Chapter 20 : Triple Play
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We require your assistance.
Megara read the short note, written hastily in what was undeniably Remus’s refined print.
Then she opened the other letter, which was also scribbled, but she too recognised the handwriting: Faye’s.
If you’ve received Remus’s note then you know what we want, but I’ll tell you why. Shealin has become acquainted with the Greyback sons, Kieran and Darien. We believe most strongly that she (and her sisters) are connected to them, but we need you to bring the others home to confirm it. Oh—yes—we believe there is a third son of Greyback, one who is connected to one of the other girls. 2+2+2=6=666. Might you know anything of it?
And just so you know, Meg, Sirius is in a panic, has been since Remus recommended that you return. Shealin still does not know of her paternity—but Remus thinks she should.
It’s been 13 years…
—Faye (I am undercover as “Anne Pettrew.” Keep it that way.)'
She let out a sigh, looking out the window to where her children played.
Well, they were technically teenagers, but what mother did not think of her nearly matured offspring as children still?
There were the twins—triplets, really, but they didn’t know that—Serena and Sybill, perfectly identical: tall and glossy-haired and violet-eyed. Then Colton: already as tall as his sisters, dark-haired but with his father’s eyes. He and Shailene, Shealin, had the same eyes, she reflected.
Of course, no one knew that Colton existed, least of all Sirius; he’d been arrested the very night she had conceived their only son.
They were currently playing baseball (she couldn’t shake her half-blood lineage) with their neighbours, twins as well. Declan and Susanneh Grace were thirteen and a few months younger than Colton, who was nearly fourteen, as he pointed out whenever he had the chance.
They, too, were practically indistinguishable: both had deep brown-black hair, fair skin and light brown eyes; they didn’t look a thing like their mother or younger brother.
Megara had lived next to the Grace family—consisting of Rebecca and her three children; there was no father present—for the last thirteen or so years, ever since…She shook her head. She mustn’t go back to her years in England.
Damn Remus! Well, obviously something wasn’t right in her second home, but she was unsure whether or not to return, after such a long absence; although she had made it clear that whenever the Order needed her, she would come back.
She glanced out again, preserving the laughing teenagers in her mind, before disappearing into the deepest shadows of the house.
* * *
“I’ve got it!” shouted Declan, leaping into the air and snagging the ball before it could go any further. “Damn you, Colt, you’ve the hit of a professional.”
“Don’t swear,” said Susanneh, on the rock they had marked for third base.
“Damn!” chimed in Colton, purely to antagonise her; she scowled, and he smirked. “Come on, Sibs, show Sanna what you’ve got. She hits like a girl anyway.”
“I am a girl, you idiot!” cried Susanneh indignantly. Her eyebrows drew close together as she concentrated, and Sybill grinned, cocky as usual. Carefully she gathered herself, one foot off the ground, and—threw.
Her pitches were legendary (at least among their little group); Susanneh swung and missed. “Striiiiiike one!” called Colton. “Good one, Sibs.”
“Thanks, little brother.” This time, though, Sybill threw the ball a bit softer than usual, and the bat cracked as it connected; however, before Susanneh made it to first base, Declan was walking forward with the ball in his hand.
“Nice,” said Colton, giving the other boy an affectionate punch to the shoulder. “You’re inhuman, mate.”
His best friend smiled. “Zat!” he said. “Are you sure you don’t want to play?”
Zachariah, situated in the huge oak tree in their yard, lowered the book he was immersed in, irritated at being disturbed. “Of course I’m sure,” he said.
It was hard to believe the boy was only eleven. Declan turned away in disgust; why did Zat have to read so much?
“All right, who’s winning?” he said, clearing his throat in an attempt to sound manlier, looking to Serena to see if she’d noticed.
“We are,” Colton insisted immediately.
“Are not!” said Susanneh, walking forward so that she and Colton stood nose-to-nose (well, actually she had to look up a bit, as he was a few inches taller). “If Declan weren’t on your team, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”
”Right, like you can hit worth a damn,” said Colton.
“Colt,” said Serena, as Susanneh opened her mouth to protest.
“Sorry. I can’t help it.”
Sybill was idly tossing the baseball up into the air, then catching it. “Yeah, Serena, let him get his mouth washed out—remember the last time?” She chuckled.
Colton scowled. “Shut up.”
Declan grinned. “Did you ever get the soap out?”
“No,” admitted Colton.
“Sybill! Serena! Colton!” said the Trelawney siblings’ mother suddenly. “Come here, please!”
“See? She heard you,” Declan teased. “Should I be on the lookout for bubbles tomorrow?”
Colton made a quick rude hand gesture, after checking to make sure his mother wasn’t watching.
* * *
A bit later, they sat in stunned silence—Colton, Serena and Sybill—staring across the table at Megara, who waited for their reaction somewhat anxiously.
Finally Sybill spoke.
“You mean…we have to leave Declan and Sanna and Zat behind?”
“I…don’t know,” said Megara, hesitating.
“Our father’s a convict?” said Colton, who seemed fascinated by the fact. “He’s Sirius Black?”
“No and yes,” said Megara.
“Is that all you care about, you dimwit?” said Sybill, smacking her brother in the back of the head; he let out a yelp and tried to hit her in return, but at one glare from their mother, he gave up. “Our father’s a convict? He’s Sirius Black?” mimicked Sybill. “Oh it doesn’t matter that we’re going to have to be uprooted from our friends, no, it’s all about how our father”—she sneered—“turns out to be a heartless murdering git.”
“What he’d do, Mum, get you pregnant and just walk away? How typical. Didn’t have the guts to stick by us—”
“You will hold your tongue!” Megara shouted with such force that Sybill instantly sat down. “Your father is a great man!”
“As all murderers undoubtedly are,” said Sybill.
Megara shoved away from the table and went over to the large trunk she always kept locked. After a muttered incantation, the lid snapped open, and she removed a very large leather-bound book and slammed it in front of her children.
“This is your murderer of a father,” she said in frosty tones, fighting anger. “And the life I left behind when I took you and ran after he was arrested. I never told you; ’tis because of this that we’re leaving. I shall let you look, and I am going over to Rebecca’s to speak with her.”
* * *
Megara wordlessly showed Rebecca the letters, saying as she handed them to the other woman, “I think you ought to read these. You told me that story a few years ago…I did not know…”
“The equation,” said Rebecca in amazement. “But I thought ’twas merely legend; although all legends do have some truth to the matter. ’Tis astonishing—that something like this would actually exist. And you believe that my children are part of it?”
“Just Declan and Susanneh. It all fits—my four and your four, though Susanneh and Colt are abnormalities, factors the People did not count upon. But my triplets and the Greyback brothers…one and one, one and one, one and one.”
“That means…wouldn’t Colton and Sanna have to be together, then? They quite detest each other.”
“Oh, I should think that Colton’s thoughts are the opposite. He fancies her. His sisters tease him endlessly. And”—she dropped her voice, smiling mischievously—“have you not noticed Sybill? She goes dreamy-eyed every time she looks at Declan.”
“No!” said Rebecca, her blue eyes shining. “Are you certain? He is so much younger than she is,” she added, a bit worriedly, as mothers do.
“Two years,” said Megara. “I was a bit older than my…husband.”
“Oh, this Remus is your husband? And Faye is your sister-in-law?”
Megara hesitated. “—No. Remus is a family friend. My husband—we are separated but were never divorced—is the cousin of Faye. Perhaps you know of the Prewett family?”
“Yes,” said Rebecca immediately. “Fabian and Gideon were killed, weren’t they, during the war?”
“Faye is Fabian’s wife.”
“She didn’t remarry?”
Shaking her head, Megara replied, “He was her one and only. Forever and always. We parted rather nastily, I must admit, but she has three children by him. Currently she is undercover, and her children are with my other daughter, at Hogwarts. Shealin is Remus’s ward.”
“Complicated,” said Rebecca. “D’you reckon there is a chance of you and your husband…?”
“No. And that is what tore Faye and I apart—my husband’s arrest—” Megara stopped; she did not want Rebecca, had never let her, to know who, precisely, her husband was.
She was only thankful that Colton was a near-perfect genetic match to his sisters…that he was Sirius’s son by birth.
“Will you come home with us?” she asked, thinking ahead.
“’Twould only be for a little while,” said Megara cautiously.
“When were you planning on leaving?”
“Tomorrow,” answered Megara.
“I shall sleep on it,” said Rebecca, only a half-answer, but already her mind was whirring with the possibilities; and so she left Megara, and went to tell Declan and Sanna and Zat the proposed plan.
* * *
“I keep telling them not to ring that blasted doorbell!” Sirius said exasperatedly. “Again, and again, and again…You’d think they’d have learned by now.”
He bustled out of the parlour, passing by Remus, who was reading the Prophet again. It was only because of how Remus had the paper up to his face that Sirius didn’t notice his friend’s little smile.
Sirius flung open the door…
…and his eyes widened in shock at the people clustered on the doorstep. But it was the woman at the head of the line that he stared at the most, fixing her with that cool silver-eyed gaze.
“Megara,” he said shortly.
“Sirius,” she answered, in the same tone. “Might we come in? There is much we must discuss.”
“Meg!” said Remus, choosing his timing perfectly, as he elbowed Sirius where no one could see. He embraced his one-night stand warmly. “We’ve been expecting you…”
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