Marlow Linney-Smith (marloww) wrote,
Marlow Linney-Smith

I Can Babysit? [flashback]

It had only been a couple of weeks since the battle. Everything still felt weird as if their whole world had changed in the blink of an eye. And it had. It was as if everyone was walking on egg shells in a way that made her feel uncomfortable, Marlow wishing everyone would just snap out of it, would be happy for the peace and quiet and go on with their lives. But too much had happened, too much was lost and she knew it would be a long time before anyone would feel comfortable again.

She was unpacking, her trunk open in the middle of the bedroom and things tossed everywhere. She had lost quite a bit during the war, when they all took refuge in the Room of Requirement, and her trunk was emptier than usual. But Newt was still crawling around her bed, pawing at an old sweater and Brutus was cooing on the windowsill.

The relief emitting through the room was palpable.

Just as she was trying to sort where all her books would go, her mum called from downstairs.

"Honey- Zoey is here-"
Tags: flackback, zoey ferris
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The past year had been completely insane. The past year and a half had been, probably. When she looked back at it, she wasn't sure exactly what had happened with all that time. There had been a lot of fear and terror going around, permeating literally everything. There was a war, though she hadn't been on the front lines, had never had to make those kinds of decisions.

Now, luckily, she was never going to have to. Even from the owls that had gone back and forth between them, Marlow seemed different, withdrawn maybe. If Zoey was a better friend, she'd have been coming to check in without any other reason. Instead, she was staring at her life falling apart at the same time that everything should be getting back to normal for everyone.

At least this was normal.

Though she doubted Marlow's mother would believe that since Zoey had shown up on their doorstep with red eyes, shaking hands, and hair all over the place when she asked if maybe, possibly, Marlow was actually home. Rowan had always been one of Zoey's favorite adults - oh fucking hell. Zoey was an adult. She had to be an adult now. - but never more so than when let Zoey in just as she started crying and called for Marlow instead of leaving Zoey alone to completely think about the situation she found herself in.
Rowan watched the girl carefully, not sure if she should wrap her arm around her shoulder or not do anything at all. In all the years she had known the girl, how often Zoey and Marlow had hung out here at the cottage, she never saw her as anything but confident.

But she didn't have to over-think it for too long as Marlow came bounding down the stairs.

"Zoey- hey-"

But her voice faltered as she took in her best friend's appearance.

"Hey, you alright?" she said, reaching for her hand. "Come on- let's go back to my room."
"Hi." Zoey didn't like the way she sounded, how unsure and off her voice was.

Her fingers tightened around Marlow's when she took her friend's hand. She had only been here for a few minutes and already felt like it had been a good idea to come to Marlow first.

"Sorry. There's a lot going on - " Zoey whispered as she followed Marlow up.. It didn't often apologize but she felt like this deserved it.
Marlow made a little clicking noise with her tongue against the top of her mouth, something sounding like a 'tsk' as she turned to look at her older friend. This was Zoey Ferris- not some weepy crybaby. If something was off, then it must have been big.

And all Marlow wanted to do was be there for her best friend.

"Don't worry about it-" she said, knowing Zoey had been there for her through a lot of her own tough times.

Once they reached her bedroom, Marlow shut the door behind them.

"What's happened?"
With the door safely closed and the world shut out, Zoey pressed her hands over her face. She rubbed at her skin which felt itchy and too hot, her cheeks bright and eyes heavy.

"I fucked up. We fucked up. Fin and me." She dropped down onto Marlow's bed, hands falling away as she looked over at her friend, the only real one she ever really felt like she had, everyone else always seeming too superficial and like she couldn't actually trust them with this, not yet.

She took a deep breath, gearing up to say this. Before the words left her lips, she fell back across the bed, feet still on the floor at the side, simply so she wouldn't have to look at Marlow when she said it.

"I'm pregnant."

If there was anything that Marlow expected when Zoey showed up at her front door, eyes stricken with red and tears streaming down her face, it wasn't this.


She felt a little stricken with shock, this underlying fear that all of the girls always had in situations like this coming true.

She sunk down on the bed beside Zoey.

"Sorry- I mean- so what? What are you gonna do?"
Throwing her arms up in something like a shrug, she let them drop back to the bed. She blinked too many times, wishing she could just officially be all cried out, and looked at Marlow with misery all over her face.

Zoey laughed, a little, at Marlow's reaction being more or less what Zoey would have done if their places had been reversed.

"I don't know. I don't know. What am I supposed to do with a kid?"
Marlow leaned back on the palms of her hands, her feet swinging over the edge of her bed as she tried to think of what she would do if she were in this position. Though, one had to be having sex for such a thing to happen-

Well, there was that time with Harry-

She blinked, shaking her head.

"Um, raise it? Teach it rules and stuff, make sure it's a proper human and all that-" she replied, knowing that wasn't really the answer Zoey was looking for.
"Marlow." She pushed up on her elbows so she could look at her friend. "I'm barely a proper human."

Normally, Zoey mostly ignored her own hype. It had taken a lot of effort to not care what other people thought and make sure that they knew that. In retrospect, it had meant she ended up slightly socially awkward, interacting more through sarcasm and indistinct rage than anything else.

"How am I supposed to teach a kid to be a decent person when I barely am?"
"Who's telling you you're not a decent person, Ferris?" she said, craning her neck to look back at her best friend with a furrowed and disbelieving brow.

She could sense the frenzied sort of feeling emitting from Zoey in that moment, the fear that Marlow no doubt would feel if she were in the same predicament. She sighed, flipping onto her stomach to better see Zoey, propping her chin in her hands as they laid beside each other on her bed.

"If you want to do this, you're going to be brilliant at it," she said. "Because you're brilliant at a billion things and you know it."

She paused, then, catching her bottom lip between her teeth.

"But if you don't want to do this, you know no matter what I've got your back, right?"
Eyebrows raised in skepticism, Zoey actually snorted. As if that first question needed an answer. Everyone said that about her. Granted, she hadn't had to hear it since she'd graduated, but that wasn't the point. The world was a cruel place, and she'd no doubt hear it again.

"Thanks." This is exactly why she'd come running to Marlow first. Her father would have been disappointed, her brother would have possibly gone off to hex Fin on some weird, twisted kind of principle, and Zoey didn't even want to think about how Fin was going to react.

Marlow, though, was nothing if not always supportive to a fault.

"I want to keep it, I think." She had no idea why. If anyone had asked her as little as a week ago, her answer would have been completely different.
Marlow knew what people said about Zoey. But she also knew most of them were full of shit and incredibly insecure, picking on someone like Zoey because it was easy to- she was abrasive and difficult and intimidating as all hell. But Marlow knew she had good taste in people and she adored Zoey completely.

She tilted her head as she realized the gravity of what Zoey was saying.

"Alright," she said, nodding her head. "We can do that. This. Whatever. You're going to be great, Zoey."
"You really think so?" Zoey wasn't used to being this unsure about anything. Not that she never was, but she was a firm believer in faking it.

"I don't exactly know how to ... do that? It's not like I really have anyone to ask about things." Her mother had taken off before Zoey had even had to worry about pregnancy scares.
"I dunno, I think you've got good company in that respect," she mulled over, shrugging her shoulders as her chin bounced from the palm of her hands. "S'not like my mum knew what it was like before she had me-"

She sighed, realizing just what her best friend was going to go through and wondering how they were going to manage.

"There's loads of books we can buy," she said.
That actually made Zoey feel a little better. She had female role models in her life, her babysitters and dance instructors back in Portpatrick. There were fewer good mothers in her life. Over the years, she'd come to look at Rowan Linney as sort of the ideal other people should try to aspire to.

"I could read the books. We could do that." This was still weighing heavily on her, but it felt a little more manageable with Marlow on her side.

"There's another thing I have to do...."
"Buy maternity clothes-" Marlow said, nodding her head, as if that was the direction Zoey was going into.

But then, from the way she looked when she came over, to the way she was fidgeting now, Marlow couldn't help but narrow her eyes at her best friend.

"That's it, right?" she asked. "You didn't not tell someone... did you? Zoey?"
"I didn't," Zoey admitted. Her voice was soft and close to something like ashamed. She never really felt that, not that she could remember. This time, she did.

Fin should have been the first person she told, the first person she went to. That seemed too terrifying to even think about at the time.

"I went home. I came here. I started about five owls that I never sent. I just." Zoey pushed herself up to fully sitting and settled her chin in her hands and elbows on her knees. "We don't even talk anymore."
"He's going to want to talk now-"

She couldn't help but shrug her shoulders. She didn't know Fin all that well- but she knew him enough to know that this was something he was going to want to hear.

Hard or not.

"You have to tell him, Zoe-" she said.
"I know." She did. There were a lot of things that were hard and confusing about all of this, but she knew that Fin needed to know about this.

"I'm going to tell him. As soon as I figure out how. I don't want him to - " Zoey shook her head and didn't finish. How could she finish that?

She didn't want what? Fin to do the right thing because someone expected it? Him to step up and be involved? Zoey didn't even know anymore. She didn't know a lot of things.

"Davies and Hilton were a bloody disaster after that accident. I don't want Fin to think I'm locking him into something or ... something that he doesn't want to be involved with."
"Uh but you're not Maeve and he's not Roger-"

As much as she adored Roger (though at this moment he was very much on her bad list knowing what he was putting Lavender through), she knew that Fin wasn't at all the same.

"I mean, really- if there's anyone who's going to somehow be good about this, it's Fin-" she said, though she knew she was sort of talking out of nowhere. She didn't know him that well and a random pregnancy wasn't exactly average news.
Zoey knew Fin better than Marlow and knew just how right she was. Fin would manage this. He was actually a stand up guy for someone their age. They'd connected on their unconventional families, and she knew he wouldn't turn his back on a child, even if it was one he was accidentally having with her.

She just hoped he actually wanted to be involved instead of feeling like he had to. There was nothing worse than seeing a parent with a look of obligation when they saw you.

"I know. He'll be fine. Probably better than me. He's like that. I just."

Sighing, she blinked hard a few times and shook her head, saying something she couldn't remember having ever said in her life. "I'm just really scared."
"Oh, Zo-"

Marlow pursed her lips, pushing them aside as she chewed on the inside of her mouth. This was one of those things, one of those fears that had been looming over all of her girlfriends ever since they all started- well, getting to that level with their boyfriends. Practicing birth control charms was a thing.

Marlow knew that this must have been terrifying.

"Everything is going to be fine-" she said, reaching to nudge at her shoulder. "We're going to take care of all of this- I mean, you're going to be a good mum-"
The nudge was small but enough to rock Zoey a little to her side.It helped to ease off some of the tension Zoey was probably going to be feeling for forever.

"Yeah. Yeah. Okay." She wasn't sure she believed it and doubted she would any time soon. Marlow said it with confidence, though, and Marlow was usually right. Alternately, Zoey just really wanted her to be.

"I'm going to be a mum. And when my kid hates me at 13, I'm going to remind you that you said that."
She couldn't help but laugh, feeling as if this whole situation was so surreal. She shook her head.

"Merlin, dude, I can't believe this is happening," she said, eyes widening as it really registered.
Since she'd been sitting in St. Mungo's staring blanking at a healer who was perky and excited for her, Zoey had mostly seen this as the end. That's how it was, right? Having a kid should mean her life was over.

But maybe it would be okay. "Yeah. Me neither." Zoey shrugged and sat up enough to drop her head on her best friend's shoulder.

"But it is. And it's fine." It would be. It had to be.

At any rate, nothing could be worse.


3 years ago


3 years ago