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A/N - Oh yes, a note at the beginning. This has to be bad, right? Right. I hate this chapter, but it's the best I can do for now. I have to get it out of the way before I can move on to bigger and better things. Try not to throw things. I'm apologising now in advance! Still, please read on. (",) (<<<I've brought Bob back due to popular demand to make things better. Aidan named is Quaffle after him. Bob makes everything better.)





Chapter Twelve: Compromise


“This is so fucking typical, Jenny,” Dom spits, “Why couldn’t Al just marry a normal person?”

“Auntie Dom said a bold word!” Remus giggles.

“Mum, Dom said a bold word!” Aidan tells me, as if I didn’t hear her.

“Oh keep your nappies on,” Dom snaps at them. She’s always been such a maternal person, our Dom.

“We don’t wear nappies!” Aidan complains, “We’re not babies!”

Dom is babysitting Remus for Victoire today. We are all over at Jenny’s house, helping her to plan her wedding, which is now only four weeks away. I’m the only one who knows about her pregnancy, so everyone else is curious as to what the rush is. Lily and Jenny’s sister, Gillian, are here too, watching Dom in amusement. She’s never been pushed on weddings since the massacre that was Victoire’s, but she generally doesn’t pass up the chance for a family get together.

However, she is highly pissed off at Jenny’s plans for the hen night.

“I think a weekend in the country would be really nice!” says Jenny, “We have a lovely cottage that we could stay in, with a sunroom and everything...”

“Hen weekends are not about sunrooms and cottages – they’re about strippers and tequila shots!” Dom claims, and I have to say, she has a point. Although strippers and tequila shots probably wouldn’t go well with a pregnant bride.

“What’s a tequila shot?” Remus asks.

“It’s a kind of gun like the Muggles have,” Aidan tells him. I don’t bother correcting him. The two boys seem to be having great fun sitting at Jenny’s dining room table with us, looking through bridal magazines and colouring in the dresses black.

“Jenny,” Dom says in her reasonable voice, “Think about it. This is your last chance to let your hair down. Do you really want to spend your last days of freedom in a fucking cottage?”

“Auntie Dom said a bold word!” Remus gasps again and Dom rolls her eyes.

“Dom, less of the language around the kids!” Jenny hisses and I nod in agreement. It’s bad enough James teaching them swear words without Dom doing it and all.

“Dom has a point,” says Lily, “I mean, shouldn’t we go a bit wild? This is the only Potter wedding I get to be a part of, except for my own!”

“What about James?” I ask.

“Oh please, nobody will ever marry him,” she says briskly. And she’s probably right.

“This is my wedding. It’s my hen weekend. We’re doing it my way,” says Jenny, making Dom mouth ‘bold words’, but not actually say them. “Now, so far for the hen weekend I have Rose, Dom –”

“Don’t count on it, I may be busy that weekend,” says Dom dryly.

“- Lily, Molly, Victoire, Gillian and Daisy. I just thought we’d keep it small –”

“Hold on a second,” I interrupt, “Who was that last one?”

Jenny looks at me nervously. “I couldn’t just leave her out, Rose. I mean, she’s quite lovely once you get to know her.”

I can see Aidan looking at me. I don’t want to say anything about her in front of everyone, but Jenny knows what I’m thinking – you backstabber. Dom raises her eyebrows at Jenny and scoffs.

“This weekend gets better and better,” Dom says sarcastically, “Rose, how about you and I head to a male strip club and do some tequila shooters that weekend?” Why does she have to talk that way in front of my child?

“Mum’s going to shoot some strippers!” Aidan cries excitedly.

“Cheers Dom,” I mumble, “And Aidan, why don’t you and Remus go play in the living room?”

“But Mum –” 

“Now.” 

The two boys run into the living room, casting make-believe spells at each other with their make-believe wands. I turn to Jenny, glaring.

“Rose, I know you don’t like her, but I can’t just leave her out,” says Jenny, “I think you and Daisy could really get along if you just tried.”

I’m so close to screaming right now, it’s not even funny. If only they knew what Daisy is up to. If it were my hen weekend, I wouldn’t invite some evil, conniving bitch that Jenny hates...

“Let’s invite Laura!” I suggest, smirking. Jenny glares at me.

“Why would I invite Laura?” she asks, frowning at me, “We’re not exactly best friends.”

“Well this would be the perfect opportunity to patch things up!” I grin, and then add, “I mean, she’s quite lovely once you get to know her.” Jenny and Laura have never gotten along. Jenny thinks Laura’s a selfish bitch, while Laura thinks Jenny an annoying little goodie-two-shoes. I’m not sure which one’s right. Sometimes I agree with both, sometimes neither. It depends what mood I’m in.

“Rose has a point,” says Dom, “Laura’s always a good laugh.”

Jenny looks fit to kill me. She’s always going on about giving people chances, so she knows it would be hypocritical of her not to invite Laura now. “Fine, she can come,” Jenny mumbles, “But so can Daisy.”

“Fine,” I mumble back. I hope I remember to catch Dragon Pox that weekend.

Jenny’s sister, Gillian, is very like her. She’s two years older, with the same brown hair and big eyes, and just as short. The biggest difference between the two Winters sisters is that Gillian is a Muggle, like the rest of Jenny’s family. Gillian is also quieter than Jenny, and her manners make Jenny look rude – and that’s saying something. She’s one of these people that I feel uncomfortably swearing around in case she judges me a bad person, even though she’s the kind of person who would never judge anyone. I’m completely intimidated by this five foot tall, nice, generous, kind person. And I’m pretty sure she’s intimidated by Dom, who doesn’t seem to have the same problem with swearing around her.

I sometimes wonder if Dom is actually Aunt Fleur’s daughter. I have this theory that Uncle Bill was at work in Gringotts one day and this ex-convict woman named Crazy Kym came in trying to rob the place. Uncle Bill talked her out of it, of course, after a heated confrontation, which led to a hot and heavy rendezvous in one of the vaults. Nine months later, a baby was left on the doorstep of shell cottage, and Aunt Fleur decided to raise the child as her own – only Uncle Bill saw the note attached to the baby’s cradle. She is yours – Crazy Kym. So really, Aunt Fleur doesn’t know that Dom is Uncle Bill’s biological daughter.

Of course, Dom looked very much like Aunt Fleur before she dyed her hair brown, so that throws my theory out the window. But still, something must have gone genetically haywire with Dom – she may be beautiful, but she has the grace of a wombat on drugs.

After the meeting at Jenny’s, Aidan and I go to Mum and Dad’s for dinner. We do this every second Saturday, whenever he’s not with Scorpius. Dad answers the door, looking supremely pissed off.

“What’s-”

“Audrey,” Dad says simply before I can even ask him what’s wrong. Aidan runs on inside before I can grab him and go home – I can’t deal with Auntie Audrey. She’s what you might call a complete and utter psychopath.

“She’s here?” I ask, as Dad stands aside to let me in.

“She’s helping your mother with her election campaign,” Dad explains, “She’s been here for six hours.” I notice he’s squeezing very tightly on that stress ball I got him for his birthday.

Audrey is sitting at the kitchen table with Mum, with about a hundred different posters of Mum strewn around the place with slogans like ‘Weasley’s Got It All!’ Mum looks just about ready to kill her.

“Hermione, I don’t see why you won’t let me put that lovely picture of you on the posters; it really is very flattering,” says Audrey.

“I’m in a swimsuit on a beach in Italy!” Mum protests, and then adds, “And it was taken on my honeymoon twenty five years ago!”

“Oh don’t be so picky...”

“Hello Rose,” Mum sighs wearily when she spots me, and stands up to hug me, “How did the wedding plans go?”

Audrey looks impatient and annoyed as I talk about Al and Jenny’s wedding, and she starts tapping her fingers off the table until I’m finished speaking. She is such a twat. Even Uncle Percy could have done better.

“Right, back to your campaign, Hermione,” Audrey claps her hands together, interrupting me, “I think we have the support of pretty much the whole Muggleborn community...”

“Audrey, aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves?” Mum asks, “The running candidates haven’t even been announced yet. It’s up to the Wizengamot to decide who’s even going to run for election – I may not even be chosen!”

“Nonsense, Hermione, of course you’ll be chosen!” Audrey cries. To a normal person, this would seem like genuine support on Audrey’s part, but we know better. Audrey is by far the most selfish person I know, and the only reason she wants Mum to become Minister, or even run for the position, is so she can get her own name in the Prophet and bump herself up through the ranks of the ministry. She did the same thing when James got a place with the Chudley Cannons. Fame may be fickle, but it hasn’t met Auntie Audrey. I sometimes wonder if she married Uncle Percy because he’s a Weasley. Actually, I don’t wonder about it – I know it for a fact. She’s always had a massive crush on Uncle Harry too, due to the fact that he’s probably the most famous person in the wizarding world.

Dad starts making dinner, hoping that Audrey will take the hint and leave, but she stays until dinner is ready, helps herself to a plate and thanks Dad. When she finally leaves, taking all of her posters with her, Mum sighs in relief, looking incredibly tired.

“Are you really going to be Minister, Nana?” Aidan asks Mum.

“I don’t know, darling,” Mum sighs, “I’m going to try.”

“Will I still have to go to school?”

“Yes,” I answer him immediately.

“Will Mum still have to go to work?”

“Unfortunately,” I answer.

“Oh,” he says, disappointed. Clearly, Mum becoming Minister for Magic would have absolutely no effect on him whatsoever. What does seem to have an effect on him is my friendship with his teacher, Brian. Every time Brian stops over to the flat, Aidan runs into his room and slams the door like a moody teenager. Any day now he’ll dye his hair black and start wearing eyeliner, trying to be just like his Uncle Hugo – thankfully, Hugo grew out of that. I don’t see why my friendship with Brian is affecting him more than Scorpius’s marriage to Daisy.

Daisy. Even thinking about her name makes me want to stab something. Jenny would be the one I’d be stabbing, if she wasn’t bloody pregnant. Has she completely lost the plot? Why would she invite Daisy to her hen weekend? I’ve been doing my best to avoid Daisy for the last few days in the hopes that she’ll forget all about this legal custody agreement. I usually just drop Aidan to their flat, knock on the door and make a run for it as I hear the door opening. I know I can’t keep going on like this forever, but I’m hoping it will last until he’s seventeen. Or at least until he starts at Hogwarts.

*

Unfortunately, I can’t avoid Daisy forever. She’s waiting for me outside my flat when we return from Mum and Dad’s house.

“Damn, I forgot to put the garlic up,” I mumble audibly.

“Hello Daisy!” Aidan greets her happily

“Hello sweetheart,” she smiles. It’s so sickening. I open the door and Aidan runs inside to greet a barking Ollie. I feel sort of guilty leaving Ollie on her own all day, so I usually leave her over at Teddy’s or sometimes Mrs McGuiness downstairs takes her and pretends she doesn’t notice how vicious Ollie is – Crups hate Muggles by nature, but Ollie seems pretty tame compared to most of them. She doesn’t chew the legs of Brian every time he comes in, but she does her fair share of growling. Today, however, Mrs McGuiness was going to a funeral and Teddy was away at his grandmother’s, so Ollie had to stay at home by herself. Mrs McGuiness and her elderly friend, Tabitha, are serial funeral-goers. Whether they know a person well or not, they’ll go to their funeral for the free tea and sandwiches, and of course the limitless depressing gossip.

“What are you doing here?” I ask rudely when Aidan is out of earshot.

“Can I come inside?” Daisy asks.

“I don’t think so,” I reply.

“Come on, Rose, we’re both adults,” she says, folding her arms, “I just wanted to apologise for what I said the other day. It was out of order, I know that.”

I study her for a moment. She looks good for thirty-three, it pains me to admit. I mean, there’s not a line on her face. I must ask her which face-lifting spells she uses, because there’s no way she looks like that naturally.

“Does Scorpius know you’re here?” I ask.

“No,” she admits calmly, “I thought we should sort this out ourselves.”

“So he doesn’t know about this ‘legal custody’ business then?”

“Can I just come in?” Daisy sighs, “I have a feeling your next door neighbour is watching me.”

She wouldn’t be wrong in suspecting that. Old Frankie Rice next door tends to spend all day staring out the spy-hole at who’s coming past. Then he’ll pounce on you at the most unexpected of times, asking ‘where were you going at six o’clock this morning?’ The chances that he’s listening to this conversation are ridiculously high, so I step aside and begrudgingly let Daisy into my flat.

However, she only gets as far as the hallway. I stand there, arms folded, looking at her and waiting to hear what she has to say.

“I’m sorry for what I said to you,” she says.

“So you’ve said already. Is that it?”

“No.”

She looks a bit annoyed, but doesn’t say anything.

“I’m rapidly losing interest here,” I tell her, “Please just spit out whatever you’ve come to say and leave.”

“Why do you hate me so much?” she hisses angrily, “I’ve only ever tried to be nice to you –”

“By criticising my parenting? You have a strange concept of ‘nice’,” I scoff.

“I’ve already said I’m sorry, you could be polite and at least pretend to accept my apology!” she whispers fiercely. Aidan has turned on the TV now, so I hope he can’t hear us. “And I was only trying to help you with this custody agreement! You make it sound like I’m trying to steal your child or something!” I don’t say anything, because this is exactly what I think she’s trying to do. “Rose, I know you’re very busy with work and Jenny’s wedding and now these night classes –”

“Wait, Scorpius told you about that?” I interrupt, “He told you about the night classes?”

“Yes, he mentioned it,” she shrugs, “He’s my husband, he tells me everything.” Yeah, I bet he didn’t tell you he slept in my bed a few weeks ago. On my bed. Not in it. And I’m also betting that he didn’t tell her that he’s dyslexic either. “I just want to help you,” Daisy repeats.

“Why would you want to help me?” I ask sceptically.

“Because you mean a lot to Scorpius,” she says quickly, “And I’d like if we could get along. We sort of got off on the wrong foot. And...you know, we can just forget about the custody agreement.”

I’m still very suspicious. Why would she just drop this so quickly? Did she suggest this to Scorpius and he threatened to divorce her for it? Okay, that’s probably just wishful thinking on my part. Still, what could possibly have happened that she no longer wants to pursue this?

“I’m too upfront for my own good,” Daisy goes on, “I’m always sticking my nose into other peoples’ business. I really am sorry.” She holds out her hand. “Friends?” I keep looking at her. “Or at least not enemies?”

I nod and shake her hand, and then she leaves. Now I’m not sure what to think of her. All I know is that I don’t trust her. Still, I forget all about her and go help Aidan with his alphabet exercises.

*

“Why in the name of all that’s magic would I want to go to Jenny Winters’ hen weekend?”

Laura isn’t exactly pushed on the idea of coming out to the country with us. She’s even less enthused than Dom. Jenny gave me the task of asking Laura to come, because she likes to talk to her as little as possible. So I’ve called over to Laura’s place after work to beg her to come.

“Because if you don’t come, I won’t have anyone to bitch about Daisy to,” I tell her.

“What about Dom?”

“It’s looking unlikely that Dom’s even going to come,” I say, “She’s currently looking for cheap accommodation in Moscow for that weekend.”

“What about Lily?” Laura asks desperately, “Or Molly or someone!”

“Lily likes Daisy for some reason!” I cry, “And I’m not even going to dignify that second suggestion with a response. Please come, Laura!”

Laura rolls her eyes, sighs and thinks to herself for a minute. “Fine,” she snaps eventually, “On one condition.”

“Yes, anything!”

“We are now completely even. You can no longer use the ‘I saved your life’ thing against me.” She’s referring to the time in sixth year when James and I found Laura passed out in the bathroom after overdosing on Slimming Solution. I tend to use this against her when I want my way.

I never claimed to be a good person.

“Deal,” I agree.

“I can’t believe I’m agreeing to this,” Laura mumbles, “Jenny Winters is the Daisy to my Rose, I hope you know.”

“She’s not that bad,” I say, “It’s not like she’s marrying the love of your life or anything.”

“Al could have been the love of my life,” says Laura, “I never got around to him before she nabbed him back in sixth year.”

“That’s because you were busy ‘nabbing’ his brother,” I tell her. She frowns at me. 

It's probably best not to bring that up again. 






A/N - This is the definition of filler chapters, and I realise it's the second in a row (though most of you didn't consider the last chapter a filler, so this makes up for it!) so I am sorry about that. Also, Daisy is neither as good nor as bad as she seems at the minute. That's all I'm saying. Please review. I really appreciate them! (",)
Also, if you like Ron/Hermione stories, check out my new fic Between The Lines.

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