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PostPosted: Sunday 15 February 2009 6:14:18pm 
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great great really great cant wait for the rest


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PostPosted: Saturday 21 February 2009 8:17:11pm 
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Great chapter. It's cool to see you introduce new aspects of healing to Matt. Can't wait for the next one!


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PostPosted: Sunday 22 February 2009 6:25:11pm 
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Thanks hprocks and Obladi! :grin:

Chapter 35: Back Home

The next few days droned on much like the past few had. Matt continued to get better, although he was still having problems with his ankle. Besides that, he was almost completely physically better.

He was still having nightmares, so the nurses kept giving him dreamless sleep. He flat out refused to go to sleep without it. Norlam had worked out a therapy schedule that would start the following Monday.

Healer Sterling decided that Matt would be ready to be discharged on Saturday, which was two weeks after the full moon. It was hard to believe it had been that long since I had been home. It was even harder to believe that we only had three more weeks in Australia.

"Ready to go home, Matt?" Sterling said as he entered the room Saturday morning.

Matt nodded. "Yup. It's boring here."

Sterling laughed. "That's good to hear." He pulled out his wand and began to perform various spells on Matt.

"Everything look good?" Dad asked once Sterling put his wand away.

"For the most part. His ankle isn't completely healed, so he'll have to use crutches for a couple weeks, but otherwise he's fine. I expect his ankle will be better by the next full moon, but he could possibly reinjure it that night."

Dad nodded. "All right."

"There are a few potions he'll have to take for a couple days to help with the healing. Plus the dreamless sleep, which he'll take until Norlam decides he's ready to stop.

"I'd like to see him as soon as you move here. Sooner if something happens during the next full moon."

"That's fine," Dad replied, "We'll let you know how he's doing."

"Thanks," Sterling said, "We've set up a portkey for you. The last thing Matt needs is to have to travel twenty hours on a Muggle airplane."

"Thank you," Mum looked at him gratefully.

"It's in my study. There are some forms you'll need to fill out at the nurse's station, and then you can take the portkey from my study. Jack, I've set you up a portkey back to New York as well."

"Wow, thanks," Uncle Jack said.

"I'll meet you at the nurse's station," Sterling picked up the chart that was sitting on the bedside table and left the room.

"Ready to go, Matt?" Dad went over to the bed and lifted Matt up. He nodded and put his arms around Dad's neck.

Uncle Jack grabbed the crutches and Mum grabbed Matt's overnight bag. I collected the various books I had acquired over the past two weeks and followed them out of the room. I was so relieved to finally be going home. I was sick of the hospital. Matt was mostly better, which I was very happy about. But ever since he had started to get better, I had been thinking more about the move. We only had three weeks left in Australia. And then we'd be in England permanently. The weird part was, it sort of felt like we already lived there.

Dad signed the discharge papers at the nurse's station and we said goodbye to the nurses that were working that day. We knew pretty much all of them by then and they were happy that Matt was finally better to go home. I'd found that the nurses were much friendlier towards him in England than in Australia.

We went to Sterling's study after Dad finished signing the papers. There was an old broken Muggle telephone and a cracked plastic mixing bowl sitting on his desk, which I assumed were the portkeys.

"I'll see you in a few weeks," Sterling shook Dad's hand, "I wish you luck with the move."

"Thanks," Dad replied.

"Thank you for everything," Mum said.

"You're welcome," Sterling smiled, "The telephone goes to Australia and the mixing bowl will go to New York."

Dad nodded and turned to Uncle Jack. "Well, Jack, I really appreciate you spending all this time here with us."

"I wanted to, Walt," Uncle Jack replied, "I'll try to visit once you've moved here."

"Ok, we'll see you then. Goodbye," Dad said.

"Bye, Walt," Uncle Jack clapped him on the shoulder and then turned to Matt, "Bye, kid. I'm glad you're feeling better. See you in a few weeks, ok?"

Matt nodded and held out his arms. Uncle Jack gave him a hug and ruffled his hair. Then he turned to me.

"See you in a couple weeks, Amy," he gave me a hug.

"Bye, Uncle Jack," I smiled.

"See you soon, Julie," he said to Mum.

"Thanks, Jack," Mum smiled gratefully at him, "We'll see you soon."

Uncle Jack handed her Matt's crutches and then picked the mixing bowl up off the table. Sterling tapped it with his wand and Uncle Jack disappeared.

Dad picked the telephone up and held it out. Mum and I each placed a hand on it. Sterling tapped it with his wand and I felt the familiar jerk behind my navel as England disappeared in front of me.

We landed in the kitchen a little while later. Mum and Dad both landed on their feet, but I landed on my arse as usual. I shakily stood up and gazed around the kitchen. It looked exactly the same. I smiled as I realized how happy I was to be home.

"Well, here we are. Home again," Dad said.

I dropped my bag on the floor and tried to figure out what time it was in Australia. It had been just after ten o'clock when we left England and it was dark in Australia. So, what time would that make it here? The time conversion thing was even more confusing when you traveled by portkey than Muggle airplanes.

I sat down at the table and saw the clock out of the corner of my eye. Duh, the clock, I thought. Why hadn't I just looked at it first? Probably because I was incredibly tired. It was after nine o'clock at night.

"Dad, I'm tired," Matt mumbled. He had still been sleeping more than normal. Plus, he woke up a few times every night when the dreamless sleep wore off.

"We all are," Dad replied, "But it's night here, so that's a good thing. Let's go upstairs and go to bed."

Mum and I followed them upstairs. We met Ellie halfway up the stairs and she was thrilled that we were back and that Matt was doing better.

Dad gently tucked Matt into his bed and gave him the dreamless sleep while Mum and I stood next to his bed. We all said good night to him and started to leave the room.

"Mummy?" Matt whispered.

"What is it, honey?" Mum asked, turning around.

"Can I sleep in your bed?" he asked quietly.

Mum and Dad glanced at each other. "What's wrong, honey?" Mum asked.

"I'm scared," he mumbled almost incoherently.

"Oh, Matt, no one is going to do anything to you here. There's nothing to be afraid of."

"Wh-what about L-lubar?" Matt croaked, "H-he m-might floo h-here."

"I'm getting us disconnected from the floo network," Dad muttered, "Tomorrow, first thing. And I'll put up some anti-apparition wards on the entire property."

"He won't come here again," Mum assured him, "You're safe here."

"I st-still w-want to s-sleep in your b-bed," Matt cried.

"Ok, that's fine," Mum said. She picked him up and he rested his head on her shoulder.

I followed my parents and Matt out of the room and watched them go into their bedroom. It looked like Matt fell asleep in Mum's arms a few moments later. The dreamless sleep must have kicked in.

I walked slowly back to my room and shut the door behind me. I dropped my bag on the floor and didn't bother emptying it. I gazed around my room and sighed. It felt good to be back, but I really didn't want to get used to it. In a few short weeks we'd be in England for good.

Before I went to bed, I scribbled out a quick letter to Olivia. I hadn't written to her in over two weeks. Our letters were becoming more and more infrequent, which kind of bothered me. She also talked more about the other girls in our year. I kind of thought she was becoming friends with them. I knew it was selfish of me to not want her to befriend them, but for the past three years it had always been the two of us against those other girls. But I couldn't really expect Olivia not to make new friends, could I?

I crawled into bed once I was done. Despite the fact that I was accustomed to England time, I was tired. I hadn't really had a good night's sleep the entire time we were there. The first few nights I was plagued with nightmares. Then when they stopped, I couldn't sleep because Mum or Dad (whoever was staying at the Leaky Cauldron that night) would toss and turn the whole night.

******

I woke up early the next morning. Earlier than I usually do. I squinted at the clock and saw that it was five in the morning. However, I was wide awake and starving so I got dressed and left the room. I paused by Matt's room on my way down the corridor, but he wasn't in there. He must've spent the entire night in my parents' room. It didn't surprise me in the least. He slept in there for a few months following the night he was bitten.

My parents' bedroom door was closed, so I guessed I was the only one up. It reminded me of school holidays when I'd get up early and hurry downstairs to get a bowl of Lucky Charms. It all seemed so trivial now. Just a few months ago, I hardly had a care in the world. My worries consisted of whether I'd pass the next Transfiguration test and what Olivia and I would spend Friday night doing. I suppose it was possible that once I adjusted to Hogwarts, life might return to a semblance of that, but I kind of doubted it. When I went to school in Australia, I paid zero attention to the outside world. The matters of the government didn't concern me in the slightest. I couldn't imagine going back to that. Now, I wanted to know what was going on. The past few months had taught me to find out the news for myself, not wait for my parents to tell me what was going on weeks after it actually happened.

Walking through the quiet house at that hour, I could almost pretend the past few months hadn't happened. Almost. The lack of furniture in a lot of the rooms and the empty places on the walls where the portraits had been told me otherwise. The past few months had happened. How many more times would I walk through the house at this hour?

The quiet was replaced by hushed whispers. I stepped as quietly as I could down the stairs and paused to hear where they were coming from. Kitchen, I thought. I tiptoed down the corridor and peeked into the kitchen. Mum and Dad were both sitting at the counter hunched over steaming mugs of coffee. I pulled my head back and leaned against the wall, listening in on what they were saying.

"I just can't stand it," Dad muttered, "He got away with it. There's nothing we can do. Absolutely nothing!"

"It's awful," Mum agreed and took a sip of her mug.

"I can't sit here and do nothing," Dad continued, "It's all I can do from stopping myself from going down to the Ministry and dueling him, Muggle style."

"That won't accomplish anything," Mum replied.

"I know. But when we were in England all I could concentrate on was getting Matt better. Now we're back in Australia and he is mostly better. I could be at the Ministry in two seconds. Hell, I'm going to the Ministry today to have them disconnect us from the Floo network!"

"Walt, it's Sunday. You'll have to wait until tomorrow," Mum sighed, "And you can't duel Lubar. He'll press charges and we'll be stuck here while you go on trial!"

"That's what's driving me mad! He kidnapped our son, harmed him, and we can't do a thing about it! There's something seriously wrong with that."

"I hate it as much as you do, Walt, but we have to put it behind us. Matt's better now. We just have to move on."

"But he's not entirely better. Who knows how long he'll be traumatized from this? That's what really gets me. Matt is the one who suffered from this. I know Lubar could care less about Matt. He did this to get me. To get me back for getting promoted before he did. Why couldn't he just duel me like a normal wizard? Or pull a few office pranks? Why did he have to get to me through my son?" Dad sighed and put his head in his hands.

"Because he knew it would hurt you more to see Matt hurt than to actually be hurt yourself," Mum replied, "I've told you that."

"I know," Dad groaned, "But he hasn't stopped. He just keeps going. There's nothing he won't do."

"He's not going to stop," Mum said quietly, "But we only have one more full moon here. Then we'll be gone. He can't get to us in England."

"But it's this one last full moon that worries me," Dad said darkly, "He does something worse each month. First it was that place of transformation law. Then it was just the threats and the fines. But last month, last month he went too far. I can't even think of anything worse he could do, save for kidnapping him again. I don't doubt that he'll try that again, too. The law hasn't changed."

"We'll just won't let him," Mum replied.

Dad let out another loud sigh. "Which is why this is just driving me mad. I could have stopped him last month. It was my fault. I shouldn't have left him alone."

"He wasn't alone. We were both in the house. No one should have to feel that they're not safe in their own house. We could not have expected that, Walter. You have to come to terms with that."

"That may be," Dad muttered, "But this month, I'm not leaving his side until the moon rises."

"Me, too," Mum agreed.

I wish I could do that, I thought. But I knew I'd be going to Richard and Cinda's again. The only good thing about that was that I'd get to see Kenzie, and this was the last time I'd get to see her for quite a while. Kenzie! I suddenly remembered that I'd told her we'd go to her house for that barbecue. When was that supposed to be? I racked my brain and remembered that it was this coming Saturday. I still hadn't even told my parents about it. It had completely escaped my brain.

Dad slammed his hands on the counter and shook his head. "I just hate that I can't protect him anymore!"

Mum put her arm around Dad and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I know. I hate it too. We just have to do all we can to protect him the other twenty-seven days of the month."

"But it's that one other day that he really needs protecting," Dad muttered.

"And we're doing all we can to make sure that one day is as good as it can be," Mum pointed out, "That's why we're moving, Walt."

"We should've moved sooner."

"No one could have predicted this. We have to remember that."

"A father should be able to stand up for and protect his children, Julie," Dad said quietly. "I can't do that anymore. I haven't been able to for the past two and a half years."

"But you do protect him, Walter. For the past two years you have been stopping the legislation that would ruin his life. That's protecting him."

"Until I got fired."

"You were fired because you were protecting him," Mum pointed out, "There's only so much we can do. He has an illness. Parents can't protect their children from chronic diseases."

"If I had been protecting him that night, he never would have been bitten," Dad whispered.

"We did all we could save for putting a charm on the tent to keep him from leaving it in the middle of the night."

"Maybe we should have done that. Or we shouldn't have gone camping that night. I knew it was going to be a full moon. I knew the dangers. But we still went. If I could just go back in time and change one thing, that would be it."

"You and me both," Mum sighed, "But we can't."

I watched them sit there leaning their heads on each other's shoulders. Every once in a while they would have this same conversation, but it had never before included Dad wanting to curse someone. I could understand it, though. I bet if I saw Lubar ever again I'd have a hard time keeping myself from hexing him.

When it became clear that neither of them were going to say anything else, I casually walked into the room pretending I hadn't heard a word they just said.

"Morning," I yawned as I opened one of the cabinets. I pulled out a box of Lucky Charms and then rummaged around for a bowl.

"Hi, Amy," Dad said wearily.

"Morning," Mum replied, "Did you sleep better?"

"Much," I said. I poured a bowl of cereal and sat down next to Mum. I ate half the bowl and neither of my parents had anything else. I decided it was a good a time as any to bring up the barbecue at Kenzie's house.

"Hey, Mum, Dad?" I asked in between bites.

"What is it, Amy?" Mum sighed.

"When I was at Richard and Cinda's, Kenzie said her mum invited us to their house for a barbecue this Saturday. I told her we could go and I'd let her know if we couldn't. But that was, you know, before the full moon, so...." I let my voice trail off. I wasn't really sure if Mum and Dad would want to go to Kenzie's house. I knew I wanted to, but doubted I had any say in the matter.

Mum looked at Dad before replying. "Just us? Or is this a party type thing?"

"Just us," I answered.

"I suppose we could go," Mum said slowly, "That's an entire week before the full moon."

"His ankle won't be healed by then, at least Sterling doesn't think so," Dad reminded her. "And what about the fact that he's afraid of everyone?"

"The Dawes aren't strangers. He knows them. But we'll see what he thinks about it to be sure. As far as his ankle goes, Muggles sprain their ankles all the time. They won't think a thing of it. It'll be nice to do something fun for a change," Mum replied. "We'll just have to Apparate and tell them we parked our car at my parents' house and then walk to theirs."

I hadn't really thought of that. It would seem kind of suspicious if we appeared at Kenzie's doorstep without a car parked in the street.

"That'll work," Dad said, "We can tell them your parents had other plans, as they're surely to invite them if we mention parking our car at their house."

Mum nodded. "Good point. Did Kenzie mention that we should bring anything?"

"Nope," I said.

"Well, I'll bring a desert or something," Mum decided.

I smiled as I ate the rest of my Lucky Charms. It would be nice to see Kenzie when it wasn't the full moon. When I didn't have to spend the night at Richard and Cinda's. Plus, I thought it would be good for my family to get out of the house. We hadn't really done anything like that since Richard and Cinda's 'going away' party. We hadn't done anything fun like that in who knows how long.

Mum and Dad continued drinking their coffee as I finished up my cereal. Judging by the lack of used dishes in the sink, neither of them had had any actual brekkie. Just coffee. Both of looked extremely exhausted as well.

I got up from the table and went to dump my own dirty dishes in the sink. A loud scream broke the silence and I dropped my bowl in surprise. I jumped as my heart started beating a mile a minute.

Mum and Dad jumped up from their seats and completely ignored my dropped dish. I quickly picked it up (luckily it was plastic and had not broken), tossed in the sink, and followed my parents out of the room.

The screaming got louder as we raced up the stairs and into my parents' room. Dad grabbed the doorknob and threw the door open. Mum and I followed him in.

Matt was sitting in the middle of their bed with tears running down his face. He was shaking uncontrollably and looked scared out of his mind. Mum practically flew over to the bed and put her arms around my brother, pulling him into her lap.

"It was just a dream," she soothed, "Mummy's here."

Dad sat down next to them and put his arm around the both of them. I sat down on the edge of the bed, not sure whether to stay or leave. Matt began to calm down after twenty minutes of my parents soothing him and eventually stopped crying all together. I had a feeling that this was going to become an everyday thing. I was beginning to doubt that Healer Norlam would be able to do anything about Matt's nightmares. They seemed so horrible.

"Are you hungry?" Mum asked after Matt had been quiet for a few minutes.

He nodded. Dad picked him up off of Mum's lap and carried him out of the room. Mum and I followed and the four of us went down to the kitchen. Ellie was there had started cooking eggs and toast. Dad set Matt down on one of the kitchen chairs and sat down next to him. Mum began helping Ellie with the cooking. I sat down and stared at the flowery tablecloth covering the table. Nobody said anything as we waited for the food to be ready.


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PostPosted: Sunday 22 February 2009 7:41:03pm 
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Nice chapter. I sincerely hope Lubar doesn't come back. Then you'd have me thinking about how to kill a fictional character, and that couldn't be healthy, lol.


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PostPosted: Sunday 22 February 2009 7:51:21pm 
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great chapter,duckie


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PostPosted: Sunday 1 March 2009 5:35:47pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! :grin: I have wanted to kill fictional characters, too, Obladi. :lol:

Chapter 36: Therapy Session

I spent most of the morning half-reading a book in the living room and half-watching Matt try out his crutches. He had taken a nap right after brekkie and woke up wanting to figure out how to use the crutches. It was kind of amusing to watch as Matt was pretty clumsy when he walked on two feet, and with crutches it was like he was walking on three feet. He must have fallen over at least ten times before Mum made him stop. She was afraid he'd hurt something else.

I sort of wanted to try out the crutches, too. I wasn't going to admit it to Mum, but they looked kind of fun. I'd never used them before, as wizards normally didn't need them. I broke my leg once when I was a little older than Matt. I'd fallen out of a tree. But the healers at Eastworth had it fixed within a few minutes and I was walking on it again two days later.

Dad disappeared into his study shortly after he finished eating his eggs. He muttered something about sending an owl to Norlam telling him to take a portkey to the bush behind the house instead of trying to floo. Dad was still planning on having our house disconnected from the floo network.

Dad also said something about having to reschedule the final estate sale. It was supposed to have been the previous day, but he'd canceled it at the last minute due to Matt's lengthy hospital stay. I wasn't really sure when he was planning on having it since we were supposed to move in only a few short weeks, but I certainly wasn't going to worry about it.

I didn't really think it would take all morning to send an owl and rearrange an estate sale, but Dad didn't reemerge from his study for hours. I saw Mum sigh and shake her head as she paused by the closed door on her way upstairs. Whatever he was doing in there, Mum seemed to realize that he wanted to be alone.

After lunch Matt fell asleep again and I got bored with reading. I put down my book and walked up the stairs to my potions room. I hadn't brewed anything in ages, which was kind of odd. I wasn't sure why I hadn't. Mum had long since given up on monitoring my homework since she had much more important things to worry about. I guess potion brewing had been pretty low on my priority list given the state of things in my family.

I brewed all afternoon and it was incredibly relaxing. I slowly forgot about the move and Matt's injuries and Dad's stress and everything else that was going on. The only thing I was thinking about was the potion I was brewing. I didn't even have to think about Matt barging in on me since he could hardly maneuver himself with his crutches across the living room let alone manage to climb up two flights of stairs with them.

I didn't even realize how much time had passed until my stomach started rumbling. I bottled up the potion and cleaned up. I was stowing my silver cauldron back in the cabinet when I heard a faint knock on the door.

"Come in," I said.

Dad walked inside looking worn out. I looked at him and suddenly noticed how old he looked. I hadn't really noticed my parents aging over the years, but for some reason Dad just looked much older than usual at that moment. His face was etched with lines and his eyes sunken into the purple bags that surrounded them. Maybe he just hadn't slept well in a few days. I had gotten a good night's sleep the previous night, but Dad might not have since Matt was in his room.

"Hey, Dad," I said as I closed the cabinet.

"Hi, Amy," Dad replied, "Dinner's ready."

"Oh, good. I'm starved."

"Well, Ellie's outdone herself," Dad smiled wearily, "I think she missed cooking for us the past couple weeks."

"I've definitely missed her cooking," I replied.

Dad and I walked downstairs together, where we found Mum, Matt, and Ellie already sitting down at the table. There were platters of food covering the entire table. It looked like way more food than my family would actually eat, but it certainly looked good.

"Were you able to reschedule the sale, Walter?" Mum asked after we'd all served ourselves heaping piles of food.

Dad nodded. "It's not until after we actually move, though."

"Isn't your cousin moving in right away?" Mum asked.

"I don't think so. I don't think he really cares about actually living here anyway. He'll be happy when we're out of the country. He'll technically own the house, but who knows what he'll do with it."

Mum muttered something under her breath that sounded an awfully lot like something she'd yell at me for saying if I said it. "When is the sale?" she asked.

"July twentieth," Dad replied, "I know it's close to the July full moon, but it's the earliest day I could get. I didn't want to let it wait too long. I figure I'll just come down here and you can stay with Matt in England. I should be able to finagle a porkey down here."

"I guess that will work," Mum sighed, "I don't suppose we have a choice."

"Not unless we want to let my dolt of a cousin get the furniture as well as the house," Dad muttered.

"Then it's settled," Mum said, "And what about Norlam? Is he going to be able to porkey down here?"

"Yes. He said that would be fine. And I'm going to the Ministry first thing tomorrow morning to get us disconnected from the Floo Network."

Mum shook her head and put down her fork. "I've been thinking about that. Do you really think it's wise?"

"To have us taken off the Network?" Dad stared at her, "We agreed to do it. It's a safety precaution. No one will be able to come undetected into the house anymore."

"No, not that," Mum said quickly, "Of course I think that's a good idea. What I'm not so sure about is you going to the Ministry to have it done."

I set my cup down and paid close attention to what they were talking about.

"I'm not going to do anything stupid, Julie," Dad muttered.

"I know you won't go there meaning to do anything stupid," Mum said quietly, "But I worry about what might happen if you accidentally happen upon him."

"I am in complete control of my own actions, Julie," Dad replied, his voice getting harsher.

"We'll talk about it later," Mum gave him a significant look and then slightly tilted her head towards Matt and I. I'd have to be sure to find out where they went to talk after dinner and eavesdrop.

Dad nodded and went back to eating his dinner. The rest of the meal was spent in silence until Matt started complaining about the taste of the potions Mum handed to him after he'd finished eating.

I lingered at the table nursing my juice as Ellie and Mum began clearing the table. Dad slowly followed Matt back to the living room. Judging by the sound of it, Matt only fell over once on his way there, which was a new record. Mum visibly winced when she heard the thump, but she just shook her head and continued helping Ellie with the dishes.

Dad returned a short while later and gestured for Mum to follow him. I peered around the door as they went and saw the two of them disappear into Dad's study, shutting the door behind them. I hurried out of the room and up the stairs. I rummaged through the stuff that was on my desk until I found the Extendable Ears I had bought in Hogsmeade. I knew those things would come in handy again.

I ran down the stairs as fast as I could without making too much noise. I knelt in front of the door to Dad's study and stuffed an end of the Extendable Ear into my own ear. Nothing. There wasn't a sound coming from the study. Merlin, I thought, what if they put some sort of charm on the door? It wouldn't really surprise me.

"You know what I think about this." I heard Mum say. Yes, they hadn't charmed the door!

"And you know my opinion on the subject as well," Dad replied.

"Well, we're in a bit of a bind, then."

"I suppose so. But how exactly do you think we're going to get disconnected from the Floo Network if I don't go to the Ministry?" Dad asked, "You think you'd be able to control yourself if you went and somehow stumbled upon Lubar?"

"No," Mum said, "I don't think I would. I don't think you would, either."

"Then how are we going to accomplish this?"

"I don't know," Mum said, "I just don't think it's a good idea for you to go down there."

"I know you don't. But we haven't got a choice! It's either I go down to the Ministry or we stay on the Network and risk Lubar showing up on the full moon! And do you really think I'll be able to control myself if that happens? I swear I'll kill him if he ever shows up here again."

"Can't we just send an owl and request it or something?" Mum asked.

"I want to be sure it's done and done correctly. I don't want Lubar getting word of this and drafting some sort of nonsense legislation that requires werewolves to be on the Floo Network. I wouldn't put it past him to do just that if I send an owl about this.

"All I want to do is go directly to the Department of Magical Transportation and ask them personally to take us off the Network. I'm perfectly within my rights to do that. I haven't been banned from Ministry premises. Anyone can have themselves taken off the Network. But if we send an owl, someone could show it to Lubar and he could have that legislation passed within a day."

Mum sighed. "I suppose you're right. I just don't feel comfortable with you doing this. If you so much as say the wrong thing to Lubar while you're there, you could find yourself arrested."

"I know," Dad said darkly, "And that's why I'm not going anywhere near my old department."

"All right, all right. I trust you. It's Lubar I don't trust."

"I know, Julie, I know," Dad sighed.

"Do you really think this will work? Will he not be able to get Matt if we're off the Network?"

"It'll help," Dad said, "He won't be able to take us by surprise again. He'll have to Apparate outside our property and then walk to the door. I'll set some charms throughout the yard and we'll know if he enters the property. In which case, we'll be prepared for him. All we'll have to do is hold him off until the moon rises and then it'll be too late for him to do anything."

"There are so many things that could go wrong with that plan," Mum replied, "We could both wind up in prison for attacking a Ministry official."

"I know," Dad said, "But it's the only thing we can do. Just one more full moon here and then we'll be in England. We just have to get through one more."

I listened for another minute, but neither of them said anything. I hurried away when I heard footsteps coming from inside. I was innocently reading in the living room when my parents entered a few minutes later.

I stayed up half the night worrying about what my parents were planning on doing. I knew Dad wasn't planning on meeting up with Lubar at the Ministry the next day, but what if they somehow stumbled upon each other? Dad didn't sound like he was joking around when he said he'd kill Lubar. Dad normally wasn't a violent person; he usually preferred to solve problems with words rather than wands. Uncle Jack had always been the one with a temper. But this was different. I knew there was nothing Dad wouldn't do to protect Matt, and me as well.

Then there was the full moon itself. My parents had come up with a plan to knowingly break the law. Nothing had changed since the last full moon. Matt was still legally required to transform at the Ministry Approved Center, even though it practically killed him the last time. To get out of the requirement, Dad would have to create a safe house that Lubar approved of. I had a feeling that Dad could create the world's safest building and it still wouldn't be up to Lubar's standards. But Mum had brought up a good point; what if they did get arrested? How did Dad suppose he'd hold Lubar off without hexing or jinxing him?

I woke up groggy and still tired the next morning. I squinted at the clock near my bed and saw that it was just past nine. I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs.

The rest of my family was already up. Mum and Dad were eating omelets and not speaking. They both looked exhausted. Matt was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms and leaning his head on his hand at the same time. He looked even more tired than my parents.

I poured myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and sat down next to Matt. No one said anything as I began eating.

"I'm off to the Ministry," Dad announced a little while later.

"Be careful," Mum warned him as he stood up.

"I will," he said and gave her a quick kiss, "I'll be back shortly."

"Bye, Dad," I said.

"Bye, Amy," Dad gave me a hug and then gave one to Matt. "Bye, Matt. I'll be back soon, ok?"

He nodded. "Bye."

I wandered into the living room once I finished eating. Mum had carried Matt in there as soon as Dad left. She was pacing in front of the fireplace and Matt was nodding off on the couch.

I watched Mum pace for the entire time Dad was gone. The only time she stopped was when Matt woke up and complained that his ankle hurt. She brought him a potion and then went back to pacing.

Mum jumped as the she heard the front door open. She quickly sat down on the couch next to Matt and grabbed the nearest book, opening it up to a random page.

"We're disconnected," Dad announced as he stepped into the room.

"Oh, good," Mum smiled, "And did you meet up with," she paused and glanced at Matt, who was sleeping, "Lubar at all?"

"Nope," Dad replied and then lowered his voice, "Although I did pass the Minister in the corridor."

Mum sighed. "Did you keep your head?"

"Yes," Dad said, "There were certainly a few things I wanted to say, and a few hexes I would've liked to share, but I said nothing. He looked at me strangely, but I hurried away as quickly as I could. He has no idea why I was there."

"Good," Mum replied, "Now onto the next thing. Norlam's coming at one, right?"

"Yeah," Dad confirmed, "He'll be portkeying."

Mum sighed. "I really hope this goes well."

"Me, too," Dad agreed, "Me, too."

******

I could sense Mum and Dad's nervousness as we ate lunch a little while later. They kept looking at each other and then at Matt. He didn't seem to notice and was considerably more awake than he had been at brekkie.

"Matt," Mum said quietly as she cleared the dishes, "Do you remember Healer Norlam? From St. Mungo's?"

Matt stared at Mum and slowly nodded his head. I couldn't quite make out what he was thinking, but it looked to be a combination of fear and confusion.

"Well," Mum continued, "He's going to come visit us today. To see how you're doing and see if he can help with your nightmares."

Matt shook his head fiercely and then winced. "No. I don't want him to come."

"I know you don't, honey, but he's going to help."

We all migrated back to the living room once Mum finished cleaning up. Matt looked scared as he sat on the couch. Mum and Dad sat down next to him and he crawled over to Mum and leaned his head on her chest. I wasn't really sure if I was supposed to be there during the therapy session, but I sat down on a chair and pulled out a book.

The door charm sounded a little while later and I got up with Dad to answer it. Mum stayed with Matt since he was still leaning against her.

Dad opened the door and Norlam greeted him and shook his hand. Dad gestured for him to step into the house and shut the door behind him.

"Matt's in the living room," Dad said and pointed down the corridor.

"Actually, I thought I'd talk to you first," Norlam said.

"Oh, all right. Amy-"

"She can stay," Norlam smiled, "That's fine. I imagine she'll just listen in around the corner anyway."

I blushed and grinned sheepishly. Maybe this bloke did know a thing or two about the way children's minds worked.

Dad smirked. "Well, ok. What did you want to talk about?"

"I can't start therapy until Matt feels comfortable around me. It just won't work if he doesn't trust me. So, today's goal is to start to gain his trust."

"Any ideas as to how to do that?" Dad asked.

It seemed to me like an endless loop. Matt was afraid of strangers and Norlam was a stranger. In order to overcome that fear, he had to learn to trust Norlam.

"It's going to be tough," Norlam said, "And I doubt it'll happen with just one session. But we're going to try. I thought I could just sit in the living room with you. All of you," he turned to me and then back to Dad, "We'll just talk casually and maybe play a game or two of Exploding Snap. Hopefully Matt will see how at ease the three of you are and start to trust me."

Dad nodded. "That sounds like it should work."

"Well, let's get started," Norlam smiled.

Dad led the way back to the living room. Norlam gestured for me to go in first, then Dad, and then himself. I sat down on the couch and Dad leaned over Mum's shoulder and whispered something in her ear. She nodded and Dad stood next to the door. Norlam stepped in and smiled at Mum.

"Hello, Healer Norlam," Mum greeted him.

"Hi, Julie," Norlam said, "Please, call me Jeff."

"Jeff, then," Mum replied.

Matt watched the two of them talk and inched closer to Mum. He climbed onto her lap and turned away from Norlam.

Norlam took a seat on the floor, which I thought was kind of odd since there was another couch and a few chairs that were empty. But I figured he had a reason for it.

"Anyone care to play Exploding Snap?" Norlam asked as he pulled a package of cards out of his robes.

I looked at Dad and he gave a slight nod of his head. "Sure," I shrugged and got up from the chair. I sat down across from Norlam and he began to shuffle the cards. Dad got up as well and sat down next to me.

"So," Norlam began as he dealt the cards, "Amy, you're going into your fourth year in school?"

I nodded. "Yeah. I was supposed to be in it already, but well, you know the story." I thought it was odd that Norlam was talking to me when this whole therapy thing was for Matt, but I knew nothing about psychology so I didn't question anything. I wanted Matt to get over this, so I decided to just go along with it.

"Indeed I do," Norlam said quietly, "But life is never predictable. Hogwarts is a great school. I attended there myself, a very long time ago. What subjects do you enjoy?"

"Potions and Astronomy," I answered.

"Interesting combination," Norlam said, seeming to stare off into space, "Interesting indeed...."

I had no idea where he was going with this. I looked at him curiously and he gave a slight shake of his head and returned his attention to the game.

"How about Quidditch?" Norlam asked, "Do you like Quidditch?"

"Not really," I shrugged. I've never liked flying, whether it's on a broomstick or a Muggle airplane. Quidditch wasn't really something I enjoyed watching either. Dad took us to the World Cup once, when it was held in Australia, and that was fun. I had only been about ten at the time.

"I'm a big Quidditch fan. Played Beater for Hufflepuff House when I was at Hogwarts. Do you know about the houses?"

"Yes. Professor Kendrick told us about them. How do they decide which house you're in?"

Norlam smiled. "That, Amy, is one of the big secrets of Hogwarts. Although it's never been discussed, nobody tells how the Sorting is done. My own brother wouldn't tell me. I asked him about five times a day the whole summer before I went to Hogwarts, but he never said a word about it. My parents never mentioned it to me either. Didn't find out until I entered the Great Hall my first day."

"So you're not going to tell me?" I asked. I had been wondering about the Sorting thing ever since I found out we'd be moving to England. In Australia, you were just randomly assigned a house.

"I feel I'd be betraying generations of Hogwarts students if I told you, Amy," Norlam sighed, "But I daresay you'll find out soon."

"So, can I ask you questions?" I asked.

"Of course," Norlam replied, "After all, I'm asking about you."

I nodded. I paused before asking anything. What sort of questions would help Matt figure out that Norlam was trustworthy? I was beginning to wish I knew a little bit about psychology.

"Well, are you married?" I asked.

"I've been married for forty-eight years," Norlam smiled, "To the most wonderful lady in the world. We have two children and seven grandchildren. I love them more than anything in the world."

That was good. Maybe if Matt heard that Norlam had kids and grandkids, he'd trust him.

"And do any of them go to Hogwarts?"

"Actually, yes. Three of them. One has already graduated and the other three are too young. All have been in Hufflepuff."

"What were your favorite subjects there?"

"Transfiguration and Herbology," Norlam answered, "Care of Magical Creatures was fun as well, but after seeing my teacher loose a few fingers one lesson, I was more apt to watch the creatures from afar than actually study them."

Dad chortled and shook his head. "I think if my Care of Magical Creatures professor had lost fingers during class, I would have been even more excited about the subject. Nothing scared me as a child. I think it would have been better if I had a healthy fear of dragons, though. I obtained quite the nasty burn in training."

"And that's why you went into the study of magical creatures and I went into psychology," Norlam replied.

"Er, is the professor who lost his fingers still there?"

"Oh, no. He retired a while ago. Although the professor they have now has no fear of any creature in the world. I wouldn't even put it past him to keep a dragon as a pet."

My eyes bugged out. A dragon as a pet? Was that bloke mad? Well, as long as he didn't make me care for dragons, I didn't suppose it would matter.

"Don't worry. There is no one in the world more capable of handling magical creatures more than that professor," Norlam assured me.

"Do you know any of the other professors?"

"Most of them," Norlam said, "Only one of them taught me, though. The Potions Master."

"Can you tell me about them?"

"I'd prefer not to, so as not to influence your opinion of them."

I sighed and went back to the cards. We kept talking casually as we played Exploding Snap. Norlam was either horrible at the game or purposely losing to Dad and I was some sort of psychological technique. By the time the hour long appointment had ended, Norlam's face was coated in soot.

He collected the cards, cleaned his face, said goodbye to Mum, and motioned for Dad to follow him into the corridor. I followed them since neither of them told me not to.

"I'd like to have bi-weekly appointments, if that will work for you," Norlam said once we were away from the living room.

Dad nodded. "That would be fine."

"How about Mondays and Fridays at this same time?" Norlam suggested.

"That should work."

"I'll be here on Friday, then," Norlam replied, "Goodbye."

"Bye," Dad shook his hand.

"Bye, Amy," Norlam waved to me as he opened the door, "You were quite helpful today."

"Bye," I replied. How had I been helpful? All I'd done was play Exploding Snap and talk about my life. I didn't think I'd ever understand psychology.


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PostPosted: Tuesday 3 March 2009 7:40:05pm 
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Another wonderful chapter Duckie. I'd like to see what the parents do to keep Lubar away.


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PostPosted: Sunday 8 March 2009 2:46:13am 
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great chapter


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PostPosted: Sunday 8 March 2009 8:59:50pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! :grin:

Chapter 37: Kenzie's House

Dad shut the door behind Norlam and turned to me. "Thank you, Amy. You were brilliant in there. I think Matt's really making progress."

I stared at him and raised my eyebrow. "What? He won't go near Norlam. And what in the name of Merlin did I do?"

"You had your back to Matt the whole time. You didn't see what he was doing when you were talking with Norlam. When the session started, Matt had his head buried in Mum's shoulder but by the time it was over, he was looking at us and paying attention to what was going on. That is a huge improvement."

I hadn't noticed that at all. That was amazing, but what had I done? "That's great," I smiled, "But how did I help?"

"You were comfortable around Norlam. You talked with him like you knew him, like he wasn't a stranger. You asked him questions that would help Matt understand that he was a nice person. He looks to you to judge situations. He looks up to you more than you think, Amy. By knowing you're comfortable with Norlam, he'll begin to be comfortable with him. And when that happens, we can start to work through the issues."

I nodded. Did Matt really pay that much attention to what I was doing? I wasn't even home all the time. He went months without seeing me when I was at school. And even though I'd been home the past few months, I had to admit that I hadn't really been nice to him. But apparently I was a huge influence on him.

Dad gave me a hug and put his arm around me as we walked back into the living room. Mum and Matt were still sitting on the couch, but Matt had moved away from Mum and was playing his DS. Mum got up when she saw us come in. She gave me a hug and whispered 'thank you' and then she and Dad left the room. I stared curiously at their backs as they left. I never would have thought that I'd have such an important roll in Matt's therapy. It was kind of strange.

The next few days passed in a kind of relaxed but tense pace. I really didn't have anything to do, but I wasn't bored. I read and worked on potions. Mum and Dad held hushed conversations in Dad's study and I listened in on a few of them. Most were about the full moon and started becoming repetitive after a while. Matt continued having nightmares every night but seemed to sleep fine when he napped during the day. His ankle was healing, slowly but surely. Dad had him try walking on it Friday before his next therapy session, but he said it hurt and didn't want to do it again. Dad looked worried after this and I had a feeling it had to do with the fact that the full moon was just over a week away. Sterling had said Matt's ankle needed to be mostly healed before the next full moon.

Friday's therapy session followed the same pattern the first one had. Matt still wasn't comfortable enough with Norlam and spent the hour on the couch with Mum. But this time I paid more attention to what Matt was doing and I noticed that he watched us the whole time with some sort of curiosity on his face. Norlam said he was making excellent progress and wouldn't be surprised if he joined in the Exploding Snap games the next session.

Mum had reluctantly called Cinda and told her about our plans to have dinner at Kenzie's house. We had to tell them that we'd be Apparating to their house. Mum and Cinda's relationship remained strained, but Mum said that she and Richard did want to see Matt. They hadn't seen him since before his hospital stay.

I was very excited about going to Kenzie's house. I hadn't been there in a while, despite the fact that I was at Cinda's house every month. Mum and Dad seemed relatively excited as well. As much excitement as either of them could show, that is. They had told Matt about the dinner and he didn't seem too afraid to go. He had known the Dawes since before he even became a werewolf, though, so they weren't exactly strangers.

"Are you ready to go, Amy?" Dad asked me early Friday evening.

"Yeah," I grinned, "This is going to be much better than Cinda and Richard's going away party."

"Ready, Jule?" Dad asked Mum.

Mum nodded. She was holding Matt and was ready to Apparate. Dad picked up Matt's crutches and then wrapped me in a hug. With two loud cracks, the four of us disappeared.

I opened my eyes and we were standing in the middle of Richard and Cinda's living room. I heard footsteps behind me and turned around to see both my grandparents standing in the doorway. Richard looked happy to see us and I couldn't tell what Cinda was feeling.

"Julietta," Richard hugged both Mum and Matt at the same time, "It's so good to see you."

"You, too, Dad," Mum smiled.

"And how are you, Matt?" Richard asked with a look of concern on his face.

"Ok," he shrugged.

"Good," Richard smiled.

"Julietta," Cinda said quietly, "I know you have to get to the Dawes house now, but I'd like to talk to you after."

"I think that would be a good idea," Mum replied.

Dad nodded to both my grandparents as we left the room. I hurried after him and Mom and Matt brought up the rear. Whatever conversation Mum and Cinda were going to have later, it was definitely going to be interesting.

We left the house and started the walk to Kenzie's. Kenzie's house wasn't really that far away. It was right past my grandparents' property, but there was a large clump of trees in between so you couldn't see Kenzie's house from Richard and Cinda's. It was a warm night with a slight crisp wind. It was starting to get chillier. Winter was coming, although Australian winter wasn't nearly as cold as New York's. We'd move before it really hit, though, so we'd be getting two summers in a row.

I could smell the barbecue as we walked up the steps to Kenzie's house. It smelled great. Kenzie's dad was an excellent barbecuer. Dad rang the bell and we waited to be let in. I could hear the thundering of footsteps and the door was thrown open a moment later.

"Amy!" Kenzie shouted and threw her arms around me.

"Kenzie!" I grinned and hugged her back.

"Julie! Walter!" Mrs. Dawe came bustling through the crowd of Dawe children and greeted my parents. "How are you holding up?"

"Surviving," Mum said, "Never a dull moment."

"Life sure would be boring if it weren't that way," Mrs. Dawe replied. She smiled at Matt and then noticed his ankle and the crutches Dad was holding. "Oh, dear, what happened?"

Mum and Dad had constructed the cover-up story earlier, making sure both Matt and I knew all the details.

"He passed out and fell down some stairs," Mum sighed, "But it's healing."

Mrs. Dawe looked at Matt sympathetically. "I'm sorry to hear that. Such rotten luck. Glad it's healing, though. How is he otherwise?"

"The usual," Mum said.

"Well, I'm sure the doctors will come up with something and he'll be cured."

Mum nodded and we continued walking through Kenzie's house. Mrs. Dawe led us outside, where a few tables had been set up and the food was set out. Mum put Matt down on a chair and Dad handed him the crutches. My parents sat down nearby and continued their conversation with Mrs. Dawe. Mr. Dawe joined them as soon as he had the burgers on the grill.

Kenzie and I sat down at one of the picnic tables and were followed by all of her siblings, including little Michael. I told Kenzie more about the move and she told me about school.

Mari and Maddie soon grew bored of listening to our conversation and started running around the yard. They stopped in front of Matt and noticed his crutches.

"Can I try those?" Mari asked.

"Sure," Matt shrugged.

Mari picked them up and bent low over them and began to awkwardly walk around the yard. Despite the fact that Mari is only a few months older than Matt, she's a head taller than him and the crutches were much too small.

"Those are kind of fun," Mari grinned and set the crutches back down.

"Not really," Matt replied, "I always fall down with them."

"I didn't," Mari said.

"I wanna try!" Maddie shouted and picked up the crutches. They were slightly too big for her and she fell over as soon as she stood up with them. "You're right. They're not fun," she huffed.

"Are to," Mari disagreed.

"No they're not! And they're Matt's. He says they're no fun, so there!"

"He only says that because he sprained his ankle and has to use them!"

I rolled my eyes at Kenzie and we stifled laughs as we listened to the little kids fight. Kenzie's sisters always fought over the stupidest things.

"Girls!" Mrs. Dawe shouted, "Enough of that fighting. And nobody touches the crutches. I don't want either of you to hurt yourselves enough to actually need them."

Mari and Maddie stuck their tongues out at each other and then sat down on either side of Matt. Maddie started to poke his ankle and Mari smacked her arm away.

"Don't do that, Maddie," Mari scolded, "You'll hurt it more."

"Will not!"

"Will too!"

"Will not!"

"Marianna Lily and Madison Rose!" Mrs. Dawe got up from her chair, walked over to the girls, and put her hands on her hips. "Stop this fighting right now! And Maddie, don't touch Matt's ankle."

Mari and Maddie both glared at their mother and then turned back to Matt. They began asking him questions and yelled at each other whenever the other one interrupted. Matt looked a little confused by this, but went along with it.

"They are so immature," Morgan muttered. She was currently looking at her face in a compact.

"She could use with being a little more immature," Kenzie whispered to me. I covered my mouth with my hand and stifled a giggle.

"What?" Morgan asked.

"Nothing," Kenzie smirked. She and Morgan used to fight like Mari and Maddie do. Well, I kind of think they still do, but neither of them admit it. Morgan is just a very irritating twelve-year-old.

Kenzie and I continued talking until dinner was ready. Every once and a while I would glance over at my parents and it looked like they were really enjoying themselves. It made me wonder why we didn't spend more time with Kenzie's family. We hadn't done something like this in months. This might even be the last time we get together. I shook the thought from my mind. It wasn't the time to dwell on the move. It was time to just live in the moment and have fun.

"Burgers are ready!" Mr. Dawe shouted a little while later.

Kenzie and I turned around and faced the table while her sisters sat down across from us. Mum, Dad, and Mrs. Dawe sat down at the other table. Matt glanced at the kids' table before deciding to sit in between our parents at the other table. Mr. Dawe set a platter of burgers down on both tables and then sat down next to his wife.

"Your dad always makes the best burgers," I told Kenzie as I helped myself to one.

"Yeah. But they're only good when he barbecues them. When he cooks them in the oven, they're not nearly as good," Kenzie explained.

"Why's Matt sitting over there?" Maddie whined as she squirted a huge amount of Ketchup onto her burger.

"Er-" I stammered, trying to come up with a reasonable excuse.

"Probably cause he didn't want to sit with all the girls," Mari interrupted.

I nodded my head in agreement. Leave it to an eight year old girl to come up with a reason like that.

"But I thought he liked us," Maddie said.

"He does," Morgan sighed, "But the two of you were driving him mad all afternoon!"

"Were not," Maddie huffed.

Morgan rolled her eyes. I went back to eating, happy that the conversation had been dropped. Mari and Maddie argued about pointless stuff throughout the entire meal, but Kenzie and I were able to ignore it. They didn't eat for very long anyway. The two of them shoveled down their burgers and then started playing a game of two-person tag. It seemed kind of pointless to me, but at least they weren't arguing.

After we all finished eating, the adults settled down on the patio furniture again and started discussing the move. Mrs. Dawe brought out a bottle of wine and they all had a drink while talking about houses and jobs and other moving related stuff. Matt, who looked tired, laid down on one of the lounge chairs nearby.

Kenzie and I climbed up onto a huge branch on one of the trees in her backyard. We talked and watched her sisters chasing each other around the yard. Well, Morgan wasn't participating. She had began painting her toenails at the picnic table. Michael was toddling around the yard trying to play tag with Mari and Maddie, which had all three of them in hysterics.

Sitting in that tree watching Kenzie's family made me wonder what my life would have been like if my parents had had more kids. I always got the feeling they wanted more, but they just weren't able to. Mum often talked about how she had been kind of lonely as a child because she had no siblings and how lucky I was to have a brother. Dad had Uncle Jack, but he occasionally talked about how fun it would be to have a chaotic household with lots of kids. In comparison with Kenzie's family, my family was relatively quiet. Our house never had the energy that Kenzie's seemed to have.

Kenzie and I jumped out of the tree after a while, since it was starting to hurt to sit on a branch. We wandered over to the patio, where everyone else seemed to have congregated.

Michael had tired of the tag game and was falling asleep in his mum's lap. Morgan had moved on to painting her fingernails. Mari and Maddie had given up on the game as well and were once again sitting on either side of Matt, who looked to be falling asleep.

"What's your school like?" Maddie asked Matt, "Mine's fun. We played Duck Duck Goose yesterday."

"I'm home schooled," Matt muttered without opening his eyes.

"What's that?" Maddie asked.

"School at home. My mum teaches me."

"Why?"

"Maddie!" Mari shouted, "Don't ask that." She lowered her voice, but not low enough not to hear what she was saying. "It's because he's sick."

"Oh," Maddie nodded, "When I'm sick, Mummy lets me stay home."

"That's not the kind of sick he is," Mari sighed, "You're too little to understand."

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

Mari groaned and put her arms across her chest. She turned back to Matt. "Does your mum teach you the same stuff I'm learning? What year are you in? I'm in third."

"I dunno. My mum doesn't mention years," Matt replied, "She teaches me maths and reading and other stuff."

Other stuff like magic, I thought.

"Oh," Mari said, "Are you going to be home schooled in England?"

"For a couple years. Then I'm going to the school Amy's going to."

"What's that one like?" Mari turned to me.

"Er, it's just your average school," I said. Well, if a school in a castle was normal. "Maths, reading, science, history, that sort of stuff."

"Sounds boring," Mari said and turned back to Matt, "Can I use your crutches again?"

"Mmm-hmm," Matt yawned.

"I want to try again, too!" Maddie shouted.

Mari picked up the crutches before Maddie could and started hobbling across the yard with them. Maddie shrieked and chased her. Mari was pretty slow on the crutches and Maddie soon caught up, tackling her to the ground.

Kenzie groaned and stormed over to her sisters. I followed. Kenzie bent down and ripped the crutches out of Mari's hands.

"Ok, neither of you are playing with these anymore! They're not toys!" she handed me the crutches and we went back over to the patio. Mari and Maddie grudgingly followed.

Maddie climbed onto the same chair Matt was on. "Are you tired?" she poked his arm.

Matt turned over and groaned. "Yeah," he mumbled.

"But it's early," Maddie whined.

"Maddie, leave him alone, please," Mrs. Dawe walked over to us and picked Maddie up off the chair.

The rest of the adults were behind her. They had finished their wine and were laughing about something. Mum looked at Matt and then glanced at Dad.

"We should probably get going," Mum said to Kenzie's parents, "It's getting late."

Mrs. Dawe set Maddie down and turned back to Mum. "Yes, I suppose it is. Well, thank you so much for coming."

"Thanks for having us," Mum smiled.

"Keep in touch," Mrs. Dawe embraced Mum in a hug, "Good luck with everything."

"Are you going to your grandparents' at all before you move?" Kenzie asked me.

"Yeah," I nodded, "In about a week, actually."

"Good," Kenzie smiled, "Then we won't say goodbye now."

"Right," I agreed, "So I'll see you in a week."

"See you then!" Kenzie grinned.

Mum and Dad said their goodbyes to everyone and promised to send letters. Mum even gave Mrs. Dawe her mobile phone number. The only other people who have that are my grandparents. Dad shook hands with Mr. Dawe and then gathered Matt, who was now fully asleep, in his arms. Mum grabbed the crutches and we began the walk back to Richard and Cinda's. I turned around when we were halfway down the yard and saw Kenzie and her family standing in the doorway, waving at us. I waved back and then continued walking.

******

"I'm going to miss them," Mum sighed as we walked up Richard and Cinda's driveway.

"Me, too," Dad agreed, "They are a very kind family. If half of wizarding Australia were as caring as they were, the country would be a much better place."

"That's for sure," Mum said.

Dad opened the door to the house and we walked inside. It was quiet, but I knew both of my grandparents were waiting for us to come back. We walked slowly down the corridor and into the living room. Richard was reading a newspaper and Cinda was flipping through the channels on the television. Both of them looked up when we came in.

"Mother," Mum nodded to Cinda.

"Julietta," Cinda replied.

I followed Dad into the room. He sat down on the couch next to Richard and held Matt, who was still sleeping, on his lap. Richard made no move to get up. He seemed to sense that this was something that was between Cinda and Mum. I sat down in a nearby chair and waited for the shouting to begin.

"I've hardly heard a word from you the past few weeks," Cinda said quietly, "I can't begin to tell you how much that worried me."

Mum sighed. "I'm sorry for that. I really am. But you knew we were at the hospital in London. I couldn't contact you everyday. It was hard enough to find a pay phone nearby. There really aren't many of those left. And then I had to figure out how to do an overseas call on one."

"You have a mobile," Cinda pointed out.

"I did not think to bring it. We left in an emergency."

Cinda nodded. "I know, but it still worried me."

"We're moving in three weeks," Mum said, "I'd rather not have us be on such bad terms."

"I haven't enjoyed it either," Cinda replied, "But I still do not approve of this move."

"And I don't think you ever will," Mum said shortly, "Because you truly do not understand what we're going through."

"I still see this as you running away from your problems instead of facing them," Cinda shot back, "Which doesn't seem to me as something unique to the wizarding world."

"The situation is unique to the wizarding world," Mum replied, "There is no Muggle disease that is viewed the way lycanthropy is."

"You have a point there," Cinda said, "I can't think of any Muggles who have to move to a different country because their son is sick."

"And that's because lycanthropy is not viewed as a disease here. The Ministry does not see Matt as a kid with a disease. They see him as an animal. And because of that, he's denied rights. Rights that every human being should have. He'll have those rights in England. He'll have a better life there."

"And what if those rights are taken away in England? Then what? Will you move again?"

"If it's necessary, yes," Mum answered.

"See? Running away from your problems. That's always the solution, isn't it? We raised you different than that!"

"When 'running away' as you call it, is the only way to keep my son alive, I sure will do it," Mum took a step closer to Cinda and lowered her voice, "I will not stubbornly stay here and put his life at risk. One more full moon like last month's could do just that. He can't go through that again."

"I just don't see how your Ministry can take him like that and get away with it."

"Because of the laws!" Mum groaned, "That is what you don't understand! Werewolves are not seen as people in the eyes of the law!"

"Fine," Cinda crossed her arms, "Fine. I don't understand. But I don't want you to move while we're fighting like this."

Mum sighed. "I don't either."

"Then let's just put this whole thing behind us," Cinda said, "I don't want us to go months without speaking again."

"Again, that's not something I want either," Mum replied.

"I will always support whatever decisions you make, Julie," Cinda said, "I may not agree, but I will support you."

"Thank you, Mum," Mum said.

"I do love you, Julietta," Cinda hugged Mum, "I always will."

Mum hugged her back. "I love you, too."

I stared at them curiously. They hadn't really shouted at each other much. With the way they had been ignoring each other lately, I would have expected an all out shouting match that would last at least an hour. I guess the time spent not talking to each other had helped both of them to calm down.

Richard and Dad looked at each other and shrugged. Neither of them were ones to hold grudges or shout at people. Well, there were exceptions of course. But the only people I had ever seen Dad really shout at were his cousin, Clarence, and Lubar. I had never seen Richard blow up at anyone. Mum must have inherited her temper from Cinda. Dad has told me a few times that I've got it, too, but I didn't think so.

Mum and Cinda sat down and began talking about everything that had been going on since their big row. Mum told Cinda more details about the move and explained about Matt's hospital stay. Cinda listened intently and then talked about the latest gossip in her group of friends. Mum paid attention, but I doubted she was actually interested in it.

I listened to the two of them talk and eventually drifted off to a half sleep. I wasn't sure how much time had actually passed, but Mum and Cinda were still talking by the time I woke up. Matt was stirring as well and was sort of crying.

"M-my ankle h-hurts," he cried.

"We'll go home soon," Dad told him.

Mum and Cinda looked up and stopped talking. They gave each other one more hug and Mum promised to call Cinda soon. Dad and I got up and I went over to Mum to Apparate. She looked happier than I'd seen her in months as we disappeared from Richard and Cinda's living room.


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PostPosted: Wednesday 11 March 2009 9:30:33pm 
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Well, that was an interesting family. Sorry it took me so long to read and comment, but great chapter again, Duckie!


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PostPosted: Friday 13 March 2009 11:14:05pm 
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great chapter


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PostPosted: Sunday 15 March 2009 9:14:51pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! :grin:

Chapter 38: Memories

The next week passed quickly. Too quickly in my opinion. My remaining time in Australia was flying by and I didn't like it one bit. I spent most of my time brewing potions and wandering around the bush. Norlam came to the house for Matt's therapy session on Monday and it passed in the same fashion the previous two had. The only difference was this time Matt spent the whole time watching us, instead of spending the first half hour with his head buried in Mum's shoulder. Norlam said that was a great improvement. Friday's session proved to be pointless, though. Matt seemed to have regressed and clung to Mum the whole hour. Norlam wasn't surprised since it was two days before the full moon. He actually spent the hour talking to Dad about the full moon. Sterling had sent along a packet of instructions for Dad about what to do right before and right after this particular full moon. Sterling was quite worried about it, despite the fact that Matt's ankle was mostly healed. He had stopped using the crutches on Thursday. I jokingly suggested that we give them to Mari and Maddie and earned a groan from Mum because of it.

Since Mum was on speaking terms with Cinda again, she Apparated with me to her house on Saturday. The full moon was Sunday. Mum seemed very anxious, as did Dad. Hell, I was anxious as well. Dad's plan to keep Lubar out of the house wasn't foolproof. In fact, it was far from it. But it was the best they could do. And it was the last Australian full moon. After this, we wouldn't have to worry about Lubar again.

I called Kenzie as soon as Mum left after dropping me off. To Kenzie, this was my last visit to my grandparents' house. At least until we visited, that is. My parents had explained that I would be spending the July full moon at Richard and Cinda's, much to my dislike. I had thought that maybe they would just let me stay home after we moved, but no. The July one was so close to the estate sale that I was just going to go to Australia with Dad for that and he'd pick me up after the full moon. I had no idea what I was doing for the August one.

However, my parents had told me that I wasn't allowed to tell Kenzie that I would be there. It would look extremely suspicious to her and her family. They would think that I'd fly to Australia while Matt was getting treatment for whatever Muggle disease they thought he had. I hated to have to pretend not to be there, but it was necessary.

Kenzie came over to Richard and Cinda's five minutes after I called her. She was going to sleep over at my grandparents' house for the last time. Mum and Dad didn't want her staying there the actual night of the full moon just in case something happened at home and I had to leave immediately. I actually didn't mind that since I didn't think I'd be able to hide my fear from her anyway.

We ate dinner with Richard and Cinda and then went up to my room.

"I still can't believe this is our last sleepover," Kenzie sighed as she flopped down onto my bed.

"Me either," I laid down next to her.

"Are you scared?" she asked quietly.

"About moving? Yeah, a little," I replied. More than a little, I thought.

"I wish I could tell you you'll be fine. But I've never moved, so I have no idea."

"It's just that we're moving so far away," I said, "Everything is going to be different."

"Well, look on the bright side. At least you're moving somewhere where they speak English," Kenzie shrugged.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right," I laughed.

"Is your new school like your old one?" Kenzie asked.

"Pretty much," I shrugged. Except it's in a castle. But I didn't mention that since Muggle schools weren't normally in castles.

"And does your dad have the same top-secret job in England now?"

"Equivalent department, different job," I replied.

"So, it's like your whole life is just being transferred to a different country."

"Pretty much. But our new house is totally different."

"I think you'll survive in a smaller house," Kenzie laughed.

"I know," I shrugged, "But I like my house."

"Yeah. I know I'd hate to leave mine. Although I definitely wouldn't mind having my own room."

The rest of my time with Kenzie passed way too quickly. We spent most of it talking and just hanging out. Richard and Cinda seemed to sense that we wanted to be alone and didn't bother us the whole time.

"I'm going to miss you so much," Kenzie sniffled as she grasped me in a tight hug. It was late Sunday afternoon and the full moon was going rise soon.

"Me, too," I cried, "I don't want to go!"

"I don't want you to!" Kenzie replied, "But you'll be back to visit."

"I know," I stammered, "But I don't know when that will be!"

"Can't you come stay at my house tonight? Please?"

I shook my head. "Richard and Cinda want to spend time with me."

"Ok, well, I guess I'll call you soon," Kenzie said, "Your mum gave my mum her mobile number."

I nodded, "Yeah, call me. I'll write you as soon as we move, too. I'll let you know everything."

"And I'll tell you everything that's going on here," Kenzie said.

We hugged for a few more minutes and silently cried into each other's hair. I reluctantly let go and we looked at each other for a few moments.

"I guess this is goodbye for real now," Kenzie said as she grabbed her bag.

"I guess," I said with tears running down my cheeks, "Bye, Kenzie. But we will see each other again."

"Of course," Kenzie agreed, "But until then, good luck with everything."

I nodded, "Thanks."

"Bye, Amy," Kenzie said softly as she opened the door. She turned around as she walked outside and I waved.

I stood in the doorway and watched her go until long after she disappeared behind the trees. I let the tears roll down my face and blur my vision. This was it. Kenzie and I wouldn't see each other for months. She was one of my best friends and now she was gone. I was leaving and she was staying. I was being forced to leave my two best friends in the whole world. Olivia and I were already drifting apart and now I wouldn't see Kenzie for months. Well, at least I'd see Kenzie again. I didn't think I'd ever see Olivia again. I let a sob escape at the thought of never seeing Olivia again.

With the release of that first sob, the rest of them came hard and fast. My whole body shook as I cried almost as hard as I had when Matt was in the hospital. I couldn't see anything as the tears flooded my eyes. I was hardly aware of the fact that Cinda put her arm around me and led me back into the house and onto a couch in the living room. I laid down on it and let myself cry for ages. Both of my friends were gone. I didn't know when or if I'd see them again.

******

I wasn't sure how long I laid on the couch crying, but eventually, my eyes ran dry and I slowly sat up. Cinda was sitting in one of the armchairs and was looking at me. I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath.

"Are you ok, Amy?" Cinda asked quietly.

I nodded. "I guess."

"I know this is hard," Cinda said, "It's hard to move away from your friends. My best friend, Helen, moved away when I was around your age. But we stayed in touch. We still call each other on occasion and even meet for coffee."

"But I'm moving to another country," I muttered, "It was hard enough to keep all the lies straight with Kenzie living here, but it'll be even harder now. Lies and living across the world. I'm just sick of it."

Cinda nodded. "Well, I won't pretend that I know what it's like to keep so many secrets from your friends. Helen and I told each other everything."

"I can't tell anyone everything," I replied.

"I know and it is hard on you. But you're strong. You're such a good big sister, you know that, right?"

I nodded. "Yeah, but I just hate the whole thing sometimes."

"We all do, Amy, we all do," Cinda said.

I glanced out the window. It was getting increasingly darker. The moon would rise soon. "I'm going upstairs," I muttered.

Cinda nodded. "It's going to be ok, Amy."

I bit my lip and didn't say anything as I left. I wished I could just believe Cinda. But I couldn't. Everything was so up in the air. There was no way to know things would be ok.

I went upstairs and crawled into my bed. I hadn't even eaten dinner, but I wasn't hungry. I laid completely still under the covers, staring out the window. I didn't do anything. I just laid there. Thinking about nothing and everything at the same time. Thinking about school, moving, Kenzie, Olivia, Matt, my grandparents, my parents, and everything in between. Yet, my mind was empty at the same time. It was strange, but it was the best way to describe it. Everything and nothing at the same time.

I tossed and turned much of the night, but must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing I knew I was opening my eyes to the bright sun that was shining through the window. I groggily sat up and yawned.

Then it hit me. Night had passed. The moon had set once again. The sun was up. The last full moon in Australia was over! I jumped out of bed and quickly changed clothes. I ran downstairs as my heart thudded in my chest.

I had no idea when Mum or Dad would tell me what happened. I assumed nothing too horrible had happened since neither of them showed up the night before, but I still wanted to know. I poured myself a bowl of cereal, but wound up just pacing the kitchen while the Lucky Charms grew mushy in my bowl.

Cinda and Richard stumbled downstairs a little while later. Cinda sat down at the table while Richard poured them both mugs of coffee. I couldn't tell if they had been up all night or if they just needed their coffee.

"Amy, don't you want your cereal?" Cinda asked.

"No, not really," I replied as I continued pacing across the floor.

"I think things went ok last night," Cinda said quietly, "They would have contacted us sooner if they hadn't."

"I know," I said, "But I still need to know."

"Amy," Richard said as he set down the coffee mugs, "Stop pacing. Sit down and eat something."

I nodded and sat down. I picked up the spoon from my cereal and started stirring my cereal, but not eating it. Richard took it away and gave me a withered look. I didn't say a word as Richard began to cook eggs. Richard was cooking eggs. I couldn't remember the last time Richard cooked brekkie.

I ate the eggs even though I wasn't exactly hungry. It had been a nice gesture on Richard's part. My mind wasn't on the food, though, it was on my brother.

I was just getting up from the table when I heard a loud crack coming from the living room. I immediately ran out of the kitchen and into the living room. Mum was standing there looking exhausted, but not sad, which I took as a good sign.

"Mum!" I exclaimed, "What happened?"

"He's fine, Amy," Mum replied.

"Is everything ok, Julie?" Richard asked. I turned around and saw him and Cinda standing in the doorway.

"Everything is fine," Mum said, "Lubar did show up last night. But he had to Apparate into the bush and then come to our door the hard way. To say he wasn't happy about our wards and disconnection from the Floo Network would be an understatement, but there's nothing he could do about it. By the time he got to the house, the moon was about to rise. Matt was already in the basement. Walter was able to hold him off just by arguing with him. He was quite angry when he realized that the moon had risen before he got Matt, though. Walter told him to get out and slammed the door in his face. And that, hopefully, was the last time we saw Ralph Lubar."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good," I smiled.

"Glad to hear it," Richard said.

"What about Matt?" Cinda asked, "Is he ok?"

Mum gave Cinda a weird look, but then shook her head and it was gone. I guess Mum wasn't used to Cinda asking about Matt, since they had that huge row.

"As good as can be expected," Mum replied, "He had been unconscious for about an hour, but that's normal. He's got the usual injuries, and he re-injured his ankle. Depending on how fast it heals, he might have to go see Healer Sterling again. But after last month, this one has been a relief."

Cinda winced at the sound of Matt's injury. "Well, I can't say I've heard anyone say a re-injured ankle is a relief, but I'm glad it wasn't anything worse."

I was, too. I hadn't even realized how worried I had been until I found out that Matt was ok. Sure, I had been pacing around the kitchen, but I hadn't thought I'd been that worried.

"When can I come home?" I asked quietly.

Mum sighed. "I guess you can come home now. But you'll have to stay out of Matt's room. He needs to rest."

I nodded and smiled as I went to get my stuff. I couldn't believe how much less strict Mum had become in the past few months. Six months ago, she never would have let me go home the morning after the full moon.

******

The next week flew by even faster than the previous one had. Mum and Dad were preoccupied with moving logistics and spent most of their time talking about packing and decorating and other sorts of stuff. With the last full moon in Australia behind them, they were both becoming increasingly excited about the move. I think Dad was excited about working again as well. He routinely talked about his new job and I got the feeling he was very enthusiastic about it.

Matt seemed indifferent about moving. He spent the week resting and lounging around the house while his ankle healed. Dad brought out the crutches again and Matt hobbled around the house on them. Mum said he needed to go to St. Mungo's, but Dad wanted to just wait until after we moved and see if it healed on its own with the usual potions. Mum reluctantly agreed. He had two more therapy sessions and Norlam was very pleased with the progress he'd made. During the most recent one, he had migrated from the couch onto the floor and watched Norlam and I play Gobstones. He didn't say anything or play with us, but it was progress nonetheless.

"Amy, did you clean up your room yet?" Mum shouted from the kitchen.

"It's almost done!" I groaned and got up from the couch.

"You need to finish it soon! The Magical Movers are coming early tomorrow morning and your room needs to be ready to be packed!"

"I know!"

Mum had been nagging me about cleaning my room all day. She and Dad were frantically running around the house making sure everything was ready. Matt and I had mostly been watching them. Mum of course got his room ready for him, but I had to do mine myself. Plus my Potions room, which I had done that morning.

I didn't want to get my room ready. I didn't want to see it bare and empty. Once it was empty, it wouldn't be mine anymore. It would be Clarence's, and who knows what he'd do with it. I still hated the thought of someone else moving into the house. Although, part of me thought Clarence was just going to own it in name only and let it sit empty just to spite Dad and Uncle Jack.

No amount of thinking about it could have possibly prepared me for packing up my room. I slowly ascended the stairs and stood in the doorway for a moment before sitting down and starting to clean. There was no feeling in the world quite like packing up your whole life and moving it to another country. I had only moved once in my life and I had been so young that I didn't remember it. This house was basically the one I had spent my life in. Even before we actually moved in, when Granny and Gramps were still alive, we spent every holiday in this house. Granny, Gramps, Mum, Dad, me, and occasionally Clarence and Gregory. We visited other times of the year, too. My memories of this house were some of the first ones I'd had.

Christmas morning when I was three. Ripping open the biggest box under the tree to find my very first toy broom. I flew it around the house the entire day, until I crashed into the refrigerator and Mum declared it an outside toy.

My fourth birthday. One of the only memories I had of Granny and Gramps. My last memory of them. All our family at the house eating a huge chocolate cake. My Little Hippogriffs, a toy owl, a stuffed animal dragon that breathed fake fire, and a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard for presents. But what I remember most is walking through the bush and seeing a family of kangaroos. That had been my first walk through that bush, and I fell in love.

Moving in. It had been a few months after Granny and Gramps had died. Dad couldn't bring himself to move in before that. I don't remember much about the accident, but I do remember being excited about moving. Mum carried me up the stairs and showed me my new room. I was thrilled and made a beeline for the balcony. It had been locked and it remained that way for years.

I was five and I first discovered the joys of climbing the wall into the bush. Mum completely freaked out and told me never to do it again. I was out there the next day when Mum was cleaning. I promptly fell off, skinned my knee, and ran crying inside to Mum. I tried again the next day and succeeded.

A few months later Mum was shrieking with joy and holding a white stick in her hand. I kept asking her what it was, but she wouldn't tell me. A few hours after Dad came home, they sat me down and told me I was going to have a new brother or sister. I was filled with mixed feelings about it, but what I remember most is wanting a sister.

Six years old and peering down at Matt, who was sleeping in his crib. I remember thinking how tiny he was. Mum and Dad asked me if I wanted to hold him and I said yes. I sat down in the rocking chair and Mum placed him in my lap. I looked down at his tiny red face and wondered how on earth a baby could have been growing in Mum.

Sitting in the kitchen staring at the owl that was coming closer and closer to the house. I had been eleven and spent days waiting for my Australian School of Sorcery letter to arrive. I let the owl in and couldn't get the letter open fast enough. My hands shook as I opened it and shrieked with joy when I read it. I ran all around the entire house waving it above my head. Four-year-old Matt stared at me with a mixed look of confusion and awe on his face. He immediately asked me how long it would be until he got his letter.

Almost exactly a year later, laying on my bed thinking about how everything changed in a matter of minutes. It had been a few days after Matt got bitten and Dad and I came home from the hospital to get some sleep. Mum stayed with Matt. I was scared. Scared and upset. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know what would happen to Matt. To me. To my whole family.

Christmas, just six short months ago. Finally getting the twelve foot tree I had always wanted. With no way to know that it would be the one and only time we'd have a tree that tall in the house. With no way of knowing that it was our last Christmas in the house. My house. My home.

Memories. I knew deep down that I'd always have the memories of my house, even if we didn't own it anymore. I knew it was the people I shared those memories with were what really mattered. But I couldn't help but feel like I was being forced to leave my childhood behind. No matter how much I reassured myself things would be ok, I knew I'd be leaving a part of myself in Australia with the house.

I shook myself out of my reminiscing and stared at my room. I had no idea where to begin. Cleaning up my Potions room had been easy. Everything had a place in there. All I had to do was put everything in its place and I was done. My bedroom was different. It had never really been organized.

I sighed and began by picking up all the dirty clothes and throwing them in the hamper. It was a start. But it was only a start. My room was still a mess when I finished that. I kept going and finished picking up everything else that was on the floor. I worked methodically, trying not to think about what the cleaning really meant. I knew if I sank back into reminiscing, I'd never get anything accomplished.

Then came my closet. I didn't think I had ever cleaned my closet. It was packed with the detritus of my childhood. I sat down in front of it and began to pull things out. Text books from previous years, broken displays of the solar system from Astronomy, broken quills, random bits of parchment. It was like cleaning out a big school trunk. I tossed most of it into the bin. I made a pile of stuff I wanted to keep and threw the books onto it.

It was like an archaeological dig. There were layers of my life piled into that closet. As I worked through the stuff, I worked farther back into the years. I found my first set of school robes, which were much too short. I couldn't bear to throw them away, though. They would remind me of Australia. A box of letters from Olivia joined them in the 'keeping' pile.

Next was the stuff from before I ever went to school. Well, magical school, that is. I found my My Little Hippogriffs. I threw away the broken ones and kept the ones that were still intact. Wendy Witch dolls, toy dragons, hippogriffs, unicorns, and just about every other magical creature in the world. Dad began teaching me about magical creatures before I could talk. My toy broomstick, which had seen better days. I put it in the 'keeping' pile. Old clothes that I hadn't seen in years went into the giveaway pile. Childhood books went into the 'keeping' pile.

Eventually the entire contents of my closet had been organized into three piles. The 'keeping' pile was considerably larger than the others. That didn't matter. Mum had said I could keep whatever I wanted. I grabbed a few of the boxes Mum had given me and piled everything I wanted to keep into it. The trash pile went in the bin and the giveaway stuff went in another box.

I tackled my dresser and desk next. Most of that stuff I packed into boxes to be moved to England. There wasn't much I wanted to get rid of. I left my bedding on the bed since we still had one more night.

By the time I finished, my room looked depressingly empty. It didn't even really look like my room anymore. It was an empty shell, a place where I had lived almost my entire life and was now just a room. I didn't like it. Not one bit. I sank down onto my bed and stared at the boxes. The boxes that contained my life.


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PostPosted: Monday 16 March 2009 2:26:52am 
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really great chapter because of the flash backs of her memories


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PostPosted: Saturday 21 March 2009 8:45:27pm 
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Great chapter. I'm glad Lubar's gonna be out of the picture, that jerk. Can't wait fir the next chapter! :D


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PostPosted: Monday 23 March 2009 5:31:14pm 
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Ok, so I had been reading this story to my mom and Fawkes during Spring Break. I read up to chapter 28 and then realized that I either forgot to post chapter 29 or it was eaten by a forum monster. But whatever the reason, it goes from 28 to 30. :eek:

So I'm going to post chapter 29 right here. I'll see if there's a way to move it to its proper place.

Chapter 29: Confrontations

Olivia and I sent each other more letters than usual over the next few weeks, but it was strange knowing that we probably wouldn't see each other anymore. She tried to talk her parents into letting her come to my house, but they wouldn't change their minds. I had no luck with my parents either. The two of them were very short with me and flat our refused to discuss the topic. I tried to avoid them as much as possible anyway, since I got the impression that they were still mad about me flipping out on Matt.

I hadn't really apologized to him yet. Mainly because I didn't want to. I did feel bad about scaring him and being so physical, but I wasn't sorry about what I said. It was the truth. The fact remained that if he wasn't a werewolf, we wouldn't move. It wouldn't matter what the headmaster thought if Matt wasn't a werewolf. Dad probably wouldn't have lost his job either.

The British Ministry had contacted Dad a few days after we got back and told him that he had gotten the job. Both he and Mum were ecstatic about this and we had a celebratory dinner in the fancy dining room. Mum and Ellie cooked steak, which was delicious. My parents seemed to be in even higher spirits after that.

As the full moon drew closer, I began to wonder if I would have to go to Richard and Cinda's for it. Mum still hadn't talked to Cinda since the party and I didn't think she wanted to. At the same time, I doubted my parents would actually let me stay at home.

Uncle Jack had decided to fly to Australia a few days prior to the estate sale. He wanted to pick out the stuff he wanted to keep and help Dad with the sale. He wound up arriving in Australia the day before the full moon.

Dad went to the airport to meet him and the rest of us stayed at home. We waited in the living room for them. Neither Mum or Matt were really paying much attention to me, though. I was used to it by then and just kept my nose in my book.

I looked up when I heard the sound of someone flooing. Uncle Jack stepped out of the fireplace with a large suitcase.

"Wow," he grinned and looked around the room, "Been a long time since I've been here. Kind of hard to believe it's being sold."

"Yeah," Dad said after he stepped out behind Uncle Jack, "But life changes."

"It certainly does," Uncle Jack mused, "So, how is everyone?"

"Better than I've been in months," Mum smiled, "Now that we've got an official move date."

"Tired," Matt mumbled.

Uncle Jack sat down on the couch next to him and gave him a hug. "You'll feel better in a couple days."

"I'll feel worse tomorrow," Matt muttered.

"But it'll get better after that," Uncle Jack said and then turned to me, "How about you, Amy?"

"Life sucks," I said flatly.

"Why's that?" he asked, looking at me curiously.

"Olivia's not allowed to visit me anymore, since her parents don't want her around Matt," I explained, "And Mum and Dad won't let me visit her because her parents are prejudiced gits. So we're never going to get to see each other again."

Uncle Jack let out a low whistle. "Wow. That is tough."

"Yeah, but I can't do anything about it," I muttered.

"So, Jack," Dad changed the subject, "Do you want to get started going through things or sleep?"

"Might as well just get started," Uncle Jack stood up, "I've got to adjust to Australian time anyway."

"Sounds good. Everything's been priced out already, but just take what you want. I'll tell you if it's something we're taking or not."

The two of them turned to leave the room, but as they did so, the fireplace lit up and someone stepped out of it. I jumped and turned towards it. Ralph Lubar was standing in front of the fireplace, glaring around the room.

Both Dad and Uncle Jack turned around. Dad stepped forward with a grim look on his face and Uncle Jack followed him, looking bewildered. Mum put her arm around Matt in a protective manner. I got up from my seat and went to stand farther away from Lubar.

"Lubar," Dad growled.

"Eckerton," Lubar growled back.

"Who the hell are you?" Uncle Jack asked.

"This delightful wizard is the one who now has my job," Dad said without turning away from Lubar.

"Oh," Uncle Jack stepped forward and drew his wand, "You're the one making life difficult for my nephew."

Lubar drew his wand as well. "I'm only passing the laws everyone else wants passed."

"I don't care what you call it," Uncle Jack took another step forward. The tip of his wand was almost touching Lubar's chest, "Anyone who messes with my family is going to have to answer to me."

"Is that a threat?"

"You honestly need me to clear that up for you?" Uncle Jack asked.

"Who in the name of Merlin are you anyway?"

"Jacob Eckerton."

"So you're the one from New York, eh?" Lubar sneered, "Well, I don't know how they do things over there, but here, it's frowned upon to threaten Ministry employees."

"In New York, it's frowned upon to threaten kids," Uncle Jack growled, "So I suggest you quit making things difficult for my family."

"What are you doing here anyway, Lubar?" Dad interrupted, "And put your wands down, both of you."

Neither Uncle Jack or Lubar withdrew their wands, but Dad didn't say anything else about it.

"Another inspection, Eckerton. Have you acquired a shed for your son to transform in?"

"I have not," Dad answered, "Nor do I plan on it."

"Then you'll face the consequences," Lubar smirked.

"Another fine?" Dad raised his eyebrow, "Fine me as much as you want. I won't have him transform in a shed."

"Hmph," Lubar muttered, "I guess we need more legislation. I'll be back with your fine in a few days."

"Good," Dad said, "Now get out."

Lubar slowly put his wand back in his robes, turned around, and stepped into the floo. A few seconds later, he was gone.

"He's the bloke who took your place?" Uncle Jack asked, pocketing his wand.

"Sadly, yes," Dad ran a hand through his hair.

"Blimey, the Ministry is losing it."

"Sure is," Dad agreed. He turned to leave the room and Uncle Jack followed. I heard them whispering about Lubar as they left.

"Amy," Mum said once they left, "I'm taking you to Richard and Cinda's in an hour or so."

I groaned. There wasn't anything that would get me out of going there. Even when Mum wasn't on speaking terms with Cinda, I still had to go to their house.

"Fine," I muttered and left the room to pack my bag. I just didn't feel like arguing with her anymore.

Mum was waiting for me in the living room when I came back an hour later. She didn't say a word as she motioned for me to Apparate with her. We left the room with a crack and appeared in the bush near Richard and Cinda's house.

I wondered if Mum had told Richard and Cinda that I was coming over. Lately we had been Apparating directly into their house and I thought it was odd that Mum chose to take us to the bush instead.

We walked silently down the street and to Richard and Cinda's driveway. Mum paused for a moment and then pushed the intercom button. She leaned close to it and I couldn't hear what she was saying. A few seconds later, the gates opened and I followed Mum up the driveway.

Cinda was waiting for us in the doorway, her face completely unreadable. She said nothing and walked back into the house. Mum and I followed her into the kitchen.

"Julietta," Cinda said quietly.

"I don't want to hear it, Mother," Mum replied, holding up her hand, "I'm forever grateful that you're letting Amy stay here for the full moons, but I can't talk about it now. Not until you understand why we have to move and why you shouldn't have thrown us that party. You've been putting your reputation before your family my whole life and I just can't take it anymore."

"Julietta, please-"

"No," Mum shook her head, "I'm sick of it. I've explained numerous times and you just don't get it. Either Walter or I will be back Saturday morning to pick up Amy."

"I don't want us to be angry with each other when you move," Cinda said quickly.

Mum looked Cinda in the eye. "Then apologize, Mum, that's all you've got to do. Tell me you understand why we're doing this. Tell me you'll stop putting your reputation first."

Mum turned away and left the room without waiting for Cinda to answer. Cinda sank down onto one of the stools as soon as Mum disappeared from the room. I stood awkwardly in the doorway and stared at Cinda, unsure whether to say something or not.

"Cinda?" I asked tentatively, "Are you ok?"

"Don't worry about me, Amy," she replied, "I'll be fine once your mother stops fighting with me."

I didn't bother mentioning that all Mum wanted was an apology. Instead I nodded and left the room.

The next few days were some of the most boring ones I'd ever spent at Richard and Cinda's. Kenzie's family was on holiday, so I didn't get to see her at all. I did write her a letter and stick it in her mailbox, though. Cinda was very quiet the entire time, which was odd. I guessed it was due to the fact that Mum wasn't talking to her. Richard was his usual self, but it's not like he really did much fun stuff to begin with.

Half of me was happy when Saturday arrived and I finally got to go home. The other half was dreading it. The estate sale was that day and I was not entirely sure I wanted to be home for it. Mum and Dad had let me help choose what furniture we'd be saving, but it's not like they let me save it all. They let me keep everything in my bedroom, though. In fact, my entire bedroom was off limits to anyone attending the estate sale. Potential buyers of the house, on the other hand, were a different story. A real estate agent was going to be at the sale to give people tours of the house if they were interested in buying it. They would get to go in my room. Mum even made me clean it, along with my potions room, the day before I went to Richard and Cinda's.

Mum and Dad had told me that I would get to decorate my new bedroom entirely myself. Well, I would plan it and they would do the spells. But I got to choose everything. I was very excited about this, because I would finally get to paint stars on my walls and ceiling. I was planning on painting the Southern hemisphere's night sky on the ceiling so it would almost feel like I was still in Australia. Dad said he could charm them to twinkle and disappear when the sun rose.

I got up early on Saturday and packed my stuff. I was eating a bowl of cereal when Dad announced he was at the gate on the intercom. I buzzed him in and a few minutes later he was at the door.

"Can you please tell Julietta to call me, Walter?" Cinda hurried down the stairs clad in a dressing gown as Dad and I were about to leave the house.

Dad turned around and sighed. "Cinda. I agree with Julie. I'm not getting in the middle of this. But I will tell her that you want her to call you. I highly doubt she will, though. Just apologize, Cinda."

Cinda said nothing as we left and Dad shut the door after us. Dad was very quiet as we walked down the driveway, so I decided not to speak either. I was curious about the fine Lubar had said he would give him, though. Was it a bigger fine than before?

My house already seemed busier than usual when we Apparated into the kitchen. I noticed a few people from the estate sale office milling about as well as the real estate agent. I immediately went up to my room and stowed my overnight bag in my closet. I noticed that everything in the house had been polished and cleaned. The old portraits were sparkling and their occupants were whispering to each other, obviously wondering what was going on. As far as I knew, Dad was selling most of the pictures and portraits that adorned the walls. There were a select few that we would be taking with us and another couple that Uncle Jack wanted. But most would be sold.

A few hours later, people started to arrive. They gathered in bunches on the front lawn and were greeted by the salesmen. I suspected the majority of them just wanted to see the inside of the house and gossip about it. There had been a very long article in the paper the previous week detailing the estate sale as well as the sale of the house.

I had no idea what to do with myself during the sale. I spent a half hour in the living room, but felt awkward when a salesman led a group of gawking witches in, explaining about every object that was up for sale. I went up to my room after that, but left after the real estate agent brought in a couple interested in purchasing the house.

Dad and Uncle Jack seemed to spend their time answering questions people had about various objects. I still hadn't even seen Mum or Matt since I returned home and suspected they were in Matt's room. My brother probably hadn't fully recovered from the full moon and Mum surely wanted to keep him away from all the curious people.

Eventually I decided to tag along on one of the tours of the house. I was kind of curious as to what the real estate agent was telling everyone about it. Real estate agents always made houses sound better than they really were. I wondered what this one would say about our house.

The tour group I followed consisted of a middle-aged couple, two old witches, and a young wizard. The real estate agent first led them into the kitchen, where Ellie had set out a plate of fresh cookies to make it smell nice. (It makes the house feel more inviting, the real estate agent had told us earlier.)

"We'll start with the kitchen," the real estate agent said, "As you can see, it is state of the art, but still reminiscent of the age it was built in."

"When was it built?" the middle-aged man asked.

"1859," she replied, "The kitchen is also equipped with a few Muggle appliances, which were put in when Walter and Julietta moved in. A few plugs were installed as well."

I stood in the doorway as everyone inspected the kitchen. It was kind of strange, knowing that possibly one of these people would soon own my house. A few minutes later, they finished with the kitchen and moved on to the living room. Next was Dad's study, then the formal dining and living rooms, and eventually, we had made our way around the entire first floor.

The real estate agent then led us up to the second floor. She pointed out various aspects of the architecture that even I hadn't really known. Everyone in the tour seemed interested, especially the middle-aged couple.

"There are ten bedrooms," the real estate agent announced, "Not all of them are on this floor, though."

I noticed that the two old ladies were hanging back and whispering together. One of them then pushed the other to the front of the group and she looked nervously at the real estate agent.

"So," the old lady began, "We were wondering...Where's the werewolf?"

The old lady immediately retreated back to her friend and the two of them waited anxiously for the real estate agent's answer.

"Uh, er," the real estate agent stuttered.

"Why do you want to know?" I asked, suddenly stepping forward into the midst of the tour group. Despite the fact that I was angry with my brother, I still felt the need to defend him.

"We're just...curious."

"How would you like it if someone went into your house and asked where you were?" I asked loudly.

"Er-"

"That's what I thought," I shouted, "So why did you ask?"

"Excuse me, miss," the middle-aged man tapped me on the arm, "She was just curious. In fact, I was wondering the same thing. You're being rather rude. Why are you on this tour anyway? I daresay you wouldn't be able to afford a house, especially one as grand as this."

I stared at him, completely bewildered. "What am I doing here? I live here!" I shouted at him, "Thanks for calling the house grand, though. I'll certainly let my parents know what you think. I'll let them know what you all think, especially what you think of my brother."

"No, no, wait!" the middle-aged man said, "I'm sorry. You're right. None of us should be asking questions like that."

"Too late," I replied, "You've already asked them."

"I wonder where he transforms," I heard the other old lady whisper.

"Shut up!" I shouted at her, "He's a kid, not an animal!"

"The Ministry disagrees," the man muttered.

"Who the hell cares about the Ministry?" I asked, "The Ministry is horrible!"

"Amy, could you please just let us continue the tour?" the real estate agent interrupted.

"Fine," I huffed, "But I'll be telling my dad about these gits. I guarantee none of them will be buying the house."

I turned and left, completely ignoring the stuttering and pleading of the middle-aged man. If he really wanted to buy the house, he shouldn't have insulted my brother.

Dad was showing a man our formal dining room table when I finally found him. I waited patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) for him to be done and then told him about the old ladies and the couple. The next thing I knew, all four of them were being escorted off the premises by Dad. The man appeared to practically be begging to stay. I smirked and waved at them as they passed me on their way out the door.

The house was starting to empty out a bit. It was emptying of furniture and other items, that is, not of people. There were still plenty of people milling about. It was kind of odd to watch strangers paw through your stuff and buy it. I passed a few men wearing neat and pristine robes muttering amongst themselves about the quality of our family silver. I hadn't actually seen the stuff in years, but the idea of people not in our family owning it gave me a weird feeling in my stomach. We weren't selling all of it, though. Uncle Jack took about half of it and my parents took half of what was left. It's not like they'd actually do anything with it. They'd probably just pack it up and store it in some closet in our new house. It's got sentimental value.

I still had no idea what to do with myself. Tagging along on another tour would be a bad idea. The real estate agent looked like she wanted to kill me by the end of that last one. She'd most likely hex my mouth shut if I decided to follow another tour.

I wandered into the formal living room and stood in a corner as Uncle Jack and a salesman completed the sale of one of the couches. That didn't bother me in the least. I always hated that couch. It was the ugliest thing to every cross the threshold of the house. The thing was cream colored with pink and purple flowers all over it. Then there were the gold-trimmed arms, which were tacky in my opinion. Dad told me his mother had picked it out shortly after she got married. Why my grandfather agreed to it is beyond me.

"Mum will be happy that that's gone," I whispered to Uncle Jack after he completed the sale.

"I think we're all happy that it's gone," Uncle Jack grinned. "So I hear you got a bunch of people kicked out."

I grinned, "Sure did. Dad made them leave. They weren't too happy, especially the bloke who wanted to buy the house."

"I'll bet not," Uncle Jack smirked, "Well, I'd better get back to the selling."

"Ok, see you later."

I spent a bit more time in the formal living room and then went back to the regular living room, which was thankfully empty. My parents had decided to keep all the furniture that was in that room, which I was happy about. That furniture was what made our house seem like our home, not the fancy furniture in the other rooms.

I picked up a book I had left on the coffee table and settled onto the couch to read. I had read a few pages when I noticed green light in the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw that someone was flooing into the room.

That was odd, I thought. My parents had arranged for everyone to Apparate into a selected area of the yard. They didn't want a whole bunch of people flooing in and out of the house. It would have been too chaotic and messy. But I guess whoever was flooing now didn't get the message.

The flames subsided and a man stepped into the room. Another man, much younger, stepped out behind him. I let out a gasp as I recognized them. It was my dad's cousin and his son.

"Hello, Amy," the older one said gravely, "Long time, no see."


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