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PostPosted: Sunday 11 January 2009 5:57:00pm 
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Joined: Thursday 28 December 2006 6:45:34pm
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Thanks, Obladi and hprocks! :grin:

I've written about six chapters of the next Albus story. I had a bit of writer's block recently, but I've just come up with some new plot points, so I'll start writing it again. I'll post the prologue within the next few weeks. :)

Chapter 28: Torn Apart

My parents let us sleep in the next day, which was nice since we had been getting up early every single day we'd been in England. Both of them were awake when I got up. They were sitting at the desk whispering to each other while filling out that long questionnaire Sterling gave them. I pulled out a book and decided to read until they'd finished. Matt was still asleep so we wouldn't be looking at houses for a while.

Once my parents finally finished that questionnaire, and sent it off with Madam Rosmerta's owl, they announced that we'd go get lunch and then look at houses. Matt was just waking up when Dad returned from sending the owl.

We had a quick lunch at the Three Broomsticks and then Apparated to an Apparition station in London. Dad had been able to ask around the Ministry for a good real estate agent. Someone gave him the name of an agent who sold both wizard and Muggle houses. Their office was located in a house in London.

This agent, Candace Gormon, seemed a lot nicer than Josephina Hawkings. She didn't feel the need to show my parents any huge mansions just because we lived in one in Australia. My parents told her exactly what they were looking for and she produced a handful of key shaped portkeys.

Thus began the long afternoon of house hunting in England. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Candace Gormon was a nice lady, we did not have much luck with houses. My parents found something wrong with each house we looked at. I wasn't really a fan of any of them either, but that was mostly because none of them were anything like our house in Australia.

The first house we visited was too run down, the second one was too much money. The third one had neighbors that were too close and the fourth one didn't have enough bedrooms. The fifth one didn't have a basement, so my parents vetoed it before we even saw all the rooms. Each house we looked at after that had variations on these problems as well.

By early evening I was wondering if we'd ever find a house my parents would like. Candace Gormon only had one more house to show us and we all placed a finger on the key.

We landed in the middle of a large field. I stood up and saw an average sized house made of wooden logs and a red roof. Beyond the house was bush, which immediately made me like that house more than the others. I gazed around and didn't see any other houses.

"It's a very rural location," Candace said, "Most of the people I've showed this house to don't like how rural it is, but you've seem to have expressed a need for ruralness."

"Yes," Dad said, "I do like that there aren't any other people living nearby. How many acres is this?"

"Three," Candace replied, "It runs all the way to the forest back there and down to the road in front. There's fencing on either side that mark the end of the property. Two farms border either side."

Dad nodded, "That's good."

"Would you like to see the inside?" Candace asked.

"That would be great," Mum smiled.

I followed my parents up the sloping lawn and to the front door. It was red to match the roof and there was a straw wreath attached.

"The Muggles who own it aren't home right now," Candace said as she put the portkey key in the lock, "They actually can't move out until June 30th. I hope that won't be a problem. I can help you find temporary housing if needed."

"That won't be necessary," Dad said, "If we decide to buy this house, we'll stay in Australia until the end of June."

Candace nodded. "All right. Feel free to look around and ask if you've got any questions."

Candace opened the door and we all walked inside. I stood in the foyer and looked around. This house had a very open floor plan. To the left was the living room, which was full of various furniture and Muggle technology. Behind the living room was the dining room. Next to that was kitchen. I walked towards the kitchen and saw a small hallway that led to the right, in front of the kitchen. I walked down it, opening various doors. I found a bathroom, a study, a den, the garage, and the stairs to the basement. The stairs leading to the upstairs were right in front of the front door.

I spent a few minutes wandering around the first floor and was surprised to find that I actually liked it. It was definitely different from our house in Australia, but not necessarily in a bad way. It seemed almost rustic and kind of reminded me of a normal version of Uncle Jack's house. There was a deck off of the kitchen that led into the backyard.

After I'd finished looking around the main floor, I went upstairs. The upstairs looked a lot like the downstairs, as far as style went. There were three bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the bathrooms was in the master bedroom. There was also a very big room that could have been considered another bedroom, but Candace called it a playroom. I doubted my parents would let Matt or I have it as our bedroom, though, since we'd probably fight over it.

My parents were talking with each other when I wandered downstairs again. Candace wasn't with them, so I figured they were talking about something private. Surely it was something I'd want to listen in on.

I quietly walked into the kitchen and pretended to be examining the refrigerator.

"Can you make part of the basement into a safe room?" Mum whispered.

"Easily," Dad replied, "I'll just have to put up a few walls and set it up like the one at home. I'll probably just finish the whole thing and make a few other rooms and storage areas. That way Amy can have her potions room down there."

I hadn't even thought about my potions room. It didn't even occur to me that our new house might not have room for it. At least this one would.

"Good," Mum said. "I really like this one, Walt."

"Me, too, Julie."

"Think we should buy it?" Mum asked.

"Let's think it over for a couple of days and then get back to her."

"That sounds like a good plan," Mum agreed.

"What do you think about the house, Amy?" Dad asked, causing me to jump.

"It's ok," I shrugged, "I mean, if we have to move, I'd like to live here."

"I'll take that as you like it," Dad smiled. "Now where's your brother?"

"Watching the Muggle television," I pointed to the living room.

Dad laughed, "All right. Let's go get him and find Candace and go back to London. I know I'm sick of looking at houses."

Mum and Dad told Candace that they were interested in the house, but wanted to think about it for a few days. They promised that they'd let Candace know one way or the other before we left Britain. Dad had his interview on Monday, so we'd be staying at least until Tuesday.

******

Both of my parents were nervous about Dad's interview when Monday rolled around. The two of them were up early whispering about it and stopped talking when they realized I was awake. Once Matt got up, we all went downstairs to eat brekkie. Mum and Dad were very quiet during the entire meal.

When we got back to the room, Dad put on a pair of dress robes and we all wished him luck. He Disapparated and the rest of us sat down to wait for him to get back.

Dad returned about an hour later. Mum jumped to her feet as soon as the door started to open.

"How did it go?" she asked immediately.

"I think it went well," Dad smiled and walked inside. "They said they'd owl me when they make a decision."

"When will that be?"

"Sometime later this week," Dad replied, "I won't have to be interviewed again, though, so we can go home as soon as we can get tickets."

Good, I thought. We had been in Britain for almost a week. I wanted to spend as much time in Australia as possible, now that we sort of knew when we'd be moving. June 30th, if we bought the log house. I hoped we did. I didn't like any of the other houses.

"I suppose we should leave soon, then," Mum sighed, "Unless you want to look at anymore houses."

"I don't. I'd like to buy that last one we looked at, if you agree," Dad said.

"I do," Mum smiled, "The more I think about it, the more I like that house."

"Perhaps we can sign the paperwork today. I'd like to get back to Australia so we can put our house on the market. Why don't we Apparate over to the office now?"

"Sounds good to me," Mum agreed, "Let's go, Amy, Matt."

I groaned. Why couldn't they just let me stay in the room? I grabbed my last unread book and followed them out of the room. At the rate I was going, I wouldn't have any books left to read on the plane.

My parents were able to sign the paperwork that day. Matt and I sat behind them while they did so, bored out of our minds. I didn't see why it should take so long to buy a house. But no, my parents had to make various offers and then the real estate agent had to call the owners of the house to see if they were available to sign other paperwork. Luckily they were, but we had to wait for them to show up. I was ready to scream by the time everything was finished and we were walking out of the office.

"So, when are we moving in?" I asked, wanting to know exactly how much longer I had in Australia.

"July first," Dad grinned, "First day we possibly can."

"That's only a little over two months away," I replied, "Can't we wait until right before I have to start school?"

"No," Dad shook his head and lowered his voice, "It would be in your brother's best interest to move as soon as possible."

"You should consider yourself lucky you've got two more months in Australia, Amy. The only reason we're not moving sooner is because the house isn't available until then," Mum pointed out.

Lucky? The last thing I considered myself was lucky.

The plane ride back to Australia was the worst one yet. I was once again sitting next to a stranger and it smelled like this one hadn't taken a shower in years. The food was just as nasty, but it seemed worse since I kept smelling 'eau de stinky man'. Then, to top it all off, we flew through a thunderstorm and I got sick, despite the fact that I'd hardly eaten anything.

******

Once we were back in Australia, I realized that Olivia was on holiday until the end of April. I had completely forgotten that the first term was already over. It had gone by extremely fast since I hadn't actually been in school. This was the last holiday Olivia would have before I moved.

"Mum!" I ran into the kitchen after I realized that.

"What is it?" Mum asked as she prepared dinner.

"Olivia's on holiday from school," I said breathlessly, "Last one before we move. Can she please come visit? Please?"

"I don't know, Amy. We've got a lot to do. Dad's organizing the estate sale and getting the house on the market. We're probably going to have the sale anytime."

"Please?" I begged, "We won't get in the way of the sale. This might be the last chance I have to see her."

"Oh, all right," Mum sighed, "Ask her when she can come. I suppose anytime this month will work, except for the 24th through the 27th. Full moon's on the 25th."

I nodded. "Thanks, Mum."

I immediately ran back upstairs and wrote Olivia a very long letter that explained about our trip to Britain, and the fact that we would be moving there in July. As I wrote, I found that I felt worse and worse about the move. I realized that I could be seeing Olivia for the last time this month.

Dad flooed into the living room shortly after I sent off the letter.

"Where's your mother?" he asked immediately.

"Dunno," I shrugged, "Kitchen, maybe?"

Dad nodded and hurried to the kitchen. I got up and followed him. Mum was still in the kitchen.

"Hi, Walt," Mum said without looking up, "How did everything go?"

"Great," Dad replied, "The house is officially on the market. I've got the estate sale organized, too. It'll be on the 27th."

"The 27th," Mum repeated, finally looking up.

"Yes, the 27th," Dad said, "Why?"

"Walter," Mum said quietly, "That is two days after the full moon."

"I know. But that was the earliest day it could be done. I want it done as soon as possible, Julie. I don't think we'll manage to sell everything in one day. I've scheduled a couple sales."

"Why couldn't you just put it off another week?"

"The three Saturdays after were all booked up," Dad explained, "And then we'd be back to the full moon anyway."

"I just don't know," Mum shook her head, "That's really not the best day to have strangers meandering through the house."

"I know," Dad sighed, "But we have to sell everything before we move. The other sale is in June and that'll be our last chance to sell the stuff.

"Listen, Julie. It'll be ok. I've owled Jack and he will most likely fly down for the sale. He said he would. Don't worry about Matt. There'll be three of us here that day. One of us will be able to be able to check on him."

"I guess," Mum sighed, "We'll just deal with it when it comes."

"Excellent idea," Dad agreed, "We've got a little over two weeks until the sale. Let's try and relax for a few days and then started organizing what we're going to sell. Someone is going to come over next Saturday to help price everything and organize the house."

"Sounds good," Mum replied, "I told Amy she could invite Olivia over for a few days this month, since it's the school holiday."

"That's fine," Dad smiled and turned to me, "You owl her yet?"

"Yeah," I nodded.

"Let us know when she can come."

******

"Amy, what are you doing?"

I looked up from the potion I was brewing and saw Matt standing in the doorway of the room.

"Brewing," I said, "What are you doing in here?"

"I'm bored."

"Then go find something to do. You know Mum and Dad don't let you come in here."

"Well why not?" Matt whined.

"Because they don't want you to get hurt," I said as I stirred my potion. Why wouldn't he just leave? He was getting on my nerves. I went up there to brew in order to get away from him.

"Then why do they let you brew potions?"

"Because I'm fourteen and I've taken potions class," I replied, "Now go away. What did you want anyway?"

"Oh," Matt said and pulled a piece of parchment out from behind his back, "You got a letter."

I jumped up off my stool and ran over to him, snatching the letter out of his hand. "Why didn't you just give me that first?" I shouted.

"Dunno," Matt shrugged.

"Just get out of here!" I pointed to the corridor and slammed the door once he left.

I sat back down on my stool and opened the letter. It was from Olivia. I had been waiting for her response ever since I owled her the previous day.

Dear Amy,

Wow. That's all I can say is, wow.
You're really moving. And you're
moving to England of all places.
England! That's so far away it's
not even funny.

I suppose it is kind of cool that
you'll be going to a school that's
a castle. But still, I wish you'd
just stay here.

The house sounds nice, but a lot
different than your huge mansion
house. At least you like the house
that your parents picked, though.

Now comes the hard part. I would
love to go visit you for a couple
days. But I asked my parents and
they said no. They said no! Can
you believe that? You're leaving
in two and a half months and it
could be our last chance to see
each other.

I just can't believe they said no!
I asked them why and they said it's
well, this is kind of hard to write,
but it's because they don't want me
to be near your brother. I'm sorry,
I really am. I don't agree with them,
but I don't have a choice. I really
don't. I'm seriously so mad at them.

They said you could come visit me,
though. Let me know if you can.

Your friend,
Olivia


I slowly set the letter down on the counter and stared into the depths of my cauldron. Olivia wasn't going to come visit me. She couldn't. Her parents wouldn't let her. And why? Because of Matt. Once again, it was his fault. I slammed my hands down on the counter and jumped off the stool.

I ran out of the room and downstairs, my mind intent on finding Matt. I stormed into the living room and he was sitting on the couch, playing his DS.

"You little prat!" I shouted.

He startled and looked up at me. "What?"

"This is all your fault!" I yelled, "You're seriously ruining my life!"

"What did I do?" he asked, scrambling down to the other end of the couch.

"What do you think you did?"

"I don't know!" he said as he got up off the couch and made to leave the room.

"You're not going anywhere!" I shouted and grabbed the back of his shirt, "It's your fault Olivia can't come over! Your fault we have to move to England at all!"

"No it's not!" Matt cried, "Let me go!"

"No! I want you to know that this is your fault! Who's fault is it, if it's not yours?"

"Dad said it was the headmaster's fault. Now let me go!"

Matt struggled against my grip, but I was much stronger than him. My heart was pounding and I could feel it in my head. There was no way I was letting him go. Months of anger towards him was coming out and I didn't think I could let him go if I wanted to.

I pulled him back into the room and pushed him back onto the couch. I grabbed the front of his shirt and glared at him.

"Listen to me. This IS your fault. I don't care what Dad says. You are ruining my life. Not the Ministry. Not the headmaster. YOU," I seethed.

Tears were running down his face, but I didn't care. I wanted him to experience what I was going through. This whole thing was his fault and I was the one suffering for it.

"L-let m-me go-go!" he shouted, "MUM!!!"

I heard footsteps running into the room, but I still didn't let him go.

"Amy!" Mum grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me away, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

"It's his fault!" I shouted as I struggled to get away from her, "This whole thing is his fault!"

Dad ran into the room next and stared in bewilderment at what was going on. Matt ran over to him and he picked him up. Dad sat on the couch with Matt crying into his shoulder.

"What's going on in here?" Dad asked, staring from Mum to me and back again.

"That's what I want to know," Mum glared at me, "I came in here and saw your daughter forcing Matt onto the couch!"

"You don't understand!" I yelled, "It's his fault!"

"Amy," Mum sighed, "How can it be his fault that you were hurting him? You're twice his size! You can't do that!"

"Not that!" I replied, "This whole moving thing is his fault!"

"Amy, we've been through this," Dad said quietly, "It's not his fault."

"Oh, yeah? We wouldn't be moving if he wasn't a werewolf," I retorted.

"Amy, enough about the move. I thought you had gotten over it," Mum said.

"Gotten over it?" I shouted, trying not to cry, "Gotten over it? I was just getting used to it!"

"Amy, we're sorry you're not happy, but that's no excuse to take it out on your brother," Dad said.

"It's not only the move, though!" I replied, the tears finally breaking free, "Olivia's parents won't let her come visit and it's all his fault!"

Mum and Dad exchanged glances. Mum sighed and shook her head. "I know. Olivia's parents sent us a very strongly worded letter regarding the matter. I would have never thought they would be like that."

"Well they are!" I shouted, "Just like the rest of this entire country!"

"Which is why we're moving, Amy," Mum replied.

"Well it's not fair! He may be the one who turns into a werewolf every month, but I'm the one suffering from it! My whole life's changed!"

"Your whole life has changed?" Mum raised one eyebrow, "I think your brother suffers a bit more than you may think."

"Well, I wouldn't know, would I? You kick me out of the house every full moon."

"Amy, I'm not discussing that with you right now."

"Fine," I huffed, "Olivia said I can go to her house. When can I go?"

Mum and Dad exchanged another glance. "Actually, Amy, we've decided not to let you go," Dad said quietly, "We don't feel comfortable having you around her parents."

I stared at them. "That's not fair! It's not my fault her parents are like that! So I'm never going to get to see Olivia again! Thanks a lot!"

I glared at both of them through my tear filled eyes. I broke free of Mum's grasp and ran out of the room.

"Come back here and apologize to your brother!" Mum shouted after me.

I completely ignored her and ran up to my room. I buried my head in my pillow and cried. Olivia and I would never get to see each other again. I couldn't think of anyway we could, if her parents wouldn't let her come to my house and my parents wouldn't let me go to her house. I was going to lose my best friend all because of our parents and my brother. I didn't care what my parents said, I was the one whose life changed the most when Matt became a werewolf.

He wasn't having to change schools. He wasn't losing his friends. He wasn't going to have to fit into a new school in the fourth year. When he went to Hogwarts, he would be a first year. Everyone else his age would be new as well. They'd all be in the same boat; trying to make new friends. When I went to Hogwarts, everyone would already have friends. Nobody would want to befriend the new girl.


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PostPosted: Monday 12 January 2009 9:47:41pm 
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I love the house! *Sigh* If only one could have a potions room. Then I'd be a happy camper. Great chapter, Duckie.


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PostPosted: Sunday 18 January 2009 7:58:41pm 
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Thanks, Obladi! :D

Chapter 30: Family Feud

My family is very small. I don't have any first cousins. I don't have any cousins at all on Mum's side, but I suppose I do on Dad's side. Dad and Uncle Jack had one cousin. He was their father's brother's son. His name is Clarence and he had one son, who is my second cousin. His name is Gregory.

Dad and Uncle Jack were really close to Clarence when they were kids. Clarence was like their brother. They spent all their time together as young children and then went to school around the same time. After they all graduated, Clarence got married and had Gregory. Dad and Uncle Jack went on their search of the world for the Hallows and didn't spend as much time with Clarence as they used to. But they remained close. They remained close as Dad married Mum, Uncle Jack moved to New York, I was born, my grandparents died, and Matt was born. We used to spend every holiday with Clarence, his wife, and Gregory, as well as other times throughout the year.

Then Matt was bitten. Dad knew that Clarence had a negative view of werewolves, but thought he would change when one of his own relatives was a werewolf. He changed all right, but not in the way Dad had been hoping. Clarence would not accept the fact that Matt was a werewolf and broke off all contact with us and Uncle Jack. I still remember the fight they had about it. It was the worst fight I've ever seen. Much worse than the one Mum had with Cinda last month. None of us have seen Clarence or his wife or Gregory in over two years.

I stared at Clarence and Gregory, unsure of what to say or do. Both of them had the exact same look on their long faces. There was a hint of excitement in their eyes, but they were frowning at the same time.

"Go find your father, Amy," Clarence demanded.

I nodded and got up from the couch. I ran out of the room as fast as I could. Dad wasn't in the corridor nor was he in the kitchen when I checked. I looked throughout the entire first floor and couldn't find him.

"Dad!" I shouted as I ran up the stairs, "Dad!"

"What is it?" Dad popped his head out of one of the spare bedrooms, "Everything ok?"

"I don't know. I don't think so," I said, "Um, Dad, Clarence and Gregory are in the living room."

All the color in Dad's face drained away and he stepped out of the room. "What did you just say?" he asked quietly.

"Clarence and Gregory just flooed here," I replied, "I don't know why."

Dad nodded and stuck his head back into the room. "Jack?"

"What is it?" I heard Uncle Jack reply.

"You'd better come down to the living room with me."

I followed Dad and Uncle Jack back down the stairs and into the living room. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I didn't want to miss it.

Both Dad and Uncle Jack stopped in their tracks when they entered the room. I squeezed between them and returned to my seat on the couch.

"Walter," Clarence said, "Jacob."

"Clarence," Dad replied.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Uncle Jack asked immediately, "I distinctly remember telling you you weren't welcome here anymore."

"That was a long time ago," Clarence said.

"Really?" Uncle Jack asked, "Have you changed your opinion on anything?"

"I most certainly have not," Clarence laughed, "But that no longer matters. Times are changing. Indeed they are... Walter, I understand you are no longer employed by the Ministry."

"You understand correctly," Dad muttered.

"Why does that matter? You're still not welcome here," Uncle Jack growled.

Clarence let out a manic laugh. "Why does it matter? Why does it matter? It matters because your brother is moving out of the country."

Uncle Jack raised his eyebrow. "And that matters because...?"

"The house, Jacob, the house," Clarence began to walk around the room, looking at everything with a smile on his face, "It matters because of the house."

"You're not buying it, Clarence," Dad said darkly, "I've already kicked a few people out because of their view of werewolves. I won't hesitate to do the same with you."

Clarence stopped walking and turned to look at Dad. He stared at him for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. "Buy the house? You think I'm going to buy the house?"

"That's certainly what you're implying," Dad replied, taking a step toward Clarence.

"I daresay you're mistaken, then, cousin," Clarence sneered, "Because I have no plans on purchasing this estate."

"Then why the hell are you here?" Uncle Jack demanded.

"To inform you that you can't sell this place."

"What?!" Dad and Uncle Jack shouted at the same time.

"That's ridiculous," Dad said, "This is my house and I can do what I please with it."

"That's where you're wrong," Clarence grinned.

"Would you just explain to us what the hell is going on?" Uncle Jack shouted at the top of his lungs, "If you don't, I won't hesitate to hex you!"

"Fine," Clarence muttered.

"Get on with it, then!" Uncle Jack shouted.

Clarence opened his mouth to speak, but before he could utter a single word, there was a loud rap on the door. I hadn't even realized that Dad or Uncle Jack had shut it.

"Er, hang on a second," Dad said and walked over to the door. He opened it a crack and stuck his head out.

"What are you doing in there?" I heard Mum ask, "Is Jack in there with you? A couple of the salesmen are wondering where you are. And did I just hear Jack shouting?"

"We've got a bit of a situation," Dad said, "Remember my cousin, Clarence?"

"How could I not remember that arse?" Mum replied.

"Well, he's here...."

"What?!" Mum shouted and pushed open the door.

Dad jumped aside and Mum ran into the room with Matt in her arms. Mum stopped short in the doorway and glared daggers at Clarence. I hadn't seen such anger on her face since the last time Clarence was in our house. She put my brother down on the couch next to me and stood next to Dad with her arms crossed.

"What. The. Hell. Are. You. Doing. In. My. House," Mum seethed.

"Ah, Julietta," Clarence said, "I was just explaining that to Walter and Jacob."

"You'd better," Mum growled, "Before I hex you into next century."

"Let's keep wands out of this, shall we?" Clarence said nervously, seeming to realize that he was now outnumbered.

"Depends on what you're going to say," Uncle Jack said.

"I'll just get on with it," Clarence replied, "I was perusing the paper the other day when I noticed that this house was up for sale. Needless to say I was shocked. This house has been in our family ever since it was built and the idea of it not passing into the hands of an Eckerton was frankly disturbing.

"Then I vaguely remembered something in your parents's will that prevented the house from being sold, so long as there was an Eckerton who wanted to own it. A bit of quick research proved I was right," Clarence turned to his son, "Gregory?"

Gregory reached into his robes and pulled out a piece of parchment. He handed it to his father and retreated back to his previous position.

"You've got to be kidding me," Dad sighed.

"This is ridiculous!" Uncle Jack shouted, "This house belongs to Walt and he has the authority to do as he pleases with it!"

"That's where you're wrong," Clarence smiled and handed the paper to Dad.

Dad, Uncle Jack, and Mum remained silent for a few moments as they read the parchment. I stared in shock at Clarence. Was he serious? My parents wouldn't be able to sell the house?

Dad lowered the parchment and glared at Clarence. "You're right. That is indeed what the will states."

"I cannot believe this, Clarence!" Uncle Jack threw his hands in the air, "You dug up this minuscule bit of the will?"

"I most certainly did," Clarence replied, "I wanted to make sure all the rules were followed."

"And I suppose you want the house, Clarence?" Dad asked wearily.

"That's exactly what I want."

"No!" Uncle Jack shouted, "I won't stand for it! I'll take the house then! You won't get it if I want it. I'm a closer relative to Walter."

"Ah, that's where it gets tricky," Clarence grinned, "You see, it also states that the owner must live in Australia. And I believe you still reside in New York?"

"Yes," Uncle Jack muttered and turned to Dad, "And I can't move back here, Walt. Especially not with the way the Ministry is going."

"It's ok, Jack," Dad sighed, "I guess Clarence gets the house."

"Wonderful," Clarence grinned.

"You know what?" Uncle Jack took a step forward, "This is absolutely ridiculous. You seem to be taking pleasure in the fact that you're taking the house from Walt. You're only adding to the stress and misfortune that he and Julie and the kids have been through the past few years.

"Walter lost his job. They have to move to England just to get away from the anti-werewolf legislation and the general discrimination. What you're doing could be prevented. You have a perfectly good house already. You don't need this house. You're only taking it because you can. And, in my opinion, because you want him to suffer some more."

"That's what you think?" Clarence asked, "I simply want the house to remain in the family."

"That's a load of dung and you know it. You've hated us for the past two years."

"You're the ones who stopped contacting me."

"And we had a good reason!" Uncle Jack exclaimed.

"Depends on your definition of good reason."

"According to my definition, it was a good reason."

"Ok," Dad interrupted, "Let's not break out into a duel here. You're right, Clarence, you get the house. We'll work out the details and then get back to our usual policy of never talking to each other again. We clear?"

"Crystal," Clarence replied, "Let us know when you're leaving."

"July first," Dad told him, "I'll have the real estate agent send you the paperwork."

"Good," Clarence smiled.

"Now get out," Uncle Jack growled and pointed to the fireplace.

"Very well," Clarence nodded. He stepped over to the fireplace, followed by Gregory. The two of them stepped into it and were gone in a flash of green.

Dad let out a sigh and collapsed onto the couch next to Matt. Uncle Jack and Mum each took a seat on various arm chairs.

"I suppose I better go call off the sale of the house," Dad muttered.

"I still can't believe he did that," Uncle Jack shook his head.

I couldn't either. In a few short months, Clarence would be living in our house. The thought of that was worse than having strangers move in. To think that someone who hated Dad was going to get the house was unbelievable.

"It'll be ok, Walt," Mum said, "We won't be here anyway."

"I know. It's just the principle of the thing. Not to mention the fact that we need the money we were supposed to make from the house."

"We have plenty of money," Mum assured him, "We're still able to sell the furniture. Clarence is going to have an empty house when he moves in."

"It'll match his empty heart," Uncle Jack muttered.

******

After Mum and Dad talked to the real estate agent, a good amount of the people in our house left. A few were very disappointed that they wouldn't be able to buy the house, but we didn't have any say in the matter.

The sale went on another few hours, but eventually the house was empty again. Even emptier than usual, actually. Mum, Dad, and Uncle Jack had managed to sell almost half of all the furniture and other objects they planned on selling. Dad hoped the rest of it would sell at the second sale.

It was kind of depressing to walk around the house now. Many of the rooms were empty or close to it and the place felt less like home. Mum and Dad seemed more subdued than they had been, although that may have been because they were being forced to give the house to Clarence instead of selling it.

Uncle Jack was still fuming about that. He kept looking over Grandpa and Grandma's will over and over again, looking for a loophole. Unfortunately, he didn't find one. Dad kept telling him that there was nothing they could do about it, but he didn't seem to want to believe that.

Uncle Jack stayed for a few days after the sale. He brewed a few potions with me and one night we stayed up stargazing, which was fun. The day before he left, Clarence, his wife, and Gregory came over to the house to sign the paperwork to transfer ownership of the house. Some bloke involved with real estate came over as well to facilitate the whole thing.

Mum, Dad, and Uncle Jack were ready for them even before they arrived. The three of them were standing near the fireplace with grim looks on their faces. Matt and I sat on the couch. Mum had told us we should stay upstairs, but there was no way I would miss this. I wanted to see Clarence take possession of the house, even though I was incredibly angry about it.

The floo lit up a few moments later, and all three of my cousins stepped out. Clarence's wife, Jacqueline, actually came this time. I've never liked Jacqueline, even when my parents and Uncle Jack were speaking with Clarence. She reminded me of Cinda, only more stuck up and irritating.

"Walter, Jacob, Julietta," Clarence said stiffly.

"We'll do this in the kitchen," Dad muttered, "The real estate agent is already in there."

I followed them into the kitchen and sat down at one of the island stools. The adults all took seats around the table. Clarence was wearing the same smirk he had worn the other day.

"So," Clarence said, "See the article in the paper the other day?"

"I don't wish to discuss that," Dad replied.

Clarence was referring to the front page article about our house and the fact that Clarence was going to obtain it.

"Let's just get on with the paperwork, shall we?" the real estate agent suggested.

They spent the next half hour signing various forms and not saying much. It was rather boring. It wasn't until after the real estate agent bade everyone a good day and left the house that I thought things would heat up.

"Tell me, Walter," Clarence began, "Why exactly are you moving? The papers weren't clear."

Dad glanced at Mum before answering. "Well, I'm sure you're aware of the legislation that has passed through my former department recently. Julie and I don't feel comfortable raising Amy and Matt here anymore."

"Ah, so you're doing it for your werewolf kid," Clarence sneered at Matt, who hid behind Mum.

"I'd watch your mouth if I were you," Dad growled, "This is still my house."

"I'm just stating the truth," Clarence replied.

"I don't care what you're stating," Uncle Jack put in, "You need to learn when to shut your mouth."

"Jacob," Clarence addressed my uncle, "I was wondering if I could speak to you alone."

"I suppose you could," Uncle Jack replied, "Although I can't guarantee I'll listen."

Uncle Jack and Clarence left the kitchen and went into Dad's study. Jacqueline and Gregory remained in the kitchen, which was kind of awkward.

"I think I'll like this kitchen," Jacqueline commented, "The house elves will certainly put it to good use."

"Yeah," Mum muttered, "Because you certainly wouldn't ever actually help your house elves with anything."

"Why should I? House elves exist to help us."

"That is ridiculous," Mum replied.

"Just because you treat your house elf as an equal, doesn't mean the rest of the world does," Jacqueline said, "By the way, does yours come with the house?"

Mum glared at her. "Of course not! Ellie is capable of doing as she wishes! I highly doubt she'll want to live here under your command."

Jacqueline stuck her nose in the air and turned away from Mum. She was probably the most stuck up person I had ever met in my life. Her views on house elves were awful. I always felt bad for her house elves when we used to visit her house.

We stood awkwardly in the kitchen for a few more minutes. I was beginning to wonder how much longer Uncle Jack would be in Dad's study, when a loud bang made me jump.

Clarence came banging into the kitchen, sporting a bloody nose and gripping his wand. Uncle Jack followed him, looking disheveled and angry.

"Jacqueline, Gregory, we're leaving now," Clarence seethed.

"Clarence!" Jacqueline exclaimed, "What happened?"

"You'd better get out of here right now!" Uncle Jack shouted, pointing his wand at Clarence, "Or you'll have more than that broken nose."

Clarence glared at Uncle Jack and then wordlessly led his family into the living room. We followed them and watched as they flooed away.

"What happened, Jack?" Dad asked wearily as soon as the flames died down.

"Stupid. Bloody. Git," Uncle Jack growled as he sat down on the couch.

"What did he do?" Dad asked and sat down next to him.

"Told me he'd 'make it worth my while' if I severed ties with you and began speaking to him again," Uncle Jack muttered, "Told him no, of course."

"That's it?" Dad asked skeptically, "You were in there an awfully long time."

"Well, then we argued about it for a while."

"And what did he say to make you hex him?" Dad asked.

Uncle Jack sighed and glanced at Matt. Then he turned back to Dad. "He said and I quote 'Befriending half-breeds will get you nowhere in life. Your brother and nephew are not worth your time'."

"That bloody arse!" Dad shouted, "I can't believe him."

"So, he deserved it, as you can see," Uncle Jack commented.

"I'd say so," Dad agreed, "I probably would have done the same thing."

"Well," Mum sighed, "He's gone now. Hopefully we'll never have to talk to him again."

"But he's getting the house," Dad muttered, "Still can't believe he's getting the house."

Neither could I. But what was more unbelievable was what he said to Uncle Jack. Clarence used to be like another uncle to me. He doted on me when I was little. When I was a little kid, it was like I had four parents almost all to myself. Mum, Dad, Uncle Jack, and Clarence. Jacqueline was Clarence's second wife. Clarence and Gregory's mum divorced when Gregory was five or so. Gregory went to live with her for most of the time. Whenever Clarence didn't have Gregory around, he came to our house and played with me.

Then, as soon as Matt got bitten, he was gone. For some reason he just was so prejudiced against werewolves, that he refused to see any of us. Until he wanted our house, that is. I was completely used to him not being in my life anymore, but it shook me a little to have him storm back into our lives like that.

******

Uncle Jack left the next day. The Magical Movers Company came and packed up all the furniture and other items he was taking and magically shipped it to New York. The house was even emptier after he left. Life got back to normal, well as normal as it ever was. As the days wore on, Mum and Dad seemed to accept the fact that Clarence was taking the house. It seemed to me that all they cared about was getting out of Australia. Sure, they were disappointed they wouldn't make any money from the transaction, but it didn't take them long to get over the fact that Clarence would live in our house.

Olivia and I kept owling each other every few days or so. She was still interested in everything to do with the move and I kept her updated. I told her about Clarence getting the house and she thought it was horrible.

It still made me sad to write her letters, though. I couldn't imagine a time when we would actually be able to see each other. I sighed and sealed the envelope on the letter I had just written her.

The house was very quiet as I walked downstairs to Dad's study. It was still kind of early in the morning. Mum and Dad were still in their room. I heard them whispering to each other as I walked by. Matt's room was quiet, so I assumed he was still asleep.

I quietly pushed open the door to Dad's study and crept inside. Jasper was standing on his cage, ruffling his feathers. There was a dead mouse laying inside the cage and he looked immensely proud that he caught it.

"Hey, Jasper," I smiled, "Nice mouse."

He hooted loudly and nipped at my hand. I laughed and let him have the owl treat that I had brought for him. He ate it eagerly and then stuck out his leg. I tied the letter to it and patted him on the head.

"Take it to Olivia, ok?"

I opened the window and Jasper flew out. I watched him until he disappeared into the bush. I sighed and sat down on the windowsill. I wouldn't be able to send Olivia nearly as many letters after we moved. Jasper wouldn't be able to fly halfway across the world three times a week. At least I'd be able to use Muggle post to send letters to Kenzie, although I wasn't sure how long it would take a letter to get from England to Australia.

Dad's office still looked the same as it always did. There wasn't anything in it that he was willing to sell. I wondered how long it would take him to pack everything. That would definitely be interesting. Mum would surely want him to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I doubted Dad would be willing to do that.

The books alone would take forever to pack. The bookcases were overflowing and there were stacks of books on the floor, too. Most of them were related to magical creatures. An entire shelf was devoted to werewolves. There was also a stack of werewolf books on the floor.

I found it hard to believe that Dad actually read all those werewolf books. The top one must have been at least 700 pages. I picked it up and cracked it open. Just as I suspected, tiny print. I was about to place it back on the stack when the book below it caught my eye. I set the werewolf book down on the floor and glanced at the door. It was still quiet and I didn't think anyone else had gotten up yet.

I quickly picked up the book I had noticed and sat down on the floor. The book was entitled, Animagus Training: What You Need to Know. Animagus training? I had learned about Animagi in school. I always thought it would be awesome to be one, but it was incredibly hard.

I looked back at the stack of books I had previously thought to be werewolf books. A quick glance at the titles told me otherwise. They were all books about becoming an Animagus. Every last one of them. Six to be exact. Why did Dad have that many books on Animagi?

There was a piece of parchment sticking out of the book I had in my hand. I pulled it out and glanced at it. It was a list of spells. About half of them had red check marks next to them. A quarter had blue check marks as well. At the top of the sheet was a title, 'Spells for Animagi Training'. At the bottom, in tiny letters were the words, 'Walt=blue, Julie=red'.

My eyes bugged out of my head and I jumped up. Were Mum and Dad trying to become Animagi? If they were, why? I went over to Dad's desk and looked at the huge pile of parchment and books on top of it. Nothing visible resembled anything Animagus related.

I closed the book and ran out of the room. This was just another thing my parents were hiding from me and I wanted to know why. If they were training to become Animagi, I wanted to do it, too. I ran all the way up to their bedroom and burst in.

Mum and Dad were laying in bed and immediately stopped whispering when I barged in. They looked at me strangely and then glanced at each other.

I held up the book. "What is this?"

Mum and Dad looked at each other again. "A book," Dad muttered.

I groaned, "I know it's a book! It's a book on becoming an Animagus! Are you two trying to become Animagi? Why? Why didn't you tell me? I want to do it too!"

Dad sighed, "Amy, first of all, you're only 14. You don't have the magical ability to become an Animagus."

"I could figure it out," I told him, "Might take a while, but I could do it."

"Fine," Dad replied, "But to answer your other questions, your mother and I were trying to become Animagi."

"Why?" I asked, "Wait, were? You've already figured it out?"

"No," Mum said quietly, "We were trying to become Animagi, but we've stopped."

"Why?" I was getting tired of their short answers that didn't completely answer my questions.

Dad sighed again. "We decided a year or so ago to try and become Animagi so we could be with Matt on the full moons."

I stared at them. Were they insane? "Seriously?"

"Yes," Dad replied, "Werewolves are only dangerous to humans on the full moon, not other animals. We thought if we became Animagi and stayed with him, he'd hurt himself less."

I suppose that made sense. But still, it was a little mad. "Why'd you stop?"

"Because of the study," Dad answered, "If we spent the full moons with him as animals, it would mess up the data. He wouldn't hurt himself as much, but we wouldn't know if that was due to us or the potions he'll take."

"Oh," I said. That made sense. "Why didn't you just do the Animagus thing and not the study?"

"We won't always be with him during full moons," Mum said quietly, "When he gets older and goes to school, we won't be there. Nor will we be there when he's an adult. It would be better for him to be able to rely on potions and not us."

I nodded. "So you're not going to keep training?"

"No," Dad said, "We'd be too tempted to go spend full moons with him."

"Is this why the two of you spend so much time in Dad's study?" I asked.

"Yes," Mum replied.

"But why didn't you just tell me what you were doing?"

"We didn't want Matt to find out," Dad said, "In case it didn't work out. We didn't want him getting his hopes up."

"Which means you can't tell him about this," Mum warned.

"I won't," I assured her.

"And go put that book back where you found it," Dad told me.

I nodded and left the room. I would never have guessed that they would try and become Animagi to be with Matt on full moons. There didn't seem to be anything they wouldn't do for him. They'd lose their jobs, fight with their families, attempt difficult spells, and even move across the world for him. He really was lucky that our parents cared so much. I learned about werewolves this past year in school and a lot of them were abandoned by their parents when they were bitten. Despite all the difficulties, my brother did have a good life.


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PostPosted: Sunday 18 January 2009 8:14:48pm 
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Whoa. Clarence is evil. Pure. I hated how much he grinned... Terrific chapter, Duckie. I look forward to the next one.


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PostPosted: Sunday 18 January 2009 11:52:33pm 
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that was an awsome chapter
i cant wait for the rest of the chapters


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PostPosted: Monday 26 January 2009 7:08:53pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! :grin: This story is filled with nasty characters...

Chapter 31: Kidnapped

Mum and Dad seemed to get more antsy as the next full moon drew closer. Dad became quiet and spent a lot of time just sitting and staring off into space. Mum did that as well, except for the quiet part. She yelled at me for the simplest things, such as forgetting to put my dishes in the sink. It reminded me of how she had been earlier in the year. It was kind of strange that both of my parents were acting nervous again when they had been excited about moving just a few days ago.

I assumed it had something to do with Lubar and how he kept showing up every full moon. I still had no idea what he had done after the previous one. Neither of my parents mentioned him after I went home and I was reluctant to ask them. I did however think Ellie might have known.

"Hey, Ellie," I sat down at the counter as she was doing the dishes.

"Hi Amy," Ellie looked up, "How is you?"

"All right," I sighed, "What about you?"

"Ellie is good."

"I've got a question for you," I said.

Ellie put down the dish she was holding and looked at me. "What is it?"

"Remember that git, Lubar?" I asked.

"Of course," Ellie said darkly, "Ellie is not liking him."

"Neither do I. Did he come here the morning after the last full moon?"

"He did," Ellie told me.

Just as I thought. "What happened?" What did he do?"

"He is asking Master for a fine. And Master is giving it to him. Then Master yelled at him and made him leave," Ellie replied.

Another fine. Well, that wasn't too bad. "Did he say anything important?"

"He is telling Master that Master should reconsider his choices and that next month will be different."

I swallowed hard. He was threatening Dad. He had a lot of power, too. He could do anything. The thought of it made me sick. What was he going to do?

"Thanks, Ellie," I said quietly. I got up from the stool and went up to my room.

A few hours later, Dad knocked on my door and told me it was time to go to Richard and Cinda's. I nodded and grabbed my bag. The two of us Apparated to the bush near their house and walked silently up their driveway.

Cinda was standing in the doorway when we got there. She and Mum were still fighting. I had never seen them fight for this long before. I was beginning to wonder if they'd ever make up.

"Cinda," Dad said quietly.

"Walter," Cinda replied, "Julie did not want to come?"

"She's at home with Matt. She's been taking care of him all morning and he didn't want her to leave," Dad answered.

"Hmph," Cinda muttered.

"I'll be back in a few days, Amy," Dad said, "Have fun."

"Like always," I rolled my eyes, "Bye."

Dad nodded to Cinda and then turned around and walked down the driveway. Cinda watched him go and I ran up to my bedroom. I dropped my bag and grabbed the phone. I hadn't seen Kenzie in two months and she picked up on the first ring.

The only good thing about this full moon was that it was on a Saturday, so Kenzie was home. She came over to my grandparents house ten minutes after I called her.

"England?!" she shouted as soon as I opened the door.

"Yes, England," I groaned and she walked inside.

"Cheerio, then!" Kenzie replied in a fake British accent.

"That was awful," I laughed.

"Better get used to it. That's what you'll be hearing from now on. Hell, maybe you'll get a British accent, too!"

"I doubt that," I replied flatly, "So, can you sleep over?"

"No," Kenzie sighed, "I'm going to my grandparents' house tomorrow at seven in the morning."

I raised my eyebrow. "Your family? Seven in the morning?"

"I know, right? Totally not going to happen, but my parents seem to think it'll work if we try hard. Anyway, so they don't want me to sleep over here."

"Well, stay as late as you can," I said.

"I will," Kenzie said, "Oh, before I forget, my mum wanted me to ask if your family can come over to our house for dinner before you move. Do you think the 15th will work?"

"It should," I said, "I'll call you if it doesn't. What time?"

"Five," Kenzie answered.

Kenzie stayed until her mum called at ten o'clock, demanding that she come home and get some sleep. I watched her go until I couldn't see her anymore. I slowly returned to the house and went back up to my room. My grandparents were sitting in the living room, but I didn't want to sit with them. Now that Kenzie was gone, I started worrying about what Lubar was going to do again.

I stayed up half the night worrying about it. I figured if Dad was worried about it, there was definitely something to worry about. Dad spent nearly two years in charge of that department and he knew what Lubar would be capable of doing. Something was going to happen. But what? Lubar did not elaborate in his threat, which kind of made it worse. I had no idea what to expect.

The worst part was, was that I wasn't even home. Something could be happening right at that very moment and I'd have no idea. It was bad enough to not be home during regular full moons, but ones where Lubar had threatened my family? It was driving me mad.

I must have fallen asleep at some point, because the next thing I knew I jerked awake. I sat up in bed, my heart hammering. There had been a loud crack downstairs. It sounded like one of those Muggle wands they use to kill each other. Or someone Apparating.

I crept out of bed and strained my ears. Why would someone be Apparating into Richard and Cinda's house? Were they some kind of wizard burglar who robbed Muggles? Or could it be Lubar? Did he somehow find out where Richard and Cinda lived? I shakily grabbed my wand and quietly opened the door.

"Lumos," I muttered and stepped out into the corridor. I could vaguely make out footsteps downstairs. This was insane. Who was down there?

I was the only magical person in the house. If this person was someone who wanted to harm us, it would be up to me to save my grandparents. But I didn't know enough spells. We would all be killed.

Richard and Cinda were still sleeping. They had always been deep sleepers. Richard was still snoring. I ran as quietly as I could to their room and pushed open the door.

"Richard!" I prodded him with my wand, "Cinda! Wake up!"

Richard groaned and rolled over. He squinted at my wand light. "Amy? What's going on?"

"Someone Apparated into the house! I heard it! And now they're walking around downstairs! We've got to get out of here. I don't know enough spells to hold them off!"

"Wait, wait," Richard held up his hand, "What?"

"A witch or wizard has Apparated into the house," I said slowly, "They're downstairs. We need to get out!"

"Amy," Richard sighed, "I'm sure there's a more likely explanation for this. Why on earth would a witch or wizard Apparate into our house?"

"How should I know?" I asked, "But I'm serious! That's what the noise was!"

"You were probably dreaming."

"No, I wasn't!" I seethed, "Listen!"

Richard and I were quiet for a minute and I heard the footsteps coming closer. The person was coming up the stairs. My heart was pounding out of my chest and my breathing came quick.

"What's that, then?" I asked.

"Er," Richard began.

I jumped as the door creaked open and a shadowy figure appeared in the doorway. I pointed my wand at them and shouted the first spell that came to mind. "Petrificus Totalus!"

The figure jumped aside and my spell hit the half open door. It caught fire and the shadowy stranger put it out with a jet of water from his own wand.

"Amy?" they asked.

I recognized that voice. It was Mum. What was she doing here? What was going on?

"Julie?" Richard asked and turned on the light.

Cinda rolled over and pulled up her eye mask. She startled and sat up, staring curiously from Mum to me to Richard.

"Julie?" Cinda asked.

"Mum?" I asked, "What are you doing here?"

"Julie, why did you Apparate into our house in the dead of night? Amy thought you were someone who was going to kill us!" Richard exclaimed.

I looked at Mum closely. Her hair face was white and tear stained and her eyes had purple bags under them. She looked more scared and upset than I'd seen her in ages. In fact, I hadn't seen her looking like that since the days following the night Matt got bitten. This was bad.

"Mum, what's going on?" I asked, trying not to cry myself.

"Go get your stuff, Amy. I'm taking you home," Mum whispered.

I stared at her curiously. Why would she let me go home now? The full moon was out.

"What's going on, Julie?" Richard asked, "You never let her stay home during full moons and now you're taking her home while the full moon's out?"

"Amy, get your stuff," Mum repeated.

I didn't bother asking her again what was going on. She seemed too shaken up to answer anyway. I left her standing in the doorway with Richard and Cinda staring at her and went back to my room.

I haphazardly threw all my stuff into my bag and ran back to my grandparents' bedroom. I was really worried now. This was so unlike Mum. She had never, ever come over to Richard and Cinda's in the middle of the night on a full moon.

Tears were rolling down Mum's face when I returned. Richard and Cinda were still trying to get her to explain what was going on, but it wasn't working.

"Jule, you've got to tell us what's going on," Richard said quietly, "Come sit down."

"N-no," Mum replied, "We've g-got to go h-home."

"Mum," I said as I walked through the door, "Can you please tell me what's wrong?"

"When we g-get home," Mum said, "We have to get b-back. Your d-dad might n-need to contact me."

I looked at her curiously again. What did she mean? Wasn't Dad at home? I hated this. I hated not knowing what was going on. I missed something big again. And this time it was something bad. I was afraid this would happen. Something was wrong. I squeezed my eyes and tears started coming out. It was no use. I had to cry.

"Call us soon, Julie," Richard sighed, realizing that he wasn't going to get Mum to elaborate any further.

Mum nodded and motioned for me to Apparate with her. I muttered goodbyes to my grandparents and with a loud crack, the world disappeared.

The house was ominously quiet when we appeared in the kitchen. I wasn't sure what to expect. I couldn't remember if Dad soundproofed just the safe room or the entire house. I dropped my bag on the floor and waited for Mum to explain.

She glanced at me and then sat down at the counter, burying her head in her arms. I looked around, wondering where Dad was, and then sat down next to her. We sat there for a few minutes; her crying into her arms and me with my tears silently running down my face and onto the counter.

"Mum," I said after a while, "Can you tell me what's going on? Where's Dad?"

Mum picked up her head, but didn't look at me. Instead she stared directly in front of her, towards the deck doors.

"Earlier tonight," she whispered, "Before the moon rose, Lubar flooed here. He wanted to know if Dad had built a shed for Matt to transform in. Remember that law?"

I nodded. How could I forget it?

"Well, they passed another one," Mum's voice cracked, "Werewolf Control Unit employees can now force werewolves to transform in the Ministry approved safe houses." A new wave of tears came over her and she paused for a few moments.

Force them? I had a feeling I knew where this was going and I didn't like it one bit. I felt nauseated and I really hoped I was wrong.

"Lubar shoved the new law in Dad's face and then grabbed Matt, who was sleeping on the couch. Dad grabbed his wand, but it was too late. Lubar had already Disapparated, with Matt," Mum said quietly. "Dad didn't know where the safe houses were or which one Lubar would take Matt to, and by the time he found it, the moon had already risen."

Mum collapsed into her arms once again and I stared at the window until my vision became blurry. It was what I thought. Matt was at one of those 'safe houses' right now. I rubbed my eyes and put my arm around Mum.

"Where's Dad now?" I asked quietly.

"At the s-safe house," Mum whispered, "He's staying th-there until m-morning."

I had no idea how long we sat there crying in each other's arms. Mum didn't have to tell me what this meant. I knew enough about werewolves to know what could possibly happen. Matt was surely going to be the smallest werewolf in the safe house. He'd be the runt. The larger wolves would gang up on him. I didn't want to think about what they would possibly do. There was a reason Dad didn't want Matt transforming with a bunch of adults. Even though he hurt himself every full moon in our basement, he was safer there than in with a bunch of wolves twice his size.

Neither of us slept at all that night. Eventually, we got up from the stools in the kitchen and wandered into the living room. Mum sat down on the couch and stared into space for the rest of the night. She hardly moved at all. I paced around the room over and over again, trying not to think about what was happening to my brother.

I felt worse than ever that I yelled at him the previous month when Olivia's parents wouldn't let her come stay at my house. That really wasn't his fault. It was Olivia's parents fault. I never even really apologized to him. Why had I been so stubborn? Now, I might not even get to apologize... No. I shook my head to get the thought out. I didn't want to think that way. Matt would be fine. He always survived the full moons. No mater how hard they were, he always recovered.

But he'd never transformed with other werewolves before. It didn't matter, I told myself. He was resilient. He'd recover. The healers would fix whatever happened. But what if they couldn't? No, don't think that way. They would be able to fix it. They always could. But I didn't even know how bad the full moons usually were. I'd never seen him right after one before.

Then there were my parents. I glanced over at Mum, who was still crying silently. If they were worried, there was something to worry about. That had always been my motto. My parents were smart. They knew when something was worrisome. If Matt was going to be fine, Mum wouldn't be falling apart on the couch.

Ellie came into the room at some point and was sitting on a chair across from Mum. She looked scared, too. I looked from her to Mum and then walked over to the window. It was starting to get light out. Dad would hopefully be back with Matt soon.

I gave up pacing and sat down next to Mum. She was no longer crying and was just staring straight ahead. I guess she just ran out of tears.

I heard a loud crack come from the corridor and I jumped. Mum immediately stood up.

"Stay here," she whispered.

I nodded, unable to argue. Mum left the room and I crept over to the door. I couldn't see anything, but I could hear Mum talking to someone. It was Dad. He was back.

"What happened?" Mum asked.

"Just what we expected," Dad said darkly, "This is the worst I've ever seen him."

"Matt, honey," Mum cried, "What did they do to you?"

"I don't think we'll ever find out," Dad replied.

"He's got to go to the hospital," Mum said in between sobs.

"I know," Dad sighed, "I thought I'd just pop in here before I took him there. Get Amy and meet us there."

"Amy's already here. I got her last night," Mum said, "I-I didn't know what was going to happen. I wanted her here."

"Ok, good," Dad said, "Meet us at Eastworth."

I heard a loud crack and then more crying. I hurried back to the couch so Mum wouldn't know I was listening in. She walked in a few minutes later.

"We're going to the hospital," she said quietly, "Come on."

I got up from the couch and Mum wrapped me in her arms. We Disapparated with a crack and reappeared moments later in a small room in the hospital.

Mum immediately let go of me and hurried out of the room. I followed her and we emerged into the waiting room. It was practically deserted, save for a sleeping man and a woman with a kid who had what appeared to be a fluffy tail affixed to his arse.

Dad wasn't anywhere in sight. He must have already taken Matt to the Creature-Induced Injury ward. I followed Mum to the lifts. She completely bypassed the witch sitting at the information desk. We'd been to this hospital so many times that we never bothered to stop by the desk anymore.

Mum anxiously hit the lift button and we waited for one to arrive.

"Come on," Mum muttered, "Hurry up...."

The lift finally arrived and we hurried in. Mum didn't say a word as it slowly made its way up to the third floor. She looked, if it was possible, even more worried than before.

Mum practically pulled the doors open herself once the lift stopped. I ran after her and we went down the hall to the nurse's station.

My favorite nurse was working that morning. Most of the nurses who worked at the hospital were kind of nervous around Matt, but this one always treated him just like any other kid. Plus, whenever I was there, she'd sneak me ice cream every few hours.

"Julie," she greeted us.

"Brenda," Mum sighed, "I'm glad you're working today."

"They took him to room 306," Brenda said with a sympathetic look.

"Thanks," Mum replied quietly, "Can Amy stay here?"

"Of course."

Mum nodded and then ran down the hall towards room 306. I sighed and leaned on the counter.

"How are you, Amy?" Brenda asked, "Come sit down."

I walked around the counter and flopped down on one of the spinning chairs. "Not that great."

"I hear you're moving."

"Yeah, in a month," I groaned.

"I can't blame your parents one bit," Brenda commented, "This isn't the best place to be raising a kid like your brother right now."

That was for sure. Even I was beginning to understand that. Not that it made me more eager to move, though.

I sat there, spinning in my chair, thinking about all the other times I'd sat in that very nurse's station. I'd lost count of how many times I'd been to this hospital. Every once in a while, Matt would have a really bad transformation and he'd have to spend a few days at the hospital. A few of those happened when I wasn't at school and my parents would pick me up from Richard and Cinda's and then I'd have to sit around the hospital.

Then there were the times my parents would hear about some cure and we'd all go to the hospital to check it out. I had no idea why my parents actually took me with them, since all I'd do was hang around the nurse's station the whole time.

This time was no different. I spent the whole day sitting there, thinking and worrying. I went with Brenda to get lunch, but I didn't eat much. I couldn't think about anything besides my brother. My parents still hadn't told me anything nor had I actually seen them come out of room 306. I had noticed various healers and nurses running in and out all day, but none of them talked loud enough for me to catch anything.

Brenda was getting ready to leave by the time my parents actually paid a visit to the nurse's station. Well, Dad came by. I assumed Mum was still in Matt's room.

"Dad!" I jumped up and ran over to him, "How is he?"

Dad rubbed his head and then leaned on the counter. He looked exhausted and scared. That was not a good sign. "Not good, Amy. He's not responding to any of the treatment."

My stomach lurched and tears pricked in my eyes. Not responding to the treatment? "What does that mean?" I whispered.

"It means the healers can't wake him up. As far as they can tell, he's in what Muggles call a coma. An unconscious state that a person can't be woken from by magical or medical means."

I rubbed the tears from my eyes and stared down at the counter. "And wh-what's g-going to happen n-now?"

"We don't know yet, Amy," Dad replied, "We're still figuring that out. Come on, you can see him now."

"I'll be praying for him," Brenda said as she gathered her things, "Owl me if you need anything, day or night."

"Thanks, Brenda," Dad said.

I said goodbye to Brenda and followed Dad to room 306. My tears were flowing freely now and I didn't care. I hadn't felt this bad since Matt was first bitten.

Dad pushed open the door and we stepped inside. Mum was sitting on a chair next to the bed and was holding Matt's hand. Her face was blotchy and she looked exhausted.

Nothing could have prepared me for what my brother looked like. I had never seen him this bad. Ever. All the other times he'd had to be in the hospital, by the time I saw him he looked almost normal and was awake. This time was different. Very different.

He looked so small in the huge hospital bed. He was mostly covered up by blankets, but the parts that were sticking out made me want to turn away. The arm that Mum was holding was wrapped in a bloodied bandage. His head was wrapped in a similar cloth and the parts of his hair were sticking out of it were smeared with globs of blood. His face was so scratched and bitten that it looked like, well, that he'd been attacked by a pack of wolves.

I took a sharp intake of breath and slowly walked over to him. The only movement I could see was his small chest slowly moving up and down. Despite the fact that he was covered in so many injuries, he looked almost peaceful. Like he wasn't in any pain.

"Matt?" I said very quietly as I crouched by the bed. My voice caught in my throat and I couldn't say anything else.

This was just horrible. Amongst all my fear and sadness about my brother, there was anger for Lubar. The more I watched Matt, the more anger I felt bubbling up inside of me. How could Lubar have passed that ridiculous law? Did he even care? He didn't. That was the problem.

"Amy," Mum said quietly.

"Mum," I replied, my voice cracking.

I pulled up a chair from the wall and dragged over next to the one Mum was sitting on. I sat down and neither of us said anything else. We didn't have to. We were both thinking the same thing. But I didn't want to think it. I didn't want to think about what could happen.


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PostPosted: Monday 26 January 2009 9:43:40pm 
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awww poor matt he is so helpless
that lubar is an evil jerk
he hould be ashamed


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PostPosted: Monday 26 January 2009 11:20:04pm 
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Wow, that was a good chapter. Despite it's evilness. Really, really great. Really.


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PostPosted: Sunday 1 February 2009 11:23:47pm 
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Thanks, hprocks & Obladi. :D The next few chapters get really angsty and emotional.

Chapter 32: St. Mungo's

"Julie," Dad walked up behind us.

Mum turned around and looked at Dad.

"I have an idea. It's probably crazy, but I'm willing to try anything at this point."

"Me, too," Mum agreed, "What is it?"

"I think we should take him to St. Mungo's," Dad said.

"What?"

"The healers have told us there's nothing they can do now but wait for him to wake up. I want to have Healer Sterling look at him."

"You're right; that is kind of crazy. But if you think it might help...."

"We've both been impressed by Healer Sterling," Dad pointed out, "He just might have an idea. Plus, in a month, Healer Sterling will officially be his healer anyway."

"Let's do it, then," Mum said.

"Glad you agree. I'll go contact Sterling and see if he can come here first, before we try moving Matt. The hospitals have some sort of floo connection to other hospitals, so I think it's just a simple matter of finding the correct fireplace. I'll go talk to one of the healers. I'm also going to see if I can contact Jack."

Mum nodded and turned back around. So there was a glimmer of hope. I wished more than anything that Sterling would be able to figure out how to wake Matt up.

Dad returned a little while later. Mum and I hadn't said a thing while he was gone. Mum immediately got up when he walked through the door.

"Well?" she asked anxiously.

"Sterling is going to come as soon as he can. He said he's got to tie up a few things, but he'll try to be quick about it. Said he should be here within the hour."

"Oh, good," Mum sighed, "And what about Jack? Were you able to contact him?"

"Yes. I was able to floo my head over there and talk to him."

"And what did he say?"

"Said that next time he sees Lubar, he'll kill him," Dad said darkly, "And to be honest, I wouldn't put it past him."

"I doubt that," Mum replied, "Jack wouldn't do that."

"You're probably right," Dad sighed, "But if Jack ever sees Lubar again, I'm sure he'll hex him into next week. And I'll be right there helping."

I will too, I thought. I didn't care if I didn't know enough dueling spells. I didn't care that I was a horrible dueler. I'd resort to Muggle dueling if I had to.

"Anyway," Dad continued, "Jack said he'd be in the next flight. I told him to wait, though. There's no point in him coming here if we're just going to wind up going to London."

"All right," Mum said, "I guess now we wait for Sterling."

"Yes," Dad sighed, "That's all we can do."

All three of us jumped when we heard the door open a half hour later. I looked up and saw the familiar figure of Healer Sterling walk through the doorway. He quietly shut the door behind himself and walked over to the bed.

"Walter, Julie," he nodded to my parents. "Amy."

Dad stood up and shook his hand. "Thank you so much for coming."

"Not a problem," Sterling said, "I only hope that I can help. Now, why don't you tell me exactly what went on during the full moon." He pulled a quill out of his pocket and poised it over the clipboard he was holding.

Dad inhaled deeply and began to tell Sterling about everything that had happened. I tried to tune it out because Dad gave more details than I really wanted. Nobody had told me what Matt looked like when Dad retrieved him from the 'safe house'.

"He was as pale as a ghost when I was finally able to get into that stupid building," Dad continued, "Laying in a pile of his own blood. I've never seen that many bites and scratches on him before. He was completely unconscious, of course. One of his arms and one of his legs were broken, along with multiple ribs. They've been healed as well as they can be for now. The healers here said they can't fully heal until he's out of the coma."

"Yes, that's true," Sterling replied, "His body needs to be fully functioning before the bones can completely heal."

"Can you help?" Mum asked anxiously.

"I'll need to examine him," Sterling replied and pulled out his wand.

I watched as Sterling waved his wand over my brother, muttering various incantations. He sighed and shook his head every once and a while, writing stuff down on his clipboard. I took that as a bad sign.

Finally, Sterling put away his wand and turned to my parents with a grim face. Mum took one look at him and burst out crying again. Dad put his arm around her and rubbed her shoulder.

"Well," Sterling began, "After talking with the healers here and examining him, I've come to the same conclusion." Sterling sighed and paused. "Before he can continue healing, he needs to wake up from that coma."

Mum buried her head in Dad's shoulder. Dad rubbed his eyes and shook his head. I just sat there, staring at Sterling without really looking at him.

"And there aren't any ways to wake him up?" Dad asked.

"There are, actually," Sterling replied, "With Muggle medicine. But I wouldn't suggest them. His injuries are completely magic creature induced, which might interact horribly with Muggle treatments."

Dad nodded. "Then we won't try that."

"However," Sterling continued, "There is a potion. It's currently being tested at St. Mungo's. So far, it has had some success in waking people from comas. It's only been tried a couple times, since it's not common for witches and wizards to fall into comas. But, it has worked on the few times it's been tried."

"We'll try it," Mum said immediately.

"I must warn you, though," Sterling looked at Mum sympathetically, "That it's not guaranteed to work. It has never been tested on werewolves before, so I am not entirely sure how it will work."

Dad turned to Mum, "Maybe we should just wait for him to wake up naturally."

"You could," Sterling said, "But, since he is a werewolf, we're working on a tight schedule. He has to be out of the coma and preferably mostly healed by the time the next full moon arrives. Otherwise...well, I've got to prepare you for the worst."

The worst. He had to prepare us for the worst. I burst out crying again. I couldn't take it anymore. Sterling had said what everyone else was thinking. That Matt might- I couldn't think about it. I pushed the thought from my mind and got up. I couldn't stay in that room anymore. Not when they were going to talk about the worst case scenario.

I stood up and ran for the door, not looking back. I could feel Mum, Dad, and Sterling's eyes on me as I left, but I didn't care.

"Amy-" Dad said, but I didn't hear the rest of what he was saying because I slammed the door behind myself.

I ran all the way down the corridor, ignoring the shouts of 'walk, this is a hospital!' from the nurse on duty at the nurse's station. I skidded to a halt in front of the lift and mashed my hand onto the down arrow. I had to get out of there. Away from the depressing room that my brother was laying half-dead in.

There, I thought it. Half-dead. In a coma. Completely unresponsive to outside stimuli. Whatever you wanted to call it. It was all the same. And the only hope he had was a potion that had only been tested a few times and never tested on werewolves. It seemed hopeless.

I rushed into the lift as a healer left it. He looked at me curiously but didn't say a word. I hit the button for the bottom floor and leaned against the wall as the lift slowly led me down.

Once it stopped moving, I pushed my way out of the doors and started running again. I ran the familiar path to the cafeteria and didn't stop until I got there. I wasn't hungry or anything, but the cafeteria was the first place I could think of to get away. I found a secluded table in a corner and sat down in it. I buried my head in my arms and cried.

I sat there crying for who knows how long. When I finally picked up my head, I felt incredibly tired. I wasn't sure how long it had been since I last slept. It must have been almost 48 hours, but I wasn't sure.

I put my head back down on the table and tried to block out all thoughts of my brother from my mind. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but within ten minutes I was sound asleep, right there in the hospital cafeteria.

******

"Amy," someone was prodding my shoulder, "Amy, wake up."

I groggily raised my head from the table and looked at the blurry figure of Dad. I rubbed my eyes and sat up straight.

"Amy," Dad said again, "Have you been here the whole time?"

"Yeah," I nodded, "How long have I been away?"

"About an hour."

Dad put his arm around my shoulder and hugged me close to him. "Amy, are you all right?"

I squeezed my eyes shut. "How can I be all right? Dad, what's going to happen?"

Dad sighed, "I don't know, Amy, I really don't know."

"Is-" my voice caught in my throat, "Is he going to, to die?"

Dad squeezed me tighter. "I don't know. I'm not going to lie to you and say it's a guarantee that he'll get better. Because I don't know. No one knows. But we're going to do everything we can to help him get better. That is a guarantee."

I sniffed and nodded, but didn't think I would be able to say anything. Why did everything bad happen to my family?

"Your mother and I have decided to try the potion Healer Sterling was talking about. And he thinks he'd be better able to keep an eye on Matt if we transferred him to St. Mungo's, so that's what we're going to do in a few minutes."

I nodded again. I didn't care how long we had to stay in London as long as Matt got better. I just hoped that the potion would work.

"You ready to go back to the room?" Dad asked, "Do you want something to eat first?"

I shook my head. I didn't think I'd be able to eat anything. "Let's just go back," I whispered.

Dad nodded and stood up. I got up after him and he put his arm around my shoulder as we walked back to the elevator and then up to Matt's room.

When we returned to the room, Mum was still sitting next to Matt's bed holding his limp hand. Healer Sterling was talking quietly with another healer and both of them looked up once we walked in.

"We're ready to transfer him whenever you are, Walter," the other healer announced.

"I'm ready," Dad replied.

The healers nodded and took out their wands. Mum got up from her chair and stood next to Dad. Sterling conjured a stretcher and set it down alongside the bed where Mum had been. Then he levitated Matt, blankets and all, onto the stretcher.

Sterling pulled a very old, rusted metal coffee mug out of his pocket and held it out. So we were taking a portkey, I thought. Sterling held out the portkey with one hand and held onto the stretcher with the other. Mum, Dad, and I all crowded around them and put a finger onto the mug.

"Three...two...one," Sterling muttered and the portkey began to glow.

I held my breath and felt the familiar jerk behind my navel as we began to travel. It was not as instantaneous as the other times I'd traveled by portkey. In fact, it seemed to take even longer for this than it did to travel by floo from New York to Massachusetts. That made sense since this was an even longer distance. In fact, that was the longest trip I'd ever taken by magic.

We landed in what appeared to be a storage room in St. Mungo's. I fell onto my arse and gazed around as I stood up. It was a relatively organized storage room, with potions bottles lining all the shelves. Mum, Dad, and Sterling had all landed much more gracefully than I had. Sterling opened the door and levitated Matt out into the corridor. Mum, Dad, and I followed.

The storage room was on the same floor as the Dai Lewellyn ward. We only had to walk a short distance before Sterling led us into his ward. There was only one other patient in the room and he was sleeping. His leg was propped up and covered in bandages.

Sterling led Matt over to the bed farthest away from the door and with a flick of his wand, Matt was onto the bed. Sterling vanished the stretcher and then turned to my parents.

"Would you like to start the potion now or wait a few hours?" he asked.

My parents exchanged a glance. "I think we'd better start it now," Dad replied.

"All right," Sterling said, "I'll go get it."

"I'd better go contact Jack," Dad said to Mum once Sterling had left.

Mum nodded, "I suppose I ought to call my parents. I'll wait until you're done, though."

Dad glanced at Matt once more and then left the room. Mum pulled out her wand and conjured a few chairs. She dragged one of them over to Matt's bed and continued doing what she'd done in Australia.

I took the other chair and sat down in it, not really sure of what else to do. So much had happened over the past two days. Or was it just one day? I wasn't even sure. I didn't even know what time or what day it was in London. I didn't really care, either.

So many things that had mattered so much to me just a few days ago seemed insignificant now. Moving, for one. Changing schools, the fact that Olivia's parents wouldn't let her visit, Mum and Cinda's fight, Dad's cousin getting the house, and a million other things. Stupid things. In only a few hours, those things had dropped down to not even mattering. I only cared about one thing and that was my brother getting better.

I hadn't felt this way since he was first bitten. Sitting there at St. Mungo's, looking at his limp, lifeless form, was bringing back so many memories. Memories of two and a half years ago, when we sat in Eastworth doing the exact same thing. I felt so helpless then, just like I did now. There wasn't anything any of us could do.

Sterling brought the potion and administered it to Matt, using his wand to make him swallow it. He also had a nutrient potion, since Matt obviously couldn't eat anything.

Dad returned a little while later. He sat down on the third chair Mum had conjured and looked at Matt.

"Jack's coming," he said quietly, "Said he'd be on the next plane."

Mum nodded, "That's good. I'll go see if I can find a phone and call Richard and Cinda."

I watched Mum leave and leaned my head back against the wall. I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually slept for longer than an hour. I hadn't been tired before, but after portkeying to London, I just felt exhausted. The fatigue just hit me all of a sudden. I didn't want to sleep, though. Something could happen when I slept. I tried to force my eyes to stay open, but it was no use. The last thing I saw was the tears slipping out of Dad's eyes.

******

I groggily opened my eyes and lifted my head up. I rubbed my neck and grimaced at the crick in it. I should not have fallen asleep on a chair, leaning my head against a wall.

I looked around the room. Neither Mum or Dad were there, but Healer Sterling was waving his wand around Matt and making notes on his clipboard.

He looked up when he noticed that I was awake. "You're welcome to sleep in any of the empty beds," he told me.

"Thanks," I muttered, "But I don't really want to sleep anymore."

"Understandable," Sterling replied, "But you can't neglect your own needs because of your brother. He wouldn't want you to do that." He made one more note on his clipboard and then left the ward.

Sterling probably had a point, but I couldn't bring myself to climb into one of the other beds and sleep. Especially when neither of my parents were in the room. I couldn't leave Matt alone in there. If I was asleep, it would be like he was alone.

Mum and Dad came back a minute later and Mum resumed her post next to Matt's bed.

"Good, you're awake," Dad said to me, "Let's go get something to eat."

"I'm not hungry," I muttered.

"Amy, you need to eat something," Dad replied, "I know this is hard. It's hard on all of us, but you can't not eat anything."

I sighed and got up. Dad put his arm around me and we walked silently from the room. We walked down the nearly deserted corridor until we got to the lift. I followed Dad into it and then to the tea room once we reached the top floor.

The tea room was relatively crowded with people, so I figured it must have been some sort of meal time. The line was long and most of the tables occupied. There were healers hastily shoving food into their mouths and nurses talking amongst each other as they ate. A few people dressed in navy blue robes were pushing carts of food out of the room, presumably for the patients.

Dad joined the queue and I stood behind him. I still wasn't that hungry, but I grabbed a sandwich and a bag of crisps anyway. Dad paid for our food and we sat down at one of the few empty tables.

I nibbled at my sandwich while Dad ate his hamburger. "Did Mum call Richard and Cinda?" I asked.

"Yes," Dad replied.

"Are they coming here?"

"No," Dad sighed, "They said they might visit us once we're back in Australia."

"Oh," I muttered. Part of me actually thought they would have flown to London. Of course, since Cinda was still angry with Mum, I shouldn't have been surprised.

"Cinda does not understand the situation," Dad explained, "She never has and I don't think she ever will."

"Do you think she and Mum will ever make up?"

"I do," Dad answered, "Although I'm not sure their relationship will ever be the same."

I continued to slowly eat my sandwich until I'd managed to eat the whole thing. Dad seemed satisfied and we went back to Matt's room. Dad brought Mum back a sandwich and handed it to her. She gazed up at Dad and began to unwrap it.

I sat back down in my chair and watched my brother. He looked exactly the same as he had when I first saw him in his room at Eastworth. Whatever that potion was, it wasn't working yet. How long would it take?

As I sat there, I began to wonder how long we'd stay at the hospital. Didn't most hospitals have visiting hours? Eastworth did. What would we do when visiting hours were over? I honestly didn't think my parents would be willing to let Matt stay at St. Mungo's alone. It had been incredibly hard for Mum and Dad to abide by Eastworth's visiting hours rules when Matt had been bitten.

The rest of the day went by surprisingly fast for just sitting in the ward and not doing anything. I fell asleep for a few hours and then got dinner with Dad. I was watching the sunset when the door to the ward opened again. Healer Sterling stepped inside and walked over to Matt's bed.

"Is he doing any better?" Mum asked immediately.

"His condition has not changed," Sterling replied.

Mum put her head in her hands and Dad let out a loud sigh.

"Wait," Sterling said, "It's not a bad thing. He is stable. It is a very good sign that he has not taken a turn for the worse. The potion has not had an adverse effect, which means we can continue to administer it. I explained that we had virtually no idea what this potion would do to your son. It is excellent that it has had no negative side effects so far."

"But it hasn't helped yet," Dad muttered.

"The potion has never worked this fast on anyone before. I would have been shocked if it worked this fast on Matt. We need to give it at least a week before we can say for sure whether it's not working. If he wakes up before then, well, it doesn't really matter if it was due to the potion or not."

"All right," Dad replied, "That makes sense."

Sterling set down his clipboard on the bedside table and placed his hands on the foot of Matt's bed.

"Technically," he began, "Visiting hours were over an hour ago."

Mum looked at Dad and shook her head slightly. I took that to mean that Mum did not want to leave Matt alone.

"But," Sterling held up a finger, "Yours is a different situation. The last thing Matt will remember when he wakes up is being taken from his home by Lubar, shoved into a shed with a bunch of strangers, and transforming into a werewolf. I think it would be a bad idea for him to wake up without anyone familiar around. I do not want him waking up without anyone he recognizes in the room."

"I completely agree," Mum whispered.

"I thought you would," Sterling said, "Therefore, I've gotten permission for one of you to be in the ward at all times. Whoever stays is welcome to sleep in one of the empty beds."

"Thank you," Mum said quietly, "I wouldn't have been able to leave him."

"I'm going to go home and get some sleep. I think he will be fine overnight, but if anything happens, the night nurses know how to contact me," Sterling said.

"Are you going to be here tomorrow?" Dad asked, "Tomorrow's Sunday, right?"

"Yes, that'll be Sunday," Sterling answered, "But I'm on call this whole weekend, so I'll be here."

"We'll see you tomorrow, then," Dad replied. He and Sterling shook hands and Sterling left the room. Dad turned to Mum, "Do you want me to stay tonight? You could go get a room at an inn and get some sleep."

Mum shook her head, "No. I want to stay with him. You've got to pick up Jack from the airport soon anyway."

"Are you sure?" Dad put his hand on Mum's shoulder.

Mum nodded, "Yes. I don't want to leave him. I want to be here when he wakes up."

Dad sighed, "All right. Just try and get some sleep, ok?"

"I will," Mum whispered.

Dad squeezed Mum in a hug and then went over to Matt. He reached down and gently rubbed his head and gave him a kiss on his forehead.

"Amy?" Dad asked, "Ready to go?"

I looked at Dad and then at my brother. I didn't want to leave. What if he woke up during the night? What if something bad happened during the night? But I knew I'd have to go with Dad. Sterling didn't say anything about me staying in the ward.

"One second," I whispered and stood up. I slowly walked to Matt's bed and bent down to him. I gave him a gentle hug and a quick kiss on the cheek. "I hope you're better soon," I whispered, "I love you." I hastily wiped one of my own tears from his face and stood back up.


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PostPosted: Monday 2 February 2009 10:29:25pm 
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Yes, angsty is an accurate way to describe this chapter. Good job, all the same!


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PostPosted: Tuesday 3 February 2009 1:18:08am 
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really great i like the emiotions in this one


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PostPosted: Sunday 8 February 2009 4:51:12pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! I'm glad you like the angst.

Questions, comments, and general reviews are always appreciated!

Chapter 33: Traumatized

I had no idea what inn Dad was planning on having us stay in. The Three Broomsticks was in Scotland, which was kind of far from London. Of course, with Apparition, we'd get there fast.

Before we went to whatever inn we were staying at, we Apparated to an alley near the airport. By some stroke of luck that had never possessed my family before, Uncle Jack's plane was actually on time.

Uncle Jack walked towards us with a sad expression on his face. Completely gone was the Jack who was always cheerful and looked on the bright side of life. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen him looking so grim. Even when Matt was bitten, Uncle Jack wasn't this sad.

"Hi, Jack," Dad said quietly.

"Hey, Walt, Amy," Jack replied. "Sorry I couldn't have gotten here sooner."

"Don't worry about it. Those planes can only go so fast."

"I know. You don't know how hard it was for me not to pull out my wand and speed things up," Jack muttered.

"I'll catch you up as soon as we get a room. Julie's staying at the hospital."

"Where are we staying?" Uncle Jack asked.

"Place called the Leaky Cauldron. Sterling recommended it."

A few minutes later we were standing in a nearly empty pub. I followed Dad and Uncle Jack to the bar and waited for Dad to get the room.

A blonde haired woman turned around and faced us. "Can I help you?" she asked.

"Yes, we need a room, please," Dad answered.

"Ok. How long do you need it for?"

Dad glanced at Uncle Jack and then back to the woman. "Er, we're actually not sure. At least a week, I'd guess."

"That's fine. Just let me know if you'll need it longer," she replied. She reached under the bar and placed two keys onto the counter top. "You're in room 7. My name's Hannah Longbottom if you need anything."

"Thanks," Dad said and picked up the keys.

We climbed the stairs to our room and went inside. I threw myself down onto the bed and lay there not moving a muscle. All of a sudden, I was incredibly tired.

Dad and Uncle Jack stayed up talking quietly about what had happened. Dad explained everything in great detail, just like he had to Sterling.

"I swear I'll kill him," Uncle Jack muttered, "Lubar'll be dead if I ever see him again."

"Jack," Dad sighed, "That's not the way to solve this. You'll be thrown in jail."

"I know," Uncle Jack said, "But if I ever see that son of a b*tch again, I'll hex him from here to Mars and back again. Then I'll hex him to Mars again and leave him there."

"Can't say I disagree with you there," Dad replied, "I wanted to kill him when I saw him the morning after the full moon. The only thing that kept me from doing it was knowing that I had to get Matt to the hospital as soon as possible."

"Good thing I wasn't there. I would've cursed him while you took Matt to the hospital."

"I just still can't believe I let that happen," Dad sighed, "If I hadn't have left him alone in the living room, I could've stopped Lubar."

"It's not your fault. You shouldn't have to worry about leaving your son alone in your own living room. No one could have predicted that."

"He threatened us. Numerous times. I should have known he'd finagle the law to get Matt into one of those bloody transformation buildings."

"No, you couldn't have," Uncle Jack assured him, "No one would have guessed that."

"But I should have! Lubar's been trying to change the laws to benefit himself for as long as I've known him. He's been actually doing it ever since he got my job. He's had a grudge against me ever since I got promoted and he didn't even though Matt was a werewolf. I knew he'd do something to get me. I just wish he'd done it directly to me instead of Matt."

"That's why he did it," Uncle Jack said quietly, "He knew it would hurt you more to do something to Matt.

"I know," Dad sighed.

"You'll be far away from him soon. You'll be here, miles away from Lubar. He won't be able to do anything here. He's got no control over the laws here."

"We should have moved sooner."

"You've got to stop doing that. You could spend a day thinking about everything you should've done and it'll get you nowhere. It's too late. All you can do is move on from here. Why don't we just get some sleep?"

"You're right," Dad sighed.

"We can talk more in the morning," Uncle Jack said.

A few minutes later I felt Dad climb into bed next to me. I curled up under the blankets and let the tears roll down my cheeks. I vaguely wondered if I'd ever stop crying. I'd been doing it practically all day and when we were still at Eastworth.

I drifted off to sleep a little while later while I was still crying. Despite all my sadness and fear, I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly.

I was running through the bush. I could feel the damp grass on my feet and winced at the occasional rock that dug into them. The pain wasn't enough to stop me, though, or even to slow me down. I kept running, my heart pounding in my chest and my breathing heavy.

There was screaming in the distance. It was a horrible scream. One that chilled you to the bone and made you want to cry out in anguish. Among the harsh shrieking was growling and snarling. It was awful to listen to.

Despite the danger that I knew was ahead, I kept running. I pushed on, running past trees and shrubs. I wasn't paying an ounce of attention to anything besides the screaming. I had to get to it. I had to help the person who was screaming. Nothing could stop me.

I rubbed my eyes to keep the tears at bay and kept running. How long would I have to run before I would get there? It seemed like I was getting nowhere. I picked up my pace, despite the stitch that was growing in my side.

I ran for what seemed like another ten minutes and I still hadn't gotten any closer to the screaming. Why? Why couldn't I get there? I bit my lip and pressed on. My side was killing me but I knew it was nothing compared to what was going on where the screaming and howling were taking place.

I knew who was screaming. I knew what was growling. I had to get there. I had to save him. I had to save my brother.

There was a louder shriek and then silence. I stopped suddenly and listened, but all I could hear was my heart pounding in my chest.


I sat up in bed breathing hard and covered in sweat. Just a dream, I thought, it was just a dream. I rubbed my eyes and found them wet with tears. It had seemed so real. I couldn't remember having such a vivid dream.

I got up and walked to the bathroom. I drank an entire cup of water and stood in front of the sink, waiting for my breathing to return to normal. That dream had been awful. I couldn't even consider it a dream. It was a nightmare. One I hoped never to have again.

I looked at the clock on my way back to bed. Just after three in the morning. I sighed and climbed back into bed next to Dad. He was sound asleep. I was wide awake now. What I wanted to do was go back to St. Mungo's, just to see if Matt was ok. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried not to think about what had happened at the end of my dream. No way could that have been real. First, it wasn't the full moon, second, Mum would have came to see us if something awful had happened. I kept telling myself that over and over and eventually fell into a restless sleep.

******

Dad woke me up early the next morning and I was still exhausted. As soon as I woke up, though, I remembered that dream. I was immediately filled with a sense of dread and dragged myself out of bed. I tried to push the dream out of my head, but it was no use.

Uncle Jack, Dad, and I had a subdued brekkie at the pub and then we Apparated to St. Mungo's. The waiting room was deserted and the welcome witch had her nose in a magazine. We ignored her and headed directly to the lift.

We walked silently down the corridor, the only noise being our footsteps. Dad slowly pushed open the door and we all walked inside. Mum was slumped over Matt's bed, apparently asleep. The other patient in the room was asleep, his leg still propped up.

Matt looked exactly the same as he had the day before. I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew he hadn't actually died overnight, but the dream had still freaked me out. I had to see for myself that he was ok.

Dad walked over to Mum and gently nudged her awake. Mum raised her head and yawned.

"Jule," Dad said quietly.

"Oh, hi Walt," Mum replied.

"Did you get any sleep last night?"

"A bit," Mum said.

"You look exhausted," Dad sighed.

"How was your night?" Mum asked.

"As good as could have been expected," Dad answered, "Picked up Jack, got some sleep."

Mum looked up and her eyes rested on Uncle Jack. "Hi, Jack. How are you?"

"Surviving," Uncle Jack sighed.

Dad conjured a few more chairs and we all sat down. Dad dragged his chair over to Matt's bed and put his arm around Mum.

"How is he?" Dad whispered.

"Same as yesterday. Uneventful night, which is good."

Dad sighed, "Yes, I suppose that is good. Is Sterling here yet?"

"Not yet," Mum replied.

"You should get some sleep," Dad rubbed Mum's shoulder.

Mum shook her head, "No. I slept for a few hours. I'm fine now."

"All right," Dad said, "Want anything to eat?"

"I suppose I should get some brekkie," Mum said.

"Good. I'll go with you."

"Stay here," Mum replied, "You've already eaten, right?"

"Yes, but I'm going with you."

Mum looked reluctantly at Matt and then back to Dad. "We can't leave him."

"Jack's here," Dad assured her, "It'll be fine."

Mum slowly stood up and Dad followed her. The two of them left the room and I was left with Uncle Jack and Matt. Neither Uncle Jack or I said anything, which was kind of strange. Uncle Jack and I never sit in silence. The two of us always had something to talk about. Uncle Jack was never one to let a room dwell into silence for very long. But now, even he seemed at a loss for words.

My parents returned a little while later and Healer Sterling arrived a few minutes after that. He talked to Mum and Dad for a while, but I didn't pay much attention. It was just more information about the potion and what it was supposed to do. Then he went over Matt's vitals, which apparently hadn't changed in the slightest. He next administered another dose of the potion and told my parents to go to his study if they needed anything.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. I spent most of it sitting in Matt's room and the rest in the tea room with Dad whenever he insisted I eat something. Matt's condition remained the same, but Healer Sterling was actually more hopeful that he would recover.

In fact, the next week passed just like that day had. I spent the days at St. Mungo's and the nights at the Leaky Cauldron. I was beginning to get to know the hospital staff. There was one witch in particular who worked in the tea room who started giving me free biscuits whenever I wandered in there. The nurses were very nice, too. They even let me help them bottle potions on occasion, which was a nice distraction from my brother.

Despite the fact that Matt hadn't shown the slightest improvement, Healer Sterling remained confident that he would come out of the coma. Mum and Dad, on the other hand, seemed to become more worried with each passing day. I had heard them whispering about it and the reason was because the full moon drew closer with each passing day. It was absolutely crucial that Matt be awake and mostly recovered before the next full moon. I was afraid of that as well, but couldn't help believing that Healer Sterling was right.

Uncle Jack spent the week with us and had no intention of returning to New York until after Matt woke up. Apparently he was able to take a very long holiday from his job, which everyone was grateful for. With him there, it was much easier to ensure that someone was in with Matt at all times.

"What does this one do?" I asked the nurse. She and I were in the closet near the Dai Lewellyn Ward, bottling potions.

"That's dreamless sleep," she replied.

"Dreamless sleep," I mused. I wish I had some of that stuff. I was still having nightmares nearly every night, most of them some variation of the one I had the first night we spent at the Leaky Cauldron. "Do you think I could brew that?"

Melinda, the nurse, poured the potion into a smaller bottle and set it on the shelf. "Someday," she replied, "It is a bit difficult to brew, but with practice you could."

"I hope so," I said as I poured a greenish liquid into a round flask.

We continued pouring potions into various bottles in silence. Melinda never talked much when she let me help her, but I didn't mind. It was calming to work with potions and not talk to anyone.

I picked up a flask of pain potion and began to pour it into a smaller bottle. As I was pouring it, the silence was broken by a loud scream. I dropped it in shock and jumped up. The screaming sounded exactly like the screaming from my dreams. I recognized that screaming. It was my brother.

Melinda set down her flask and opened the door. I flew out in front of her and started running down the corridor. The screaming sounded awful, but it meant that Matt was awake!

"Amy, wait!" Melinda shouted.

I didn't wait, though. I didn't even pause or turn around to look at Melinda. My brother was awake and I had to see him. I had to know if he was ok.

Healer Sterling burst out of his study brandishing his wand. He threw the door to the ward open and it slammed behind him. I wrenched it open again and ran in over to Matt's bed with Melinda following me.

Matt was still laying down, but his eyes were wide open. Tears were pouring out of them and he was screaming and crying louder than I'd ever heard before. His entire body was shaking and convulsing. Mum had her arms around him, but it didn't seem to be helping. I couldn't understand anything he was screaming out.

Sterling gestured for Mum to stop holding Matt and stood next to the bed. He waved his wand over Matt's head, muttering some spells. It didn't stop Matt's screaming or convulsing at all, though. Sterling paused and then continued to try various spells.

I almost had to look away. It was awful to see my brother like that. Why didn't Sterling do something? Why wouldn't the spells work? He was awake, but it almost seemed like things were worse now.

"Anti-convulsion potion, calming draught, and pain potion. Extra-strength of all of them," Sterling muttered to Melinda. She nodded and immediately left the room.

"Matt, honey," Mum soothed, "It's ok. Mummy's here." She put her arms around his shaking body again. He continued sobbing and screaming at the top of his lungs.

"He needs the potions to calm down," Sterling explained.

"What's wrong with him?" Mum asked, her voice cracking.

"He's having a seizure," Sterling told her, "He's completely unaware of anything that's happening. But, he's awake, which is good."

Mum burst out crying. "Oh, honey!"

Melinda rushed back into the room with a tray laden with three flasks. Sterling grabbed them and poured them down Matt's throat. He performed one more spell and then stood back.

"How long until they take effect?" Dad asked.

"Not long. Five minutes, if that," Sterling replied.

The next five minutes seemed to be an eternity. Despite my hating to see my brother like that, I didn't look away. I swallowed the lump in my throat and rubbed the wetness from my eyes. The potions would work, I assured myself. He'd be better in a few minutes.

Eventually, the potions finally started to take effect and my brother stopped seizing. His shaking slowed and he stopped flailing around. He was still sobbing, though, and looking around confusedly at everyone.

Sterling leaned over him and began waving his wand around. Matt shrieked and tried to move away. Sterling moved away and lowered his wand.

"M-m-mum," Matt sobbed.

Mum wiped her eyes and wrapped her arms around Matt. "Honey, it's ok. It's all over now."

"M-m-mum," he repeated and grabbed her arm.

"Shush," Mum soothed, "Mummy's here."

"Perhaps I'll come back in a few minutes," Sterling said quietly, "He seems better now. The exam can wait."

Dad nodded, "Good idea."

Sterling put his wand away and quietly left the room. Dad pulled his chair over to Matt's bed and gently rubbed Matt's shoulder. Mum sat down on his bed and carefully lifted Matt onto her lap. She rocked him slowly as he cried into her shoulder.

I stood near the foot of the bed with Uncle Jack, not sure what to do. I was unbelievably happy that my brother had emerged from the coma, but he wasn't himself. He looked scared out of his mind when Sterling went to examine him. I didn't think I'd ever seen him this hysterical either. What had happened during that transformation? I didn't even want to think about it. We probably wouldn't even ever find out. Dad told me once that Matt doesn't really remember anything after he transforms.

Mum gently rocked Matt for about ten minutes. He slowly calmed down and stopped sobbing so loudly. Mum got up and laid him back down. He was still crying, but looked a little less afraid.

Sterling returned to the room, conjured a chair, and sat down next to the bed. Matt whimpered and tried to scoot over to the side of the bed that Mum was sitting by. He winced and stopped.

Mum put her arm back around him. "It's ok, honey. Healer Sterling has to do some tests. You remember him, right?"

Matt slowly nodded, but didn't say anything.

"I'm just going to get your vitals," Sterling said softly. He slowly waved his wand over Matt while scratching away on his clipboard. "All right, now I'll be able to continue healing your bones."

Sterling spent the next half hour performing various healing spells and giving Matt some more potions. Matt looked scared out of his mind during this, but tolerated it. Sterling then gave him a strong dose of dreamless sleep and Matt drifted off shortly thereafter.

"Well, what's the prognosis now?" Dad asked after Matt fell asleep.

"Very good," Sterling replied as he picked up the empty flasks, "His injuries are extensive, but I believe he'll make a full recovery. It's the psychological implications that I'm worried about."

Dad nodded, "I've been worrying about the same thing."

"He seems incredibly scared, which is perfectly understandable. I've given him dreamless sleep, but I have a feeling if he didn't have it he'd have nightmares about this."

"I'm positive he would. He had nightmares for months following the night he was bitten."

"I'd like to continue with the dreamless sleep for a few days, just to ensure he gets adequate rest so his injuries will heal. But after that, it might be a good idea to see what happens if he doesn't have it. He can't take that potion forever. If the nightmares are intense and frequent, and he continues to show such an intense fear, I'd suggest he see a psychologist."

Dad sighed and rubbed his face. "That would probably be a good idea. Hell, we probably should have done that after he was bitten. Perhaps the nightmares wouldn't have lasted so long. We just didn't think of it and nobody down there suggested it."

"Perhaps," Sterling replied, "But that's over now. I can recommend a good psychologist, who works here and could do the consultation right here."

"That sounds good. We'll figure that out after his injuries begin to heal. How long do you think it'll be until they're gone?"

"It's hard to say how the coma affected the healing process. I imagine it will take a bit longer than usual. I am a bit worried about his ankle, which has suffered severe ligament damage, but with time, that should heal. He'll most likely be well enough to be discharged in a week or so. Granted, he might not be fully healed by then, but he should be well enough to go home. I'd like to see him for a few follow up visits, though. When do you plan on moving?"

"First of July," Dad answered.

"Hmm, that's after the next full moon. Depending on how well he heals before then, the next full moon could be worse than usual. He might need to come in right after that."

Dad nodded, "Let's figure that out when it comes."

"That will be fine. I'll be back to check on him later," Sterling grabbed the tray of empty flasks and his clipboard, and left the room.

Dad went back over to Matt's bed and sat down in the chair Sterling had vacated. He rested one of his hands on Matt's shoulder and let out a loud sigh. Mum looked up at him and they shared one of those meaningful gazes.

I grabbed an empty chair and sat down near the end of Matt's bed. I kind of wished Sterling hadn't given him a sleeping potion. I hadn't even gotten to really see him or talk to him or anything. Nobody had paid much attention to me as I stood in the background while Sterling administered his treatments.

I had been right. Matt was different now. Even Sterling thought he'd been traumatized. Now he was probably going to have to see a psychologist. How long would it take for him to get over this? Would he ever totally recover? Was he always going to be so scared?

Uncle Jack sat down next to me and sent me a sympathetic look. He turned and looked at Matt forlornly. None of us said anything. No one had to. I was sure we were all thinking the same thing. It was kind of strange. Matt had woken up and seemed to be recovering as well as could be expected, yet none of us seemed overly excited. We all knew now that the physical injuries would heal with time and magic. But magic couldn't heal emotional trauma. The only thing that would help with that was time (and perhaps therapy), and none of us knew how much time it would take.


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PostPosted: Sunday 8 February 2009 10:48:52pm 
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In all the bad stuff that happened, I have to say, yay! He's awake. Great chapter! :grin:


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PostPosted: Tuesday 10 February 2009 2:44:55am 
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great
really geat chapter


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PostPosted: Sunday 15 February 2009 5:46:59pm 
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Thanks Obladi and hprocks! :grin:

Chapter 34: Wizarding Psychology

Matt slept most of the next few days, even though he had been in that coma for an entire week. Sterling said it was good for him to sleep because it helped with the healing process. He continued to receive the dreamless sleep potion and was able to sleep peacefully because of it.

Gradually, he began to sleep less and by his fourth day out of the coma, he was sitting up in bed and talking to us. However, he still remained extremely afraid of anyone who wasn't me, Mum, Dad, Uncle Jack, or Healer Sterling. He was even kind of timid around the nurses. Sterling thought this was because there was always a different nurse every time one was needed.

"I think we'll try tonight without the dreamless sleep," Sterling said as he examined Matt's arm.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Mum asked anxiously.

"We need to. He can't be on that potion forever," Sterling replied.

Mum sighed, "All right, if you really think so."

"It has to be done. On the plus side, I think this bandage can come off," Sterling gestured to Matt's arm.

Mum smiled, "That's great!"

Sterling carefully lifted Matt's arm up and pulled out his wand. He muttered a spell and the bandages fell off. Sterling looked Matt's arm over and performed a few more spells.

"How does it feel?" he asked.

"Weird," Matt replied as he moved his arm around.

"It will feel a bit weaker than the other one for a few days. Close your hand and make a fist for me."

Matt did as he was told and held his fist up to Sterling.

"Does that hurt?" Sterling asked. Matt shook his head. "Good," Sterling smiled.

"How are the rest of his injuries healing?" Dad asked.

"As well as can be expected. His broken ribs are healed, as well as his arm. I should be able to remove the head bandages tomorrow. However, his ankle isn't healing nearly as fast as I'd like. I am going to increase the dosage of the healing potion, but that's about all I can do."

"Thanks," Dad replied.

"Mum?" Matt whispered.

"What is it, honey?"

"I'm hungry."

Mum smiled, "That's a good sign."

"Could we take him to the tea room?" Dad asked Sterling, "Just a change of scenery."

"That would be fine, but he can't walk on that ankle yet."

"I'll carry him," Dad replied and bent over Matt's bed, "Want to go eat with us?"

Matt nodded and held out his arms. Dad carefully lifted him up and rested him on his hip.

I followed my family out of the room. I was so happy that Matt was finally starting to get better. Maybe we'd even be able to leave the hospital soon. I was starting to get sick of spending all my time there.

The tea room was mostly deserted when we arrived. I think that was what Dad had been hoping for. On our way there, Matt buried his head in Dad's shoulder so he couldn't see anyone.

My parents seemed more cheery during that meal than they had in over a week. Matt sat on Dad's lap the whole time and ate half a sandwich and a biscuit. That was more than I'd seen him eat since before the last full moon. I couldn't help but smile when I saw him munching away on his biscuit on Dad's lap.

The trip to the tea room seemed to tire Matt out. He fell asleep in Dad's arms on the way back to his room. Sterling was standing in the room when we got back. Dad lay Matt down on the bed and turned to Sterling.

"No potion?" Dad asked.

"No potion," Sterling replied, "But I've gotten permission from the administration to let all four of you spend the night here. The ward is empty, besides Matt, so it'll be fine. I think it would be best to have all of you here, in case he has a nightmare."

"Good idea," Dad replied.

"It's late, so I've got to get home," Sterling said, "I'll see you in the morning."

"All right. See you then," Dad said.

Once Sterling left, we all took our usual seats around Matt's bed. I had a feeling that none of us were going to be getting any sleep that night. I was tired, but there was no chance of sleep when I was expecting my brother to have the worst nightmare in the world at any moment. I had a feeling that the nightmare I had a week ago would be nothing compared to the one Matt would have that night.

Sterling had said there was only a possibility of Matt having a horrible nightmare, but the rest of us knew otherwise. I would be willing to bet my entire savings that Matt would have a nightmare that night. He had nightmares for six months straight after he was bitten. Even after those ended, he had nightmares before every full moon. Well, he still has those occasionally.

All four of us sat around Matt's bed, watching for the first nightmare. I wondered if Matt would get any dreamless sleep potion after his first nightmare. I doubted he'd only have one tonight unless he got potion after it.

Before long, I felt my eyes start to droop. The room was warm and I was leaning against the wall. I was so tired.

I wasn't sure how long I was asleep, but it felt like my eyes snapped open at the sound of screaming only a few seconds after I closed them. I sat up suddenly and looked around the room. Mum was sitting on Matt's bed and he was curled up in her lap, sobbing uncontrollably into her chest. She was rocking him and rubbing her hand on his back. Dad and Uncle Jack were both sitting on the edge of the bed, looking grim.

"Shush," Mum soothed, "It's ok. It was just a dream."

"M-M-Mummy-y-y," Matt cried.

"Mummy's here," Mum replied, "It's all over. Just a dream."

"I d-d-don't w-w-want to g-go th-th-there again," he wailed.

"You won't, honey. Never again," Mum assured him.

It took Matt twenty minutes to calm down from his nightmare. My stomach felt queasy as I watched him shake in Mum's lap. Why did he always have to suffer so much? For the past few months all I'd thought about was how much my own life sucked. I had thought that my life was affected by this whole thing more than his was.

I never realized how much Matt's life was controlled by the fact that he was a werewolf. Yes, he got sick and turned into a wolf once a month, but I thought that was it. The past few months had taught me otherwise. Especially now as I saw him suffering from nightmares I knew how much more his life was affected by his condition than mine was.

I was beginning to feel very guilty about how much I had complained about the move. I hadn't realized how important it really was to move. If we didn't move, Matt could have to go through this once a month. No one could ever forcefully take me and lock me up in a room full of strangers. But they could do it to Matt and it was now perfectly legal in Australia to do so. It really was unfair. He was just a kid, but the government didn't see him that way. They saw him as a monster. They judged him based on how he was one night out of twenty-eight.

Despite my impending guilt, part of me still wanted to remain in Australia. And that just made me more guilty. How could I still sort of not want to move after seeing how staying in Australia would affect Matt? I had no idea, but the whole thing was confusing me.

"Are you ready to go back to sleep?" Mum asked after Matt had been quiet for a few minutes.

"No," Matt whispered, "I d-don't want to."

"How come, honey? I'll be here. So will Dad and Amy and Uncle Jack. We're all staying here with you."

"I d-don't w-want to g-go back," Matt began crying again.

Mum looked up over Matt and gave Dad a significant glance. She looked back down at Matt and started rubbing his back again. "It's ok. You won't."

A few minutes later the door to the ward opened slowly. I looked up and saw the night nurse peek her head in.

"Everything ok in here?" she asked.

Dad got up and went over to the door. "Actually, could we give him some dreamless sleep? We've established that he is getting nightmares from the ordeal."

"Sure. No problem," the nurse replied and closed the door.

She returned a few minutes later with a goblet and handed it to Dad. Dad brought it over to the bed and sat down.

"Matt, could you drink this?" Dad asked, "It'll make you not have any dreams."

Matt nodded and took the goblet. He took a few sips and then yawned. A few seconds later he was slumped over on Mum's shoulder. That stuff certainly didn't take long to work. Mum held Matt in her lap for a few more minutes and then lay him down on the bed, covering him up with the blankets.

"Amy," Dad nudged my shoulder, "Why don't you get some sleep? He's had the potion, he'll sleep through the night."

I nodded and stood up sleepily. I climbed into the bed next to Matt's and was asleep within five minutes, almost like I'd taken a sleeping potion of my own.

******

Everyone else was awake when I got up the next morning. Dad had made a trip to the Leaky Cauldron and brought me back a change of clothes. I took them gratefully and changed in the bathroom.

When I returned, Healer Sterling was just stepping into the ward. He pulled out a quill and sat down on a chair next to Matt's bed. Matt was awake and eating his breakfast that someone must have brought when I was gone.

"How did last night go?" he asked, looking from Matt to Mum.

Mum exchanged glances with Dad and sighed. "Not so well," Mum said, "He had a nightmare within an hour of falling asleep."

Sterling nodded and jotted something down on his clipboard. "And was it a bad one?"

"Yes," Mum said, "He didn't calm down for a half hour afterwards and wouldn't go to sleep again without the potion."

"I was afraid this would happen," Sterling said quietly.

"We kind of figured it would happen," Mum said, "I would have been surprised if he didn't have nightmares."

"Well, we have a few options," Sterling began, "He can continue taking the dreamless sleep for a few weeks, and hope he gets over the trauma from the transformation by then. Or, we could try the therapy I mentioned a few days ago which might help him get over it faster."

"We've already decided that we want to try the therapy," Mum told him.

"I think that's a wise choice. I'll set you up an appointment for later today. Now, let's see if we can take off those head bandages...."

It was kind of weird that Matt was going to see a psychologist. Psychology is not really that well known in the wizarding world. I know that Muggles go to therapists all the time, but I had never heard of wizards seeing them. In fact, I'd never even heard of a wizard psychologist. Maybe wizard psychology was more well-known in England. It wouldn't really surprise me. I hated to admit it, but so far, everything was actually better in England than in Australia.

Sterling was able to take the bandages off Matt's head that morning. Matt said he felt dizzy afterwards, but Sterling said it was normal and told him just to lie down for the rest of the morning.

I spent the morning wandering around the hospital and helping the nurses bottle potions. Now that Matt was well on his way to getting better, I didn't feel the need to remain in his room at all times. It was kind of boring to do that anyway. Plus, Matt liked it when I told him about everything else that was going on in the hospital. He particularly liked hearing about the people in the waiting room who were plagued with various spell damages. If laughter really is the best medicine, Sterling should have Matt spend an hour looking around the Spell Damage floor. There's nothing as funny as seeing a bloke with a broomstick affixed to his back. Unless it was the witch with antlers that someone had hung Christmas ornaments on.

Uncle Jack went out and got us a Muggle pizza for lunch. We were all getting sick of hospital food and Matt had expressed a strange desire for pizza. As soon as he'd announced he wanted it, Uncle Jack volunteered to go get it. He and my parents probably would have gotten Matt whatever he wanted, whether it was pizza or a five layer chocolate cake.

It was kind of fun eating pizza in the ward. Matt remained the only patient there, so it was sort of like our own private room in the hospital. The pizza was really good. I had about four slices.

Healer Sterling entered the room just as we were finishing up. "Good lunch?" he asked.

Matt nodded. "Yup. I had three pieces."

"Glad to hear it," Sterling smiled and then turned to my parents. "I've got the appointment set up for a half hour from now. The psychologist will come here, so you won't have to go anywhere."

"Thanks," Dad replied, "We'll be waiting."

"I'll be back after the appointment is over to see how it went," Sterling said and left the room.

Dad tossed the pizza box into the trash and sat down on Matt's bed. He pulled Matt onto his lap and looked at him. "You're going to meet a new healer today."

Matt stared at Dad and shook his head. "I don't want another healer."

"I know, but this healer is different. He is going to help you not have anymore nightmares. That would be good, right?"

Matt nodded slowly, but he looked scared.

"He's a friend of Healer Sterling. He's just here to help you not have anymore nightmares, ok? He'll be very nice."

"I don't want to," Matt whispered.

"I know, but you have to. And Mum, Uncle Jack, Amy, and I will be here the whole time."

"Ok," Matt replied quietly.

None of us said much as we waited for the psychologist to come into the room. I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I'd really heard about psychologists was that they were always asking 'And how do you feel about that?'. If this one was one of those psychologists, I didn't think he'd actually manage to help my brother. I had a feeling that Matt wouldn't even talk to him.

The door opened a little while later and I looked up. A man dressed in green healer robes walked in carrying a clipboard. He was kind of short and chubby with hardly any hair and a bushy grey beard. He was wearing rectangular wire rimmed glasses and had a quill behind his ear. Dad stood up and met him halfway across the room.

"I'm Healer Norlam," the man held his hand out to Dad.

"Walter Eckerton," Dad shook his hand.

"Nice to meet you," Norlam smiled and walked over to where we were all sitting. He conjured a chair and sat down in it.

Matt, who had already been sitting on Mum's lap, buried his head in her shoulder.

Norlam pulled his quill out from behind his ear and poised it over his clipboard. "Well, are you all Matt's family?" he asked.

"Yes," Dad replied and gestured to Mum, "That's my wife, Julie. And my brother, Jack, and my daughter, Amy."

Norlam wrote something on his clipboard and looked up again. "I thought I'd start out by asking you how much you know about wizarding psychology."

"Not much," Dad replied, "It's not very common in Australia. In fact, you're the first psychologist I have ever met."

Norlam nodded. "I see. Do you know anything about Muggle psychology?"

"Yes," Dad said, "Just haven't had much experience with it."

"Wizarding psychology is not that much different from the Muggle version. After all, we are all human and share the same emotions. Whereas wizards suffer from different physical illnesses than Muggles do, we share the same mental disorders.

"The treatment of those disorders are mostly the same as well. Research has not provided us with a magical solution to mental disorders, so we rely mostly on Muggle type therapy. Perhaps that is why psychology has not really taken off in the wizarding world. However, if medications are needed for said disorders, we administer potions."

"Interesting," Dad said, "Any ideas why there are not any magical solutions?"

"Well, there are plenty of theories about it, but none of them have been proven over the others. I personally think it is due to the fact that emotional problems cannot be solved quickly. In the Muggle world, months and sometimes years of therapy are needed to resolve the issue. Magic has always been a quick fix for things. If you break your arm, for example, you take a potion and for the most part it's instantly healed. I don't think emotional problems can be healed by quick spells and potions because they are not physical problems."

Dad nodded. "That is an interesting theory."

"Now, perhaps you could give me a bit of history. Healer Sterling told me Matt was bitten at the age of five?"

"That's correct," Dad said.

"And what happened in the months following?"

I zoned out while Dad was explaining the aftermath of Matt getting bitten. I had lived that first hand and heard it explained multiple times. I was kind of intrigued by Norlam's theory of wizarding psychology. Matt wasn't going to instantly recover from this experience. He'd have to get over it the hard way. The Muggle way.

Norlam scratched away on his clipboard for a little while even after Dad stopped talking. "And how has he been during this experience? What sort of behavior changes have you noticed? Or any other symptoms?"

Dad glanced at Mum before responding. "I think it's been worse. Kind of different, though. The nightmares have been about the same. Well, he wakes up screaming and won't settle down for a half hour and needs dreamless sleep. I'm sure the actual nightmares are a bit different, but I'm really not sure.

"What I am most concerned about is the fact that he seems fearful of everyone except the people he knows. I think it's more with men, especially ones who somewhat resemble Ralph Lubar."

Norlam scratched away on his clipboard. "Ok," he looked up and placed his clipboard on the bedside table, "I'd like to talk to him, but I'll understand if he's too afraid."

Mum nodded and shifted Matt so his head lifted off her shoulder. "Matt, honey," she whispered, "Will you meet the new healer? He's here to help you."

Matt shook his head and mumbled something incoherently. Mum ruffled his hair and rubbed his back. "It's ok, honey. Mummy's here. Everyone's here. No one's going to hurt you."

He slowly lifted his head up again and took a quick peek at Healer Norlam. Norlam smiled at him, but made no move to get any closer. "Hi, Matt," he said. "How are you?"

Matt said nothing and turned back around to face Mum. Norlam turned back to Dad.

"Well, what do you think?" Dad asked.

Norlam picked up his chart again. "I think it's safe to say that he's been traumatized by this."

Dad sighed. "That's what we thought."

"He will recover," Norlam assured him, "I believe he was most likely similarly traumatized after he was bitten, and he recovered from that without any intervention. With intervention, he should recover from this even faster.

"Normally I would wait a couple weeks to make a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to see if the symptoms go away on their own. But, seeing as the dreams are severely interrupting his sleep, I am almost positive he does have PTSD."

"And how will you help him recover from it? How long will it take?" Dad asked.

"This is a very unique case," Norlam began.

When was Matt not a unique case? I thought. I didn't think anything that ever happened to him could possibly be considered normal.

"PTSD is characterized by a person being terrified of reliving an event that has happened to them. It's manifested in dreams and flashbacks. The flashbacks can be triggered by sights, smells, or sounds. However, I think Matt's PTSD involves two events. They are linked, obviously, but they are separate nonetheless.

"First, the fact that Lubar took him and in essence kidnapped him. It may not be recognized as that by the Australian Ministry, but that is exactly what it was."

"I'll say," Uncle Jack muttered, "At least somebody besides us realizes that."

"Anyway," Norlam continued, "I believe that event caused his fear of strangers and the nightmares as well. Second, the transformation itself was a traumatic event. He may not remember it, but the memories are there in his subconscious and he may be reliving them in his nightmares."

"Makes sense," Mum said.

"What do you think we can do about it?" Dad asked.

"That's where it gets difficult. Therapy for PTSD usually consists of relaxation techniques and gradual exposure to the feared situation. I think that will work fine for his fear of strangers.

"However, I believe he is going to have an increased fear of transformations after this. Sterling and I talked a little about it and he told me that if that's the case, the transformations could get worse. I am not entirely sure how to help him get over his fear of transformations. Relaxations techniques will be pointless while he's transforming and they could be pointless during the day before, too, depending on how sick he is. I have never worked with a werewolf who has a fear of transformations before. I am going to have to research a bit and talk with Sterling before I can decide how to proceed."

Dad nodded. "You're probably right. He was afraid of the transformations after he got bitten, but eventually got used to them."

"That would eventually happen now, too, but I imagine it would take quite a long time."

"What's the plan, then? Therapy?" Dad asked.

"Yes. I need to research a bit and talk with Sterling about the fear of transformations, but we can get started with the therapy, relaxation techniques, and desensitization right away. Has Sterling decided when he will be discharged?"

"Not yet," Dad answered, "Within a few days, I'd imagine.

"And I presume you'll be going back to Australia?"

"Yes. We're not moving up here until July first."

"Perhaps I could work it out with the hospital and the Ministry to connect your house to the floo network. That way I could floo to your house and start the therapy before you move."

Dad sighed, "That would be ideal, but I am not well-liked at the Australian Ministry right now. It might be tough to work that out."

"Well," Norlam said, "I'll try. I think it would be in Matt's best interest to start therapy as soon as possible."

"I agree. I'm just warning you about the Ministry. This mess with the Ministry is what got us into this situation in the first place."

"I understand," Norlam replied and stuck his quill behind his ear again, "I'll try to have this all worked out before you leave." He stood up and shook Dad's hand.

"Thanks," Dad replied.

"Nice to meet you all," Norlam smiled and turned and left the room.

"I think that went well," Dad said once Norlam had shut the door behind himself.

Mum sighed. "I guess. I just don't see how he's going to be able to help Matt when Matt's afraid of him."

I kind of agreed with Mum. Norlam seemed like a very nice psychologist, but Matt was scared of him. How could the bloke help my with Matt's fear of strangers when he was a stranger himself?

"He'll be able to help once he gains Matt's trust," Dad explained.

"I just don't know...."

"Jule, what's the worse that can happen? The way I see it, the therapy can only help. If it doesn't work, we'll just work through it ourselves. But if it does work, Matt could recover from this a lot sooner than he otherwise would. Research backs this up, Julie; chances are it'll work."

"All right," Mum sighed as she rubbed Matt's back, "We'll give it a try."


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