Just Bring Me Flowers
Disclaimer: In case it wasn't already apparent, I do not own Harry Potter.
Babblings: If it weren't for all you wonderful reviewers, there's no way I would have found the energy to start this story again. I have so many stories I've let go, but I really didn't wan to let go of this one, especially not when I have so many people supporting me. I wish I had time to reply to all of you, but since I can't just know that I read each and every review and I get a lot of ideas from them. Please keep them coming.
A couple of you suggested that I follow through with writing a few chapters from Draco and/or Severus's point of view. But here's the thing. If you know what they are thinking, that ruins the surprise of the story.
"I really think you should start dating again."
I looked up from my food and stared at Hermione before I started laughing, nearly choking on my dinner.
"Are you crazy?" I asked, when I had calmed myself enough to talk again.
She gave me a look that told me she was not amused and crossed her arms. "No, I'm totally serious. I'm not talking about going out and finding someone serious. I'm just suggesting you go out and find someone to have fun with. You work too much."
I stared down at my stomach. Since I had entered my seventh month and I could no longer use the glamour charm, but stomach protruded like a beach ball. I had tried to cover it by wearing oversized robes and sweaters since it had gotten cold, but I doubted I could hide it for much longer. I'd always been a little bit too skinny and because of that I already looked like a beached whale. I dreaded to think of what I'd look like in another two months.
"I'm hugely pregnant right now," I said. "And even after I have the baby, I'm going to have a kid. No one is going to want to date some skinny boy with an infant. I'm preparing to be single the rest of my life, honestly. And I don't know if I'm ready to date again, anyway. It's still too soon."
Hermione shrugged. "Like I said, I just think you need to have a little bit of fun."
I thought of Draco and Severus, preparing to have their ceremony in just a couple days. I thought of how much fun they must have been having without me, with their dog and their new life. It infuriated me that they'd just leave me alone. It especially infuriated me that they'd sending me an invitation to their ceremony. Are you kidding? I knew they didn't love me anymore, but I didn't think they hated me so much that they'd rub it in my face. The only thing that sounded fun to me right now was the thought of making their special day miserable.
"What are you doing on February 10?" I asked.
"Friday?" she asked, glancing at her calendar. "I don't have anything scheduled."
"Do you think you and Ron could make plans to wedding crash with me?"
Hermione's eyebrows knitted together. "Really? Everyone is going to know after that."
I nodded, feeling a kick in my belly. The kicks had started a while ago, but they still caught me off guard whenever I felt one. This kid was going to be a fighter. "I'm a public figure and I can't glamour myself anymore. It's going to come out eventually. I may as well let the cat out of the bag with a bang."
She let a smile cross her face. "You never were one to do things quietly."
"So that's a yes?" I asked.
"Well, I'm certainly not going to let you go in there alone."
On the night of February 10, we apparated outside the Hogwarts gates just a few minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start. Hermione landed on my left side; Ron landed on my right. My heart pounded in my chest and the baby was moving uncomfortably in my stomach. Suddenly, I really regretted making this decision. It wasn't too late to turn back now.
Ron put his arm around my shoulders. He was so much taller than me. I always felt more sure of myself when he was around.
"You sure about this, mate?" he asked. "We can apparate back to the Burrow and my mum can cook us a nice, relaxing dinner and we can just forget all this."
I seriously considered it for a moment. But, looking toward Hogwarts, seeing all the lights on in the Great Hall, I knew I had to do it. It may have been stupid, but it wasn't the first stupid thing I'd ever done, nor would it be the last.
"No," I said. "Let's go."
We walked through the gates and up to the large door, making our way inside the Entrance Hall. The butterflies in my stomach leapt up into my throat, but I kept moving, walking the well-known path to the Great Hall. There was a closet to hang our coats situated outside. I was reluctant to take off my coat because underneath I was wearing a shirt that clearly displayed my pregnant stomach. But eventually Ron and Hermione took off theirs and I followed suit, suddenly feeling like a zoo animal on display.
Inside, the hall was crowded, with people standing absolutely everywhere. There weren't enough chairs, so the house elves were snapping their fingers and making more appear.
I spotted Narcissa and Lucius and immediately made a beeline in the opposite direction, willing them not to see me. Draco's parents had never approved of me, so I figured they were just loving this. I think if they had seen me, they'd have suddenly sprouted horns and started breathing fire at me. I didn't want to stick around to find out.
It was so crazy inside the hall, with people scrambling for seats and everything else, that no one had really noticed us yet. In the midst of chaos, I didn't really stand out and I was incredibly thankful for that. I realized a few moments later that they hadn't been expecting so many people to be here. There was no way Severus would have let it become this unorganized if they had known in advance. I laughed a little, knowing that this was at least partly my doing, by running the announcement they'd so insensitively sent me in the Prophet.
Eventually, we found seats somewhere in the middle. I fell into the chair, thankful to get some of the weight off my feet. This baby was already killing my back.
When everything started to settle down, people started to notice us. Some people started whispering. Some people were just blatantly rude and pointed. I knew a lot of the people surrounding us, but I had no inclination to talk to any of them. I wasn't here for pleasantries tonight.
It was only a couple more minutes before the ceremony began, late, of course, because of all the hubbub.
Instrumental music started playing. Blaise Zabini took his place at the front of the room, apparently the only person in the wedding party. He had a look on his face I couldn't quite place, but he didn't seem too happy to be here. At the very least, he didn't have a smile on his face.
Draco and Severus came in a few moments later, each from opposite sides of the room until they met in the middle. They looked so happy together. I tuned out the words they were saying, but I couldn't close my eyes. I couldn't stop myself from looking at their stupidly happy expressions and suddenly feeling ill. The baby was restless. I wondered if he or she could tell that their other parent was in the room.
Neither Draco nor Severus noticed me in the crowd, too intent on each other. Severus didn't even seem annoyed that his organizational skills fell by the wayside with all these people.
Eventually, the judge or whoever was administering the ceremony, said his finals words and then it was over.
The happy couple made their way to the back of the Great Hall where they were starting a receiving line.
"Well," Ron said. "What now?"
I slumped a little more in my chair, something the mediwitches had been telling me not to do, but I just couldn't bring myself to sit up straight.
"I guess I should get in line," I said. "I haven't tortured myself with this just to give up now."
Ron nodded and took my hand, helping me to my feet. "Go kick the shit out of them, mate. We'll be right behind you."
Determined, I walked straight toward the receiving line. When the surrounded witches and wizards saw me coming, they stepped out of way, until, suddenly, I was face-to-face with the two people who had broken my heart and then stomped it to pieces.
My words almost caught in my throat, but I willed them out. I hadn't come this far just to make a fool out of myself.
"Congratulations," I said at last.
I held my hand out, but both Severus and Draco just stared at me like I had grown an extra head. Their gazes lowered simultaneously to my enormous belly.
"After tonight, this is going to be all over the wizarding world, so I thought I should tell you first," I said.
"How long…?" Draco started to ask, but he trailed off.
"Seven months." I stated.
Severus' eyes blazed. He started to grab my arm, like wanted to take this to another room and talk about it more privately, but I stood my ground.
"We are going to talk about this right here," I said.
People started stepping back, like they were afraid of what might happen next, but they all remained within earshot and I certainly wasn't whispering.
"That day," Draco continued, blabbering even when Severus shot him a glare. "The day when you left, that's what you were going to tell us."
"And that's the day you revoked any right you had to this child," I said, clenching my fists. "It was really grand of you to send me an invite, by the way. You have a really cute dog. What's his name?"
Even Severus turned pale now. "It was supposed to be a quiet ceremony," he said. "Potter, I don't know who gave you that card, but you weren't supposed to know about it and it wasn't supposed to go in the paper."
I was surprised, and maybe a little less angry knowing they hadn't sent it directly to me, but I tried not to show it one my face. "I'm a journalist. It's my job to know things."
"Listen," Draco pleaded. "You don't know-"
"I don't want to know," I said, my voice getting louder. "I'm not interested in your excuses."
I rubbed my stomach, mournfully. This baby was really killing me. He wouldn't stop moving. Draco looked like he wanted to reach out and help me, but I glared at him and shot away any of those thoughts.
"Don't contact me. My child is going to have nothing to do with you. That oath you swore to me when I left means this child is solely mine," I said, really wanting to get the last word. "I just wanted you to know that this is what you gave up. Sorry I had to ruin your perfect wedding."
And then I turned and walked away as fast as my feet could carry me, past the astounded faces of the Mafoys and so many others. The pointing and whispering continued, but I couldn't bring myself to care. I heard familiar voices behind me and Hermione and Ron caught up to me just as I reached the coat closet.
I was halfway to the gates before I heard a voice calling after me. Both Ron and Hermione stopped and as much as I would have liked to keep going, I stopped too and turned around.
Blaise was running down the hill after us, waving his arms.
"Harry," he panted when he got closer. "Thank god I didn't miss you."
"What are you doing?" I asked, skeptically. I'd only had a few conversations with him in my lifetime and I still wasn't sure what to make of him.
"I'm so sorry," he said. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. I don't know what they were thinking."
"What are you…?" I started but I didn't know how to continue. "What?"
"Listen," he said. "I know you want to get out of here, but can I owl you?"
Still confused, I nodded. "Sure."
He smiled. "See you around, Harry." And then he walked back up the hill toward the castle.
After a moment, Ron said, "Well, that was strange."
I shook my head, turning back toward the gates. "I have no idea."
When I got back to Grimmauld Place, there was an owl waiting in my room. It was from one of the lower editors at the Prophet, wondering if he was allowed to print a story about what had happened. I quickly wrote back my reply.
In the morning, as I ate breakfast and drank tea before I headed into work, I glanced at the paper. The front-page headline read, "POTTER REVEALS PREGNANCY SECRET."
I sighed. It was going to be an long day.
Babblings: I have no idea how I went an entire year without updating this and now I get another chapter out really fast. I really should be studying for finals, but that's obviously not going to happen. I'm not sure when the next chapter will be out, but hopefully soon. At the very least, I'll get it out once I'm done with finals in two weeks.
Keep reviewing and tell me what you think of this chapter. I have no idea how this story got so out of control.