rosevalleynb (rosevalleynb) wrote,

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Plotbunny Graveyard: Would-be entry for the Salt 'n Pepper Fest 2017, Life Changes

My prompt for this fest was: growing older sucks. The snippet posted below was my first idea, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But, the more I wrote, the more I began to dislike it. it turned out too angsty whereas I wanted to keep a more lighter tone to the fic. So, about three quarters through, I gave up on it and almost gave up on submitting a fic altogether. (Officially, I did drop out but rejoined again).

Again, this won't be finished but to give you the highlights; Millie is in the midst of menopause, hating herself and resenting her body of failing her. Theo, the hubby, confronts her, consoles her, and for at least the end of the story, Millie feels somewhat like a woman again. Of course, reality is that most if not all women who have trouble coping with such issues/ changes need more than a peptalk and some lovin', but hey, this is fanfiction.

Final note, the end is abrupt because i just couldn't be arsed to do more with it.

So, without further ado:

The bathroom was filled with a thick mist when Millicent turned the water off and stepped out the shower. Her jaws clenched in annoyance as she lifted her arms and slightly spread her legs, hoping, wishing that she’d cool off somewhat. No such luck, unfortunately. Her body felt feverish, overheated to the point that she feared that she’d spontaneously combust. Cold water hadn’t helped, nor the lukewarm water and as she’d expected, trying to trick her body into cooling off by standing underneath scorching hot sprays hadn’t either. She was cursed.

Or as the Healer had politely diagnosed and squashed the glimmer of hope she’d carried for weeks; she was amid life changes instead of being pregnant. Menopause. A rite of passage. Millicent wondered how many of those rites witches, women in general, had to go through. It seemed hardly fair compared to men.

“Sodding, no good, know-it-all potion pusher,” she muttered under her breath as she shuffled towards the grand mirror against the wall. She didn’t bother drying herself off, leaving behind a wet trail on the tiles. It was no use, anyway. She’d most likely be sweat-soaked in a matter of minutes, might as well keep the fantasy up that she was wet from her shower.

All she could see in the fog-covered mirror was her blurry outline. Since the diagnosis, she had avoided all the mirrors in the house, too disgusted with herself. Rationally, she knew it was childish. Ignoring the fact what she’d become didn’t make her problem go away. It was time to put on her big girl knickers and face herself. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she wiped the palm of her hand over the surface.

“Even uglier than usual,” she bit out at her reflection when she opened her eyes, and was immediately taken aback by her own tone. For a minute, she’d sounded like her estranged mother spewing her poison.

‘I’m just stating the obvious, darling. No harm done. You’re too sensitive.’

Millicent swallowed the lump in her throat as her hand shot up, her fingers ghosting over her cheeks. Deep lines marred her skin around her eyes and mouth. Even at eighty, her mother had a peach smooth skin, not a wrinkle in sight. Unlike her. At fifty-two, Millicent decided that she looked like a shrivelled prune. Maybe, her mother had been right all along.

Dorothy Bulstrode was a beautiful woman on the outside. In her younger years, she had been a Page Three Girl for the Daily Prophet. Merlin, the sorry excuse for a newspaper had even printed a special editorial for her sixtieth birthday, and Dorothy had worn nothing more than a palm leave. With her tall and slender build, long legs that went on for miles and miles, and bright blue eyes and golden hair, she’d been a dream come true for many. Wizards had wanted her, witches had wanted to be her. She was everything Millicent wasn’t, and she’d done her best to make sure her daughter knew. Under the guise of well-meant advice, of course.

Shaking her head to rid herself of her mother’s voice, Millicent dropped her eyes to her chest. There was nothing left of her once large and round, but still firm breasts. They were more like deflated balloons these days. She wasn’t sure when it had happened, but they’d sagged down to her bellybutton, her nipples pointing to the floor instead of proudly staring into the world.

Oh, how she regretted being ashamed of them in her teens. She should have flaunted them more, she realised sadly. They’d been easily the most beautiful part of her. But being eleven and having a fully developed chest hadn’t been easy. Between avoiding her mother’s ‘special friends’ and their leering eyes, her dorm mates’ cruel remarks, and the occasional gropes and pinches between classes, wearing her oversized robes whether she’d been in class or not had been the easiest solution.

And just like that, her mind drifted off to one of the few fond memories she had of her mother. It had been the summer before her second year, and after a well-meant underhand remark from Mrs Parkinson about how teen girls ought to dress, her mother had taken her to Madam Malkin’s to have a bra fitted. The memory of that day still brought a, albeit wry, smile to her face. For the first, and last time, her mother had paid positive attention to her, telling which colours went well with her complexion and build, what she ought to think about when buying a bra, and which charms to use to make sure they lasted. Her mother had even complimented her each time she’d shyly pushed the fitting room curtain aside.

Then they went home and her mother had transformed into Dorothy again; mostly ignoring her daughter, and when she wasn’t, pointing out everything that was wrong with her. Because that was what mothers did, of course.

‘Stop frowning, Millie. Honestly, you’re too unfortunate looking to be brooding like that. You’ll never find a husband if you keep that up.’

“Well, you’ve never been able to keep them,” Millicent growled and screwed her eyes shut again, pressing her fist against her closed lids. “Get out of my head!”

It took her a few deep breaths to calm down and crack her eyes open, and she was alone with her reflection again. Most of the fog on the mirror had cleared, exposing her body in full glory now. A desperate frustration coursed through her at the sight. From her black curly hair greying at the roots to her inwards bent knees and the first liver spots appearing on her hands, there was nothing about herself that Millicent could honestly say that she liked. She hadn’t expected to stay eighteen forever, but she hadn’t expected to turn into a hunched hag from those scary fairy tales either.

A dry sob escaped her as her eyes fell on her belly. She might have always been on the soft and thick side, but her stomach used to be somewhat toned, not the floppy fat-apron marred with silver stretchmarks that ran from her breasts to her hips it was these days.

Her eyes burnt with unshed tears as she lifted her gaze back up to her face. She’d become old, she relented quietly, as wrinkled and useless on the outside as she was on the inside. It was rather ironic that with all the magic in the world, there still wasn’t anything out there to stop the ageing process.

“I bet Mum found it.” Chuckling mirthlessly, Millicent placed her hands on either side of her face and pushed back, smoothening her skin. That didn’t look too good either.

“What are you doing?”

Startled by her husband’s voice, Millicent turned on her heels and lunged for a towel.

“Wow, that’s something I haven’t seen in a long time,” Theo joked.

“What?” As soon as it left her lips, Millicent regretted her snappish tone. Although she quietly reminded herself that he had no fault in how she felt, she snapped at him again. “What do you want?”

“I meant that you haven’t covered yourself since- Never mind. I just came up to check on you. You’ve been in here for hours.”

“I was not,” she lied without looking at him, too busy with wrapping one of the overly large towels around her body. “I’m alright. You can leave now.”

Theo narrowed his eyes as he crossed his arms over his chest in defiance. “No, not until you tell me what’s wrong with you.”

As she stared at her toes, the next lie came out easily. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”

It should have been enough to get him to leave. He should have understood that she wasn’t ready to talk about it, not for a long while, perhaps never. What good would it do, anyway? He probably already knew what she was turning into; a waste of space and air. Apparently, Theo didn’t understand because he was suddenly in front of her. His slippers touching her bare feet.

“Millie?” He put a finger under her chin and gently forced her to look at him. “Can you please tell me what’s going with you?”

She pressed her quivering lips together and shook her head. “Nothing you’d like to know.”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t.”

The last thing she wanted was to admit that there was something wrong. And strictly spoken, there wasn’t, the Healer had said so much. Nothing other than her age finally catching up on her. There wouldn’t be another baby thirteen years after their last one. Her body, her womb had betrayed her. Despite wanting to tell him to leave her alone so she could mourn the loss of her worth, something entirely else tumbled from her lips.

“You heard what the Healer said,” she choked out, her voice tight in effort not to burst out in tears. Without giving Theo the chance to say anything, she turned to the mirror. “I’ve become old, useless. Uglier than usual.”

She braced herself, ready for him to agree with that assessment. Or worse, hear him lie and tell her that it wasn’t that bad. Merlin, she even would’ve preferred that he’d argue with her like they had often done in in those strange weeks after becoming shagging mates at the end of the war.
Tags: incomplete fic, millicent/theo, plotbunny graveyard
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