"I want to get the Dark Mark."
Severus choked on his cereal while my mother gasped in delight. Before I could protest, she was out of her chair and hugging me, whispering how proud she was and how much of an asset I would be. I grinned at Snape, who was still holding his spoon and looking like and idiot.
"We'll summon the Dark Lord immediately after breakfast and-"
"Are you sure this is a good idea Bella?"
Bella spent a good five minutes asking in an increasingly louder voice why the hell this would not be a good idea. I sat back and watched them argue, slowly spooning the Wizarding version of Lucky Charms into my mouth.
"I was only a year older than her when I was honored with the mark, and you were 17, so don't you even try to give me shit about her being too young! She is willing and able, and she more than proved herself worthy! Give me one good reason why she should not be allowed the Mark?!"
He had no problem with that.
"We don't know how it will affect the pregnancy. Viktoria wasn't born until after you got the Mark, and you haven't gotten pregnant since, so-"
"It's called Birth Control, you twit."
"So we don't know if it will have any affect on the babies, or her. Could you ever forgive yourself if something were to happen to her or the children?"
"What do you care, Snape? It's not like you love her or anything."
"And what makes you think I don't?"
Now it was my turn to choke on cereal. Neither of them paid me any attention, too busy glaring at each other to bother with my inability to breath.
"If you loved her, or even remotely cared about her, you wouldn't be leaving her to raise two children on her own at the age of 18! I was nearly 30 when she was born, and I still had no idea what I was doing! It's not a cake-walk, Snape, and I only had one screaming brat to deal with! No offense, love," she said, peering around Snape to look at me affectionately. Then she turned right back to him, glaring maliciously "You have absolutely no idea what it's like!"
"Who says I intend to let her go at it alone? I don't believe I ever made any such statement to the affect."
"Then marry her, if you care so much!"
This time they couldn't ignore my choking, because now I was choking on a spoon, which is much more serious than cereal. It took them a moment or two to dislodge the thing. When I finally caught my breath, I began the rant.
"Marriage?! I'm 18! I know, you got married when you were 16 or whatever, but that was then and this is now! Arranged marriages are sooo 1950s. Besides- he's, like, forty-something! Isn't there a law against that or something?!"
"You didn't mind when I was fucking you."
I thought for a moment that Mother was going to kill him, but she looked at me with my raised eyebrow and realized that she would robbing me of a vital opportunity in life. Severus seemed to have realized that this was not the correct thing to say, under any circumstances. He took a step back. I stopped him with a look.
"I'll deal with you later. Mother, I am not going to get married. Not even the Dark Lord himself can make me."
"Is that so?"
We all wheeled around, shocked to see none other than Voldemort himself standing in the kitchen entrance, wearing what looked like an amused expression. Mother fell to her knees respectfully, and Snape bowed deeply. Following their lead, I began to lower myself, but he raised his hand to stop me.
"You do not need to bow to me, child. You need bow to no one. It is they who should bow to you."
"Y- yes, my Lord."
He attempted a small smile that turned out more like a pained grimace.
"Now, what is this talk of marriage?"
After a few long minutes of all of us trying to explain at once, he called for silence and talked to us one at a time. This was much more effective.
Once he'd heard the whole story, from all of us, he stroked the sides of his mouth thoughtfully as if he had a beard. He was silent for a long time.
"Actually, I think it would be a very good idea if Severus and Viktoria were to marry."
My jaw dropped. Severus sighed in resignation. Mother squealed in delight.
"Ooh, I just love weddings! I always hoped I'd get out of that hell in time to see you married, love! Some dreams do come true!"
I sputtered something incoherent. The Dark Lord cleared his throat.
"How does 3 weeks from today sound?"
"Seriously?! Like, seriously serious?!"
"Yes, Like seriously serious. How many times do I have to say it?"
"Sorry, it's just… Damn… When it is again?"
"Two weeks from Saturday. I've told you a hundred times. Can we please change the subject now? The last thing I need is for someone to overhear us talking about it and spread it all over the school."
"Spread what all over the school?"
"Gah! Fred, George, don't do that!"
Callie squealed when she saw Fred, jumping up and flinging herself into his arms. He grinned and embraced her, holding her close and smelling her hair with his eyes closed. I snorted derisively and turned back to Draco, who had his face scrunched up like he'd smelled something horrid.
"Aren't you glad you don't have a girlfriend, Draco? If you did, you'd pretty much be expected to act like that."
I jerked my head in Fred and Callie's direction. He grinned, then immediately scowled as George walked in and plopped down into the seat next to me. He draped an arm around my shoulder, which I playfully shoved off.
"Oi, c'mon! we haven't seen each other in forever!"
"It's been two weeks, you twit."
"You've been spending too much time around Snape. He's rubbing off on you."
Callie broke away from Fred long enough to flash me a grin and say:
"Yeah, tell me about it!"
"Ew. Did not need the visuals. Thanks, Cal."
"No problem, Dray."
"Shut up, both of you. Why are you two even here?" I asked, directed at the twins.
"We've come to visit our respective girlfriends," George said, draping his arm over my shoulder again. I snorted and shoved it off, a little harder this time.
"I'm not your girlfriend, George. Sorry if I put you under that impression, but I'm a free agent. I don't need a man."
"That's not what Mummy thinks," Draco mumbled. About a second too late, he realized what he'd said, his eyes widening. He looked frantically at Fred and George, who were just now realizing what his words implied. George leaned back in his seat and stared at me. There was something between fear and revulsion on his face.
"You've been with her? Your mother? You know where she is?"
"Of course not, don't be daft."
"Then why did he just say that? About Mummy thinking differently?"
"He was talking about his mother, smart one!"
"The woman raised me since I was a baby! When he says Mum or Mummy, he's talking about her! Narcissa Malfoy! Honestly!"
"Then what do you call your mum?"
"I don't call her anything because I haven't seen her in 14 years, on account of her being in Azkaban! And as you may or may not remember, your mum helped put her there!"
I stood up, towering over his now angry face. I extended my arm and pointed to the door.
"Get out. Both of you. You can fuck her later, just leave. And stay away from me. GO!"
They scrambled out the door, which I slammed behind them, drawing the curtains shut with unneeded force. I sat down hard in the seat, pulling my iPod out of my pocket and jamming the headphones into my ears. We sat in silence for the duration of the train ride back to Hogwarts, the dulcet tones of System of a Down spilling blaring into my ears.
I somehow knew I'd find her here. She'd come here in the past when she needed to be alone. She was almost always crying when I found her here. Tonight was no different.
She must have heard me approach, because she spoke before I announced myself.
"Has my whole life already been mapped out for me? Only making slight changes when I somehow divert from my destined path? Was all of this planned before I was ever born."
She turned her head to look at m, the moonlight illuminating the mascara tears that bled down her cheeks. My heart ached to see her like this.
"Mostly, yes," I confessed. She looked down and smiled bitterly.
"I thought as much. If you hadn't knocked me up, I'd probably be married off to one of their sons. Thanks for that, actually. They're all ugly, stupid, abusive brutes from what I've seen. In some fucked up way, I suppose I owe you a thank you."
"You don't owe me anything," I said softly. She looked back at me, then turned away, the smile gone from her face.
I wasn't prepared for her next question.
"Do you really love me?"