Chapter 20 : Twenty
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But that still doesn’t answer why Orion would say James told him I was dressed like her. Unless they were plotting together, Izzy and Orion. Pretty dumb plan if you ask me, all I’d have to do would be to ask James and he’d say it wasn’t true and their plan would be foiled, right?
I push open the door to the chilly common room and find my friends sitting on the couches. Saffi is on the floor, face in a book, Raven painting her nails and Char with her head dangling over the arm of the couch. She sees me first and bolts upright, clutches her head from the blood rush and grimaces at me. “Hi!” She groans, I plop down next to her, my mind a whir with questions and thoughts.
I notice once I’ve sat down that opposite her on the other worn green sofa are Alvie and Albus. I’d like to use the adjective ‘cuddling’ but it’s more like Alvie wrapped around a statue. He’s sitting rigidly with a book in his lap with Alvie curled into his side, her face resting on him as they both stare down at the book. She looks up at me and smiles, blushes fiercely and clears her throat before sitting up.
“Where’ve you been?” She asks, sort of glaring at me because I’m giving her a look somewhere between impressed and suspicious.
“I’ve just been sitting outside, thinking about things.” I say, conveniently forgetting to add the part wherein I’d been making out with James before that… “You know, the weirdest thing just happened,” I start and laugh a little, I don’t know why I’m laughing, it’s not funny, “Miller came to see me. Made up some shit about James convincing him that the girl he kissed was actually me.” I roll my eyes, “How low is that?” No one says anything, Alvie looks away, “Can you imagine? James tricking him into kissing another girl.” A bark of laughter leaves my throat unexpectedly. No one seems to find this shocking or alarming at all. I look beside me to Charlotte who is now fascinated with the book Saffi is reading on to floor in front of her. I guess they’re all just awkward given I probably should be crying about this or something so I continue regardless, “Then Izzy comes over, and you know I thought that girl looked familiar, guess I was too distraught to think too much about it though, but she admitted to kissing Miller!”
Alvie’s head shoots in my direction. “She what?”
“I know! She said that James asked her to do it to see if Miller would cheat on me. What a load of bullshit. They’re both total gits. They deserve each other.” I scoff. Again, forgetting to add what she said about Miller and him perhaps thinking I was her and that he loved me. Gulp.
Alvie and Albus share a look; he squeezes her hand softly and smiles.
“And you, you don’t believe them?”
“What?” I snap, “Of course I don’t! Why would I believe them? I found James and Izzy practically shagging the other week, clearly she’s just jealous of our relationship and wants James to herself and Miller just wants me to break up with James so I’ll get back with him.” I state, why can no one else see this?
“Don’t tell me you believe them! She’s a bitch and you were there when Miller did it! How can you think this is the truth?!” I’m astounded at her stupidity, talk about baby brain. “I know I’m not the brightest spark from the wand but I know James and I know he wouldn’t do anything like that, ok? He just wants me to be happy and it’s purely coincidental that we kind of got together because of what happened.”
She sighs and shakes her head at Albus like there’s no one else around, her jaw tightens, “I knew there was a reason I hated that bitch.” She says and a smile slips onto my lips. “If it weren’t for,” she gestures down to her stomach, “you know I’d be out there now hunting her down but, fuck I’m just so tired.” She rubs a hand over her stomach.
I get the distinct impression that she’s trying to change the subject. “How do you feel?” I ask, honestly worried about her. Maybe Saffi was right; maybe I have been kind of self-absorbed the past few days.
“I mean, apart from,” She starts to count these off her fingers, “the fatigue, crippling heartburn, headaches, near constant nausea, morning sickness and having to pee all the time I’d say I’m just great, thanks for asking.” She’s almost growling by the end.
I turn and grab a magazine from the side table, “And mood swings.” I mutter, clearly too loudly because she glares at me and I fear I may burst into flames. I’m actually scared.
“What was that?”
“I was just reading, erm, to the baby,”
“From Witch Weekly?”
“Yeah, climax your way to better skin…”
“Oh I’m sure he’ll find that very interesting,” she rolls her eyes and rubs her stomach again. I wish she’d stop, there’s nothing there to fucking rub!
I push away my pang of anger (JEALOUSY!!) and smile, “So it’s a he, is it?”
She nods and grins, “Yup,” She pops the ‘p’, she always gets like this when she talks about the baby, I’ve noticed, “Dead cert.”
“Apparently there’s a flower that tells you the gender of your child from any stage of pregnancy.” Albus says, looking down at Alvie who smiles at him and bites her lip.
“Mhm?” She murmurs, waiting for him to continue.
“They say you place the bud on your stomach,” He lays a lightly clenched hand on her stomach, fingers facing upwards, “and if it’s a boy it blooms,”
“Let me guess, blue?” I can practically hear Raven roll her eyes when she says this.
“No, actually, it’s pink.” He gives her a ‘what the fuck’ look but she’s back to painting her nails, Alvie contains her laughter as Albus shakes his head and rolls his brilliant green eyes, “So if it’s a boy it’s pink and if it’s a girl it’s blue.” He says softly looking at her, slowly opening his hand, like a flower blooming, he wiggles his fingers and tickles her side, making her giggle before he pulls his hand away, “They say it’s like the most idiotic thing ever. No one believes it but you can’t really argue, I mean, if it’s blue and you have a girl you’ll think it’s true and if it’s blue and you have a boy you’ll think it’s true either way.” He looks down at Alvie and I resist shouting ‘CLEAN UP ON AISLE 12!’ because believe me, she fucking melts.
I’m not sure how long we sit like this, Alvie and Albus eye fucking and Char, Saffi, Raven and I watching them, but it’s long enough for me to deduce that James is probably out of the picture for Alvie. For these ten minutes, at least.
I’m the first to interrupt by announcing that I’m going to the dorm to finish some homework, by which I mean start my homework. I get some transfig done and even revise a little potions before Alvie comes up with Raven.
“Guess who’s finished their transfig work?” I say proudly.
“The one that was due last week or the one that’s due Monday?” Raven asks.
“WHAT?” I scramble around the mass of sheets lining my bed and most of the floor before I grasp one that’s untouched with the words, ‘transfig – due Monday’ scrawled hastily on top. Fuck. It’s not a big deal, I’ve got the weekend, but for some reason I don’t feel like I’ll be up to doing any work after visiting our parents tomorrow. I sigh and pull my workbook towards me. Rav laughs at me before going into the bathroom.
“Are you managing?” Alvie asks and I can’t help but sense a double meaning.
“Yeah, I’ve still got mountains to do, but it’s fine. Worse comes to worst I’ll just pay some clever Claw to do it for me.”
She sighs and flops onto my bed, “Come here, I’ll do your charms essay.”
“We had an essay for that?” She just laughs and rifles through my papers before holding one aloft and waving it in my face. I shake my head, how have I gotten so behind on my work? No wonder I’m failing everything. “How’s Ghoul Studies going?” I ask, how Alvie has time for extra-curric shit like fucking Ghoul Studies is beyond me!
“Oh fuck me, it’s the most excruciatingly boring thing you can imagine and professor Smale doesn’t help at all.”
“She that bad?”
“Worse.” She laughs, “I mean, I’m doing all this so I’ll get a good job, but really what’s the point? I’m going to have a baby, I won’t have time to do anything and the way it’s worked out I’ll be giving birth right around exam time.” She sighs, totally deflated.
“Did Healer Waters tell you what your due date was?” I ask cautiously, making sure to look down at my work.
“Yeah, I think you’d gone to vomit or something,” I blush, trust me to miss that, “I guess I forgot to mention it. It’s June 10th.”
“June 10th.” I swallow and nod. Set in stone. Just about. Everything always seems further away until you put a date on it. As soon as there’s a day you’re waiting for the time seems to fly, and that petrifies me, and Alvie too, I’m sure. “At least you and your mum can talk babies together.” I joke, sort of.
“Can’t wait. Dad will probably kick me out.”
“Well you and Alvie jr. can always come live with me. Unless I’ve been ostracised for being with James, which sounds likely, in which case we’ll just get a house together, the three of us.”
She laughs, “Yeah, nice plan there, princess. But I think you’re forgetting that we’re young and absolutely fucking clueless and also penniless. And there’s that small matter of having to return next year.”
“I hadn’t thought about that.” I admit, everything has been so here and now that it’s difficult to look beyond it and see the future, a future where Alvie has a baby and is a mother. And I’m just the weird aunt or would I be more of a stepmother given my relationship with James? Oh, God. I’m the evil fucking stepmother.
We work in silence for a while before we both decide to get some sleep, not that I think either of us get any, we’re both super excited to see our families tomorrow. At least my sarcasm hasn’t died with my sense of hope.
I’m awake early and down to the library for a tutor session with James before we have to floo home. We’d arranged it yesterday after I’d accidentally spilled the beans about almost blowing the school up after a mistake in potions. Apparently I’m a ‘menace to the wizarding world’ and ‘need constant supervision and guidance’, according to James. I wouldn’t say I was that bad.
“It’s far too early for this, Potter.” I moan when I flop down next to him, giving him a quick peck. Some time during this morning or last night I decided I wouldn’t mention Izzy or Miller to James. I don’t want to upset him and I don’t want him to think I don’t trust him by questioning him.
“Good morning to you, too.” He sings, ever the chirpy bird. “Got you a present.” He kisses my cheek. There is perhaps one pro to getting up early and being here with James, we can actually act like a couple and I don’t have to feel guilty, I can just be happy. I’d also decided that I don’t need to talk to him, who is anyone else to tell me to break up with him? There’d been a lot of lead up to this and it’s finally happened, why should I be unhappy just because Alvie’s pregnant? She seems plenty happy with Albus right now anyway. And with regards to loving Miller, I don’t think that’s in the equation anymore, not after the lies he told yesterday.
“You did, hm?” He smiles that beautiful white smile and begins to ruffle around in his bag. He pulls out a slightly crumpled piece of parchment with some smudged ink on it.
“Look,” He turns it over and I see his dreadful high-spider-fell-in-ink-and-skidded-over-parchment writing. “I’ve written you down all those anagrams and stuff.” He draws his finger over it and points to a few. “This one’s especially important because you use powdered horn in lots of potions with an alkaline base.” My tiny heart skips a few beats at this. It’s brilliant, I mean, maybe I’m still in the dark with regards to the use of snake venom in potions, but he didn’t have to do this for me, he wanted to. It means even more that it’s in his writing, his terrible, barely legible writing. Just for me.
“It’s brilliant.” I smile at him, “Maybe you can teach me a few of those annoying songs too.” I kiss him, enjoying the freedom I have here.
“I’ll even learn to play an exploding tuba and you can do the drum beats.” He pulls a few more bits of parchment from his bag, along with some books too. “Oh, and there’s also this,” He says, handing me a brown paper bag. I open it with caution, he may be my boyfriend but I wouldn’t put it past him to give me a dead newt and thinks it’s hilarious. But it’s not a dead anything, in fact it’s a bar of chocolate and some jelly unicorns. “Knew you’d be hungry and grumpy this morning.” He pulls me to his side and kisses the top of my unkempt head.
“Mmmm, thank you.” I say with a mouthful. Not that the sugar rush will help later, but I appreciate it now. I hold a jelly unicorn to his mouth while pulling ink and a quill from my own bag. He takes a large, aggressive bite and growls, shaking his head like a dog playing with a chew toy.
“Down boy!” I joke and he swallows, pants, then dives forward and licks my cheek.
I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with my boyfriend, but I wouldn’t change him for all the jelly unicorns in the world.
“I think my top three pregnancy fears are 1. Having an outy belly button. 2. Shitting myself during labour and 3. Ending up with a child at the end of it.” Alvie says while we’re sat waiting to leave. She turns to Dom and I, “I mean, shit, you guys. I’m going to be a mum.” Her eyes go wide with apparent terror.
“It’ll all be worth while when you see your little boy though.” Dom seems broody which is incredibly worrying. God forbid she get pregnant, I was still hoping she hadn’t had sex with Mason yet. I don’t know why, I just hope she’s waiting, they haven’t been together long, slightly hypocritical of me, but he was a bit of a player, I just don’t want anything to happen. Not that I think he’d leave her, he seems fairly smitten. It’s sickening, almost.
“I’m still saying it’s a girl.” I say, we’ve been betting on it. I’ve got 10 sickles on it being a girl. Alvie and Albus think it’s a boy, James say’s girl, Dom refused to bet, but was edging towards a boy too, Mason bet boy as did Raven, and Char, Saffi said girl and Freddie bet that it was human.
“I can’t believe I’m going to miss this.” Dom pouts. She’d love the opportunity to watch Alvie, James and I get totally bollocked by our parents.
“Yes, but you’ll get the whole day with Mason with no interruptions.” I nudge her.
“It’s almost our month anniversary!” She gushes with a huge bright beam. “I’m thinking it might be time to, you know.” Dom gets a little shy. I feel like I’m a mother and my daughter has started dating for the first time. Good God this is awful, but in all fairness Dom has done terrifically well to stay with Mason this long, this is in fact her longest relationship to date. I feel she deserves congratulations, but I can’t think of a way to say it without sounding patronising or like I’m making implications.
“When’s his birthday?”
“March.” She answers giving me a curious look, she looks at Alvie too and she shrugs, not understanding me.
“Why don’t you wait until then? It’ll be a nice surprise for him.” I say sternly.
She laughs, clearly thinking I’m joking. “Yeah, I’m sure, just wait another 5 months.”
“You know I’d feel a lot better if you waiting until marriage.”
Before she can respond James charges into the room. “Are you two ready yet?!”
Alvie goes to the toilet before we trudge to McGonagall’s office where we stand awkwardly as she judges us silently, shaking her head occasionally before she ushers us into the fire one at a time, shoving a handful of powder into each of our hands.
“Zabini Manor.” Alvie calls out and is immediately engulfed in flames, in an instant they flicker and then are extinguished; she nods at James who dutifully does the same.
“Good luck, Malfoy.” She nods to me and I follow, hoping the flames that engulf me, burn me to death.
Unfortunately they don’t.
“I honestly don’t know how Hermione married you! If you were my husband I’d poison your coffee!”
“Oh believe me, if you were my wife I’d drink it!”
I have just entered the chaos of my father arguing with Aunt Pansy, Uncle Harry tying to prevent Uncle Blaise from killing James, Aunt Ginny suffocating Alvie in a hug. My mum sat on the sofa shaking her head while she pulls her hands through her messy hair. I take a seat beside her. “This is mental.” She sighs, stands up and shouts for everyone to pack in. Everyone does with sheepish expressions. She gestures that James and Alvie take a seat with me and the six of them stand in front of us with red faces looking somewhat aggravated.
“So it’s true?” Uncle Blaise says.
“That I’m gravid, parous, fecund, enceinte, teeming with child?” Alvie asks, sounding somewhat pissed.
“Erm,” Everyone looks between themselves, bar maybe my mum who seems to understand perfectly what Alvie just said. “Yes?” Uncle Harry says.
“Absolutely. I’m gestating like nobody’s business.” Alvie drawls. She seems a lot less nervous than I thought she’d be, but I guess she figures they can’t do anything to her and it’s all said and done now.
“Jesus Christ.” Aunt Pansy mutters and turns around into her husbands waiting embrace. Despite already knowing, I guess hearing it from her daughters mouth in the flesh was still a little shocking, that and her own hormones will be in overdrive too.
I look helplessly between the adults before us, they’re supposed to know what to do and how to make this ok, but at the minute they all look just as clueless as we probably look.
“We’ll leave you three to talk about this,” Dad says, looking at James and I and flicking his head towards the door to the left.
“So… I’ve missed you guys?” I try to sweeten them up when we’re in the next room and the huge black wooden doors have muffled the sound of aunt Pansy sobbing. Dad just stares at me blankly until mum nudges him.
“We’ve missed you too, honey.” She pulls me into a hug and dad rolls his eyes at what a total softy she is. Uncle Harry is having stern words with James while Aunt Ginny clutches his arm looking conflicted. It seems she agrees with Harry but James is still her baby. Mum pulls away and looks me over, “Is Alvie ok with this?” She asks casting a quick glance in James’ direction. I look away coyly.
“You two.” Ginny shakes her head, but there’s a little smile on her lips. She looks between us then looks at my dad. “It was only a matter of time, Malfoy.” She puts her hand out and he groans, digs out a galleon from his pocket and plants it flat on her palm. She chuckles and mum shakes her head disapprovingly.
“You were betting on us?!” I shout.
“Oh come on, this has been going on for years. We knew it was either you or Alvie. I always knew it’d be you.” Aunt Ginny smirks.
“You bet against me?!” I shout at dad.
“Well, not against you as such. I just thought you’d have more sense.”
“Oi!” Uncle Harry joins in.
“I’m joking. I had to didn’t I? He’s a Potter and you’re my little girl. I don’t like the thought of you with any of them.” He shrugs and mum smiles adorningly at him, clutching his arm. The constant jesting between my dad and uncle Harry will never cease, it seems.
“Surely you both lost because I got one of them pregnant and am in a relationship with the other.” James deadpans.
“Well they hadn’t exactly bet on you getting anyone pregnant, James.” My mum says.
“Thought you’d have more sense,” Dad and uncle Harry both say.
“Well it’s not like I meant to, is it?” He argues, I’m thankful he hasn’t mentioned how she actually got pregnant.
“Well now that we’ve established you’ve got working reproductive organs you’d best keep it in your pants because if she’s not still a virgin by the time she’s married I’ll see to it you never have any more kids, you got that, Potter?” Dad growls and I go as red as James’ quidditch cloak. So my dad’s slightly naïve when it comes to my virginity, but I’m not going to correct him.
“Draco,” Mum’s low voice. “I think what he’s trying to say is that you should be careful if and when,” Insert pointed look at my dad, mum isn’t stupid, “you decide to engage in sexual activities.”
“Oh my God.” I groan and attempt to claw my eyes out. “Why are you saying these things? It’s like you want to permanently damage me. I’m none returnable, you know? You’ll just have to deal with my mangled, warped mind and live with the fact that it’s all your fault!” I moan childishly. Everyone laughs and I don’t find it funny, clearly James is more mature than I am because he hasn’t flickered, but he did pale a little when dad was threatening to cut his precious private parts off.
“Do you think it’s wrong?” I rush out once everyone’s calmed down. “James and I?” I grab his hand.
They look between themselves, not sure how to handle this. I take it this isn’t a good silence and after the longest ever pause known to man uncle Harry says, “We don’t have a problem but we can understand how hurt Alvie must feel. After all we all knew how she felt about James and the fact that the two have,” he clears his throat, “created a baby, says a lot and must have meant a lot to her, given it is called ‘making love’.” I look around the room we’re in, away from their disappointed faces, the walls are grey and there are two white sofas and a chair, a white bookcase and a coffee table. The room is pristine. I wander over and take a seat on the sofa; mum and aunt Ginny sit either side of me.
“We were drunk.” James announces. “I’d hardly call it love making. It was a clumsy mistake.” He doesn’t look at anyone. No one gets a chance to say anything else as the door is pushed open and the Zabini’s stand there, united, uncle Blaise with his arm around aunt Pansy who’s holding Alvie’s hand. Seeing her standing there, I can see a slight rounding to aunt Pansy’s stomach and guess she’s at least a month ahead of Alvie. Both look slightly red eyed but all three look happy nonetheless.
“I’m going to be a grandfather.” Uncle Blaise finally says. “Shame it’s Potter’s too, but what’re you going to do?”
After some congratulations mum draws me aside to ask about James and Miller.
“Do you hate me?” I push out. There’s a long silence before she draws in a sharp breath.
“No, Cassiopeia, I don’t hate you.” It feels like my skull caves in and everything is forced out of my mouth, I don’t hold back, there’s no point anymore. She listens, somewhat despondently when I tell her about Miller and having kissed James. “How’re you feeling?” I shrug, “He seemed like such a nice lad.”
“Well I probably seem like a nice girl, but I still did what I did, didn’t I? Then again with Alvie.” I don’t look at her and she pulls me into one of those hugs only your mum, or maybe your gran, can bestow upon you. It’s comparable to being hugged by a rainbow, it’s the embodiment of the words ‘you’ll be ok,’. It’s a promise.
“I think, as hard as it might be, you need to forget what happened with James. It hasn’t hurt anyone.” I sniff, “As for you dating him,” She shrugs, “I think you just need to put yourself in Alvie’s shoes.”
“I think she understands that James doesn’t feel the same way.” I say.
Cue mum’s sympathetic smile, “I wish I could help you here, Cass, but you’re going to have to sort that out between the three of you. I think it’s only fair you consult Alvie about this.” I know she’s right, I think I always have, but how do I go about asking if it’s ok for me to date the father of her baby? “Is there anything else you need to tell me?” She asks, probably fearing the worst.
“No,” Unless you count me being the actual mother of the baby and totally freaking out about it and the fact that I’m almost failing everything. “Nothing.”
“Good girl.” She kisses the top of my head and gives me a gentle shove in the direction of the sitting room where everyone else is gathered.
Aww. Everyone seems fairly happy in this chapter. I’ve surprised myself and actually wrote some cute stuff in there! At least half of it is, anyway.
I’d just like to thank everyone who has reviewed and read this story so far. I know this story isn’t popular and there aren’t many reviews (although that did increase a lot recently!) but I appreciate everyone who’s read/favourited/ reviewed it because it means a lot, just to know there are actually people there reading and ENJOYING this stuff I spiel out from the top of my head! But thank you so so much for it! I hope you enjoyed the niceness of this chapter (It was nice, right?) and hope you all continue to enjoy (maybe?) and read/review in the future! Thanks for reading! xo
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