*Joanne Rowling owns Harry Potter!
**Title of this chapter comes from 'Stubborn Love' by the Lumineers. Please listen to that song, it's like the THEME of this chap! It was just perfect :)
***Thanks for reading, leave a review :)
The next morning, I walk into the dining room and stop. What the hell are my grandparents doing here? Why didn't my parents tell me they were coming?
"Isobelle," Grandmother smiles "So glad you could join us."
I turn to Dad and frown. "You didn't say-" Dad gives me a look and I immediately know not to ask about it.
I sit down beside Scorpius. Why is Mum at the table? "Where are Hugo, Nina, and Rose?" I ask.
"Upstairs," Mum answers quietly. "They've eaten already." I don't think it's fair that they have to be excluded whenever my grandparents visit. Still, I'm sure it's much better that way. Less arguments.
"Well, why are you here?" I ask my grandparents. Dad frowns, but he doesn't say anything. I don't care if I'm being rude.
"Just paying a visit," Grandfather answers stiffly. My grandparents never just 'pay visits'. I've always believed that Grandfather and Dad looked alike, but never so much so as older Dad gets, the more he resembles Grandfather. I don't exactly like that.
Grandfather turns to Scorpius. "How are things with your mother?" He questions.
Scorpius smiles. "Great," he answers. "She's really cool." Dad cuts a scathing glance at his father. Mum's eyes are downcast. She must feel out of place, and I'm sure that's how my grandparents like it.
Grandmother smirks. "Oh, dear me. We don't mean to make you feel uncomfortable, Hermione." They're all too predictable by now.
"I don't feel uncomfortable at all, Narcissa," Mum replies rigidly. "Why would I?"
"I can name quite a few reasons," Grandfather says under his breath.
"Father," Dad growls.
Grandfather ignores him. "Draco, have you spoken to Astoria at all lately?" He questions with fake interest.
Dad shakes his head. "I take great care not to speak to her. Why?" he asks cautiously. Mum looks up as well. Scorpius peers between our grandparents cautiously, as if he knows what is about to happen. That little git's always up to something.
"Oh, Draco. Regardless, Astoria is still the mother of your son. That is a special bond that the two of you will always share. You really should communicate more," Grandmother tells Dad with false pity. As terrible as my grandparents are, Grandmother has always been the kinder- if even by a bit- and more sensible one. Sometimes, I wonder if she hadn't married Grandfather, if she hadn't turned into the woman that she is, would we have been able to get along better. I will never know.
"What reason would I have for that?" Dad questions. I can tell that he's growing more and more frustrated with his parents by the second.
"If you did, you would know that Astoria propositioned quite a lovely idea to your son the other day," Grandfather answers, taking a sip from his glass.
Dad sets his jaw hard. "Pray tell, Father."
"Astoria believes that it would be in Scorpius' best interest if he were to come and spend a bit of time with her. I agree," Grandfather tells us.
"No," Mum and I say in unison. There's no way on earth that is ever happening.
"I've already allowed Scorpius to spend hours with her unattended. I believe that's more than I should have done in the first place!" Dad answers, growing heated.
"Dad!" Scorpius protests.
"Scorpius, stay out of this!" Dad raises his voice and Scorpius keeps quiet, but he doesn't seem happy about it. Dad turns his attention back to his parents. "Why isn't Astoria telling me this her damned self? I suspect the two of you are behind this. Would you really take her side instead of mine?"
"Draco," Mum says, putting her hand on Dad's arm to calm him down. My grandparents seem nearly repulsed by this action.
"Draco, this is not about taking sides. This about what is best for Scorpius, and he should know his mother," Grandmother reasons.
"Hermione is Scorpius' mother!" Dad says angrily. I can tell he's losing his temper quickly.
Scorpius rises angrily to his feet. "No, she isn't! She is not my mother! And she won't ever be!" Scorpius shouts, giving Dad a hateful look. Mum gasps and her forks falls out of her hand. Grandmother and Grandfather look as smug as ever. Before I can form another thought, I'm grabbing Scorpius by the arm and snatching him out of the dining room. I push the door closed.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I demand, my eyes boring into Scorpius' grey ones.
"Nothing! Let me go!" He complains, trying to writhe away from my grip.
"Not until you tell me why you're behaving like a such a selfish brat! Where do you believe you get off, saying something like that in front of Mum? The woman who has raised you for more than half your life? And she isn't your mother?" I ask.
Scorpius shakes his head. "No, she isn't. You know it and I do too!"
"Believe what you want, but Hermione taught you a lot better than Astoria ever did. She taught you some actual manners. Now you're just as inconsiderate and rude as your mother ever was."
Scorpius gives me a violent glare. "Don't talk about my mother!"
"And you don't talk about mine!" I counter. "Why are you being so stubborn?"
"Because you ruined my life!" Scorpius yells finally. "If you were never born, Dad and my mum would still be together! All of this wouldn't be happening! It's all your fault, and I hate you for it!"
There are so many things I wish I could do to Scorpius right now. Kill him, rip his head off, all of those would have been acceptable. But instead, I'm stuck staring blankly at him. The first sibling I ever knew- the only one I had for most of my life- and someone who was the sweetest little boy ever. My own brother. And he's just told me that hates me. I can barely fathom that.
I let Scorpius go. "You definitely are your mother's son," I say quietly, my hands shaking. "Ungrateful and disrespectful."
Scorpius actually looks quite proud to hear this. I want to know what Astoria's been saying to him all this time to turn him against us. What's next? Is he going to start calling Mum a mudblood, and me a half-breed? I'm not sure that I would be surprised.
Breakfast with my grandparents didn't get any better. Hopefully, Scorpius got into some sort of trouble, but I honestly doubt it. Really, what could have been done? You can't punish someone for being ignorant. And at this point, anything we try to say to Scorpius isn't getting through. He won't listen. I hate to say, but he's just going to have to find out the truth for himself.
Someone knocks on my door. "Come in," I say unenthusiastically. Surprisingly, it's Dad. I haven't spoken to him a lot lately. We've both had other things to deal with.
"Isobelle," Dad says uncomfortably. I don't really think he knows what to say. Recently, things have been tense between Dad and I. It seems the older I get, the more complicated our relationship becomes.
"Yes?" I ask, looking up. I see a look of defeat in Dad's eyes. It's accompanied by a look of constant weariness.
"I heard what Scorpius said to you. He was quite loud," Dad explains at my confused expression.
"I was bound to hear it sooner or later," I say under my breath. If I know that, why doesn't it hurt any less? But, I guess sticking your hand in the flame you know is hot still burns you.
"It isn't your fault," Dad assures me. "I just want you to know."
"I do know that. But what does that change? Scorpius thinks it, and Rose believes it as well."
Dad sighs and rubs his chin, taking a seat in the chair opposite my bed. "Hearing Scorpius say that he hated you reminded me of the night when you told me you hated me," he tells me.
I nearly forgot about that until now. Thinking back on it, I now realize how Dad must have felt then. Probably worse even, being my father. "I'm sorry," I apologize.
Dad shakes his head. "Don't be. I always was so terrible to you. I still am," he admits.
I don't know where that came from. "You aren't," I say quickly. "You were a great father. You are a great father." Of course, Dad was never the best father, but I knew he loved me. And I knew he was there. But it was a lot more obvious before he married Astoria.
It seems like Dad can't bring himself to believe me. "I spent most of your life concerned with the wrong things- Astoria, Hermione, Pansy, my parents, my job. Not you. Not a day goes by that I don't regret that," Dad says guiltily.
I'm wondering why I'm hearing all this for the first time now. What made Dad finally snap? Was it the fact that he's beginning to see so much of himself in Scorpius? "You didn't know how Astoria was going to be," I reason. Even I know that isn't a good enough excuse. Still, I felt the need to say something.
"That's no excuse," Dad tells me. "I constantly put people in your life who belittled you. A father shouldn't do that."
I raise my eyebrows and look at Dad. "You didn't really know any people who didn't," I point out.
"I suppose you're right," Dad agrees. "I understand why you are the way you are."
"What do you mean?"
Dad takes a deep breath. "Believe it or not, I know exactly what it's like to see horrible things," he says sarcastically. Of course he knows. For part of his life, his family was devoted to serving the darkest wizard of all time. "But, I don't know what it's like to have your own family be just as horrible. I couldn't imagine."
It's very awkward to be having this conversation with Dad. He isn't exactly the talking-to type.
"Oh," I say. "I just wish you would have told me all of this before."
Dad glances up at me, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Dad, I'm an adult now. Why is this the first time I'm hearing this? Maybe if I had known you'd felt bad before, or that you understood me... I just needed to know," I say. Part of me is angry that Dad waited so long to tell me. I could have really used the encouragement.
"I don't know," Dad admits. "I suppose I didn't realize that until now. Isobelle, thank you for at least trying to talk some sense into Scorpius."
"Yes well, he's being foolish. Someone should let him know," I reason. To no avail, I might add. "How did Mum take it?" I think the person who was offended the most today was Mum.
"She's definitely hurt by it," Dad answers. He seems just as hurt thinking about it.
"How couldn't she be? You know how she feels about Scorpius," I remind Dad. Upon meeting him, Mum treated Scorpius as her own son, and loved him just as much as she did Rose and Hugo. And this is how Scorpius repays her? It's like a slap in the face.
"I most certainly do. That's why I fell in love with her in the first place. And why I fell out of love with Astoria," Dad adds. Both Mum and Dad made it very clear that they wanted the other to accept their children. Dad had problems with Astoria because, aside from all her other terrible qualities, she couldn't bear the thought of raising me as her own child.
"Dad? May I ask you something?" I say. I feel like a child, asking permission to ask a question.
"How did you know you wanted me?" I ask. That question has been pressing at me most of my life. A long time ago, I saw the memory when Mum gave me over to Dad, but I've never known why he kept me.
Dad gives me a confused look. "Because you were my daughter," he answers plainly, as if that's all the reason he needs.
"That didnt stop Mum from handing me off," I point out.
"Isobelle, Hermione had her reasons..." Dad reminds me.
"But you didn't know that then. For all you knew, Mum just didn't want a child. And you knew what having a child with Mum- while you weren't married, let's not forget- meant. Why did you want to do that to yourself?"
Dad sighs and looks down for a moment. "I wanted to give you a chance, I suppose. You'll understand more when you become a parent. When you look into the face of your child, you can't... you can't help but want the best for them," Dad explains. "You swear in that moment that you are going to give them the world, no matter what. That's how I felt with you."
I know that Dad doesn't feel this way, but in his defense, he was never a bad parent. Certain things, and people, just got in his way. Up until the time I was six or seven, I had the perfect childhood. Growing up, there wasn't a thing Dad didn't give me, love and attention included. He was the same way with Scorpius. And Nina.
"That's exactly how I feel with Scorpius, and Nina, Rose, and Hugo. With everyone that I love, actually. I understand exactly what you mean," I tell Dad. It's always hurtful to see the people that you love go through tough times. It's even more hurtful when you know that you had something to do with it.
Dad and I are both quiet for a while. I don't know what to say. I look at the ground for a little while. "Is something wrong?" Dad questions.
I shrug. "I'm just thinking about something," I answer.
"How do you think Holden treats me?" I don't know why I would ask Dad, because I know he doesn't like Holden. But maybe, since we aren't arguing for once, he'll be honest with me. From what Mum said yesterday, I think she thinks Holden and I should be done. But, I still love him.
Dad clasps his hands together. "Where is this coming from?" He asks.
"It's just a question. How do you think?"
"I think he treats you fine, Isobelle, from what I've seen. But, things obviously aren't going smoothly if you have to question it," Dad reasons.
"I don't know," I admit. "I think I need to talk to him about it." I don't know what Dad will say about this, but at the end of the day, I don't need his consent. I have to do what's right for me.
Dad frowns slightly, but he doesn't protest. "That may be necessary," he agrees. Finally, we're making progress.
"Holden, we need to talk," I say seriously. Immediately, the smile is wiped from his face.
"Talk? About what?" He asks.
I purse my lips. "I think you know."
Holden wrinkles his dark eyebrows. "I think I don't," he challenges.
I take a deep breath and try to remind myself to remain composed. I'm here to talk, not initiate an argument. I'll let it happen on its own.
"We need to talk about us," I inform Holden, waiting to see his response. Holden looks confused. I'm not sure why, because he knows just as well as I do that things aren't how they used to be.
"What do we need to talk about?" he asks.
What exactly do I want to say? I take a moment to think about it. "Holden, I love you, but you have to understand that you can't speak to me the way you do sometimes. It's disrespectful." I said what I wanted, but I think the wording would have been better suited for a child.
Holden frowns. "What are you talking about?" He asks.
I wish he wouldn't play dumb. "You know what I'm talking about. Whenever we discuss something, and my opinion isn't the same as yours, you make it out as if my opinion is stupid," I explain. "Or you berate me for it."
"Name one time I've done that," Holden prompts.
"Fine," I say. That's simple. "When I told you I didn't want to marry you, you blew things out of proportion and accused me of not loving you. And, other than that, you just say hurtful things to me."
"Like what?" Holden asks. I can tell he's growing increasingly frustrated with me. I don't know why we can't just have an open discussion about this. He's doing the same thing he always does: shutting me out and asking one-sided questions to the point where I feel as if I'm talking to myself.
"You call me clingy, frustrating, something else to deal with, and you've said more than that. That isn't how you speak to the woman you love," I tell Holden.
His blue eyes flash with irritation. "Oh, is that so? Well, if you loved me, you wouldn't make me feel that way," he counters.
I have to take a second to calm myself. "You act as if I behave that way on purpose. Honestly, Holden, you act as if everything is my fault and you don't need to put any effort into this relationship. You act as if you don't have to try anymore, like I'm always going the be here."
Holden makes an amused sound. "You are," he says under his breath. Have I really made it seem to him that no matter what, I won't leave him? Or his Holden just that arrogant?
"No, I won't be," I correct him. "Not if we can't have a discussion like proper adults. Or if you can't see the point of giving me the same respect that I give you. I can be with someone who doesn't make me feel small." It wasn't until now that I understood what Teddy meant. Holden thinks that because he has me, and he doesn't have to do anything to keep me.
"Oh, and who will that be?" Holden's making this sound like a complete joke, and it's making me angry.
"It won't be you," I assure him. He isn't even looking at me. "Holden William McKinnon, you listen to me! I'm being serious!"
Holden shrugs nonchalantly. "I never said you weren't."
"You're acting like this is a joke! I'm your girlfriend, and I am tired of you acting like I'm everything but!" I tell Holden.
That seems to get through to him. He he clenches his jaw. "And I'm tired of you acting like you forgot how to be my girlfriend! Honestly, Belle, I would like to make it one day without hearing you complaining about something! Nothing anyone does is good enough for you!" Holden shouts.
"That is a lie! Don't drag everyone else into this because of your inadequacies!" I retort. "Merlin forgive me for speaking to you and thinking you're listening! I'm glad you let me know how selfish you are, at least now I can stop wasting my breath!"
Holden finally stands up from the sofa. His passive expression is gone. "And I'm glad you let me know how dramatic and nagging you are! At least now I can quit wasting my time!"
That makes me laugh mirthlessly. "Oh, this is just a waste of time? I'm glad our seven years together really meant something to you! I hope you got something out of it, because I sure as hell did!"
"Yeah," Holden nods. "Somebody who was finally willing to put up with all your bullshit!"
"I hope you aren't talking about yourself, because you've made it quite clear that you can't stand putting up with all of my 'bullshit'!" I scream. This just confirms my suspicions. Holden definitely isn't the same same person I met seven years ago. He isn't anywhere close.
"It gets old after a while," Holden informs me. "How many damn issues can one person have?"
"A lot! And a lot more if they're stuck in a dead-end relationship with someone like you!" I retort.
Holden clenches his fists, and looks as if he wants to say something. Instead, he takes a deep breath. "We need to take a break. I need time away from... all this," he says finally, gesturing his hands out to me.
I can't even help it, my mouth drops open. "What does that mean?" I ask, utterly bewildered.
Holden runs his fingers through his hair and sighs. "It means that I can't do this anymore. Not right now, I can't."
"Fine," I say. "If you don't want to resolve this, then I have nothing more to say to you." Even though I'm infuriated with Holden right now, and I know Teddy treats me better, I still feel bad for Holden. What am I going to do? Be upset for a day or two and then go to Teddy? While Holden has to deal with this by himself? Or will he talk to Teddy as well? After all, they are best friends. It's a bit selfish of me to think that I'm the only one who can speak to Teddy.
I don't even know what the hell 'taking a break' even means. Are Holden and I done? Are we still together? I wish he would have specified. Whatever it, I hope it's the wake-up call Holden needs. I'm going to make certain that I won't always be at his disposal.
(A/N: Sorry for the super-angsty chapter! But yeah,sorry for bratty Scorpius, but I think it was in the cards sooner or later. I really wanted to put a nice, NORMAL Isobelle/ Draco moment, since we don't get a ton of those. And Super-Duper sorry for the Belle/Holden argument :( It kind of made me sad, but I think Isobelle needs to learn that she can be her own person, without Holden sometimes, because she was kind of his puppy. Hope you liked the chap! Leave a review :)