Chapter 11 : When You Realize You're In Things Alone
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The rest of the holiday back home was somewhat tense to say the very least. While my parents continued to act as though they weren’t really angry with me or anything of the sort there was definitely an air of discomfort that was surrounding everyone in the house once my little secret had come to light. Having most of my immediate family know that I was carrying the start of the next generation of Malfoys was definitely an uneasy thing to have to deal with. Everyone who had learned the truth with my little outburst had looked at me the whole time as though I had just grown an extra head.
James had been a blessing in that time. Most of my life he had been as close to an older brother as I could have ever possibly hoped for even though we were merely cousins. For as long as I could remember he was there for me, looked out for me, did whatever he could to make me feel better when I was upset about something. And during that time it was no different. If anything he treated me even more like a little sister he needed to take care of.
He was being rather sweet about things while I was at home. Though he wasn’t staying with us the entire holiday he stopped by as frequently as he could, would bring by special tea to help with my upset stomach and sweets for me to indulge in. He would sit with me and talk about whatever was on my mind. And he promised me that when the time came where a room would have to be readied for the baby he would do the painting on his own rather than using magic to do so. “It’s the least I can do for you. I can’t do much to make this easier on you or anything. But I can paint the room for your little baby, can’t I?”
I appreciated that very much to say the very least. He didn’t have to offer to do anything to help prepare a room for the baby when the time came but knowing that he would be there for me helped. Knowing that anyone in my family would be there for me helped. It made me feel less like I was going through it all alone and with Scorpius as the father? It already definitely felt like I was all alone in things.
Hugo had been taking the whole situation rather hard. Maybe it was because it was hard for him to think about his older sister having a baby when she was still in school; maybe it was difficult for him to accept the fact that I was carrying Scorpius’ baby. Whatever the case was he was doing the best he could to avoid talking to me while I was there on holiday.
It wasn’t until the last day that he said anything to me. He came and stood in my doorway, looked at me while I sat on the bed, his eyes boring down onto me. And then, after a few seconds he cleared his throat a bit to get my attention towards him. And then, after he turned his attention away from me, refused to look at my face, he mumbled, “I don’t really know what to say no, Rose. This is all a big bloody mess but…I’m not upset. I just…need some time to process all of this.”
It might not have been the most loving response that I could have gotten from him but I could understand why it was a lot for him to process. We were both young and there I was saying he was going to become an uncle. And no one at that age thinks they’re going to become an uncle. Not unless they have a sibling that’s a great deal older than them. And one year definitely didn’t count.
Most of the way back to Hogwarts I ended up sleeping. When we had been heading home it the motion of the train had upset my stomach so much that sleeping had been the better idea at the time. So I curled up on one of the seats in the cars and napped the whole way back to the school with Lily sitting across from me like she was watching over me. At the time having a very protective family was comforting that I knew that there was a definite chance it would eventually become frustrating and suffocating. And yet nothing would change. The Weasley family had always been close and would always be close. It was just in our nature.
It was strange to get back to school and have everyone acting like everything was just the same as it had been the whole time. But for them it was the same as it always had been. I was the one that had a new situation to deal with, a situation that would become more and more obvious to everyone else around me as I got further along in my pregnancy. After all, you could only keep something like that a secret for so long before it became blatantly obvious to everyone around you.
I spotted Scorpius as the train pulled up at the school. He was stepping out onto the platform with his friends, laughing at some joke one of them had apparently told, a joke that was ridiculous without a doubt. He looked so carefree, so joyful that I wanted to punch him in the face. Seeing him acting as though there was absolutely nothing different in his life when he had found out he was going to be a father made me feel sick. It was grossly unfair but there was nothing at all I could do about it.
But what made it worse was the way Leera Zabini was hanging all over him. She was doing the most obvious kind of flirting in the world, hanging on his every word, one hand brushing over his arm through his sleeve, looking at him like she wanted to eat him alive piece by piece. It was disgusting and disturbing.
And the truth was that I felt jealous. It was hard to explain why I felt jealous. And I knew that it was utterly ridiculous to feel guilty because it wasn’t as though I had any claim on Scorpius. He may have been the father of my child but we weren’t in any kind of a relationship. I wasn’t his girlfriend, his fiancé or his wife. I wasn’t even his friend. Having a child growing inside of me with half of his DNA didn’t mean I had the right to get upset if he flirted with other girls or if they flirted with him.
And yet a part of me hated it. Call it ridiculous, call it pathetic, call it selfish but I didn’t like seeing someone flirting with the man whose baby I was carrying. If they were doing it where I couldn’t see them, if they were doing it in secret, if they weren’t flaunting it in front of everyone then it wouldn’t be a problem. What you don’t know can’t hurt you and all of that. But I wasn’t about to say anything to him about it. I wasn’t going to say anything to anyone about it. Because I had no standing to protest.
He turned his head slightly and saw me, his eyes locked on my face. For a long while he just kept his eyes on me, just watched my face and in that moment I wondered if he had said anything to his family about the situation we were both in. Had he told his parents that he was going to be a father? Had he told any of his friends that they should be congratulating him on the fact he was going to have an offspring of his own in less than a year?
There was no way to know though and I doubted he was going to tell me either. And he definitely didn’t seem to feel the need to say anything to me because after he looked at my face for a little while the corners of his mouth turned up into a slight smirk. It was the cockiest look he had ever had on his face, like he was secretly enjoying the fact I was in an awkward situation, that I had to deal with carrying a baby while trying to finish the rest of my school year. But he didn’t say anything to me.
As a matter-of-fact he didn’t say anything to me for quite a while. A whole week of time passed with Scorpius acting like there was nothing that we had to talk about. He went about his classes just like I went about mine. He spent time with his friends, spoke to them like nothing had changed for him, ignored me like I was nothing more than a window in a classroom, always there but of absolutely no importance. I hadn’t expected him to fawn all over me, to act like I was the most important thing in the world but a little acknowledgement would have been nice. He may not have been an active participant in the creation of the baby I was carrying but he was still the father. And the fact I was carrying the baby should have made me more important than the rest of the simpering little slags that hung all over him like he was the greatest thing in the world.
It wasn’t until a week after we got back to school that he even spoke to me.
I was sitting in the library working on an assignment for potions class when he sat down across from me in the library. At first he said nothing to me. He didn’t even look at me even though I looked at him for a long period of time, even though I willed him to say something to me in that moment. But he just focused on the piece of parchment in front of him like I wasn’t even there. It was no change from the last few days.
So, because I couldn’t will him to speak to me I decided to ignore him just as much as he was ignoring me. There was no point in wasting my time trying to get his attention when he seemed determined to pretend that I wasn’t there. I could be as distant from him as he was being from me if the need arose. And the need had definitely arisen.
And then he sort of flipped the script on me, so to speak. Not because he said anything to me because he didn’t. He remained completely silent but all of a sudden a little satchel was dropped right onto the parchment I was working on. It made a clinking sound as it landed, echoed in the mostly empty library.
My eyes shot up to look at him but his attention was back on his work, his quill moving across the page, scratching noises coming from it.
“You’re gonna need money to deal with this,” he said after a few beats without even looking up at me. “I thought that might help a little.”
My eyes shifted back down to the bag lying there in front of me, a part of me tempted to look inside and see what was in there but the rest of me knowing the second I touched it he would consider it me accepting the money. “Does that mean you told your parents about this?”
“Are you bloody kidding?” He let out a harsh kind of laugh and finally looked over at me, his eyebrows furrowed like saying that had confused him beyond belief. It was confusing to me because I hadn’t thought I said anything that was all that ridiculous. Didn’t it make complete and total sense to tell your parents when you’re going to become a parent? “Why on earth would I tell them?”
“Because they’re going to be grandparents,” I explained in the most logical tone I could even though I had to keep my voice down. The last thing I wanted was for other people to hear the conversation we were having. The longer I could keep it a secret the better things would be for me. The moment that people knew I was pregnant they would start to treat me differently. Some of them would treat me well but others would look at me like I was some slag who slept around. It wouldn’t be fair but it wouldn’t stop them from thinking that way.
“Barely,” he muttered under his breath so quietly I could barely hear him. “I’m not going to tell my parents that you got yourself knocked up with my child because of a bloody spell that you read wrong. If we had shagged it would be different. At least it would make sense to them. But this? It doesn’t even make sense to me.”
“I don’t owe you anything,” he informed me as he looked over at me again, his eyes boring into mine as though he were trying to convey just how serious he was being in that moment. Not that he needed to look at me that intensely to show me he was being serious. His tone would have said it all.
“You got into this mess all on your own. The kid might have some of my DNA but I didn’t have anything to do with putting it there. So I don’t really owe you anything. This money is just me trying to be nice. But don’t expect me to act like a proud expecting father, Weasley.”
And Merlin did I want to punch him right in the face for that comment. He may have had a bit of a point because he really hadn’t done anything to get into the situation we were in. But we were in the situation and it wasn’t fair for him to expect me to go about dealing with things all on my own.
“Don’t act like I’m asking for your undying love and affection or I expect you to ask for my hand in marriage,” I spat out to him between clenched teeth. “Trust me when I say I have no desire to be your girlfriend or anything of the sort. I don’t want your love or your affection. But I deserve a little respect and kindness seeing as your offspring is gestating inside of me as we speak.”
“Because of something you did,” he countered, dropping his quill down onto the parchment in front of him. He leaned closer to me, lowered his voice down to a bit of a harsh whisper, probably in part to make sure his point got across and also to make sure other people didn’t hear him talking. “I had nothing to do with this. I don’t even know how it ended up that you ended up carrying my child.”
“It was a stupid bloody spell. One I mucked up. And I take full responsibility for that fact. I mucked things up. I did something that will change my entire life. I am going to have a baby. I’m carrying a child. Your child. And trust me when I say I wouldn’t have picked you as the father if I had any other choice. You’re a jackass. You’re rude and stuck-up and most of the time you make me want to rip my bloody hair out. But you are the father of my child. And no matter how that came to be you can’t change that little fact any more than I can.”
“Let’s get this straight.” Lifting up one hand he pointed his index finger at me. “This child if yours. You quite literally got yourself pregnant. Why should my life be completely altered because you made a big bloody mistake? Do you know how utterly selfish that is?”
“Yes, selfish. You want me to change my whole world because you fucked things up. What else would you call it, Weasley?”
“I would call it accepting the fact that you’re going to be a father and taking responsibility for it.”
“Responsibility for what? For your actions? How the hell does that make any sense?”
Yes, I definitely wanted to punch him in the face. And the worst part was that he had a point, at least in part. But I also had a point and he knew that, too. He could deny it as much as he wanted but he wasn’t completely right in things. I may not have been either but that wasn’t really the point in that moment.
Grabbing the pouch of coins he had put down in front of me I tossed it over towards him. It landed on the parchment he had been writing on and it slid towards him a bit. The sound was much louder than it had been when he put the coins down but luckily that area of the library was mostly empty. “If you’re going to act like this doesn’t matter to you at all? Then keep your bloody money. I don’t want your pity money, Malfoy. I don’t need it.” True, my parents weren’t exactly rich but my family would definitely find a way to help me get whatever I needed to take care of the child. I didn’t want his pity. Pity was worse than being ignored.
“I was trying to be nice,” he countered, pushing the pouch off of the parchment and in my direction like he could force me to take it from him. But I wasn’t going to take it from him no matter how much he insisted on it. “Just because this isn’t my responsibility doesn’t mean I can’t be polite to you about the whole thing. That child is only mine in theory so I don’t owe you this money but I thought I’d be nice and give you some to help you.”
“You can’t have it both ways, Malfoy. You can’t give me money to take care of the baby like a father would and turn around and say you’re not the father just because we didn’t shag.” Not that I would have shagged him, of course. While he wasn’t exactly unattractive or anything of the sort he wasn’t the type of man I would want to sleep with. He was too self-absorbed, too selfish, acted like he thought too much of himself. Conceit wasn’t attractive to me in any shape or form.
“This is just me helping out a classmate.”
“This is you trying to make yourself feel better.” I pushed the coin pouch back in his direction once more. “You’re giving me money so that you won’t feel bad about yourself for opting out of this whole thing. So you don’t have to feel bad about deciding not to act like a father when you are the father of this child. But that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re choosing to refuse to be a father to your child. And I’m not the one who is going to suffer for it. Your child is going to suffer for it because they are going to have to live with the knowledge that their father chose not to be a part of their life.”
“Get one thing straight.” His tone had changed, had become much more vicious than it had been like I had really struck a nerve, like I was really beginning to upset him. “If I had any part in creating that kid? If we had slept together and I knocked you up? I would do everything an expecting father should do. I may not fawn over you like you were the love of my life or anything but I would most definitely be there for my child. But you can’t be angry with me for not wanting your mistake to ruin my whole life. I am only responsible for my actions. I’m not responsible for yours.”
“Can you really sit there and say you don’t care that this is your child? That this child could very well look like you? That it has your blood? Does that really mean nothing to you?”
Scorpius let out a harsh breath that sounded almost like a laugh but there was no amusement at all in the sound. There was nothing but frustration there, his shoulders going tense, his back going rigid. It was the most uncomfortable I had seen him since I told him about the baby. And a part of me was glad that I had finally pushed a button, that he felt a bit as uneasy about everything as I was feeling in that moment. He wouldn’t ever have to feel the same things I would throughout the pregnancy but at least he was feeling something.
He took a slow, deep breath, closed his eyes and waited a few beats before he spoke again. “Look,” he started and his tone made it very clear that he was trying his best to remain calm even while he obviously felt anything but calm. “This is so much simpler for you than it is for me. You actually did something to end up in this situation. But I didn’t. For you it’s very clear and obvious who the parents are but for me it isn’t. So stop acting like I’m just being an asshole during all of this. Stop acting like I’m shrugging off something I had a part in.”
“It doesn’t matter how this baby got here,” I insisted. “What matters is that it’s here. It’s here and it’s yours. And if you choose not to be in this baby’s life then that’s a choice you’re going to have to live with. It’s not going to hurt me. I can survive without you around. I can raise this baby on my own. But one day when this baby asks about their father? When they ask why their father isn’t around? I’m not going to lie. I’m going to tell them that you chose not to be. And that’s on you.”
I couldn’t be around him any longer. The longer I sat there the more likely I was to punch him right in the face, to cause a scene that draw attention to both of us and I didn’t want to have to explain why I had punched him, to reveal to people that I was pregnant. No, it was better just to walk away.
Standing up from the table I gathered my things as quickly as I could before heading out of the library.
Scorpius called out to me as I was heading away but I refused to turn back to look at him, refused to acknowledge him and listen to anything that he had to say.
If he wanted me to be a single parent to this baby then that was exactly what I would be. And I wouldn’t waste my time trying to change his mind.
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