Chapter 16 : He Taught Me Everything I Know
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For potterfan310, who nommed Gregory Zonko for "Best Villain" in the Dobbys. He really is a piece of work: See below.
Ravenclaw won their match against Slytherin and held a party worthy of Ravenclaws. Meaning, it was all right and no one was arrested. James and I went for a little while and teased Gemma about snogging Mox. She didn’t find it funny and hexed James into a wall. He was out for about ten minutes before he started doing impressions of Gemma and Mox.
I avoided Ryan, mostly because she was happy and upset that Ravenclaw had won. She was their advisor now, but I knew she wanted to be on that broom. She mostly kept to herself through the party.
She was wearing baggier clothes now and her face was filling out. Truthfully, she had that pregnancy glow about her. She looked lovely wherever she was, even though she spent a lot of her time snapping at me for being insufferable. I just did what she asked, which made me think a lot about what Gee had said.
I didn’t know if I was just a good guy or a fool to let girls do as they pleased.
As we moved into December the weather grew colder and I was forced to actually study since the term was coming to an end. I dove into it, all the while keeping tabs on what Zonko was doing (or not doing) and exchanging letters with my father about the trial. It was on a Thursday and it snowed a lot.
He sent me a letter directly after saying it went all right, but it was going to be an uphill battle. Zonkos wasn’t going down without a fight. My father was never known to, either.
But when they brought up our books, things would change. When they brought up our product lines and Dad’s stints in the hospital and how much of our livelihood was relying on this shop.
The court trial worried me, but I wished Dad good luck and told him to let me know if there was anything I could do. The thing about Dad was, he’d never ask for help. He wanted to do things alone. It made him think of his twin. Like they were doing things together again. I couldn’t take that away, so I didn’t.
I talked to James about it. We devised a few plans, but nothing concrete. Most of them required beating the shit out of Gregory Zonko. I liked those plans, but something told me we’d come up with a better one that got us exactly what we wanted…mostly, since we did want to kick his ass.
I still brought Ryan ice cream and Rox still avoided me. Annie hadn’t spoken to me and Ollie had taken to only conversing with me during Quidditch practice. James was trying to change that, but it wasn’t doing any good. Andrew was strutting around the castle like he owned the place, always kissing Annie when I was around. I wondered if he was only kissing her when I was around, but I tried not to dwell. I was moving past things with Annie and it felt good.
I received a letter on a particularly rainy evening close to the end of term. It was from Ryan, requesting my help in Hogsmeade. On the bottom was written “not an emergency. Don’t freak out, straight-lace.”
I met her at The Hog’s Head, frustrated already that she didn’t have an umbrella. I charmed mine to extend over the both of us. “What’s this about?”
“I said I need help,” Ryan replied, pulling her cloak tighter around her. “So help me.”
“With what? Holding the umbrella? Done.”
She rolled her eyes. “Gemma’s at a study group tonight.”
“She has eyes for the tutor,” Ryan said, giving me a look. “So I need you to come shopping with me.”
“I didn’t know you went shopping,” I said. “Seems too girly and put-together for you.”
“I’m girlie, you know. If you recall what I was wearing in August.”
I groaned, closing my eyes. “Stop that.”
“Making you want to shag me again?” Ryan asked softly. “Too fucking bad. Come on. My clothes don’t fucking fit anymore and I need maternity clothes to make it until break. Ones I can hide under large shirts that still look cute.”
“So you need me…why?”
“Because I need someone to come with me so those judgmental assholes in the store don’t get all…themselves.” She shrugged and led the way down the street toward a small shop of maternity wear. All of the models in the pictures were at least twenty-five so when Ryan and I walked in, the clerks were just as she had described.
Frowns all around.
“What?” Ryan said loudly to the two girls behind the counter. “Never seen a pregnant seventh-year before? Fuck off.” She moved into the rows of maternity jeans, unfazed.
They started to whisper so I followed Ryan. I didn’t know what she was looking for, so I mostly just poked at the fabric and nodded at what she grabbed.
Clothes were foreign to me. I knew what looked good on me. Dad taught me to wear things with collars. “Makes you look like you know more than you do,” he used to tell me, so I wore polo shirts and button-downs. Not much else unless I was at Quidditch practice or going to sleep.
Girls’ clothes were another world. There were more colors and fabrics and types. Skirts and blouses and shirts and jeans and capris. A different language entirely.
Ryan took a stack into the fitting room. The girls at the counter were still whispering, so I made my way up there. “Do you sell sexy maternity lingerie? I’d like to see it.”
They looked at me like I was absolutely mental. I probably was to be asking that there, so I winked and moved back toward the fitting rooms. “Doing all right in there, love?”
“Call me love again, Weasley. See what happens when I come out there.”
“Good, good, love,” I said, laughing.
“I shouldn’t have asked you to come.”
“I’m not exactly contributing to the outing,” I said. “Other than freaking out the clerks.”
“What did you say?” she called from behind the curtain.
“Asked them if they had any sexy lingerie.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Ryan said, not missing a beat. “Just charmed mine to fit properly now that my breasts are bigger.”
I choked. “What?”
“Sod off,” she said. “Stop getting images you shouldn’t, perv.” Ryan moved out from behind the curtain with a shirt pulled up over her belly and a new pair of jeans on. Truthfully, they looked amazing on her but they had a little stretchy part on the top. She looked hot.
I swallowed hard.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said dully and retreated back to try on more.
She tried on quite a few, coming out to show me each of them and creating yes and no piles. The final piece was a dress she looked drop-dead stunning in, but she said made her look “too pregnant.” She threw it into the no pile from inside of the curtain (good shot) and changed into her original clothes.
I stared between the piles. Then I shrugged, threw the dress into the yes pile, and took that stack up to the counter.
“Did you find everything okay?” the first girl asked.
“Fine, thanks,” I said. “They all flatter my figure.”
She didn’t laugh. Instead, she scanned everything. I handed her the money. She put it in a bag and I went and waited for Ryan, who emerged with fire in her eyes, just as I thought she would.
“You didn’t,” she said, motioning to the bag.
“I actually asked for a bag and put all this in it,” I said. “We’re going to steal it. Are you ready to run?”
I wondered if her stare was actually lethal. “How much?”
“Three?” I offered. “Come on. Let’s get back to the castle. It stopped raining.”
“I’m dead serious. You are not paying for my clothes.”
“Stealing,” I corrected. “We’re stealing these. You don’t look ready to run.” I motioned to her heeled boots. “I may have to carry you.”
“I am going to hex you into next week.”
“Go ahead but by then I will have already gotten away with the clothes,” I said calmly. “Let’s go, Davies. These ladies don’t need more to gossip about.” I winked at them again and both went red.
“Fuck yourself,” Ryan said, shoving past me and outside.
I grinned and followed, putting up the umbrella over her head. “Just accept it already.”
“That you just throw your name and money around to give charity to other people?”
“That I’m nice and want to make up for things,” I said softly. It was sprinkling now. “And I will, given the chance. So either you never allow me that chance, or you get over it. I’ll give you a hint: It’s going to have to be the second.”
“What makes you think so?” Ryan’s face was lit by the street lamps. She was still paler than the start of the school year, but it was a good look for her.
“Because sometimes I will use any means to achieve my ends,” I teased. “And I have a hero complex like my relatives. You’ll just have to get used to it.”
Ryan met my eyes for a moment and we stood with the rain tapping the fabric of the umbrella. “I absolutely cannot stand you.”
“I like it when you lie,” I whispered, leaning a little closer. “It almost makes me believe you.” Then I nudged her hip and we made our way back to the castle.
The first few exams were easy enough. To take, anyway. I had no idea how I did on them. I kept getting distracted and thinking. Terrible idea, James reminded me after each one. I couldn’t help it. I had a lot going on.
It didn’t help Annie was in almost every one of those exams.
She looked happy. I was happy for her.
Except no I wasn’t. She was with Andrew Parise, who was now back to sleeping in the dormitory and skipping around like he’d won a fight.
James had taken me aside the first night he returned and explained that it was for the best and he still wasn’t on the Quidditch team. He said I had more important things to worry about like the shop and that damn Ravenclaw woman ruining his life.
Speaking of Ravenclaw women.
I ended up with a letter from Dad telling me Rox was onto me after our mission in Ravenclaw Tower. I also noticed Gemma keeping a closer eye on me. She was smart and it was obvious she was beginning to connect the dots, though I gave her no reason to other than my convenient disappearances.
Rose had given us exam week off (thank Godric) so I had more time to myself. Most of that ended up in me running places to get Ryan ice cream. I did stop by and visit her at the Hog’s Head one night, but she refused to serve me anything other than water.
I tried not to think about the blokes drooling over her down the bar.
For once, things were looking up. Exams were going all right. I had the holiday to look forward to and seeing my family again – somewhere other than the hospital wing. I enjoyed Christmas and the New Year and even shoveling the snow without a wand before I turned seventeen.
The best part was I could escape for a couple weeks and forget about all of this. Well, at least not be reminded every minute of every day while I was surrounded by Annie and Parise and Gemma and Ryan and Roxanne and Gregory sodding Zonko. I could just go home and be with the people who appreciated me for who I was… and also try and sneak some looks at Dad’s books to see how bad we were really sinking.
That’s the thing about life, though. When you finally pause to take a breath … that’s when something punches you in the gut to take it away again.
I ran into Ryan on my way down to dinner. It was the last feast of term and everyone was giddy to leave and pretend they would be studying for NEWTS. I, for one, was not remotely interested in NEWTS. Other than the actual lizard. I had one as a kid. Hated cleaning its cage.
She looked flustered and out of breath, leaning against the stone wall.
“Ryan?” I took the stairs quickly down to her, looking both ways to make sure we wouldn’t be overheard. The corridor was empty, but I still kept my voice down. “Are you okay? Did you get your iron checked yesterday?”
She nodded, but didn’t respond right away. Her hand was over her white blouse, rising and falling rapidly with her breaths. “Fine,” she said.
“You don’t look fine,” I replied, looking behind me again. “What is it? Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“No. No, I’m fine. Seriously. I just…” Ryan paused. She wasn’t looking at me. Her eyes were darting around the corridor to the stone walls to the floor to the doors of assorted classrooms. “I have to get downstairs. I told Gemma I’d be there ten minutes ago. I don’t want her to worry.”
I didn’t want to let it go, but when she was set on something there were few options to convince her otherwise. “I think Gemma suspects me.”
“She does,” Ryan said swiftly. “The only reason she hasn’t kicked your ass is that I make a really convincing argument against shagging Gryffindors.” She took another deep breath, hand unmoved. “Look. I have to go. Have a good break, Weasley.” There was a half-smile and Ryan continued down the hall toward another staircase.
“Do you want me to walk you?” I offered.
“Good idea. Give Gemma proof so she can off you in front of everyone,” she said. I could almost hear her roll her eyes. A moment later, she was gone and in her place a thicket of silence.
I stood for a while, waiting for her to get to the Great Hall first, wondering what could have spooked her like that. It wasn’t as if seeing a ghost was a scary occurrence. It had to have been something else. Baby related? School related? I had no idea, but it worried me. I didn’t like the idea of going through the entire winter break without knowing.
Eventually I wandered downstairs as well. Everyone was shoveling food onto their plates and talking far too loudly. I plopped down beside James (far, far away from Annie and Parise) and started adding chicken to my plate.
“I’m thinking I can sneak away at least three days a week,” James was saying with a full mouth. “That way I can tell Dad I’m like tutoring or something.”
“Still not going to tell him you’re not going to the Ministry?”
“Absolutely not. I figured on graduation day when we’ve already secured the Hogsmeade branch… then I can.” He grinned and I could see the food in his mouth.
“You really think he’s going to be sore about it, don’t you?” Uncle Harry was a lot of things, but unsupportive was not one of them. But James still had an irrational fear he’d turn out to be the disappointment of the family.
Albus had his budding Quidditch career. Lily was being groomed as a Healer, already interning in the hospital wing once a week. Uncle Harry had always thought James wanted to join him at the Ministry. The problem was, James never bothered to correct him.
And my own father had been keeping it a secret from his brother-in-law and sister for years at my own request. “Let him find out through James,” I told him. “James needs to be the one to say it.”
It got awkward at family events when Dad wanted to talk about how many great things James was doing for the shop… but Uncle Harry didn’t know his son had spent so many weekends and afternoons there.
“Look.” James shoveled more food on his plate. “I’ll tell him when the timing is right. When it’s for sure. And if it doesn’t work out then I’ll go be a Ministry bitch. But for now, I’ll just say I’m tutoring a handicapped kid or something awesome.”
“You think he’ll believe you’re tutoring anyone?” I asked, wrinkling my nose. “At least say you’re practicing Quidditch so you can kick the crap out of Al’s team. You know Uncle Harry favors Gryffindor even if his other son is a pansy Ravenclaw.”
James snickered and I could tell he was thinking about the pansy Ravenclaw I shagged.
“I’ll think over my excuse,” James said eventually as his brother fell into the empty seat beside him. “Listen Al, you really need to grow out your hair and do this Potter Hair thing properly. It’s almost offensive.” He ruffled Al’s hair. “What’s going on? You look nervous, which I generally like on the Quidditch pitch but here it’s a bit contagious.”
“I just heard a rumor,” he whispered.
“What kind of rumor?” James said, perking up. James loved rumors. He was the gossip king of Gryffindor Tower, impossible to hide from. He once found out what Annie wrote in her diary four years before by overhearing six different conversations and piecing them together.
“The big kind.”
James and I both leaned closer. “About what?” I whispered.
“I just found out why Davies quit my team,” he said.
I choked and James elbowed me in the ribs. “What did you hear?” he asked.
Please. Please. Please don’t let it be what it really was.
“She’s knocked up,” Albus said.
“Who told you that?” I asked, probably too quickly but Albus didn’t seem to notice. James did and I got another elbow to the ribs.
“Heard it,” Albus replied, glancing around us. I could tell a few people were listening. Ollie could hear us across the table. She was pretending to be staring down the table and cutting her chicken. She kept missing. “Bruce told me that’s what he just heard from the Slytherin table.”
The Slytherin table.
“Did he say who? I mean, that’s a pretty wild accusation, isn’t it?” I said, wrinkling my nose. “Who’d even make shit up like that?” I was getting nervous. My palms were sweaty.
“She is getting a little full around the face, don’t you think?” Albus said casually and I had never wanted to punch him more than I did in that moment. “Wearing bigger clothes. Explains a lot.”
I was having a hard time breathing. “I don’t think she is,” I said. “You should probably tell Bruce to shut up and stop spreading rumors about people in his own House. A little treasonous, don’t you think?”
“You hate Davies,” Albus said, shrugging. “What do you care?”
“She’s a Prefect and deserves respect,” I replied. “Same as Molly and – ugh – Rune. And China. And those Slytherin guys.”
Albus stared at me for a moment. “Well, I hope it’s not true. For her sake. But if it’s not I’m still waiting for a damn good reason she’s not my star player anymore.” He nodded and got up, walking back over to the Ravenclaw table to join his team.
My eyes searched the table and that was when I realized there was a lot of whispering happening. This rumor was spreading like a wildfire through the tables. Someone leaned back to say something to a Hufflepuff. They gasped. More whispers.
I watched as the rumor passed among the students. One to another to another. I watched it hit the Gryffindor table at both ends and fly through the meal. There were awed expressions and snickers and looks of absolute disgust.
I sat there in complete helplessness. There was nothing I could do to stop it. The damage was done. And there was nothing I could do to stop the girl that leaned over at the very end of the Ravenclaw table and whispered something into the ear of Ryan Davies.
That girl got punched in the jaw and toppled off the bench to the floor.
The Great Hall was silent. Everyone’s eyes were now on Ryan.
Her lips parted as she realized the secret was no longer hers. I knew she was waiting for it to happen – for people to find out – but she hadn’t expected it to be like this. In private. Whispers in the hallway. Not the all out public humiliation that was happening now.
Ryan stood and the eyes followed obediently. Then, not out of character, she raised a middle finger to the entire student body as a few teachers rushed to help the injured girl. Ryan turned and marched out of the Great Hall, hips swinging seductively.
Go out with a bang.
Once the door slammed, the hall erupted in gossip and accusations and more elaborate rumors that came from the original. Even the Gryffindors around me were talking about who it could possibly be and wow wasn’t she a slut?
I thought that was rich coming out of some mouths, particularly some of the guys I knew who were keeping tallies of what they called their “conquests.” Made me feel ill.
I went to get up, but James grabbed my shirt and tugged me back down.
“Don’t,” he hissed.
“I need to see,” I said back, keeping my mouth full of food, but it didn’t matter. Everyone was so lost in their own conversations no one bothered to try and overhear ours.
“You know she doesn’t want you to. So sit your ass down and let it play out.” He pretended to join in the gossip-y conversation Ollie was having with Charlotte, but his heart wasn’t in it.
Gemma had obviously had enough when the Ravenclaw table erupted in laughter and she stormed out.
So much for House unity.
As I sat there pushing food around my plate, I wondered how it happened. Who had found out. How they had found out.
Yes, she had a fuller figure and she was hormonal, but it was hardly enough to start a rumor like that and make the school believe it. They had to know for sure. And they had to have picked their timing.
It was on purpose. The leaving feast. Give everyone a chance to think about it over break. Tell their parents a girl in their year was pregnant. Parents making phone calls about what kind of school is Hogwarts where they allow this kind of behavior. Give Ryan a few weeks to think about her life and how miserable it was.
And me. Force me to sit here, completely hopeless rather than out myself.
That was when I realized I was a complete jerk.
I should have done something. Even if she didn’t want me to, I should have stood up and told everyone to shut their mouths. Told them I’d give them something to laugh about. Punched Parise in the face just for good measure.
I should have done something.
Pfft. Some Gryffindor.
Instead, I was staring at potatoes and two different kinds of gravy while Ryan and Gemma were Godric-knows-where. The school was laughing at them. Disgusted by them. Judging them.
They didn’t know anything about her. Her life. Her ambitions. They didn’t know where she came from and how damn smart she was. How bad her hits hurt. How funny she could be when she let herself. They had no idea how fast she could mix a cocktail and keep eye contact while pouring.
She was probably the most worthy of the Ravenclaw title, but they were casting her out.
I did nothing. I sat back and enjoyed the show from the comfort of the Gryffindor table where I was just as much to blame but didn’t have the physical features to pinpoint it.
I didn’t envy girls. Suddenly they shag one bloke and they’re a slut. I couldn’t believe the names flying around. Ryan was none of those things. A bitch, yes. Rude, completely. Impossible? Definitely. But not the other things.
Yet no one was calling me a slut. And even if it ever got out, I didn’t think anyone would be.
I frowned. Was I a slut?
I thought about Alessandra. Then the strawberry girls at the pub and the one I kissed. I couldn’t even remember that. Still counted, though. Was that slutty?
I was terrible at this.
Once people started leaving to get back to their common rooms and pack for tomorrow’s train, I leapt up and into the hallway. Ryan wasn’t around, but I didn’t expect her to be. I had no idea where to look, but James mentioned she might be at the Quidditch pitch. It was a good first place to start.
I pushed the front doors open and some wet snow hit me in the face. I brushed it off with my sleeve. There weren’t any footprints, but it was snowing pretty hard and they could have been wiped away already.
I needed to apologize. To tell her how sorry I was for not being a Gryffindor. For not being there for her since I said I would. I said she wouldn’t be able to get rid of me, but when she was standing in front of the whole school of judging faces, I did nothing. I stared, just like them.
“You’re not going to find her.”
Oh son of a bitch.
I turned to find Gregory Zonko on the front steps behind me. He had closed the front door and was hugging his cloak tight to his stupid small frame.
“Now isn’t the time,” I said impatiently. “We can discuss the court case later in which you tell me all about how next time you’re going to fill the judge’s juice box with your own concoction of Zonko-love-potion-number-nine.” I turned back to the snow, searching it for prints.
“She went home,” Zonko continued.
“I really don’t like it when you talk,” I said, breathing hard. It was damn cold. “Sounds a little like a rodent and a lawnmower.”
“She Floo’d out a few minutes ago. Same classroom you two left in.”
I turned again. “Listen, Zonko,” I said, but then paused. I let it sink in and he watched me do this. I hated that it had to sink in and I hated that he knew. “When did you find out and why the fuck did you tell the entire school?”
“Just before the feast,” he said casually. “And because I’m a Slytherin. I’m ambitious.”
“You just publicly humiliated a fellow Prefect,” I said, trying to keep myself in check. I had an authority role in the school and I couldn’t abuse it. Not here on the grounds. The last thing I wanted was to be kicked out from being a Prefect because even in that moment I was considering ways to abuse that power and use it in my favor. No, I couldn’t hurt Zonko. But I could make him talk.
“She’ll be fine. She’ll just have a mood swing and be over it.”
“So what were you hoping to achieve?” I asked casually. “Public humiliation? Pinning the entire school against her?”
Zonko held up a finger like he was pondering. “One step closer, Weasley. One step closer to bringing you down.”
“And how is that?”
“Trust me, I think you’re the one that got Miss Priss pregnant, but there is no way for me to prove that since both of you can lie considerably well for the less fairer of the houses,” he said. “But I can continue to trash her reputation until you crack. Hell, you almost cracked in the hall, didn’t you? Almost got up and went to her rescue. But oh, think about what that would do to the case. By the way, Your Honor, Mr. Weasley’s son just knocked up a girl out of wedlock and he is supposed to be trusted with a store?” He was snickering through the words.
But he was right. That would look terrible during the court case. Dad would have to defend my actions, which he shouldn’t have to do.
I took a deep breath, considering just punching him in the face and being done with it.
“I appreciate your malice,” I said. “I do. It’s really clever of you to go through someone who is entirely unrelated to get what you want. But I will warn you that if you know anything about my family, you know I’m not afraid to play dirty.”
“Learn that from your dead uncle?” Zonko said cheerfully.
Everything left me at that moment. Everything telling me I was a Prefect. A seventh-year. That he was provoking me to get what he wanted. He was trying to get under my skin.
“Yes,” I said, before storming up the stairs and tackling him into the snow.
Zonko’s back slammed hard against the stone and he yelled out, probably having not expected me to use my fist instead of my wand. My knuckles slammed into his jaw. Again. Again. Blood was flying from his mouth and he was yelling and I was hitting him and my eyes were blurry and stinging and I was yelling something, but I was so far away.
This is for Ryan.
This is for James.
This is for my Quidditch team.
This is for my father.
And this? This is for my Uncle Fred.
He taught me everything I know, you son of a bitch.
A/N: So yeah. That happened. I have to be a weirdo and say that's probably one of my favorite ends to a chapter in a long time. Make me full of feels because I miss Fred-Fred a lot. And my DH books has a big dent in its spine from the first time I read that around 7am of the day it was released. I didn't handle that well.
ANYWAY. Shit hit the fan. Ryan bailed. Zonko is a twat. Fred thinks he's a twat. You know, the usual.
At least it's almost Christmas holiday, right? One step closer to finding out about Ryan Davies.
UP NEXT: Fred discovers there are consequences for beating the shit out of a 12-year-old, he has a heart-to-heart with dear Dad, James is the key, and Fred takes some responsibility.
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