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Beyond the Shadow by Gryffin_Duck
Chapter 37: Together Again
I spent many hours over the next few days thinking about the best way to approach Dillan as I continued to work on the three new potions. They were simple enough to brew, but required near constant attention. Either Kaden or I checked on them every hour during the day and recruited an intern to keep an eye on them at night. But despite that I still didn't sleep well while they were brewing.
I finally decided that I'd just surprise Dillan at his house in Wales. It was as good an idea as any and the element of surprise would probably be advantageous. Since I didn't know when he'd be home I figured I'd just let myself in with the key I still had and wait.
The night finally arrived. I gave the potions one last check at ten, changed in my study, grabbed the bottle of wine I'd bought earlier, and Apparated to Wales. Dillan's house was dark when I arrived and I quickly got inside, not wanting him to get back mere seconds after I got there. I lit my wand and hurried to the kitchen, where I located two wine glasses. I set them on the counter, along with the wine, and sat down to wait.
I grew steadily more nervous as the seconds on the clock ticked by. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe I should just go home, drink the whole bottle of wine, and fall asleep on the couch. But I knew if I didn't stay, I'd never talk to Dillan and never hear the end of it from both my brother and Victoire. More than that, I wanted him back, even more than I was nervous.
I heard a key turn in the lock about a half hour later. I picked up my wand and held it out in front of me.
“Who's there?” Dillan asked. “I'm armed!”
I heard the floorboards creak as Dillan walked slowly to the kitchen. “It's me, Dillan.”
“Amy?” Dillan replied. “Lumos.”
The hallway lit up from the light of Dillan's wand and I saw him standing on the threshold leading to the kitchen. His hair was tousled and he looked very confused.
“Hi,” I said, still holding my lit wand. “Can we talk?”
Dillan rushed into the kitchen and threw his wand onto the island. He grabbed hold of me, causing me to drop my own wand, and kissed me hard on the lips.
“Of course we can,” he said after we broke apart. “But don't let that kiss fool you. I'm still angry with you.”
I nodded, swallowing hard. “Can we go up on the roof?”
“Sure,” Dillan said.
I followed him up to the messy attic and then out the window and onto the roof. He'd grabbed the blanket we used the last time and set it on the shingles before we both sat down. I pulled my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them as I stared at the waning moon.
“Did you know that February in 1865 is the only recorded month without a full moon?” I said after a few minutes of silence.
“Er, no,” Dillan said. “That was random. Why are you here, Amy? I miss you. God, do I miss you, but I made myself clear.”
“I want to explain something to you,” I said. “If you'll listen.”
“I'll listen,” Dillan said, “but that doesn't mean we're getting back together.”
“Okay,” I said quietly. He was still hurt and that just made me feel worse.
“Can I just say something first?” Dillan asked.
“Sure,” I said.
Dillan turned and looked at me. “I've thought a lot since we broke up. I still stand by everything I said. You don't have to be the hero all the time. You act like the creation of whatever potion you're working on rests solely on your shoulders, like you're the only one who can do it.”
“I'm not trying to be a hero,” I said. “I'm just trying to save one person. And I am the only one who can do it. If you just let me explain-”
“I will. I just wanted to say my bit first. And that makes no sense. Trying to save one person?” Dillan asked, bewildered. “But anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I think it's a bad idea to spend so much time on work, even if we're not together. You're going to alienate everyone. Your parents, your brother, Victoire, Teddy, the rest of the Weasleys-”
“No, you've got it all wrong,” I said. “It's not that simple-”
“At some point, you'll have to choose between them and the potion.”
I was getting a little impatient now. If he would just let me talk first, everything he had to say would be irrelevant. “Dillan! It's not that simple. For me, work and my family are the same thing.”
Now he looked even more confused. “What are you talking about?”
“That's what I'm trying to explain to you,” I said. “I've never told you exactly what the potion I'm working on is.”
“I always figured you couldn't say anything until it was a success,” he said.
“It's another version of the Wolfsbane potion,” I said, ignoring him. “That's the potion I've been working on. It's for werewolves with the new strain of lycanthropy.”
“But wait, you've been working on this since before you made that discovery, since before I met you.”
“I've been working on it since I was a Junior Brewer,” I said quietly. “It's my life goal. I never meant to discover a new strain of lycanthropy, although that has certainly made this potion easier.”
“They let you do potions research as a Junior Brewer?” Dillan asked, clearly impressed.
“It was a combination of my skill and extenuating circumstances.”
I took a deep breath. “This potion, my entire career, it's all based on one person. When Matt was five, he was bitten by a werewolf.”
Dillan gasped. “That means that-”
“He's a werewolf,” I said. “He has the new strain and Wolfsbane potion has never worked for him. When I was fifteen, shortly after we moved here, I swore I'd fix the potion and make one that would work.”
“That's what you meant when you said your work and family are the same,” Dillan said quietly.
“Yes,” I said. “And it's why I work so much and why I canceled our plans so many times.”
“Oh,” Dillan said. “Merlin, Amy, why didn't you just tell me?”
“You know how we moved to England after my dad got sacked?” I asked.
“Yeah, but what in the world does that have to do with you not telling me things?”
“That move has to do with everything,” I said quietly. “Dad didn't just get sacked, he got sacked because my brother is a werewolf.”
“What? That's not legal,” Dillan said, incredulously.
“The Australian Ministry was very corrupt back then. There was a bloke named Lubar who hated Dad, held a grudge against him because he knew about Matt's lycanthropy, and thought Dad was going soft on the werewolf control laws because of Matt. Dad wasn't, of course, he was just smart enough to understand that werewolves deserve the same rights as anyone.”
“And this bloke, Lubar, he didn't think they deserved rights?”
“No,” I said darkly. “When the Ministry passed him up for a promotion, and promoted Dad to the Head position instead, Lubar started trying to pass very restrictive legislation. It took him a few years to get it passed, but when it did, it required all werewolves not on Wolfsbane to transform in Ministry centers if they couldn't create their own transformation buildings. But, the law required these buildings to be their own separate dwellings, not rooms in houses.
“Matt always transformed at home, in the basement. Dad broke the law in order to keep him transforming there, where he was comfortable. The law was ridiculous anyway. Soon after, Lubar got a law passed that said Werewolf Control Unit employees could forcibly take werewolves into custody if they refused to comply with the law. Lubar Flooed into our house and took Matt, before Dad could even do anything.”
“Oh my God,” Dillan said quietly. “How old was he?”
“Eight,” I said. I hated talking about this. “They sacked Dad shortly after, after a hearing only done to save face. Lubar got promoted and we moved. We were already planning on moving anyway, because the Australian School of Sorcery wouldn't accept Matt. Matt was in therapy for months after the kidnapping.”
“Amy, that's awful,” Dillan said. “Poor Matt. And only eight! What kind of monster does that to a child? Is he still at the Ministry?”
“No,” I said. “He got sacked years ago for embezzling Ministry funds.”
“Good,” Dillan replied.
“That's why I didn't tell you. My parents, Matt, and I, we don't tell anyone. Ever. The only people who know are five of Matt's good friends. Rose figured it out their first year. And Victoire and Teddy know. Plus, whoever has access to the Werewolf Control Unit's records and Dad's very strict about that. Plus anyone in Australia who still remembers it being in the news. Kenzie knows because of that, because her husband is a wizard. Matt thought you deserved to know, though. And I knew I could trust you.”
“Wow, Amy.” Dillan let out a low whistle. “I knew you were keeping something from me, but Merlin. I'd no idea that was it.”
“Victoire told me you weren't just upset about the secret thing, not really anyway. She said that you probably felt you weren't a priority in my life.”
Dillan chuckled. “Sounds like she's the Weasley with the degree in psychiatry. She was right, though. I did feel like you were putting work before me.”
“And I was,” I confessed. “I'm not going to hide that from you.”
“But now I understand,” Dillan said. “Technically it was work, but in reality, it was your family, your brother. It was him you were putting before me, and I can't fault you for that. As much as Gen drives me insane, I'd do anything for her.”
“This potion, if I can get it to work, it'll change Matt's life forever.”
Dillan nodded. “I can't even imagine. But what did you mean when you said only you could make it? Aren't there usually teams of researchers working on this type of thing?”
“Usually,” I agreed. “But lycanthropy still has a stigma associated with it. Not many people care to work on it. Plus, regular Wolfsbane is near impossible to brew properly. I am the only one in the country who can brew it, so there's no one else close by to help me with the research. Kaden Dursley is assisting with the actual brewing, but he can't do much.”
“You're the only one?” Dillan asked, clearly awed. “In the whole country? So all the werewolves in Britain....”
“They're all supplied Wolfsbane that I've brewed. It's a lot of work. After the new year I'm going to teach Kaden to brew it and that will be a big help, but it's still a lot.”
“I had no idea....”
“So do you see? Why I work so much?” I asked hopefully.
“I do,” Dillan said quietly. “But Amy, why did you go to Australia without telling me? Can you tell me that now?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I can. It's very rare for a werewolf to know who bit them, seeing as it's near impossible to ID the person who bit them. The only way is if they're captured immediately after the attack. For the research on the new strain I need as many DNA samples as possible of werewolves and their attackers. Dad captured the werewolf who bit Matt and I had Victoire's PI cousin track him down. He found him that day and I completely forgot about our dinner. All I was thinking about was getting to Australia as quickly as possible. Werewolves are very hard to track down and you never know how long they'll stay in one place.”
Dillan nodded. “Did you find him?”
“Yes. Got his DNA, too. I realized I forgot our dinner on the plane home. That's another thing, my family and I, we can't take magical transportation to Australia anymore because their Head of Magical Transportation hates Dad. His son is actually the bloke Kenzie married, weirdly enough. Bradley got Matt and I a Portkey to get there, but we were on our own coming back, which meant Muggle transportation.”
“Merlin, that's a good excuse,” Dillan said. He was staring at the moon as if he'd never seen it before. “It's not as beautiful when you personally know a werewolf, is it?” he asked after a few minutes.
“No,” I said quietly. “That night we sat out here during the full moon was one of the hardest things I've done.”
“I forgot about that,” he said. “But you came anyway, even though it was a full moon.”
“I wanted to, even though I didn't want to. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, it does.”
“He transforms at our parents' house,” I explained. “We just sit in the kitchen all night waiting for morning. I haven't slept during a full moon since I was fourteen.
“I'll stay up with you, if you want me to, next full moon,” Dillan said.
My heart soared. “Does that mean you forgive me?
He put his arm around my shoulder and gave me a hug, then kissed me briefly. “Yes, Amy, I forgive you. But don't disappear into the world of potion brewing again. And please don't go off to Australia without telling me.”
“Okay,” I said. “And I do promise to make more time for us. I missed you, Dillan. But I do have a confession. I kissed the best man at Kenzie's wedding.”
Dillan said nothing for a full two minutes, then let out an exasperated sigh. “Did you sleep with him?”
“No,” I said. “He wanted me to, but I felt horrible about kissing him. I'm sorry.”
“Technically we were broken up,” Dillan said quietly. “Thanks for being honest.”
Dillan was clearly the most forgiving bloke ever. “You're the only one I want to be with.”
“You're the only one I want to be with,” Dillan said as he pulled me closer. “Should we get the wine?”
We fell asleep on the roof after drinking the entire bottle of wine. Dillan told me about the pub and how successful it had been in the past month and I told him about meeting with Healer Kingston. We caught up on each other's lives while cuddling under the starry sky and then fell asleep in each other's arms. It was wonderful.
Everyone in my life was thrilled that Dillan and I got back together. We had dinner with Mum, Dad, and Matt the following Sunday and Mum was unable to contain her excitement. She grinned throughout the entire meal and even Dad seemed more cheerful than normal. Dillan didn't treat Matt any differently despite knowing about his lycanthropy and I was very grateful. Victoire and Teddy were also very happy for us, although I think part of their happiness stemmed from the fact that they now had another babysitter as well as someone who could actually cook and not just bring takeaway. Dillan had only met the twins once, but shortly after getting back together we invited the whole Lupin family for dinner at Dillan's house and he cooked for us.
It was then that we found out that Dillan possessed the rare ability to get Henri to sleep with just ten minutes of rocking. No one in Victoire's entire extended family had managed that yet.
“I'm shocked, completely shocked,” Victoire said as we sat on the couch in Dillan's living room, watching him rocking Henri to sleep.
“Jealous?” I asked.
Victoire laughed. “I haven't had a proper night's sleep in nearly six months. Of course I'm jealous. But mostly I just want to know if he'll come over to my house on command and get Henri to sleep.”
“Hard to believe they're almost six months,” I said.
“You're telling me,” Victoire said. “Did I tell you that Remus sat up on his own the other day?”
“No!” I exclaimed. “That's awesome.”
Victoire nodded. “And early, too. Not all babies can do that at six months and he won't be six months for another week.”
“They'll be crawling before you know it.”
Victoire groaned. “Don't bring that up. It's easier when they can't move on their own. You always know where they are. Once they crawl, Merlin, I won't be able to keep up.”
“Want me to put him to bed?” Dillan asked.
“That would be amazing,” Victoire said. “Hey, Ted, could you go conjure a crib upstairs?”
The men went upstairs with Henri and Victoire turned and grinned at me. “So, Dillan with a baby? What do you think?”
“Very adorable,” I said. “But that's not going to happen anytime soon.”
“Aw, come on,” Victoire said. “Remus and Henri need a playmate. You can't tell me you haven't thought about it.”
That was true. I had thought about it. I'd been thinking about it since Victoire found out she was pregnant with the twins; I just hadn't told anyone. “Yeah, okay, I have. But Dillan and I aren't even married yet, and I'm at such a breakthrough point with the potion. But within the next few years, who knows?”
“Tick-tock, tick-tock!” Victoire joked. “You're going to be thirty-one in a few weeks. Which reminds me, do you want a party?”
“No, definitely not,” I said. “I had one last year. And my age means nothing. Mum was thirty-five when she had me and forty-one when she had Matt.”
“But only because she had trouble conceiving. You know risks are increased the older you are.”
I'd forgotten about my parents' trouble conceiving. “You don't think that's genetic, do you?”
“It's possible,” Victoire said. “But equally possible that it's not.”
“Tell you what, if and when Dillan and I get married, I'll think about having a baby soon after.”
Victoire laughed. “If. It's all about when. He's going to propose and my guess is that it'll be sooner rather than later.”
“Shush!” I said, hearing footsteps on the stairs. “They're coming back!”
Victoire burst into a fit of giggles and that made me start laughing. Sophie, who was asleep on an armchair, stirred but didn't wake up. Dillan and Teddy appeared in the doorway and shared a look.
“Were you two talking about us?” Teddy asked.
“Of course not, Ted. Women never talk about their husbands and boyfriends while they're out of the room,” Victoire said. That only made me laugh harder.
“Want a beer?” Dillan asked Teddy. “Let's let the women talk. We can go out to the garage and I'll show you the cupboard I've been fixing. It's supposed to hold an infinite amount of stuff, but it's crooked and that's making the charm not stick.”
“Sure,” Teddy said. “I'll take a look.”
The men disappeared into the kitchen. I heard the refrigerator open and then the sound of the door to the garage open and close.
“Teddy likes to pretend he can fix the plumbing,” Victoire said. “He'll spend a whole day swearing at it and making multiple trips to the hardware store only to make it worse. Then I'll call a plumber while he's at work and we both pretend it never happened.”
“Sounds like my dad when he renovated the basement after we moved to England,” I said. “Learned a few new swear words that day.”
Victoire laughed. “What about Dillan? Can he fix things?”
“He actually can,” I said. “I'm not sure if he's ever tried plumbing, but he does most of the maintenance on this house.”
“Okay, I'm impressed. Is there anything he can't do?”
I thought for a moment. “He loses everything. Constantly misplaces his wand. I mean, honestly, what would happen if he actually needed it?”
Victoire and I burst into laughter again. There was nothing more wonderful than spending the evening with my boyfriend, my best friends in the world, and their kids.
A/N: Thanks for all the wonderful reviews!