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Snakes & Ladders by jessicalorewrites
Chapter 5 : Five - Nine Weeks
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7

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Chapter Five – Nine Weeks

Thanks to SeverusLove @ TDA for this wonderful chapter image of Emilia and Oliver!

The silence that followed my statement would keep me awake for several months to come.

Tears welled despite how tightly my eyes were pressed shut. I squeezed, my fingers pressing hard into the area across my nose in an attempt to distract myself from the internal pain I was feeling.

Around me, the three of them were silent. So silent in fact, that you would have been able to hear the tiny flutter of a Snitch’s wings if it weren’t for my heavy, racked breathing that I was struggling to control.

After a few, tense moments I heard the compartment door pull open and slam shut so hard the glass shattered with a tinkling sound. It was enough to shock me out of my stupor though, as I jolted up. I don’t know who I was expecting to have left the compartment but the incomprehensible drop of my stomach as I noticed the flash of black hair disappear down the corridor confirmed that it was not Albus.

“I - I,” my voice cracked as I locked eyes with Rose, who sent me a pitying glance before she moved over to fix the window, shooing away a few first years and a group of gossipy fifths  that had emptied into the corridor from their compartments either side of us.

It was Ellis that came closer, gently reaching out and taking my hand in his. It was odd seeing him so sombre, despite the situation.

He squeezed lightly and sighed, “Oh Em. What have you done?”

A sob racked my body again. Weary, I rested my head against his shoulder as he wrapped his hands around me, pulling my body into his own despite the inch and a half of height I had on him.

I felt his head move slightly and knew he was sharing a look with Rose, who was stood by the now-fixed door.

Gently, I felt her hand on my shoulder. “The baby… is it Al’s?”

My broken intake of breath confirmed it. She clasped my shoulder again tightly before sighing. “I better go find him. You’ll be okay here, right?”

That time I managed to force a nod, clutching at my cousin’s tear-stained jumper. I would be safe with him.

* * * * *

It took a good few minutes after Rose had left for me to open back up. Ellis’ hand, which had been soothingly rubbing circles on my back, moved to my hip when I sat up and attempted to dry my eyes.

“Here,” he laughed, conjuring a tissue with his wand and pressing it into my palm.

I thanked him, dabbing at my eyes. Hazel was such an in between colour that I knew the watery tears would have coloured my eyes lighter. There were several instances when the shade changed; direct sunlight and they became gold, deep shadows and they were practically brown.

Though I loved the colour of my irises, I’d always wanted green ones. Now my baby had a fighting chance of fulfilling my own wish.

“Remember that time everyone thought I was going to be the one to get a girl pregnant?” said Ellis.

I couldn’t help but chuckle slightly, recalling the Christmas my father had announced his views over the turkey dinner and black pudding. It was just over six months since he’d come out to his parents, a few weeks since my brother had it confirmed and several years since I’d known. Even my mother always used the term ‘partner’ when asking about his love life, instead of ‘girlfriend’. It seemed my father was the only one in the lurch, the one who didn’t understand, had not quite comprehended the news that was circulating between everybody else.

It often happened that way.

It was stupid really, how our Christmas dinners always seemed to happen. Rose complained every year of the extravagant meal the Weasleys had at their Grandparents’ house but ours always seemed to bring the arrival of unprecedented announcements.

Perhaps because my father was such a busy man and thus we didn’t spend a lot of time together as a family unit aside for the one holiday; perhaps because he always did have a flair for dramatics.

Nevertheless, Christmas was a time for proclamations and public broadcasts. Last year’s was Oliver introducing us to his girlfriend, Tory, but as it happened they split up a few days later when it became apparent she only wanted him for his money and our father’s success.

What a bimbo.

I guess if there was one positive to take from my pregnancy, it was that I didn’t have to spend the next week and a bit contemplating what this year’s Christmas News would be. I already had that one covered.

Before I could stop them, my thoughts drifted back to Albus. Deep down inside, I’d hoped he would support me through this. He was a nice guy and I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could have worked something out… but not anymore.

I voiced so much to Ellis, almost breaking down crying again.

“Hey, hey,” his grip on me tightened as he rolled his eyes. “Even if that good for nothing dickhead doesn’t want to be a part of yours or your beautiful baby’s lives, you’re not going to go through this alone, alright?” He grabbed my chin and forced me to meet his determined gaze. “I’ll be here for you – no matter what. And I – I think Rose will be too,” he nodded to himself as if to confirm it and for once, I truly, honestly believed what he was saying.

But I couldn’t keep my thoughts happy for long. “What about Marin,” I whispered unsurely. “She’s – she’s not going to be happy.” Especially not if her current mood was anything to go on.

For a long moment Ellis seemed to contemplate his answer. I watched as his ice blue eyes flickered to the upper right as he thought hard, his grip on me loosening slightly as he lost concentration on me. Eventually, he quirked an eyebrow in challenge, and spat out the words ‘fuck her’.

“You’re not – you’re not serious, are you?” I asked, unsure whether to scold him or laugh.

He shrugged. “Maybe I am, maybe I aren’t. But she needs to be here for you and if she’s not… well, she’s not worth our time babe.”

“I think… I think I like that analogy,” I smiled carefully, not quite ready to believe if everything really was as simple as he made it out to be.

“Good,” he grinned. “Now I think you should get some sleep. You look exhausted.”

“I feel it,” I sighed. I really had not been getting anywhere near enough sleep recently and I definitely didn’t think I would be getting any that night. But for then I felt safe, alone with my cousin, and it was with a weary head that I lied back against the ugly patterned seat, waiting to succumb to sleep.

I was flickering, half way between consciousness and slumber when I heard Ellis speak out for a final time.

“One question,” he asked. “Do I get to be godfather?”

Even in my sleep-deprived state, the groan that slipped from my lips could not be mistaken for anything other than both love and frustration for my cousin and his misplaced humour.

* * * * *

“You let her sleep?!”

I visibly flinched at the tone of my brother’s voice. He was glaring heavily at Ellis, his dark eyebrows furrowed as he shouted in the middle of the platform. Several families turned to look, quickly glancing and then pretending they’d never been looking in a flurry of movement.

We’d stepped off the train several minutes ago, Ellis helping with my trunk even though I repeatedly told him I didn’t need it. Though he was levitating our trunks with magic, he was never really much good at charms, and so the two clattered to the floor more times than not. It would have been so much easier for him to just let me do it.

But nevertheless, we had eventually found my brother within the throng of people, stood right at the very end of the platform wearing slacks and an uncharacteristically bright shirt. After the initial greetings, Ellis proceeded to explain my accident on the train (omitting my confession).

“It’s not my fault,” Ellis tried, shielding himself behind me like the masculine icon he was. “I didn’t know it was unsafe!”

“She hit her head, Ellis! She could have had concussion!”

“I don’t even know what that is!” He tried to clarify the events, spluttering as he went.

“It’s –”

“Boys! Enough.” I held my hands out and groaned loudly. I took the time Oliver spent glowering and Ellis spent cowering to tie my hair into a messy ponytail in order to hide its mattered appearance, a result of my tears. “Look, I’m fine, obviously. Can we please just go home now?”

“Alright,” Oliver grumbled. He rumpled his hair from behind and grabbed hold of the trolley we’d packed our trunks onto, walking us towards the exit onto the main Kings Cross platform. “But I need to check you over once we get there – just to make sure you’re okay.”

I frowned at his retreating back, sharing a look with Ellis as we started walking after him. “Do you think he’ll be able to tell?” I mumbled lowly.

Ellis shrugged, mirroring my expression. “I’m not sure but – but I think you should tell him before Christmas,” he said, “and your parents. This isn’t the kind of news for Christmas Dinner…” he trailed off slowly, glancing at me from the corner of his eye to gage my reaction.

I decided to ignore him.

Twenty minutes later and we’d arrived at my brother’s flat in central London. After Oliver shrunk our trunks and set them in his pocket, we’d caught the London Underground to near the St Mungo’s Halls of Residence, a place reserved for all the other Healers-In-Training, and some of the qualified Healers and Mediwizards and Witches who worked on-call.

The flat was much roomier than you would first expect thanks to magic. Although the whole apartment block didn’t take up much space, apparently each of the flats was charmed to be bigger on the inside.

Oliver once joked it was like a TARDIS. I still don’t understand the ‘joke’.

Opening up into an open plan living room-slash-kitchen-slash-dining room, there was a TV invented by our father in the corner and a sleek, three piece sofa set in front of it. Around the room were numerous toys and gadgets I knew our parents had funded and I knew would be replaced with the latest models as soon as they were available.

In some senses of the word, we were spoilt, Oliver and I. But I would swap all of my riches for a family life like Rose’s any day.

“Right, here you both are,” said Oliver, waving his wand so our trunks returned to their normal sizes.

Despite the overly modernised building, there was a community fireplace on each floor for the workers’ convenience. Oliver led us out to it, hovering the trunks in front of him.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about your severe lack of common sense,” warned Oliver, poking at Ellis with the tip of his wand. It singed a whole in his t-shirt slightly, causing my cousin to gulp audibly.

Merlin, no wonder he wasn’t a Gryffindor.

“I – I’ll be going now,” said Ellis as he grabbed a handful of Floo powder. “Don’t forget what I said Em,” he added with a significant look before disappearing into the green flames along with his trunk.

“Your turn.” Oliver held out the trunk for me to take and I smiled. I missed my brother a lot in the long months away at school. We were always close which was nice because I knew not everyone was close with their siblings. The halls of Hogwarts were filled with sibling rivalry like no other. So I was glad to have Oliver in my life.

I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d still treat me the same after he found out about my condition.

Throwing myself into his arms, I gave him a quick hug and made him promise to visit soon.

“Of course I will,” he rolled his eyes, the blue of them momentarily reflecting the flickering green of the Floo. “I’ll be over tomorrow. You sure you’ll be okay until Mother and Father come home?”

It was my turn to roll my eyes in exasperation. “I’m seventeen, Oliver. Eighteen in March. I think I can handle myself alone for a night.”

“I forget you’re growing up sometimes,” he chuckled. “I still remember when you were first brought home from the hospital.”

“You do?” I couldn’t help but frown a little. No one ever really spoke about my birth, like they did with Oliver’s. I didn’t even know how much I weighed when I was born; whether I was a morning, afternoon or evening baby.

“Yeah,” he shrugged. “It’s not something I’d easily forget, is it. You were so cute back then,” he teased, sticking his tongue out. “Now go on, get going. I have some assignments I need to work on.”

I laughed and waved goodbye as I dragged my trunk into the fireplace, hoping and praying that he would keep his word and visit soon whilst also debating which takeaway place to order my dinner from that night.

It wasn’t until I reached the foyer of my house that I realised he never bothered to check me over, and my relief could not be any greater.

* * * * *

In the end, after throwing up my lunch, I decided to make some oatmeal I found in the kitchen cupboards rather than risk the greasy takeaway food I’d been planning. That could wait for next Friday, when Rose came to sleep over. If she still came to sleep over. Who knows how she was taking the news.

I couldn’t help but stare out of the kitchen window as I stirred the hot water into the oats. The side of the house that our kitchen was on looked over to the kitchen of the Weasleys’ house. From where I was stood, masked behind a curtain of lace, I could see the back of Rose’s mum pottering away over the oven. A few moments later and a flash of red hair whipped past the window and with a feeling of dread, I recognised the head of Ginny Potter, which could only mean one th –

And there he was. Albus Potter: man of the hour. I strained to see his expression through the netting, eyes peeled for any flicker of emotion. But he was a long way away; the two of us separated by the stretch of grass and our inability to communicate. I couldn’t read anything.

Noticing that I’d stopped stirring the oatmeal, I resumed the task, instead focusing on the music I was playing through the home speaker system from my laptop in the living room. At times, I often felt like my father’s advancements in Wizarding technology had gone too far – had made our generation lazy – but there were really great uses for it too. It’s just not everybody realised them.

Once my oatmeal was ready, I picked up the bowl and walked through to the living room where I slouched down onto the sofa and wrapped my blanket close around myself. It felt like a waste to put the central heating on when I was the only one home. A blanket could provide all the comfort I needed.

Eventually I settled on an old film to watch, one I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. It was Muggle but sometimes they were the best ones, riddled with a magic Wizards couldn’t even comprehend.

* * * * *

I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I woke it was considerably darker, the film was over – even though I only recalled getting an hour into it – and my half eaten bowl of oatmeal lay upside down on the floor.

Quickly cleaning the mess up with a flick of my wand, I turned my attention towards the noise that had woken me. Sliding my phone unlocked, I opened the unread text message.

From Marin Lee: Hey, can I come over? I know I’ve been a bitch but it’s real important.

There wasn’t really an option for me to say no. Marin would Floo over whether I said yes or no or maybe or go away.

Within seconds of typing my response I heard the whoosh of a rekindled fire and my best friend’s dim call throughout the house.

“I’m in the living room!” I yelled out, hoping she would hear. The house was very large - on account for my father’s ridiculous income and my mother’s flair for the expensive – so it wouldn’t be surprising if my call went amiss.

But nevertheless Marin found me, poking her head into the doorway and grinning when she saw me.

“Hey Wilson,” she winked as she jumped over and sat on my stomach.

“Ooft,” I groaned, pushing her straight off onto the floor (and unfortunately into the wet oatmeal patch). “Careful,” I warned, my thoughts instantly racing to my baby.

My baby. I didn’t think I’d ever get used to saying that.

“What’s wrong? You’re not pregnant are you?” Marin burst out laughing as she stood back up and went to sit on the other sofa, wiping at the wet residue on her bum. I sat where I was, utterly and completely horror-struck. How was I supposed to respond to that?

“Your face!” She burst into another fit of giggles. “Don’t worry Em, I know that you are.”

Finally, I found my voice. “K-know that I’m what?”

If my life was a storybook it would be apt to say there would be a significant metaphor here about how time slowed down, about how my heart thudded, but it didn’t. If anything, time rushed forward at an alarming rate, jolting me far further into the future than I ever wanted to be.

“You’re pregnant,” Marin repeated, looking at me out of big blue eyes as if I were stupid.

The large, chocolate leather sofa she was reclined on swallowed her petite body in a mouthful but that didn’t mean she looked any less intimidating as she revealed my secret in a manner as casual as announcing what she had for breakfast this morning.

The game was up though; there was no use pretending. No way could anyway make a statement with such conviction if they weren’t a hundred percent certain of their claim.

With a downcast look, I sighed and asked, “How did you know?”

From her pocket she retrieved a small white stick and chucked it across the room. It landed in my blanketed lap and with surprise, I realised it was a pregnancy test. My pregnancy test?

“Tips for next time you’re trying to hide the fact you’re pregnant,” Marin held up her hand, counting on her fingers as she spoke. “One, don’t spew every waking moment. Two, don’t leave your positive tests lying around in the bathroom bins. And three, don’t stare at Albus bloody Potter like he’s just stabbed your unborn child in front of your eyes.”

“I – I, I mean, I -”

“Say no more!” She cut over the top of my stuttering. “Congrats on finally getting some, eh?”

I couldn’t help but groan as she exaggeratedly winked at me, making lewd gestures with her hands. Out of all the scenarios I possibly conceived about Marin’s reaction, this was definitely not one of them. In fact, I didn’t even understand it. At all.

“Why are you acting like this?” I said after a quiet few seconds. “Aren’t you mad? Upset? Confused?” I picked at the edge of my blanket as I spoke, not quite meeting her eyes.

Marin snorted. It was a good job my parents weren’t in because they would never condone such behaviour. “Confused? I’m confused about how you managed to score Albus Potter but apart from that, honey I’m proud.”

I’d have thought it impossible for me to become even more muddled than I already was, but apparently not. My eyebrows knitted together as I contemplated her statement, trying to figure out if I had misheard or misunderstood.

I hadn’t.

As Marin, the girl I had thought I’d once known, went on to explain, pregnancy was supposedly no big deal. In fact, she managed to divulge to me that she had been pregnant before herself: last year - to Colin Peakes. The worst part was that he didn’t even know for a few, short weeks he had been expecting a child. She could recommend me a nice little abortion clinic in London, she said. It was good quality – she even had their number if I wanted to give them a call and book an appointment right now.

We did.

I still couldn’t fully comprehend what had happened in the past few minutes, what was happening as I spoke. The thoughts overwhelmed me, pressing against one another in my head at the rate of a supernova. It hurt to think, it hurt to speak, and it hurt to consider ending my baby’s life.

But Marin walked me through it. She explained what I could expect at the clinic and how long approximately it should take and how much better it would be overall than raising a child, alone, at eighteen. She also told me about why she had been a bit off with me recently: she had known I was pregnant and was disgusted that I didn’t tell her, my ‘supposed’ best friend.

Those were her words exactly. Disgusted. Supposed.

I would have pointed out the clear hypocrisy if I wasn’t glad to just have her on side for once. I guess for those people who have never been pregnant at such a young age, you wouldn’t understand, but the overwhelming isolation you feel is suffocating. You would do anything you could to keep a friend during a time like this – anything.

By the time Marin left and I was left to curl up in bed, my headache had reached a splitting scale. Most of the night I spent sat reading in the light of my phone, trying to push away the thoughts of Marin and all that had happened.

She was pregnant. She had an abortion. She had known that I was pregnant before even I had. She wanted me to have an abortion.

No, she expected me to have an abortion.

No matter how much I tried to focus on the words, all I could think about was that I was having an abortion. Next Wednesday. At 4pm.

* * * * *

A/N: Ooh, so there you have it – a few very different reactions, and an explanation as to why Marin has been a bitch! I feel like it might be a little difficult to understand, however, so I’m going to try explaining a little further. Basically you have to understand and remember that Marin is a very controlling person, so of course she wanted to know about Emilia before anybody else. She is also very hypocritical, as I said, and likes the attention to be focused on her. That’s why she yelled at Em at the end of Chapter 2 and told her to come back to the dorms via text in Chapter 3. She’ll make up her own drama just so the talk is about her. It sounds really bad, but Marin’s personality is based on one of my ‘friend’s’. This friend has never been pregnant, it’s nothing like that, but many of their attributes are the same. They don’t really consider other people’s feelings. Anyway, next chapter… will Emilia go through with the abortion? Let me know what you think about the reactions so far and also, I’d love to see your predictions for how Albus is going to take it ;) you’ll see that one in a few chapters time, unfortunately. I'd just like to say a massive thanks to anyone who has reviewed or favourited or read this insanely long author's note - you guys are my sunshines. I love you all so much!

HEADS UP: THERE IS A CLUE HALFWAY THROUGH THIS CHAPTER FOR A MASSIVE PLOT TWIST THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE WILSON CHRISTMAS DINNER. OOOH! I love plot twists – you’re never gonna believe what’s going to happen. Anyway, until next time!

Disclaimer: The use of the term ‘TARDIS’ is reference to BBC’s Doctor Who, which I really wish I owned but I don’t. What a shame that Emilia isn’t a Whovian ;)
- Jess xo

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