Chapter 17 : Chapter 16: Dear Matron
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Chapter 16: Dear Matron
Four nights later, on Thursday, James and I were sat in the common room. He was doing his homework hurriedly and I was correcting his punctuation over his shoulder in between reading a book on palmistry. I had forced him to go to all his other lessons on Monday, even after he skived Potions.
"What was Monday morning all about then?" I asked tentatively when he finished his work and stuffed his homework in his pocket. It had been the first time I'd had the courage to ask him about it. He turned to me and curled his snitch-patterned-sock feet underneath him.
"Oh you know what I'm like, Ro." He sighed in explanation. "I hate that she's wasting herself on him." He said, giving me a sidelong look.
"Why? I know you love her but some couples are really open and they have sex with other people all the time." I said, playing devils advocate. I couldn't imagine anyone could make that kind of thing work… but each to their own I suppose.
"We were never going to have a relationship like that. I'm so bloody jealous, I can't even stand it when she hugs another guy let alone want to imagine her making love to one. I mean did you see her the other day? Everything about her was just... argh I'm torn apart." He shook his head and rubbed his tired eyes.
Making love? Why are all the boys I hang around with more in touch with their feelings than I am?!
"Honestly. When's the last time you got some, Jay?" I asked, rolling my eyes. James saw this as an actual question rather than my pointing out just how horny he was.
"Erm… about eleven months ago now," he sighed, resting his chin on his fist and staring at the wall ahead. I gaped at him.
"Well no wonder you're trailing after Sarah like a cat on heat!" I said in awe of my cousin's willpower. James looked shocked.
"I'm not that pathetic am I? Is it that obvious?" He asked hopelessly.
"Well put it this way; the other day she smiled at you and you nearly wet yourself with excitement." I said dryly. James fisted his eyes with his knuckles and groaned.
"Ah I knew I wasn't a good actor. I keep trying to stop feeling this way about her but I just don't want to and it's really hard-"
"Yeah we know just how hard it is, Jay. The other day when you were wearing tight jeans and Sarah brushed a leaf off your jacket it really didn't leave anything to the imagination for us." Becky interrupted calmly. Dom laughed. The two of them seemed to have come up to us very quietly. James rolled his eyes.
"Speak of the devil, where is she?" He asked, to change the subject, since all three of us were laughing at his flushed face, although he himself was grinning crookedly.
"I don't know, but I'm sure she'll turn up. She was only saying goodnight to Danny." Becky shrugged, sitting down next to me and poking me in the ribs to budge up.
"So a quickie then." Dom replied, sitting on the floor between mine and Becky's sofa and James' chair. James, who had been trying to slide down his seat so we couldn't see his face, looked up, no smile on his face.
"Well I don't know…" Becky said, oblivious to James' scowl as she checked her wristwatch in the half light. "Last time I saw them they were on the grounds." She shrugged.
"Heading towards the Whomping Willow by any chance?" James asked with a definite irritated note to his voice.
"Might've been. It's getting dark. Why?" Becky asked.
"I don't believe her! The Whomping Willow underground tunnel was always our place!" James howled.
"Oh no she likes it up against the greenhouses with Danny" Dom giggled, looking at me with a cheeky grin. I watched James look relieved and then horrified and finally snide.
"Well that's classy of him isn't it. What a lovely place for him to take her." He sneered.
This boy seriously has to control his jealousy issues.
"Oh yeah, because a damp dark tunnel is every girl's dream." Becky said sarcastically. James turned red.
"Well actually she liked my bed as well-" He began defiantly, sitting up straighter.
"Hello ladies!" A bright voice said cheerily from behind me. James looked around in irritation with a kind of 'do you have to completely emasculate me?' look on his face.
We all spun around in our seats and Sarah beamed at us all. James practically drooled all over the back of his seat as he looked her up and down. Her hair was slightly windswept and her nose and cheeks were pink from the cold. She took off her gloves and sat by the fire, shivering. She took off her thick coat to reveal a long sleeved plain scoop neck shirt and blue jeans. James was only looking at the back of her head though, waiting for her to face him.
"Where've you been?" James asked in a would-be casual voice, inspecting his bitten nails.
"Out in the grounds with Danny." Sarah said as she took off her leather boots to reveal fluffy pink socks.
"Doing what? It's so dark out there…" James pressed, leaning towards her. Still she didn't face him, but rubbed her hands together and stuck them near the grate.
"Herbology revision." Sarah said, finally turning to face James and warming her back. Her face was completely unabashed and James folded his arms and scowled as Dom and I giggled and Becky grinned.
"Is that what you kids are calling it nowadays?" I asked. Sarah laughed and pushed her hair over her shoulders. James watched the colours of the fire dancing in her mane, with a different kind of fire in the back of his eyes.
Everywhere I looked it seemed it wasn't just me who was lying, either to themselves or to everyone else.
The next morning I found myself down in the common room with James again. It was lunchtime and Sarah was with Danny, Becky with Rich while Amy, Albus, Freddie and Scorpius were at quidditch.
I was currently looking thoughtful as I nibbled tentatively at an apple, hoping it wouldn't end up coming back up the way it came the next morning. James had a huge bit of parchment laid out in front of him and was devising a strategy for quidditch.
"James?" I said eventually, not being able to contain myself any longer.
"What Rosie?" James asked uncertainly.
"I was just wondering…yesterday you said it'd been about eleven months right?"
"That's right..." he replied nervously, tucking his quill behind his ear.
"Well I was thinking…you didn't break up until about ten months ago seeing as you broke up in January and it's now November…did she stop sleeping with you in the last month?" I asked. James looked pained.
"No. It was worse than that. She stopped…connecting with me I suppose is the best way to say it." He replied sadly. "I don't count it as sex. For that short time it was devastating."
"What do you mean?" I asked, hating myself for pressing the matter. James looked at me and fidgeted in his seat.
"Well, for a few weeks before she finished with me when we were in bed she used to close her eyes or look away rather than look at me. The last time we were in bed together I caught her crying. Not full on, just a little tear."
"Before or after?" I asked, in shock. Poor James.
"During. She thought I couldn't see her. Obviously I stopped what I was doing – I thought I'd hurt her or something. But she just pretended nothing was wrong…" He trailed off, looking anguished at the memory as he scratched his head.
"Oh, James that's awful. What happened then?" I found myself whispering.
"I told her I knew there was something wrong… her eyes looked dead, there was nothing there. She seemed…empty. I told her she shuddered every time I touched her, flinched when she kissed me and…well she cried a lot and I sort of hugged her." He looked confused.
"And then I asked her why she didn't tell me she was so unhappy, she said it was because she didn't think she…loved me anymore. And well… you know what happened next." James said gruffly, putting quill to parchment again, tongue poking out of his mouth in concentration.
And I did know what happened next; much as I hated going back to that time… it was painful for me on both of their behalves…
I walked into our eerily silent dormitory to see Sarah sat on the wide window sill, knees brought up to her chest and looking out the window as rain lashed against the pane.
"Hullo you." I sighed. "I heard about you and James" I said simply.
It was an understatement; the whole common room had heard him yelling and her sobbing and then him pleading desperately, with a thump that sounded like he'd fallen to his knees and her crying harder. Then we'd seen her hurrying out of James' dorm and into ours. Sarah turned to me now, her tear-streaked cheeks showing up pale in the light.
"Oh darling." I said sadly, crossing the room and putting an arm around her. She stared back out the window, fresh tears splashing down the front of her robes.
"I had to do it." She squeaked, not looking at me or making an effort to wipe the tears from her cheeks. I conjured a tissue and passed it to her. She wiped her eyes once and then scrunched it in her fist and held it there, staring across the grounds through the rain.
"I know you did. I know. Shh" I said comfortingly as she sobbed openly into my shoulder, finally realising that I wasn't there to judge her. In the boys dorm the scene was quite different when I walked in alone half an hour later.
James was laying full length on his bed, hands behind head and legs stretched straight in front of him, destruction around the room where his anger had gotten the better of him. I closed the door silently behind myself and stepped into the nearly empty room. Anyone who had been in here when James had been at his angriest had obviously had the sense to get out fast.
"Alright Ro." He said dully.
"Hi Jay." I said cautiously as he sat up in his bed and hugging his knees just as Sarah had done, except he was looking at something on the duvet of his bed.
A few of Sarah's things were laying on one of his bedside tables, including a beautiful but unmoving modelling photograph from her portfolio (Sarah was a model in the school holidays, for both muggle and magical agencies) but he was staring at a framed picture of the two of them. As I advanced slowly on my cousin, I saw fat teardrops fall heavily onto the picture. My calm exterior broke and panic set in as I watched one of the strongest men in my life fall apart in front of me; I hadn't seen him cry since he was quite young. I sat next to him and rested my head on his shoulder as he gasped for air, thumbing the picture. Sarah was standing slightly behind James, with her arms around his neck as they both laughed. Every so often she would lean in to kiss his cheek and he would turn his head so they met his own lips instead. I felt a horrible, tight knot of sorrow for my cousin and I hugged him tightly as he gripped the photo frame and his whole body wracked with the silent sobs of a young man who had just lost what he loved the very most in the world.
I'd never seen him in such a state; James hadn't cried since he was at least in First year, if then, and he'd broken up with a lot of girls.
"I dunno what I'm going to do, Rosie." He said in a croaky voice after half an hour, once he'd cried until he was nearly sick and was completely exhausted. I tucked him into his bed, fully clothed and got my wand out to repair any of the damage. James watched me through his bloodshot eyes, probably waiting for me to offer a solution. I sat on the edge of his bed after a while, looking down at him.
"I think she just needs time," I said, literally tucking him in a little cocoon made of blankets and starting to push his untidy raven hair out of his eyes. He grabbed my hand and held it, closing his eyes.
"Rose, you're one of the best friends I've ever had." He said before he drifted off to sleep.
He didn't have to add that he loved me. We're family; I already knew.
I was sick later that night – apparently apples are off the menu. As I came out I found Sarah, Dom and Scorpius sat on my bed, looking up at me as if expecting me.
"I didn't do it." I said immediately.
"Well you obviously did because you're pregnant." Scorpius replied, rolling his eyes. I doubt he would have that attitude to it when he found out he helped create it.
I knew he was still pissed off about the kiss, but as far as I'm concerned nothing happened. I may have been avoiding him recently though… even spending time with my broken-hearted cousin was better than any time spent with Scorpius and our confused feelings at the moment.
"We're here because tomorrow you're going to Madame Pettifoot at the Hospital Wing and you're going to tell her you're pregnant. She's bound by law not to tell anybody." Scorpius added simply, but he didn't quite meet my eyes.
"What?!" I asked, panic setting in.
"It's all right Ro, we're going to come with you." Sarah said reassuringly.
"Well, Sarah, James and Scorpius are. Me and Becky are going to make sure Freddie, Amy, Chelsea and Danny stay well away. Albus is going to search the Hospital Wing for extendable ears while they're with you." Dom said reassuringly. I nodded very slowly.
"I suppose they've got to know sometime." I agreed, sitting down on Dom's bed; the nearest to mine.
"Exactly. And we're going to make sure she doesn't breathe a word to anyone. She'd lose her job if she did, but she'll already know that." Sarah said.
"Right. Okay- it's on." I sighed, nodding. Dom took my hand and squeezed it.
The next morning Scorpius, Sarah, James, Dom, Albus and Becky surrounded me as the incredible crew we are as we made our way up to the Hospital Wing.
"Doesn't it feel like we're on a top secret mission?" Becky said conversationally to Albus as we crept along the practically empty corridors.
"It would feel less like one if James would stop humming the Mission Impossible theme." Sarah replied dryly. I laughed nervously as James hid behind a corner and jumped out at nobody in particular, wand at the ready.
"You're mad in the head." Dom said with an amused smile as we rounded the final corner (James leaping out with a war cry of 'hands off my sandwich!') and we arrived outside the pristinely clean white double doors.
I stopped and took a deep breath and Scorpius suddenly took my hand out of the blue and squeezed it without looking at me.
"Right, Dom, Becky-"
"Split up and search for clues." James interrupted, squinting at them through narrowed eyes.
When he was ill with the flu last year I had stayed up with him all night watching Scooby Doo (Granddad buys any old muggle videos he can lay hands on) and apparently watching so much muggle television has addled James' already crazy brains.
"As I was saying-" Albus continued, rolling his eyes "-Dom, Becky; walk down to the hall and make sure you don't let the suspe- I mean significant others- out of your sight." He added.
Sarah grinned at him, knowing he'd been reading too many detective stories as Becky and Dom departed after nodding in a brisk, businesslike way.
"I'll go in before you four otherwise I'll get kicked out. I'm going to search the place via magic for any spying devices. After I'm sure the coast is clear, I'll nod to you and you can come in." Albus said seriously. James wiped an imaginary tear from his eye and sniffed.
"It's been an honour serving under you sir" He said, shaking his brother's hand enthusiastically and saluting. Albus rolled his eyes and disappeared into the ward. My stomach was starting to churn.
"I feel sick." I said conversationally.
"Me too." Scorpius added absentmindedly. "Maybe it's from the same thing."
Sarah, James and I gave him a combined withering look.
"I don't think so, somehow, unless you're hiding a baby somewhere on your personage." I said deprecatingly, rubbing my stomach.
"Don't put it past him. Them Slytherins are a funny sort" James said, eyeing Scorpius faux-suspiciously. Suddenly Albus appeared in the doorway.
"Coast is clear, you can go in now. I'll make my way down to the hall and we'll all meet in the cabin whenever you're free. Just send an owl." He said, touching my shoulder lightly with a smile as he passed us and carried on back the way we came.
I took a deep breath. This was it – the first person outside my close circle who would learn of my pregnancy. James squeezed my shoulder supportively.
"You ready kiddo?" He asked, serious once more. I looked up into his chocolate eyes and took another steadying breath.
"Yes. Let's do this." I said with determination in my voice but panic in my head. Like I need anything else crazy up there.
Sarah took my arm in hers and Scorpius shot me a small smile as we crossed the threshold into the Hospital Wing.
"Miss Weasley, Miss Addams. Oh and Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter… have you got a combined illness or has Mr Potter decided to transfigure his own eyebrows onto a potato again?" Madame Pettifoot asked in a dull tone, surveying James who grinned.
We'd all been in here more times than you could shake a stick at, mainly for pissing about with spells. The Matron was sat at her desk, eyeball-deep in medical papers. She surveyed us over her glasses. I tried to speak but my throat had closed up and my mouth was dry. Sarah patted my back gently and gave me a reassuring look.
"Or perhaps you've come to fetch me because you've charmed another Quaffle to sing the national anthem and beat spectators over the head with a mallet and done some more damage." She added to James, lips pursed.
"Nah. Been busy poking alligators in the eye and setting fire to sloths, you know how it is." James replied casually.
"Come in, all of you." Madame Pettifoot sighed, conjuring 4 chairs in front of her and motioning for Scorpius to shut the door behind him.
"What can I help you with then?" She asked as we sat down. She took her glasses off and cleaned them on her dress while she waited. Everyone looked at me. I opened my mouth, closed it, fidgeted with my hands, made a terrified squeak and burst into tears.
"Muffliato." James said, shooting the spell behind him without looking.
"Rose is pregnant" Sarah said bluntly. To my right, a tissue popped into existence and was handed to me by Scorpius, whose hand had found mine under the table. I looked up at the Matron through my teary eyes to see her expression had hardly changed, apart from slightly raised eyebrows.
"Okay." She said after a second, swivelling in her chair to produce a handful of leaflets. She thumbed through them and shook her head, stuffing them back into a drawer.
"How far along are you then Miss Weasley?"
I hiccoughed in reply.
"She's a little overdue for her 6 week scan." Sarah replied on my behalf.
"Right. Well I have to go to St Mungos tonight for a seminar; I will personally book you an appointment with the head midwife. You will get the best care imaginable Miss Weasley, no matter what happens." Madame Pettifoot said, smiling reassuringly at me. I managed a tiny smile back.
"Would you prefer for me to contact you myself, or through Miss Addams?" She added, looking at Sarah.
"Through me please." I sniffed. Sarah would know everything from me anyway, I may as well retain as much of my independence as possible.
"Will anyone be able to come with me for the scan?" I asked, my hormonal tears drying. Scorpius squeezed my sweaty hand.
"Of course. Only two people can come into the room with you for the scan itself, but you can bring as many people as you like to support you." The matron said. "Within reason" She added quickly, remembering my huge family.
"I just want these three." I said, gesturing to my friends. "And I don't want anyone else to know about this" I said firmly, finding my voice at last.
"No need to worry Miss Weasley. All medical information is kept highly confidential." Madame Pettifoot assured me with a small nod and a smile.
"Is that it?" I asked after a second.
"Until I book an appointment, Miss Weasley, yes." The matron replied.
"Okay thank you." I said. We all got to our feet, Scorpius' hand still in mine, and made for the door.
"And call me Rose, by the way. Miss Weasley is my cousin." I said with what hopefully passed as a smile, shutting the door gently behind me.
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