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 tonight
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. Especially
"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
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
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
"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 cupboard.
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 knew, Margaret."
She cringed as though he had physically struck her. The teacup fell
from her hands, splashing scalding, hot liquid on her lap before
sliding 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.
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 pregnant."
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 face.
"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 child be…magic?"
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 slumber.
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
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 quickly.
"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.
"So there's really a wee one in there?" he asked with wonder.
"Yes, a boy," she said with a genuine smile.
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.