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Chapter 4 : Chapter the Fourth
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CI by inspector. @ tda
Since the incident in the Great Hall, Lily has taken to keeping me company. I thought her presence would bother me because I don't usually socialize with people but surprisingly, I find that I like having Lily around. It’s refreshing to be with somebody who speaks her mind and doesn't care what people think. At least with Lily, I'll know where I stand with her because she'll always tell me the truth.
That being said, I sometimes find myself just wanting to strangle the girl and demand some alone time. You'd think the fact that because we're in different years we wouldn't be able to see each other all that often, but that's not the case at all.
Even though she's a fifth year, Lily somehow manages to find time to mingle with people and to follow me around asking constant questions. She's been pestering me to tell Albus about my pregnancy every day and if it weren't for the fact that if Lily went away I'd miss her . . . well, to some extent, then I would've told her to bugger off by now.
It's a Friday evening and I'm spending it sitting next to Albus and his friends at the feast. He's made an attempt to include me in the conversation but given the fact that I'm not really all that interested in what they're talking about, I've been given up on. At this point, I'm pretty much just taking up space, although if any of the boys mind my silent presence, they're not showing it.
I've been sitting here and eating my food quietly, lost in my own thoughts. Once I finish with my food, I’m thinking of excusing myself to visit the library when the boys get onto the topic of Quidditch. I'm not the biggest fan of Quidditch but I still know a lot about it -just like every other witch or wizard out there. Besides, considering my family’s interests, it's almost mandatory to have some knowledge about the sport.
"There is no way that the Kenmare Kestrels are going to win the League Cup," Lysander says, staring at Albus incredulously.
"You've got to be mad to actually think that, Al," Lorcan, Lysander's twin brother, says.
"I'm telling you, they'll pull through to the top of the league, you just wait and see."
"Do you hear this lad?" Lorcan says looking at Lysander. "Thinks the Kestrels will be top of the league, absolutely bonkers this one!"
"Actually, if we were to look at the statistics of the team and their previous games, you'll notice a certain pattern appears,” I say, joining the conversation without really noticing. “The Kestrels lose one year and then they win the next, I'm not sure how that works but that's what happens. If you were to look at their games last year, they lost all of them -even the one against the Cannons, and they're the worst team out there. If we were to go by what has happened in previous years, the Kestrels should win this year." It takes me a moment to notice the silence that has ensued.
Everyone nearby has stopped talking and is staring at me with wide eyes and their mouths open. It's almost as if everyone thought that I didn't know anything about Quidditch. I may think it a stupid sport at times, even if it is interesting to watch, but I'd be a shame to the magical community if I didn't know anything about Quidditch. I look around at everyone's stunned faces and raise an eyebrow in response to their shock.
"You know about Quidditch?" Lorcan asks. He hasn't blinked in the last minute. I'm starting to worry about how dry his eyes are getting.
"Well of course I do, just because I'm not infatuated with it doesn't mean that I don't know anything about it."
"Have you read Quidditch Through the Ages?" Lysander asks, excitement evident in his voice.
"I can quote the book to you right now, word for word, paragraph by paragraph, page by page if you want me to," I reply, beginning to zip up my school bag. The conversation has just gotten quite boring, in fact, it's not much of a conversation anymore, it's more just people gaping stupidly at me.
"That's not possible," Albus says, finally speaking up. It seems that he's finally found his voice after his shock. Nice of him to join us.
"Oh, it's quite possible, see I have a -" I begin to say but am cut off by Lily, who comes running towards me with her robes billowing behind her.
"SERAPHINA!" she yells, as she closes the distance between us. Once Lily stops in front of me, she bends over, panting and trying to catch her breath. Her robes are falling off of her shoulders and hanging by her elbows and her skirt is slightly tilted so that one side is longer than the other. Lily's tie is thrown over one shoulder and her blouse is untucked, the laces of her shoes are undone and I'm amazed that she hasn't tripped during what was clearly a search for me. I can't help but smile at her disheveled appearance.
"Yes, Lily?" I ask her, once she's righted herself and has caught her breath.
"McGonagall wants to see you in her office about the fact that you're pre-I mean, she wants to see you about the thing," Lily says, quickly amending her words. "I was on my way to Astronomy when she stopped me to tell you that you had to see her. I had to run all the way from the Astronomy Tower to down here. You better hurry, she'll be waiting for you in her office."
"Thanks so much, Lily," I say getting up and grabbing my bag.
"I'll see you whenever boys," I say nodding towards Albus, Lorcan and Lysander before turning around and walking away.
The first time I had spent time with Albus and his friends the other day had turned out a little awkward. Having had no idea how to say excuse myself, I had just said, "I'll see you whenever boys." At first they'd protested that that wasn't a proper goodbye which lasted in a fifteen minute debate between the four of us, but as I refused to say goodbye any other way, they'd given in. It hasn't been long but it's almost tradition now to say goodbye that way.
I make my way out of the Great Hall and through the hallways as fast as I possibly can. If there's one thing that Professor McGonagall hates, it’s when people are late. It gets on her nerves and then she's not happy when she's talking to you, which is pretty unnerving.
I pass by very few people in the corridors as most people are down to dinner or heading to the Great Hall: a few fifth years are climbing towards the Astronomy Tower for their lesson. I'm the only one taking the route to the Headmistress's office. Once I catch sight of the statue that stands in front of the moving stairs, I break into a jog.
Panting, I give the gargoyle the password and it jumps aside to reveal the stairs that it protects. I step onto the stairs and they begin to move in a spiral movement, sending me towards McGonagall's office. Once McGonagall says to enter, I open the door and slowly walk in.
It appears that McGonagall has already been talking to a student and has just finished up with them. I wonder what the strange student in Slytherin robes could have possibly done to land themselves a meeting with the Headmistress. The student takes one look at me when I enter and quickly leaves, shutting the door behind him. I stare at the closed door for a moment before sitting down and facing McGonagall.
"If you don't mind me asking Professor, who exactly is that?" I ask, setting down my bag and leaning back.
"That was a student," she says, rubbing her eyes tiredly. I nod but don't ask any more questions since it probably isn't my business but I have noticed that she used the word was instead of is.
"They were just recently expelled," McGonagall adds, and I can't help but start a little in surprise. Never has it occurred to me that there are people at Hogwarts who could be expelled. It just seemed like something impossible to me. After all, what can someone possibly do that would land them an expulsion from Hogwarts? I don't ask why the student has been expelled though and McGonagall offers no more information. Instead, she gets straight to the point of why she wants to see me.
"Ms Doyle, I've been told by Madam Pomfrey of your situation," McGonagall says, and I can't help but look down at my knees in shame. I'm sure that McGonagall is going to expel me, I wouldn't blame her. Probably getting pregnant is actual grounds for expulsion after all. I'm setting the worst example for everyone in the younger years. What kind of a role model is a Head Girl who gets pregnant at seventeen?
"We need to talk about your options," McGonagall says, completely surprising me. This isn't what I expected to happen at all.
"Yes, your options. If you do not wish to have the baby, you may always choose to abort the unborn child," I frown. I've never really thought about abortion and I would consider it unfair to my unborn child to get rid of it just because I made a stupid choice. I know that this is the right choice for some women, but it isn’t the right choice for me. If I am unfit to be a parent then I want my child to go to a family who can give him or her what I cannot.
"If you choose to have the child, you can set it up for adoption or you can keep it," McGonagall says and waits for me to give her an answer.
"I'm not having an abortion," I immediately say. "I will think about setting it up for adoption though."
"In that case, we need to talk about making arrangements for you," McGonagall says, taking out a piece of parchment. My frown deepens as I have no idea what she's talking about when she says arrangements.
"What do you mean by 'arrangements?'"
"Well, arrangements for you to leave Hogwarts of course." My heart stops for a second when I hear her say that. My mouth drops open in horror and I stare at her with my eyes wide. She can't be serious? Does she honestly think that I'm going to leave Hogwarts? There is no way that I am not getting my education.
Unless Professor McGonagall is expelling me, there is no way that I'm leaving school. School and this baby are all I have, and there’s no chance I could choose between them.
"What do you mean leave Hogwarts? I'm not going to say goodbye to Hogwarts." I say a bit too sharply. McGonagall raises an eyebrow at me and I add, "Professor."
"Ms Doyle, pregnancy changes the body and you will not always be very comfortable. I thought it would be best for you if you were to stay at home."
"I'm not going anywhere, Professor."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," I say firmly. "I'm positive."
"This is the last time that I make this offer Ms Doyle, if you refuse I cannot give it to you again, you will be forced to finish Hogwarts no matter what, unless you're in labor. It will be much harder to leave later in the year when your N.E.W.T.s are coming closer." She looks at me for a long moment before nodding her head after I don't say anything.
"Onto my last subject, have you told Albus yet? Your family?"
"Well, about that," I say, fidgeting uncomfortably and looking anywhere but at McGonagall.
"Ms Doyle," she says as a warning.
"I just think that it’s better to tell my family of my situation in person instead of simply sending them an owl. I promise I'll tell Albus, it's just that I don't know how to bring the subject up in conversation and it will be extremely awkward. Please give me some time, Lily knows and she's been hanging around me, helping me out."
"Ms Potter knows?" McGonagall asks surprised. "I thought she would've dealt with you the way that she usually does when faced with the girls who . . . are interested in her brother." Clearly Al’s female suitors and Lily’s antics are common knowledge even to faculty members.
"She was about to but I managed to convince her that I'm not like that," I say with a grin. It quickly goes away when the thought of losing my Head Girl position enters my mind.
"Will you take away my badge, Professor?" I ask, dreading the answer. I almost fall out of my chair in shock at McGonagall's response though. It's the opposite of what I'm expecting, she's been surprising me with her responses throughout this entire meeting.
"Ms Doyle, I've never gotten a complaint about you, you've never gotten detention and your marks have been some of the best I've ever seen since Hermione Granger attended this school herself." I can't help but blush at the compliment. It's the nicest thing anyone's ever told me and it's big considering that Mrs Granger is practically a genius.
"This is your first mistake ever, and while it is huge, I will not take away your Head Girl position unless you want me to because you think that you cannot handle the stress and work that goes with it." I almost start cheering and dancing right there and then when I hear what McGonagall says. I get to keep my badge, this is great, of course, there will be lots of work but I'm positive that I can handle it.
"I'm warning you though Ms Doyle, this is a huge mistake that you've made and if you put another toe out of line, I will be forced to take your badge whether I like it or not. I'm letting you off easy and students will be angry that there's no punishment for breaking a school decree. If you break another rule, I will have no choice but to strip you of your Head Girl position, understand?" McGonagall says, not looking away from me. It's as if she's trying to force the full force of what she's said into me. She shouldn't have worried, I understand perfectly well.
If I break another rule or let my marks dip, I will lose my badge and there's nothing that I'll be able to do about it.
“Professor, may I ask exactly what regulations I have broken?”
“Ms Doyle, we have boys and girls sleep in separate dorms because we wish to prevent something like your pregnancy from happening. I trust my students but even the smartest pupils sometimes make mistakes and not everyone in the castle has extensive knowledge on the subject of having safe intercourse –something that I am hoping to change,” she adds with a sigh.
"I understand perfectly, Professor," I reply, looking right back into McGonagall's eyes. She nods her head in satisfaction and looks down at her desk that's littered with parchment. This is clearly a dismissal, my meeting with her is over.
"You may leave then, Ms Doyle," she says, and I gather my bag and make for the door. I stop and turn when McGonagall calls for my attention once more.
“Ms Doyle, I know from previous meetings that you prefer to keep your emotions and teenage urges in control so I was quite astonished to hear from Madame Pomfrey of your predicament. I hope there was no alcohol involved,” McGonagall says with a knowing look in her eyes that I don’t like.
I open and close my mouth several times as I attempt to come up with an answer but McGonagall doesn’t give me time to properly respond before she goes on to say, “Yes, well, if alcohol had been present I’m sure you would do your best to prevent any intoxicating drinks from entering school grounds from this moment on.”
“Yes, Professor,” I reply and clear my throat before scurrying out of McGonagall’s office and.
I sigh as I step off of the moving staircase once it reaches the bottom and make my way up to Gryffindor Tower alone. The falling snow outside catches my attention and I stop and stare at it in front of one of the many huge windows around Hogwarts.
It's almost Christmas break, so I'll be going home soon to spend time with my family. How am I going to tell mum what's happened? Am I even going to tell her? I probably won't tell her. There's no point in ruining the holidays for everyone in my family. I'll let her find out the same day that the Potters do.
I encounter no one on my way to Gryffindor Tower and once I get into the common room, I head up to my dorm and find that Lily has already made herself at home on my bed. She's sprawled out on it reading one of my books and eating a bar of chocolate that I'm sure is part of my secret stash. I'm too worried to get angry at her for snooping through my things. She's become family anyways, what's the point if she looks through my stuff? It isn't as if I have anything incriminating.
"How did everything go?" Lily asks as soon as she catches sight of me.
"Let's put it this way, if I put a toe out of line, I am deeply done for," I say sighing, and throwing myself next to her on my bed.
"Don't worry Seraphina, you'll always have me to help you out," Lily says, giving me a sympathetic smile and a comforting pat on the back.
"Thanks Lily, at least I know I can count on you," I say sighing again. "What are you reading?"
I look over at the book that she's holding in her hands but can't see the cover. I'm not sure which book of mine's it is but it looks as if Lily's enjoying it. She's already halfway done with it.
"Oh just one of your romance novels," I freeze when Lily says that. One of my romance novels, meaning, she's already seen the other six that I have.
Well, I own nothing incriminating . . . except for romance novels.
a/n: how did you guys like this chapter? i thought it was a bit serious when Seraphina was talking to McGonagall, i don't know about you guys. anyway, there's a lot of pressure on Phina now, isn't there? she can't screw up at all or she's done for. as always, thank you to my wonderful beta for helping me out with this story!
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