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Delphine sits on my lap excitedly, holding a doll and watching the acid green flames form in the fireplace in my bedroom. "Where's Uncle Scorpius?" she questions impatiently, turning around to look at me. I've tried to forget that Delphine told me she hated me, hoping she only said so out of spite. If Delphine truly hated me, I would hate myself.
The flames in the fireplace vanish to reveal Scorpius' face. He looks upset, but quickly masks the expression when he sees Delphine and me. I wonder what's wrong.
"Uncle Scorpius!" Delphine cries, leaping out of my lap to try and touch him. When it doesn't work, she looks at me in question.
"It's the Floo, love," I remind her. "Scorpius is still at Hogwarts. He isn't really here."
Delphine looks crestfallen, but she speaks to Scorpius regardless. "When do you get here again?" she asks.
"Christmas," Scorpius tells her. "Next month."
"Oh," Delphine says, although she doesn't really understand how long from now that is. "Mummy says I might have day school!"
Scorpius frowns at her slightly, and then looks to me to explain. "She needs to be around other children," I tell him. "And she doesn't need to be home so often." Delphine doesn't deserve to have to see all of my and Simon's arguments. However, that will be over soon, which is part of the reason I have to speak to Scorpius.
"That sounds fair," Scorpius relents. "Are you going to fire her tutors?"
I shake my head. "No, she'll still learn at home as well. She needs to be ahead. Besides, she loves them dearly."
The corner of Scorpius' mouth twitches slightly. "You still need to leave her time to be a child," he reminds me.
I don't know what's made him say that. "Of course," I say. "But Delphine loves school."
"Because I'm so smart!" Delphine tells Scorpius with a proud smile.
"You certainly are, my darling," I tell Delphine, kissing the top of her head. "Are all your toys and dolls put away from earlier?"
Delphine shrugs. "I dunno."
I hate when she speaks so plainly to me. "Well, you need to go and check soon, love."
"I will, Mummy."
Scorpius watches Delphine and I with a far-off expression. I wonder how often he thinks of having his own children with Daisy. "Are you feeling well?" he asks earnestly.
I nod. I've never had horrible symptoms while pregnant. I feel fine, especially knowing that Scorpius will help me get out of this. "I'm fine," I say. "Thanks for asking."
"Mummy has a tiny baby in her belly," Delphine announces, touching my stomach. She's absolutely intrigued at the thought of having another brother or sister. I haven't told her I'm having twins, nor have I told Simon. Delphine wasn't even supposed to know. We never told her all the other times.
"I said it was only one," I tell Scorpius. "Simon blurted it out at breakfast the other day."
Scorpius purses his lips and pushes his hair back with his hands. He looks like he hasn't gotten much sleep. "That's what I've needed to speak to you about. I've gotten word from Teddy finally."
I raise my eyebrows, absentmindedly stroking Delphine's soft curls while she sits in my lap, talking about something or other. I've got a sort of excited feeling, knowing that this may be over soon. I decided to let Scorpius know what Teddy and I are planning to do to Simon. I knew immediately that he would help me. I can trust Scorpius more than I can trust anyone on this planet. "And?" I question, waiting for good news.
Scorpius gestures for me to do something with Delphine. I place my hands over her ears. I'm sure she isn't listening to me anyway, nor will she understand what we're discussing. "Poison," Scorpius says simply. "You won't get your hands dirty, and it's rather untraceable. We've found something quite lethal in Knockturn Alley. "
I nod my appreciation. I wouldn't like an instant spell done or anything, which could be traced back to someone's wand anyway. I'd like to see Simon suffer in the last moments of his life, the way he's made me suffer in this marriage. "We'll have to hire someone else to purchase it," I remind him.
"I've already got that arranged. You don't have to worry about it," Scorpius informs me.
I raise my eyebrows, showing Scorpius I'm impressed with him. "I'd forgotten you had a talent for covering details."
Scorpius cracks his knuckles. "I don't exactly fancy a lifetime sentence in Azkaban. Do you?" I shake my head. "But I'm doing this for you, Isobelle, and we're going to do it correctly."
It's amazing how much Scorpius cares for me. "How are we going to get him to drink poison, though?" I ask.
"Put it into his drink," Scorpius explains. "I'm sure one of his colleagues at the Ministry will gift him some wine for Christmas. There are unsealing and resealing charms you can use. He won't suspect a thing."
"Me?" I question, my eyes widening. I glance down at Delphine. She's brushing her doll's hair, not paying me any attention.
Scorpius nods. "Teddy and I aren't going to do everything for you. Besides, wouldn't you like to do the honors?" When Scorpius puts it that way, I suppose he's correct. Simon's abused me for years. I can finally return the favor. I nod and for the first time, Scorpius smiles. "That's my sister."
"How will I do it?" I question, suddenly interested. It's a very fun secret to keep, and I only hope I'll do it correctly.
Scorpius gestures to Delphine once again.
I tap her shoulder gently. "Darling, I'm sure your hour is over. I want you to return to your classes with William, love. I'll come to see you when I'm done."
"Yes, Mummy!" Delphine gives me a kiss and gets up, waves goodbye to Scorpius, and then leaves the room. A house-elf shuts the door after her.
"I'll send you a vial, and you can pass it off as perfume or something similar. Then, you'll poison his wine whenever you can. Once you have, I'll talk my way into coming over for dinner. If you and Simon are there on your own, it will look bad that he somehow ended up dead and you didn't. After he drinks it, we'll have to make your reaction convincing. Clearly all the evidence will have to be concealed. After that, I expect we'll go to trial, and we can't give any reason for Veritaserum to be used on us. If that goes accordingly, then you'll attend his funeral, mourn for a few months, and then you can marry Teddy and raise your children together."
That plan sounds too good to be true, but there's nothing I won't try at this point. "You have things all figured out, don't you?" I question, giving my little brother a wicked smile.
Scorpius nods. "As far as I can, anyway."
It's amazing how quickly Scorpius has grown up, and how our relationship has changed. I used to protect him from ever being hurt, and now he's going to protect me.
Scorpius notices the despondent look on my face. "What's the matter, Isobelle?" He questions.
I shake my head slightly. "It's just… If anything goes wrong, I want you to care for Delphine," I tell him slowly. "Simon's family won't want her, and well, you'll have children of your own soon anyway-"
"Don't say that," Scorpius tells me. "Nothing is going to go wrong. Delphine will always be in your care, you know that."
I nod slightly, trying to convince myself that will be true. I'm not nervous, but I only want Delphine to be all right. "She's the thing I love most in this world," I remind Scorpius.
He nods solemnly. "I know, Isobelle. And no matter what, no matter what Mum and Dad say, I know you love her. I know you do."
I give Scorpius a small smile, feeling my eyes tear up a bit. I still don't understand why Scorpius is so kind to me when he doesn't have to be. "I thought you said I deserved all this?" I question.
Scorpius frowns as if he suddenly realizes that was the wrong thing to say. "I still don't believe you were right to marry Simon so quickly, but now I understand truly how inevitable these marriages are. And besides, if I can garner enough self-control to not hit Daisy, then I'm positive Simon should have no problem doing the same."
"Things aren't going well between you and Daisy?" I ask. Granted, I hate Daisy as much as the next, but I don't want to know Scorpius isn't happy especially when he's helping me to be happier.
Scorpius sighs. His posture is stiff. "She's…" he shakes his head, waving his hand dismissively. "I don't even know how to describe her. It doesn't matter. I'm marrying her regardless of my feelings."
No matter what Scorpius says or won't say, he looks truly annoyed and disturbed. I fidget with the hem of my robes. Normally, I wouldn't condone what I'm about to tell him to do, but Daisy is a special case.
"You don't have to be married to a woman to fall in love with her," I remind Scorpius. He looks at me in surprise, as if he doesn't believe the words coming from my mouth. "You could always take another lover. But someone you actually love, like how I love Teddy. You can't just go sleeping around with random women like Simon," I say distastefully.
"I've thought about it," Scorpius admits, looking rather distressed. "But I agreed to be faithful to."
"Is she faithful to you?" I question.
Scorpius looks as if he wants to laugh. "Not in the slightest."
The solution is easy, then. "Then you deserve happiness as well. I'm sure there are many kind girls at school who would love to be with you. But you have to make sure you won't get bored, that she can give you what you need, Scorpius."
"It's uncomfortable to hear you speak that way," Scorpius says, although I can tell he finds some truth in my words.
"It's the truth. You're an adult now," I remind Scorpius. "It wouldn't make any sense for me to play stupid with you."
Scorpius opens his mouth, and then closes it. "Do you think muggles do this?" he questions. Never in my life have I heard Scorpius sound interested in muggles.
"Get forced into marriages, or get so unhappy with their relationship they feel they have to cheat on the other person to be happy?" Scorpius questions. I'm not positive. I would assume muggles have relationship conflicts just like other people and cheating does happen, but who am I to know for sure? But maybe they don't force their marriages, since they don't have bloodlines to keep pure.
"I don't know," I admit solemnly. "Just think about it, all right? I want you to be happy. You deserve to love a woman, be she your wife or not."
Scorpius bows his head, fidgeting with his robes. "I've been told I don't quite know what love is," he informs me bitterly.
"Rose..." Scorpius utters her name like it puts a bad taste in his mouth.
I purse my lips. "Just because she has a boyfriend now, she thinks herself an expert on relationships." Rose has always told me how stupid I was to think I'm in love. Now, she thinks she is too. She isn't any better than I am.
I give Scorpius a reassuring smile. "Well, she's wrong. When you love a woman, you'll know. I promise it."
"I dearly hope so." Scorpius looks as if he wants to change the subject. "Are you bringing Delphine to Hogsmeade this Saturday?" he asks.
I nod. I wouldn't miss it for the world. "Will you watch her? I'd like to see Teddy, so we can talk."
Scorpius scoffs and gives me a knowing smile. "I'm sure you won't only be talking, instead you'll be putting all that coaching you're giving me to good use."
"He's the father of my children. I have my rights," I remind Scorpius. I haven't seen Teddy in months. I can't wait. "Thank you," I say to Scorpius.
He shakes his head. "I'm your brother, you don't need to thank me."
"But I do," I insist. "Thank you."
"Now, you behave for your uncle, all right? And keep you cloak up, since it's snowing and I don't want you to catch cold. Don't take off your gloves, either, love. Or your hat," I tell Delphine. Scorpius is holding her, looking at me in amusement as I rattle on and on. Delphine loves to play in the snow, but she gets sick very easily. I don't want her to be tempted. Her nose is already turning pink from the biting weather.
"Okay, Mummy," Delphine nods. She isn't looking at me. Instead, she's watching the snow fall in amusement.
"Are you warm enough?" Scorpius asks mockingly. "I didn't even know there was such a thing as pink fur."
I roll my eyes at my brother. "You've never had to stay up all night with a sick little girl."
"You're right," Scorpius relents.
I look around, at all the student milling about Hogsmeade and having a good time. This is something I want for Delphine.
"Where's Rose? I thought she would like to see Delphine?" I question. Although Rose wants nothing to do with me, she quite loves her niece.
Scorpius' jaw clenches for a second. "With her boyfriend," he says begrudgingly. "He's a fucking tosser." He shakes his head like he's banishing the thought. Delphine giggles at his use of a curse. "I'm sorry. Don't repeat that," he apologizes to Delphine.
"Hugo and Nina are with Lily?" I predict.
Scorpius nods. "Letting First and Seconds Years come to Hogsmeade has been one of the worst idea's the school's had yet. Annoying little twits. It'll just Delphine and I. I suppose I'll be getting some practice in for later, though. I'm sure Daisy would kill our children through her stupidity if she were ever left alone with them."
Delphine laughs at Scorpius again. I love seeing her smile, it really makes me feel better as well. "I… I should only be gone for about an hour," I tell Scorpius. "Thank you." I can't stop thanking Scorpius. He really is doing a lot to help me. He's giving up his time with his friends to watch Delphine, and he's helping me to get out of this situation with Simon.
"You're welcome," Scorpius tells me, offering me a weak smile. "But you owe me."
I roll my eyes playfully. "Of course, I do."
"Can we get hot chocolate?" Delphine asks Scorpius, wiping a few snowflakes from the tip of her nose. She checks her pink gloves for them and frowns once she realizes they're gone. I smile at her adorableness.
Scorpius nods. "We'll do whatever you like. If you behave."
"I will!" Delphine promises.
"You'd better. I know your mother raised you to behave," Scorpius tells her. He really would make a great father.
"I'll see you two soon," I promise, placing a kiss on Delphine's cheek. "Have fun, Darling."
I give my brother a meaningful look. "Thank you again, Scorpius."
"Teddy!" I gasp, rushing towards him and throwing my arms around him. We agreed to meet at the Leaky Cauldron where we could have a room to ourselves. I press my lips to Teddy's and he holds me tightly against him, kissing me as well. It feels like forever since I last kissed, or spoke to, or even touched the man I love.
When we can't breathe any longer, we finally pull apart from each other slightly. "I missed you," I say quietly, giving Teddy a small smile and brushing my nose against his. I feel choked up, completely overcome with emotion. Teddy means so much to me, not only in a romantic way, but he's also been the greatest friend I've ever had. Being apart from him is the worst torture imaginable.
"I missed you too," Teddy tells me with a melancholic smile. His hair is brown, which makes him look different, but still very handsome. He looks downward as if something bothers him.
"What's the matter, love?" I ask, frowning slightly, looking up at Teddy for any sign of an answer in his face. Although it's rather dim in the room, I can still see that he's upset.
"Is it… is it true?" Teddy questions. "You're…?"
I nod, taking Teddy's hands in mine. I don't feel afraid anymore. I deserve to have a family with Teddy. We deserve a family. "I'm pregnant!" I nod. "And they're yours."
Teddy's eyebrows wrinkle. "They?" he repeats.
"Twins," I nod. "I didn't believe it myself." I would have been so happy to tell Jane, if only they were Simon's children. After a couple months, I don't think I'll ever be able to speak to her again, which saddens me. I'm sure Jane will be sadder about Simon's death than me.
Teddy looks completely shocked, and then a smile slowly spreads across his face. "Wow…" he says, completely stunned.
"I know," I reply, kissing him again. For a moment, things feel happy, like the way they should have been with Simon. "I'm not sure when they'll be born, if I'll be able to marry you by then…"
"It doesn't matter," Teddy assures me, shaking his head quickly. He's too kind and accepting, it almost seems unreal that he can be mine.
"I love you," I say again.
Teddy doesn't answer. He merely kisses me again, slowly at first, then passionately. His hands find their way into my hair, pulling his mouth closer to mine still. Of course, I love kissing Teddy, but after going months without him, I need more than a kiss.
I take his hand and lead him to the bed. "Teddy…" I whisper quietly.
Teddy frowns apprehensively. "You know we don't have much time. I'm… I'm supposed to be chaperoning-"
I put my fingers over Teddy's lips, cutting him off. "I don't care how much time we have. I want you to show me how you've missed me."
I slide out of my robes and lie down and in no time, Teddy's on top of me, trailing kisses from my mouth to the rest of my body. His lips rest lightly on my stomach. His breath is warm, tickling me and alerting my senses.
"You're children are in there," I say with a smile, running my fingers through his hair. "Isn't that amazing?"
Teddy nods, placing kisses on my stomach. "I love them already," he murmurs against my stomach, the vibrations of his voice driving me wild. "You're so beautiful."
"I'm sure it's a pregnancy glow," I joke with a small laugh.
Teddy shakes his head. "You're always beautiful, Belle. You know that."
I grin faintly at Teddy as his lips make a course further south. I lean back, clutching the bed sheets. "Wait," I say suddenly. "I have to ask you something."
"I'm a little busy, but go right ahead," Teddy says, stopping to glance up at me.
I bite my lip, feeling uneasiness in my stomach. "You aren't nervous about this, are you?" I question.
"It's not the first time…"
I roll my eyes, laughing at Teddy. "I wasn't talking about that… Killing Simon, I meant. Are you nervous for that?"
Teddy shakes his head, coming back up to give me a reassuring kiss. "Not at all," he says, burying his nose in my neck and biting my collarbone gently. He wraps an arm around my waist, bringing me closer to him. "This is going to work, and you can finally be happy. We can be together, Belle. I want that for us."
"I'm plenty happy now," I assure Teddy, reaching my hand into his trousers until I'm holding him. Teddy closes his eyes for a moment, enjoying it.
"Simon doesn't deserve you," he says huskily, his breath uneven.
"Simon and I don't kiss in bed, nor do we smile, or lie together afterward, or any of that. He lies on top of me like an animal," I tell Teddy in disgust, shaking my head. I can only remember two or three times when I shared a bed with Simon and it was a pleasant experience. "I particularly do anything other than wait for it to be over. I suppose it goes like that on the better nights though, when he isn't in a violent mood…"
"Stop," Teddy says, a pained look on his face. "I don't want to hear that. This isn't easy for me, knowing that you have to go back to him, what he does to you."
"Soon, I won't have to," I whisper, pulling Teddy's trousers and pants down all the way. "But if it leads up to meetings like this, perhaps I can bear it a little longer…"
I straddle Teddy slowly, resting my hands on his chest. He groans quietly as we revel in the feeling of one another. He's gone longer without being with someone that I have, and I intend to show him it wasn't for nothing.
"Tell me about this poison…" I say tauntingly, leaning down to brush my lips against Teddy's.
He glances up at me for a second, suddenly aware I'm speaking to him. I'm sure he'd much rather focus on other feelings, but I'd like to know. "It… it won't take much," he tells me.
I nod, sighing gently. I really have missed Teddy, every bit of him. "How long… how long will it take him to die?" I ask breathlessly, bringing his fingers to my lips, kissing his fingertips gently. "Scorpius promised me I could watch…"
"A couple minutes, maybe... It'll make him choke," Teddy answers. I'm not sure why, but something about that makes me feel rather giddy.
"What a sight…" I murmur, nibbling Teddy's ear gently, and then pulling back. "Can you imagine me… killing someone? Killing my own husband?"
Teddy nods, bringing his hands to my waist. I tilt my head back, enjoying his touch. "You're not as innocent as you look."
"Do I look innocent right now?" I question, pouting at him.
"Not on top of me like this, you don't."
Perfect…" I mutter. "I've learned innocence doesn't suit me." I rock my hips against Teddy's and this warrants a groan and a long string of curse words. I can't stop. I'm deeply in love with Teddy- his kindness, the way he makes me feel. Sometimes, it's all too much for me to believe is real.
Teddy glances up at me with dark eyes. "Isobelle… I'm… I'm going to…"
"It's fine, love," I assure him with a kind smile. "I know it's been a long time."
"Merlin, you have no idea…" Teddy agrees. Hopefully next year, Teddy won't have to be away from me so long. I hope he'll find himself a different job so that he can be at home with me, Delphine, and the children we have together. Next month, we'll have all the time we need to discuss this.
I'm not quite sure what all Scorpius and Delphine did together, but when I enter the Three Broomsticks I find him with Nina and Delphine, drinking hot chocolate. Delphine's hat is off and she isn't wearing her gloves either, but I decide not to say anything. It's rather warm in the pub.
"Mummy!" Delphine cries with excitement as I join them at the table. "We had fun!"
"Did you?" I question, pulling a squirming Delphine into my lap. I can't help but wipe the chocolate from her mouth with a napkin. "It's great to see you, Nina."
Nina gives me a warm smile. "You too, Belle. I missed you a lot." I really do like Nina as a younger sister. In her entire life, we've never gotten into a real argument. I'm sure my other siblings couldn't say the same. The age difference between the two of us hasn't allowed me to get to know her as well as I would have liked, though.
"Mummy, wanna hear what we did?" Delphine asks, tilting her mug of hot chocolate to her mouth again. She can't even sit still.
"Of, course I'd love to hear. What did you do?"
"We got candy! And Scorpius saw Daisy and told her to go away 'cause he wanted to talk to me more!" Delphine tells me excitedly, pointing to the Honeyduke's bag at Scorpius' feet.
I frown at Delphine's mention of Daisy, but her excited grin makes me smile as well. "Now I know why you can't sit still. Scorpius, how much candy did you buy her?"
"A fair amount," Scorpius says without remorse, sharing a look with Nina. "What can I say? She behaved herself."
"I did, Mummy!" Delphine says proudly. "You want some?" she offers, raising her mug of hot chocolate to my face.
I shake my head. "No, thank you," I refuse. "I'm sure you earned it."
"I'd reckon Isobelle's quite warm already," Scorpius mutters into his drink with a smirk. "Did things go well?" He asks, raising his voice once he realizes I heard him.
"Yes, they did," I answer. I turn to Nina, since I'm sure she's been feeling ignored lately. "How's school?" I question.
Nina cuts her eyes at Scorpius. "I hate school," she decides.
Scorpius rolls her eyes. "She doesn't want to apply herself. She's brilliant, really, but you wouldn't know it from her marks."
"I'm not you!" Nina snaps. "He makes me study all the time!"
"As much as you study, I know you're getting bad marks on purpose," Scorpius mutters. I don't know what's going on between them, but they're bickering like actual siblings. As far as I knew, Scorpius ignored Nina. I supposed that's changed now that they've been sorted into the same House.
"Maybe I'm just stupid," Nina challenges, giving Scorpius a well-practiced glare of irritation.
Scorpius blows air out of his nose. "Perhaps you're just lazy."
"Shut up," Nina grumbles.
"Nina's mad," Delphine whispers, watching the scene play out. She stuffs her gloves in the pocket of my robes and continues drinking her hot chocolate. It becomes my job to wipe whipped cream from her nose every few sips.
"I know love," I whisper, patting her cheek gently.
Nina glares daggers at Scorpius, and then looks to me for help. "He's more worried about my marks than I am! He never cared about me before! And now, he's up my bum all the time!"
"Little ears," I remind her. "Nina, I don't think it's such a terrible idea that you do your best. School's very important."
Nina shrugs, poking out her bottom lip like a child. "Or I could just marry someone rich like you two."
I don't know what to say. Instead of answering right away, I decide to let Scorpius handle things. He seems to have quite a hold on Nina.
Scorpius leans back in his chair, resting his hand on his chin. "If you don't want to be happy, then by all means, be my guest. I'm glad to know you think so lowly of yourself that you feel the need to depend on a man." Scorpius doesn't raise his voice, nor does show any signs of anger. He looks and behaves surprisingly like Dad.
"But, Isobelle's doing fine," Nina points out. I love her dearly, but she's truly oblivious.
"We aren't discussing, Isobelle. We're discussing Georgina," Scorpius says rigidly, using her full name. "And you're going to begin taking yourself more seriously, or else I'll have a word with Mum and Dad. Your report card's going to give them heart attacks as it is."
Nina narrows her eyes at Scorpius. "I hate you!" she says viciously, a fire in her blue eyes. If she grips her mug tighter, the handle may just snap off. Although Nina has quite a high voice, her tone is serious. Suddenly, I realize she may be more Slytherin than I once thought.
Scorpius doesn't look fazed. "You don't," he says simply.
"Don't say that," I tell Nina, thinking of when Delphine said she hated me. None of us really hate each other, not that I know.
I round the corner to go to Delphine's room to tell her goodnight. It's late, and that ridiculous amount of candy Scorpius bought her did nothing to help her fall asleep. I read her three stories in the library, and she was still wide awake.
I can hear Delphine's voice, and it's accompanied by Simon's. I'm so surprised and confused I have to stop to listen. I don't remember the last time Simon told Delphine goodnight on his own. I peer into the room, stepping forward just enough for me to see inside. Delphine's tucked into bed, her blankets under her chin. Simon sits on the side of her bed, and he actually looks engaged in his conversation with her. Delphine has a small smile on her face. She probably isn't used to her father speaking with her.
"Your mother's birthday is coming soon," Simon reminds Delphine. "What shall we do to celebrate?" I'm surprised Simon remembered. He's never made my birthday a big deal. He usually buys me some expensive gift and makes a point to be kinder than usual, but that's about it.
"A fun party," Delphine says after a long pause. "With lots of cake and fun stuff!"
"I don't think your mother would much enjoy a party," Simon says. He's correct. He'd probably invite people he wanted to spend the night with. I'd much rather have something smaller and more intimate.
"Why not?" Delphine questions. "Mummy dances good."
"Indeed she does," Simon agrees. "But your mother is very quiet. I'm sure she wouldn't want to be around so many people." I'm surprised he gets it.
"Oh," Delphine says. "Mummy likes plays and ballets."
Simon doesn't say anything for a while. "Shall we take her to the ballet or to see a play?" he questions. Whatever Delphine chooses, I'll be happy with. It makes me glad to see that she and Simon are taking the time to do something kind for me.
"Ballet," Delphine chooses. I had little doubt she would say otherwise. "Dinner too!"
"I don't see why not," Simon relents. "I want you awake early tomorrow so I can take you to the jeweler's. I want you to choose a beautiful necklace for your mother."
"I'll pick the beautifulest one that Mummy will love!" Delphine promises. I put my hand to my heart watching her. How did a child so sweet come from the likes of Simon and I?
"Most beautiful," Simon corrects her. Even he has a faint smile. "Remember, this is our secret. You can't tell anyone."
"Okay!" Delphine says excitedly.
"I want you to sleep now so you'll wake up on time," Simon says quietly. He places a kiss on Delphine's forehead. I don't understand why he can't be so kind to her all the time. She's a loving little girl, and she's well-behaved. Simon should have long since gotten over the fact that she isn't a boy.
"Goodnight, Daddy," Delphine says quietly, rolling over to get comfortable.
"Goodnight," Simon replies, getting up from her bed. I back away from the door so that he doesn't know I'm listening. Simon shuts Delphine's door and starts down the hallway. He frowns slightly when he notices me.
"Is she asleep?" I question, playing ignorant.
"I just put her to bed," Simon responds.
"Did she ask for me?"
He shakes his head. "We were having a conversation," he tells me.
I raise my eyebrows in interest. "What about?"
"I told her I'm very proud of how she's doing in her lessons," Simon lies.
I smile. "I'm proud of her too." The exchange between Simon and I is stiff and uncomfortable, unlike how a husband and wife should speak to one another.
"Are you going to bed?" Simon questions suddenly, his blond eyebrows furrowed.
I nod. "I'll probably read a bit, and then go to sleep." I hope Simon understands that I wish to be alone tonight.
Simon's expression is unreadable. "Did Delphine behave today?"
I nod. "She spent some time with Scorpius as well."
"How is he?"
"He's doing well," I answer plainly. "Goodnight."
I turn around to leave Simon in the hallway. His hand closes gently around mine. I turn around once again. There's softness in Simon's face that I haven't seen in a while. He looks hurt that I'm reluctant to be with him, as if he doesn't understand why.
"You look unhappy," Simon notices. With such perceptive skills, he should apply to become an Auror right away. "What's the matter?"
"It's nothing," I say, refusing to look at him. I can't. I won't. "I'm tired."
Simon puts his fingers under my chin and guides my face to his. "I wish you would be open with me," he says quietly. "Like you used to be."
"A lot has changed," I remind him. "You and I both understand that."
Simon clenches his jaw. "I understand, and I apologize for how I treated you in the past. I'll take care not to do it anymore."
I shake my head, letting Simon know it doesn't matter anymore. "You've done your damage," I inform him. "How am I supposed to look at you the same after everything you've done to me? We can't be what we used to be. You never seemed to mind. Why now?"
"You're my wife," Simon reminds me, his voice uneven. Funny, that never mattered to him before. "And I should treat you better. Will you let me?"
"It's not up to me what you do. You made that very clear years ago." I stand still, feeling his hand in mine. I don't believe a word Simon says. I don't even have to listen to him fully to understand his words are nothing but bullshit.
"I'm truly sorry," Simon apologizes. Softly, he presses his lips to mine. When he kisses me, the only thing I can think of is kissing Teddy, sleeping with him, and how wonderful I felt again. He loves me more than Simon ever could. Simon's fingers brush my stomach, and then I suddenly understand- I understand why he's being so kind to me.
I pull away and turn away from Simon again. He isn't forceful with me, which is so unlike him it's strange. "I apologize," he says again, as if he words should mean something to me.
"Why? Because I'm not as stupid as you think?" I question, taking my hand from his and crossing my arms.
"Isobelle, what do you mean?" Simon questions.
"You think I'm stupid," I repeat.
Simon looks bewildered. He grapples for something to say other than, yes I believe you're very stupid, actually. "I… I don't-"
"You do," I say firmly. "You've called me stupid numerous times and you're doing it again, only this time you didn't have to say anything"
"What are you talking about?"
I shake my head at Simon in disgust. "You're only pretending to love me because I'm pregnant," I say. "You only care about me now because you think you're finally getting the chance to have the son you want."
When Simon takes a second to answer, I realize that I'm right. "You said I caused you too much stress," he says defensively.
"But don't you understand? You don't get to pick and choose when you love me," I inform him. "We're married. We vowed to love one another always, not only when you thought I was finally giving you what you wanted. I'm going to bed."
With that, I turn around and leave Simon in the hallway, disappearing into my own bedroom. Little does he know, he isn't getting any children from me. Even if he was, he wouldn't be around to know it.
(A/N: I wanted to do Isobelle's chap to cut up the Scorose tension, and then to give Scorpius more of a narrative in the next chapter. Hope everyone's cool with that, promise, it'll make for a better next chap!
So, yeah, the plan's being set into motion. Any thoughts on how this is going to turn out? Also, Scorpius is was more of a marshmallow than he likes to behave. Part of the reason he's starting to be kinder to Isobelle is now that he realizes just how stuck he is with Daisy, he understands how he feels. He probably also realizes Isobelle has it a lot worse than he does, and that's saying something.
Isobelle sort of stood up to Simon, although not really, since he still does have a month left to make her life miserable if he really wants. I think now that she knows she really won't have to deal with him much longer, she'll allow herself to be more realistic about her feeling toward him, rather than being afraid of him.
Delphine's such a cutie!
Also, some Isobelle/ Teddy action. I really think they love each other, but Teddy's always a little too eager to please Isobelle. She's probably a bit more sly and manipulative than he would like to think. But they've been raised differently: Teddy with the selfless Potters, and Belle with the Malfoys (we all know how they are…)
Fingers crossed everything works out!
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