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Chapter 23 : Chapter the Twenty-Third
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“Really?” Al squeaks.
I nod and grin, ignoring the way my stomach is churning. “Really.”
Al and James look at each other before squeezing me in a mega tight hug and spinning me around.
“You’re the best sister in the world!”
“I love you so much!”
“Definitely the favourite sibling!”
“One hundred per cent the favourite sibling!”
“Guys!” I say loudly. “You’re making me dizzy. Put me down.” They oblige but they don’t give me space. I feel really hot and feverish, and like I’m going to be sick. “I’ll be right back,” I say weakly before running up the stairs to the bathroom.
I slam the door, raise the toilet seat and throw up loudly. I haven’t been feeling the greatest all day but this is the first time I’ve been proper sick. I let everything out and then wash my mouth out with some mouthwash.
I splash cool water on my face and the back of my neck but before I can leave the bathroom I have to quickly run back to the toilet to be sick.
I had curry last night – when I was already feeling ill, that’s a dumb move, Lily! – and it didn’t taste that good. I think the paste or something was a bit off.
Although Glitter was fine. It’s probably just a regular illness.
I leave the bathroom and see Mum hovering by the door nervously with a glass of water. “Are you okay, Lily?” She hands me the water and starts checking my temperature.
I shrug and take a sip of the water but no more because it makes me want to vomit again. “I think I’ve caught a bug,” I say. We’ve decided to have a weekly Potter dinner and it’s only the second time and I’m already sick.
“Go have a nap, sleep it off. I’ll bring some soup up,” Mum says, walking me towards my old room. I make a face.
“It’s too hot for soup. Can I just have some crackers or something?” I walk into the room and pull most of my clothes off, leaving me in only a shirt but Mum waves her wand and a thin, baggy top comes flying in. I smile at her, take my shirt off and pull the top on and once it’s on, I take my bra off, slipping the straps off through the sleeves. I always feel empowered when I take my bra off like this.
Mum nods. “Of course. Now go get some sleep. We can talk about the World Cup later.” A dull flash of excitement passes through my belly and I can’t suppress a grin. Elliot got a whole box to himself – for all his hard work, I didn’t realise he worked twenty times harder than his coworkers – so all of us can sit in the very front and be up close to all the action. Dad didn’t even need to step in. “And I’ll call your work saying you can’t go in for a few days.”
“Mum,” I say as I get into bed gingerly. I don’t want to set my stomach off again. “I’m the boss. I’ll call Kathy—” I ended up making Kathy assistant manager ages ago. She works really hard and deserved more recognition for it. “—and she’ll work it out. But I’ll probably be fine after I’ve had a kip.”
“Nonsense,” Mum titters. “I’ll call her and she’ll sort it out. Sometimes you need to take a break, Lily. Overworking yourself makes you sick.”
I roll my eyes. “No, eating funny curry makes you sick. Don’t call Kathy, I’ll call her if I still feel sick later.”
Mum nods, fixing my blankets up and kisses me on the forehead. “Feel better, baby.”
“Thanks, Mum,” I say, with a smile. I take my glasses off and put them on the table next to me. I kick the quilt off, leaving only the thin sheet on and then rest my head, falling asleep within seconds.
I wake up a few hours later, still needing to vomit so I quickly kick the sheets off me but I can’t make it to the bathroom in time. The end result is not pretty.
I don’t have my glasses on so I can’t see my wand but luckily Mum and Dad run in. “Sorry,” I choke out and I feel like I’m going to vomit again. I clamp a hand to my mouth and Dad makes a bucket appear in front of me. I duck my head down and Mum holds my hair back.
“I think I’ll have to call Kathy,” I say, wiping my hand across my mouth. Dad vanishes the sick with a wave of his wand, looking extremely worried.
“Already did,” Mum says, kneeling next to me. With her wand, she siphons the sick away from my shirt and I groan.
“I feel terrible, Mum,” I say. I close my eyes and Mum puts an arm around me but I edge out of her grip because it’s too hot.
“Harry, go get some cold water and a small towel. Now,” she snaps. I open one eye and see Dad running to obey Mum’s orders.
She summons a glass of water – the one by my bedside is all gross – and I take small sips of it. After my fourth, tiny sip my stomach starts churning again and Mum can tell because she holds the bucket out to me. Mum vanishes it as soon as it hits the bottom and I’m thankful because it’s just making me feel even sicker.
I wonder how Muggles do it? They’d have to clean everything manually and it’d probably smell all the time. It would be terrible to be a Muggle.
Dad comes in with a bowl of water and a towel in his hands. I still don’t have my glasses on so I can’t see his exact expression but I can tell he looks like he’s about to tear the house down in worry.
“Should I call Mungos?” he asks worriedly, handing Mum the bowel. I close my eyes and lie down as Mum instructs me to.
“No,” Mum says. “It’s just a bug.” I open one eye and see she’s slowly dipping the towel in the water. She says, “Close your eyes. You’re probably getting a headache from not wearing your glasses and we don’t want you even sicker than you already are.” She then says to Dad, “She just needs to get it out of her system. If it passes twenty four hours I’ll make a remedy, it’s easy as pie.” I grimace at thought of food.
“Sorry,” Mum apologises, understanding immediately. She gently places the wet towel on my head and it instantly feels better. The bucket gets plucked away from me and I hear that it gets placed next to my bed.
“You need to get better soon, Lil,” Dad says. “The World Cup is next week.”
“Harry!” Mum chastises. “Let her recover and then we’ll interrogate her.”
I grin slightly. “I’ll be there. Even if I’m puking, I’m not missing it for the world.”
“That’s my girl,” Mum says proudly. I laugh and then she says, “Now, go back to sleep. Did you want me to sleep in here?”
I say, “No thanks. I’ll be fine. Thanks, Mum. And Dad.” Mum gives me a feather light kiss on my cheek and then I feel her weight leaving the bed.
“Night, Lily,” Dad says.
“Night, Dad,” I murmur. The door closes with a soft click and I fall asleep again.
Damn that curry.
I’m still sick after twenty four hours so Mum makes some potion that tastes like bollocks.
I want to vomit straight after I’ve had the potion but I keep it down and nothing comes violently exiting out of me for a few hours. Until it’s worn off it comes back.
“It must be a virus,” Mum says, looking at me in worry. I lift my head up from the bucket.
“Should we call Mungos?” I swear, that’s all Dad has been saying for the past three days.
“You have no faith in Mum’s abilities, Dad,” I say with a weak smile. He doesn’t return the smile and if I wasn’t so dizzy, I would have rolled my eyes.
Mum pats my hair back absentmindedly, playing with the tip of my ponytail nervously. “I don’t know…” she says unsurely. “I think we should call them, Lily.”
“Guys, it’s just a virus. I’ll be fine. I can go home if you want,” I offer.
“No!” Mum says a little too loudly. I think she likes having someone to look after. I mean, she looked after three kids for twenty years. It must be strange to have only Dad at home.
I smile and she kisses my forehead. “Get some rest. If you can’t keep anything down tomorrow, I’m calling a Healer. Sound fair?”
I sigh. “Okay.” She smiles and I say, “It’s just a virus. I’ll be fine in a week or so, I reckon.”
Mum and Dad look a little unsure but they give me smiles and walk out the door. I hear Dad mutter, “It better be a bloody virus.”
I don’t hear Mum’s reply but a sense of dread suddenly hits me like a tonne of bricks. What on earth could that mean?!
It’s probably nothing, I tell myself. Just Dad being melodramatic again. Absolutely nothing and I can’t get over emotional at the moment or I might vomit.
I pluck my glasses off and put them on the bedside table and go to sleep. All I’ve been doing for the past few days is sleeping but I don’t mind.
“You’re pregnant, Miss Potter,” the Healer says.
“No I’m not,” I say stubbornly. “I’m on the Pill. We use condoms. It’s practically fool proof.”
“Yes you are,” the Healer repeats in exasperation. “You’re about to have a baby. And pretty soon. You better get ready because it’s gonna be a major change. Like hella.”
What? Healers don’t talk like that.
I’m ripped from my nap as I hold the bucket to my face and wait for the vomit to arrive. Instead, I just dry retch which feels disgusting. I close my eyes and rest my head on the rim of the bucket.
I can’t be pregnant. I would know. My period would be—
Wait. Is my period late? I can’t remember when it’s meant to come? I have my diary at home which tells me when I should get my period but I can’t remember the date for the life of me.
I start to panic but I take deep calming breaths. I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s nothing important. I would know if I was pregnant.
Or would I? I’ve never been pregnant before so I can’t really tell.
No, Lily, I tell myself fiercely, you’re going overboard. It’s just a virus.
I take a look at the clock and see that it’s midday. I think I’m going to Mungos. I want to get rid of this VIRUS as soon as possible now.
I walk out of bed, still holding the bucket tightly and pull on some clothes Glitter brought over the other day when I was sleeping. Thankfully he brought a light dress that wasn’t tight at all. It’s basically like wearing the shirt I’ve been wearing but except it’s public-approved.
Mum is sitting downstairs and she looks up in shock when I come down the stairs, changed and socially acceptable. “Morning,” she says with a smile, moving the parchment and quill to the side. “How are you feeling?”
“Eh,” I say with a small shrug. “Can we go to Mungos though? I just want to see if they can give some almighty cure that’ll get rid of this bug.”
Mum nods. “Of course. I made an appointment for half one, already.”
I laugh lightly. “Of course you did. Are we Flooing?”
She shakes her head. “And risk setting you off again? No. We’ll catch a taxi.” I nod but stop because it makes my head spin and then I feel like I’m going to be sick again. I take a deep breath and Mum conjures a bucket and holds it to me.
“I’ll be fine,” I say forcefully. Mum is saying something but I’m not listening to her – I’m just concentrating on not throwing up. She ushers me to sit down and I feel really hot again. I think she senses this because she brings out a fan – or conjures it, I don’t know or care – and sets it towards me, cooling me instantly. “Thanks, Mum,” I say weakly.
She kisses the top of my forehead. “It’s okay. I’ll call the taxi in twenty minutes.” I don’t say anything but she just brushes some wayward strands of my hair back and then returns to her parchment writing.
I fall back asleep and then Mum is shaking me slightly. “The taxi is here. Let’s go to Mungos.” I nod and slowly stand up, careful not to set my stomach off. Let’s get this virus beaten.
Thankfully the taxi has air conditioning – one of the rare ones – and the trip doesn’t feel so bad. It’s getting outside with the hot sun on my back that makes me feel gross and icky. Mum pays – I wouldn’t have been able to pay because I currently have no money on me anyway – and we walk through the glass together.
I feel like a little girl again. I don’t mind though because I hate being sick. If I’d been by myself I probably would have just ended up staying in the bathroom the whole time making myself even sicker.
I told Elliot I’d been staying at my parents for a while, I told him I was sick and told him not to visit me in case he caught it. He can’t get sick so close to the World Cup. He’s worked too hard for this.
A small, annoying voice in the back of my mind says, But he might not catch it because it might not be contagious.
Shut up, brain. It’s a bug. I know it. I can’t possibly be pregnant.
Eventually my name gets called out and Mum goes to come in with me. “You don’t have to come, Mum,” I say, not wanting to talk about my sex life in front of her.
She stares at me in shock. “Okay,” she says, looking a bit hurt that I don’t want her next to me. “I’ll be waiting out here.” She sits back down.
I smile, ignoring the guilty feeling. “I’ll be right out.”
She smiles and I follow the Healer in the small room. “So, Lily, what’s the matter?” he asks. I wish I’d gotten a female Healer but I can’t change it.
“I’ve been really sick for the past three days. I can’t seem to keep anything down. My mum made me a potion which helped but as soon as it wore off I ended up vomiting again,” I say, fiddling with my nails.
He nods, writing it down on his clipboard. “Are you sexually active?” he says nonchalantly.
My face turns bright red. “Y-yes,” I stutter. “But I don’t think it’s that,” I say unconfidently.
He looks up with a small smile. “Regular question. But we’ll eliminate the possibility once I ask some quick questions. Is that okay?” I nod and he asks me what I’ve eaten in the last few days, how many fluids I’ve had, what was the meal I thought it was that set me off and then he asks, “When was your last period?”
I try not to bite my nails. I say, “I don’t really remember. I generally have a diary but I’ve been staying at my mum’s so I haven’t had it with me. Oh, and I’m on the Muggle Pill.”
He nods. “Okay, I doubt that you’re pregnant but you probably just have a virus—” Relief runs through me and my shoulders sag. “—but I’ll do a spell to be sure. And then we’ll work out what virus this is.” I nod, all the tension returning to me in a second. Oh god.
“Relax, Lily,” he says. I nod and try to relax and he pulls out a wand and instructs me to lie down. I obey, trying to ignore the way my stomach is churning and groaning. He does a few spells on me, not saying a word as he does them and I can nearly hear my heartbeat.
“Well you’re definitely not pregnant,” he says and I have never heard words sweeter than that. I let out a small laugh and close my eyes in relief. I don’t even care what the virus is now. I’m not pregnant, thank god. He starts telling me what I have – a regular virus like I’d predicted – and gives me a prescription for a specific potion that I need to take four times a day for three days.
“Thank you,” I say gratefully. He smiles and then I go outside where Mum is looking extremely anxious. I say with a big grin, “It’s just a virus.”
Mum looks at me with a flat stare. “Why are you so happy about that?” I blush and she says sternly, “Are you being careful with Elliot, Lily? I don’t care if you’re having sex, but I do care if you aren’t taking precautions.”
“Mum,” I say with a groan. “I’m being safe. Don’t worry. Now let’s go get this potion and then I think I’ll go home. Is that okay?”
She nods and we get the potion before returning home.
I’m finally all better and the World Cup is tomorrow. I ring Elliot and he answers on the first ring. “Please tell me you’re all better.”
“All better,” I say with a massive grin. “Should I come over tonight?”
We organise for me to stay at his place tonight but when I go to the bathroom later that day, I realise I’ve gotten my period. I have never felt happier to get my period. I honestly never thought I’d say that sentence. Even though there was no chance of me being pregnant, getting my period just solidified that fact.
I still go over and Elliot is a bit disappointed (he tried to hide it but I’ve been dating him for over a year and I can tell when he’s disappointed) but we still have a quiet night in. I planned to have a few days off ages ago so work has already been sorted out so I get an extra-long break. All my co-workers agreed that I could take a few more days off so I’m happy that none of them thought I was slacking off.
The next morning Elliot is nearly bouncing from excitement. It’s the first match – it’s between England and Australia so it’s a pretty important match. Although Australia isn’t very good at Quidditch – they only got in on pure luck. They lost miserably to China but then it was discovered that the Chinese team had been taking illegal potions. Then they lost against Malta and Malta had been cheating, they went over their salary cap. And then when they played Netherlands it was only a ten point win. But they ended up here and now they’re versing England. For a while, England had played horribly – Uncle Charlie still reminisces about their terrible skills, apparently it rivalled the Chudley Cannon’s skills – but they eventually got better and now we’re one of the top teams in the world.
It’s a pretty cool thing.
We Apparate there and Elliot is greeted by heaps of officials and important people and I’m stood to the side gaping like an idiot. I have no idea what to do. I’m just amazed by all the people around us. There’s a big bunch of Australians head to toe in green and gold shouting, “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!” and then the rest of them are shouting, “OI OI OI!” and then, “AUSSIE!” “OI!” “AUSSIE!” “OI!” “AUSSIE!” “OI!” and then it starts again. Someone hops by in a kangaroo outfit shouting things but I have no idea what he/she is saying.
They’ve all got beers in their hands (even the kangaroo) and dressed in extremely warm clothes. “Feels like fucking winter, mate! Did we even leave Australia?” I hear one guy say to his friend and the friend agrees.
Winter?! It’s a beautiful day today! They must absolutely fry in their summer! Although I notice that they’re wearing flip flops. If they’re so cold, why would they wear shoes like that? They make no sense.
Elliot grabs my hand and I jump. “Wanna go to the top box?” he asks excitedly. He looks like a kid on Christmas morning.
I grin. “Of course! Everyone’s meeting us there, right?” He nods and we make our way up and some of the drunker Australians shout rude things at us. I avoid eye contact but then the drunker English people respond just as rudely. It’s evident that we came from the same people.
When we get there, all my family is there already being crazy but I’m not embarrassed because Oliver looks like he’s about to cry from happiness. Elliot and I separate to say hi to our own families and then Al puts an arm around me. “Marry Elliot, Lily!” he shouts into my ear, smelling distinctly of alcohol. I crinkle my nose and lean back. “He gets us good seats for Quidditch! He’s a keeper!”
“Actually, I’m pretty sure Oliver was the keeper,” Fred butts in, laughing his head off. Oh god. They’re both drunk as skunks already. Al laughs loudly and I escape him, leaving him and Fred to laugh by themselves. I say hi to everyone and then I go over to say hi to Elliot’s marginally smaller family. Thankfully they’re fine with intermingling but Amber is sitting in the corner, looking down at something with a small frown. She definitely does not look happy.
“Hey, Amber,” I say nervously. I still haven’t really talked to her since she came up to me trying to sort out my love life.
“Hi,” she says brightly, taking me completely off guard. “How are you?!”
“I’m good,” I say, blinking in shock. “How are you?”
She beams. “Oh, I’m fantastic! I can’t believe we’re here at the first match! How exciting! Anyway, I’m off! I promised Roxanne I’d be back as soon as I fixed her omninoculars. Your family is great!” She stands up and walks over to Roxy who thanks her with a big grin.
At least she’s happy now?
A pair of hands wrap around my waist and give me a kiss on my neck. “Hello again, stranger,” Elliot says. I turn around and hit my shin on the seat. I wince but put my hands on Elliot’s shoulders.
“Hello,” I say playfully. He grins and I say seriously, “Thank you so much for this. You didn’t have to include my family—”
“Of course I did,” he scoffs. “Otherwise I’d have death threats chasing after me.”
I snort. “They aren’t that bad,” I say complacently. “Some of them are nice.”
“I meant coming from you,” he says cheekily. I swat his arm but he just gives me a playful grin. I roll my eyes but then we sit down and the pre-game activities start up. The whole stadium is cheering and it’s almost deafening but it’s so much fun. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Dad and Oliver start handing out England merch and we all don it enthusiastically. The box next to us is full of Australians and they glare at us.
But then they suddenly grin and shout over, “It’s a great atmosphere, isn’t it?! Nothing like the Quidditch!” We all smile and wave but then Kingsley introduces all the players and teams.
The English roar is much louder than the Australian but the players don’t look affected by it at all. Everyone’s shouting and stomping their feet, it’s exhilarating.
I can barely hear the commentators – it’s quite different to Hogwarts Quidditch – but it’s fun seeing the players pass it so easily. They make it look like it’s really simple but I know that it’s far from simple.
Australia plays terribly for the first twenty minutes and the box next to us look like they’re nearly in tears and England is thrashing them, ninety-ten.
Suddenly, it all whips around. The Australian players are a blur of green and gold and you see the little blurs of white following them. I don’t like using omninoculars, they give me headaches, so I have to try and keep up.
There’s a deafening roar when Australia scores and extremely loud boos but I hear Lucy shout, “Who cares?! We’re still up seventy points!”
That doesn’t last long. Soon, we’re tying with Australia and the English players are becoming extremely dirty. Our beaters are hitting harder and harder but the Australian chasers are good.
They’re doing a billion sloth grip rolls, I swear. I don’t know how they aren’t dizzy yet. I can hear Mum swearing loudly at the English players. My favourite so far: “YOU FUCKING TOSSERS! MY GARDEN GNOMES CAN PLAY BETTER THAN YOU GUYS! BRING YOUR GAME UP!”
Usually Dad tries to calm Mum down but this time he’s screaming along with her. Actually, everyone is. There’s a constant shouting and it hits me that maybe it’s good that Vic stayed at home with the twins, Maddy and Remus. Teddy brought the rest of the kids and even though they don’t understand what’s going on, they’re having the time of their lives. They’re probably going to go home learning all these new words. Aunt Fleur, Aunt Hermione and Aunt Audrey try to cover their ears up but it doesn’t seem to be working.
Then an English player pulls an extremely dirty move, he runs into the back of the Australian’s broom purposely and the whole stadium is in uproar. The Australian box is shouting, “FUCKING CHEATERS! GET THAT PRICK OFF THE FIELD, REF!”
But our box was shouting, “IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! DON’T GIVE THE PANSIES A PENALTY! HE’S JUST MILKING IT!”
I’m on my feet but I’m not shouting because that was an illegal move. Although the rest of the box doesn’t seem to think so. Or if they do, they’re ignoring it.
The ref gives a penalty to Australia and there’s extremely loud boos at the same time as cheering. The Australian chaser shoots and he scores, much to everyone’s disappointment.
The rest of the match is neck and neck. If we get one, Australia will get one. Elliot keeps accidentally hitting me in his excitement but I don’t complain. My nerves are getting strung tighter and tighter. Where is the damn Snitch? England needs to win this game! It’s going to be an embarrassment if they don’t.
Suddenly the two Seekers – who have been doing nothing for the past few hours – dart forward and elbow and bump into each other. The Australian Seeker suddenly dips down and then takes a sharp right so he’s right underneath the English Seeker. He pushes his broom forward and our Seeker keeps stretching her arm out, trying to get that dumb Snitch.
“COME ON, ENGLAND!” I shout with everyone else. We’re all on our feet, screeching and praying that we get the Snitch.
Then, the Australian Seeker finally gets further than our Seeker and starts to rise up. Our Seeker tries to push herself faster but the Australian is too quick and grabs the Snitch and pulls out from underneath her. The Australians shout louder than ever and we’re all dumbfounded.
We were beaten by Australia.
Oh the shame.
Just to clarify, I am Australian and all those 'stereotypes' that I wrote are absolutely true :p In the middle of winter, I'll be wearing layers and layers of clothing but still wear my thongs (flip-flops) hahaha
Hope you enjoyed!
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