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Asha Hollow

[1836/1837|EN] Another one? Another one!

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Personal topic month, topic 3

Asha Hollow

 

20th of December 1836

 

She had too many children.

 

Asha would never say it out loud, of course and she didn't mean it. Not really. But as she looked down at what colour the potion she used had turned, she knew that the next few months and the years after that would be even more hectic than things already were. She'd have to halt her education again, have to make sure the kids all knew what was going to happen, have to ask George for another crib, more money for the new one. But that was okay. It was a little scary, it always was, but she loved it. As soon as the nerves disappeared she knew it was all going to be okay. Sure, she'd spent most of her short adult life pregnant so far, but she didn't mind. Pregnancy wasn't great, but after the pregnancy there were babies and she loved babies. She loved watching them grow and developing their own personality. She loved caring for them and teaching them. She loved how small they were and how she could carry them. They were warm and smelled so nice and everything about them was just... it was amazing. They were new, perfect little lives she had put on this earth with nothing but her own body and wasn't that a miracle?

 

Besides, it was almost Christmas. A double miracle, of some sort. Asha had never been Christian, but she liked the party well enough. Mostly because her own birthday was on the 25th. And this was honestly the best birthday present she could have asked for. She squealed in excitement after the first shock and nervousness had worn off and now she ran to fetch someone to watch her children. Quickly she went over to the hearth, grabbing floo powder almost as an afterthought. She quickly spoke the words and she was off.

 

"GEORGE! GUESS WHAT!"

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21st of December 1836

 

"You'd have four children." Her mother said in horror, speaking in Kannada, the language Asha had learned since birth. Her own language in fact. "You're barely twenty, unmarried and you'll have four children."

Asha stared at her with an annoyed face she barely showed to anyone except her own parents. They were oldfashioned, they didn't know. Okay, fine, their views aligned perfectly well with the rest of the world, but then the rest of the world was oldfashioned. Asha couldn't help that. She couldn't drag it into the 19th century herself. But she could live like she belonged there on her own. Maybe very few people respected her way of life, but the people who mattered did. And Asha wasn't going to care about people who didn't matter. Her mother would do well to remember that.

 

"I already have four children." Asha reminded her coldly, sipping her tea. "I will have five."

"That girl is not your daughter"

"Azalea has a name." Heavens above, her mother always knew how to make any statement just that little bit more offensive. Asha rolled her eyes. "And she is my daughter."

"Will her mother agree to that?"

"Her mother doesn't care." Asha snapped. "Her mother is a psychopath and Azalea could do much better. So she's with me now. I'm her mother. I love her like my own daughter."

Her mother laughed. She actually laughed. It did nothing but make Asha more upset. "You naive child..." She said. "You're barely twenty. If the mother is a 'psychopath', why do you think the child will be different? You know nothing about the world."

"And you do?" Asha's voice was louder, more forceful. "You spent your entire life in the houses of men. Your father, your grandfather, your husband. I have my own house."

"Payed for by another man. That you're not married to. Or related to."

"Until I can pay for it myself." Asha's mother had a way of getting underneath her skin. Tapping into any insecurities that she had. "My point is that you know nothing about the world because you've never left home. YES, I know you left India." Asha held her hand up as her mother looked like she was ready to interrupt. It offended her, but she didn't care. "But that doesn't count. You merely moved your house to a different place and never left it again. You know nothing."

 

Asha stood up quickly and briskly walked to the door, opening it. "I asked you for tea and to tell you the news, not so you could judge all my life choices." She looked at her mother with nothing but anger.

"I'm only doing it for-"

"My own good. I know. You've mentioned. You can leave."

Her mother looked like she didn't really know what to say at first. Sure, they'd had fights, but her daughter now looked at her with a sense of finality. It wasn't "you can leave and come back in two weeks, have tea and have this fight all over again." It meant she could leave, had to leave, and wouldn't come back. "Asha..." She said.

Asha stayed silent.

"Asha, child, come on."

She still said nothing. Instead she pointed to the door.

"Asha, I'm doing this for your own good! I know you don't want to hear it, but it's true. You don't know what you're getting into. As soon as that man leaves you, you'll have nothing and you'll be on the streets. Do you hear me? Do you hear me, Asha?!"

Asha heard her, but didn't flinch.

"Fine." Her mother said, standing up. "Fine. If this is what you want, then fine." She walked to the door, looking at her daughter one more time, then turned around sharply and walked out.

"You can come back when you understand! Merry Christmas" Asha called after her. She wasn't sure if she would. Was it bad that Asha could feel nothing but relief?

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Deep down she understood their worries. She understood why they might want to intervene. If she was completely honest, if one of her children got into her situation, she'd be worried. But there would be things she'd do differently and that was the key. She would support them, protect them, keep an eye on them. She'd give them what they needed and she would never judge them, even if she thought the choices they made were wrong. And if it so happened that the choices they made were wrong, she'd be there to help them. Maybe that was wishful thinking. Maybe it was wrong to think like that and it would just be better to drag her children out of the bad situation while they were kicking and screaming. She might think very differently in ten, twenty years, but that didn't make the message any less different. Because there was one fundamental difference between her parents and herself.

 

Asha did everything for her children. Her parents did everything for their reputation.

 

Her father was a priest. Or something like that anyway. Mostly he was coasting of the money his parents had given him, trying to start some new religion, or maybe just a racist cult that was a melting pot between Christianity and Hinduism. He was English, after all and when he went to India all he'd ever seen in the years and years he lived there, were the things people wanted him to see. The colours, the spices, the pretty houses, the nice weather. And Asha had seen that too. She wasn't allowed to leave the house much and went to a school full of other rich children. Something which, she learned later, was rare in the first place. The muggle children rarely went to school. Most girls never learned how to read. She'd grown up in luxury, just like her parents. But she'd lost that luxury and when she did... she learned that that was okay. Sure, she didn't have ten pets anymore that were taken care of by the servants so she'd only have to pet them. She had one pet. Her cat. And she cleaned up after her herself. In fact, Asha cleaned up everything on her own. Sometimes she missed having staff around, but she didn't mind. She was magic.

 

She had learned much about the world. From the girl who was cursed and the girl who was hunted by her own parents. The mothers who lived together in Strawberry Fields, the little village that belonged just to them and their descendants had taught her that the world out there wasn't always so great. And the same was true of India. It wasn't a perfect paradise. It was a country. One just like any others. It had the rich, it had the poor and the rich made sure they wouldn't see that. She knew. Her parents didn't. Or at least, that was what Asha thought. She judged them for it, in fact. Openly and without remorse. She had learned. They were much older than her and should know better, but they didn't. Why? Because they didn't want to know. They wanted to hide in their pretty home with their parents' money and pretend that everything was okay. And if they had to pretend Asha didn't exist so they'd still be invited to nice parties, they would. Well, you know what? Asha could throw those nice parties herself. And people would come. Because people liked her. This was magic society. Maybe she couldn't get the muggleborns on board, but the purebloods wouldn't give a damn. Her life would be great. Her life already was great. It was everything she could have hoped for.

 

It was their own choice to live in misery for the rest of their lives. Not hers.

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22nd of December 1836

 

"Graeme, sweetie, don't grab the candles!" It had seemed like such a good idea, putting up Christmas decorations. She never really had in previous years. It had never seen like something she had to do. Hogwarts had always done it and after Hogwarts it just didn't seem like something she wanted to do. She hadn't really grown up with it. Her father had always tried, but no one had ever really been interested. It just didn't fit into their house or their lives. It was useless and not as fun as their other parties. But now... Well, this year it just felt nice and cosy. She'd be with her kids and no one else and that was good. It was perfect. Asha could buy presents for them and she was sure George would too. Maybe she could encourage Graeme and Lea to make presents for each other. They were old enough, right? And they were like two peas in a pod. It was great to see them together. 

 

But when they weren't together, Graeme had to find other distractions. And that was when the trouble started. "Why?" He asked. Asha already started rolling her eyes. He couldn't see it, because he was too busy trying to reach the candles. Asha picked him up and put him down away from them. "Because you'll get hurt."

"Why?" Yes, they were going to do this. Great.

"Because fire is hot."

"Why?"

"Because it is." Asha had no idea why fire was hot. She couldn't look it up either and why would it matter? Fire was hot. It just was the way things were. 

"Would daddy know?"

Asha thought about that. "I don't know." She said. "But daddy has a library, maybe we could find out there."

"What's that?"

"It's a place with lots of books."

"Oh." He didn't look very interested. Probably already distracted by something else. He liked learning, but he wasn't really interested in anything other than things he could see right in front of him. He couldn't read, so he didn't care.

 

"Do you want to help me bake biscuits?" She asked and the boy nodded wildly immediately. It was the best way to distract him from the candles. She wouldn't give him any tools anyway.

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She watched as Graeme threw handfuls of berries into the cookie batter. She'd have to take some of them out while he wasn't looking, because the biscuits were going to fail otherwise. And he would have a tantrum if she took them out while she could see. His hands were stained purple. Asha knew it was a good idea to keep a bush in her tiny magical greenhouse. The children would have fresh fruit all year round. She didn't really know what exactly made fruit healthy, but it was and they seemed to like it, so she wasn't going to complain. It kept diseases at bay anyway and that was good enough for her. When he was done, she distracted him for a moment and took some of the berries away so she could hide them. Then she mixed everything together.

 

Meanwhile Graeme was staring at her. Or more accurate, at her belly. She knew why. Asha had already told him, of course. She'd told all the children, even Thomasin, who wouldn't even know what she was talking about, because she had barely gotten an understanding of what her hand was. But Graeme knew. Not a lot, but he knew. So he was staring and eventually there would be...

"Baby?" Yes, there it was. Questions. That was okay. Toddlers asked lots of questions. She was used to it.

"Yes, there's a baby in there." She said.

"Why?" Again? Really?

Asha sighed. It wasn't really a question she could answer, but it wasn't a question she minded. Her own views had always been very open and she was of the belief that everyone made a way bigger deal out of it than it actually was. But he was too young to know for now. She did know that. "To protect it." She simply answered. It'd be enough. He'd just keep asking...

"Why?'

"Because babies are fragile and they need protecting."

Graeme frowned. He was thinking about something and didn't understand. She wanted to hug him. He looked so adorable like that, but he didn't like being hugged when he was thinking and she had dough on her hands anyway. She'd have to bathe him again. "Thoma?"

Ah yes, Thomasin was also a baby. And Amphelisia too, really. Honestly, she considered Graeme and Lea to also be babies, but they technically weren't. But she could understand the confusion now.

"Thomasin and Amphelisia are bigger now. They don't need it."

He kept thinking, but eventually nodded. Mommy would know best after all. He snuggled against her leg and put his thumb in his mouth. Asha stroked a doughy hand through his hair. She'd have to wash it later, but she didn't mind. Moments like these were what she lived for. Graeme loved her and she loved Graeme. Just like she loved all her children. Just like she would love the child growing in her belly. She already did.

 

Yes, life was perfect. A bit uneventful, maybe, but that was good. She loved everything about it and always would

 


 

The end

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