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Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 12 April 2009 12 58 26 pm Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Chapter 42: Microwaved Eggs and Home Renovations
My dreams were plagued with images of everything that had happened in the past few months. Everything merged together to create one very strange nightmare.
I was brewing potions with Kenzie in my potions room in our house in Australia. All of her little sisters were in the room. I was trying to teach Kenzie to brew Wolfsbane potion while she tried to make sure her sisters didn't break anything.
The door opened and Lubar burst in with Clarence. Lubar announced that Wolfsbane could no longer be brewed in Australia and I would have to attend a hearing at the Ministry for breaking the law. Clarence grabbed me and all three of us Apparated to the Ministry.
My parents and Matt were sitting with the Wizengamot when we appeared in the middle of the court room. Mum and Dad looked disappointed and Matt looked scared. The Minister began to run through the charges as I vaguely paid attention.
The Wizengamot charged me with breaking the law and they announced that I'd have to leave the country. My parents stared at me in shock as I approached them. Neither of them said a word, but Matt glared at me and said, 'Now we're going to have to move and it's all your fault. All my friends are here and I'm going to have to start over in a new place all because of you.'
I sat up in a panic and realized that it was just a dream. I wiped the sweat off my forehead and let my breathing return to normal. Just a dream. And probably the strangest one I'd ever had, at that. No one would ever outlaw Wolfsbane Potion, nor would I ever brew potions with Kenzie and her sisters. But neither of those parts of the dream really bothered me. The part that bothered me was the last part. The part when Matt told me it was my fault that we were moving. I had no idea what that meant, but after listening to Healer Norlam talk about psychology twice a week for the past month and a half, I had a feeling it meant something.
I sighed and laid back down. I didn't know how long I'd been asleep, but it was still pitch black outside. I closed my eyes, but snapped them open a minute later at the sound of a loud shriek.
I sat up quickly and regretted it as the room swam in front of me. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, the room was back to normal. I sat completely still and listened. The initial shriek had been replaced with quieter screaming mixed with muffled sobs. I sighed and got out of bed.
Despite my light sleeping, Matt's screaming didn't always wake me up. I suppose I had just gotten used to it, since he usually has nightmares around the full moon. But it was probably also due to the fact that our rooms were kind of far apart. In our new house, they were only separated by a bathroom and the walls seemed thinner. Just another thing about the new house I'd have to get used to, I thought as I walked the short distance to Matt's room.
I quietly opened the door and was surprised at my parents' absence from the room. Usually they were with him in a flash when he had a nightmare. I guess they were just so exhausted from moving that they slept right through it.
I continued past Matt's room and entered my parents'. They were sleeping peacefully amongst the many boxes and furniture that were strewn haphazardly around the room. I cautiously stepped over the boxes only to trip over a chair and land face first on a few boxes.
"Ow!" I groaned and sat up. I winced as I lifted my arm off the boxes. That was going to leave a bruise.
The bed creaked and Dad sat up. I heard him grasp for his wand and a few seconds later it illuminated the room.
"Who's there?" he demanded.
"It's just me," I replied as I stood up.
"Oh, Amy," Dad relaxed, "I thought you were an intruder or something. What's wrong?"
"I think Matt's had another nightmare," I explained, "He's been crying for the past few minutes."
"Oh, Merlin," Dad groaned and got out of bed, "I think I forgot to give him his potion before he went to bed."
I nodded and followed Dad out of the room. Matt had been taking dreamless sleep every night for over a month. I wondered when he'd not have to take it anymore. Norlam hadn't mentioned anything about stopping it, but they had yet to get to the point where Matt was actually comfortable around Norlam to actually begin the therapy.
Dad went into Matt's room and I continued down the corridor and back into my own. I climbed into bed and listened as Matt's sobs slowly dissipated. After it was quiet, I fell back asleep.
I awoke to the sound of furniture being moved around and distant voices. I slowly lifted my eyelids and looked around the room. Where the hell was I? It certainly didn't look like my room. Oh, right, I was in England. In our new house. I groaned and slowly got out of bed. I still felt knackered even though I was sure I'd slept much more than I normally did.
I changed and went out into the corridor to see what all the noise was. I followed it to Matt's room. My parents were setting up all his furniture and unpacking everything. I walked in and sat down on the bed.
"Morning, Amy," Dad muttered as he pushed Matt's dresser up against a wall.
"Morning," I replied, "What time is it?"
"Just after noon," Mum said, "You slept awfully late."
"Yeah, well, jet lag," I muttered, "Or, portkey lag or whatever."
"Oh, I know," Mum smiled, "Matt and Ellie are still asleep."
It did not surprise me in the slightest that Matt was still asleep, but Ellie? She always seemed to be awake. "Really? Ellie's asleep?"
"Yeah," Mum nodded, "She's been so helpful. Went out grocery shopping with me earlier but when we got back, I insisted that she take a nap."
"I'll take you shopping for your room decorations later, Amy," Dad said.
"Thanks," I grinned.
"Want to take a break, Jule?" Dad asked, "It's about lunch time."
"Sounds good to me," Mum replied, "I'll go check on Matt and see if he's hungry."
I followed Dad out of the room and down the stairs. He must have taken Matt back to his and Mum's room after his nightmare. I guess that worked out nicely since my parents were able to organize Matt's room without worrying about waking him up.
I sat down at the island while Dad rummaged through the refrigerator. He pulled out a few eggs and a loaf of bread. "Want eggs and toast?" he asked.
"Sure," I shrugged.
Dad set the food down on the counter and then turned to me. "You've been to Kenzie's house a lot," he pointed to the Muggle microwave, "What's this thing?"
"Microwave," I told him, "It cooks food faster than an oven. Kind of like magic."
"Huh," Dad pushed a button on the microwave and it opened. He stuck a few eggs inside it and shut it. "Any idea how long these would have to cook for?"
"Nope," I replied. I hadn't actually used the microwave that was at Kenzie's house or the one at Richard and Cinda's. Richard and Cinda didn't really cook. They ordered take-out. No wonder Dad didn't know what a microwave was.
Dad pushed a few more buttons and eventually the microwave lit up and started buzzing. I got up off the stool and watched the eggs spin around on the plate inside. All of a sudden, they exploded. One after another, they cracked and splattered all over the inside of the microwave.
"What the?!" I shouted and jumped back.
"Bloody hell!" Dad shouted and started pushing all of the buttons until the microwave stopped buzzing and turned dark.
Dad cautiously opened it up and a putrid smell hit us. I covered my nose and peered at the mess of yoke, white, and shell that was oozing from the contraption.
"That is disgusting," I said.
"I thought you said this cooked food," Dad replied.
"It does!" I said, "At least the one at Kenzie's house does."
"This one doesn't," Dad muttered and pulled out his wand.
"What is going on in here?"
I turned around and saw Mum walk into the room, carrying Matt, who was wrinkling his nose in disgust.
"What is that awful smell?" she asked.
"Er," I began, "Dad had fun with the microwave."
"What did you put in there?" Mum asked as she walked towards us.
"Eggs," Dad answered, "But they didn't cook right."
Mum groaned, "Walter, you can't cook hard boiled eggs in a microwave."
"Well, that's weird," Dad muttered and cleaned the mess up with a wave of his wand.
"From now on, ask me before you put anything in there," Mum sighed, "And that goes for you, too, Amy."
I nodded. What was the point in having a microwave if you couldn't cook everything in it?
"Now, let's make some eggs the normal way," Mum said as she set Matt down at the island. She pulled out a pot, filled it with water, and set it on the stove.
Dad nodded sheepishly and pulled out a few plates. I sat down next to Matt and tried to stifle my laughter. Dad was never going to live this one down.
"Ready to go shopping for you room?" Dad asked after we finished lunch.
"Yeah," I grinned.
"We'll be back in a few hours," Dad said to Mum as he stood up, "I'll get the things I need to finish the basement while I'm out. I'd like to have that done by the time I start work next week."
Mum nodded. "Pick up another dozen eggs while you're out. We haven't got any left now."
"Ok," Dad replied.
I said goodbye to Mum, Matt, and Ellie and then Dad and I left to Apparate to the Leaky Cauldron.
The pub was relatively empty when Dad and I appeared in it. We didn't linger and soon found ourselves in Diagon Alley, which looked exactly as it had the last time I was there. I was quite relieved when Dad said he had enough money and we wouldn't need to visit Gringotts.
"There should be a hardware store around here somewhere," Dad said as we walked down the street, "I know I saw one the other day....
"Ah, here we go," Dad said a few minutes later.
I followed him into a rather large building. It seemed to be stuffed to capacity with various home improvement aids from Color Changing Paint (change your walls depending on your mood!) to Self-Cleaning Toilets (never clean another toilet again!). I had no idea how I'd find what I wanted amongst the plethora of products.
"What exactly do you want to do with your room?" Dad asked.
"I was thinking I'd paint the ceiling a really dark blue and the walls a lighter blue," I replied.
"Interesting," Dad said.
"And then I want those stars that you charm to change along with the real stars outside and only come out at night. Only I want them to be like the Southern sky, not the sky in England," I had come up with that idea a little while ago. It would be a way to make me feel like I was in Australia.
"All right. I can do that," Dad nodded, "Anything else?"
"I want to change the light fixture. I want a sphere globe type thing. So it looks like the moon."
"The moon," Dad repeated, "You want your light to look like the moon."
"Er, yeah," I replied. Hey, he had said that I could do whatever I wanted to my room and I wanted my ceiling to look like the night sky.
Dad sighed, "Ok, we can do that."
I grinned. "Now, how are we going to find everything?"
We looked around the store for an hour and managed to find the paint and the stars. Dad also bought a bunch of stuff he would need to renovate the basement and turn it into a bunch of smaller rooms. Eventually, we had to ask the bloke who was working the cash register where the light fixtures were. I picked one out and Dad paid for everything. He shrunk it to fit into a small bag and we headed back out into Diagon Alley.
"Can we go home and set it all up now?" I asked. I was really excited about it. My room in England might even turn out better than my one in Australia. It would certainly be better than my room at Richard and Cinda's house.
"I have to go to that furniture store down the road," Dad pointed to another large building a few meters away.
"Don't we have enough furniture?" I sighed.
"I need to buy a few mattresses for your brother's safe room," Dad whispered.
Oh, right. I had almost forgotten that he was going to need another safe room. I sighed and followed Dad to the furniture store. Dad wasted no time in finding the mattress section and told the the wizard working in that section that he'd like five of the softest most luxurious ones (one for each wall and the floor, to be enlarged to fit). The wizard looked at him kind of strangely but seemed happy at making such an expensive sale. Dad shrunk the mattresses and we left the wizard, who was braggin to his fellow salespeople about the amount of mattresses he had just sold.
"Don't forget Mum's eggs," I reminded Dad as we walked towards the Leaky Cauldron.
"Right," Dad nodded and turned towards the Magical Market.
We picked up a dozen eggs and then Apparated back home. When we got there, Mum and Ellie were re-organizing the kitchen and Matt was lounging on the couch, reading a book.
"Can we go set up my room now?" I asked the moment Dad set down the bags on the kitchen table.
"Did you get the eggs?" Mum asked.
"Yes and yes," Dad replied as he pulled the eggs out of one of the bags, "What are you doing to the kitchen?"
"I don't like where I've put everything," Mum sighed.
Dad nodded. "Ok, Amy, let's go set everything up."
I grabbed one of the bags and sprinted out of the kitchen with Dad following me. He caught up when I was on the stairs and we made a beeline for my room.
"You know she's going to re-organize that kitchen at least five times," Dad said as he threw a few sheets over all the furniture.
"Yeah," I laughed, "And we're not going to know where anything is."
"She did that when we moved to the house in Australia, too," Dad replied, "Now, the painting should go rather quickly since I can do it with magic."
"And will you teach me the spell?" I asked.
"Sorry, you're not supposed to do magic outside of school," Dad said as he opened the paint cans.
"Maybe they don't have that rule here," I pointed out.
"I'm sure they do," Dad smirked.
"But they might not."
"Until we know otherwise, you're not doing magic outside of school."
"Fine," I groaned, "I'll just have to do it the Muggle way."
I found a paintbrush in one of the bags and began to slowly paint one of the walls while Dad used some sort of charm to get the dark blue paint onto the ceiling.
It was actually kind of fun to paint Muggle style. Even Dad joined me after he'd finished the ceiling. It was nice spending time with just him. I couldn't remember the last time we'd done that. He even seemed genuinely happy as we turned my walls blue.
It took us a few hours, but eventually we finished the painting. I set my brush down and collapsed onto the floor. Dad sat down next to me.
"That was really fun, Amy," Dad said and gave me a hug, "I probably haven't been spending enough time with just you."
"It's ok," I said, "I know you've been busy with work and the move. And you're always busy with Matt. But I get it."
"It's no excuse, though," Dad said quietly, "I shouldn't put work before you. And I know it seems like we spend a lot of time with Matt, but we can't compare him with you. He's six and a half years younger than you. You need different things."
"Yeah, and the lycanthropy thing doesn't help," I pointed out.
"Yes, that's true, but it's just something we're dealing with and most likely will always have to deal with," Dad replied, "But I really am sorry that I haven't been spending a lot of time with you. I know your mother is, too. We'll try and make up for it before you go to Hogwarts."
I nodded, but didn't really know what to say. I had enjoyed spending time with Dad painting my room. It would be nice if my parents actually spent more time with me before I left for school, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. Dad was going to start work again and Mum always seemed to pay more attention to Matt than me.
Dad dried the paint by magic and put the stars on the ceiling afterwards. I had to help him a bit so he would get the constellations right, but he did all the charm work. Once that was done, he stuck the new light fixture on and we moved all the furniture to its permanent positions.
"It looks nice, Amy."
I turned around from where I was organizing my dresser and saw Mum and Matt standing in the doorway.
"Thanks," I smiled.
"Makes me feel like I'm in a planetarium," Mum said.
"That's what I was going for," I grinned.
It really did look like a planetarium. The new light fixture looked exactly like a full moon (I was sure my parents didn't really like that, but neither of them said anything about it) and the stars looked quite realistic. My bed (complete with star sheets) was against the wall with the window. On the opposite wall was my closet and my dresser. My desk was alongside one of the side walls and there was already random stuff strewn around the floor.
"I think the house is nearly complete now," Dad said as he gave my desk a final shove against the wall.
"Except the basement," Mum reminded him.
"Right," Dad nodded, "I know, but that's going to be quite the endeavor. I'll get started on that tomorrow. I only hope I can finish before I start work."
Dad set up my telescope so it pointed out of my window. It wasn't as good as having it on a balcony like it was in Australia, but it was as good as it would get. I spent a while looking out of it that night, as the fake Southern Sky twinkled upon my ceiling.
I slept better that night, but my sleep was still restless. I just didn't feel at home yet. I had thought having my room designed to my liking would improve my sleep, but it had only slightly improved. There didn't seem to be anything I could do to make my room seem anymore like home. I was just going to have to get used to it.
Dad got started with the basement renovations bright and early the next morning. Muggles would probably think that construction with magic would be easy and done in only a few short hours. They'd be in for a rude awakening if they listened to Dad finishing the basement. By the sounds of it, he was using Muggle power tools and fighting a losing battle against them.
Matt and I sat in the den while Dad was working and listened to his muffled swearing and loud crashes. It sounded like he was breaking the basement rather than finishing it. Every once in a while he'd come up the stairs muttering to himself. He'd say something to Mum and then we'd hear the door slam. He'd return a while later with some new supply or tool and disappear once again.
Mum asked how the project was going at dinner that night. Dad gave her a withered look and said 'don't ask'. None of us brought it up during the meal.
In fact, we all thought it was best not to bring up the topic of the renovations unless Dad did. The next day progressed much as the first one had, with more swearing and trips to the hardware store in Diagon Alley. They would know Dad by name soon.
"Are you sure you don't want to hire anyone to do the renovations?" Mum said slowly at dinner that night.
Dad sighed, "No, I'd really rather do them myself. There are charms and spells that I'm putting into the safe room as I build it. It's going to be even stronger than the one in the old house."
"That is a good point," Mum agreed, "Do I dare ask how everything is coming along?"
"Better than it was yesterday," Dad said, "I've got the basement separated into three rooms. The safe room, Amy's potion room, and a big storage area. Now I just have to finish each individual room. I'm working on the safe room right now."
Mum nodded. "Ok, good. But you know, we're going to make fun of you for this for years," she smirked.
"Just like the eggs," I laughed, "Dad's specialties. Microwave cooking and home renovation."
Dad groaned, "You two will never let me live this down. At least I have Matt on my side. Right?"
Matt nodded. "Yup. But Dad, can I ask you something?"
"Sure," Dad turned to him, "What is it?"
"Can you microwave me an egg?" Matt grinned.
Dad did take a break from the renovations the next day when Norlam arrived for Matt's therapy session. It was the first one in the new house. Mum and Dad thought that Matt may have been even more afraid than normal due to the new house, but the complete opposite happened.
Matt surprised everyone by talking animatedly to Norlam about Dad's microwave incident. Dad groaned when he brought it up but he was grinning nonetheless. He was probably just happy that Matt was beginning to make progress. We were all happy about that.
Norlam talked to Dad after the session was over and I lurked in the doorway. Norlam thought that Matt's openness was due to the fact that we weren't in Australia any longer and therefore far away from Lubar. I agreed with him, since now there was no way Lubar could ever force Matt to transform in one of those Ministry centers again. Norlam thought that in itself was enough to make Matt feel safer than he had in months. I felt kind of guilty about complaining so much about moving during those few months. I hadn't really known he felt that scared just to be in Australia. I couldn't imagine not feeling safe in my own house.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Tuesday 24 March 2009 12 15 58 pm Post subject: Re: Life Is Good in topic:Life Is Good
Chapter 2: But He Knows That It's Going to Be Alright
[i]But he knows that it's going to be alright
Cause the love that he's got will keep him warm through the night
Life is good, life is good[/i]
~[i]Life Is Good[/i], Jared Campbell
Eleven-year-old Matthew Conan Eckerton was sitting below a large oak tree in his backyard. His eyes were closed and he was resting his head against its rough trunk. The sun was beating down on him through the branches above. For the past hour, the only sound had been the occasional bird chirping or cow mooing. Then a loud revving broke the silence.
Matt slowly opened his eyes and squinted in the bright sunlight. He glanced around to try and find out where the noise was coming from. In the distance, he saw the farmer riding his tractor through the fields that surrounded Matt's house.
Matt lived in the country, far from any towns. His house was on an acre of property that was surrounded by farmland on three sides and a forest on the other. The nearby farmer owned all of the surrounding farmland and was regularly seen plowing or performing other tasks. The farmer's house was quite far away, although Matt could see it from where he was sitting. Other than the farmer, Matt had no other neighbors.
Matt's parents, Walter and Julie, wanted it that way. Matt was not an ordinary eleven-year-old boy, even by wizarding standards. At the age of five, he was bitten by a werewolf and became one himself. For the past five and a half years, over half his life, he had been enduring painful transformations every month that left him exhausted and sick. As if he could be anymore unusual, the Wolfsbane Potion which normally enabled a werewolf to keep his mind during full moons, did not work for Matt.
That particular day happened to be the day of the full moon. In only a few short hours, Matt would be locked in a room in the basement and go through the painful transformation into the wolf.
As the full moon was only a short while away, Matt was already feeling the effects of it. A few days beforehand, he would tire quickly and get a lot of headaches. He also lost his appetite. At the moment, he had a splitting headache which was not helped by the tractor, but felt too exhausted to move. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pounding in his head and the tractor's roaring.
"Matt, are you out here?" someone shouted.
Matt opened his eyes again and saw his sister, Amy, walking towards him. "I'm over by the tree!" he shouted.
Amy ran the rest of the distance and sat down next to him. Her blond hair was thrown up into a messy ponytail and flying everywhere as she walked.
"Thank Merlin," Amy sighed, "I couldn't find you anywhere. You know Mum doesn't like it when you go outside the day of the full moon."
Matt groaned inwardly. His mother was extremely overprotective, in his opinion. He understood she had her reasons and after what had happened in the past, he couldn't really blame her. But he wasn't a baby anymore and he didn't think going outside was going to hurt. He liked going outside before full moons since he'd be cooped up inside for a few days afterwards.
"Is she back yet?" Matt asked. His mother had gone to Diagon Alley to pick up some groceries a little while ago, leaving Amy to 'babysit' him. Matt thought this was ridiculous since he was eleven and certainly did not need a babysitter, but didn't argue with her. Plus, Amy was home anyway.
"No," Amy replied, "But I had to find you because this just came by owl."
Amy grinned as she handed Matt a letter. Matt took it and turned it over. His breath caught in his chest as he saw the Hogwarts crest stamped on it. It was his Hogwarts letter.
Ever since Amy had begun her magical education, when Matt was four, he had been excited about going himself. Even after he had been bitten by a werewolf, he thought he'd get to go. His parents had never said otherwise. Until they received a letter telling them Matt couldn't attend, that is.
The Eckertons had not lived in England their whole lives. Up until three years ago, they had lived in Australia. Amy had attended the Australian School of Sorcery until she was fourteen. That was when their parents had asked the headmaster if Matt would be able to attend. He said he could not.
Everything got worse from there. Someone who held a grudge against Matt's dad at the Ministry announced to the entire country that Matt was a werewolf (something they had successfully hidden for over two years) and then his dad lost his job because of it. He had been the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. After that, the man who had announced Matt's lycanthropy became the head and passed legislation restricting the rights of werewolves.
Matt's parents sent letters to numerous other schools asking if he could attend. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland said yes. Matt's dad found a job at the British Ministry, in Werewolf Support Services, and they moved. Life had been better since then. Amy had a hard time adjusting, but eventually began to enjoy Hogwarts.
Due to all of this, Matt knew he would get a letter from Hogwarts this summer. He had been waiting for it for weeks since he had no idea when it would arrive, but had momentarily forgotten about it that day. Despite knowing it was going to come, there was something very exciting about it actually arriving.
Matt slowly peeled back the seal and opened the envelop. He pulled the letter out and carefully unfolded it.
"Merlin, you're slow with that!" Amy exclaimed, "I think I nearly ripped my letter from Australia when I got it."
"That's why I opened mine slowly," Matt smirked. He looked at the letter and read it aloud.
[i]Dear Mr. Eckerton,
We are pleased to inform you that you
have been accepted to Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed
is a list of books and materials you will
need to purchase.
Please note that first years are not allowed
to bring their own broomsticks.
Please reply to this letter as soon as possible
to let us know if you are attending. The
Hogwarts Express will leave at exactly
11 in the morning on September first
from King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.
P.S. Please have your parents contact
us so we can set up a time for you to
come to the school so we can discuss
the precautions we have set up for
Matt folded the letter and then looked up at Amy. He still couldn't believe that it was finally his turn to go to Hogwarts. He had been secretly jealous of Amy for years. Every time she got to go shopping for supplies and then speed away on the Hogwarts Express, he watched with envious eyes.
"It'll be both of us going this year," Amy grinned.
Matt nodded. "I just hope I'm in Gryffindor."
"You will be," Amy assured him, "Siblings usually get sorted into the same house. Victoire's sister and brother are in Gryffindor like she is. All their cousins are there, too."
"I got my supply list, too," Matt said as he pulled out another piece of parchment, "You get yours?" Amy was entering her seventh and final year at Hogwarts.
"Yup," Amy nodded, "We can go to Diagon Alley once you're recovered from tonight."
"Yeah," Matt said, wishing he didn't have to wait, "Says I can't get a bring a broom, though."
"Like Mum would let you bring one anyway," Amy laughed, "Speaking of Mum, she'll probably be back anytime. We should go back inside."
"You won't tell her I was out here, will you?" Matt asked as he stuffed his letter back in the envelop.
"Nah," Amy grinned, "Since when have I been one to do what Mum says anyway?"
Matt stood up and felt dizzy as soon as he did so. He stumbled and Amy grabbed his arm. She let him lean on her as they walked slowly back to the house. The thing Matt hated even more than the actual transformation into the wolf was how sick he felt the days leading up to it. It was like getting the flu once a month.
To Matt's relief, his mother was not back from Diagon Alley when they got back to the house. Amy helped him to the couch and he laid down on it.
"I am going to miss so many classes during the full moons," Matt groaned.
"Yeah, you probably will," Amy agreed, "But the teachers are nice so you'll be able to catch up. Well, most of them are nice. Washburn's a nasty piece of work, but the rest are nice. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to miss History of Magic. There's usually about a quarter of the people in my class using Puking Pastilles or Nosebleed Nougats before that class. You'll have a built in excuse once a month. All the rest of the kids in your class will be jealous."
"I doubt that," Matt said darkly. Ever since he had first seen the sweets in a Skiving Snackbox, he was bewildered that people would actually eat sweets that would make you ill. He just couldn't wrap his mind around actually wanting to be ill, even to miss a boring class. He'd rather sit through the class.
"Just keep an open mind," Amy shrugged, "There have been quite a few times where I would rather be in the Hospital Wing than in class."
Matt groaned and closed his eyes. He wished he could go all seven years at Hogwarts without ever setting foot in the Hospital Wing, but that wasn't going to happen.
"Amy, could you get me some of that headache potion?" he asked.
"When did you last have it?" Amy asked.
"When I woke up this morning."
"Sure," Amy replied and got up.
Matt heard the door open a moment later and his mum walked in, her arms laden with grocery bags.
"Amy!" she shouted, "Can you come help me with these bags?"
"Hang on!" Amy shouted from the kitchen.
The bags dropped to the floor with a thump and Matt heard footsteps coming closer. He felt his mother kiss his forehead and ruffle his blonde hair.
"How are you?" she asked softly.
"Tired and I've got a headache," Matt mumbled.
"I'll get you some headache potion."
"Amy's already getting it," Matt replied.
His mum kissed his forehead once more and sat down next to him on the couch. "Amy, could you bring the fever reducer, too?"
Matt squeezed his eyes shut tighter. No wonder he felt awful; he had a fever. Now he was sort of glad he came inside when he did.
"I got my Hogwarts letter, Mum," he whispered.
"That's wonderful, honey," she replied, "We'll go shopping in a few days."
"Here's the potions," Amy said.
Matt cracked open his eyes and took one of the goblets Amy was holding. He drank it quickly and then grabbed the other one. He swallowed that one as fast as he could as well and gagged at the disgusting taste.
"Can I get an owl?" he yawned.
"Of course, honey," his mum said as she rubbed his back, "Just go to sleep now. We'll talk more about it tomorrow."
Matt nodded and closed his eyes. He fell asleep quickly, feeling the happiest he had ever been the day of a full moon.
"Matt," someone whispered as they shook him.
Matt opened his eyes and saw his dad bent down in front of the couch. "Hey, Dad."
"I just heard you got your Hogwarts letter," his dad smiled, "Congratulations."
"Thanks," Matt whispered.
"Well, I'll let you get some more sleep. There's still an hour or so until you have to go downstairs," his dad said as he gave him a hug.
Matt watched his dad walk into the kitchen and closed his eyes once more. He drifted off to sleep again, trying not to think about what would happen in an hour.
After what seemed like only a few minutes later, Matt woke up in a cold sweat with an awful headache that no potion could ever help with. He sat up and looked out the window. It was dark, but he didn't need to see the sky to know that the moon would rise soon.
"Mum!" his voice cracked. He swallowed hard. The pain always started before the transformation did. It was awful. He always tried not to cry, but it never worked. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to keep the tears from leaking out.
He heard three sets of footsteps run into the room and felt his mother's arms wrap around him. He leaned into her and rested his head on her shoulder.
"It's time," his dad said quietly.
Matt shakily stood up and his parents helped him stumble towards the basement door. He could hear Amy's footsteps behind them. Nobody said a word as they walked down the stairs and towards his transformation room.
Matt sat down on the padded floor as soon as he got into the room. His head was spinning and he didn't think he'd be able to stand up much longer anyway. His parents and Amy each gave him a hug and then left the room. They didn't say anything, but there was nothing to say. He'd done this so many times there wasn't really any point in his parents saying anything. He knew they'd be there in the morning.
The door locked as his parents and Amy left, and Matt let out a loud sigh as he sat down. This was it. Another full moon. There was nothing he could do now but wait.
For years, he fought the change. He'd clench his hands and jaw and try to prevent the transformation, even though he knew it wouldn't work. The only time he hadn't fought it was the first one, where he had no idea what was going to happen. For the second one, he knew what was going to happen. He was only six, but he understood and he fought it with every part of his being. Now, five and a half years later, with five and a half years of proof that it wouldn't work, he still fought it.
Matt didn't have to wait long for the transformation to begin. His headache became unbearable and he felt his stomach lurch. He learned early on to not try and eat anything beforehand, because it always came back up during the first part of the transformation.
He curled up into a ball and let out a soft moan. He could feel his heart beating a mile a minute. His breathing was short and labored. It felt like he couldn't breathe. He always tried not to scream, but that never worked either. He felt his bones breaking and elongating and hair sprouting everywhere.
He let out a loud scream and clenched his eyes as pain coerced through his body. No amount of previous full moons would ever prepare him for the painful transformation. Nothing helped with it either. His parents had given him so many different potions, but nothing decreased the pain.
His mind was always the last thing to go. Matt hated that. He wished his mind would go first. Then he wouldn't have to remember the actual transformation. He always wished he'd pass out before the transformation began, but that never happened.
Matt took a few more ragged breaths and cried out in pain. He sat up and looked at his hands, which were quickly turning into paws of the wolf. He felt dizzy. The world was spinning around him and it felt like fog was clouding his mind. He let out one more scream and the world disappeared.
The wolf slowly stood up and took in his surroundings. It was dark and there was a faint smell of blood and humans lingering in the air. He was also trapped, again. The wolf was always trapped. He began to pace around the room and look for an escape route. It wasn't there. There was never an escape route.
The wolf stood up on his hind legs and pointed his snout towards the ceiling. He let out a long howl and then glared at the opposite wall. He got back down on all fours and charged at it, slamming his head into the abnormally soft wall. He stepped back and repeated the process again and again.
He was alone. Alone and trapped. Every single full moon, the wolf was alone and stuck in the small padded room. He wanted to get out. He wanted to get out and find the people he could faintly smell beyond the walls.
However, there was no way out. No matter how many times the wolf rammed his head into the wall, he could not break it. Eventually, he sat down in the middle of the room and howled once more. He then proceeded to bite at his own body to relieve the urge to attack something.
Matt cracked his eyes open and tried to lift his head. A stabbing pain fled through his head and he dropped it back down onto the padded floor. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing. Each short, labored breath hurt. He couldn't even figure out which parts of his body hurt the worse. Everything hurt. From the top of his head to his toes.
"Mum?" he said hoarsely. His voice was little more than a whisper. He knew there was no way his mother could hear him, but he called her name anyway.
The door clicked a short while later, but for Matt it felt like an eternity. Whoever came in the room made no sound as they walked across the mattress covered floor. They put a cloak over him and then picked him up. A wave of dizziness come over him as he was lifted up.
"It's ok, I've got you," his dad whispered.
Matt was hardly aware of being carried up to his room and he passed out on the way.
The next thing he knew, he was laying in his soft bed with layers of blankets on top of him. He could feel the warm sun shining through the window. He opened his eyes slowly and blinked as they adjusted to the brightness.
His body still ached despite the potions he knew his parents had given him. His head was throbbing dully as well. Worse yet, he was exhausted. He knew he had already slept for hours, but it felt like he hadn't slept in days.
Who was he kidding? How was he going to go to Hogwarts? How would he manage full moons when he was by himself? He couldn't even get up when he transformed back the next morning. His parents always had to carry him back to his room.
His parents. Matt felt a jolt in his stomach as he realized that they wouldn't be there every full moon when he was in school. They had been there for every full moon he had ever endured. They took care of him the day of and the days following. They got him his potions and healed all his injuries.
He hated to admit it, but he was scared about doing it by himself. He knew he shouldn't be; he was eleven years old for Merlin's sake. Eleven-year-olds should not be afraid of going to school and being away from their parents.
It was a practical issue, he assured himself. That was all. He couldn't physically deal with full moons by himself. That was why he was worried about going to school. It wasn't like he couldn't deal with being away from home.
Then there was the issue of his classmates. What if they found out? It wasn't like he could sneak away for the full moon and be back in his dormitory the next morning before his roommates woke up. He'd be in the Hospital Wing for at least two days. He doubted he'd be able to go to classes the day of the full moon and he usually needed two days to recover. That was three days of missed classes, but more importantly, it was three days of disappearances to explain. What was he going to say? People didn't normally get sick that much.
It was a stupid idea, he thought, going to school. He bit his lip and tried to stop the tears from welling in his eyes. Why didn't his parents just home school him? It would be easier. They were both knowledgeable in most aspects of magic. If his parents had just decided to home school him, they could have stayed in Australia. Then Amy would have been happier.
No, they couldn't have stayed. He sighed. Not after his dad lost his job and all the laws restricting the rights of werewolves had been passed. They were originally going to move so he could go to school. But then his dad lost his job. It wasn't entirely Matt's fault that they moved, was it? Not if his dad needed another job....
It was his fault his dad lost his job, though. If he hadn't gotten bitten, his dad wouldn't have lost his job. So, for all intents and purposes, his family had moved because of him. He couldn't not go to school after all they'd done for him. He'd just have to suck it up and deal with it, no matter how terrifying the prospect was.
"Matt, are you awake?" Amy peeked her head into his room.
Matt quickly rubbed his eyes and turned to look at her. "Yeah."
Amy gave a small smile and walked into the room. She set a goblet down on the bedside table and then sat on the foot of the bed.
"How are you?" she asked quietly.
"All-" he cut himself off and looked at Amy's concerned expression. Ever since she had first seen him after a transformation, she had this uncanny way of knowing when something was bothering him. He wasn't sure how she did it, but somehow she managed to get him to tell her what was wrong.
It was kind of strange since Amy normally had quite the temper and was very impatient. Their mum had once told Matt that she took after his grandmother, but Amy would never admit to it. The two of them did what they wanted and often disregarded other people's emotions.
Amy used to be a lot like that with Matt, too. When they were younger, their parents insisted on keeping Amy away from the house during full moons. She hated it and resented their parents for keeping her out of the loop. She really had no idea what went on during full moons.
Then life as they knew it fell apart in Australia and Amy began to realize what went on. She did resent Matt for months about having to move, but eventually got used to Hogwarts. Then, the first full moon after her fourth year, she stayed at home during the full moon and saw Matt afterwards.
Amy never told Matt what she had thought of seeing him after a transformation, but her actions spoke more than words would have. She stayed by his side after every full moon that summer. A few weeks after that first full moon of the summer, she announced that she was going to become a healer and hoped to discover a version of the Wolfsbane Potion that would work for Matt.
Matt had been a little shocked when he heard this, but not incredibly surprised. As far back as he could remember, Amy had enjoyed experimenting with potions. She was also an avid star gazer and loved Astronomy. If anyone could come up with a better version about that potion, it was Amy. She had the skills, interests, and motivation to do it.
"Actually," his voice caught in his throat, "I'm not that great."
Amy crawled up the bed and laid down next to him, her mouth turning down in a frown. She grabbed the potion off the table and handed it to him. "What hurts? You should take this potion, it'll help."
"It's not that," Matt swallowed the potion in one gulp, "I mean, my head hurts but no worse than usual. It's," he paused, "It's Hogwarts. I'm just not sure if I should go..." his voice trailed off.
Amy put her arm around Matt's shoulders and looked at him sadly. "Why not?"
"This," he muttered, "This probably sounds stupid, but I don't think I can do it without Mum and Dad."
"It's not stupid," Amy said quietly, "They've always been there for every full moon. But I think you're wrong. You can do it without them."
"How?" Matt's voice wavered, "I can't even get back up to my room without them? How in the name of Merlin will I get from that shack in Hogsmeade back to the castle?"
"The nurse," Amy sighed, "You're forgetting about the nurse. Madam Pomfrey. You've met her, haven't you?"
"I think so," Matt nodded, "But I hardly know her."
"Well, I do," Amy said, "And she's one of the nicest adults at Hogwarts. She'll help. And I'll be there too. I'll be there for your entire first year."
"And you'll be there? Can you go to the shack with Madam Pomfrey?"
"Of course," Amy nodded, "And I'll stay at the Hospital Wing with you except when I'm in class."
Matt nodded. He felt a little better knowing that Amy would be there with him. She could practically do everything in order to heal his injuries after the full moon. Their parents had been teaching her ever since she was fifteen and she had actually been performing them ever since she turned seventeen. But he still felt uneasy about the whole thing.
"I know you'll still miss them," Amy said quietly, "And there's nothing wrong with that. I was so homesick during first year and I didn't have to deal with turning into a wolf once a month. I imagine that'll make it even worse."
Matt turned to his sister and laughed. He sort of liked how she just stated what was true and never tried to soften it.
"Yeah, probably," he replied.
"But you'll get used to it," Amy assured him, "Soon you'll make friends and get into mischief like half of Victoire's cousins do."
Matt shrugged. Making friends was another thing he was worried about. He didn't really have many friends. He occasionally spent time with some of his dad's coworkers' kids, but didn't know them very well.
"If I make any friends," he said.
"You will," Amy said.
"But they won't like me if they find out who I am," Matt replied.
"They won't find out," Amy said adamantly, "You'll make plenty of friends. Victoire said a few of her cousins are starting this year and they're certainly to be in Gryffindor like you will be."
Matt had only met Victoire a few times, but from what he could tell, she was really nice. Matt only hoped her cousins were as well.
"I guess that would be good," he yawned, "What time is it?"
Victoire glanced at her watch. "Just after one. I should let you sleep."
Matt nodded. "Ok. Thanks." He was pretty tired. He didn't normally have such long discussions with Amy so soon after the full moon. He usually slept until dinner time.
"I'll be back later," Amy gave him a gentle hug, grabbed the empty potion bottle, and quietly left the room.
Matt rolled over in bed and huddled under the many blankets. He closed his eyes feeling a bit better about going to Hogwarts, but still worried.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 15 March 2009 04 14 51 pm Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Thanks Obladi and hprocks!
Chapter 38: Memories
The next week passed quickly. Too quickly in my opinion. My remaining time in Australia was flying by and I didn't like it one bit. I spent most of my time brewing potions and wandering around the bush. Norlam came to the house for Matt's therapy session on Monday and it passed in the same fashion the previous two had. The only difference was this time Matt spent the whole time watching us, instead of spending the first half hour with his head buried in Mum's shoulder. Norlam said that was a great improvement. Friday's session proved to be pointless, though. Matt seemed to have regressed and clung to Mum the whole hour. Norlam wasn't surprised since it was two days before the full moon. He actually spent the hour talking to Dad about the full moon. Sterling had sent along a packet of instructions for Dad about what to do right before and right after this particular full moon. Sterling was quite worried about it, despite the fact that Matt's ankle was mostly healed. He had stopped using the crutches on Thursday. I jokingly suggested that we give them to Mari and Maddie and earned a groan from Mum because of it.
Since Mum was on speaking terms with Cinda again, she Apparated with me to her house on Saturday. The full moon was Sunday. Mum seemed very anxious, as did Dad. Hell, I was anxious as well. Dad's plan to keep Lubar out of the house wasn't foolproof. In fact, it was far from it. But it was the best they could do. And it was the last Australian full moon. After this, we wouldn't have to worry about Lubar again.
I called Kenzie as soon as Mum left after dropping me off. To Kenzie, this was my last visit to my grandparents' house. At least until we visited, that is. My parents had explained that I would be spending the July full moon at Richard and Cinda's, much to my dislike. I had thought that maybe they would just let me stay home after we moved, but no. The July one was so close to the estate sale that I was just going to go to Australia with Dad for that and he'd pick me up after the full moon. I had no idea what I was doing for the August one.
However, my parents had told me that I wasn't allowed to tell Kenzie that I would be there. It would look extremely suspicious to her and her family. They would think that I'd fly to Australia while Matt was getting treatment for whatever Muggle disease they thought he had. I hated to have to pretend not to be there, but it was necessary.
Kenzie came over to Richard and Cinda's five minutes after I called her. She was going to sleep over at my grandparents' house for the last time. Mum and Dad didn't want her staying there the actual night of the full moon just in case something happened at home and I had to leave immediately. I actually didn't mind that since I didn't think I'd be able to hide my fear from her anyway.
We ate dinner with Richard and Cinda and then went up to my room.
"I still can't believe this is our last sleepover," Kenzie sighed as she flopped down onto my bed.
"Me either," I laid down next to her.
"Are you scared?" she asked quietly.
"About moving? Yeah, a little," I replied. More than a little, I thought.
"I wish I could tell you you'll be fine. But I've never moved, so I have no idea."
"It's just that we're moving so far away," I said, "Everything is going to be different."
"Well, look on the bright side. At least you're moving somewhere where they speak English," Kenzie shrugged.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," I laughed.
"Is your new school like your old one?" Kenzie asked.
"Pretty much," I shrugged. Except it's in a castle. But I didn't mention that since Muggle schools weren't normally in castles.
"And does your dad have the same top-secret job in England now?"
"Equivalent department, different job," I replied.
"So, it's like your whole life is just being transferred to a different country."
"Pretty much. But our new house is totally different."
"I think you'll survive in a smaller house," Kenzie laughed.
"I know," I shrugged, "But I like my house."
"Yeah. I know I'd hate to leave mine. Although I definitely wouldn't mind having my own room."
The rest of my time with Kenzie passed way too quickly. We spent most of it talking and just hanging out. Richard and Cinda seemed to sense that we wanted to be alone and didn't bother us the whole time.
"I'm going to miss you so much," Kenzie sniffled as she grasped me in a tight hug. It was late Sunday afternoon and the full moon was going rise soon.
"Me, too," I cried, "I don't want to go!"
"I don't want you to!" Kenzie replied, "But you'll be back to visit."
"I know," I stammered, "But I don't know when that will be!"
"Can't you come stay at my house tonight? Please?"
I shook my head. "Richard and Cinda want to spend time with me."
"Ok, well, I guess I'll call you soon," Kenzie said, "Your mum gave my mum her mobile number."
I nodded, "Yeah, call me. I'll write you as soon as we move, too. I'll let you know everything."
"And I'll tell you everything that's going on here," Kenzie said.
We hugged for a few more minutes and silently cried into each other's hair. I reluctantly let go and we looked at each other for a few moments.
"I guess this is goodbye for real now," Kenzie said as she grabbed her bag.
"I guess," I said with tears running down my cheeks, "Bye, Kenzie. But we will see each other again."
"Of course," Kenzie agreed, "But until then, good luck with everything."
I nodded, "Thanks."
"Bye, Amy," Kenzie said softly as she opened the door. She turned around as she walked outside and I waved.
I stood in the doorway and watched her go until long after she disappeared behind the trees. I let the tears roll down my face and blur my vision. This was it. Kenzie and I wouldn't see each other for months. She was one of my best friends and now she was gone. I was leaving and she was staying. I was being forced to leave my two best friends in the whole world. Olivia and I were already drifting apart and now I wouldn't see Kenzie for months. Well, at least I'd see Kenzie again. I didn't think I'd ever see Olivia again. I let a sob escape at the thought of never seeing Olivia again.
With the release of that first sob, the rest of them came hard and fast. My whole body shook as I cried almost as hard as I had when Matt was in the hospital. I couldn't see anything as the tears flooded my eyes. I was hardly aware of the fact that Cinda put her arm around me and led me back into the house and onto a couch in the living room. I laid down on it and let myself cry for ages. Both of my friends were gone. I didn't know when or if I'd see them again.
I wasn't sure how long I laid on the couch crying, but eventually, my eyes ran dry and I slowly sat up. Cinda was sitting in one of the armchairs and was looking at me. I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath.
"Are you ok, Amy?" Cinda asked quietly.
I nodded. "I guess."
"I know this is hard," Cinda said, "It's hard to move away from your friends. My best friend, Helen, moved away when I was around your age. But we stayed in touch. We still call each other on occasion and even meet for coffee."
"But I'm moving to another country," I muttered, "It was hard enough to keep all the lies straight with Kenzie living here, but it'll be even harder now. Lies and living across the world. I'm just sick of it."
Cinda nodded. "Well, I won't pretend that I know what it's like to keep so many secrets from your friends. Helen and I told each other everything."
"I can't tell anyone everything," I replied.
"I know and it is hard on you. But you're strong. You're such a good big sister, you know that, right?"
I nodded. "Yeah, but I just hate the whole thing sometimes."
"We all do, Amy, we all do," Cinda said.
I glanced out the window. It was getting increasingly darker. The moon would rise soon. "I'm going upstairs," I muttered.
Cinda nodded. "It's going to be ok, Amy."
I bit my lip and didn't say anything as I left. I wished I could just believe Cinda. But I couldn't. Everything was so up in the air. There was no way to know things would be ok.
I went upstairs and crawled into my bed. I hadn't even eaten dinner, but I wasn't hungry. I laid completely still under the covers, staring out the window. I didn't do anything. I just laid there. Thinking about nothing and everything at the same time. Thinking about school, moving, Kenzie, Olivia, Matt, my grandparents, my parents, and everything in between. Yet, my mind was empty at the same time. It was strange, but it was the best way to describe it. Everything and nothing at the same time.
I tossed and turned much of the night, but must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing I knew I was opening my eyes to the bright sun that was shining through the window. I groggily sat up and yawned.
Then it hit me. Night had passed. The moon had set once again. The sun was up. The last full moon in Australia was over! I jumped out of bed and quickly changed clothes. I ran downstairs as my heart thudded in my chest.
I had no idea when Mum or Dad would tell me what happened. I assumed nothing too horrible had happened since neither of them showed up the night before, but I still wanted to know. I poured myself a bowl of cereal, but wound up just pacing the kitchen while the Lucky Charms grew mushy in my bowl.
Cinda and Richard stumbled downstairs a little while later. Cinda sat down at the table while Richard poured them both mugs of coffee. I couldn't tell if they had been up all night or if they just needed their coffee.
"Amy, don't you want your cereal?" Cinda asked.
"No, not really," I replied as I continued pacing across the floor.
"I think things went ok last night," Cinda said quietly, "They would have contacted us sooner if they hadn't."
"I know," I said, "But I still need to know."
"Amy," Richard said as he set down the coffee mugs, "Stop pacing. Sit down and eat something."
I nodded and sat down. I picked up the spoon from my cereal and started stirring my cereal, but not eating it. Richard took it away and gave me a withered look. I didn't say a word as Richard began to cook eggs. Richard was cooking eggs. I couldn't remember the last time Richard cooked brekkie.
I ate the eggs even though I wasn't exactly hungry. It had been a nice gesture on Richard's part. My mind wasn't on the food, though, it was on my brother.
I was just getting up from the table when I heard a loud crack coming from the living room. I immediately ran out of the kitchen and into the living room. Mum was standing there looking exhausted, but not sad, which I took as a good sign.
"Mum!" I exclaimed, "What happened?"
"He's fine, Amy," Mum replied.
"Is everything ok, Julie?" Richard asked. I turned around and saw him and Cinda standing in the doorway.
"Everything is fine," Mum said, "Lubar did show up last night. But he had to Apparate into the bush and then come to our door the hard way. To say he wasn't happy about our wards and disconnection from the Floo Network would be an understatement, but there's nothing he could do about it. By the time he got to the house, the moon was about to rise. Matt was already in the basement. Walter was able to hold him off just by arguing with him. He was quite angry when he realized that the moon had risen before he got Matt, though. Walter told him to get out and slammed the door in his face. And that, hopefully, was the last time we saw Ralph Lubar."
I breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good," I smiled.
"Glad to hear it," Richard said.
"What about Matt?" Cinda asked, "Is he ok?"
Mum gave Cinda a weird look, but then shook her head and it was gone. I guess Mum wasn't used to Cinda asking about Matt, since they had that huge row.
"As good as can be expected," Mum replied, "He had been unconscious for about an hour, but that's normal. He's got the usual injuries, and he re-injured his ankle. Depending on how fast it heals, he might have to go see Healer Sterling again. But after last month, this one has been a relief."
Cinda winced at the sound of Matt's injury. "Well, I can't say I've heard anyone say a re-injured ankle is a relief, but I'm glad it wasn't anything worse."
I was, too. I hadn't even realized how worried I had been until I found out that Matt was ok. Sure, I had been pacing around the kitchen, but I hadn't thought I'd been that worried.
"When can I come home?" I asked quietly.
Mum sighed. "I guess you can come home now. But you'll have to stay out of Matt's room. He needs to rest."
I nodded and smiled as I went to get my stuff. I couldn't believe how much less strict Mum had become in the past few months. Six months ago, she never would have let me go home the morning after the full moon.
The next week flew by even faster than the previous one had. Mum and Dad were preoccupied with moving logistics and spent most of their time talking about packing and decorating and other sorts of stuff. With the last full moon in Australia behind them, they were both becoming increasingly excited about the move. I think Dad was excited about working again as well. He routinely talked about his new job and I got the feeling he was very enthusiastic about it.
Matt seemed indifferent about moving. He spent the week resting and lounging around the house while his ankle healed. Dad brought out the crutches again and Matt hobbled around the house on them. Mum said he needed to go to St. Mungo's, but Dad wanted to just wait until after we moved and see if it healed on its own with the usual potions. Mum reluctantly agreed. He had two more therapy sessions and Norlam was very pleased with the progress he'd made. During the most recent one, he had migrated from the couch onto the floor and watched Norlam and I play Gobstones. He didn't say anything or play with us, but it was progress nonetheless.
"Amy, did you clean up your room yet?" Mum shouted from the kitchen.
"It's almost done!" I groaned and got up from the couch.
"You need to finish it soon! The Magical Movers are coming early tomorrow morning and your room needs to be ready to be packed!"
Mum had been nagging me about cleaning my room all day. She and Dad were frantically running around the house making sure everything was ready. Matt and I had mostly been watching them. Mum of course got his room ready for him, but I had to do mine myself. Plus my Potions room, which I had done that morning.
I didn't want to get my room ready. I didn't want to see it bare and empty. Once it was empty, it wouldn't be mine anymore. It would be Clarence's, and who knows what he'd do with it. I still hated the thought of someone else moving into the house. Although, part of me thought Clarence was just going to own it in name only and let it sit empty just to spite Dad and Uncle Jack.
No amount of thinking about it could have possibly prepared me for packing up my room. I slowly ascended the stairs and stood in the doorway for a moment before sitting down and starting to clean. There was no feeling in the world quite like packing up your whole life and moving it to another country. I had only moved once in my life and I had been so young that I didn't remember it. This house was basically the one I had spent my life in. Even before we actually moved in, when Granny and Gramps were still alive, we spent every holiday in this house. Granny, Gramps, Mum, Dad, me, and occasionally Clarence and Gregory. We visited other times of the year, too. My memories of this house were some of the first ones I'd had.
Christmas morning when I was three. Ripping open the biggest box under the tree to find my very first toy broom. I flew it around the house the entire day, until I crashed into the refrigerator and Mum declared it an outside toy.
My fourth birthday. One of the only memories I had of Granny and Gramps. My last memory of them. All our family at the house eating a huge chocolate cake. My Little Hippogriffs, a toy owl, a stuffed animal dragon that breathed fake fire, and a copy of [i]The Tales of Beedle the Bard[/i] for presents. But what I remember most is walking through the bush and seeing a family of kangaroos. That had been my first walk through that bush, and I fell in love.
Moving in. It had been a few months after Granny and Gramps had died. Dad couldn't bring himself to move in before that. I don't remember much about the accident, but I do remember being excited about moving. Mum carried me up the stairs and showed me my new room. I was thrilled and made a beeline for the balcony. It had been locked and it remained that way for years.
I was five and I first discovered the joys of climbing the wall into the bush. Mum completely freaked out and told me never to do it again. I was out there the next day when Mum was cleaning. I promptly fell off, skinned my knee, and ran crying inside to Mum. I tried again the next day and succeeded.
A few months later Mum was shrieking with joy and holding a white stick in her hand. I kept asking her what it was, but she wouldn't tell me. A few hours after Dad came home, they sat me down and told me I was going to have a new brother or sister. I was filled with mixed feelings about it, but what I remember most is wanting a sister.
Six years old and peering down at Matt, who was sleeping in his crib. I remember thinking how tiny he was. Mum and Dad asked me if I wanted to hold him and I said yes. I sat down in the rocking chair and Mum placed him in my lap. I looked down at his tiny red face and wondered how on earth a baby could have been growing in Mum.
Sitting in the kitchen staring at the owl that was coming closer and closer to the house. I had been eleven and spent days waiting for my Australian School of Sorcery letter to arrive. I let the owl in and couldn't get the letter open fast enough. My hands shook as I opened it and shrieked with joy when I read it. I ran all around the entire house waving it above my head. Four-year-old Matt stared at me with a mixed look of confusion and awe on his face. He immediately asked me how long it would be until he got his letter.
Almost exactly a year later, laying on my bed thinking about how everything changed in a matter of minutes. It had been a few days after Matt got bitten and Dad and I came home from the hospital to get some sleep. Mum stayed with Matt. I was scared. Scared and upset. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know what would happen to Matt. To me. To my whole family.
Christmas, just six short months ago. Finally getting the twelve foot tree I had always wanted. With no way to know that it would be the one and only time we'd have a tree that tall in the house. With no way of knowing that it was our last Christmas in the house. My house. My home.
Memories. I knew deep down that I'd always have the memories of my house, even if we didn't own it anymore. I knew it was the people I shared those memories with were what really mattered. But I couldn't help but feel like I was being forced to leave my childhood behind. No matter how much I reassured myself things would be ok, I knew I'd be leaving a part of myself in Australia with the house.
I shook myself out of my reminiscing and stared at my room. I had no idea where to begin. Cleaning up my Potions room had been easy. Everything had a place in there. All I had to do was put everything in its place and I was done. My bedroom was different. It had never really been organized.
I sighed and began by picking up all the dirty clothes and throwing them in the hamper. It was a start. But it was only a start. My room was still a mess when I finished that. I kept going and finished picking up everything else that was on the floor. I worked methodically, trying not to think about what the cleaning really meant. I knew if I sank back into reminiscing, I'd never get anything accomplished.
Then came my closet. I didn't think I had ever cleaned my closet. It was packed with the detritus of my childhood. I sat down in front of it and began to pull things out. Text books from previous years, broken displays of the solar system from Astronomy, broken quills, random bits of parchment. It was like cleaning out a big school trunk. I tossed most of it into the bin. I made a pile of stuff I wanted to keep and threw the books onto it.
It was like an archaeological dig. There were layers of my life piled into that closet. As I worked through the stuff, I worked farther back into the years. I found my first set of school robes, which were much too short. I couldn't bear to throw them away, though. They would remind me of Australia. A box of letters from Olivia joined them in the 'keeping' pile.
Next was the stuff from before I ever went to school. Well, magical school, that is. I found my My Little Hippogriffs. I threw away the broken ones and kept the ones that were still intact. Wendy Witch dolls, toy dragons, hippogriffs, unicorns, and just about every other magical creature in the world. Dad began teaching me about magical creatures before I could talk. My toy broomstick, which had seen better days. I put it in the 'keeping' pile. Old clothes that I hadn't seen in years went into the giveaway pile. Childhood books went into the 'keeping' pile.
Eventually the entire contents of my closet had been organized into three piles. The 'keeping' pile was considerably larger than the others. That didn't matter. Mum had said I could keep whatever I wanted. I grabbed a few of the boxes Mum had given me and piled everything I wanted to keep into it. The trash pile went in the bin and the giveaway stuff went in another box.
I tackled my dresser and desk next. Most of that stuff I packed into boxes to be moved to England. There wasn't much I wanted to get rid of. I left my bedding on the bed since we still had one more night.
By the time I finished, my room looked depressingly empty. It didn't even really look like my room anymore. It was an empty shell, a place where I had lived almost my entire life and was now just a room. I didn't like it. Not one bit. I sank down onto my bed and stared at the boxes. The boxes that contained my life.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 1 March 2009 11 35 47 am Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Thanks Obladi and hprocks! I have wanted to kill fictional characters, too, Obladi.
Chapter 36: Therapy Session
I spent most of the morning half-reading a book in the living room and half-watching Matt try out his crutches. He had taken a nap right after brekkie and woke up wanting to figure out how to use the crutches. It was kind of amusing to watch as Matt was pretty clumsy when he walked on two feet, and with crutches it was like he was walking on three feet. He must have fallen over at least ten times before Mum made him stop. She was afraid he'd hurt something else.
I sort of wanted to try out the crutches, too. I wasn't going to admit it to Mum, but they looked kind of fun. I'd never used them before, as wizards normally didn't need them. I broke my leg once when I was a little older than Matt. I'd fallen out of a tree. But the healers at Eastworth had it fixed within a few minutes and I was walking on it again two days later.
Dad disappeared into his study shortly after he finished eating his eggs. He muttered something about sending an owl to Norlam telling him to take a portkey to the bush behind the house instead of trying to floo. Dad was still planning on having our house disconnected from the floo network.
Dad also said something about having to reschedule the final estate sale. It was supposed to have been the previous day, but he'd canceled it at the last minute due to Matt's lengthy hospital stay. I wasn't really sure when he was planning on having it since we were supposed to move in only a few short weeks, but I certainly wasn't going to worry about it.
I didn't really think it would take all morning to send an owl and rearrange an estate sale, but Dad didn't reemerge from his study for hours. I saw Mum sigh and shake her head as she paused by the closed door on her way upstairs. Whatever he was doing in there, Mum seemed to realize that he wanted to be alone.
After lunch Matt fell asleep again and I got bored with reading. I put down my book and walked up the stairs to my potions room. I hadn't brewed anything in ages, which was kind of odd. I wasn't sure why I hadn't. Mum had long since given up on monitoring my homework since she had much more important things to worry about. I guess potion brewing had been pretty low on my priority list given the state of things in my family.
I brewed all afternoon and it was incredibly relaxing. I slowly forgot about the move and Matt's injuries and Dad's stress and everything else that was going on. The only thing I was thinking about was the potion I was brewing. I didn't even have to think about Matt barging in on me since he could hardly maneuver himself with his crutches across the living room let alone manage to climb up two flights of stairs with them.
I didn't even realize how much time had passed until my stomach started rumbling. I bottled up the potion and cleaned up. I was stowing my silver cauldron back in the cabinet when I heard a faint knock on the door.
"Come in," I said.
Dad walked inside looking worn out. I looked at him and suddenly noticed how old he looked. I hadn't really noticed my parents aging over the years, but for some reason Dad just looked much older than usual at that moment. His face was etched with lines and his eyes sunken into the purple bags that surrounded them. Maybe he just hadn't slept well in a few days. I had gotten a good night's sleep the previous night, but Dad might not have since Matt was in his room.
"Hey, Dad," I said as I closed the cabinet.
"Hi, Amy," Dad replied, "Dinner's ready."
"Oh, good. I'm starved."
"Well, Ellie's outdone herself," Dad smiled wearily, "I think she missed cooking for us the past couple weeks."
"I've definitely missed her cooking," I replied.
Dad and I walked downstairs together, where we found Mum, Matt, and Ellie already sitting down at the table. There were platters of food covering the entire table. It looked like way more food than my family would actually eat, but it certainly looked good.
"Were you able to reschedule the sale, Walter?" Mum asked after we'd all served ourselves heaping piles of food.
Dad nodded. "It's not until after we actually move, though."
"Isn't your cousin moving in right away?" Mum asked.
"I don't think so. I don't think he really cares about actually living here anyway. He'll be happy when we're out of the country. He'll technically own the house, but who knows what he'll do with it."
Mum muttered something under her breath that sounded an awfully lot like something she'd yell at me for saying if I said it. "When is the sale?" she asked.
"July twentieth," Dad replied, "I know it's close to the July full moon, but it's the earliest day I could get. I didn't want to let it wait too long. I figure I'll just come down here and you can stay with Matt in England. I should be able to finagle a porkey down here."
"I guess that will work," Mum sighed, "I don't suppose we have a choice."
"Not unless we want to let my dolt of a cousin get the furniture as well as the house," Dad muttered.
"Then it's settled," Mum said, "And what about Norlam? Is he going to be able to porkey down here?"
"Yes. He said that would be fine. And I'm going to the Ministry first thing tomorrow morning to get us disconnected from the Floo Network."
Mum shook her head and put down her fork. "I've been thinking about that. Do you really think it's wise?"
"To have us taken off the Network?" Dad stared at her, "We agreed to do it. It's a safety precaution. No one will be able to come undetected into the house anymore."
"No, not that," Mum said quickly, "Of course I think that's a good idea. What I'm not so sure about is you going to the Ministry to have it done."
I set my cup down and paid close attention to what they were talking about.
"I'm not going to do anything stupid, Julie," Dad muttered.
"I know you won't go there meaning to do anything stupid," Mum said quietly, "But I worry about what might happen if you accidentally happen upon him."
"I am in complete control of my own actions, Julie," Dad replied, his voice getting harsher.
"We'll talk about it later," Mum gave him a significant look and then slightly tilted her head towards Matt and I. I'd have to be sure to find out where they went to talk after dinner and eavesdrop.
Dad nodded and went back to eating his dinner. The rest of the meal was spent in silence until Matt started complaining about the taste of the potions Mum handed to him after he'd finished eating.
I lingered at the table nursing my juice as Ellie and Mum began clearing the table. Dad slowly followed Matt back to the living room. Judging by the sound of it, Matt only fell over once on his way there, which was a new record. Mum visibly winced when she heard the thump, but she just shook her head and continued helping Ellie with the dishes.
Dad returned a short while later and gestured for Mum to follow him. I peered around the door as they went and saw the two of them disappear into Dad's study, shutting the door behind them. I hurried out of the room and up the stairs. I rummaged through the stuff that was on my desk until I found the Extendable Ears I had bought in Hogsmeade. I knew those things would come in handy again.
I ran down the stairs as fast as I could without making too much noise. I knelt in front of the door to Dad's study and stuffed an end of the Extendable Ear into my own ear. Nothing. There wasn't a sound coming from the study. Merlin, I thought, what if they put some sort of charm on the door? It wouldn't really surprise me.
"You know what I think about this." I heard Mum say. Yes, they hadn't charmed the door!
"And you know my opinion on the subject as well," Dad replied.
"Well, we're in a bit of a bind, then."
"I suppose so. But how exactly do you think we're going to get disconnected from the Floo Network if I don't go to the Ministry?" Dad asked, "You think you'd be able to control yourself if you went and somehow stumbled upon Lubar?"
"No," Mum said, "I don't think I would. I don't think you would, either."
"Then how are we going to accomplish this?"
"I don't know," Mum said, "I just don't think it's a good idea for you to go down there."
"I know you don't. But we haven't got a choice! It's either I go down to the Ministry or we stay on the Network and risk Lubar showing up on the full moon! And do you really think I'll be able to control myself if that happens? I swear I'll kill him if he ever shows up here again."
"Can't we just send an owl and request it or something?" Mum asked.
"I want to be sure it's done and done correctly. I don't want Lubar getting word of this and drafting some sort of nonsense legislation that requires werewolves to be on the Floo Network. I wouldn't put it past him to do just that if I send an owl about this.
"All I want to do is go directly to the Department of Magical Transportation and ask them personally to take us off the Network. I'm perfectly within my rights to do that. I haven't been banned from Ministry premises. Anyone can have themselves taken off the Network. But if we send an owl, someone could show it to Lubar and he could have that legislation passed within a day."
Mum sighed. "I suppose you're right. I just don't feel comfortable with you doing this. If you so much as say the wrong thing to Lubar while you're there, you could find yourself arrested."
"I know," Dad said darkly, "And that's why I'm not going anywhere near my old department."
"All right, all right. I trust you. It's Lubar I don't trust."
"I know, Julie, I know," Dad sighed.
"Do you really think this will work? Will he not be able to get Matt if we're off the Network?"
"It'll help," Dad said, "He won't be able to take us by surprise again. He'll have to Apparate outside our property and then walk to the door. I'll set some charms throughout the yard and we'll know if he enters the property. In which case, we'll be prepared for him. All we'll have to do is hold him off until the moon rises and then it'll be too late for him to do anything."
"There are so many things that could go wrong with that plan," Mum replied, "We could both wind up in prison for attacking a Ministry official."
"I know," Dad said, "But it's the only thing we can do. Just one more full moon here and then we'll be in England. We just have to get through one more."
I listened for another minute, but neither of them said anything. I hurried away when I heard footsteps coming from inside. I was innocently reading in the living room when my parents entered a few minutes later.
I stayed up half the night worrying about what my parents were planning on doing. I knew Dad wasn't planning on meeting up with Lubar at the Ministry the next day, but what if they somehow stumbled upon each other? Dad didn't sound like he was joking around when he said he'd kill Lubar. Dad normally wasn't a violent person; he usually preferred to solve problems with words rather than wands. Uncle Jack had always been the one with a temper. But this was different. I knew there was nothing Dad wouldn't do to protect Matt, and me as well.
Then there was the full moon itself. My parents had come up with a plan to knowingly break the law. Nothing had changed since the last full moon. Matt was still legally required to transform at the Ministry Approved Center, even though it practically killed him the last time. To get out of the requirement, Dad would have to create a safe house that Lubar approved of. I had a feeling that Dad could create the world's safest building and it still wouldn't be up to Lubar's standards. But Mum had brought up a good point; what if they did get arrested? How did Dad suppose he'd hold Lubar off without hexing or jinxing him?
I woke up groggy and still tired the next morning. I squinted at the clock near my bed and saw that it was just past nine. I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs.
The rest of my family was already up. Mum and Dad were eating omelets and not speaking. They both looked exhausted. Matt was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms and leaning his head on his hand at the same time. He looked even more tired than my parents.
I poured myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and sat down next to Matt. No one said anything as I began eating.
"I'm off to the Ministry," Dad announced a little while later.
"Be careful," Mum warned him as he stood up.
"I will," he said and gave her a quick kiss, "I'll be back shortly."
"Bye, Dad," I said.
"Bye, Amy," Dad gave me a hug and then gave one to Matt. "Bye, Matt. I'll be back soon, ok?"
He nodded. "Bye."
I wandered into the living room once I finished eating. Mum had carried Matt in there as soon as Dad left. She was pacing in front of the fireplace and Matt was nodding off on the couch.
I watched Mum pace for the entire time Dad was gone. The only time she stopped was when Matt woke up and complained that his ankle hurt. She brought him a potion and then went back to pacing.
Mum jumped as the she heard the front door open. She quickly sat down on the couch next to Matt and grabbed the nearest book, opening it up to a random page.
"We're disconnected," Dad announced as he stepped into the room.
"Oh, good," Mum smiled, "And did you meet up with," she paused and glanced at Matt, who was sleeping, "Lubar at all?"
"Nope," Dad replied and then lowered his voice, "Although I did pass the Minister in the corridor."
Mum sighed. "Did you keep your head?"
"Yes," Dad said, "There were certainly a few things I wanted to say, and a few hexes I would've liked to share, but I said nothing. He looked at me strangely, but I hurried away as quickly as I could. He has no idea why I was there."
"Good," Mum replied, "Now onto the next thing. Norlam's coming at one, right?"
"Yeah," Dad confirmed, "He'll be portkeying."
Mum sighed. "I really hope this goes well."
"Me, too," Dad agreed, "Me, too."
I could sense Mum and Dad's nervousness as we ate lunch a little while later. They kept looking at each other and then at Matt. He didn't seem to notice and was considerably more awake than he had been at brekkie.
"Matt," Mum said quietly as she cleared the dishes, "Do you remember Healer Norlam? From St. Mungo's?"
Matt stared at Mum and slowly nodded his head. I couldn't quite make out what he was thinking, but it looked to be a combination of fear and confusion.
"Well," Mum continued, "He's going to come visit us today. To see how you're doing and see if he can help with your nightmares."
Matt shook his head fiercely and then winced. "No. I don't want him to come."
"I know you don't, honey, but he's going to help."
We all migrated back to the living room once Mum finished cleaning up. Matt looked scared as he sat on the couch. Mum and Dad sat down next to him and he crawled over to Mum and leaned his head on her chest. I wasn't really sure if I was supposed to be there during the therapy session, but I sat down on a chair and pulled out a book.
The door charm sounded a little while later and I got up with Dad to answer it. Mum stayed with Matt since he was still leaning against her.
Dad opened the door and Norlam greeted him and shook his hand. Dad gestured for him to step into the house and shut the door behind him.
"Matt's in the living room," Dad said and pointed down the corridor.
"Actually, I thought I'd talk to you first," Norlam said.
"Oh, all right. Amy-"
"She can stay," Norlam smiled, "That's fine. I imagine she'll just listen in around the corner anyway."
I blushed and grinned sheepishly. Maybe this bloke did know a thing or two about the way children's minds worked.
Dad smirked. "Well, ok. What did you want to talk about?"
"I can't start therapy until Matt feels comfortable around me. It just won't work if he doesn't trust me. So, today's goal is to start to gain his trust."
"Any ideas as to how to do that?" Dad asked.
It seemed to me like an endless loop. Matt was afraid of strangers and Norlam was a stranger. In order to overcome that fear, he had to learn to trust Norlam.
"It's going to be tough," Norlam said, "And I doubt it'll happen with just one session. But we're going to try. I thought I could just sit in the living room with you. All of you," he turned to me and then back to Dad, "We'll just talk casually and maybe play a game or two of Exploding Snap. Hopefully Matt will see how at ease the three of you are and start to trust me."
Dad nodded. "That sounds like it should work."
"Well, let's get started," Norlam smiled.
Dad led the way back to the living room. Norlam gestured for me to go in first, then Dad, and then himself. I sat down on the couch and Dad leaned over Mum's shoulder and whispered something in her ear. She nodded and Dad stood next to the door. Norlam stepped in and smiled at Mum.
"Hello, Healer Norlam," Mum greeted him.
"Hi, Julie," Norlam said, "Please, call me Jeff."
"Jeff, then," Mum replied.
Matt watched the two of them talk and inched closer to Mum. He climbed onto her lap and turned away from Norlam.
Norlam took a seat on the floor, which I thought was kind of odd since there was another couch and a few chairs that were empty. But I figured he had a reason for it.
"Anyone care to play Exploding Snap?" Norlam asked as he pulled a package of cards out of his robes.
I looked at Dad and he gave a slight nod of his head. "Sure," I shrugged and got up from the chair. I sat down across from Norlam and he began to shuffle the cards. Dad got up as well and sat down next to me.
"So," Norlam began as he dealt the cards, "Amy, you're going into your fourth year in school?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I was supposed to be in it already, but well, you know the story." I thought it was odd that Norlam was talking to me when this whole therapy thing was for Matt, but I knew nothing about psychology so I didn't question anything. I wanted Matt to get over this, so I decided to just go along with it.
"Indeed I do," Norlam said quietly, "But life is never predictable. Hogwarts is a great school. I attended there myself, a very long time ago. What subjects do you enjoy?"
"Potions and Astronomy," I answered.
"Interesting combination," Norlam said, seeming to stare off into space, "Interesting indeed...."
I had no idea where he was going with this. I looked at him curiously and he gave a slight shake of his head and returned his attention to the game.
"How about Quidditch?" Norlam asked, "Do you like Quidditch?"
"Not really," I shrugged. I've never liked flying, whether it's on a broomstick or a Muggle airplane. Quidditch wasn't really something I enjoyed watching either. Dad took us to the World Cup once, when it was held in Australia, and that was fun. I had only been about ten at the time.
"I'm a big Quidditch fan. Played Beater for Hufflepuff House when I was at Hogwarts. Do you know about the houses?"
"Yes. Professor Kendrick told us about them. How do they decide which house you're in?"
Norlam smiled. "That, Amy, is one of the big secrets of Hogwarts. Although it's never been discussed, nobody tells how the Sorting is done. My own brother wouldn't tell me. I asked him about five times a day the whole summer before I went to Hogwarts, but he never said a word about it. My parents never mentioned it to me either. Didn't find out until I entered the Great Hall my first day."
"So you're not going to tell me?" I asked. I had been wondering about the Sorting thing ever since I found out we'd be moving to England. In Australia, you were just randomly assigned a house.
"I feel I'd be betraying generations of Hogwarts students if I told you, Amy," Norlam sighed, "But I daresay you'll find out soon."
"So, can I ask you questions?" I asked.
"Of course," Norlam replied, "After all, I'm asking about you."
I nodded. I paused before asking anything. What sort of questions would help Matt figure out that Norlam was trustworthy? I was beginning to wish I knew a little bit about psychology.
"Well, are you married?" I asked.
"I've been married for forty-eight years," Norlam smiled, "To the most wonderful lady in the world. We have two children and seven grandchildren. I love them more than anything in the world."
That was good. Maybe if Matt heard that Norlam had kids and grandkids, he'd trust him.
"And do any of them go to Hogwarts?"
"Actually, yes. Three of them. One has already graduated and the other three are too young. All have been in Hufflepuff."
"What were your favorite subjects there?"
"Transfiguration and Herbology," Norlam answered, "Care of Magical Creatures was fun as well, but after seeing my teacher loose a few fingers one lesson, I was more apt to watch the creatures from afar than actually study them."
Dad chortled and shook his head. "I think if my Care of Magical Creatures professor had lost fingers during class, I would have been even more excited about the subject. Nothing scared me as a child. I think it would have been better if I had a healthy fear of dragons, though. I obtained quite the nasty burn in training."
"And that's why you went into the study of magical creatures and I went into psychology," Norlam replied.
"Er, is the professor who lost his fingers still there?"
"Oh, no. He retired a while ago. Although the professor they have now has no fear of any creature in the world. I wouldn't even put it past him to keep a dragon as a pet."
My eyes bugged out. A dragon as a pet? Was that bloke mad? Well, as long as he didn't make me care for dragons, I didn't suppose it would matter.
"Don't worry. There is no one in the world more capable of handling magical creatures more than that professor," Norlam assured me.
"Do you know any of the other professors?"
"Most of them," Norlam said, "Only one of them taught me, though. The Potions Master."
"Can you tell me about them?"
"I'd prefer not to, so as not to influence your opinion of them."
I sighed and went back to the cards. We kept talking casually as we played Exploding Snap. Norlam was either horrible at the game or purposely losing to Dad and I was some sort of psychological technique. By the time the hour long appointment had ended, Norlam's face was coated in soot.
He collected the cards, cleaned his face, said goodbye to Mum, and motioned for Dad to follow him into the corridor. I followed them since neither of them told me not to.
"I'd like to have bi-weekly appointments, if that will work for you," Norlam said once we were away from the living room.
Dad nodded. "That would be fine."
"How about Mondays and Fridays at this same time?" Norlam suggested.
"That should work."
"I'll be here on Friday, then," Norlam replied, "Goodbye."
"Bye," Dad shook his hand.
"Bye, Amy," Norlam waved to me as he opened the door, "You were quite helpful today."
"Bye," I replied. How had I been helpful? All I'd done was play Exploding Snap and talk about my life. I didn't think I'd ever understand psychology.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Monday 29 December 2008 11 05 46 am Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Thanks Obladi and hprocks!
Chapter 26: The Study
My parents had planned on going to look at houses the next day, but they wanted to go to St. Mungo's first. Dad had decided that if we moved to England, it would be easier to just buy a house rather than build one. There wasn't anyone we knew in England to supervise the building of a house, so it would be easier to buy one. I hoped there were better houses in England than in New York.
As soon as we finished brekkie, we Flooed to St. Mungo's. I stepped out of the fireplace into a waiting room. There were quite a few people sitting in the plastic chairs and even more queued up before a desk at the front. I followed Mum and Dad and we joined queue.
The bloke in front of us looked to be in his twenties and he appeared to have a broomstick stuck in between his legs. He looked rather uncomfortable, but I thought he should consider himself lucky he was able to land the broomstick. In front of him was a witch with a flower growing from her head. There were a number of people ahead of them, but I couldn't quite tell what was wrong with them.
I turned around and took a glance at the waiting area. One wizard had pink pustules all over his body. A small child was hissing and sticking out his tongue, which was forked. There were also a number of people who appeared normal, looking through the various magazines laid out on the tables.
The queue moved slowly and I wished I had brought a book. After a few more minutes, we could finally see who was sitting behind the desk. There was a very bored looking witch sitting there, directing people where to go. Next to the desk was a large sign, also instructing people where to go.
"Next," the witch said.
The lady with the plant on her head walked up and before she could utter a word, the witch behind the desk pointed to the sign and announced, "Fourth Floor."
I glanced at the sign and saw that the fourth floor was for spell damage.
"I can't get off this broom!" the bloke in front of us exclaimed once the plant witch left, "I don't know why! I was just flying and now I'm stuck and I can't get off it!"
"Fourth floor," the witch pointed her wand at the sign and it emitted green sparks. "Next!" she shouted as broom boy waddled off to the lift.
"Hello," Dad greeted the witch and produced the parchment with the article on it, "We're looking for Healer Morris Sterling."
The witch raised her eyebrows at us as she scanned the article. "The Dai Lewellyn Ward is on the first floor. You'll find Healer Sterling there."
"Thank you," Dad said and we followed him over to the lift.
We emerged from the lift onto a long corridor. It was very quiet and looked like the hospital in Australia. A few wizards and witches in lime green robes passed us as we started down the corridor, but they didn't look up from their clipboards. I presumed that they were the Healers. Mum and Dad peeked at every door, reading the signs affixed to them.
Eventually, Dad stopped in front of a door that said 'Dai Lewellyn Ward'. Next to it was another door that said 'Healer Morris Sterling: Head Healer of the Dai Lewellyn Ward'.
The door was open, so we followed Dad inside. A witch sitting at a desk was tying a letter to an owl. There were a few chairs in the room, along with a lot of filing cabinets. There was a sign on her messy desk that said 'Natalie Caberny'.
"Excuse me," Dad said.
"Yes?" Natalie Caberny replied, "Can I help you?"
"We'd like to see Healer Sterling, please," Dad said and showed her the article, "About the study."
"All right," Natalie said as she opened a large book, "Well, let's see, Healer Sterling is busy seeing patients until eleven, but he is available for a half hour then, if that will work."
"That would be fine," Dad told her.
"Name?" Natalie asked as she wrote something in the book.
"Walter Eckerton," Dad told her.
"And you're inquiring about the Wolfsbane Study?" Natalie asked.
"Yes," Dad said.
"Ok, you're all set. See you at eleven."
"Thank you," Dad said and we left the room.
I glanced at my watch once we were back in the corridor. It was a little after ten. An hour to kill until the appointment. I definitely wished I'd brought a book.
We wound up spending the hour in the tea room that was on the top floor. Mum and Dad had some coffee while Matt and I had biscuits. They were all right, but nothing extraordinary. I flipped through a few mediocre magazines, but was basically bored the entire hour. I wished Mum and Dad would have let me stay at The Three Broomsticks.
The first floor was a bit busier when we went back down. A few Healers were running around shouting things to each other and carrying various potions into a few rooms.
Natalie Caberny was sitting at her desk when we entered. She was hurriedly writing something onto a piece of parchment. Dad waited until she had folded the parchment and charmed it to fly out of the room before he spoke.
"We're back for the eleven o'clock appointment," Dad said.
"Right," Natalie replied, "I'll just see if he's ready for you."
Natalie got up and knocked on a door that led off of her study. "Walter Eckerton's here to see you. Should I send him in?"
"Yes, send him in," a man replied.
Natalie opened the door and motioned us in. Dad thanked her and she shut the door behind us.
A balding man was sitting behind a large oak desk. His spectacles were perched on the tip of his nose and he wore the same lime green robes all the other Healers I'd seen wore. He stood up and shook Dad's hand. He was quite tall and a bit on the chubby side.
"Morris Sterling," the man said.
"Walter Eckerton," Dad replied, "My wife, Julie, and our kids, Amy and Matt."
"Nice to meet you," Sterling gestured to the chairs in front of his desk, "Please have a seat."
Mum and Dad sat down in the chairs in front of Sterling's desk and Matt and I sat in the ones that were alongside the wall. I looked at a nearby book shelf and noticed there were a lot of books about potions.
"Now, you're here to inquire about the Wolfsbane Study?" Sterling asked.
"Yes. I saw the article in the paper."
"Ah. Excellent," Sterling replied, "And you're interested in participating?"
"Well, not me, my son," Dad gestured to Matt. "Will you allow underage participants?"
"Hmm," Sterling leaned back and rubbed his chin, "I don't have any yet, but with the right release forms I don't see why not."
"I'll sign them," Dad said, "But do you have a detailed outline of this study?"
"Yes," Sterling replied and opened his desk drawer. He pulled out a thick binder and handed it to Dad. "All the details are in there."
"Thanks," Dad said.
"Does Wolfsbane work for your son?" Sterling asked.
"No, that's why we'd like him in the study," Dad explained.
"I figured, but I had to ask."
"I understand that you'll want to read that thoroughly before you finalize your decision, but I do have a preliminary questionnaire for you to fill out just to be sure your son is eligible," Sterling handed Dad a clipboard.
Dad took the clipboard and pulled a quill out of his robes. He and Mum spent the next few minutes filling out whatever questions Sterling wanted to know. Dad handed him back the clipboard once they were done.
Sterling leaned back in his chair and looked over the questionnaire. "Well, everything seems to be in order. I see no reason why your son can't participate. The only problem is that I see you live in Australia. I will need to perform routine examinations, which might be difficult if you're not in the country."
"We are actually planning on moving," Dad told him, "That was our reason for visiting. We were touring Hogwarts. We're either going to move here or New York. And if I like the sounds of this study, we'll be moving here. Things have gotten a bit, er, difficult in Australia lately."
Sterling nodded, "You know, your name sounds a bit familiar, but I can't quite place it...." Sterling looked at Dad for a moment, "You're the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in Australia, aren't you?"
Dad sighed, "Not anymore. Just got fired."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," Sterling said quietly.
"It was bound to happen eventually. There aren't many who share my views about werewolves down there. Most of the Ministry are quite unsympathetic. Part of the reason why we're moving. Have you heard about the new laws that are being passed?"
"Only bits and pieces, but what I have heard disgusts me."
"I quite agree," Dad replied, "And there was only so much I could do when nobody shared my opinion."
"Well, we could use someone like you here in England. You'll find that more people are sympathetic here. Pop into the Ministry sometime. I think there might be a few openings in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures here."
"Thank you," Dad said.
"You're welcome," Sterling replied, "I hate to cut this short, but I've got an eleven thirty appointment. Send me an owl if you decide to have your son in the study. There will be some preliminary tests that will need to be done, so perhaps we could schedule them to be done before you return to Australia. When were you planning on flying back?"
"Saturday, but I can always change the tickets."
"Excellent," Sterling said as he stood up, "I'll look forward to your owl."
"I'll send it shortly," Dad stood up, "And thank you for meeting with us."
"Not a problem," Sterling shook Dad's hand.
"Thank you," Mum smiled, "For starting this study. You have no idea how difficult it's been."
"I can only imagine," Sterling replied, "I see so many sad things here. I'd like to have some happy endings for once."
"I certainly hope this study brings one," Mum said.
"Me, too," Sterling agreed.
"We'll be in contact soon," Dad said and we all left the room.
Mum and Dad wanted to go right back to The Three Broomsticks after we left St. Mungo's so they could read about the study. Of course, they wanted to discuss it in private, so Matt and I were banished to the pub once again.
"I'm bored," Matt sighed after we'd finished our butterbeers.
"Me, too," I agreed. Why hadn't I thought to grab a book? "Hey, want to go explore the village?"
"But Mum and Dad said to stay here," Matt said.
"I know," I grinned mischievously, "But if we're back before they finish discussing that study, then they'll never know. C'mon, there were a few shops I wanted to investigate."
"Amy, what if we get caught?" Matt asked nervously.
"We won't get caught. Plus, if we do, Mum and Dad will blame me. You won't get in trouble at all," I assured him.
"Fine," Matt sighed and got up, "But only for a little while."
"Excellent," I grinned and jumped up. "It'll be fun. Trust me."
The air was crisp outside and the ground muddy. The last bits of snow were melting. It seemed almost completely deserted, which didn't bother me in the least. I led Matt down the street, looking in every shop as we went.
"Where are we going?" Matt asked.
"I dunno," I shrugged, "We'll find out when we get there. Hey, didn't Kendrick say the shack you're going to transform in is somewhere around here?"
"Let's go find it," I took off running.
"Amy, wait!" Matt shouted, "I don't really want to see it!"
"Aw, come on, it'll be cool," I shouted back. "Hurry up!"
I slowed down and waited for my brother to catch up. He looked a bit nervous, but reluctantly followed me. We wandered all the way down the road, looking for anything that resembled the shack Kendrick mentioned.
"How will we know what house it is anyway?" Matt asked quietly.
"I think we'll just know," I told him. How many decrepit buildings could there be in this village anyway?
As we walked farther and farther away from The Three Broomsticks, the houses and buildings got farther and farther apart. There were mountains up ahead as well.
"Hey, I'll bet that's it!" I pointed to an old house that was a few meters off the main road. There was a broken down fence around it. "Let's get closer."
"I don't want to," Matt whined.
"Oh don't be such a baby," I said as I ran up to the house.
It was certainly run down looking. The windows were all boarded up and it didn't look like anyone had lived in it for decades.
"Spooky," I grinned and turned around. Matt was still down by the road. "Oh, get up here!"
Matt reluctantly walked up to the house and looked at it for a few moments. "It's big."
"Not really," I laughed, "It's a shack."
"I meant that it's big compared to the room in the basement."
"It looks haunted," Matt whispered.
"That be because it is haunted, kiddies."
I shrieked and jumped as I turned around. Matt screamed even louder than I did and hid behind me, grabbing my arm. There was a hunched old witch standing a few feet in front of us, wearing a patched old robe. She had a hood over her face, but her lank white hair was sticking out.
"Wh-who are y-you?" I stammered.
"Not important," she cackled, "You kiddies been enjoying the Shrieking Shack?"
"The what?" I asked.
"The Shrieking Shack," the witch repeated, "Yous not heard of The Shrieking Shack? Kiddies not from around here?"
"N-no," I told her.
"Aye, well, Shrieking Shack is haunted," the witch laughed, "I heard the shrieking meself, years ago. Once in a while, loud screeching heard from the place. Ghosts, some said. Dumbledore himself say the shack be inhabited by band of ghosts!
"Must've moved. Not a sound been heard from the place in years. Best stay away. Some say it's still haunted."
"A-all right," I whispered. "I th-think we'll be going now."
"You go, kiddies! And watch out for them ghosts! Might come back, you know."
I nodded and ran back to the road, not looking back at the witch. Matt followed me, not letting go of my arm. My heart was still hammering when we got down to the road. I glanced back at the shack, but the old witch was gone.
"S-see why we sh-shouldn't have go-gone?" Matt stammered.
"It was worth it."
"Let's j-just go b-back."
"No, I saw a shop I wanted to go to," I said, leading Matt back to the village.
We walked down the road until we got to the most colorful display window in the entire village. There was a large display of fireworks in the window, along with various other objects. The sign above the shop said 'Weasley's Wizard Wheezes'.
"C'mon," I said and pushed open the door.
We stepped into what must have been the best joke shop I had ever seen in my life. There was so much stuff crammed into the small shop that I didn't even know what to look at first.
There was a red-haired man behind the counter wearing magenta colored robes talking to a boy with turquoise blue hair. The pair of them looked like they could belong to a Muggle circus. I had to suppress a gasp when the man turned and I noticed that one of his ears was missing.
"Anything else besides the Deluxe Whizbang Box?" the man asked the boy.
"Nope, that's it for now," the boy replied.
Both of them looked over at Matt and I as we reached the display near the counter. The man grinned when he saw us and the boy looked at us quizzically.
"Skip out of school?" the man asked, "Ah, how I enjoy seeing those who continue that noble tradition."
"Er, no, actually I don't go to school here," I muttered.
"That's why I don't recognize you," the boy said. "I'm Ted Lupin."
"Amy Eckerton," I said. "And that's my brother Matt," I pointed to Matt, who was perusing a display of sweets.
"Nice to meet you," Ted replied.
"And I am George Weasley, at your service," the man grinned. "I own the shop."
"It's brilliant," I told him, "Best joke shop I've seen."
"You don't sound like you're from around here," Ted mentioned.
"We're actually from Australia," I explained.
"Wow," Ted looked at me in awe, "What are you doing here?"
"My family's moving," I sighed, "So we're visiting Hogwarts. My parents haven't decided if we're moving here or New York."
"Move here," Ted said. "And if you do, hope for Gryffindor, it's the best House."
I grinned. Ted was nice. "I'll keep that in mind."
"It really is the best house," George Weasley added.
"Blimey," Ted glanced at his watch, "I'd better get back if I want to make it back for Transfiguration, not that I really want to...."
"Go back, Ted," George laughed, "Your grandmother will have my head if you miss class because you're here."
"Bye, Uncle George," Ted picked up his package and turned to leave, "See you around, Amy."
"Bye," I said as he left the shop.
"Anything I can help you with?" George Weasley asked.
"I'm just looking around," I replied.
"Give a shout if you have any questions."
I nodded and started wandering around the shop. The first thing I noticed was that there was a whole variety of sweets that made you sick. Matt was looking at them with disgust.
"Why would you want to make yourself sick?" he asked.
I picked up one of the boxes and read the back. "So you can miss class," I grinned, "That's brilliant. You eat one half of it to make you sick, get excused from class, and then eat the other half to get better after you leave. Of course, you'll be able to do that perfectly fine on your own."
"Very funny," Matt said flatly.
"Oh, I'm just joking," I said as I moved to another display.
"Hey, Amy, look at these!" Matt shouted.
I turned back to where he was looking. "What?"
Matt held up a box that had a picture of a long flesh-colored thing on it. "Read this."
I took the box and read the label. It said 'Extendable Ears'. A grin appeared on my face as I read that they were for eavesdropping on other people's conversations.
"You know, we could use these to listen to what Mum and Dad are talking about right now," I said excitedly. These things were probably my favorite item in the shop. If only they sold them in Australia! I'd never have wondered what Mum and Dad talked about when they holed themselves up in Dad's study.
"That's what I was thinking," Matt replied.
"Let's get them," I grinned, "C'mon."
We ran up to the desk, where George Weasley was smiling at us. I placed the box on the counter.
"Extendable Ears," he said, "Excellent choice. Nine Sickles and five Knuts."
I pulled out a few Sickles and Knuts that were leftover from the Butterbeer. Luckily I had enough.
"Enjoy," George Weasley said as I picked up the box.
"Thanks," I grinned and we left the shop.
"Aren't you happy we went exploring now?" I asked once we left.
"Yeah, yeah," Matt muttered.
We ran all the way back to The Three Broomsticks. Madam Rosmerta smiled and shook her head as we breezed past the bar. I took that to mean that Mum and Dad hadn't come out and noticed we were missing.
I ripped open the package as we ascended the stairs. I unwrapped the fleshy tubes and handed one to Matt. We sat down outside our door and shoved an end of the Extendables into our ears and the other end near the crack in the bottom of the door.
"It does seem safe," I heard Dad saying. I turned to Matt and we grinned at each other. They worked!
"Nothing's perfectly safe," Mum replied.
"Yes, but I think it may be worth the risk," Dad said.
"I suppose you're right," Mum sighed, "I just worry. Look at all those possible complications."
"They have to put those in so nobody can sue them," Dad explained, "There will always be risk. There was risk with the other treatments we tried."
"This is different, Julie. It's not just one treatment. We may actually find out why the Wolfsbane doesn't work if we go through with this. It could drastically change his life for the better."
"So you want to do it?" Mum asked.
"Yes," Dad replied, "I really think it's be a good idea."
"Well, then I suppose we'd better send Healer Sterling an owl."
"I'll go see if Madam Rosmerta has one we can borrow." I heard Dad get up from the bed.
I pulled the Extendable Ear out of my ear and grabbed Matt's arm. We hurried back down to the bar and sat down in the first table we got to. I stuffed all the Extendables into my pocket and tried to act natural.
Dad appeared a few seconds later. "Hi, kids."
"Hey, Dad," I replied.
"Hi," Matt said.
Dad smiled at us and went over to the bar. He talked with Madam Rosmerta and she left for a few moments and then came back with an owl. Dad took the owl and went back up the stairs.
After he left, the conversation I had just heard started to sink in. Mum and Dad were going to enroll Matt in that study. That meant that it was official. We were moving to England. We wouldn't move to New York and live near Uncle Jack. We would move here, to a place where I knew no one and had never been to before this visit. A place I was totally unfamiliar with. Any lingering hope of staying in Australia was gone. Once Matt was in that study, there would be no going back. We'd sell our house in Australia and look for one in England. Australia would no longer be my home and I would not get to call New York my home. My home would be England, a place that was totally and completely foreign. I swallowed hard and bit my lip to keep the tears from falling.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 30 November 2008 10 36 50 pm Post subject: Re: In Moonlight's Shadow in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
Thanks Obladi! Quite the cliffy, huh?
Sorry for the late update. I was home and Obladi came down to visit, so I was pretty busy.
Chapter 22: Suspended
I stared open mouthed at Mum for a few seconds. I had thought that the names of underage werewolves were protected by the law and they wouldn't be released until the werewolf in question became of age.
"What do you mean?" I asked, hoping Mum would actually answer my questions, "How? When?"
"This afternoon," Mum said, her voice still wobbly, "He was angry that Dad wouldn't allow Matt to go to the approved Ministry center. Dad lodged a complaint about the law with the Wizengamot. Apparently Lubar 'let it slip' that Matt was a werewolf while he was getting a cup of coffee. The information quickly made its rounds and now the entire Ministry knows, as opposed to just the Werewolf Control Unit."
"But, but, isn't that illegal for him to do that?"
"Technically, yes," Mum growled, "But seeing as nobody will actually say who they received the information from, the only proof is Dad's testimony. Which of course will not hold up in court since he is biased."
"What's going to happen now?" I asked quietly.
"I'm not entirely sure," Mum replied, "But this is not going to be easy. Amy, I'm explaining all about this now, because within the next few days we are surely to be on the receiving end of many owls from the general public. Not to mention the newspaper articles."
I nodded. "Where's Dad?"
"Upstairs with your brother," Mum answered, "Which reminds me, I don't want you to go in his room for the rest of the night. He needs to rest."
"Ok," I mumbled, "I think I'll go to bed."
I walked slowly up to my room. I paused outside Matt's door, which was open. Dad was sitting on a chair next to his bed and absentmindedly messing with Matt's hair while staring off into space. He didn't notice as I walked quietly by. Matt was sound asleep.
As soon as I'd changed into my pajamas, I went out onto the balcony. I stared up into the sky and thought about what was going to happen now that the entirety of wizarding Australia knew that my brother was a werewolf. There were reasons why Mum and Dad never told anyone. Reasons why I was forbidden to mention it to anyone at school. As much as I hated not being able to be truthful with my friends, I knew the reasons behind it.
My parents tried to make our lives as normal as they could, and part of that was keeping Matt's condition a secret. People would not only look at him differently if the knew, but they'd look at our entire family differently. Of course, the effects of it on me were minuscule compared to what it would be like for Matt. Because we had been so secretive about it, nobody looked at him differently as we walked around amongst wizards, nobody shunned him, nobody refused to let their children play with him, nobody looked at him with fear. All that would change now. Before they just saw a small, quiet boy. Now they would look at him and only see the raging monster he became on one night out of twenty-eight. It was really quite unfair.
The second reason why my parents kept it a secret was Dad's job. The implications of the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures having a werewolf son could be disastrous. Any bit of pro-werewolf legislation that he tried to pass would be seen as him trying to make life easier for his son. People would consider him incredibly biased.
Dad had been the Head of the Werewolf Control Unit when Matt got bitten. He was promoted to Head of the entire magical creatures department just six months afterwards. Dad had always been sympathetic towards werewolves, even before Matt was bitten, and many people were against his promotion. But, there wasn't anything they could do about it. Now, there would be grounds for him to be fired.
And all because of some stupid law. A stupid law that required an eight year old boy to be alone in a large building filled with adults. What kind of idiots would pass such a law? The idiots who believe werewolves to be less than human. I was sure that was how Lubar had rationalized the entire thing.
My mind was racing about what was going to happen. Mum had mentioned us getting nasty letters by owl. I decided I just wouldn't read any. They'd go straight to the bin. Despite all that I had on my mind, I fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion only a few hours after I had gone up to my room.
I woke up the next morning with an awful ache in my back and crick in my neck. I groggily opened my eyes and glanced around. I remembered that I had fallen asleep on the balcony, without any pillows or blankets.
I groaned and got up, remembering the past night's events. I changed quickly and then went downstairs to find a potion for my aching back. The kitchen was deserted when I went downstairs. There were signs of life, though. Empty bowls in the sink, and the newspaper lying on the table.
I grabbed the paper as soon as I'd taken my potion. I waited a few moments before looking at it, though. Did I really want to read the article that I knew would be there? Of course I did. Curiosity always got me in the end. I took a deep breath, looked down at the page, and prepared myself for the worst. There it was, right on the front page.
[b]HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE CONTROL AND
REGULATION OF MAGICAL CREATURES'S SON IS A WEREWOLF[/b]
[i]Well, nobody will every be able to say that
Walter Eckerton doesn't bring his work home
with him. Yesterday, an unknown Ministry
employee leaked the information that Walter
Eckerton's 8-year-old son is a werewolf.
No one is sure who leaked the information,
and it is widely known that the names of
underage werewolves are normally kept secret
until they become of age. This is why Walter
Eckerton's son has been kept under wraps for
so long. (continued on page 4D)[/i]
I hurriedly turned to page 4D and began to read the rest of the lengthy article.
[i]Long since known as a supporter of werewolf
rights, Walter Eckerton has been Head of the
Department for the Control and Regulation of
Magical Creatures for nearly two years.
Before that, he was Head of the Werewolf
Control Unit, and worked in that department
prior to becoming the Head.
Wizards and witches alike are now positive
that most of Eckerton's pro-werewolf laws
are due to his son's condition, despite the
fact that Eckerton was known for his sympathy
prior to the attack on his son.
Details about the attack, that occurred just
over two years ago, are slowly coming to light.
Matthew Eckerton, 8, was attacked at a Muggle
campground sometime between Christmas and New
Years in 2010. He was five years old at the
time. We have not yet been informed of the
There have been murmurings throughout the
Ministry since yesterday afternoon about
whether or not Eckerton will keep his job.
Many people have shared that they do not feel
that Eckerton is able to do his job properly
with a werewolf for a son. A few are horrified
that he was even selected for the position in
the first place.[/i]
I set the paper down and glared at it. How could they write that? Just because Lubar had outed that Matt was a werewolf at work yesterday didn't give the paper the right to write an entire article on it. Wasn't that law about keeping the names of underage werewolves secret supposed to prevent this type of article? And why should Matt's being a werewolf get Dad fired? He had done a plenty good job for the past two years, so why should he get fired now?
I turned back to the front page to check if there were any other articles that I ought to read. Dad had said the werewolf attacks were increasing, so there may have been one this month as well. Sure enough, there was a very small article about a man who was attacked. I imagined that article would have been the front page article of Lubar hadn't have announced that Matt was a werewolf.
Below the article about Dad was yet another article about him. I quickly started reading it.
[b]MINISTRY EMPLOYEE BREAKS WEREWOLF CONTROL LAW[/b]
[i]Less than twenty-four hours before the
announcement that Walter Eckerton's
son is a werewolf, the man knowingly broke
the newest law regarding werewolf control.
The law, known as Werewolf Control Law 56,
requires all places of transformation pass
an inspection by an employee of the Werewolf
Control Unit. The law was signed by the
Minister five days ago. If a place of
transformation fails inspection, the werewolf
in question is required to transform at a
Ministry approved facility. (Werewolves
using the Wolfsbane potion are exempt,
providing that they can give the Werewolf
Control Unit the proper documentation).
Eckerton has long since been sympathetic
towards werewolves and rejected this law
only a few short weeks ago. His department
overruled his rejection and presented the
law to the Minister, who immediately approved
it. Eckerton was mysteriously absent from
work while that took place. Ralph Lubar,
Head of the Werewolf Control Unit says,
'We're not really sure where Eckerton
went. I mean, he said he was going to
visit his brother in the States, but who
knows? He's been awfully secretive lately.'
Wherever Eckerton was, he was not at work
to voice his disapproval of the law. In
fact, Eckerton had no knowledge that the
law had passed until Lubar showed up to
do his inspection on Monday.
To the shock of many people, Eckerton
failed his inspection. 'His safe room was
in his basement,' Lubar told us, 'It had
proper spells around it, but under the new
law, all safe rooms must be self contained
buildings, not a room in another building or
home. It's for the safety of everyone.'
Eckerton was told his son would have to
transform at one of the Ministry centers, but
he flat out refused to comply. Evening came,
and Eckerton's son never showed up at any of
What can be said when the Head of the Department
for the Control and Regulation of Magical
Creatures doesn't follow the laws set by his
department? Eckerton is still employed by the
Australian Ministry, but is facing charges for
breaking this law.[/i]
I swallowed hard as I set the paper back down on the table. Dad was facing charges. Was he going to go to jail? I shook the thought from my head and turned away from the paper. I didn't care if there were any other articles in it about Dad. I didn't want to read them. They were painting Dad in such a horrible light.
The house remained quiet for much of the day. I didn't see Mum until the early afternoon, when she emerged from Matt's room. Apparently she had been in there the entire morning. I asked her how he was doing and she said he was better, but definitely not back to normal. She told me not to bother him and I certainly wasn't going to argue. Mum still looked extremely stressed out and knackered. I asked her about the articles and she told me it was only the beginning.
"What about the charges?" I asked quietly as she and Ellie prepared dinner.
Mum put down her wand and met my gaze. "What about them?"
"Well, what's going to happen? Is Dad going to have to go to jail?"
"I don't think so," Mum replied, "But I'm sure there will be a hearing. I'm not entirely sure of the details."
I nodded and didn't ask anything else. Dinner was very quiet and subdued, especially since it was only Mum, Ellie, and I who were eating. I didn't even bother to ask when Dad was coming home. Who knew what was going on at the Ministry that day.
Mum went back to Matt's room after we'd finished eating and I went up to mine. I immediately noticed Olivia's owl sitting on my desk as I entered the room. She had probably seen the paper that morning. I hoped she wasn't too mad at me for never telling her about Matt.
I took the letter from the owl, gave her some treats, and sat down on my bed to read it.
I'm not even sure what to say, honestly.
I was thoroughly shocked when I read the
paper this morning. The whole school saw
it, too. They all looked to me for answers
since I'm friends with you, but I had no
answers for them.
Part of me is angry at you for not telling
me, but I know it wasn't really your decision
not to tell me. But, really, how could you
keep that from me? Is this the real reason
why your parents wouldn't let me go to your
house? Were they afraid that I'd find out
and tell everyone I knew? I wouldn't have,
Amy, I really wouldn't have. Is this why
your parents are so protective of your
Is this also why your parents had that row
with Killigan? I kind of think the two are
connected. Why in the name of Merlin would
your parents pull you out of school and move
across the world just because of an argument?
The argument was about your brother. Was it
because Killigan wouldn't let him go to
school with us? Is that why you're moving so
far away? So your brother can go to school?
I got your letter about New York. The school
there sounds nice. Let me know if you go to
visit any others. Write back really soon. I
want to know what's going on.
I set down Olivia's letter and stared out the window. At least it didn't seem like Olivia was too angry with me. It honestly wouldn't have surprised me if she totally flipped out, in letter form of course. This was a secret I'd been keeping from her for over two years. Ever since Matt had become a werewolf in the first place. I still remember when I went back to school after it had happened. I was still upset about it, but I couldn't tell Olivia. She asked me about it for weeks, but I never told her what was wrong. Eventually she just gave up and forgot about it.
I sighed and went to my desk. I pulled out a piece of parchment, a quill, and a pot of ink. I was going to tell Olivia the entire story now. She knew Matt was a werewolf now, so what could the harm be? I wanted her to understand the whole thing. I was sick of lying to her. And most of all, I wanted to tell someone about it. I had never once talked to anyone about Matt being a werewolf, outside of my family.
First, I'm really sorry for not telling you
about my brother. My parents made me promise
never to tell anyone about it. Remember back
in the beginning of second year when I was so
upset and wouldn't tell you why? Matt got bit
over the summer before that year.[/i]
I continued and told Olivia all about the camping trip and how Matt got attacked there. I told her about how the Wolfsbane potion wouldn't work for him and how Mum and Dad made me stay with my grandparents every full moon. I told her everything I could possibly think of.
Next I told her everything about the move and the issues going on at Dad's work. My letter was practically two feet long by the time I'd finished it. I stuffed it in an envelope and sent it off with Olivia's owl, who had conveniently stuck around while I wrote it.
I stepped out onto the balcony and watched the owl fly away. Somehow I felt much better after writing that letter. I was still incredibly worried about what was going to happen, but I also felt sort of calm. It was a bit strange.
I decided to go downstairs and see if Dad was home yet. I went into the living room and found both him and Mum sitting in silence on the couch. They both looked tense.
"Hey, Dad," I said as I walked into the room.
"Oh, hi, Amy," Dad replied tiredly.
"Um, how was work?" I asked tentatively.
Mum and Dad glanced at each other before Dad replied. "I've been suspended without pay."
I stared at him in shock as I sat down on a nearby chair. "What does that mean?" I asked quietly.
"Technically, I'm not fired, yet," Dad said flatly, "I won't be working for the next week, until the hearing. Hearing's a week from today. Then they'll decide if I'm fired or not."
"So, you might not get fired?"
"Oh, I'm sure I'll be fired. The Minister's got the Wizengamot in his pocket. This is just a formality."
"But we're moving anyway," I pointed out.
"I know," Dad said, "But if I'm fired here, it'll make it harder to get a job elsewhere."
Dad didn't elaborate on what else went on at work that day, but judging by his hardened expression, it wasn't anything good. I went back up to my room a short while later and read my book until I fell asleep.
Despite the fact that Dad didn't go to work the next day, I hardly saw him. He and Mum went back to their routine of spending hours at a time in Dad's study. I still had no idea what they did in there. Every once in a while one of them would come out and go up to Matt's room, but they never told me what they were doing. Matt still hadn't completely recovered from the full moon and was spending the day in bed again.
I spent the day brewing potions and thinking about everything that was going on. I couldn't believe that Dad was actually going to get fired just because Matt was a werewolf. It didn't seem fair at all.
Right before dinner, Mum and Dad finally emerged from Dad's study. Mum told me she was going to Apparate to Richard and Cinda's to tell them about what was going on. Dad and I waited silently in the living room for her to return. I got the impression that Dad didn't really feel like talking.
Mum appeared with a crack about a half hour later and she sat down on the couch next to Dad.
"What do they think?" Dad asked.
"They don't really quite understand," Mum replied, "Which makes sense since they're Muggles. But they can see why we're so stressed out."
Dad nodded, but didn't say anything.
"But they think it's awful that you might get fired over this," Mum said, "They don't see how you could get fired just because Matt's a werewolf."
"Technically, I won't be fired because of that," Dad muttered, "On the record, I'll be fired for breaking the bloody law that they passed while we were gone."
"Right," Mum sighed.
"But everyone knows the real reason is because Matt's a werewolf," Dad said.
Neither Mum nor Dad said anything after that. The two of them just stared off into space and I turned back to my book. None of us moved or talked much until we heard Matt come in a half hour later.
Both Mum and Dad looked up quickly when he came in. Then they shared one of those parental looks that drove me mad. Although I was pretty sure I knew what this one meant. They hadn't told Matt about any of this yet.
Matt walked into the room and I saw that this month he had his arm in a sling, and there was a partially healed deep gash on his forehead. He went over to Mum and climbed into her lap.
"Hi, honey, how are you?" Mum asked gently.
"Hungry," Matt replied.
"Well, that's a good sign," Mum gave him a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. "But before we eat, Dad and I have to talk to you about something."
"Okay," Matt said.
This was it. They were going to tell him about everything that had happened the past few days. I kept my eyes on my book, but I didn't actually read it. Instead I listened to everything they said.
"Remember when Dad and I told you that we can't tell anyone about what happens once a month?" Mum asked quietly. Matt nodded. "Well, some people Dad works with have always known and they had to promise never to tell anyone." Mum turned to look at Dad.
"Do you remember the man who came to the house the night we got back from New York?" Dad asked.
"No," Matt replied.
"Right," Dad said, "You were kind of asleep then. Anyway, that man kind of told everybody what happens once a month?"
Matt stared at Dad and then turned back to Mum. "But, but, you said that if people know about that, then they might not be nice to me," his voice wobbled.
Mum glanced at Dad and sighed. "Yes, I did tell you that. And, it's true. People might not be nice to you now that they know."
"But why?" Matt's voice cracked.
"It's just the way things are," Mum said and I could see tears starting to form in her eyes. "I know it's not fair."
"Why'd that man tell everyone?" Matt cried. "You said they all promised not to tell."
"Because he was mad at me," Dad answered quietly.
"When that man came to the house that night, he came to tell me about a new law that passed while we were visiting Uncle Jack. Because of that law, you were supposed to go to a special place to turn into the wolf. With other people who turn into wolves, too."
Matt's eyes got big and he stared at Dad in shock. "But I don't want to do that! I want to stay here and go to the basement. Don't make me go somewhere else!" He threw his arms around Mum and started crying into her shirt.
"We'll never make you go there," Mum soothed, "Never. You'll stay here to turn into the wolf. Don't worry."
"B-but D-Dad said I h-had to."
"I chose not to obey that law, Matt," Dad said quietly, "I couldn't make you go to that place. And I never will."
"But it's the l-law," Matt wailed, "W-won't you g-go to j-jail now?"
"No, not jail," Dad said, "I have to go to a hearing."
"Wh-what will they d-do at th-that?"
"Decide what my punishment will be," Dad replied, "But it will not be jail time. It will most likely be a fine. And I might lose my job."
Matt picked his head up and stared at Dad. "You'll g-get f-fired. B-because of m-me?"
Dad pulled Matt onto his own lap and looked him in they eye. "No. Not because of you. Never think that this is your fault. It's the Ministry's fault. They're passing laws that are outrageous. This was my decision not to follow an unjust law. None of it is your fault."
Matt nodded and continued sobbing. He buried his head in Dad's shoulder and Dad hugged him for a while. Mum rubbed Matt's back as tears streamed down her face. I watched and couldn't help but feel like I was intruding on something.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Sunday 9 November 2008 10 49 19 pm Post subject: Re: Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind in topic:Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind
Chapter 34: The Marauders' Den
Albus let out a gasp as his eyes fell upon the room in front of him. He stepped inside, gazing around in awe, and his friends followed in behind him. Albus heard someone shut the door as they stepped in.
The room was circular, just like the Gryffindor common room. The decor was similar, too, as most everything was scarlet and gold. It kind of reminded Albus of the Room of Requirement whenever Matt asked for it, only better. There was scarlet shag carpeting on the floor and scarlet curtains on the windows.
Although the room was mostly circular, there were four smaller square rooms leading off of the main room. Albus walked deeper into the room and saw that there was a four-poster bed in each of them, along with a bedside table. Each of the little rooms had a sign on it that depicted which one belonged to which Marauder.
In the main part of the room were a few couches, chairs, and tables. A few bookcases were up against the walls and housed books, parchments, old dung bombs, and various other detritus. There was even a pile of opened sweets sitting on one of the tables, giving the room the feel that the Marauders had just stepped out for class or something.
At the same time, the place looked like nobody had been in it for decades. There was a thick layer of dust coating every surface and there was a faint smell of dankness in the air. That may have been because there was a cauldron full of a foul smelling potion sitting next to the window. The tables were covered in various pieces of parchment, open books, and yellowing copies of the [i]Prophet[/i].
The Marauders had even decorated the walls. There were pictures of themselves that seemed to range from first year all the way to seventh. Posters of a few different Quidditch teams were also fixed upon the stone walls. A large banner was above the window, directly across from the door. It read, 'The Marauders' Den.'
"Blimey," Albus whispered, "This is kind of strange."
"Yeah," Matt agreed, "But brilliant at the same time."
"It almost looks as if they were expecting to come back here," Rose commented as she sifted through a pile of parchment, "Looks like they left some homework here."
"Excellent," John grinned, "Maybe some of the teachers have been assigning the same homework every year and we can copy it. I'll bet Binns uses the same assignments year after year."
"I think we'll have to clean this place up a bit," Amanda commented as she peered into the cauldron, "That potion is positively disgusting."
"Wonder if these are still good," Kaden said as he picked up a few chocolate frogs.
"I wouldn't eat those, Kaden," Rose grimaced, "They're decades old."
"This place is amazing," Albus said as he walked towards the window. He gazed out of it and saw that it looked out on the lake.
"It's like our own common room. And dormitory," John said as he walked over to the alcove labeled 'Padfoot'. "Guess this one's mine!" John flopped onto the bed and a cloud of dust flew out of it. "Oh, gross!" he coughed, "Wonder if we can get the house elves to clean this place."
"They've got enough to clean," Rose replied, "We'll just clean it ourselves. It won't be that bad. I know a few cleaning spells."
Albus wandered over to the alcove that was labeled 'Prongs' and walked into it. It was very strange, knowing that the place had belonged to his grandfather. Albus almost felt like he had gone back in time, to when his grandfather had been at Hogwarts. He glanced up at the walls and noticed a picture of a Quidditch team that was labeled 'Puddlemere United- 1975'. The whole room had pretty much frozen in time. The rest of Hogwarts changed as the years passed and new students came to the school. But this room, this room hadn't changed. It was just the same now as it had been in the 1970s. Now, it would skip an entire generation and be propelled into the twenty-first century.
"Blimey, look at this," John announced.
Albus stuck his head out into the main part of the room and saw that John had picked up a newspaper clipping. Albus and everyone else went over to John and crowded around him to read the article.
[i]ENTIRE MUGGLE FAMILY MURDERED-
SUSPECTED WORK OF YOU-KNOW-WHO
An entire Muggle family was murdered last night
at their home in the outskirts of London. Muggle
police officers have attributed the death to
carbon monoxide poisoning, but wizard investigators
have discovered the cause of death was Avada Kedavra.
Nearby Muggles reported seeing a 'strange cloud'
above the house early the next morning. Before
Obliviators modified their memories, they all said
the cloud was the shape of a skull with a snake
coming out of its mouth. This odd cloud of smoke
has appeared over the dwellings of multiple murders
during the past year. Rumors are that this is the
mark of You-Know-Who, but it has yet to be confirmed.
Employees of Magical Law Enforcement are currently
investigating the murder and the strange cloud
above the house. Anyone with information about
the murder, the cloud, You-Know-Who, or his
supposed 'Death Eater' followers should contact
Magical Law Enforcement as soon as possible.[/i]
"That is strange, to be reading that article now," Albus said quietly. From the sound of it, Voldemort was just starting to gain power when that article was written.
"I'll say," John agreed, "I'll bet there's all kinds of articles around this place about Voldemort."
"You're probably right," Albus said, "My dad said that when the Marauders were in their last year of school, they were already working to fight Voldemort."
"This is so weird," Matt commented.
"Yeah," Albus agreed.
"We should probably clean this place up a bit," Rose announced.
"But let's not throw away any of the old articles or anything," Albus said, "They might be interesting to read."
"Or the old homework," John added. "Might be useful," he muttered after Rose sent him a withering glare.
Rose spent a few minutes teaching everyone else the few cleaning spells she knew. Then they all got started on cleaning up the room. Albus found quite a few copies of the [i]Prophet[/i] and he set them aside in a box.
They left most of the pictures and posters up on the wall. It seemed wrong to take down all the pictures of the Marauders' when they were the ones who founded the room. Albus left the old picture of Puddlemere Untied up as well, since he supported that Quidditch team. To John's delight, there was a similar picture in Padfoot's section of the room. Albus was pretty sure Matt would be adding a picture of the Chudley Cannons to his alcove, since apparently Moony didn't support them based on the lack of a picture of them near his bed.
After a couple hours, the room looked new once again. All the dust, old sweets, and rubbish was gone. The cauldron had been emptied and was now sparkling. Amanda, who had somehow stumbled upon the laundry room a few months ago, had gone down and fetched a few new sets of bedding for the beds.
Once they were done cleaning, they began to make themselves at home in the Marauders' Den, as it was apparently called. Rose began to peruse the various books that were on the shelves. Kaden was rifling through the assorted pranking items that had been left behind. Amanda was looking at a pile of photographs they had found. Albus, John, and Matt were looking at all the newspapers and clippings that had been left behind.
"This is going to be an excellent place to study," Rose said as she sat down on one of the couches with a book. "It'll be quiet."
"Can't guarantee that," John grinned.
"I never really knew that Voldemort attacked this many people," Albus muttered as he leafed through a paper, "I mean, I knew he killed loads of people, but there's two or three articles about him in each paper."
"I don't think I would have wanted to live back then," Matt commented, "Seems like it would have been bloody miserable."
"Same with when my dad was a kid," Albus added. He was lucky, really, that he lived in a time when the country wasn't being ravaged by a murderous madman. I mean, Washburn and the Willinsons paled in comparison to Voldemort.
"Nothing like learning about history to make you grateful of the time you live in," Rose commented.
"Why can't Binns just have us read old articles in class?" John sighed, "It's actually interesting reading about the war like this."
"We haven't even gotten to the war in History of Magic yet," Rose pointed out.
"Yeah, well, it's more interesting than what we've been learning about."
"That's because you feel it more directly relates to your life. But we have to learn about all the history, if we want to avoid the mistakes of the past."
"But Binns could at least make it more interesting," John muttered.
"I'll give you that one."
"Do you guys think we should tell anyone about this place?" Albus asked as he set down the article he had been looking at.
John and Matt both turned to stare at him. "What? Are you mad?" John asked.
"No," Albus sighed, "I just meant, should we tell my dad about it. And Teddy." As soon as Albus had seen the room, he thought both his dad and Teddy would love to know about it and to see it. Both of their fathers had been involved in the creation of it, after all.
"I dunno," Matt shrugged, "I can sort of see your point, though."
"I still think we should keep it a secret," John said.
"I kind of agree with Albus," Rose said, "This place would be really sentimental for both Uncle Harry and Teddy. And I suppose James and Lily would like to know about it, too."
"I never said we should tell James and Lily," Albus hastened to say. "They'll both be here next year, which means they'll want to be in here all the time. Teddy and my dad would be different. They'd see it, know about it, and maybe visit every once in a while. But they wouldn't want to be here all the time."
"They couldn't get in, though, Albus," Rose pointed out, "Only the four of you can open this place."
"I know, but I still don't want James and Lily to know about it while they're at school," Albus said defensively. "Plus, James would never keep it a secret. He'd tell Ben and Cedric and Nathan."
"Not if we use that charm," Kaden suggested, "Not that I think we should tell James and Lily."
"James would never agree to that charm," Albus said.
"I still think that if we're going to tell Uncle Harry and Teddy, we should tell James and Lily," Rose said.
"I don't," Albus crossed his arms, "And it's not up to you. It's up to the four of us."
"Fine," Rose huffed.
"So," Albus turned to John and Matt, "What do the two of you think about telling my dad and Teddy?"
"I think we probably should," Matt said.
"I don't know..." John said, "I kind of like the secret. Can we at least keep it to ourselves for a while? Let's think about it over the summer and then maybe tell them next year."
Albus shrugged. His conscience was telling him that he should tell his dad and Teddy about it. He knew that knowing about the room and the new map would mean the world to both of them, but at the same time he kind of wanted to have the room to himself for a few months as well.
"That sounds like a good idea," Albus agreed. "So we'll think about telling them next year."
Albus and his friends immediately started spending their free time in the Marauders' Den as opposed to the Room of Requirement. Albus found that he felt very at home there. It provided a sense of calm, a place to go to get away from the chaos of the main part of the school. He was even able to concentrate more on his studying there than in the Room of Requirement, although that may have been due to the fact that they had solved the mystery of the map and Albus wasn't nearly as distracted as he had been.
The final dueling tournament took place on the following Sunday, a few days before the full moon. Albus's team had not made it to the finals, despite Albus and Malfoy's excellent dueling skills. Both boys had won every single duel they had been in the entire year. However, the rest of the team wasn't nearly as skilled and they did not have enough points for the finals. Rose's team was in second place and therefore was in the finals. They were up against a team that none of Albus's friends were on.
Albus could feel the excitement in the air as he walked to the dueling room after lunch. Even those who were not competing were going to the room in order to watch the final duel. The two competing teams sat with each other at the front of the room, but none of the other teams sat together. Albus didn't think that Kendrick's idea of inter-house unity had worked very well with the dueling teams.
The tournament lasted about an hour, which was much shorter than all the previous ones. Rose won one of her duels, against a third year Slytherin.
"That concludes the final dueling tournament!" Kendrick announced after the last two students had dueled. "I shall now calculate the points."
Kendrick pointed his wand at a sign that had all the team names and number of points on it. The top two teams' numbers flashed and then changed to the new numbers.
"Congratulations to Team Three, the Hungry Hungry Horntails! They are the new champions!" Kendrick shouted, "Will the team members please come forward to accept the trophy."
"Merlin," Albus muttered and clapped politely. Rose's team had not won.
"Second place is still good, though," Amanda said.
After the Hungry Hungry Horntails had accepted their trophy, Kendrick returned to his podium.
"Yes, the Hungry Hungry Horntails have proved themselves to be most excellent duelers," Kendrick smiled, "As well as an aptitude for creative names.
"I would like to thank all of you for putting up with the inter-house teams this year. I know many of you were very opposed to this at the beginning of the year."
"Many of us?" John muttered, "I think pretty much all of us. Except Rose, that is."
"I sincerely hope that you have all learned that despite our differences, we can be united. I think the inter-house teams proved successful and I hope you agree. I will be having a discussion with Professor Longbottom and Professor Potter about whether we will have inter-house teams next year.
"With that, I wish you all good luck with your exams. You'd better all go study for a while, as I have been hearing that some of your teachers have created particularly tough exams."
"He's just trying to scare us into studying," John said as they made their way out of the room.
Albus agreed, but he wasn't taking any chances. Albus was feeling very confident about his exams, though. With Washburn gone, Albus felt he would do well on all of them.
Albus and his friends quickly found Rose and congratulated her. Rose was very happy with a second place win. She didn't think her team would even get second place. Rose wasn't really a competitive person, with the exception of Wizard's Chess, so she didn't dwell on the thought of losing to the Hungry Hungry Horntails.
Over the next few weeks, Albus and his friends spent most of their free time in the Marauders' Den. They mostly goofed off, but did manage to get some studying done. Rose all but physically forced them to start studying by the time the last week in May arrived. Albus, Matt, John, and Kaden hadn't spent the night in the room yet, despite the fact that it was obviously set up for that. Albus wasn't sure what Bilius and Ethan would do if they never turned up at the dormitory one night, so they hadn't bothered. Although, Matt did spend the afternoon there sleeping the day of the May full moon, and he reported that the beds were just as comfortable as Gryffindor's beds and more comfortable than the Hospital Wing's beds.
Ever since he and his friends managed to figure out the rest of the map, Albus felt like the school year was definitely winding down. It was almost like figuring out the map signified the end of term. Albus imagined that if they hadn't figured it out, he wouldn't have wanted to go home for the summer.
The signs of the end of the year were very much apparent. The fifth and seventh years were spending all available time in the library studying for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. The seventh year Gryffindor prefects had taken over Victoire's habit of demanding silence in the common room in the evenings, making Albus very happy that they had the Marauders' Den.
On the other side of the spectrum were the students who just didn't want to do anything. Albus's cousin Stanley was the perfect example. Stanley had never been studious, but now that he would be graduating in only a couple weeks, he had no motivation whatsoever. However, his Ravenclaw girlfriend did force him to sit down and study for his N.E.W.T.s every evening. John shared Stanley's mindset. Even though John was no where near graduation, he also had no motivation to study.
"I just don't see the point, Rose," John said as he tossed a chocolate frog up into the air, "If I haven't learned it by now, I'm not going to learn it in time for exams."
"Might I remind you that you said 'I don't need to study it now. I'll just forget it by the end of term anyway. I'll just wait until May to learn it' a few months ago?" Rose sighed and shook her head.
"Exactly," John caught the frog and shoved it in his mouth, "No point in studying ever."
"Do you think anyone else knows about this place?" Albus wondered aloud as he looked up from his Astronomy book.
"I hope no one else knows about it," John replied, "Otherwise it wouldn't be our secret anymore."
"I don't mean other students," Albus said, "I mean, do you think the Marauders brought other people in here when they were in school. And those people would obviously still know about it."
"I'm sure your dad's mum knew about it," Rose commented, "Don't know about anyone else."
"I wonder why Sirius and Remus never told Dad about it," Albus mentioned.
Rose shrugged, "Maybe they would have wanted Uncle Harry to find it on his own, if he was ever going to find it. I mean, it's not like our parents told us everything about Hogwarts either."
"Guess that makes sense."
"You know what doesn't make sense?" Kaden asked loudly.
"What?" Albus asked.
"Transfiguration," Kaden muttered, "I'm going to fail the exam. Why can't it be easy like Potions?"
"I think you're the only one here who finds Potions easy, Kaden," Matt commented.
"And are you good at Transfiguration?" Kaden asked.
"Not really," Matt laughed, "The only thing I'm really good at is Astronomy."
"I'd be willing to bet that you'll be good at Care of Magical Creatures," John smirked.
"Shut up," Matt shook his head and threw a chocolate frog at John.
"Hey, thanks!" John grinned and stuffed the frog in his mouth.
"Found that one underneath that nasty old cauldron," Matt burst out laughing.
"Ew! Gross!" John jumped up and spat the frog out onto the floor. "I'll get you for that one."
"That is disgusting, John," Amanda screwed up her face and glanced at the floor.
"Yeah, clean it up," Rose agreed.
"It's his fault," John pointed at Matt.
"Is not," Matt grinned. "You ate it."
"You've known me for two years. You should realize that I'll eat anything your throw at me."
"Anything?" Matt raised his eyebrow and grinned mischievously.
"Anything that resembles food!"
"There's charms to make stuff resemble food," Matt commented.
"I'm not eating anything you give me anymore," John replied.
"We'll see how long that lasts."
"Will you both shut it and do your homework?" Rose shouted, "You're giving me a headache."
"You could always go to the common room," John pointed out, "I hear that the prefects have made it a mandatory quiet zone until exams are over."
"Just wait until I'm a prefect," Rose muttered, "It'll be quiet all year."
"No it won't, cause I'll be a prefect with you," John grinned.
"Yeah, right," Rose laughed, "Albus is going to be a prefect."
Albus looked up from his reading. "Er, I'm not sure I want to be a prefect."
"Then Matt can be a prefect," Rose said, "If he is, then you'll be even more like the Marauders."
"Teddy's dad was a prefect?" Matt asked.
"Yeah," Rose answered, "I'd bet on either you or Albus for prefect. Or perhaps Bilius or Ethan."
"What about me?" John put on a look of fake sadness, "That hurts, Rose, it does."
"You?" Rose smirked, "The boy who never does his homework?"
"I'll do it, I'll do it," John muttered and picked up his quill.
Albus laughed to himself and continued his Astronomy homework. He hadn't really thought about who was going to be a prefect. Albus wasn't entirely sure he wanted to be a prefect, even if Kendrick picked him. Prefects had an awful lot of responsibility. Responsibility that Albus wasn't sure he wanted. But prefect decisions were still over two years away. Albus pushed the thought of prefects out of his head and concentrated on his studying.
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Wednesday 17 September 2008 03 45 35 pm Post subject: Re: Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind in topic:Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind
Thanks, Obladi and Fawkes! And yes, Fawkes, it is a bit familiar.
Questions, comments, and general reviews always appreciated!
Chapter 21: Cloak and Map
On Christmas Eve the Potters went to Godric's Hollow, like usual. It was completely dark by the time they Apparated to the Burrow, but there was plenty of light streaming out of the tall house's windows. As they walked closer to the place, Albus could hear the roars of laughter coming from inside.
"Harry!" the door to the Burrow flew open and George stood in the doorway to greet them, a mug of eggnog in his hand. "How are ya, mate?"
"I'm great, George. I see you're already drunk," Harry grinned at him.
"A drunkness only Mum's eggnog can bring," George went back into the house and Albus and his family followed.
Albus smiled to himself as he saw the usual chaos that is Christmas Eve at his grandparents' house. His sea of redheaded cousins were milling around eating and laughing with each other. This was what Albus loved about Christmas at the Burrow. He grabbed a couple biscuits from the nearby table and went to find Rose. She was sitting on the floor near the fireplace with Hugo, Victoire, and Teddy.
"Albus!" she shouted over the noise, "Over here!"
Albus pushed his way past Georgia and Gabriella who were laughing at something Fred was saying. "Hi Rose! What's been going on?"
"Not much. Uncle George, Uncle Bill, and Uncle Charlie are drunk. My dad's on his way and so is Aunt Alicia."
"Wouldn't be Christmas Eve if they weren't," Albus laughed.
"Gran's been refilling the biscuit platters and talking with my mum and Aunt Fleur. I think she's about to put on Celestina Warbeck," Rose gestured to the nearby wireless that Molly, Hermione, and Fleur were looking at. Fleur threw her hands up in the air and glared at Molly. "Yup, here comes Celestina."
"Mum hates her," Victoire shook her head, "She'll be heading for the eggnog now."
Sure enough, Fleur poured herself a large mug of eggnog as Molly settled down to listen to the wireless. She was the only one listening, though. Albus could hear bits and pieces of a heated Quidditch discussion going on between his Uncle Charlie, Uncle George, Aunt Alicia, and Heather. Harry was making his way over to them now. It amazed Albus that his uncles and aunt could carry on a fully understandable Quidditch discussion while drunk.
"How long are you staying, Victoire?" Albus asked.
"Just until after Christmas. I've got to get back to St. Mungo's in a couple days. But I've been here since yesterday when Amy left for Australia. I didn't want to be alone in the apartment, it would've gotten awfully boring."
"You wouldn't have had to be alone," Teddy winked, "And it wouldn't have been boring."
Victoire playfully slapped him. "Teddy! Don't let Mum hear you say that."
"Oh, Albus," Rose began, "Both John and Amanda can come to my house on the 28th. Well, they can only come over for the day, but that should be enough time. Matt's still not sure. He said he won't know until after he gets back from Australia."
"Ok. Great, we can play Quidditch!"
"Quidditch?" Hugo snapped his head away from his chocolate frog cards, "Can I play?"
"Sure," Albus replied.
"The 28th?" Teddy commented, "I'll come over, too. I don't have to be back at the Ministry until the 29th. I'm up for some Quidditch."
"Excellent," Albus grinned, "We can get a real game going. I'll just tell my dad I'm going home with you." Albus looked around the room and saw Harry in the midst of a Quidditch discussion. "Hey, Dad!"
"What is it, Al?" Harry got up and squeezed his way through the crowd over to Albus.
"It's all right if I go to Rose's house on the 28th, right? And stay a couple days?"
"That would be fine," Harry said, "But we're actually going to Dudley's house for New Year's Eve, so we'll come get you on the 31st before we leave."
"We're going to Dudley's?" Albus stared at his dad.
"Er, yeah," Harry gave Albus a half smile, "Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon will be there as well...."
"Dudley thought it would be a good idea, considering that Kaden is a wizard," Harry explained.
"All right," Albus shrugged. He didn't really want to see Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, but he didn't really have a choice.
"I'm sure they'll be...civilized, at least," Harry gave Albus a hug before leaving to rejoin his Quidditch discussion.
"Well, at least I can come over for a few days," Albus said.
"Yeah, but you've got to go see the Dursleys," Teddy screwed up his face in disgust.
"It's definitely going to be an interesting day," Albus replied.
"I'm sure it'll be fine," Rose assured him. "Plus, Kaden will be there."
"That'll make it even more interesting," Albus grinned.
"You know, he'd fit right in with this lot," Rose gestured to the loud and boisterous Weasley family around them. "Except without the red hair."
"Hey, I haven't got red hair!"
"Neither do I," Victoire agreed.
"I do," Teddy laughed as he changed his hair from its usual blue to red.
"You're not technically a Weasley," Rose commented.
"Close enough. And anyway, who knows what'll happen in the next few years," Teddy winked at Victoire, who giggled. Teddy threw his arms around Victoire and kissed her.
"Better not let Gran see you doing that," Rose warned.
"Always a stickler for the rules, huh Rosie?" Teddy laughed and lengthened his hair until it was the perfect replica of Rose's.
"Don't do that!" Rose groaned, "And I do break rules. Just ask Albus."
Teddy shortened his hair again and turned to Albus. "Really?"
"She does," Albus confirmed, "Quite a few times, actually."
"This I've got to hear."
"Maybe another time," Albus glanced at Rose. Albus hadn't really decided whether or not to tell Teddy about the new map. Most of Rose's and Albus's most recent rule breaking was done in order to decipher it. Albus knew he wasn't going to tell his cousins about it, but he wasn't sure about Teddy and James. One part of him thought they deserved to know, considering that their father and grandfather were both Marauders, but on the other hand he kind of liked keeping it a secret.
"Aw, come on, tell me."
"Another time," Rose said adamantly.
"Oh, fine," Teddy huffed, "But I will find out."
Albus spent the rest of the evening talking and playing games with Rose, Teddy, and Victoire. He was really enjoying the time off from school and getting to spend time with his entire family at once. By the time he climbed up to the attic bedroom that he shared with James and a few of their cousins, he was tired and stuffed from all the biscuits.
"James! Albus!" Albus snapped his eyes open at the sound of his name the next morning. He immediately recognized the voice as belonging to Lily. He heard her footsteps bounding into the room. "Albus, James! It's Christmas! Wake up!"
"Hi Lily," Albus yawned.
"Good, you're up! James! Get up!"
"I'm up, I'm up!" James mumbled.
"We've got presents, James!" Lily grinned.
"Right!" James said excitedly and Albus heard him crawling to the end of the top bunk to his pile of presents.
"I'm going to open mine!" Lily shouted as she ran out of the room.
After Lily's early wake-up call, everyone in Albus's room was up. Albus settled down to open his own pile of presents with the other boys. The first few boxes were filled with sweets and various Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products. The next was this year's Weasley jumper. It had a red quaffle stitched onto the front with a navy blue background. "Opened your jumper yet, James?"
"Sure did," James replied, "Red with a green dragon on it."
"Mine's blue with a red quaffle."
Albus opened the next few presents, which consisted of numerous books and other clothing items. He also got a Broomstick Servicing Kit, which would be useful since his Firebolt 2000 had a few twigs that needed to be plucked. Albus saved the present from his parents for last and was about to open it when James gave an excited shout from the bed above.
"What is it?" Cedric asked and jumped off his bed. Ben followed and the two of them ran over to James's bed.
Albus crawled out of his bed and joined his cousins. "What?" he asked.
James had a huge grin on his face as he held up a blank piece of parchment. "Look what I got."
Albus stared at the parchment. "You're kidding! Dad gave you the Marauder's Map?"
"He sure did!" James shouted.
"This is perfect!" Cedric exclaimed.
"I can't believe he gave it to you," Ben grinned.
"That's great, James," Albus smiled, "But why you and not me?" Albus couldn't help but feel a little left out, even though he now had his own Marauder's Map that would potentially be better than the original. But his dad didn't know about that, so why did he give the Map to James?
"Dunno," James shrugged. "What did they get you?"
"Haven't opened it yet." Albus picked up the package from his parents and tore off the wrapping.
What he saw made his mouth fall open in shock. This would explain why James got the Map! Sitting in the middle of the torn wrapping, was the Invisibility Cloak. "He, he gave me the Cloak," Albus whispered.
"Well, that's why you didn't get the map," James replied, "This is brilliant!"
"Yeah," Albus agreed, pulling the cloak out of the wrapping. He laughed to himself as he thought of how he and Rose went through all that trouble of stealing it earlier in the month and now he got it for Christmas. "Guess this is why Dad wanted the Map back."
James laughed, "We gave it back only for him to give it to me. I think we ought to share them."
"That's a good idea," Albus agreed, not mentioning that hopefully he would have his own map working soon.
"And share them with us, too," Cedric gestured to himself and Ben.
"Of course we will," James assured them. "We just have to be sneaky about it. We can't let all of Hogwarts know we've got these."
"I'm going to go tell Rose," Albus wrapped the Cloak around himself and left the room. He had never worn the Cloak at the Burrow before and he thought it was really funny that he passed Eddie on the stairs and Eddie didn't even notice him. He pushed open the door to the room that Rose shared with Victoire, Georgia, Gabriella, and Heather and waited for the girls' reactions.
Heather jumped when she heard the door open and saw that no one was there. Victoire and Gabriella laughed and then shrugged. Rose got up from her bed and walked cautiously over to the door.
"Boo," Albus pulled the Cloak off and grinned.
All five girls shrieked as they saw Albus emerge from the Cloak, then they all started laughing. "Where did you get that?" Rose demanded.
"Dad gave it to me!"
"He did?" Victoire stared in amazement. "Wow, that is really great."
"I just can't believe he gave you that," Rose grinned, "I'll bet James is jealous."
"He got the Marauder's Map, so he's fine."
"Wow!" Rose shouted, "That's incredible. And you can share them."
"That's the plan," Albus grinned. "Well, I'll see you lot downstairs." He wrapped the Cloak around himself once more and left the room. Albus couldn't believe that his dad had actually given him the Cloak! He didn't think Harry would ever give it up. The best part was, was that he was now even more like his grandfather had been at Hogwarts. Albus was even more of a Marauder now that he had the Cloak.
Albus continued down the stairs and into the kitchen of the Burrow. A few of his cousins, aunts, and uncles were already up and starting to eat breakfast. Harry and Ginny were there as well, along with Lily. His grandmother was tending to multiple cauldrons at once, while simultaneously bringing various items to the table. Albus watched them all for a few moments before pulling the Cloak off and shouting, "Happy Christmas!"
Bill choked on his coffee and spat it across the table at George, who had started laughing. Harry, who had probably been expecting this, grinned and looked at Ginny, who was smiling back. Lily was staring at Albus with her mouth wide open. Molly dropped the bowl of oatmeal she had been bringing to the table. Everyone else looked at Albus with various looks of shock and amusement.
"Albus!" Molly shrieked as she cleaned up the spilled oatmeal with a wave of her wand, "Don't do that!"
"You gave him the Cloak?" George asked.
"Yep," Harry replied, "I take it you're enjoying it, Al?"
"Sure am!" Albus went over to where his parents were sitting and gave them each a huge hug, "Thanks!"
"You're welcome," Harry smiled, "I figured you should be able to enjoy it while you're at Hogwarts, like I did. Although I expect you to use it more responsibly than I did."
"I'll try," Albus said, thinking of when he snuck down to the Whomping Willow with it only two weeks ago. "James and I are going to share it. Same with the Map."
"Wait, you got the Marauder's Map, too?" George stared at Harry.
"No, James got that."
"I didn't think you'd ever give that away," George laughed.
"Well, I can wander the castle whenever I want and it won't matter who's around," Harry explained, "The boys can't. Plus, I didn't want to deny them the fun of it."
"Are you sure that's safe, Harry?" Molly asked anxiously.
"The castle is perfectly safe, even at night. I'm not saying I approve of you wandering around at night," Harry gave Albus a stern gaze, "But there are more enchantments than ever protecting it."
"That won't protect them from wizards already in the castle!" Molly commented, "Remember that Willinson kid last year?"
"How could I forget? Sometimes, you just have to take risks in order to live a little. I trust the boys enough to know they won't go wandering around late at night very often. And if you see anything suspicious on the Map," Harry turned to Albus, "Tell me about it right away."
Albus nodded. "Sure." He took a seat at the table, with the Cloak on his lap, just as James ran into the room holding the Map in his hands.
"Thanks, Dad!" James shouted, "This is brilliant!"
"I'll tell you what I told Al. Don't use that to break too many rules and if you see anything abnormal on it, tell me right away."
"Hello, Weasleys!" Teddy strolled into the room, his hair half green and half red. He sat down next to Albus and pulled a platter of eggs towards him. "Happy Christmas."
"I know your hair is Christmas colored, but those two colors just shouldn't be paired together," James shuddered as he noticed Teddy's hair. "I mean, Gryffindor and Slytherin at the same time?"
"It's festive," Teddy grinned. "You want me to charm yours to be red and green, too? Just learned some excellent charms for that sort of thing in training. Not that I'll need them."
"No thanks," James had a look of disgust on his face. "I'll keep the plain red."
"Is that..." Teddy looked at the parchment James was holding, "The Marauder's Map?"
"Oh, yeah! Sure is!" James handed it to Teddy, "Got it for Christmas!"
"That's great!" Teddy grinned. "What did you get Albus? Don't think Harry could top that."
"I got the Cloak."
Teddy turned to Albus, "Really? That's great, too! Wish I had an Invisibility Cloak."
"But you can cast those Disillusionment charms," Albus pointed out.
"Not nearly as fun as that Cloak, though," Teddy commented.
"Oh, boys," Harry began, "You're going to have to share those with Lily once she gets to Hogwarts."
"Aw, come on," James groaned.
"If you don't I'll just steal them," Lily smirked, "And hide them in my dormitory, which you two won't be able to get into."
"She's got a point," Ginny grinned.
"We'll share," Albus assured them. He wouldn't mind sharing with Lily, just as long as she kept the Cloak secret. The last thing they needed was the entire castle knowing about it.
"Good," Harry smiled, "Now who's up for a little winter Quidditch?"
"Me!" Albus, James, Teddy, and mostly everyone else shouted at the same time.
Albus spent most of the day playing Quidditch outside with his family. Eventually they all had to come in because they were too cold to play any longer. Plus, it started snowing pretty hard and nobody wanted to lose the Snitch. Albus spent the rest of the day with Rose and reading a few of his new books. The Cloak was passed around between his cousins, and most of them were amazed Harry had given it to him, and a little jealous as well. James passed the Map around and everyone had fun watching the few dots that were left in the castle.
Christmas dinner came and went in its usual chaotic state. It was loud and funny and Albus enjoyed every minute of it. He went to bed feeling very full and very content. The next day Albus's aunts, uncles, and cousins all started to leave. Albus and Rose's families stayed for a couple more days, but they soon had to leave so Albus's grandparents could go on holiday for New Year's. Albus was actually excited to leave because he would be going to Rose's house and hopefully getting the stag print.
Albus landed in Rose's living room after Flooing from the Burrow. His Uncle Ron, Rose, and Hugo had already arrived and his Aunt Hermione was right behind him. There was an owl waiting next to the window and Hermione ran over to let it in.
"That's Matt's owl," Albus announced as he and Rose went over to retrieve the letter. Albus opened the envelope and scanned the letter, "He can come, but only for tomorrow. We're supposed to meet him at the Leaky Cauldron at eleven."
"Sure," Hermione smiled, "Tell him that will work."
Albus found a quill and quickly scribbled a response on the back of the letter and sent it off with the owl. He and Rose ran up the stairs and into Rose's room to talk about plans for getting the print.
"I hope you've got some ideas," Albus said as he shut Rose's door.
"Of course I do," Rose grinned. "We'll tell my parents that we're going to go exploring in the forest and we'll look for a stag while we're in there. Once we find one, we'll all try and stun it-"
"What about the underage magic laws?" Albus definitely didn't want someone from the Ministry showing up shortly after they stunned a stag. The last thing he wanted to do was explain why he had done it.
Rose laughed, "Haven't you figured it out yet? They can't tell who's done the magic, only that magic's been done. The Ministry has no way to tell if it was us or my parents who performed the magic."
Albus hadn't thought of that. All last summer he could have done magic and the Ministry wouldn't have found out. "Really?"
"Yes, really. The Ministry just relies on parents to not let their kids use magic outside school. So I wouldn't suggest doing it a lot. I'm sure we'd get in big trouble with our parents. I wouldn't even be suggesting we do this if there was another way to get the print."
Albus nodded. He didn't really want to break the law either, but what could they do? There was no way to get a stag print if the stag wasn't stunned. "I just hope we actually find one tomorrow."
"Me, too. But we do have a couple days. You'll be here until the 31st, so that's 4 days to get it."
"Yeah, but John and Matt want to help, too."
"I know and we'll try. Hey, I'll bet Amanda's gotten the dog print by now!"
"Oh, yeah!" Albus said excitedly, "So we're pretty much halfway there."
"Yup," Rose grinned.
"Now we've just got to find the charm to keep Kaden quiet," Albus replied.
"You're going to tell him everything after I find that charm?" Rose asked.
"I think so. I mean, as long as the charm works he can't tell anyone about it. It's obvious now that he's Wormtail, although I'm sure he'll be a better one. But it's up to Matt whether he wants to tell Kaden he's a werewolf."
"Isn't it kind of necessary for this?"
"Probably, but I can't exactly tell Kaden that."
"Yeah, you definitely can't," Rose agreed.
"Let's just try and get the stag print first," Albus suggested, "Then we'll figure out the Kaden thing."
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Wednesday 20 August 2008 11 02 06 pm Post subject: Re: Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind in topic:Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind
Last chapter before I go to school! Not sure when I'll next update, but I'll try to do it soon.
Comments, questions, and general reviews are always appreciated!
Chapter 17: Animagi
When Albus woke up the next morning, he found that he was overcome with nerves about stealing his father's Invisibility Cloak. Albus had been so caught up in the excitement about the map the night before that he hadn't really given it a second thought. But now that the idea had simmered overnight, he realized that the plan might go horribly wrong. What had he been thinking? Stealing the Invisibility Cloak? That was exactly what Washburn had been trying to do the previous year. Of course, Albus was technically only borrowing the Cloak, as he intended to sneak it back right after he was done with his late night stroll to the Shrieking Shack, but still. What if his dad discovered it missing? Was that even likely? Albus had no idea how often Harry used his cloak nowadays. He probably didn't have much use for it at Hogwarts because teachers could roam around wherever and whenever they wanted. Albus didn't even know where his father kept the cloak. He was planning on just trying a summoning charm as James had done to retrieve the Marauder's Map. Albus just hoped that the cloak attempt would go just as smoothly. Harry still hadn't noticed that the Map was missing. Either that or he knew James took it and was just letting him keep it. As Albus's thoughts went to the original Marauder's Map, he remembered that he still hadn't given it back to James.
Albus remained distracted throughout his morning classes and by the time lunch came, he was almost as nervous as he had been for the first Quidditch match. Nobody said much as Albus picked at his food, well nobody except Kaden. Kaden rambled on about his morning classes until he had to leave for Potions a short while later. Once he was gone, Albus was free to talk about their plan. "I'm not sure if this is going to work."
"It worked for the Marauder's Map," Rose reminded him.
"I know, but still...."
"It's got to work," John insisted, "How else will we sneak down to," he lowered his voice, "you know, without being caught?"
"There isn't any other way," Matt replied, "We'll get caught if we don't have the cloak."
"We might get caught when we're trying to steal it," Albus commented.
"No we won't," John assured him, "And even if we do, we'll just be caught by your dad. It's not like we'll get in trouble with Filch or anything."
"But we'll get caught by Filch if we try to sneak out at night without the cloak," Matt whispered.
"Right," John agreed, "So we're off to steal the cloak."
Albus groaned, "Doesn't anyone else think this might not work?"
"Trust me, Albus," Rose said, "It'll work. We'll sneak the cloak back before Uncle Harry even knows it's gone."
"He's leaving now," Amanda pointed to the staff table, "We'll just wait a couple more minutes."
"I don't think we should all go," Rose announced, "It'll look suspicious if we all go into his office. I think just me and Albus should go."
"Good idea," Matt agreed, "No one will think anything of it if the two of you go into his office."
Albus nodded. That was probably the best way to do it. If all five of them went, chances are they would make enough noise to attract another teacher. Albus was relieved that Rose was going to go, though. She was much better at summoning charms than Albus was.
"We'll wait for you in the Room," Matt stood up. John and Amanda followed suit. "See you in a bit."
"Bye," Rose grinned at them. She and Albus loitered a few minutes longer at the Gryffindor table before Rose gestured that it was time to go.
Albus and Rose had lingered long enough at the table that the corridors were practically empty, save for a few straggling students who were much more intent on making it to class than giving Albus and Rose a second glance. They quietly made their way to Harry's office, narrowly avoiding Peeves near Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Judging from the loud cries that were emitted from the bathroom, Peeves had just finished making fun of poor Myrtle.
The corridor that Harry's office was in was entirely deserted when Albus and Rose descended upon it. Albus was very happy about this. Maybe they would get away with it. Albus tried to open the door, but it was locked. "Merlin!" he shouted and looked at Rose.
Rose didn't look in phased in the least. "Just use Alohamora."
Albus looked at her skeptically. Why would Harry bother to lock his door with a charm that anyone could open?
"Just do it," Rose insisted, "He's got a charm on there that recognizes his magical signature. Yours will be close enough to his that it'll open for you, too. It worked with James last year. It won't work with me, though. I tried. James thought it was incredibly funny.
"All right," Albus replied and pointed his wand at the lock. "Alohomora." The lock clicked and Albus turned the handle. It opened. The cousins quietly crept inside, carefully shutting the door behind them.
Harry's office looked much like it had the last time Albus had been in it. Parchment, books, and other miscellaneous objects were strewn around all over the place, cluttering up the desk, couch, and chair. The bedroom door had been left open and Albus could see that that room was just as messy, with robes laying on the bed and copies of the Prophet on the floor.
"Does he ever clean up?" Rose asked disgustedly, "I mean, really. This is worse than James's room."
"James gets it from Dad," Albus laughed, "Mum makes both of them clean up but Mum's not here, so Dad can just do what he wants."
"I'll bet it's somewhere in there," Albus pointed to the bedroom and started walking towards it. Rose followed and soon they were in the tiny bedroom. Albus guessed that the cloak was either in Harry's trunk or the wardrobe.
Rose must have been thinking the same thing. She wrenched the trunk open and pointed her wand at it. "Accio Invisibility Cloak," she shouted. Nothing happened.
"Great," Albus groaned, "It's not here."
"Wait," Rose said as she crept closer to Harry's trunk, "I'm pretty sure Uncle Harry mentioned that you can't use a summoning charm on the cloak."
Albus thought for a moment and then remembered his dad telling him that once. "Oh, yeah. Well, now what are we going to do?"
"We'll do it the hard way," Rose sighed, "You take the wardrobe, I'll take the trunk."
Albus shook his head as he stepped over to his dad's wardrobe. This was going to take forever. They would certainly get caught before they found it. Albus carefully weeded through his dad's stuff, being careful to put it all back exactly as he found it.
"Got it!" Rose announced, "Bottom of the trunk!"
Albus felt an immense relief as Rose held up the cloak. They did it! They actually found the cloak! Nothing was stopping them now. They were going to find out the secrets of the second map.
"There. Told you we'd get it," Rose grinned, "Now let's get out of here."
Albus nodded, happy to do as Rose said. He certainly didn't want to get caught in his dad's office with the Invisibility Cloak. Rose handed him the cloak and he stuffed it into his robes. Once Albus and Rose were certain that the room looked just as it had when they got there, they quietly left. Neither of them said a word as they walked quickly to the Room of Requirement.
Relief washed over Albus like waves over sand when he made it into the Room a few minutes later. They hadn't been caught! Albus's heart still beat fast with adrenaline as he ran into the Room and grinned at his friends. The thrill of what he and Rose had done was starting to hit him. He had taken the Invisibility Cloak. It was the first Marauder-like thing he had done. He knew this was exactly what the Marauders had wanted him to do. To break rules and not get caught.
"Did you get it?" John ran over with a glimmer of excitement in his eyes. Matt and Amanda were right behind him sporting identical grins on their faces.
"Sure did," Albus smiled and pulled the silvery cloak out of his robes.
"It was incredibly easy," Rose laughed. "I found it right in Uncle Harry's trunk."
"Can I hold it?" Matt asked in awe. Albus handed him the cloak. "This is incredible," Matt whispered. "I'm holding one of the Hallows. I wish I could tell my dad about this."
"You'll be able to eventually. My dad just wants to get to know him first."
Matt put the cloak on and disappeared from view. He reappeared a few seconds later. "That is so cool."
"Let me try," John took the cloak and wrapped it around himself. They spent the next few minutes passing the cloak around and trying it on.
"You three ought to see if you fit," Rose announced.
Albus nodded and took the cloak back from Amanda. John and Matt stood next to him as he threw the cloak over their heads. Albus had been under the cloak with James, Lily, and his cousins before, so he was used to how cramped it was, but his friends weren't.
"Watch it," John snapped as Matt stepped on his foot.
"Sorry," Matt muttered. "This is going to be difficult."
"Can you see us?" Albus asked.
"Nope," Rose said, "Walk around the room a few times."
The boys walked slowly around the room, making sure not to expose any of their limbs. John and Matt started to get the hang of it after a few minutes of practice and they were soon able to go a little faster.
"Perfect," Amanda announced after the fourth time they circled the room. "I'm still amazed by that cloak."
"What night should we do this?" John asked after they took the cloak off.
"I say Saturday because I've got Quidditch practice that morning and I'm going to have to get some sleep Friday night or Georgia will spend the whole time yelling at me to wake up," Albus explained, "That good with you two?"
"Sure," John agreed. Matt nodded.
"Then we're set," Albus replied, "Saturday night, we sneak into the Shrieking Shack."
"You're turning into quite the trouble maker, Albus," Rose laughed, "The Marauders would be proud."
The next day Rose decided to start her research on the transference charm. Albus and the others went with her and it didn't take long to find the right book. Rose found it in a copy of Advanced Charms and after she read a bit about the charm she decided that it was going to be difficult but not impossible for her to do. She decided to master that charm before trying to find the charm to keep Kaden quiet. That one was going to be harder to find since they didn't even know the name of it. Rose checked out the Advanced Charms book under the menacing glare of Madam Pince. It looked to Albus like she was just burning to demand what they were up to and deny them the book. But, she couldn't since the book wasn't in the Restricted Section.
Rose spent the next few days trying to figure the charm out. There wasn't much Albus could do to help her, so he just did his homework and watched her. Albus thought the charm looked incredibly complicated and he was glad that Rose had volunteered to learn it. Rose was having a bit of difficulty mastering the charm, though. By the time Saturday night rolled around, she still hadn't managed to reproduce much of anything. Albus kept reassuring her that she would eventually get it. The charm was well beyond the O.W.L. level and it stood to reason that it would be hard for her. This did not suit Rose well and she was quite frustrated by it. If there was one thing that drove Rose mad, it was having trouble learning something.
"Why don't you take a break?" Albus suggested while they were in the common room on Saturday night. "You've been at it for days."
"Maybe you're right," Rose sighed. She had been trying for the past hour to reproduce her name onto another piece of parchment. "I'll just relax for a while." She pulled out her Transfiguration book and opened it to one of the later chapters.
"I don't know how you can consider that relaxing," John screwed up his face in disgust.
"What are you doing anyway?" Kaden asked loudly, looking up from his Herbology essay.
"Extra credit charms homework," Rose lied.
"Oh," Kaden looked vaguely shocked that Rose would need extra credit.
"I'm doing it for the fun of it," Rose explained.
"You'll get it eventually," Kaden told her, "You're smart."
"Thanks, Kaden," Rose smiled at him.
Albus had no doubt that Rose would figure the charm out eventually. It was just taking her longer than she expected. Albus was in no rush because the charm would be useless until they got all the paw prints they needed. That wouldn't happen until after Christmas. John hadn't managed to find a rat in Potions on Friday, but he was keeping his eyes peeled.
The group stayed in the common room for another couple hours, waiting until it was completely empty. Albus thought Kaden would never go to bed, but shortly after eleven he finally gave in to his fatigue and went up to his dormitory. Eventually, Albus and his friends were the only ones left.
"Ready?" Albus asked. John and Matt nodded. Albus rummaged in his bag and pulled out the cloak. "I've got the parchment in my robe. I think we're set."
"Let's do it," John stood up.
"Good luck," Amanda said as the three boys pulled the cloak around themselves. "We'll be waiting."
"See you in a bit," Rose told them as she held the portrait open for them to leave. "Don't get caught."
"We won't," Albus assured her. "I've got the Map." Albus wasn't nearly as nervous about sneaking out of the castle as he had been about stealing the cloak. And clearly he was breaking more rules this evening than he had the other day. He figured it had something to do with the fact that stealing the cloak was something his father would be disappointed in, whereas sneaking out would just get him in trouble with another teacher.
Whatever the reason, Albus felt almost excited about this evening. The only time he had really snuck out after curfew was when he had his first Occlumency dream the previous year. Tonight's escapade was a much better circumstance. Besides, Albus was a bit excited about following the tunnel to the Whomping Willow and seeing the inside of the Shrieking Shack. He felt kind of guilty about this because he knew Matt didn't want them to and was only agreeing to this for the sake of the new map.
Albus motioned for them to stop before they started down the stairs. He took out the Map and scanned it for a couple minutes. Filch was currently striding along the third floor corridor. They would have to be careful about that. They could easily run right into him. Peeves was flitting around a classroom on the fourth floor, no doubt wreaking havoc for one of the teachers to fix in the morning. Luckily, all of the teachers were in their offices. All they had to worry about were Filch and Peeves. Albus wondered when Filch slept. It seemed that he was always patrolling the corridors.
Albus, John, and Matt continued their cautious trek down to the Entrance Hall, with Albus glancing at the Map every few minutes. The boys made it down to the third floor corridor without trouble, but Albus immediately noticed Filch creeping along the corridor, muttering about insolent children. Albus gave his friends a worried look as they quietly moved towards the nearest stair case. Albus held his breath as Filch passed them. Filch continued on his way without even noticing the three invisible boys. Albus was very happy when they made it onto the second floor and even happier when they got to the front doors and found that Filch left them unlocked. That was the one thing that could have gone wrong with their plan. Rose had tried to teach him a few more complex unlocking spells but he wasn't very good at them and was hoping he wouldn't need to use them.
"Made it!" John let out a huge breath once the castle doors were shut.
"Not quite," Matt replied.
"Yeah, but at least we can talk now. I wish this cloak would cover up noise, too. Reckon we can take the cloak off?"
"No," Albus answered immediately. "What if one of the teachers is looking out the window? Or if Hagrid is wandering around?" Albus loved Hagrid, but he wouldn't want to have to explain why he was sneaking down to the Whomping Willow in the dead of night if the lovable half-giant caught them.
The three boys continued along the path that lead them through the grounds. There was about six inches of snow on the ground and the air was bitingly cold. Albus was glad he remembered his cloak, but was still a bit chilly. He continued to check the Map every couple of minutes, but so far the grounds were deserted. Albus had hoped they would be able to walk faster once they were on the grounds, but he had been wrong. It was still awkward for the three of them to stay concealed under the cloak and it was even harder now because Matt was slowing down. "Are you all right?" Albus asked after the cloak almost slipped off of him.
"Fine," he panted. "Just the moon. Let's keep going."
Albus looked from his friend's tired face to the sky. The almost full moon was shining down on the ground, illuminating it enough that Albus hadn't bothered to light his wand. "We should have done this earlier in the week," Albus commented, remembering the disastrous detention with Filch the other month.
"No, I'm fine," Matt assured him, "It won't be full until Tuesday."
Albus looked at him skeptically but didn't say anything else. He and John slowed down their pace to match Matt's, although Albus thought it would be better for them to speed up in order to reach the tree faster. Eventually, they reached the Whomping Willow. The three boys paused just beyond the reach of the branches and Albus and John looked to Matt for instructions.
"We're not going to be able to get into the hole wearing the cloak," Matt explained. Albus nodded and took it off, stuffing it into his robes. "All right," Matt continued, pulling out his wand. "I'll just disable the wards." He muttered something quietly and pointed his wand at the tree. Albus strained to listen to the spell but he couldn't hear it.
"Now what?" John asked, jumping out of the way of one of the branches.
Matt walked around to the other side of the tree with Albus and John following. Matt bent over, searched through the snow, and picked up a long stick, stumbling and shivering a little as he stood up. He pressed his hand to his head, wincing a little. "Headache," he answered to Albus and John's questioning stares. He dodged one of the tree's branches and stuck the long stick into the tree's trunks. The branches immediately froze and the Whomping Willow looked just as tame as any of the other trees on the grounds. "Quick, before they start again," Matt stumbled towards the tree and disappeared down the passageway.
Albus, who had already been in the tunnel once, gestured for John to go first. Albus followed his friends and made it into the hole just as the branches started flailing again. Albus and John lit their wands and looked around the cramped tunnel while Matt put the wards back up.
"Let's go," Matt announced once he was done.
"This is honestly pretty cool," John said in awe as they started down the passageway, "Kinda spooky, but cool." Matt sent him a dirty look. "I mean, besides the whole werewolf thing," John replied quickly.
Albus could see what John meant. It was kind of a neat tunnel, although very dark and sort of damp. The good thing was that it was slightly warmer than outside. The ceiling was low and Albus had to crouch down a little in order to walk. There were rocks and roots along the path, but the whole atmosphere was quite exciting. Albus loved wandering through secret passageways and this one wasn't any different. He was excited about finally being able to follow it. His dad had told him about this tunnel and the Shrieking Shack numerous times, but always said no when Albus asked if he could go explore it. Now he was finally getting to do it. Granted, he was breaking about a dozen school rules to do it, but it was worth it.
They followed the tunnel for what felt like at least a half hour. The thrill of it was beginning to wear off as Albus got colder. The month of December was not a convenient time to be doing this. By the time they reached the Shrieking Shack, Albus was ready to crawl into his warm four-poster bed and go to sleep. John's excitement had waned as well and he was looking disgruntled from the long, chilly walk. Matt, despite the fact that they were no longer being pelted by the moonlight, didn't look much better than he had earlier. He looked incredibly exhausted and was breathing as heavily as if he'd just run a marathon.
"How do you possibly make it here before the full moon?" John asked, out of breath. "You're practically falling asleep by the time you go down here."
"I'm...not really...sure," Matt replied in between breaths, "Madam Pomfrey...helps."
"Well, next time I can't sleep I'll just walk up and down this a few times," John joked.
"In. Here," Matt panted as he opened an old looking door that creaked as he opened it. Albus and John quietly followed him through it, into a very decrepit looking room.
Albus was shocked at what he saw. Broken furniture lay everywhere, a lot of it covered in dried blood. There wasn't anything that remained unbroken. Pieces of tables, chairs, and couches were all over the place with bite marks on them. There was a staircase nearby that looked like it had been gnawed on numerous times. Albus swallowed as he realized that his friend was the one who caused all the damage.
"What did all this?" John asked slowly.
Matt glared at him. "Use your brain," he snapped.
John looked from him to the broken furniture and back again. "Oh," he said quietly, "sorry."
"It's all right," Matt sighed and sat down on the floor near the fireplace. He leaned his head against the wall. "See why I didn't really want you to come here?"
"Yeah," Albus and John nodded.
"It's one thing for you to know what I am," Matt continued, "But another to see what I actually do, what I could do..." his voice trailed off.
Albus knew what he wanted to say, but couldn't. What he could do if he wasn't in the Shrieking Shack during the full moon. "But you're not really you then. You're the wolf."
"I guess," Matt said quietly.
"You know what we could do, though," John replied, "Become Animagi."
"What?!" Albus and Matt shouted at the same time.
"Become Animagi," John repeated, "If we're trying to become the next Marauders, we might as well do it properly."
Joined: 30 November 2007
Location: Celebrating with good friends
Posted: Friday 25 July 2008 04 01 30 am Post subject: Eek! in topic:The Next Generation
I posted in the RPG on Wanderful's account. It seems he forgot to log off and I assumed it was on my account and posted. I really sorry guys! It's stuffed it up! Eek, I can't say how sorry I am!
*Has a fit and keels over unconcious*
Joined: 28 December 2006
Location: Going through LeakyCon withdrawal
Posted: Thursday 17 July 2008 02 02 04 pm Post subject: Re: The Unnamed Fic About Amy in topic:In Moonlight's Shadow
I've been writing a lot of this fic lately. I'm already on the 14th chapter. I've been neglecting my Albus fic because of this one. Anyway, here's the third chapter. It's another kind of fluffy chapter, but I have a few set up type chapters that have to be posted before I really start the main plot. This is one of them.
Chapter 3: Happy Christmas
Birds were chirping and the sun was shining through my closed eyes. I wrenched my eyes open and the bright sun blinded me. I stretched and sat up, remembering pulling the tree back to the house as my arms ached. It was Christmas morning and I was surely the first one up. I had no idea what time it was, but it must have been early since the sun was just barely up. I quickly ran back into my room and threw my pillow down on the bed as I looked at the clock. It was just after six o'clock. All right, I was definitely the only one up. Except perhaps Ellie. She was probably awake and starting to cook breakfast.
Light was shining in through the windows in the hall as I walked quietly down it. It was bright enough to illuminate the thin layer of dust that covered the carpet. Mum would surely notice that and decide to clean it as soon as she woke up. It was very quiet on the second floor, although if I went up to the third floor I would be able to hear Richard's snoring. I wish I could wake them all up now. Mum and Dad have this rule of not waking anyone up before seven o'clock.
On most Christmas mornings, Matt and I wake up early and sit in one of our rooms talking about what we think we'll get for Christmas. Last year we decided to hover around their room, waiting for the clock to strike seven. We ran into their room shrieking as soon as we heard the clock hit seven. I doubted we would do anything of the sort this year. Not with the full moon only a few nights away. I crept to Matt's room and gently pushed the door open. Sure enough, he was sound asleep, buried beneath a few blankets. I didn't have the heart to wake him up while he slept so soundly. Plus, Mum would have my head if she found out about it.
Instead, I decided to go up to the third floor. We don't use the third floor for much. There are a couple guest bedrooms up there and that's where Cinda and Richard stay when they come. They're pretty much the only guests we have anymore. A few of the rooms are used for storage, but the third floor is also where my favorite room, besides my bedroom of course, is.
My favorite classes in school are Astronomy and Potions. Olivia thinks I'm crazy to enjoy Potions so much, but I do. There's just something so calming about a simmering cauldron and creating something useful out of ingredients. Potions isn't just a class I enjoy, though. It's a hobby for me. I like to experiment with stuff and try and come up with my own potions. I haven't come up with anything useful yet, but I'm trying.
Mum of course, doesn't really like me experimenting with potions because it's dangerous and messy. Two things she despises. She positively flipped when I first started experimenting in my room. She talked it over with Dad and the two of them decided that I could experiment, but only if I had a separate room for it. Thus, my Potions room on the third floor was established.
I ran past Richard and Cinda's room towards the end of the hall. I pushed the door to my potions room open and walked inside. Everything was just as I left it before the past term. My family rarely ever ventures into the room. Dad does occasionally to see what I'm up to and Mum does to see if I'm cleaning it properly, but that only happens once in a while. Matt isn't allowed to come in alone or with me. Mum or Dad have to be with him when he's in here. I wish they'd let him be in here with me. He's often very interested in my creations, but sometimes wants to help. I guess that's why Mum and Dad rarely let him in here.
The room itself is smaller than my bedroom. The walls are just plain white and there isn't any carpet, just tiling. That's better, though, because I do occasionally spill stuff. There's a large work table in the middle of the room with a couple stools around it. I also have a cupboard that's filled with all sorts of ingredients and cauldrons. Some potions have to be brewed in specific kinds of cauldrons. I have a couple different sizes of pewter cauldrons and even have one silver cauldron. Last, there is a bookcase with numerous books about potion brewing. That's where I was headed today. I had to find something to work on over the holiday. I pulled down a book, opened it to the first page, and settled down to read it.
Time flew by and I was soon startled by the chiming of a grandfather clock that was out in the hallway. I quickly stood up and ran out the door. Yes, it was seven! I would finally be able to wake up my family!
I skipped down the hall until I reached Richard and Cinda's room. "Richard! Cinda!" I flew open the door and ran in, "Wake up! It's seven!"
"Oh, Amy," Cinda groaned, lifting her head up, "Can't you just let us sleep until 8 this year?"
"Nope!" I grinned at her, "Get up and meet me downstairs!"
Cinda muttered something that sounded an awful lot like 'crazy child' and started shaking Richard awake. Once I was satisfied that they were going to get up, I ran down the stairs and back to Matt's room. Him I would wake up more gently. "Matt," I hissed in his ear, "Wake up, it's Christmas!" I shook him gently until he opened one of his eyes.
"Christmas?" he mumbled.
"Yes, Christmas! It's seven, you've slept late!"
"I'm tired," he pulled the covers over his head.
I sighed, "I know, but we always open presents early."
Matt pulled the covers back and smiled at me, "Presents?"
"Yes, presents," I grinned, "Here, I'll carry you."
"All right," he yawned as I picked him up. We left the room and went to wake up Mum and Dad.
The two of them were sound asleep. I laughed and looked at Matt. "Ready? On the count of three, we start shouting."
He nodded. "One," I said. "Two...Three! Mum! Dad! Up and at 'em! Time to get up!"
"Wake up!" Matt shouted.
"You'd better get up now, or I'll start singing!" I shrieked. They still weren't getting up. I happen to be a terrible singer, so they were really asking for it.
"God rest ye merry hippogriffs...!" I sang off-key.
"On the first day of Christmas, Merlin gave to me...!" Matt chimed in.
"Ok!" Dad sat up, grinning, "I'm up!"
"But Mum isn't," I smirked, "Oh, Mum..."
Mum sat up and sighed, "I'm up to. You can stop singing now. What am I going to do with you two?"
"Come with us to open presents," I announced, "Meet you downstairs."
Matt and I left the room and went downstairs to the living room. I hate waiting for my parents and grandparents to come downstairs. We're allowed to wake them up at seven, but they never come downstairs until at least 7:30.
The tree looks so beautiful with the sunlight glistening on it. There is now a sizable stack of presents under it, and our stockings are stuffed full of candy. We grabbed them and started pulling everything out while we waited for the adults.
Mum, Dad, Richard, and Cinda finally meandered into the room about twenty minutes later. Ellie was right behind them with a platter of hot sticky buns. I grabbed one and waited for the present opening to begin.
"Who's first?" Cinda asked.
"Me!" Matt and I shouted at the same time.
"Amy is this year," Dad announced, handing me a small box. "You went first last year, Matt."
"How do you possibly remember that?" Cinda stared at him.
Dad shrugged, "Just do."
I took the box from Dad and inspected it. The tag said it was from Richard and Cinda. I tore the paper off in one rip and looked at it. I wasn't exactly sure what it was. There was a picture of a rectangular pink object on it, with two wires coming out of the bottom. I vaguely remembered that Kenzie had one, but I couldn't possibly know why I needed one. "Um, is this an iPod?" I asked.
"Yes!" Cinda said excitedly. "All the teenagers have them now."
"Er, ok," I continued to look at the box, "These are for listening to music, right?"
Cinda laughed, "Yes."
"Oh, I've heard about those!" Dad said, "Muggles hook them up to their computers and somehow put music on them."
Oh, yeah. Now I remember watching Kenzie do that. "Cinda, I don't have a computer."
"I know. You can use ours when you come over in a few days."
"Thanks," I smiled. To be honest, I wasn't really that enthusiastic about the Muggle device. I really didn't care to use Muggle electronics and the thing wouldn't work at school anyway.
After Matt opened one of his presents, I decided to open one of the ones from Mum and Dad. It was the largest box under the tree and I was very curious about it. I pulled it over to me and it was very heavy, although not nearly as heavy as the tree itself had been. I ripped the paper off and what was beneath it astonished me. This present was exactly what I had asked for! It was the newest telescope that I had seen at the Night Sky Shoppe. I couldn't believe it! "You got me the Star Gazer 700! Thank you so much!" I leaped over a couple presents and gave each of my parents a hug.
"You're welcome, Amy," Dad smiled, "We'll set it up on your balcony tonight."
"I'm glad you like it, honey," Mum replied.
"I love it," I settled back into my spot on the floor. I didn't care what the rest of my presents were. The telescope far exceeded my expectations. The thing must have cost a fortune. I'm honestly not sure how much money my parents actually have. I know Dad inherited a lot, but I'm not sure how much he has left. He spent a lot of it after Matt got bit on hospital bills and trying to find some kind of cure.
We spent much of the remainder of the morning opening presents and talking. None of the rest of my presents compared to the telescope. They included various clothing items and books. I did get a bunch of new potions ingredients, but I still liked the telescope best. I couldn't wait until Dad and I set it up later. Brunch followed presents and it was very leisurely. Ellie always outdid herself on Christmas mornings. Of course, her Christmas dinners were even better. Mum always helped with those because they really are a lot of work.
The entire Christmas day was very relaxing. I spent most of it outside reading a few of my new books while Matt played with the new football that Richard got him. It was kind of funny to watch the two of them playing with it. Richard used to play football when he was in high school and was still rather good at it. Matt has always been kind of clumsy and kept tripping over the ball.
Ellie and Mum served dinner in the early evening and they had prepared a lot of food. They served it in the formal dining room and the entire table was covered. I didn't think we would be able to finish it all, but Cinda always took food home after Christmas anyway. Cinda isn't much of a cook and she loves Mum's cooking.
"Do you have something appropriate to wear to the party, Julie?" Cinda asked partway through the meal. I groaned inwardly. I had been hoping we would be able to get through the entire dinner without any talk of Cinda's party.
"I'm sure I still have something upstairs," Mum assured her.
"Good. But if you want something new, I'd be happy to go with you shopping before we leave."
"I'm going to be pretty occupied, Mum," Mum sighed, "I'm sure you know that."
"I know you will, but I thought maybe you could leave the house for a couple hours."
"I'm not planning to. I have a lot to do, Mum," Mum explained.
"Surely Walter can handle it," Cinda commented.
"I'm sure he can, Mum, but I'd rather be with my son when he's not feeling well than go shopping for a dress," Mum said shortly. "End of discussion."
"Oh, all right," Cinda muttered.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Cinda began talking about who would be attending her party and what they were up to. It was incredibly boring and I only half listened.
"I'm just so happy you're going!" Cinda said in between bites of turkey. "You haven't seen everyone in such a long time. They'll be so happy to see you."
"I'm sure," Mum smiled politely.
"You can't just not attend anymore functions, Julie. You have to stay involved!"
"Let's just see how this one goes," Mum sighed.
"So, Dad," I changed the subject, "Can we set up the telescope after dinner?"
"Of course, Amy," Dad grinned, "It doesn't look that difficult to set up, it won't take long."
Ellie served dessert a short while later, a magnificent looking pudding. I had two helpings of it and was positively stuffed afterwards. "Telescope now?" I asked Dad.
Dad groaned, "Just let me sit a minute. I don't think I can move."
"Me neither," Richard agreed, "That was an excellent dinner, Julie and Ellie."
"Thanks, Dad," Mum smiled.
"Thank you, Master Richard," Ellie grinned.
"Hey, Cinda," I turned to my grandmother, "Is Kenzie going to the party?" I hoped she was. Her family wasn't really in the same social scene as my grandparents were, but I was hoping that Cinda would invite them anyway.
"I did invite them," Cinda replied, "But they already had some other party to go to, so they won't be going."
"Wonderful," I rolled my eyes.
"Oh, you'll have fun anyway," Cinda assured me, "Your other friends that you haven't seen in over a year will be there."
I nodded but didn't say anything. Cinda may think that they were my friends, but they weren't and never will be. Sure, they politely talked to me during all the functions we used to go to, but I wouldn't consider us friends. They thought that I was weird for not having any of the same electronics they did and for going to a different school than they did. They all went to some fancy private school that my Mum was supposed to go to before she got her letter for the Australian School of Sorcery. I, of course, never had any intentions of going to the school they went to. It was also considered strange that I wouldn't talk about my school around them, but how could I? I'd break the Statute of Secrecy. Kenzie doesn't know anything about my school either, but it doesn't bother her. That's part of what makes her a friend. The party wouldn't be so bad if she were going.
A half hour later Dad's food had finally digested enough for him to help me set up my telescope. He carried it to my room while I ran ahead of him and threw open the door to my balcony. Dad set the box down and we opened it up. The telescope was mostly put together already. All we had to do was mount it on the stand. It was even more beautiful than I had remembered. The entire thing was pitch black with 'Star Gazer 700' written on it in white script. Dad quickly read over the directions and then gave a few flicks of his wand. The telescope immediately levitated out of the box and set itself on the stand.
"Where do you want it?" Dad asked.
"How about over here?" I pointed to the right side of the balcony.
Dad waved his wand and moved it to the side I specified. "There you go."
I grinned, "Thanks Dad!" I went over to the telescope and maneuvered it to look at the sky. The sun had just set and the stars were starting to come out. I fiddled with the focus until I could see the stars clearly. It was amazing, much better than the telescope I had for school. It felt like I could reach out and touch the stars. "This is amazing, want to look?"
Dad stooped down and peered through the eyepiece, "Wow, Amy, this is incredible! Maybe I would have done better in Astronomy if I had had one of these."
I giggled. Dad had been horrible at Astronomy when he was in school. He just scraped a passing grade each year. Of course, he didn't really need Astronomy for his job. He's the head of the Department for the Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures. His best classes when he was in school were charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Those are two classes that I'm not so great at. I can't duel to save my life and my charm work is marginal.
"I'm glad you're happy with it," Dad stood up and gave me a hug.
"Thanks for getting it for me," I hugged him back.
"How's the telescope?" Dad and I let go of each other and I looked back into my room and saw Mum walking towards me, carrying Matt. Richard and Cinda were right behind them.
"It's great, Mum."
"Can I look?" Matt asked.
Mum hesitated and looked at Dad. "It's not facing towards the moon," I told her.
"All right," she sighed and set Matt down on the floor. He ran out onto the balcony and over to the telescope.
He stood on his tip-toes and peered into the telescope. "Whoa! The stars are so big and sparkly!"
"Yup, that's what the telescope's supposed to do," I explained.
"Can I have one?"
"You don't have a balcony in your room," I pointed out, "But you can come look through mine whenever you want."
"Awesome!" Matt turned away from the telescope and smiled at me.
"All right, Matt, it's time for bed. You need a good night's sleep tonight," Mum announced. "Say good night to everyone."
"'Night, Amy," he wrapped his arms around me and I hugged him back.
"Good night, Matt," I replied.
Mum and Matt left a few moments later, but Richard and Cinda stayed. My grandparents each took a turn looking through the telescope before going back downstairs. Dad left shortly after they did, leaving me alone with my present.
I still couldn't believe they actually got me this. It was one of the best Christmas presents I had ever received. It was up there with the silver cauldron I got last year. I had been even more surprised about the cauldron, though, considering that my brother is allergic to silver.
A soft wind blew through the air and I stared up at the sky. Most of the sky was clear, but there were a few clouds off to the west. It would probably rain tomorrow, but for now I was going to take advantage of the clear night. The moon was just starting to rise and shine down onto my balcony. I went back to watching the stars through my telescope and thinking about the long stretch of holiday I had in front of me. I decided to ask my parents if Olivia could spend a few days once I got back from Richard and Cinda's. There wasn't really any point in asking them before. I knew they would be incredibly tense because of the full moon.
I have never been home the day of the full moon before. I always went to my grandparents house the day before during the past full moons. Since the full moon was a few days after Christmas this month, they just decided to let me stay until the day of the full moon. Dad is supposed to Apparate us back on the 28th. I am pretty curious about what goes on the day of the full moon. I wish Mum and Dad would just let me stay home during it. The only good part about it is that I get to see Kenzie. I don't particularly enjoy staying at Richard and Cinda's. Their house is even fancier than ours and Cinda is very obsessive about keeping everything neat and perfect. There are rooms in her house that Matt and I aren't even allowed to go in. The formal dining room, formal living room, the ballroom, and Richard and Cinda's bedroom, for example. I'm assuming that the party will take place in the ballroom. So, I'll obviously be able to go into them then, but not before the party starts. I remember once when Matt and I were a lot younger, Kenzie dared me to run through the formal living room. I bumped into a cabinet and broke a glass dolphin. Cinda was incredibly angry at me and I was grounded for two days. Not that that stopped me from going into the room again. I do, I'm just more careful about it.
The night sky kept me occupied for a couple hours and I eventually had to stop and go to bed. I was really tired since I hardly slept last night. I climbed into my comfy bed feeling very content and happy. This was probably one of the best Christmases I have ever had. I got exactly what I wanted and there were minimal arguments. Olivia says her family's holiday get togethers are basically one large argument. Her two sets of grandparents don't get along at all and neither do her father and maternal grandparents. Whenever I hear about her Christmases, I consider myself lucky that my family gets along for the most part.
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