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Lovely chapter image by starcrossedsoldiers @ TDA

I didn’t talk to Scorpius for over a week after the quite shocking revelation that he had in fact told his parents about his impending fatherhood. It wasn’t because of anything he had done were I being honest. Truth be told he had been right about one thing- he had done exactly as I wanted him to do and I hadn’t exactly acted thrilled. But that wasn’t his fault. Neither of us had any control over the animosity that had existed between my parents and his father when they were at school. But since that animosity had existed there had been a very miniscule chance that either set of parents would be thrilled about who was contributing the other half of the DNA to their impending grandchild. Not to mention our ages probably didn’t help.

No, I didn’t speak to him for several reasons. One of which happened to be that I was, to put it mildly, a little wrapped up in the things that were going on in my own life. Yes, logically I knew that it wasn’t easy for him to adjust to the idea of being a father- especially when he had been trying his best the entire time to pretend it had nothing to do with him- but he was the lucky one. He didn’t have to handle pregnancy on top of adjusting to the idea of being responsible for another life. And he wasn’t trying to figure out how to hide the pregnancy as best as he could nor was he worried about looking like some sort of large aquatic mammal in a dress at his cousin’s upcoming wedding. It didn’t matter how many times Lily tried to tell me I wouldn’t look so bad, that I wasn’t going to be that far along when Vic’s wedding came up. I was still going to be pregnant and wearing a bridal party dress. Those were rarely flattering even on women without a child growing inside of them.

And even if I weren’t worried about all of that? Avoiding Scorpius would have been a matter of survival at that point. With Leera Zabini holding my little secret right on the tip of her tongue and with her obsession with the blond boy in question? Well, it was better for me to spend as little time around him as I possibly could. The more I was around him the more likely it would be that Leera would start to become suspicious. She already was curious as to who the father of my child was. If I was attached to the hip with Scorpius then she would figure it out quite easily.

I would have gone a lot longer without being around him as a matter-of-fact if it hadn’t been for Lily. My darling younger cousin, in her infinite wisdom, decided to announce one day as we were sitting in the common room together that we should go and watch the Quidditch match going on that day- between Slytherin and Ravenclaw.

“And where exactly would we sit?” I asked her, one of my eyebrows lifting slightly in question. “No one we know is on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team this year so sitting with them would make no bloody sense. But it would be suspicious if we sat in the Slytherin side.”

“We sit with the Slytherin side, of course,” Lily responded as though that were the only logical answer to come to. “At this point Leera knows, at the very least, that Scorpius has been protective of you as a person given your condition. She might think, at the most, that you’ve become friends. So it would make sense for you to go cheer on his side if they’re not competing against our house.”

“Or she could take it as a sign that he’s the father,” I responded in a low whisper, my gaze flickering around the room to make sure no one else was able to hear the conversation we were having. Privacy could be hard to come by in the common room, after all.

“Unless you hold up a sign that says he is? I doubt it. Leera isn’t exactly dim but she’s not a bloody psychic either, Rosie. She won’t be able to read your mind and know that. And as long as we sit as far away from her as we possibly can? I don’t think it will be an issue. You need to stop worrying so bloody much.” Rolling her eyes dramatically she tossed some of her red hair over one of her shoulders. “I know none of this is exactly easy or simple but it’s not quite as bad as you make it out to be.”

I opened my mouth to respond but she cut me off with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Yes, yes. I know. It’s easy for me to say as I’m not in the situation you’re in. But I still maintain that you’re making things seem worse than they are and causing yourself more stress than anyone else is. Just get your bloody coat on and let’s go watch the match.”

Pursing my lips in frustration I resisted the entirely childish urge to stick my tongue out at her. Whether or not she was right in any way was beyond the point in that moment. Trying to ensure that Leera didn’t even have the slightest inkling that Scorpius may be the father of my child had become a big priority for me. The last thing I wanted was for her to have even more of a reason to make my life miserable.

“Fine,” I spat out, my shoulders slumping slightly as I gave in. “But if something goes wrong I reserve the right to blame you.”

“Nothing will go wrong,” she insisted with another dismissive wave of her hand. “But if Leera has suddenly developed the ability to read the minds of others and somehow gets into your brain and figures things out? You have every right to blame me.”

“I hate you.”

“No, you don’t. Now get your bloody coat.”

Slytherin had won. It wasn’t really all that surprising to be honest. Ravenclaw was a decent enough team but everyone knew going into the match that Slytherin was better. And not because they were a bit more aggressive in their playing either. They just seemed to have more talent. All the strategizing that Ravenclaw could ever do wouldn’t help if their team didn’t have the talent behind it. As much as I would deny that while I was in front of my fellow housemates Slytherin had basically the best Quidditch team that year. But voicing that opinion would have just caused problems in the house. And I had enough on my plate. There was no need to add more to it.

Lily had been almost embarrassing with how loudly she had cheered for Scorpius and his team any time they scored a point, how she would nudge me to tell me I should cheer them on as well. It was enough to make me wish I could climb underneath the seating and hide there until the game was over. While I knew she was trying her very best to be supportive of whatever kind of a relationship I happened to have with Scorpius it was still extraordinarily embarrassing.

We had managed to find a seat on the opposite end from where Leera was sitting, managed to hide the fact that we were there to watch Scorpius and his team playing that game. If she had seen us there then she would have gotten suspicious about my relationship with Scorpius. She would have wondered why I would bother going to the game when the two of us weren’t even friends. I wasn’t even sure what they might call Scorpius and I at that moment but we weren’t friends. We were just two people who were going to have a child together.

Once the game had ended and Lily had calmed down enough where she didn’t embarrass me at every moment we sat there for a few moments, waited while the rest of the people that were sitting on Slytherin’s side had made their way down onto the grounds so they could either head back to the school or celebrate the win- I wasn’t entirely sure what they planned on doing nor was I sure that I cared- we finally stood up to make our way down as well, had decided to linger behind everyone else so we might not be noticed by the others there.

“He played quite well, don’t you think?” Lily asked, nudged me slightly with her shoulder as we started our way back towards the school building. She had a ridiculous smile on her face, one that reminded me very much of a girl with a silly little crush. I knew, of course, that she didn’t have a crush on Scorpius or anyone else on the Slytherin Quidditch team but if anyone else had seen her? They would have thought otherwise.

“I suppose he did, yes.” Looking at her I raised both of my eyebrows in question, silently asking her why she was making such a big deal over the fact that he had played well that way. It was obvious by then that he was a rather good player. If he hadn’t been? Then the odds of him still being on the team were very slim. They weren’t exactly known for their charity, for keeping people on that they didn’t think deserved to be there. Skill was key.

“And you win the award for the least enthusiastic response of the century,” Lily drawled, her expression becoming more frustrated than anything else. It may not have been the reaction that she had expected out of me but it was the only one that I was willing to give. If I had been in a relationship with him or something of the like? Then yes, I might have been excited about how well he played, may have been enthusiastic but I just wasn’t in that type of a relationship with him. Having a baby with him didn’t mean we had some epic love story or anything of the sort.

“It’s not as though he’s my boyfriend, Lily,” I reminded her with a very slight shrug of my shoulders, stuck my hands into the pockets of my coat. “I don’t have to be excited if he played well. Granted, if I had to choose which team I wanted to win simply because of the fact that it was his team versus some team other than our house’s team? Then I’d be rooting for his team. But there was no way I was going to act as though I were enamored by him. Especially not given the circumstances.

“But you do have a connection,” she reasoned as she tucked some of her bright red hair behind her ears, glanced at me briefly and shrugged her shoulders just a little bit. “Which means it’s alright if you care about him. Even a little bit. And now that he’s finally accepting his part in everything you have absolutely no reason not to enjoy being around him or spending time around him. Or rooting for him. Stop acting as though he’s your sworn enemy.”

“I don’t act as though he’s my sworn enemy,” I responded with a heavy sigh. “I just don’t act like we’re some sort of a couple or anything of the like. We’re just friendly, that’s all there is to it. And while I’m pleased that he’s finally decided to step up and accept his part in things where my condition is concerned if only because this will be easier with him being involved. But that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly enamored with him.”

“Right.” There was something in Lily’s eyes that made it seem like she didn’t believe what I was saying. Not that it mattered to me whether she believed me or not. I was being as honest as I possibly could be.

Lily turned her head entirely to look at me for a few moments as we continued walking but then she stopped suddenly, so suddenly that I nearly walked right into her. I opened my mouth slightly to ask why she had stopped so suddenly but when my gaze followed hers I didn’t have to ask. Standing ahead of us was Scorpius with some of his teammates, laughing and talking and carrying on about how they had won the game, basically congratulating themselves on being the kings of the world. It was somewhat childish but somehow also amusing.

But he wasn’t the only one standing with them. There with him was Leera Zabini, an extremely flirtatious smile on her face. She was laughing with them, hanging on their every word. It wasn’t surprising to me- and I doubted it was surprising to Lily either- but she was the last person that I wanted to see in that moment, the last person that I wanted to see me coming back from Slytherin’s Quidditch match. She would do little more than give me hell for it so the need to escape was pretty dire.

And yet a part of me didn’t want to flee either. A part of me was insistent on watching the scene before me. Perhaps one could call it morbid curiosity, wanting to know exactly what it was that was going to happen with that interaction. Mostly because of how my relationship with Leera had been like up until that point. Maybe I wanted to see just how the other members of her house felt about her. Because up until then I had no idea how anyone except for her small group of friends seemed to think about her.

Lily reached out and put her hand on my arm, tugged me slightly into the direction of the school to get me to move, to get me to leave. I could only assume it was because of the fact that Leera was there, that she didn’t want her to see me anymore than I wanted that. But despite myself I wasn’t letting her move him. A part of me wanted to leave, to head out of there as quickly as I could while the rest of me was too curious to do that.

But it turned out that I probably should have just let Lily lead me away, lead me back to the school and maybe back up to our dormitory. Because what happened next was one of those things that seem to happen all at once but in slow motion at the same time.

Leera was busy flirting with Scorpius like she always did, was hanging all over him the way that she always did. It wasn’t new or surprising but what happened next was what was surprising. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, tilted her head back in a way that was more flirtatious than anything else.

And then she leaned up and she kissed him. And even though I had absolutely no reason not to be surprised by the whole thing, by his response given the fact that he had never told me whether or not he cared about her, what he felt towards her. But somehow I felt surprised and slightly horrified when he kissed her back, when he pressed one hand against the small of her back.

It was like a sucker punch to the gut, like something inside of me broke. I wasn’t sure what it felt like to have your heart break or to be disappointed by someone you liked, someone you cared about. But it felt like that was what happening in that moment. And instead of waiting for Lily to lead me into the school I pulled my arm away from her hand and headed back inside myself.

All I wanted was not to see Scorpius and Leera in that moment.

I had ended up going into the same bathroom I had run into that day in the hall when a wave of morning sickness had come over me. Why I had chosen that place was beyond me. Maybe it was because Scorpius had been considerate enough to not only get my cousin to come and check on me but also because he had defended me in some way where Leera was concerned. At least that was what made the most sense to me. Or maybe I just wanted to go there because I was a bit of a glutton for punishment- or a huge glutton for punishment to be more accurate.

Lily followed me though that wasn’t that big of a surprise. I had taken off rather quickly, headed towards the school as though I was on fire or something just so that I could get away from that spot on the grounds. It made absolutely sense that she would want to check on me, would want to make sure that I was alright.

Lily came into the room when I was leaning against the sinks, my vision blurry from unexplainable tears. She closed the door quietly behind her to make sure that no one was coming in behind her and made her way over towards me, stuck her hands awkwardly into her pockets. “Are you alright, Rosie?”

“Yeah,” I responded with a dismissive wave of my hand. “Yeah, I’m alright. Just hormones, I think. They can make you cry over nothing, I hear. As if feeling sick constantly, gaining an enormous amount of weight and feeling achy all over wasn’t horrid enough. But you can end up crying at the drop of a hat as well. Over nothing. Over everything.”

“I don’t think you were crying over nothing,” Lily insisted.

“Of course I was.” Reaching up with one hand I wiped my eyes to try to get the tears off of my face, sniffled a little bit to try to stay as calm as I possibly could. Crying like that wasn’t going to do anyone any good, wasn’t going to do anything except make me feel utterly ridiculous. I had no reason to cry in that moment. Nothing had happened to me, after all.

“No, you weren’t.” Lily made her way slowly over towards me, leaned against the sink next to the one I was leaning against, folded her hands in front of her body while she looked over at me. “You ran away and started crying after you saw Scorpius and Leera together.”

“That had nothing to do with it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I am.” Only I was lying to her. I wasn’t sure that wasn’t the reason I started crying the way that I had. And yet there was no reason to cry over what happened, over seeing Leera and Scorpius kissing. After all, there was nothing between Scorpius and I. Just because he was the one that gave my child half of its DNA didn’t mean that there was anything between the two of us. We weren’t friends, we weren’t in a relationship, we weren’t anything. He was free to kiss whoever he wanted to, to be with whomever he wanted to be with. And I had no right to be upset with him over it, had no right to be sad or to protest or to get angry with him because of it. He was just some guy I went to school with.

“It’s alright if it bothered you,” Lily reasoned with a very slight shrugging motion of her shoulders. “He’s the father of your child, after all. You don’t have to like the idea of him being out there kissing Leera. Especially since Leera treats you the way she does. And you’re pregnant so you’re more emotional than you normally would be.”

“Lily, I told you. That’s not what made me cry.” It was almost insane how easily the lie came out of my mouth, how easy it was to try to make myself believe that was the case.

Turning my attention away from her I turned on the cold water, cupped some into my hands, splashed it on my face to try to clean myself up a little bit. The last thing that I wanted to do was go out into the hall and have to face the rest of the school looking like a complete and total mess. Things were already uncomfortable for me, were going to get even more uncomfortable as time went on. The longer I could put off chaos and mayhem the better that it would be.

“Rosie.” Reaching out Lily put a hand on her my shoulder, squeezed down slightly to get my attention, kept her hand there until I turned slightly to look in her direction. “It’s alright if it upset you. I’d be upset, too, you know? If the father of my child was kissing some girl I hated. Who hated me. It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

“Can I ask you something?” Reaching up I tucked some of my hair behind my ears while the water dripped off of my face, cocked my head slightly to the side as I looked at her. “Is it possible to not even realize you like someone until your heart breaks?”

“I think so, yes.”

“Can you do me a favor, Lily?”

“Sure, Rosie. Anything.”

“Make sure that for as long as I’m pregnant? I don’t even think about liking a guy. All it will do is make things worse and more complicated for me.”

Lily smiled just a little bit, let out a startled kind of laugh. “Oh, Rosie, I don’t think that I can help you with that one. Your emotions are your own. You’re the only one that can control them.”

Only I couldn’t control them in that moment which wasn’t going to make things any easier for me in the end. Not any easier at all.

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