Chapter 8 : That Night
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I played football with Matt for about an hour and a half before he had enough. Neither Mum or Dad had come outside so I assumed they were both still talking about the letter.
"I'm hungry," Matt whined as we sat down on the deck. "Is it lunch time yet?"
I glanced into the kitchen and didn't see anyone. Mum didn't expect us to stay out here all day, did she? "Uh, sure, we could go have lunch."
The house appeared deserted when we walked into the kitchen, although I could hear voices coming from Dad's study. Ellie wasn't anywhere to be seen but she didn't usually prepare lunch anyway. I wound up making Matt and I sandwiches and we ate them sitting at the counter.
"What's Mum doing in Dad's study?" Matt asked.
Of course he could hear her in there. It still amazes me what he's able to hear. Ever since he got bitten, he's had excellent hearing. That's probably why Mum wanted him to stay outside. "I'm not sure," I replied.
"Sounds like she's talking to Dad," Matt announced. "But isn't he at work?"
"Uh, he had to come home to talk to Mum about something. I'm not sure what."
"Oh, I want to go see him," Matt jumped off his stool and started running to the door.
I got up and blocked him. "You can't. Mum said not to interrupt them."
The door to the study opened at that moment anyway. Mum and Dad walked into the kitchen, both looking sad, angry, and nervous at the same time. Mum seemed to have been crying again and her face was streaked with tears.
"Dad!" Matt shouted and ran over to him, throwing his arms around Dad's waist.
"Hi, Matt," Dad looked at him sadly.
I wasn't really sure what to say at this point. Matt still had no idea about the letter and I didn't want to be the one to tell him. I settled on looking from Mum to Dad questioningly until one of them said something.
"Amy, Matt," Dad began, "We need to talk to both of you. Let's go into the living room."
I followed the three of them into the living room. Matt was talking animatedly to Dad about playing football earlier and Dad was nodding his head every once in a while to show he was listening. I sat down on the couch next to Matt once we got into the room. Mum and Dad sat down on the chairs facing us.
"Amy," Dad said slowly, "You read the letter, so you probably already know what this is about." I nodded. Dad turned to Matt. "Matt, a few days ago we sent a letter to Amy's school asking if you could go when you're eleven."
Matt looked from me to Dad with a look of confusion on his face. "Why couldn't I?"
Dad sighed and looked at him sadly. "Because of what happens once a month on the full moon."
"I don't even like that," Matt replied, "I don't want to do that anymore."
"I know, honey," Mum said, "Neither do we. More than anything, we want it to stop. But it just can't right now."
"We got a letter back from the headmaster today," Dad continued, "He said you can't go to school there."
Matt sat there in shock for a few seconds and then his eyes filled with tears. "No! That's not fair!" he shrieked.
"I know, it's not fair," Mum started crying as well and gestured for my brother to climb onto her lap.
"I want to go," Matt sobbed and buried his head into her shoulder. "Why can't I go?"
"They won't let you, honey," Mum replied, "It's not very nice at all, but there's nothing we can do."
"Nothing?" I asked, "Weren't you going to send them another letter?"
"It wouldn't do any good," Dad said quietly, "Under the law, the school is in no way obligated to accept him as a student."
"That's not right," I said, "Why don't you fight it?"
"It's not a good time to be fighting something like this," Dad answered.
"Well, you can home school him like you've been doing all along," I suggested.
Mum and Dad exchanged looks and I got the sense that there was more that they had to tell us.
"Amy," Dad began, "We were actually going to try and find a school to accept him."
"But there aren't any other wizarding schools in Australia," I told him.
"I know," Dad said, "We were going to write to schools abroad."
I stared at him. "You mean we're going to move?!"
"Perhaps. If another school will accept him."
"That means I'll have to change schools." I swallowed hard. I didn't want to move. I liked my school even though the headmaster was a discriminating troll. I had friends there and the other teachers were nice. I'd been going there for three years! I couldn't transfer to another school now!
"Amy, I know this is going to be hard, but even if another school doesn't accept him, you're not going back to the Australian School of Sorcery."
"What?!" I shouted and stood up angrily. "Just because of him I can't go back no matter what?! Even if we don't move I'm not allowed to go to school there?! That's not fair!"
Mum and Dad exchanged looks. "Amy, it is not his fault. We would never have let you go to that school to begin with if we knew what the headmaster thought," Mum explained.
"Well then you should have found out before I started going there!" I glared at them.
"Maybe we should have," Dad said quietly, "But we didn't."
"It's just not fair!" I shouted again, "Killigan doesn't teach any of my classes! The other teachers might not have the same opinions as him!"
"That might be true," Dad agreed, "But nevertheless, while you are at that school you are under his influence. I'm sorry, but you won't be returning."
"You're not sorry! If you were sorry, you'd let me go back! You just don't get it. This will ruin my life! I'll never get to see Olivia again!"
"Amy, of course you'll see her again. She's coming over tomorrow, after all," Mum sighed.
Oh, yeah. I had almost forgotten about that amongst the news. "And what exactly am I supposed to tell her?"
Mum and Dad looked at each other again. "You will certainly not tell her why you aren't going back," Mum said.
"Right, like she'll just accept that the two of you won't let me go back for no reason at all? What do you suppose the reason should be?" I demanded.
"Your father and I have more on our minds than what you'll tell your friends about this!" Mum shouted.
"Can you just let me go back until you find another school?" I pleaded, my eyes starting to well up. "Please?"
"No," Dad replied sternly, "Absolutely not."
"This is so unfair!" I yelled, "And it's all his fault!" I pointed at my brother, who was still crying into Mum's shoulder.
"You will not blame him for this!" Mum shouted, "I will not have it!"
"I'll blame whomever I like!" I turned and left the room, not waiting for a response.
Ellie was lurking outside the entrance to the living room and jumped out of the way as I went storming past. "Is everything all right?" she asked.
I stopped and turned around to look at the house elf. She looked a little scared and I couldn't blame her. We had been shouting awfully loud. "No, it's not."
"What is going on?"
"We might be moving, Ellie," I told her, "And Mum and Dad won't let me go back to school." My voice cracked.
Ellie's face broke out in a look of confusion and then her ears dropped in recognition. "Ah, Mistress's letter."
I nodded, "Did you read it?"
"Ellie did. Ellie is not liking Headmaster Killigan."
"Neither do I. But it's not like I see him on a regular basis at school," I explained, "Well, I'm going upstairs. See you later."
Ellie said goodbye and I continued to the stairs. I wanted nothing more than to be alone right now. I threw myself onto my bed as soon as I slammed the door shut. I buried my face into my pillow and let the tears flow. The anger I felt downstairs was subsiding and grief was replacing it. The fact that I wouldn't be returning to the Australian School of Sorcery was sinking in.
All the memories I had of the place would become just that, memories. I would not form any new ones. I would never again run through the quiet halls with Olivia when we were late for class. Never again would I shout my throat dry during a Quidditch match or dueling tournament. Even though I was rubbish at both, I absolutely loved going to the matches and tournaments. There would be no more late night study sessions in the dormitory or early morning walks through the grounds. I would never get to go to another start of term feast or end of term party. No more potions competitions, no more sneaking off to the Astronomy tower in the dead of night to stargaze.
I spent hours laying in bed crying and thinking of everything I would miss about school. I had no idea what the rest of my family was doing and didn't really care. Dad most likely went back to work and who knows what Mum and Matt did. Matt. He was the reason for all of this. No matter what Mum and Dad told me, this whole thing was his fault. If he hadn't have been so stupid as to wander out of the tent alone that night, none of this would have happened. We would both be going to the Australian School of Sorcery and would never have found out about Killigan's beliefs about werewolves. Not that it really would have mattered if Matt wasn't one anyway.
I still remember that night as if it was yesterday. It had been our first and only Muggle camping trip. The trip had been really fun at first. We hiked, boated and swam in the lake, and played at the nearby playground. Then came the night of the full moon. Dad warned us repeatedly not to leave the tent without one of them. He knew full well that it was the full moon, since he was the head of the Werewolf Control Unit at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the time. I don't think he really expected anything to happen but he was a bit worried due to what he saw at work. Turns out, he had reason to worry.
It had been me who realized that Matt was gone. He must've left the tent to go to the bathroom and disregarded Dad's warning. I have always been a light sleeper and heard growling and screaming coming from outside. There were torches shining all over the place and I heard Muggles running around. I saw that Matt wasn't in the tent anymore and woke up my parents. They have always been heavy sleepers.
The two of them immediately got up when I told them Matt was gone. They grabbed their wands and ran out of the tent. I followed them and immediately saw the chaos. Muggles were running around everywhere, grabbing their children and heading for their cars. Quite a few were talking on mobile phones and I heard fragmented bits of conversation that included phrases like 'huge dog', 'a wolf or something', 'attacking a kid', 'biggest damn animal I ever saw', and 'better send someone down right away'.
Mum, Dad, and I kept running towards the area that all the Muggles were running from. We were shouting Matt's name and a couple Muggles told us there was a kid being attacked in the woods. Mum shrieked and the three of us ran even faster. Both of them had their wands held up high but the Muggles didn't seem to notice or care amongst all the chaos.
When we reached the woods we saw a small group of Muggles surrounding what was the biggest wolf I had ever seen in my life. I let out a gasp as I saw that the huge animal was standing on top of my brother and ripping at his back. Mum let out a loud cry and Dad an angry growl. Mum ordered me to stay back while Dad tried to disperse the Muggles. I stood a couple meters away and watched through tears as the two of them sent spell after spell at the werewolf.
The Muggles watched in amazement and shock as Mum managed to get Matt away while Dad succeeded in stunning the werewolf. Mum carried Matt over to where I was standing and I let out a scream when I saw him. He was shaking uncontrollably, bleeding profusely from numerous cuts and scratches, looked to have a few broken bones, and was clearly unconscious. Mum started trying to heal the wounds and Dad bound the werewolf with ropes. He tried to ignore the shaken Muggles as he walked over toward us. He wordlessly took out a piece of parchment and then started mumbling as he wrote on it. 'Werewolf attack, need backup from Werewolf Control Unit, and Obliviators.' Then he pointed his wand at it and the parchment vanished.
Dad told Mum to Apparate with Matt to the hospital and he would meet her there. Both of them seemed to have forgotten that I was there. I stood in the background for the next hour as various people from Dad's office and other people from the Ministry showed up. Someone interviewed a few Muggles and Dad, then Obliviated all the Muggles who had seen the attack. Someone else took the still stunned werewolf away. After the whole thing was over, Dad found me and the two of us Apparated to the hospital.
The next few weeks went by in a blur. Matt spent three whole weeks in the hospital, before they let him leave. I think they would have wanted him to stay longer but he had to leave before the next full moon. Mum spent most of her time at the hospital and whenever I saw her, she was crying. Dad didn't cry much in the open, but I heard him at night.
I had nightmares about that night for months after. Even at school I would wake up screaming. It freaked Olivia out, but I never told her what happened. No one ever found out what happened except the people who worked with Dad. He was able to hush the whole thing up and there was no mention of it in the paper. The nightmares subsided after a while, but that hadn't made the memory of it any less vivid.
Even though it was my brother who got attacked, and not me, my life changed drastically as well. I didn't have any secrets from Olivia before that night, and ever since then I'd been keeping a big one from her. My only secret from Kenzie had been about magic, but now I kept two big secrets from her. Not to mention the fact that I spent more time at my grandparents' house after that. We also went on less holidays, since Dad had to use all his time off work for full moons.
I sighed and rolled over on my bed. Now my life was going to change again because of my brother. What were my parents planning anyway? Where would we go? There was only one school of magic in Australia, so I doubted we'd stay in the country. That meant a new house. I liked this house and I didn't want to leave. I could hardly remember the house we lived in before this one. This house was my home, where I grew up. It was also where Dad grew up and Uncle Jack. Was Dad really going to sell it and move?
Of course he would. I didn't even have to think about it. I knew my parents would do anything for Matt. They would do anything for me, too. Well, anything except let me stay at my school. I wondered what schools they were going to look at. They would have to be in English speaking countries, of course. Mum knew French, Italian, and a bit of German, but none of the rest of us did. They would probably look at the school in New Zealand, since it was closest. But besides that one, what other schools were somewhat nearby? Did they even want to stay nearby? Maybe they would just try and see if the school in New York would accept Matt and we could live near Uncle Jack.
I wouldn't mind living near Uncle Jack, but I didn't really want to move to New York. I didn't want to start over in a new school. Fresh tears formed in my eyes and I squeezed them shut. Wizard school wasn't like Muggle school. Kenzie says that there are new kids all the time at her school and others move away. Muggles seem to move a lot more than wizards do. Wizards generally stay put. In my three years at my school, I had not seen one kid who just moved to Australia. Everyone in my year had started together in first year and no one had moved away. I assumed it was like that in other countries. I would be the weird new girl who moved during her fourth year for reasons she won't even talk about. They would already have friends and everyone would ignore me. It had been hard enough making friends when I was a first year. I could only imagine what it would be like when I was a fourth year.
I must have cried myself to sleep because before I knew it, sunlight was streaming into my window and my stomach was growling. My first thought as I got out of bed was that Olivia was coming over that day. I grinned and quickly changed clothes. Then the previous day's events hit me like a Bludger to the head. My grin faded immediately and I quietly left my room.
The house was quiet and it appeared that I was the first one up. Dirty dishes in the kitchen sink told me otherwise. Dad must have already left for work, I thought as I poured myself a bowl of Fruit Loops. I ate slowly and tried to get excited about Olivia coming over.
The thing was, now that I wasn't going back to school, the prospect of Olivia coming over wasn't nearly as fun. I should be even more excited since I wouldn't see her at the end of the month when school starts, but the fact remained that I wasn't. I was dreading telling her that I wouldn't be going back. And after I told her, what were we going to do? I mean, most of the stuff we talk about has something to do with school since both of us spend most of our time there. But I didn't really want to talk about school right now.
Just as I was finishing my bowl of cereal, Mum came into the room looking like she hadn't gotten a minute of sleep that night. I ignored her as she poured herself a cup of the coffee Dad must have brewed earlier. She sat down across from me and took a long sip of coffee. I started to stand up, but she laid a hand on my arm and looked at me. "Amy, I'd like to talk to you."
"I wouldn't," I said coldly.
She gave me a stern look that made me sit back down. I crossed my arms across my chest and glared at her.
"What time is Olivia coming over?" she asked.
"Two," I said.
Mum nodded. "Well, I would like to talk to you about yesterday. You ran out of the room so fast."
"Yeah, that's because I didn't want to talk about it anymore."
"You didn't let us finish, though. Your father and I have given this quite a bit of thought."
"Oh, yeah? Ever think how this is going to affect me? Switching schools after I've already done three here? Actually, I'll probably wind up switching in the middle of the year once you two figure out where we're going. Can only imagine what that'll be like," I rolled my eyes.
Mum sighed, "That's exactly why I want to tell you more about this. We do have a plan and I would like to tell you it. First, you are not going to switch in the middle of the school year."
"What, you've found a new school already?"
"No. Not all schools start their year in January. You will not be going back to school at the end of this month, not any school."
I raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really? I get an extra long holiday?"
"I will home school you."
"What?!" I stared at her. I did not want to spend an entire school day with my mother.
"I will home school you for now. The schools we are looking at start their year in September and you will start as a fourth year in nine months at one of those."
"That's an odd time to start the year."
"Well, it's not odd for the countries they are in. The schools we are looking at are in New York, a couple of other states in the US, one in Canada, and one in Scotland."
I blinked at her. "Those are all far away."
"Yes, I know."
"How are you going to decide?" I demanded.
"We'll send letters and whichever Headmasters or Headmistresses are agreeable, we will set up times to visit their schools."
"And if none of them will let Matt go?"
Mum sighed and closed her eyes. She didn't say anything for at least a minute, during which I stared at her, but didn't dare speak.
"We'll deal with that if it happens," Mum finally said.
I rolled my eyes. Wonderful, they didn't have a plan if that happened. How could they not think about that? What made them so sure one of these other schools would let Matt attend?
"Could I go back to school here?" I asked hopefully. I knew it was selfish to want the other schools to deny Matt from going, but if they did, one of us might as well be happy.
"Fine. I'll be upstairs until Olivia is here." I glared at her and stood up, stomping out of the room.
"Amy, take your bag with you," Mum pointed to my bag that was still sitting on the kitchen floor.
I grabbed it wordlessly and ran up to my bedroom. I had completely forgotten about my overnight bag and was surprised that Mum waited so long to tell me to put it away. I tossed it unceremoniously onto a pile of dirty clothes once I entered my room. I had no desire whatsoever to empty it and put anything away. Olivia wouldn't care if my room was a mess. She's a messy person as well and our dormitory at school was incredibly messy.
Our dormitory. I squeezed my eyes shut as I realized that it wouldn't be our dormitory anymore. It would just be Olivia's dormitory. There were six girls in our year and two of us shared each dormitory. Olivia would be by herself now since I doubted the school would put a first year in with a fourth year. The only way Olivia would get another roommate would be if someone transferred in. Someone like me. I was going to transfer into some other school. Into someone's dormitory who I had never met before. Someone who already had friends.
I sighed and walked over to the window. It was a bright and sunny day, the complete opposite of my mood. It was probably hot, too, but I couldn't be sure since Mum had put Cooling Charms all over the house. I wondered when we would move. All the schools Mum and Dad were looking at were in the Northern Hemisphere, which meant the seasons would be flipped. It was winter right now in all the countries we might be visiting. Would we move as soon as Mum and Dad found a school? Or would we wait until right before the year started? I hoped we wouldn't move until right before the year started. If we were here, there was a chance I could see Olivia a few more times. Who knew how often I'd see her after we moved.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight. Thanks to teddysxxgirl for the review!
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