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Defying Gravity by momoe

Format: Novel
Chapters: 26
Word Count: 122,943
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Harry, Ginny, Teddy, Scorpius, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Rose, Victoire, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Rose/Scorpius, Teddy/Victoire, James/OC

First Published: 04/26/2008
Last Chapter: 12/20/2009
Last Updated: 12/20/2009

Summary:





Seventh year Gryffindor Prefect, Albus Potter, and his girlfriend, Nat, have found themselves in an unthinkable situation: expecting a baby.  Murphy's Law applied, the next nine months will be filled with hardships starting with a pretty major one: telling the parents.


Chapter 23: 22..Tied Up in Lies...Part Two





A/N: This story is set in the UK which means that I’m using the UK’s spellings of things, so please don’t review saying I spelled something wrong. Still review! But because you like my story instead. 

I spent six hours straight on this chapter and it's going up unedited, so excuse any grammatical errors.  They will be fixed...eventually.



Defying Gravity
Chapter 22: Tied Up in Lies…Part Two



Kylie slid the chart to Kelly Cavis’s room into the chart holder beside the door and leaned against the wall, pulling her sweat-soaked scrub shirt away from her body in an effort to ventilate that part of her body.

The room had been stifling hot for one reason: Kelly’s unknown condition. The seven year old was suffering from strange rashes and cold flashes, and no one, not even the best healers in the Hospital, could figure out what was wrong with the poor girl.

Kylie thought it was probably something muggle. With the wizarding bloodlines becoming diluted as they were – meaning more and more wizards were marrying muggles or other witches and wizards with very little magical blood – muggle illnesses were becoming more commonly found in those with magical blood.

It was a shame that witches and wizards, young and old, were dying every day because the older population of healers and board members refused to accept the fact that muggle illness could even infiltrate such a higher power – their words, not hers.

And the Chief of Staff at the hospital was one-hundred and twelve years old and didn’t look to be croaking anytime soon, so that muddled perspective was sure to stay that way for a while. Unless someone like Kylie were to do something about it.

But she was only one person. What could she do?

One more, Kylie told herself, her eyes closing in sudden pain. She’d saved this one for last for a reason she didn’t remember. It would be the hardest to deal with, no doubt. She’d already made plans to go right home and sleep after work, whether or not her roommate was having a party, and the only thing standing in the way of her and her seventy-five galleon, custom made mattress was a little boy by the name of Braden Helmick.

She pushed herself away from the wall, smoothed her hand down her pale yellow scrubs – Paediatric Healers wore bright yellow robes and, subsequently, their interns wore a softer shade – and took a deep breath before pulling out the chart.

The chart was thicker and heavier than most: Braden had been at the hospital longer than most. She tapped her wand against the bulging book and the cover and pages suddenly flipped up to the last check point four hours ago, right after supper.

She knocked twice on the heavy door and pushed it open, taking a few steps into the dark room. She tried not to look at the boy on the bed, but her eyes strayed from the low numbers on the chart to the bed.

There was a tuft of brown hair peeking over a white, sterile looking blanket. Beneath the blanket, and next to the hair, was a brown teddy bear. Its beady eyes were pointed straight at her and she gulped.

Kylie felt somewhat responsible for this boy. She’d been the primary intern on the case as soon as he and his single mother had stepped through the doors at the bottom floor of the hospital three months. After she assessed that his condition was not emergent (that he wasn’t going to die in the next hour), she’d placed him in this very room in the Paediatric ward. He hadn’t seen the outside of the hospital since.

There was a squeak and her gaze turned from the boy who looked so small a fragile in the middle of the bed to the woman who was just sitting up on the sofa next to the bed. His mother, Karen, waitressed eight shifts a week and had obviously just come from work. The dress from the muggle restaurant she worked at was stained, her hair was a mess, but her green eyes – the eyes that matched Braden’s, the hopeful look included – were bright in the same trusting way that Braden always looked at her.

Kylie gave her a soft half smile, no more than a tilt of the right side of her mouth. It was hard to smile when someone you’d come to care about was so close to dying right before her eyes. She could only imagine how it was for Karen.

Kylie started to do her usual workup, a few intricate wand waves, some spells to take blood pressure and temperature. Without waking Braden, she drew a vial of his blood, glad that it was painless to do it magically. It also didn’t leave needle scars like she knew doing it the muggle way did.

Her father was a muggle doctor. Doctor Jacob Richt. He was famous in the muggle world for curing the most common type of Leukaemia, a cancer of the blood. He and her mother, Helen, were taking time off from work to travel. Last she’d heard they were in Brazil, but that was last week during their weekly phone calls.

She finished with the normal check-up, watching the six year old suck his skinny thumb in his sleep, and sighed. The last part would hurt, and she’d have to wake him for it. She dreaded doing it, but it was the only way to know whether or not his treatment was working. So far it hadn’t.

“Wait,” Karen said softly and Kylie brought her head up to look at her. “Before you wake him, I need to ask you…what if this next round doesn’t work?”

The tears shone in the woman’s eyes and Kylie struggled not to start crying herself. She took a deep breath and prepared to answer Karen’s question in the way she’d been coached to.

“We’ll start a more aggressive strain, ma’am. We’re so close,” she added when Karen’s face fell at the generic answer. She took a step forward and grasped Karen’s hand. “We just need to find the right combination that will jump start his immune system. We really are close. Once we get his white blood cell count up, we can start looking for causes of his symptoms.”

“But –”

“Miss Helmick, I’ve grown to care for Braden so much…please trust that I would never let anything happen that would hurt him.”

Karen nodded and Kylie turned back to the child. Pale green eyes greeted her and she smiled at the young boy. He blinked sleepily and hugged the teddy bear closer to him.

“We’re going to play the Chaser game, okay?” she asked, her voice full of false cheer. He shrugged his shoulders tiredly and she sighed. He slept most of the day, it was part of his condition, but he still looked exhausted. Those potions would do that to you.

She pulled out her wand, the cheeriness coming back into her voice. “Kylie’s got the Quaffle, she fakes left, ducks a bludger hit by Caleb, oh what a nasty man,” she made exaggerated movements with her wand in the air, which were really the wand swishes required for the spell but to a six year old looked like an imaginary Quidditch player about to score. “Here she comes, she’s going to get it!” with a gentle movement of her left hand, she lifted the blankets exposing the boy’s lower leg, and then her wand “landed” on the top of his chin and she quietly muttered the spell. She braced herself on his thigh, knowing the flinch of his muscles was coming.

Then he tensed up at the pain, the only other outward sign that it hurt was a barely audible gasp. She noticed he reached for his mother’s hand and suddenly tears sprung to her eyes. After the spell was done, she took her wand away and quickly bandaged the part of his bleeding leg.

Holding her breath and praying for positive results, she picked up the chart where the results of his test, his current white blood cell count, would appear. The numbers started a weak gray and became darker until the bold numbers stood out on the page.

She sighed.

“What?” Karen asked pleadingly, and Kylie didn’t waste another moment, not wanting to give them false hope.

“I’m sorry. The white blood cell count is down further from the last test.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means we’re going to have to be even more aggressive with his treatment,” she gave the generic answer before excusing herself. She shoved the chart back into its holder and nearly ran to the intern lounge, ignoring people calling her name or protesting as she pushed past them. Her job was done for the day. She had to get out of there.

She hadn’t lied to them, really. They did need a more aggressive potion to get Braden’s white blood cell count up. What she didn’t tell them was that if the count continued to drop as it was, then Braden was going to die. And by the looks of the numbers, it was going to happen soon.



She’d taken a half hour to shower, standing under the scalding spray, scrubbing her fingers hard over her scalp as a sort of punishment for living while Braden was laying there dying. The guilt that knotted in the pit of her stomach was overwhelming and, as she dried her hair and dressed for the trip home, she shook her head.

She needed a drink.

Kylie pulled on the cute pink top and lime green mini-skirt she’d brought with her to change in to. She always kept an extra change of clothes in her locker, amidst all of the different coloured scrubs that were required, and as she slipped on the matching pink flats, she was glad it was this outfit. It was a nice outfit to pick up a guy.

And she needed a night of mindless, meaningless sex to get her mind off of Braden Helmick.

Ten minutes later she pushed open the heavy door and entered ‘The Witch’s Brew’, a pub halfway between her two-bedroom flat and the hospital. For about two seconds she considered going someplace else, because most of the patrons there worked at the hospital, but she realized she just didn’t feel comfortable going any place else. This was the safest neighbourhood around, being muggle, and figured there must be some muggle around that she could seduce and take back to her flat or her to his.

Whichever. She wasn’t picky.

She shed her cloak and ordered a drink. Some liquid courage was in order. She downed the first one, a rum and cola, and ordered another: extra rum, not so much cola. She picked up her tumbler to down that one quickly as well when a sudden ruckus caught her attention down the bar.

Kylie couldn’t believe her eyes. She looked at the drink, looked towards the bartender, and then back at the man. Could that be? No, her eyes must be deceiving her. But it really looked like him.

Then he caught her eye for a split second and she knew it was. James Potter was sitting at a two-person table, surrounded by women. And what was worse, there was a woman perched on each one of his knees. He had his arms securely around their waists; his right hand was playing with the woman’s navel ring, flicking it back and forth against her tanned skin.

Kylie narrowed her eyes. That was not the James Potter she knew. His wife was going through a terrible ordeal. She’d seen the chart that day. Cancer. Healer Jacobson was rarely wrong. And she’d always thought of James as the sort to take care of what’s his. So why wasn’t he at home taking care of his sick wife?

The bartender, a hunky man was blonde hair and a tight shirt, came back to check on her even though he’d just refilled her drink a minute ago and there were more people down the bar waiting for him.

“What’s with him?”

“Ah, I believe his name is Potter,” the man shrugged, seemingly uncomfortable talking about the guy.

“As in Harry Potter’s son?” she gave no inclination that she knew James.

“Yeah,” the bartender’s resentment for the man showed in that one, hissed statement.

“What’s his story?”

“Heard his wife left him. He’s been making rounds of all the pubs in London, picking up girls. You don’t want to be his next conquest.” You want to be mine, he seemed to leave off, and Kylie smiled sweetly.

“Let me be the judge of that.”

She paid for her drink, downed it in a few gulps, and slammed the glass down on the bar. She wasn’t going to let James do this to his wife. She would get him home, where he belonged, and then find someone to screw. Even as she said that in her mind, the thought was already losing whatever appeal it had to begin with. Sharing something as intimate as sex with a stranger was something Kylie had never done before.

And she decided she didn’t want to start then.

She took two dozen steps to the table James was at. The two girls, both with dark hair and way too much makeup on, turned towards her as she approached. Their eyes were unfocused and it was easy to see they were drunk.

James’s own brown eyes were glazed and unfocused, but he had a huge smile on his face, and his dark eyes seemed to brighten when he spotted her.

“Ka-Ke-Kylie!” He seemed to grasp for her name, which wasn’t a good sign. She’d dealt with inebriated patients at the hospital, ones who spelled off body parts, one’s who’d just put their hand through a window, idiots who’d tried to apparate and got splinched…she knew what to do.

“Aguamenti,” she muttered while pointing her wand at James. A blast of cold water hit him square in the chest and he spluttered. The women around him scattered, letting out shrill screams as the icy water touched their alcohol-sensitised bodies.

“S-stop!” James’s stutter cut over the shrill screams and the blast of water ended. “What the hell?” he stood, his height towering over her. She wasn’t scared, though. She could handle her own. Her breath caught in her chest at the sight of his tee shirt clinging to his abdomen, the ripple of muscles under said skin-tight tee shirt as he took two steps toward her, and then the laugh that ripped through him and caused his chest to rise and fall rapidly.

Her eyes were trained on him the whole time, but his hand on her cheek shook her out of her reverie, and she looked up at him. His eyes were more focused, and he was smiling rather than angry like she’d thought he’d be.

“Why, Kylie, if you wanted a chance with me all you had to do was ask,” he said.

Then to her shock, he bent down and slanted his lips over hers.



Nat watched the map over Rose’s shoulder as Albus and Meghan’s dots disappeared off the map and then she slumped against the wall. Well, that was it. The only proof she needed. Albus was cheating on her. He’d rather be with Meghan-fucking-Longbottom than with her.

Hadn’t she had reservations about Meghan at the beginning? She could remember her fifth year when she first started developing a massive crush on Albus. He was her second best friend - second only to Rose - and dating Meghan then. She was only a fourth year, and Nat had figured they couldn’t be that serious. Everyone said they made a cute couple. Nat thought they looked horrible together.

Even then Meghan didn’t dress her age. She wore tight clothes and way too much makeup. The professors obviously – well, obvious to Nat – had a problem with it but she was Professor Longbottom’s daughter. What could they do?

Nat should’ve realized that nothing between her and Albus could work out right then. Meghan and he were together and their parents were happy about it. His parents didn’t even seem to mind that she dressed like a prostitute.

So she admired Albus from far away, while continuing her best friend duties (by remaining mum on the relationship topic), hoping that one day he’d realize that he didn’t love Meghan and then Nat could have her chance.

Her chance came in July before their sixth year. Albus and Meghan had still been together at the end of the year, and Nat dreaded going to Rose’s birthday party because she’d have to see them. She almost declined the invitation to spend the rest of the month with the Weasleys because she couldn’t stand to see Albus and Meghan together. But Rose was her best friend, so she couldn’t.

The girls went shopping for party dresses, and Nat found a green one that matched Albus’s eyes. It was knee-length and strapless exactly the kind of outfit for a sweet sixteen party. She paired it with navy heels that were sure to catch his attention. She was hoping that he would break up with Meghan for her.

Turns out she didn’t have to pray too hard. Albus and Meghan had broken up three weeks before the party, about a day after school ended.  They had a great romantic relationship from that point forward.

Or so Nat thought.

She should’ve realized that she was Albus’s “rebound girl” from the start. He had just gotten out of a nearly year-long relationship and found the first girl ready and willing. And he was too much of a gentleman to break up with her without a good reason.

Except that he obviously wasn’t, if he would cheat on his pregnant girlfriend.

At that thought, Nat looked down at her stomach and sighed. She was stupid to have even gotten caught up in anything with Albus. And with current situations with James, she was just now realizing that those Potter boys were trouble. Big trouble. And Albus’d sucked her right in.

“I can’t do this,” she whispered aloud, and four sets of eyes turned towards her. Tears welled in her eyes and she cursed her hormones, not for the first time. She didn’t need to cry at a time like this.

“Nat, it’ll be okay,” Rose placed a hand on her shoulder, urging her friend to stay calm. “We’ll help you get through this.”

“What’s the use of having friends if you can’t lean on them once in a while?” Emileigh asked, philosophically, and looked quite pleased with herself at that.

“What’s the use of being in love with a boy who doesn’t view you in the same way?” Nat spat back. Rose’s eyebrows knitted together in question. “It was obviously a mistake to get together with Albus at all.” She looked upwards towards the ceiling shielded by the cloak, trying to stop the tears from leaking from her eyes.

“Nat, think about what you’re saying,” Lily whispered. She and Nat had become close friends because of Nat’s relationship with her brother.

“Besides you, Lil,” Nat conceded. She slid to the floor and stretched her legs out in front of her since she could no longer pull them to her chest in a comforting position.

“But what if he apologizes?” Emileigh, once the sceptic, asked. She never would’ve believed Albus capable of cheating if she hadn’t seen it with her own two eyes.

“It doesn’t matter,” Nat’s head dropped into her hands. “It’s over.”

So over.

Rose sat beside her, Lily on the other side, both cuddling up to her in comfort. Kate and Emileigh sat on either side of her legs, rubbing soothing circles along her trousers. Aside from a random comment, no one talked. They just sat there, looking at each other for a long time.

Three hours, in fact. Three hours later, the statue of the humpback witch started to move and the four girls jumped up, Rose and Emileigh reaching down to help Nat up in her enlarged state.

Nat stared at the statue, not wanting to miss this. Her heart beat erratically in her chest; her palms were sweaty; her stomach clenched.

Albus’s head appeared, but they were all under the cloak so he didn’t see them. Then Meghan stepped one long leg out of the statue, followed by the rest of her body. Albus appeared just after that, both of their uniforms rumpled. Nat’s eyes teared at the sight of them together and their wrinkled clothes. There was no doubt in her mind that they’d been doing something after seeing that.

Then her mouth fell open when Albus grabbed Meghan around the waist and pulled her close to his body. She felt a sob bubble in her throat when she saw Meghan turn her head sideways and Albus place a kiss against her cheek.

“Oh, god,” she whispered, more tears rising in her eyes and bile rising in her throat.

The couple was walking away from them and Nat was happy to see them go so she could go back to her dorm and cry, when Rose and Lily simultaneously stepped from beneath the cloak.

She hoped he hadn’t seen them.

He had.

Emileigh and Kate were next to show themselves, and Nat told herself that this was her battle, not theirs. Although she’d wanted to confront him later, after she had a plan of attack and all the facts, she gathered her courage and lifted the cloak over her head, allowing it to pool in a pile of shimmery fabric on the stone floor behind her.

Seeing Albus face to face, the shock and surprise of getting caught, brought back a flood of feelings, betrayal, embarrassment, humiliation…before she could stop herself, she stepped forward to him.

Her hands automatically went to her stomach, as if she could protect their babies – her babies – from the heartache she was feeling. She was toe to toe with him when she reared back and slapped him.

It was a surprise to her as much as it was to him, and as soon as it was over, she ran back to her friends and buried her face in Kate’s shoulder. She heard the onslaught of words her friends yelled at Albus.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Lily yelled, wanting to slap her brother herself.

“How could you?” Emileigh’s voice was tight, pained, as if she were trying to hold her emotions in check before she throttled him herself.

“I cannot believe you,” Rose said sadly. Nat looked up at that, wanting to see the remorse, the guilt, on Albus’s face. There was none, which made her stomach hurt.

“What the hell are you talking about?” His cheek was red, but he didn’t move to rub it, and his piercing green gaze wasn’t on the girls currently attacking him, but on Nat.

“And you!” Rose rounded on Meghan suddenly, who stepped forward, a smug smile on her face. Then, making sure every could see her, she reached down and tried to smooth some of the wrinkles on her uniform.

Nat let out a chocked sob and buried her face against Kate again. She heard the sound of flesh against flesh – not a slap, but something else – and looked up in time to see Meghan hit the ground.

Realization had dawned on Albus’s face and he’d made a movement towards Nat. The pain on his face made Nat’s heart ache worse. But she knew it was only there because he’d hurt her, and not because he was sorry for his actions. He was just a good guy who made bad decisions; the first one was making Nat his rebound girl.

Meghan had picked herself up off the floor and Lily and Emileigh were blocking Albus’s path to Nat. Rose grabbed him by his shirt collar and tugged him away from them with surprising strength. He allowed her to push him against the stone wall near where Meghan had pulled herself up to.

Her eye was already beginning to swell shut and bruise. Good, Nat thought.

“I want your badges,” Rose said, holding out both of her hands to the prefects. “Right now.”

“What?” Meghan shrilled. “Why? We didn’t do anything wrong!”

“Slacking off on your duties for Merlin knows how long for starters,” Rose told her. Albus placed his badge in Rose’s hand without a fight, his penetrating gaze still placed firmly on Nat. She preferred to watch the scene, though, and refused to meet his eyes.

“What are you talking about?” Meghan demanded. “We completed all of our rounds, every single time.”

“We followed you,” Emileigh stepped forward even though it wasn’t really her fight. “You didn’t get past the third floor.”

“Tonight,” Meghan spat, gesturing widely in anger. “Tonight was the only acceptation! We were late!”

“Late for what?” Rose’s eyes narrowed. The girls had seemingly forgotten about Albus, their eyes focused on Meghan, and he’d managed to slip around them. Nat could feel that he was close, so she moved to stand beside Rose.

“For work, you bitch! Albus has been working with me at the Leaky Cauldron since New Years!”

Whatever Nat had been expecting, it wasn’t that. But when had she ever trusted Meghan Longbottom?

Rose didn’t seem to have a comeback to that, and wiggled her fingers in indication that she still wanted Meghan’s Prefect badge. Meghan let out a huff, pulled the badge out of her pocket, and threw it at Rose.

“My father will be hearing about this,” Meghan hissed before turning on her heel and stomping off.

Rose ran to catch up with her, the slip of paper already filled out. “What?” Meghan yelled when Rose tapped her shoulder. Rose thrust the detention slip at Meghan. Meghan took one look at it and then focused her angry toffee eyes on Rose.

“Are you kidding?”

“For being out way past curfew more than once,” Rose shrugged and turned on her heel, stomping back to her friends.

“Ugh!” Meghan ripped up the slip and threw it on the ground before walking away. Rose tsked, repaired the paper, and then charmed it to follow Meghan and bother her until she took it. Then Rose turned to Albus and handed him one as well.

Albus took it and tucked it into his rumpled robes before turning his eyes back to Nat. Nat stared at him, her head moving back and forth slowly. She couldn’t believe all of this was happening. Meghan said Albus got a job at the Leaky Cauldron. But when had Nat ever believed a word that girl said?

Never.

And now she couldn’t trust Albus.

“Can I please speak with Nat?” Albus’s voice cut through her like a knife and she shuddered.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” Emileigh told him. Obviously she hadn’t believed Meghan’s story, either. It could be a plan that the new couple thought up in case Nat ever found out.

That didn’t make much sense either, if Albus was wanting to get rid of her but didn’t know how to do it.

Nothing made sense to Nat anymore.





Albus couldn’t believe this was happening. He’d had a relatively good night which turned into hell as soon as he stepped foot back inside the castle. Nat thought he was cheating on her? With Meghan Longbottom?

That was a laugh!

He’d dated Meghan in fifth year because she asked him out and the girl he really wanted – Nat – didn’t seem interested. He’d been friends with Meghan for a while, their families were close so it was kind of a no-brainer, and things just happened.

For nine months they dated, all the while he’d adored Nat from afar. He got closer to Meghan to make Nat jealous. Back then it was all he could think to do. Now he realized that it just might be the root of all of their problems.

He never thought about how Nat might feel about him and Meghan working together. He just assumed that once he finally told her she’d be happy and overlook the details. Now that he thought about it, that sounded ridiculous, because he knew that Nat hated anything to do with Meghan.

And he couldn’t help but think that that was his fault.

“Nat…” he stepped forward and reached for her, and his heart skipped a beat when she shrank back away from him.

No. This couldn’t be happening. She was pregnant with his kids. They were starting to build a life together. He couldn’t let one single mistake ruin it.

“Can we talk? Please?”

She nodded and he breathed a sigh of relief. And then she turned to her friends and did some weird, silent, talking with the eyes thing. He hoped those babies didn’t turn out to both be girls or else he’d never know anything around the house.

The girls, except for Rose, left without a fight (or a word spoken between them) and Albus turned to Rose.

“I’m not leaving,” she said before Albus could ask her to. “This whole situation is what broke Scorpius and me up, and I’m going to see it through. Then I’m going to throttle that damn boy.”

He turned to Nat and gave her a pleading look, but she shrugged her shoulders. “Rose stays.”

He sighed, knowing there was no use in arguing with either of them, and then angled his body so he could keep an eye on them both. This wasn’t hard, seeing as Rose took Nat’s hand when they came to rest side by side.

“I’ve been working at the Leaky Cauldron. This whole…thing…you’ve got it all wrong, Nel.” He sighed when Nat flinched at the use of his nickname for her; she bit her lip as if in pain. “I just-I can’t believe that you would think that I could ever cheat on you! I love you, so much. So, so much. So much I can’t even explain it. I could never do that to you, never hurt you like that.”

It was quiet for a moment and Nat took that as her turn to speak.

“I-I know I was your rebound girl –”

“What would make you think that?” Albus asked loudly over her talking so that he missed the next thing she said.

“– help but love you. And you promised that I had nothing to fear when it came to you and Meghan. Little did I know you were sneaking around with her behind my back.” Albus wanted to protest, but knew better to try it again, and pressed his lips tightly together to hold himself back. “I never believed you could cheat until I saw it with my own eyes, and trust me Albus, there was some pretty incriminating evidence.”

“Ask me, I can explain it all,” Albus pleaded.

“Don’t you see? It doesn’t matter anymore! It doesn’t much matter whether you were working at the Leaky Cauldron or getting a room there,” she sighed, and crossed her arms over her chest. “Trust, Albus.”

“Trust,” he whispered to himself, trying to catch her meaning. He did, and didn’t like where she was going.

“Trust is the single most important thing in a relationship. And you broke mine. You know my problem with Meghan. You knew my pain behind my mother leaving. And you turned around did the same thing. Maybe not physically,” she raised a hand when he protested, and he could see how hard she was trying to keep it together and get through her point. He didn’t like where this was going. “But you left me emotionally. By not telling me what was going on, where you were going every night, why you were leaving me all alone every night…and to be with Meghan Lon-why Meghan?”

He sensed that the question was rhetorical and didn’t answer it. She shook her head and bit her lip.

“So because I kept a secret…” he couldn’t bring himself to say the words aloud.

“We were building a life together. We were having babies, probably living together, eventual marriage. There should be no secrets, Albus. And you had a big one! Next you’re going to tell me you weren’t a virgin when we got together.”

Shit, Albus thought, and ran a hand through his hair. He looked away guiltily, but turned back when he heard Nat let out a sob. He wanted to go to her and hold her, rock her and soothe away all of her worries. The package he’d received earlier burned in his pocket and kept him rooted to the spot.

“Tell me, Albus, is anything you said to me during our relationship true? Did you even love me at all?”

“I still do,” he muttered, knowing it was no use, and she’d think what she wanted to after he royally screwed up.

The corridor was silent for a long stretch of time, and finally he looked up to find her glaring at him, jaw set. “Was it Meghan?”

“What?”

“Did you sleep with Meghan before me?”

He sighed. “Once,” he whispered.

“And you didn’t tell me because…?”

“I knew how much you disliked her,” he answered simply. Before, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Now he couldn’t bear to look at her.

A tear trickled down her cheek and he wanted to reach out and wipe it away. But the way Rose was glaring at him menacingly from beside her made him want to take a step back.

“For the record, I never told you I was a virgin when we started dating.”

Wrong words to say.

“You never said you weren’t, either. So just because you don’t say something means it’s okay? You never told me you were working at the Leaky Cauldron, but you never said you weren’t, so it’s my bad? Well you never said you weren’t fucking Meghan Longbottom, did you?”

His heart stopped in his chest when she spun on her heel and started walking away. No, he couldn’t let her just walk away. He caught her arm and spun her around, not counting on the fact that her hand would come with it. She slapped him again, in the exact same spot, and this time he did reach up to rub his face.

“Don’t. Touch. Me.” She enunciated each word carefully, then turned around and began walking away again.

“So that’s it? You’re walking away from nearly two years together? You’re walking away from the father of your children?”

That made her stop. He just wished that she’d smile, come running back into his arms, and tell him that it was all right. That she forgave him.

But she turned around and gave him a cold, hard look.

“You walked away first,” she said, turned around and headed towards the stairwell.

Her final words would be ones that would echo in his head for long, sleepless nights to come. They caused his gut to clinch and tears to form in his eyes. They stung worse than both of her slaps, combined:

“I’m just following your lead.”





Scorpius Malfoy was having a fantastic dream. Rose was running along a wet-sanded beach, her…assets…were bouncing with each stride of her long, shapely, freckled legs, her black bikini bottoms slung low on her hips.

“Scorpius,” she said, though it came out more masculine than he remembered. Merlin, it had been too long since he’d been with her.

“Scorpius,” she stopped in front of him and puckered her lips for a kiss. He leaned forward to kiss her, and suddenly she wasn’t there anymore.

“Scorpius!”

His eyes shot open to find himself sitting up in his bed, his own lips puckered in preparation of a kiss, and his best mate sitting by his bed.

Albus had a bemused expression on his otherwise sullen features. Scorpius’s mouth turned down in a frown as Albus slumped onto his bed.

“What’s wrong? And how did you get in here?”

Albus shrugged. “Some second year called Arix.”

Scorpius laughed. “That boy is so easy to manipulate,” he turned a wary eye to his friend. “What’s wrong?”

“Nat broke up with me last night.”

Scorpius leaned forward. Sure enough, it didn’t look like Albus had slept a wink. He looked exhausted. His eyes were dull, with dark circles beneath. His hair was messier than usual from running his hands through it.

“Damnit. I told Rose to let that whole cheating thing go!” Albus laughed cryptically.

“Get this. Nat knows I didn’t cheat on her and broke up with me anyway.”

“What?”

“Said I had already left her emotionally, by keeping secrets from her, so she did it physically,”

“Al–”

“Actually, I don’t blame her.”
Albus looked defeated, and that scared Scorpius. He’d never seen than withdrawn, lost look on his friend’s face. He didn’t like it.

“Just, here,” Albus dug into his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box.

“It came?”

Albus nodded. “Yesterday. I wasn’t going to give it to her for a while, but I guess that’s null and void now anyway. Anyway, you paid for half of it, and seeing as I’m not working at the Leaky Cauldron anymore, that’s the only way I’ll be able to pay you back.”

“I told you–”

“That it would be a wedding present,” Albus finished for him, shaking his head sadly, as if the notion that that wouldn’t be taking place was just now hitting him. “But seeing as that’s not going to be happening now…just take it. Please?”

Albus left the room a split second later leaving Scorpius in the middle of his bed, shirtless, with a small box in his hand. Sighing, he opened the jewellery box, the unused hinge squeaking with the effort.

Nestled between folds of velvety softness was a ring unlike Scorpius had ever seen. The stone was big, for one. A princess cut diamond sheathed on either side by a total of twelve smaller diamonds embedded in the white gold band. He took it out of the box and held it up to see if there was an inscription.

There was. And he, macho Quidditch Captain Scorpius Malfoy, choked up a little. After reading that, and knowing Nat and Albus, he vowed to do whatever it took to get them back together. Because that inscription said it all:

A Lifetime is All That I Need – Al & Nel Forever


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