"In each family, a story is playing itself out, and each family's story embodies its hope and despair."-Auguste Napier
Life slips back into normality without anyone noticing. My father goes back to working at the Ministry day and night, Kevin's visits become sporadic and short-lived, and James finally returns my letter, claiming that Sirius is now regularly associating with the family, eating meals, abandoning the solitary confinement of his bedroom, etc. At least he's made some improvement.
As if the summer couldn't get any worse, another full moon passes, this one anything but normal. Without the stag, dog, and rat by my side, my wolf-self didn't know who it was, and resorted back to self-inflicted harm. I barely remember anything from that night, but I know it was anything but pleasant. It makes me think back to the old days before I had animagus friends willing to put their lives on the line for me; I never want to return to those times, ever.
I awake the next morning in the shack in the woods my father had built for me ten years previous quite disoriented, not used to waking in a pool of my own blood, as I hadn't for the past ten months. I groan and pick myself gingerly off the old, rotting, wooden floor to check the damage: a broken rib, a deep cut above the eyebrow, and a long gash ranging from my collar bone to my navel, the source of all the bleeding. I hastily throw on the set of old clothes I had brought with me, nothing fancy as I know they will soon be as bloody as I am.
I stumble over to the window and support myself on the sill, watching the world slowly waking up after a refreshing rest. It seems as if the only thing not peaceful in this world is the poor lycanthrope watching it all play out from his personal torture chamber. I sigh, wincing as I lay a hand on the back of my neck, my sore muscles contracting painfully under my touch.
Wiping blood out of my eyes, I decide that standing here isn't going to do me any good. So, I gather my things and lock the door of the shack tightly before venturing out through the woods and back to my house. As I walk, the heat of the summer day starts beating down on my weakened body like the sun is directly above my head. Soon, sweat starts to mingle with the blood and grime all over my body. The only thing I want in the entire world is to get home and a take hot shower, then lock myself up in my room and forget everything. As I'm making my way up the normal path from the creek behind my house, though, I realize fulfilling this fantasy is going to be a lot harder than I expected.
The first thing I notice is that Kevin must be spending the day, which is never a good thing, especially after a bad full moon. I eye his stupid Muggle car warily, wiping my mop of light-brown hair out of my eyes, sweat still dripping down my temples like two waterfalls. I then turn around to let myself in the back door, and see something that should bring me immense joy, but makes my heart drop like a brick into my stomach. Two people stand under the back porch, hand in hand. It takes my dull, pain-stricken brain a few moments to make out their faces, but when I do, I almost break down into tears.
"Oliver," I whisper breathlessly, shuffling over to where he and Alisa stand, one hand plastered to the side where my broken rib is. "What are you doing here?"
"Not even a hello, little brother?" he smirks, taking a step towards me as I approach them. "It's been over a year and not even a hello?"
"I'm sorry," I mutter, wiping beads of sweat from my brow. "Hullo."
"Remus," he mutters, grabbing me and pulling me into the warmest, most comforting hug I've ever experienced. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you, too," I mumble back, tears welling in my eyes. I try to stop them, not wanting to look like a weak, ignorant child, but they come relentlessly, spilling over and down my cheeks. "I've been so worried, Oliver, so worried."
"We're okay, Remus," he assures me, not letting me out of his embrace. "We're right here. I promise, everything is going to be okay."
I don't respond, but try to pull myself together before he releases me and looks down with a knowing smile. "Lookin' rough, little brother."
"I've looked worse," I mumble, shrugging as I wipe away another tear.
"Oh, Alisa, I probably should explain," Oliver mumbles, bringing my attention to his wife standing by the doorway, eyes popping at the sight of me. I hear him hastily explain to her my condition, although it does not rid her beautiful face of the shocked expression.
"I was wondering why… he was… was… covered in blood," she stutters, her face quite pale and her fingers wound tightly around Oliver's. That's when I notice it. 'The bump.'
"I forgot…" I blurt out stupidly. "You're pregnant…"
"Six months," she says, patting her swollen belly affectionately. I can't stop myself from staring, completely and utterly dumbfounded that she's pregnant with my nephew. Oliver is going to be a father… For some reason, I can't wrap my head around this concept, and continue to stare.
Oliver clears his throat awkwardly and wraps his arm around Alisa's waist. "Well… Shall we go in?"
"Why did you come here, Oliver?" I blurt out again, tearing my eyes from my nephew back to my brother. "You know father won't be happy."
"I know he won't," Oliver grimaces, walking away from Alisa and over to where Kevin's car is parked. "Who's is this?"
"Kevin's," I respond, sighing.
"Of course," Oliver mutters. "The prat."
He aims a good kick at the bumper.
"Come on," he continues, stalking over and grabbing Alisa's hand once again. "This has got to happen some time."
"Please reconsider, Oliver," I plead, stopping his free hand from grabbing his wand. "You can talk, but please promise me it won't get violent."
He looks down at me intensely, eyes narrowed. "Fine."
I let out a sigh of relief, backing away and letting him unlock the back door.
"But if I have to defend myself, I will," he adds, then leads the way into the basement. I follow, still stumbling over my own feet as we silently enter the house and close the door the behind us. The basement is vacant, cool, and dim. Oliver wordlessly crosses the room and starts up the stairs, Alisa and I on his trail. As he opens the basement door, letting light flood the old, rickety stairs, I hear people in the kitchen stop their conversation.
"Remus?" my mother calls, her heels clicking in our direction. "Is that you?"
She comes around the corner and sees Oliver, stopping dead in her tracks. "Mum-"
"Oliver…" she looks lost for words as Alisa and I come up behind him, Alisa reclaiming his hand. "What in God's name-"
"Darling?" my father calls from the kitchen. "What's going on in there?"
She swallows, her face as pale as any Hogwarts ghost. "N-nothing," she calls back. "Give me a minute."
"Mum-" Oliver starts again, taking a step toward her.
"Oliver, you listen to me," she starts in an undertone. "You get out of here, right now. Your father will not be happy to see you, you hear me? He's been waiting for you to come crawling back, and now that you have, with your-your… pregnant girlfriend-"
"She's my wife," Oliver interjects. My mother looks as if he had suddenly sprouted an extra head, her jaw dropped in complete and utter shock.
"That doesn't matter," she continues, regaining her composure. "You need to leave, now. Things will not be pretty between you and Simon if you go in there right now… Please son, I beg you. Because I love you, because I care about you, I beg you to leave."
Seeing my mother completely broken down like that, sobbing uncontrollably at the arrival of her second-born son, makes me uncomfortable, and I feel my stomach twist in knots. She suddenly looks over at me through red, puffy eyes, sighing. "Come on, darling. Let's get you cleaned up."
Before anyone can move, Oliver abandons Alisa, pushes past my mother, and stalks around the corner into the kitchen. She looks devastated, her hands clenched into fists as she hurries after him, Alisa and I after her.
Oliver stands in the middle of the kitchen, staring directly into the eyes of my father. Kevin stands frozen at the sink, an eggshell in one hand, a frying pan in the other; Elizabeth and Libby sit at the table with my father, looking so little and frightened in their chairs, although they are both practically teenagers. Elizabeth looks up Oliver with pure hatred from behind her green eyes, her face contorted in rage; Olivia looks quite the opposite though, her shining eyes wide with joy at seeing her long-lost brother again. Before anything can be said, she wordlessly gets up from her chair at the table and wraps her thin arms around Oliver's waist, silently bawling. No one says anything as she does this, not even Oliver himself.
"Where have you been, Oliver?!" she sobs, her little body shaking. "Why did you leave us?!"
"Shh," he croons, wrapping her in his warm embrace. "We'll talk later-"
"You most certainly will not."
Every head in the room snaps to my father, his thin face the color of the scarlet on the Gryffindor flag. "Olivia sit down."
She lets a out a final sob before shuffling back over to her seat, her eyes red and puffy from crying. They land on me, standing weak and bloodied in the doorway behind my mother and Alisa. She gives me and unreadable look before turning her attention back to Oliver and our father.
"What in the hell made you think it would be a good idea to come crawling back here?" Simon spits at Oliver.
"I came to patch things up, father," Oliver explains, trying to keep his voice even and respectful. "I never intended to-"
"You left this house over a year ago, with nothing more than a ruddy letter explaining that you 'don't agree with my beliefs' and now you expect for me to welcome you back with open arms? Oh-ho, no, son, I don't think it'll be that easy. 'Don't agree with my beliefs' my ass."
"I don't," Kevin explains hurriedly, fighting with his anger. "You oppressed your own son for no reason-"
"Are we talking about Remus, here?" my father interjects, and my heart drops into my stomach. Please don't bring me into this, I think.
"Me and Remus both," Oliver says. When my father doesn't answer, Oliver explodes. "He didn't choose to become a werewolf! He didn't want to live the rest of his life subjected to prejudice by ignorant prats like you! He never wanted to be the object of your dismay, your embarrassment, 'the stain on the Lupin family tree!' All he wanted was to live a normal life, to be your pride and joy! He's your son, for God's sake, and you treat him like the scum of the earth! He could've grown up shielded from that horrid world of misunderstanding, but no. He was thrown right into it as a young child, not understanding why mummy and daddy hated him so. You've had a negative impact on this man's life right here! And you won't even own up to it…"
There's a very heavy silence that falls upon the kitchen at the end of Oliver's speech, like a blizzard had just blown through, leaving everything and everyone completely buried in snow and shock. My father shifts in his seat, eyes flashing back to where I stand, looking uncomfortable.
"Your prejudice doesn't end there…" Oliver continues, voice soft, even, and controlled, but barely. "What do you have against mixing magical and muggle blood? There's nothing wrong with it. The child isn't going to be mutated because one of its parents was magical and the other a muggle. It's going to be a perfectly normal, happy child, laden with the blessing of being of able to do magic. What's the difference, really, when you think about it? One parent isn't magical. Is that really all you care about? Being pure-blooded-"
Oliver spits on the floor.
"-my ass. You want to know why, Simon?"
He pauses, looking for a response from my father. When he doesn't get it, he looks back at Alisa and she wordlessly steps forward to join him. "Your first grandchild is going to be a half-blood."
My father's eyes widen, landing on Alisa's bump as Oliver lays his hand on it.
"This child will be raised as any other, Simon. It will go to Hogwarts, it will learn magic, it won't be treated any differently because its mother was a muggle. If you think any different, you are truly foolish."
My father's fingers itch for his wand. He takes a deep breath and stands at the head of the table, his and Oliver's eye contact never breaking. "I'm giving you a full minute to get out of my house before I curse you and your dirty muggle wife until you are unrecognizable."
"Simon!" my mother exclaims, tears streaming down her face.
"Don't talk," he silences her. "Leave. Go. Now."
With a final glance around the kitchen of his childhood home, Oliver regains his grip on Alisa's hand and they fly from the house without looking back. We hear a crack of apparition as the front door slams closed, and Olivia lets out a strangled whimper. My father eyes her with contempt as he stalks from behind the table and over to me.
"I don't want to know if you had any knowledge of this. But I warn you now, boy, if I find that you ever have contact with him again, you'll be out on the streets before you can blink."
I swallow, the tears coming again, but ignoring them in the face of danger. My father turns away from me and addresses the kitchen again. "Get up to your rooms now, you three. I don't want to hear you for the rest of the day."
Olivia scrambles out of her seat and grabs my hand, trembling. Elizabeth stalks past us, making sure to bump into my shoulder as she takes the stairs first, retreating into her room and locking the door.
I bring Olivia into mine and try to calm her down. Even as thirteen year-old she is still a frightened, young girl, unable to control her emotions. I sit in bed with her, letting her cry profusely on my shoulder, being strong for her, but wanting to fall apart and cry myself.
Hi guys! Sorry this update has taken awhile!
I could go into detail, but I started the novel idea I mentioned in the last author's note, so that's been taking some time, sorry guys! Also, I've been going through a bit of a rough time, so updates might be few and far between for a while guys, I'm so sorry.
Please leave a review, that would mean the world to me.
I love you all to pieces.