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Snakes & Ladders by jessicalorewrites
Chapter 6 : Six - Ten Weeks
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7


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Chapter Six – Ten Weeks



Credit for this beautiful chapter image of Rose goes to hobbit' @ TDA!


Only a few, short days ago I’d envisioned myself raising this baby. I’d thought I could handle it, I’d thought that regardless of what people said – what Marin said – that I would go through with the whole thing.

But I couldn’t. I was giving up. I wasn’t a brave Gryffindor like Rose, whose legs were strewn across mine as we watched tv, nor was I capable of the simple acts of heroism that single mothers performed every day. It was so naïve of me to even consider that I could raise a child alone at such a young age.

I had my education to think of, after all. I took five NEWT level subjects which were already stressing me out. The amount of workload we’d been given for over the holidays was extortionate – and it would only increase as the year went on.

“What’s on your mind?” Rose asked, poking me in the cheek as she turned away from the screen.

We were lounging in her living room to waste part of the day. I’d spent most of my free time thus far moping around my house, something she had apparently picked up on and sought to rectify. Thus, she’d dragged me round to her’s instead. For a change of scenery, apparently. We had been planning on walking into the village centre for a breath of fresh air until the heavens unleashed a fury of downpour.

“What do you think,” I replied, rolling my eyes. There wasn’t much that dominated the thoughts of the growing foetus inside me anymore.

“I know just what’ll take your mind of it,” she grinned before standing up and rushing from the room. I was left staring bewilderedly after her, awaiting her return.

A few minutes later she came back into the room, her arms overflowing with wrapping paper and gifts and rolls of selotape. She dumped them all into my lap and grinned mischievously.

“You’re going to help me wrap some presents,” she nodded at me firmly, brandishing a pair of scissors at my face. “Merlin knows I need it with the amount there is.”

She was right. Her family was so humongous that there was no way I’d put her through the torture of wrapping alone. There were both sets of grandparents, five aunts, six uncles, twelve cousins, a brother and countless friends she’d bought for.

Being the child at heart that I am, I immediately began digging for my own present. Rose chuckled when she saw what I was doing. “I left yours upstairs, you idiot. I’m not that stupid.”

“I know you’re not,” I grumbled. “Nine flaming Outstandings at OWLs. I thought I was supposed to be the smart one, being a Ravenclaw and all.”

Rose shifted uncomfortably, tucking a few strands of her vivid red hair behind her ear as she frowned. I knew that I shouldn’t have made that comment because I knew she was self-conscious about her intelligence. There are a lot of expectations from external forces in the Weasley clan, and Rose suffered the worst of all. She could barely go a day without someone comparing her to her mother. Merlin knows if everyone repeatedly told me I was just like my mother I would have hit the roof by now. Then again, Hermione was far nicer than my own.

I sighed. “Sorry, Rose. I’m just all over the place at the moment; not thinking right, y’know?”

She nodded and shrugged, seemingly accepting my apology. I’d expected her to be more demanding of me to explain my situation further… I mean, I was carrying the child of her cousin. But she was pretty calm on the matter.

And then we began to wrap. It was one of the most exhausting tasks ever. At one point we had to start again because we’d forgotten to add tags to the wrapping and so couldn’t tell whose was supposed to be whose anymore. Rose didn’t seem to mind, but it aggravated me to no end.

Hugo tried to join us in the living room during this process, too. But Rose, who had been wrapping his present at the time, turned into a fire-breathing dragon and chased him out of the room.

I laughed at the pair. A lot.

“Rose – Rose!” Hermione stood in the entrance way, several binders tucked under the crook of her elbow. In her right hand she held her wand, seemingly implying she’d just apparated, but the ‘pop’ of existence had been absent. Bewildered, Rose, Hugo and I turned to stare at the frizzy haired woman, the latter two freezing in motion.

Smiling sheepishly, Rose padded back into the room. “Mum! You’re home early.”

“If I’d known I’d be coming home to this, I’d have stayed there,” she rolled her eyes. Then she noticed me and smiled as she deposited her binders on the coffee table, lowering herself into a chair. “Emilia, it’s good to see you around. Rose said you’d been feeling a little under the weather, how are you?”

“Good, thanks,” I returned the gesture, shooting a glare at Rose from the corner of my eye. A little under the weather… I’d get her back later for dropping little hints to her mother.

“Your Nana wants to see you Rose honey,” Hermione directed at her daughter. “She said she had something to ask you about something or other. You ought to go see her sometime today – maybe when the rain eases up.”

“I will when I’ve done wrapping these,” she indicated our mountain of presents, “and when a certain little brat stops trying to peek at his gift.”

Hugo laughed and held his hands up in mock surrender. “Can’t a guy watch a little tv, eh?”

Hermione rolled her eyes and moved towards the fireplace. “Try not to get into any more arguments. I’m going to pop round to visit your Aunt Audrey.” And then she was gone in a whoosh of green flames, the echo of the address caught in the air.

“C’mon,” Rose said after a few moments, eyeing up her brother suspiciously. “Let’s carry this on upstairs. Away from prying eyes.”

* * * * *

Ottery St Catchpole was a truly beautiful place to grow up in. Set in the rural countryside of British Devon, the land was filled with rolling hills, the greenest shrubbery and natural nature-made landmarks.

The walk from Rose’s house – and therefore my own – was a short and muddy one but it still enabled one to drink in the glorious views. Exiting through the backdoor, we jumped the fence at the bottom of their garden and headed up the hill behind our homes.

The Burrow was built in such a way that you couldn’t see it from below. Around the property there was a towering orchid that I knew also housed a make-shift Quidditch pitch. I had played there a few times over the summers with Rose and her cousins. Except I wasn’t particularly good, so I often sat by the sidelines with Hugo – who couldn’t play Quidditch for toffee either – if I went up at all.

Once we reached the top of the hill, practically on The Burrow’s doorstep, we turned and looked back into the village, as we always did. It was a habitual drinking of the essence of tranquillity; something I thought I would do far into my future, even when I was grey and old.

“I know you really don’t want to talk about it,” Rose sighed from beside me. “But you need to go see a Healer about the baby. Emilia, you need to make sure you’re okay. You didn’t faint for nothing on the train.”

I sucked in a breath, counted to five and released it again. “I know Rose. Merlin do I know. I just –”

Should I tell her? What would she say?

“You just what?”

I knew it was stupid to hold back on the information. She’d have to know eventually and I could trust her, she’d proved that much to me over the years.

“Rose, I’mgoingtohavethebabyaborted,” I said, quicker than I’d ever imagined I could speak.

“You’re – what?” her tone was laced with confusion.

“I’m – the baby,” I sighed, trying to control my breathing as I forced the words out, slow and steady. “I’m getting an abortion, Rose.”

Instantly her arm was around my shoulders, squeezing me tightly to her side. “Godric, Em. Are you sure? Ellis told me you wanted to keep it just the other day.”

My brow furrowed slightly at the mention of Ellis, wondering when on earth the two had talked, but I pushed it quickly from my mind. “It’s the best thing to do. For me, for the baby, for everyone.”

“Does Albus know?” she asked next, making me wince.

“No. I haven’t even seen him since the train ride… Merlin knows what he’s thinking. Marin said –”

Marin said?” It was hard not to note the tone of disgust in my friend’s voice. “Please tell me she isn’t the one who coerced you into this…”

“Marin didn’t coerce me into anything,” I said, affronted. I knew Rose never really got along with Marin, nor did she understand why the two of us were friends, but her accusation was ridiculous.

Rose shifted uncomfortably from side to side before releasing me from the side-hug we’d been stood in for a few minutes. She scanned the horizon one final time before turning around heading up the path towards The Burrow.

I followed suit, quickly following in her steps. I couldn’t help thinking I’d sparked something inside her.

* * * * *

“Darling!” The moment we stepped over the threshold Rose was being dragged into a bear hug by her Nana, swallowed in the layers of clothing Mrs Weasley was wearing. “Your mum sent you, did she?”

When she noticed me I was treated to much of the same. Mrs Weasley never played favourites, after all, not even between her grandchildren and their friends. “How are you, poppet?” She asked me, to which I smiled and told her I was fine, clutching the wall as I tried to balance myself amidst removing my wellies one handed.

I hated lying to everyone, I really did. If only I could stand at the top of the hill and scream that no, I was not fine. Not in the slightest. I was pregnant at seventeen, for heaven’s sake. Of course, they didn’t know that yet. The only people that knew were Rose, Ellis, Marin and –

“Albus and James are in the front room girls,” said Mrs Weasley when she finally let the two of us go.

Albus. It really was as if all the Fates on this planet hated me with a fiery, burning passion.

Rose shot me a look and grabbed me by the forearm to stop me escaping. “You need to talk to him,” she muttered under her breath as she dragged us through the house. “You can’t run away from him forever.”

“Just you watch me,” I retorted, grumbling to myself as Rose Molly Weasley led me to my untimely demise.

* * * * *

“You did what?” laughed Marin, clearly delighted at my sorry excuse for a love life. If you could even call it that.

It was the day after mine and Albus’ confrontation at The Burrow and Marin had dragged me out on a shopping trip before my appointment at the clinic. After a quick lunch at my house, we’d set out into Muggle London. Though my mind was running on overdrive, Marin was certainly quite adept at shopping through stress.

She was also more than practiced in extracting embarrassing or traumatic details from my life.

“I threw up on his shoes,” I groaned, reiterating the punchline for the second time that day. It was a horror to relive the cringe-worthy experience, but Marin apparently found it hilarious.

“Only you, Em,” she giggled as she sorted through a clothes rack. “What about this?” She held up a transparent yellow top with beading at the top.

“No,” I wrinkled my nose. “It’s not very you, is it.”

“You’re right,” she shrugged and replaced it to the rack. “Anyway, what did Albus do after you’d thrown up on him?”

“I wouldn’t know. I left as soon as it happened.”

Marin winced. “Ouch.”

We spent the better part of the next three hours sorting through a variety of different dresses, tops and shoes that Marin couldn’t decide between. In the end she bought them all, toppling out of the latest store with her blonde ponytail swinging wildly, ladened down with what seemed like a thousand bags.

I always envied how good Marin managed to look in things. Although I was still slim, Marin’s tiny stature gave her the sexy factor on top of everything else. She could rock out in almost anything and look amazing.

“Marin,” I drew the vowels of her name out long as we walked down the street, dodging busy pedestrians on our way to the clinic.

She spun around at my voice, eyes wide as they always were when she spoke. “What’s up?”

We continued to walk as I considered how exactly to phrase my question. “You know on the train,” I started, slowly so that I could change and adapt my words depending on her reaction.

“Mmm.”

“Well, you said you were dating somebody. I was just, well, wondering whom.”

Her eyes darted to the left; to me. “Em, can we not do this right now? Your appointment is in, like,” she checked her watch, “twenty minutes. Can it not wait until after?”

Then I frowned because she’d never not told me something like this before. And her holding back suggested to me that there was something unusual going on.

“No, Marin. It can’t. Just tell me, I promise not to overreact or anything.”

“Just fucking wait, Em!” She growled, shocking me into taking a surprised step back. “Merlin’s beard,” she cried, “has no one ever told you how insufferable you can be sometimes?”

I rolled my eyes at the insult; nevertheless the words stung hard. She started walking again and I had to sidestep people to try keeping her in sight; eager to not lose myself in the busy city but keen to keep my distance.

It wasn’t until we’d arrived at the clinic that she filled me in on her new beau. We’d checked me in with the overly-preppy receptionist and taken our seats in the waiting room, surrounded by Marin’s vast array of shopping bags, but it was another few minutes before she spoke.

“His name is James,” she sighed, forcing me to look up from my magazine. “James Potter.”

* * * * *

A/N: How do you all like the new banner? Sorry for the chapter – it’s a bit of a filler if I’m honest. The juicy stuff will come next chapter! Except for the ending line, bit of a bombshell am I right? We’ll have to see how that one works out. Let me know what you thought! And I’m so sorry it took so long.

I would just like to say a massive thank you to all 16 users that have favourited this story! So bigpotterfan, dadoune, DoctorUnderwood, dracoismyboyfriendguys, gnomeofglory, Harry and Ginny, Hazelmidnight172, kayleefrank, Laney, livelaughlovetoread, NoReallyImFine, Padfoot31937, PhoenixFeather281, potterfan310, the_deathly_hallows and wizardwench - this chapter is dedicated to you all.

- Jess xo


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