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Beyond the Shadow by Gryffin_Duck
Chapter 1 : Turning Thirty
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 18


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This is the sequel to In Moonlight's Shadow.  While it's not necessary to read that story first, I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer-  I don't own Harry Potter.


    The greyish potion simmered in its steel cauldron, a few bubbles rising to the surface and then popping.  It was nearly boiling, but not quite.  I watched it, hardly blinking.  As soon as it began boiling, and not a second later, I would have to add the Wolfsbane.  One eighth of a a teaspoon of it.  A pinch more would ruin the entire potion.  Of course, the whole potion could be useless already.

    I was brewing in the basement of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.  There was a whole slew of brewing rooms in the basement.  It was the best place for them since the fumes would be far away from the patients and so the brewers would be far away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital.

    It was currently seven at night and since it was a Friday, most places of work were closed and their employees enjoying time off.  However, I work at a hospital and hospitals never close.  If I were to venture upstairs to the main part of the hospital, I would find it busy as usual.

    Brewers kept more normal hours than Healers, but I am both.  I had spent most of the day working in the Creature Induced Injury ward, but managed to sneak away at five in order to brew.  As much as I enjoyed Healing, brewing was my passion. 

    I was currently brewing a variation of the Wolfsbane Potion.  Wolfsbane potion had been invented decades ago and was used by werewolves to render themselves harmless during full moons.  They still transformed, but lacked the aggressive qualities normally found in werewolves.  However, this potion was completely useless to a small portion of werewolves. 

    For years, Healers and brewers have been trying to create a new version of Wolfsbane that would work for those werewolves.  I had been working for the past six or seven years on the project, but had had no success so far.

    The potion began to bubble more until it was at a full boil.  I grabbed the small amount of Wolfsbane and tossed it into the cauldron while stirring counter-clockwise.  Now I had to stir it for a half an hour.

    Stirring had never struck me as boring.  Plenty of brewers had complained about the amount of sitting around time and monotonous stirring, but it really never bothered me.  I saw it as a time to think.  After spending a day in the chaotic Creature Induced Injury ward, I needed a few hours to just sit and do mindless work like stirring. 

    “Amy!”  someone whispered.

    I jumped, nearly spilling Wolfsbane Potion all over myself.  I cursed under my breath and turned around to see who had been stupid enough to interrupt my brewing.  It was my best friend, Victoire, and I sighed.  She knew not to interrupt me.

    “Victoire,”  I groaned.  “I told you I'd be brewing until eight today.”

    “That's what you think,”  Victoire rolled her eyes and sat down on the stool next to mine.

    Victoire Lupin had been my best friend since our fourth year at Hogwarts.  Well, she had been a Weasley then.  When she was 23, she married Teddy Lupin, another one of our friends from school.  Victoire was a Healer as well, but she worked on the Spell Damage floor.

    “It is what I think,”  I replied as I continued stirring.  “I need to have this ready for overnight simmering before I leave, so it can be tested tomorrow.”

    “You do realize what day it is,”  Victoire said flatly, shaking her head so that her mane of blonde hair shook.

    “It's Friday, and I always stay late to brew on Fridays,”  I replied.

    Victoire groaned.  “That's not what I meant.  I meant it's October 27th!  It's your birthday for Merlin's sake!  Can't you put aside brewing for one measly day?  I mean, you only turn 30 once.”

    “Thank God,”  I muttered.  “And no, I can't put aside brewing.  You know that.”

    “I don't think you're going to miss having any brilliant breakthroughs if you don't work all night tonight,”  Victoire said.

    “Thanks for having faith in me,”  I muttered.

    “As soon as you're done with that batch, we're leaving.  Everyone's at the Leaky Cauldron, waiting for you.  Teddy and I have organized a birthday and halloween party.  You will be there.  We got a cake and everything.”

    “Thanks,”  I said.  “Another reminder that I'm old now.”

    “30 is not old.”

    “Says the one who is still 29,”  I said.  “I'm 30 and I haven't even done anything important.”

    “Hardly any witches or wizards invent world changing new potions before they're 30,”  Victoire sighed.   “Now finish that potion so we can get in our costumes and go.”

    “Costumes?”  I raised my eyebrows.

    “Well, it is a halloween party, too,”  Victoire replied.

    “I'll go as a Healer,”  I said.

    “You are a Healer, you can't go as one,”  Victoire said.  “Now, you're going as this.”

    Victoire reached into her bag and pulled out a French maid costume.  I groaned inwardly.  The thing looked like it would show more skin than a bathing suit.

    “That is quite possibly the most cliched sexy costume on earth,”  I told her.

    “But it's really from France, so that cancels out the clicheness,”  Victoire grinned.  “I wore it years ago, but can't fit in it since having Sophie, so you get to wear it.”

    “And what are you wearing?”  I asked.

    “This,”  Victoire pulled a black robe and hat out of her bag.

    “Is that a Muggle witch costume?”  I asked.

    “Yep,”  Victoire nodded.

    “So I have to wear a tiny piece of cloth while you get to be completely covered up?”

    “I'm married, you're not,”  Victoire replied.  “Plus, Teddy's dressed as Merlin, so it matches.”

    Victoire waited while I finished brewing the Wolfsbane.  I purposely took a long time to clean up, but then Victoire pitched in and before I knew it I was changing into the French maid costume.

    For the first time ever I was grateful that I was short.  Victoire was nearly a head taller than me, so I was sure the skirt had been of the correct skimpy length on her.  On me, however, it nearly came down to my knees. 

    Victoire had gone all out for her witch's costume.  She painted her face green and affixed a fake wart to her nose.  She looked disgustingly realistic for a Muggle witch.  I stifled my laughter and the two of us disapparated.

    We reappeared in front of the Diagon Alley side of the Leaky Cauldron.  I could already hear the noise coming from inside.  Victoire really must have invited everyone.  I followed her into the pub and our arrival was met with loud choruses of 'happy birthday' sung in a variety of tunes.

    The pub was packed.  I only recognized about half of the people there.  I saw a few people from work including a bunch of nurses, my boss Healer Morris Sterling, Healer Jeff Norlam, and Healer Rose Weasley.  Standing around Rose were all her friends from school including my brother, Matt, and much to my surprise, his roommate Albus Potter.  Al was out of the country a lot for work. 

    Even my parents were there.  The two of them were sitting at a table, looking to be the two calmest people there.  Neither of them were dressed up.  Mum had a cup of tea and Dad had a bottle of something.  But sitting next to Dad was the biggest surprise of all.

    “Uncle Jack?”  I shouted as I ran towards them.

    “Amy!”  he stood up and gave me a hug.  “That's quite the costume.”

    “Victoire's idea,”  I blushed.

    My Uncle Jack lives in Horseheads, New York, and I only see him once a year at the most.  I had no idea he was coming for my birthday.  He was wearing a black and white striped prisoner outfit.

    “Happy Birthday, Amy,”  he said.

    “Thanks,”  I grinned.

    I went around the pub, accepting all the birthday wishes from everyone until I wound up at the bar.  Victoire and Teddy were sitting there, each with a drink.  I ordered my own drink and sat down next to them.

    There was a box at the end of the bar marked 'Lycanthropy Awareness Fund'.  I looked at it and then turned to Victoire.

    “We told everyone to bring donations in lieu of gifts,”  Victoire answered my questioning look.

    “Thanks,”   I smiled.  “So who's Sophie with tonight?”

    Sophie, Victoire and Teddy's five-year-old daughter, was the most adorable kid I had ever met in my life.  She's like a niece to me and even calls me Aunt. 

    “My parents,”  Victoire answered.  “They're thrilled to see her.”

    “And how is little Sophie doing?”  Hannah Longbottom asked as she set my drink down in front of me.

    “Oh, she's great,”  Victoire smiled.  “I'll bring her by soon.”

    “Good.  I haven't seen her in ages,”  Hannah said.

    Ages probably meant a few weeks, I thought.  Hannah Longbottom loved Sophie.  Everyone loved Sophie. 

    “Amy, happy birthday.”

    I turned and saw Matt, wearing a mummy costume, sitting down on my other side.  His blonde hair looked in need of a cut, but other than that he looked great.   Just a few months ago I had heard a few of the younger nurses whispering about how good looking he was and I had had to run into a closet to laugh.  But now that I looked at him, I could almost see what they meant.  In a sisterly, non-disgusting way of course.  It was just odd because he will always be a scrawny little kid in my mind.  Granted, he was still skinny and on the short side, but that wasn't going to change.

    “Thanks, Matt,”  I gave him a hug.  “I haven't seen you in a few days.”

    “I've been with Albus,”  Matt pointed to Albus, who was laughing at something their friend John had said.  “He's been home the past three days.”

    “When's he leaving again?”  I asked.

    “Who knows?”  Matt shrugged.

    Albus Potter was the son of the one and only Harry Potter and did some sort of Auror-like secretive work.  It involved traveling to different countries and tracking down rogue wizards.  That was all I knew.  I had asked Matt a few times, but he changed the subject every time.  I guessed it must be secret for a reason.

    Matt and Albus had been sharing a flat ever since a few months after they left Hogwarts.  Even though Albus was away for his job for a good portion of every month, he always paid half the rent.  Neither of them, especially Matt, would have been able to afford their own flat.

    “So,”  Matt grinned,  “Late for your own party?”

    “I wasn't that late, was I?”  I asked.  “How long had you lot been here?”

    “Few hours,”  Matt replied.

    “Well, I was at work...brewing,”  I shrugged.

    “Big surprise there,”  Matt grinned.

    “Matt!”  Albus shouted over the crowd.  “Better get over here!  Kaden's mixing firewhiskey with some Muggle drink called a screwdriver!”

    “I've gotta go,”  Matt said as he got up and left.

    “Amy,”  Rose Weasley ran up to me,  “Happy birthday.”

    “Thanks,”  I smiled. 

    “But I've been meaning to get ahold of you.  I recruited three more werewolves for the study,”  Rose told me.

    Rose Weasley was, if it was possible, even more devoted to work than I was.  She was a recently certified magical psychiatrist who worked at St. Mungo's.  A few weeks ago, she had gotten involved with a long-term study on lycanthropy that I was involved in.

    “Really?”  I asked.  “We've never gotten that many at once before.”

    “They've been coming to Mungo's for therapy for years,”  Rose explained.  “I told them about the study and they're quite interested.  Two wizards and one witch.”

    “Rose Elizabeth Weasley,”  Victoire tapped her on the shoulder.  “Are you talking about work?”

    “Yes,”  Rose said.

    “We're trying to give Amy a break from work,”  Victoire told her.  “That means you can't talk about it here.”

    “Victoire, it's kind of important,”  I said.

    “Fine,”  Victoire groaned,  “Talk about work.”

    “Anyway,”  Rose continued,  “I've scheduled them each to come in for interviews on Monday, if you can make it.”

    “I'll be there,”  I assured her.
   
    “Good.  Now I'd better go stop Kaden before we really do have to work tonight,”  Rose said.

    I sat with Victoire and Teddy and watched the party.  I've never been big on parties, but this one wasn't bad.  It was my kind of party.  Well, besides the costume part.  Only about half of the people were actually dressed up, though.

    “Amy, long time, no see,”  Landon Comer, one of my friends from school, sat down on the stool next to mine.  He was dressed as Harry Potter, which was pretty funny.  I'm sure Albus was quite thrilled with it.

    “Hey, Landon,”  I replied.  Landon worked in the Department of International Magical Cooperation.  He was married and had two children as well.

    “Happy birthday,”  he said.  “Seems like just yesterday you were that quiet new girl at Hogwarts.”

    “You're making me feel old,”  I groaned.

    “I'm allowed to.  I'm older than you,”  Landon laughed.

    The party continued well into the night.  I had a few more drinks and felt more relaxed than I had in a long time.  Someone turned on some music and cleared the tables and dancing begun.  One of the male nurses dragged me onto the floor to dance but I lost track of him when my parents and Uncle Jack found me to say goodbye. 

    Soon, it was only me, Victoire, Teddy, Matt, and Albus left.  Matt and Albus looked exhausted, which made me wonder how late they had stayed out the night before.  Whenever Albus was in town, he and Matt rarely slept. 

    “Thanks for the party, Victoire,”  I gave her a hug.

    “No problem,”  Victoire replied.  “And tomorrow you can get back to work.”

    “I've got the weekend off,”  I told her.

    “Even better,”  Victoire grinned.  “Well, we'd better get going.”

    “Bye,”  I said.  “Bye, Teddy!”

    “See you soon, Amy,”  Teddy replied.  “Happy birthday.”

    I left with Matt and Albus once Victoire and Teddy disapparated.  We lived in the same flat building, which was quite close to the Leaky Cauldron.

    “Don't stay up too late,”  I told Matt once we reached his flat.

    “We won't,”  Matt rolled his eyes.

    “You look exhausted,”  I told him.

    “'Night, Amy,”  Matt said.  “Happy birthday.”

    “'Night Matt,  Albus,”  I replied and walked up the two flights of stairs to my own flat.

    My flat was quiet like it always is.  I had been living in it ever since Victoire got married.  The two of us had had a flat together when we were training at St. Mungo's, but it wasn't the nicest of places.  By the time Victoire got married, I had been able to afford a better place.

    It was on the third floor of a Muggle flat building.  The building itself was only ten years old.  My flat consisted of two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a relatively large living room.  Plus a bathroom and a few closets.  It was enough room for me and I liked it.

    I tossed my purse onto the kitchen table and went into my bedroom.  I changed out of the awful French maid outfit, tossing the thing haphazardly into the closet knowing I would never wear it again.  I got into bed and realizing how tired I was, fell into a deep sleep.

                        ******

    Someone was knocking on the door and I didn't feel like answering it.  I opened my eyes and quickly shut them again when the sunlight hit them.  I forced them open again and looked at the clock.  It was noon. 

    I shot out of bed and ran out of the room.  I hadn't slept that late in a very long time.  Saturdays usually meant doing research, spending time with Matt, and then dinner with my parents.  They rarely included sleeping until noon.

    I wrenched the door open and was immediately hit by Sophie, who wrapped my legs in a tight hug.  I bent down and picked her up and opened the door wider so Victoire and Teddy could get inside.

    Sophie Nymphadora Lupin had turned five a month ago and was the most adorable child I'd seen.   Everyone knew she would be since she had Victoire and Teddy for parents.  Her hair was stick straight and dirty blonde.  It was the perfect combination of Victoire's blonde hair and Teddy's naturally brown hair.  Today Teddy's hair was green, though.  It actually matched Sophie's green eyes quite well.

    “Happy Birthday, Aunt Amy!”  Sophie shouted.

    “Thanks, Sophie,”  I smiled as I set her down.

    “Where's Uncle Matt?”  Sophie asked as she ran around the flat.

    “He's at his flat,”  I told her.  “He's probably still asleep.  Remember he likes to sleep late on Saturdays because he has to work during the week.”

    “Oh, yeah,”  Sophie said.  “I made you a birthday card.”

    “Did you?”  I smiled at her.

    “Uh-huh,”  Sophie nodded and pulled a construction paper card out of her pocket.

    I sat down on couch and Sophie curled up next to me.  The card was blue with a yellow sun on the front and 'happy birthday' scribbled above it.  I opened it and there was a cake on the inside. 

    “Thank you, Sophie,”  I smiled and gave her a hug.  “This is the best card I've gotten.”

    Sophie grinned.  “I made it at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Grandma helped me with the letters.”

    “You did a great job,”  I told her.

    “Soph, we've got to get to Diagon Alley,”  Victoire said and then turned to me.  “We just stopped by so she could give you her card.”

    “I'll see you soon, ok?”  I gave Sophie another hug.   

    I said goodbye to Victoire and Teddy and shut the door after them.  I had four hours until dinner with my parents.  Plenty of time to get some work done.   I ate a quick lunch and then took a shower and got dressed.  Then it was research time.

    I tried to do some research every Saturday.  The second bedroom in my flat was filled with shelves and shelves of books on potions and lycanthropy.  I'd already read a good portion of them, but I liked to look them over again to find clues. 

    Most recently I had been experimenting with how different types of cauldrons affected the Wolfsbane Potion.  It was normally brewed in a silver cauldron, but I had been brewing it in a steel cauldron to see how that would affect it. 

    There was not a whole lot written about the Wolfsbane Potion.  The wizard who had originally invented it had a chapter about it in his book, but that was about it.  Then there were a few articles about it in obscure potions magazines, but they weren't that informative.  I had to read other books and piece together little bits of information and try to make sense of it. 

    It wasn't very rewarding work.  In fact, it was downright depressing most of the time.  I would spend weeks on a new potion and then it wouldn't work and I'd have to research again and start over.  That was the nature of potion brewing, though.  Not a lot of wizards and witches chose to get into that profession for that reason and even fewer wanted to create another Wolfsbane Potion.  There were four of us working on it and I was one of two brewers.  My boss, Healer Sterling, was the other one.  He had been working on it long before I even became a Healer.   The other two are magical psychiatrists, Healer Norlam and Rose Weasley.

    Nevertheless, I devoted most of my time towards the task.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most devoted of us four.  I had no intentions of stopping until I succeeded.  It was something I had been wanting to do ever since I was fifteen. 

    The reason was my brother.  When he was only five years old, he was attacked by a werewolf and had been suffering from lycanthropy ever since.  Wolfsbane Potion had no affect on him.  My parents had spent so much time trying to give him a normal life, including moving all of us from Australia to England so he could go to school.

    Matt had also participated in a ten year study of the Wolfsbane Potion run by Healer Sterling, in which he tried three new kinds of Wolfsbane.  None of them helped.  He'd tried most of the potions I created as well, and none of them helped.  Some even made it worse. 

    “Amy, are you working again?”  someone said from behind me.

    I jumped and saw Matt standing in the doorway of the second bedroom.  “Matt.  I didn't even hear you come in.  And yes, I am working.”

    “We've got to get to Mum and Dad's,”  he said as he sat down on the bed.

    “You still look exhausted,”  I told him,  “How late did you stay up?”

    “Late,”  he answered.  “John and Kaden came over.”

    “You really shouldn't do that to yourself so close to the full moon,”  I sighed.  “You're going to regret it on Thursday.”

    “You sound like Mum,”  Matt muttered.  “Besides, Albus has to leave again on Monday.”

    “Where's he off to this time?”  I asked.

    “Can't tell you,”  Matt gave his standard answer to that question.  “But I'll be over on Wednesday, probably.”

    “That's fine,”  I told him.  “I've got the day off.”

    Matt always got really sick the day before full moons, and that hadn't changed as he got older.  Mum and Dad weren't comfortable with him being on his own the day before and day after the full moon and I agreed with them.  Matt hadn't objected, either.   So, when he and Albus got their flat together, Matt agreed never to be on his own around full moons.  Whenever Albus is away for work, Matt comes over to my flat.  I usually get the day before, the day of, and the day after full moons off.

    For the actual transformation, Matt goes to our parents' house.  There was really no point in making a new safe room or safe house when the one in my parents' house works fine.  Plus, we live in a Muggle flat building and it would not be a good idea for him to transform in his flat, safe room or not.

    “Day after, too?”  Matt asked.

    “Yup,”  I told him.  “Like always.”

    “Any new potions this month?”  he asked.

    “No,”  I sighed.  “I'm working on one, but it's got to be put through the preliminary tests before anyone can take it.”

    “It's ok, you'll get there eventually,”  Matt said quietly,  “Now we'd better get to Mum and Dad's before they start worrying.”

    I smiled and followed my brother out of the room.  Even if we were a minute late to family dinners, Mum started worrying.  If there was an olympic event in worrying, Mum would get the gold medal.


A/N:  I didn't want to make you guys wait any longer, so I decided to start posting now.  However, since this semester is going to be another crazy one and I won't have much time to write, I am going to do updates every other Sunday until I get a lot more chapters written.  I hope you like it!


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