Chapter 23 : Chapter 22: Home, Sweet Home
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Chapter 22: Home, Sweet Home
"He's mad about her, Jay. He's loved her since birth or some shit. You have no idea how upset he is that she's apparently having his baby. To him, having a guy's baby is the highest honour a woman can bestow upon a man. He's traditional like that." My brother confessed as we sat together in a deep corner of the library.
I imagined how I'd feel is Sarah were to have Danny's baby and felt sick to my stomach, my blood running cold and my temper high.
"I get it. But why would he fuck her over like that?" I asked, casually making paper aeroplanes from an exercise book I was supposed to be revising from.
"He's scared that she's a lost cause when it comes to Freddie – he thinks they're going to get married and have more babies. He's kicking himself because he's missed his chance in his mind; he's not handling it very well. He's frightened that she's sleeping with him again too, Albus said wisely.
I shook my head, irritated with his insight. Scorpius and I are close, but we don't have deep meaningful conversations about our complicated love-lives. He had something to worry about though – the Rose/Freddie ship had sailed.
"Surely he knows Rose is pretty much in love with him too?" I said, referring to Scorpius.
"She is?" Albus asked, eyebrow raised.
Hmm… Perhaps he isn't as enlightened to Rose's feelings as I am.
"I think so. She was so upset when he stormed off the night she told everyone. She was hiding it well but you know what she's like," I nodded sagely.
"Well there we go then. Now all that has to happen is for her to tell Scorpius that the baby is his and they will be together for ever and ever amen., Albus said in a carefree way which was unlike him.
"Are you alright mate?" I asked.
"Yeah. Just worrying about Becky. Since the break-up she hasn't been quite right. All she wants to do is revise potions with me in here."
"That a problem?"
"No, it's just not healthy if she's burying her feelings," Albus replied with a frown.
She's not burying her feelings. I can see Becky's been over Rich for a long time, and has been holding a candle for my little brother for even longer. But it's not my secret to tell.
I am surprising myself with my insight into the womenfolk of our group – I know so much about women!
James knows absolutely nothing about women. I was smacked in the face with this realisation late that night when just Rose and I were still up in the common room.
"You alright fatty?" He said to Rose, shaking his thick hair out of his beautiful eyes and plopping down next to me, muscley bicep against my arm. He's so pretty.
Shut- up Sarah I tell myself sternly.
"Charming," Rose said dryly, not looking up from her work.
She hasn't been herself lately – it's the Scorpius/Freddie fiasco I should think. I hope Scorpius has the guts to tell her how he feels soon. If he leaves it much later it'll only get worse. I'll get the truth out of her soon enough.
"What about you? Not doing any work I see, you little rebel," James said to me, poking me in the ribs good-naturedly and winking.
"I've finished all my work for before Christmas." I said brightly.
"And Rose hasn't? What's that sound…?" James cupped his hand around his ear, "Oh, its hell freezing over!"
"I've finished mine. I'm doing Dom's actually," Rose replied distractedly, immersed in the papers.
"Fancy doing mine?" James asked jokingly. I hit him on the arm as Rose looked as if she were considering it.
"Rose what is wrong with you? You never let James skive off from doing his coursework!" I exclaimed. Rose looked uncomfortable then looked up, shuffling her papers to the side and looking between us.
"I think I have to break up with Freddie," she admitted, biting her lip.
"Why? I mean, I know he's not the baby-daddy but doesn't mean you don't love him," James said. I nodded slowly.
"I can't ruin two men's lives. Freddie playing step-dad to Scorpius' child while the man himself is left being a sidelined father? I don't think so," Rose sighed.
"Do you love Freddie?" I asked. It was the main question.
"Not like I used to," Rose replied honestly, looking guilty.
"I totally understand," I shrugged, patting her hand and not noticing the pain in James' eyes. "At least sleep on it," I suggested. She nodded and piled Dom's homework on the arm of the chair. She yawned.
"Go to bed," I said. "Come on, we're going home tomorrow and I'm willing to put money on the fact that James hasn't even begun packing," I said, looking at him. His eye-roll was proof enough that I was right.
I looped my arm around Rose and walked around the sofa. As I passed James, I leant down and dropped a kiss on his head out of habit, squeezing his shoulder and inhaling his unmistakable scent as I led Rose up to our warm beds.
The next morning I was feeling unsure of my decision not to be with Freddie. I know I'm carrying another man's baby but what if I'm destined to be with him, what if we're meant to be? All this mental crap ran through my head as I ate what little breakfast I could next to him at Gryffindor table. He seemed just as put-off his food as me and eventually he dropped his toast and turned to me.
"Rose I don't want to do this. But I can't take it, I just can't," Freddie blurted, sounding desperate. I looked at him quizzically.
"Scorpius is making life hell in the common room. He just stares at me smugly that he knew before I did."
"Ignore him; he's got nothing else to do. What's the problem?" I said, placing my knife and fork in the centre of the plate.
"You're pregnant. And it's…not mine," he stated, his voice faltering with an emotion I couldn't quite place.
"Yes..." I said with my eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I know it's Scorpius' baby," he said, looking at me for a reaction. I very nearly spat out my pumpkin juice in horror. We were at the breakfast table for god's sake! People could hear if he raised his voice even a little bit!
I didn't ask how he knew, he knows me; it must be so obvious to him the way Scorpius and me aren't quite as close as before.
"I know it's his. He obviously loves you Rose. I don't want to be in the middle of this," he said, shaking his head.
"Rosie, I love you so much. But I can't go on like this. It'll kill me if I do," he said, facing me and taking both my hands. Oh God, what's going to happen?
"Go on…" I prompted; half of me not wanting to know and the other dying to hear what was so hard for him to say.
"I can be with you… if you stop seeing Scorpius. It's me or him, I'm sorry Ro," he said apologetically.
I looked at him, mouth slack at what he'd just said. Of all the things, I didn't expect that. So I stood up and, ignoring the calls of my friends and family, marched from the hall.
"Rose!" Freddie called, meeting me by the steps. Nobody was around; they were either catching a lie-in or eating. I stopped on the first step and came to face him.
"Look, I'm sorry! But what's it to be?" He asked cautiously.
"How can you ask that of me?!" I asked, still horrified. "He's one of my best friends! And the father!" I added in a hiss. Freddie looked at me searchingly.
"You love him too, don't you?" He asked quietly.
I heard the door of the dungeons and footsteps; probably a little first year rushing to catch the end of breakfast. I didn't answer- my mouth was open again in shock, I kept closing it and opening it again like a goldfish.
"It's him, isn't it Rosie? The one you think about when we're together, I can see it in your eyes," he asked, advancing towards me with a strange look in his eyes. My silence broke as hot anger washed over me at how he could work up the nerve to ask me to break contact with one of my best and oldest friends.
"Yes, okay? Of course it's Scorpius, It's ALWAYS been Scorpius!" I screeched after finally finding my voice. I saw something in the corner of my eye and Freddie naturally followed my gaze when I looked across the entrance hall to see Scorpius Malfoy himself staring straight back at me.
"Well at least you don't have to worry about catching Freddie in the middle of it. He kind of made your decision for you…" Sarah mused, trying to put a good spin on it as we did the rest of our packing for catching the train in about an hour.
After Scorpius had overheard me, he cocked his head and frowned questioningly, but carried on into the Great Hall all the same, as if it was normal for me to psychotically shout his name in the Entrance Hall. I had run full-pelt up the stairs though, Freddie close behind me.
"What did he say to you after Scorpius saw you? Freddie I mean," Sarah asked, accio-ing her toothpaste from our en suite.
"He told me that he would never ever tell a soul about my pregnancy. He said he'd always love me but that it wasn't right to be with me anymore. He's right," I said with a half-shrug and a grimace, feeling strangely empty about the end of a relationship with a boy I used to be mad about.
"It'll be okay, Ro," Sarah said encouragingly, nodding and smiling gently.
"I know, I feel okay now really. Except about Scorpius," I said, grimacing.
"Don't worry. We only have to spend Christmas with him," Sarah said with a cheeky grin.
I rolled my eyes, although I knew Scorpius wouldn't ask what I had meant when I was shouting his name across the hall. He was too reserved to bluntly ask things like that.
"When are we all coming over by the way?" She added.
"Sunday. You've got two days of relief from the drama and then we're all off to the Burrow because Granddad has a special treat for us all this holiday apparently."
"Oh dear. I'll bring my dragon-burn cream and venom antidote," she said, grimacing herself now.
"It won't be exactly like granddad's last 'special treat...'"
"Better safe than sorry."
I silently agreed, worrying about what my mad old granddad had in store for us.
"Come on you two! We're all ready!" Becky shouted up the stairs. I grabbed my beauty case and levitated my suitcase down the stairs after Sarah.
"Finally," Dom said exaggeratedly, poking her tongue out.
"Alright tubby?" James asked with his crooked cat-grin.
"Yes thanks twat-bag," I replied dryly, looking at all of them.
"Let's go home," Becky said with a smile as we depart to catch the train.
There wasn't enough room in the carriages for all of the gang by the time we fought our way on, so Lily, Albus, Becky, Sarah, two of Lily's friends and Danny sat together in one carriage while James, Scorpius, Amy, Chelsea and Dom (lucky her) were cooped up with Hugo and his friends.
I was really dreading seeing my parents and the rest of my family, and so naturally the time flew by until we pulled up to the station and began filing off the train, cases in hand. The first person I saw was Sarah's mother, Cassandra, who was stood by a pillar with Sarah's little sister, smiling at Sarah, her youngest daughter stood beside her in hand. She was beautiful – just like an older Sarah. Her hair was deep black and almost glittery with shine and her eyes were blue, her lashes thick and black. She was well-dressed too – her robes were a black floaty material with purple satin trim and she wore 2 inch heels, not that she needed them at her height of five foot 10. Sarah rushed towards them and picked her little sister up, giving her a squeeze before turning to her mother with outstretched arms.
"Ro!" A voice called.
I turned and saw my parents stood next to Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. Mum's dark curly hair was to her shoulder blades and sticking out at odd angles from the amount of times she exasperatedly flicks it out of her face when she's reading or writing. Which is a lot. Dad waved at me with a massive grin. His hair is thick and red as ever but receding and there are slight flecks of grey above his ears, just like Harry's. I dragged my cases over and sank into my mother's familiar hug, smelling the scent of a wood burner on her clothes. I put my cases down and felt myself being passed around by my family members, sinking into more hugs, first dad, then Ginny and Harry, and then Bill and Fleur and my grandparents too. Granddad was busy talking excitedly to Becky's dad, who was stood nearby. Becky's parents are muggles and it seems Granddad never grew out of accosting them in public about their lifestyles.
The whole greeting process takes a really long time, with the parents asking all of us about this and that…
Have you been eating properly… have you stolen anything from school this term, James? … Have you been looking after the younger ones… I hope you aren't abusing your privileges as an older student… Why are you carrying half a gargoyle, James… etc.
James, who was stood next to me, had his eyes fixed unwaveringly on Sarah and her family, as Sarah clutched a nervous Danny's hand and introduced him to her mother, who in turn gives him a beautiful smile and shakes his other hand. Scorpius and his parents stand a few feet away, Draco and Astoria deep in enthusiastic conversation with my mother, while my father chats away to Uncle Bill, apparently showing him what seems to be an old wizard card. Lily is over with Luna and Rolf, who seem to be showing her the ancient and weird purple hoof of some poor creature. Suddenly Sarah is waving us over and James grabbed my hand and dragged me roughly through the throng of quickly dispersing people.
"Oh it's so nice to see you James!" Cassandra said wholeheartedly, giving him a motherly hug.
"You too!" He said as he grinned and pulled a face at Sarah's little sister before he picked her up and spun her around while she giggled. Danny looked awkward and slightly put-out until an older boy who could only be his brother tapped him on the shoulder.
"Is this the missus?" He asked, gesturing to Sarah who smiled and held out her hand in greeting.
"Sarah," she offered as Danny's older brother looked star-struck and took her hand, kissing it. I swear there's something in her genes that makes men act like they're out of a strange novel from 1896.
"Well we'd better be off," Danny said through gritted teeth to his brother, who looked as if he was about to drool. "See you in two weeks Sare. Love you gorgeous," he said, kissing her tenderly and winking before he dragged his mesmerised brother away.
Suddenly Cassandra grabbed me and pulled me into a hug too.
"Sorry Rose I didn't see you stood behind James!" She held me at arms length. "You look so healthy sweetheart!" I grinned and thanked her before Sarah spun me around for a hug.
"We're off, dad's just messaged mum saying he's home so we're going to make a move. See you in a few days!" She said, kissing my cheeks and turning to James, who she bear-hugged.
"Can't wait," James said with a lopsided grin, brushing the hair out of her eyes and kissing her on the nose before turning away. We waved them off and walked back to our own mental family, arm in arm.
We finally got our parents to stop talking to everyone they'd ever known and our whole family soon found ourselves congregated at the Burrow in front of a roaring fire, each with a steaming cup of tea.
"Look what Becky's dad gave me!" Granddad said excitedly from his chair, holding up a roll of what appeared to be blue pipe tape.
"That's nice dad, what are you going to do with it?" Aunt Ginny asked quizzically looking between him and his newest toy.
"Probably tape up my VCR player!" Granddad replied.
"That'll be good," Uncle Harry said.
"Yep. You won't get electrocuted at all granddad!" James said cheerfully, looking alarmed. I stifled a laugh and Dom and I deliberately avoided each other's gaze for fear of a laughing fit.
"Who wants more tea?" Nana asked, topping up my mother's drink and making her way around the room, fussing over each of us like the grandmother hen she is.
Our parents continued chatting for what seemed to be an eternity but I stayed silent on the floor by the fire, stroking my stomach absently and wondering what the hell I was going to do from here. I haven't planned this at all. How am I going to avoid alcohol at Christmas and New Years Eve when my entire family knows how much I like my drink? Also, what will granddad's 'special treat' be and will it mean revealing myself in some way before I'm ready?
"Rose? Come on babs, we're going home now," Dad's voice came to me as he helped me to my feet.
I kissed my family goodbye and managed a grimace at James before we flooed home. Mum levitated our cases upstairs and draped her favourite cloak over the back of the nearest dining chair and set about on dinner, firing questions to Hugo and me over her shoulder while dad grabbed a bottle of wine from the pantry and passed around small glasses for us.
"No thanks," I said hurriedly pushing my hand over the glass before dad could pour me any.
"Did you hear that Hermione? Our daughter just refused alcohol for the first time in her life! Are you ill Ro?" Dad laughed, bypassing me and giving Hugo a glass. He accepted gratefully and carried on chattering away to mum.
The two of them have the same bond that dad and I share – they get on because they are so similar. Weird actually for a teenage boy to actually want to know his parents, especially his mother, who he's supposed to think is the most uncool person on the planet, but Hugo's always been a bit of a mummy's boy, which is a running joke between dad and I, much to my brother's annoyance.
"I've been training up loads dad, Rose has seen me a few times after she finishes practice and James has been giving me one-on-one lessons!" Hugo said, directing his conversation to dad while mum hummed tunefully and pottered around adding various herbs to the stew she had cooking in a pot on top of the stove.
"Well done mate, you think you'll be on the team next year then?" Dad asked, knowing Hugo would never be on the team.
He's awful – really, really awful. Dad knows it, Hugo knows it, everyone knows it. It's taken him this long to be able to get onto a broomstick without puking because of his fear of heights. Dad just likes to take pride in Hugo's ability to do something he can understand. He gets brilliant grades, but that doesn't mean as much to dad as it does to mum because like most wizard fathers, quidditch is the main passion.
"I think I still need a bit more training. It's a shame I didn't get on this year because I could have played with Ro and James, and next year most of the team will have left. It was my last chance to be on the team under James as captain," he shrugged. I felt a twinge of guilt – I was so preoccupied that day I don't even remember Hugo's tryout. I should have been a better sister and pushed James to let him on – James would have as well, he's a big softie and doesn't have the heart to tell Hugo he's crap. I can actually feel tears prickling at the backs of my eyes at this thought – proof of how my hormones are playing up combined with lack of sleep and a dangerous level of stress to cope with.
"I'm not hungry mum, I don't feel well, I'm going to go to bed," I said suddenly, standing up and hearing the telltale quiver in my voice. Before anyone can stop me, I'm out of the door and running upstairs to my dark room, tears falling down my cheeks.
I didn't even hear mum come in, and I jumped when I felt her warm, soft fingers stroking my hair. I rolled over and faced her and she placed the bowl of beef stew on my bedside table. I realised how hungry I am as she sits beside me on my bed and continues to stroke my head as I wolf down the delicious meal.
"I heard about you and Freddie, sweetheart," Mum sighs, cocking her head to one side and taking my now cleared bowl from me. I sniff in response… she thinks it's that I'm upset about.
"It's ok to be sad, Rosie. Breaking up is the worst feeling in the world when you're young… and when you're older too. But you're a beautiful, smart young woman and you won't be alone for long." My mother smiles, still stroking my hair soothingly.
I want to talk to her, tell her everything, the pregnancy, the complicated feelings for Scorpius, the heartache that has come from all the relationships between everyone…everything.
"Mum, would you ever disown me?" I ask with a tremor in my voice. Mum stops stroking me suddenly.
"Rose, you're my baby, you'll always be my baby. It wouldn't matter if you killed half the wizarding world and made seven horcruxes, you would still be my baby and I would still love you. Although I think we'd have to have a chat about anger management," Mum said with a slight laugh, hugging me to her and letting my tears fall upon her apron.
"Come on love, it's ok. I'm here," she said while I sobbed continuously.
"Tell you what, come and help me with this fruitcake. I got the recipe from your nana and your dad has been nagging me to make it for weeks. At least I'll have a witness when I burn down the kitchen," mum takes my hand and gently pulls me out of bed while I start to smile.
"Granddad's surprise, will it be like the time James and I made chocolate ice cream?" I asked as we stepped out of my room
"You mean when you mixed mud with water and froze it and then convinced your father to eat some?"
"That's the time, yes."
"Perhaps," mum shrugs, giving me a squeeze and a smile.
Sometimes it's just nice to be home.
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