By Poppy P
First published at
A/N: A brief scene in the life of a couple. Inspired by Sheryl Crow's song, Strong Enough. Standard Disclaimer: I
don't own the characters, the wizarding world, Hogwarts or anything else you may
recognize. It all belongs to J.K.
Rowling. The song is obviously not mine
either. That said:
God, I feel like hell
Tears of rage I cannot fight
I'd be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?
Nothing's true and nothing's right
So let me be alone tonight
Cause you can't change the way I am
Are you strong enough to be my man?
Lie to me
I promise I'll believe
Lie to me
But please don't leave…
His eyes were like a kaleidoscope of emotion
shifting so quickly--it was difficult to capture a single sentiment. They flashed from disbelief, to betrayal, to
fear, to utter shock. For the small
woman huddled on the window seat, his look of betrayal was by far, the
worst. It glittered in his eyes,
radiating over her and shattering her to bits.
She hugged herself tighter, as if attempting to hold herself
together. The last thing she wanted to
do was destroy the honeymoon bliss that had pervaded their flat for the past
month and a half, but he had to be told.
"You're a what?" he gasped.
She could not stand his gaze any
longer. Her red-rimmed eyes shifted to
the scene outside the window, though she didn't really see it.
"I'm a witch," she said quietly.
When he did not answer after several
seconds, she was forced to turn back to face him. He was no longer looking at her but rather, pacing the floor
restlessly, running a hand through his sandy, blond hair.
"Peg, what are you saying here? Are you saying you're a…a Wiccan? Or an occultist? Or are you just plain, blooming mad?" His voice rose with every question, the last vestiges of
reasonableness slipping away.
She rose from her seat and stopped
his pacing with an embrace. His body
felt stiff and defensive, but she forced her eyes up to his face.
"It's not like that Michael." She led him over to the love seat and
launched into an explanation of the wizarding world, Hogwarts, the need to hide
their world from the Muggles and the current war with Voldemort.
He looked at her through narrow eyes. "You expect me to believe this Peg? This…this wizarding madness?" He sneered. "Next you'll be telling me
dragons and leprechauns and banshees are real as well." She sensed that further explanation would be
futile. She pulled her wand from the
pocket of her apron.
"Wha's that? A divining rod?" He snorted in disgust.
"It's a wand Michael," she answered, attempting to
keep her voice as steady as possible.
"I'm going to demonstrate a few simple charms."
"Peg…" He dropped his cruel, mocking tone and turned
to her in concern. "You're not serious
now, are you lass?"
He thought she was mad, she realized in dismay. She bit her lip and willed herself not to
look at him, as she would need to concentrate.
She pulled a tea cozy onto the center of the coffee table and pointed
her wand at it, muttering under her breath.
The lacy, white tea cozy transformed into a delicate, white butterfly
that fluttered off over the room. She
looked at him quickly. The slack jawed
expression on his face would have been comical had it not been for the glint of
fear in his eyes. She tried to ignore
it as she changed the color of her dress from pink to blue, transfigured a
potted plant into a steaming kettle of tea and summoned two teacups from the
She handed him the cup of tea with
trembling hands. To her surprise, he
did not take it. She looked up quickly
at him, unprepared for the sight that met her eyes. Great, glistening tears were sliding down his cheeks in wet
trails. His voice quavered as he spoke.
"You are not the girl I thought I
She cringed as though he had
physically struck her. The teacup fell
from her hands, splashing scalding, hot liquid on her lap before
to the floor with a great clank. He was
standing now, as though unable to share the small confines of the love seat
with her anymore.
"I've loved you since we were
children. We've lived next door to each
other all our lives. How could you and
your family keep such a thing from me?"
She slapped the back of her hand
over her mouth in an attempt to stifle a sob.
"I…I told you, the Ministry has to keep us a secret. We…"
He cut her off, fury radiating off
of him with every shaking syllable.
"All those years you said you were at a boarding school in Scotland, you
were really at this…this…witchcraft school?"
She nodded silently, her face in her hands.
"You didn't bother to tell me all
this before we married, so why tell me now Peg? Why?" He dragged her
hands away from her face, forcing her to look at him.
"Because," she sobbed, "because I'm
Whatever he was expecting her to
say, it wasn't this. He slumped back on
the coffee table without letting go of her hands. She pulled one out of his grasp and ran it over his smooth, young
"I want our child to know about my
world, my parent's world, the wizarding world."
For a long moment he didn't
speak. Finally, he asked, "Will the
She looked up at him
cautiously. "Most likely." She bit her lip painfully, afraid to ask the
question, but desperate to know the answer.
"Is…that a problem?"
Another long pause. "I…I don't know." He slipped his hand out of hers and stood up. "I just don't know," he repeated quietly. In one swift movement he made for the coat
rack, scooped up his coat and hat and headed for the door. "I…I think I need to think. This is all…I just need to think." He walked out and shut the door on her
stunned silence that echoed inside the flat as loud as a scream.
Inside, Margaret clutched her
arms to her stomach and curled up on the sofa miserably. She cried herself softly to sleep, oblivious
to the white butterfly that alighted on her shoulder and reveled in her
She brushed at her face, where tiny
wings tickled as they took flight. She
sat up, rubbing her eyes, and found her boyish-looking husband seated on the
coffee table before her.
"I love you, Peg," he said, kneeling
down before her and placing his head in her lap. She stroked his soft, sandy blond hair in a daze, unsure if she
was dreaming, but unwilling to wake up if she was. He raised his head up to look at her. She noted the smell of ale on his breath, but clung to the sober
look in his eyes.
"I love you," he repeated, "but I
don't understand how you could want an ordinary man like meself? Wouldn't it have been easier to marry… one
of…one of your kind?"
Her eyes widened earnestly. "But I love you Michael. I've always
loved you, and I wanted to tell you, I really did. But I've always been afraid.
I thought," she whispered, " you might reject me."
He pulled a lock of honey blond hair
behind her ear, unable to answer her, or meet her eyes. If only she knew how very close he'd come to
doing just that. He wondered if she knew
that even now he wondered if he was strong enough to accept her world. And yet he knew, without a doubt, that he
was not strong enough to accept the alternative. He attempted to hide his doubt from her with a sheepish
laugh. "Now I know why your father
hates me so much. And here I was thinking
it was because I wasn't Catholic."
She noticed the way he avoided her
eyes, but dismissed it. Surely that
would go away with time? "He thought
you would cause me to abandon the wizarding world."
"Would you?" he asked, a bit too
"Would you ask me to?" she responded
just as swiftly.
The held each other's gaze for
several minutes, each trying to gage the other's unspoken response. He broke first.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked
you. It's just that this has all been a
bit of a nasty shock, is all." He
placed a hand on her flat stomach.
there's really a wee one in there?" he asked with wonder.
"Yes, a boy," she said with a
He looked up at her quickly. "How do you kn-…oh," he finished
awkwardly. "Would you like to name the
lad after your father?" His smile was
more brave than sincere. She knew it
was his way of apologizing. If that was
the way he wanted to go about it, then so be it.
"Really?" she asked. "Because I think Seamus Michael Finnigan would make a lovely name, don't you?"
"Aye," he said with a crooked
smile. If naming his child after his
formidable father-in-law was to be his penance, then so be it.