His Hufflepuff ; Fred Weasley

Chapter 78

β€œYou know, you didn’t have to send Ezra to the school.” I told Matteo as we stood and waited to be let into the courtroom. He looked up from the papers in his hands an offered me a small smile.

β€œWhy not?”

β€œHe’s an asshole.” I said, folding my arms over my chest. β€œHe’s rude and he keeps having an attitude with me. He tells me he’s got nothing against me but I hardly believe him.”

My friends were here with me. Dumbledore allowed them to come with because they’re the closest to a family I’ve had since I started Hogwarts. They were currently sitting inside of the court with the mother I’m about to see for the first time, and then Ezra and also my father.

I kept thinking about my mother and what she was feeling. She was seeing her violent ex-husband for the first time in almost eighteen years. Then I had to remind myself that I didn’t care about my mother. She was the one who left me and I didn’t owe her shit.

Matteo and I had met four times so far. The first being when he came to Hogwarts because of Angelina. The second time was when he came with the news that he wanted custody, the third was a few days ago to prepare for the hearing and the fourth time was now.

β€œI’m not trying to excuse Ezra’s behaviour.” Matteo told me. β€œI know he can be a little rude sometimes but he was two when mum left with us so he doesn’t remember you and change is hard for you. This is a big change for all of us.”

I scoffed.

β€œYeah but you knew I existed.” I said. β€œYou knew where I was for all these years.”

Matteo nodded slowly and sent me an apologetic look. I was mad at him, mad at all three for knowing where I was but never deciding to reach out. Though I was still staring to care for Matteo. He was being nice towards me and I knew he genuinely cared about me. He had a big heart, that I could tell. Plus, we were alike in many ways, both through our looks but also our personality.

β€œYou can come in now.” one of the people working here told us as he held the door open to the courtroom. I looked at Matteo and he gave my shoulder a little squeeze with a reassuring smile. Then he led the way into the courtroom and I pulled my sleeves down to cover my hands as I followed.

My heart was beating rapidly in my chest and my mouth was going dry while there was a certain lump in my throat. The first thing I noticed when we entered the courtroom, was an unfamiliar woman next to Ezra. She was so unfamiliar, yet so familiar.

She kinda looked like me. She looked young, though I knew she was forty-six. She definitely looked younger than her age. She had long black hair that wasn’t longer than her waist. It was pushed behind her ears, showing off hoops for earrings. Her eyes were visible dark brown, almost black and her skin was a little tan but it looked like it came from vacation instead of it just being her skin tone. Her lips were full and looked like mine but hers were glossy and shiny from lipgloss. Her eyelids were a light brown from eyeshadow and her lashes were longer due to mascara.

My mum was beautiful.

Next to her sat a man who looked to be around his forties. His hair was blonde but his eyes were almost as dark as my mums. His beard was blonde as well, though a bit darker than his hair. He was dressed formal, they both were.

Mum was wearing a navy blue dress and he was wearing a matching suit. That was the new husband. The same husband that adopted my brothers, the same husband who they call dad.

The same husband that could’ve been my father instead of the one I grew up around.

Their daughter were here too. She had black hair like our mother and her eyes were also dark brown. She had freckles like her father and I felt my stomach drop at the thought of my mum getting a new daughter years after she left me behind.

It hurts.

My dad was in the court too, sitting a few rows back. He didn’t care to dress up. He looked like someone who didn’t want to be here. I gulped at the thought of all their eyes on me. Not my dad, he wasn’t looking. He had his eyes fixed on some papers in his hands. It looked like work.

I quickly looked towards where four of my friends sat. Nate and Callie sat together on the first row while Melba and Seth sat on the second one. All four of them smiled comfortingly at me and Nate sent me a thumbs up to tell me it was going to be alright. I simply forced a smile back and turned my attention back on Matteo who opened the button on his tuxedo jacket before he sat down in one of the two chairs in the middle of the circular floor. I sat in the chair next to him, gripping the arms of the chair.

Matteo placed a hand on top of mine and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

Shit I’m nervous.

I felt like I was gonna throw up or faint or something worse. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling like this. I had never met my mum and she was in the very same room with her new husband and the daughter that replaced my existence.

β€œWe’re here today to discuss the custody case of Julie Evangeline Pegas.” Minister Cornelius Fudge spoke. β€œWe have decided to do it a little less formal in this case. That means no juries. I’ll be the one to make the final decision.”

No jury?

Shit.

Maybe this was actually a good thing. I mean, the ministry helped my mother escape my father, meaning that they knew about the things that happened back then. Maybe they’d help me get away too, give Matteo custody.

β€œMr Evergreen.” Fudge said, looking at my oldest brother. β€œI want to start off by asking you why you have decided to file for custody for a younger sister that you didn’t officially meet until not long ago.”

Matteo stood up, buttoning the single button in his jacket before he cleared his throat.

β€œMinister– as you’re aware, my mother was forced into a situation years ago when Julie was only two weeks old. You see, my father was beating up my mother which is noted in your records and you yourself helped her flee that life. My mother decided to leave behind her youngest child, thinking she was safe. It turns out that that wasn’t true. If you tell Julie, I’m sure she’ll tell you that our father, Ted Pegas, struck her just before Christmas last year and he kicked her out of the house so she had to stay with a friend...”

I glanced towards my mother who was tearing up, glancing towards my father with her fingers covering her mouth. My father was finally paying attention but he was leaned back in his chair with his arms folded over his chest and an eyebrow raised to show he didn’t want to be there. My eyes flicked back to my mother. Why was she crying?

Don’t act like you care about me.

β€œAnd why shouldn’t I place custody back with your mother?” Fudge asked, suddenly earning my full attention as my eyes went wide.

β€œIn all respect, minister, I don’t think that would be a good idea.” Matteo said. β€œOur mother left Julie behind once before. Julie wouldn’t be able to trust her and she needs a person in her life that she can trust to not leave her again.”

The minister looked at him for a minute before he looked at me.

β€œI’m going to ask you a few question, Miss Pegas. You can stay seated if you’d like.” he said and Matteo sat back down, looking at me with a look to tell me it was alright. β€œI want you to explain to me the day your father hit you. Leading up to it and what happened after.”

Fuck.

β€œOkay–” I gulped. β€œUh, well it really started when I found my mother’s diary. It’s one she wrote in before she left. My father has always told me that my mother was a muggle who left when she heard the truth. I didn’t even know I had brothers. I found the diary and it revealed these things to me. It also revealed why she left but I still don’t see why I had to stay behind. When I went home for Christmas, I confronted my dad about it but he got mad and acted like I owed him because he’s the reason I had a home. He poured the ashes of my dog on the floor as some kind of punishment. I guess it’s my own fault that he hit me, really. I got all up in his face and questioned him about it. He hit me, then threw me out, so I went to my friends Callie’s home where her family and our other friends welcomed me. On Christmas morning, my dad showed up and made a scene, embarrassed me and so I went back home with him.”

β€œAnd the same night she was gone!” my father had raised his voice from the seat where he sat, earning everyone’s attention. I myself flinched at his voice and closed my eyes for a moment to gather my thoughts. β€œThe girl ran away with her boyfriend. She’s a whore, minister, that’s what my daughter is and you can’t believe a word that comes out of her mouth.”

I felt the tears press on as I heard him talk about me in that way. He wasn’t a good day but he had never said stuff like that about me. I quickly wiped the tears that had run down my cheek. I had to stay strong. I was not gonna break into tears in court.

β€œMr Pegas!” Fudge spoke firmly as he stood from his chair. β€œYou will stay quiet in this court until I ask you to speak!”

My father didn’t say anything, and the attention turned back to me.

β€œAre you okay?” Matteo asked. I simply nodded and looked up at Fudge who motioned for me to continue explaining.

β€œMy boyfriend came to get me because he and my friends didn’t want me staying under the same roof as the man who hurt me when he was supposed to care for me.” I told him. β€œMy dad has never loved me, nor will he ever. I learned how to cook when I was eight because half the week, he was too busy with work to feed me. I had to make myself dinner somehow to not go to bed hungry. There was good moments where it felt like he cared but then it went straight back to how it usually was.”

β€œI’m the only one who ever cared for you, Julie!” my dad suddenly shouted again, but this time I simply looked straight ahead, waiting for him to shut up. β€œI fed you, stop telling lies. You are nothing but a little girl and you will never succeed in life. You’re nothing but a little whore like your mother–”

My mother’s husband stood up abruptly but she grabbed him and pulled him back down while holding her daughter close.

β€œ...I should’ve removed that boy from your memories like I removed my sons!”

What?

β€œMr Pegas!” Fudge shouted. β€œOne more outburst and I will have you removed from this court!”

I looked towards my dad who got up and made his way towards the exit. When he left, I scrunched my face up to stop myself from crying.

Why can’t I have a dad who cares?

β€œMrs Evergreen.” Fudge now spoke. β€œStand up please. Talk to me about where you stand with your son wanting custody of your daughter.”

I turned my head and looked at my mother who stood up and forced a small smile through the tears in her eyes.

β€œMinister, my son is only twenty-two, turns twenty-three in June. He’s young, he has no idea what kind of responsibility he is taking on.” she explained. β€œAnd my daughter, dear Julie–”

She looked at me and I quickly looked away.

β€œ... I am sorry that I left you behind, sweetheart. It was easier to leave with two toddlers instead of two toddlers and a baby. If I had woken you up to take you with me, you would’ve cried and woken up your father. It would’ve been way too big of a risk. Though there hasn’t been a day where I didn’t think about you, where I didn’t wish you were there with me. I so wanted to be able to watch you grow up, I wanted to be able to put you to bed in the evening and wake you up in the morning. Gosh, you’ve grown up to be a beautiful young lady. I’m sorry, darling.”

I bounced my leg, gritting my teeth while I kept staring away from her and in the direction of my friends. I made eye contact with Seth. He was leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and his fingers covering his lips. His eyebrows were knitted together in a frown and he nodded slightly to assure me I was okay. I bit my lip, ignoring the tears that made my vision suddenly very blurry.

β€œMiss Pegas?” Fudge asked. β€œDo you have anything to say to your mother?”

I shook my head.

β€œI have nothing to say to her.”

I heard my mother’s sob as she turned towards Fudge.

β€œMy daughter would be safest with me.” she told him. β€œI know it’s only for easter but it’ll give us the opportunity to get to know each other again and I’m not a bad parent. I have two grown boys who can tell you that, plus a husband. We’d be able to provide a stable home, even when she finished Hogwarts in about four months. She already has a room at our house. I made sure to always have one for her in case I got to have her back.”

You didn’t try.

β€œMinister, I just want the opportunity to have my daughter back.” my mother said. β€œIt would be better than if my oldest son took her. As I said before, he’s still young and it’s way too big of a responsibility.”

β€œThank you.” Fudge nodded. β€œI think I’ve heard enough.”

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