I wondered as I made my way up to my own empty dormitory. As I walked to my bed I noticed my owl, Moony, was perched on my bedside windowsill with a letter in his beak, waiting to be let in. I opened the window and suddenly he swooped around the dorm before dropping the letter on my bed and looking up at me expectantly. I opened it to read the familiar handwriting of my God-brother, Teddy, who I considered to be my real brother:
How are you? Harry told me about the whole situation with James and Draco Malfoy’s daughter. I hope you’re alright; I can imagine how hard it must be for you right now. I just wanted to owl you to let you know that I’m her for you and your brother, even though I can guess that you’re probably not getting on very well at the moment. However, you know as well as I do that James isn’t really a bad person and I urge you not to try prevent him from getting close to Viola, however hard that may be. He needs support right now and the only other person at Hogwarts who can give that to him apart from yourself is Lily and, to be honest, I don’t really think she’s the right person for it, however hard she tries to be sympathetic and supportive, if you know what I mean. Anyway, stay strong and try not to let everything get to you,
As I read the letter I couldn’t help but feel relieved at Teddy’s supportive words. I appreciated how he had taken time out of his busy work schedule to write to me. Even though I knew that he’d probably also written to James, I didn’t really care; Teddy understood me and that was all that mattered. He’d also given me useful advice; something which I had been longing for after my parents left Professor McGonagall’s office so swiftly, robbing me of a chance to speak to them properly. I couldn’t help but feel that I would appreciate dinner more than ever that night, it was the first time that I had felt remotely happy in over a month; Teddy supported me and Viola trusted me and despite everything, it was the best day I’d had since I found about the baby.
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