Chapter 24 : Stories
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Grimmauld Place, Aug 8, 1995
The family. Sirius hadn’t stopped to think about it as such in a long time. To him, it had remained static over the years—an unchanging combination of his wife and his three children. But they weren’t children anymore, and each had gone and found their own families, which were now intermingled with one another. Over dinner, Sirius was given a clearer history of each of their lives.
They weren’t pretty stories, and all were full of pain and loss and impossible sacrifices. Max had grown up in foster care and had become a Death Eater to save his brother and sister from the fate his mother had suffered. Dru endured painful transformations every month and had given up his entire world in an effort to have a chance to get a job, find friends and people who accepted him. Kitty had moved from place to place as a child, and she had found her mother’s body when she was only twelve.
But somehow they managed to find things to laugh about. And as they talked, he also slowly became aware of the topics they never discussed. There was something strange about Charli, and he didn’t know what it was. Looking at her, she seemed normal enough, except that she looked so very different from any other person he had ever met. Her pale skin was almost as light as Pete’s, her hazel eyes were practically yellow, and her long blonde hair was too light to be considered natural. There was something about the way she moved, and the way she spoke, and the way she smelled. It seemed so familiar, and yet at the same time, it was all alien to him.
There was also the matter of Max being a Death Eater. They could discuss his constant interactions with them for hours, and yet it was never mentioned that he was one himself. It was odd, and almost difficult to notice, because it seemed like such an obvious thing—especially when Max hadn’t even bothered to change out of the uniform black robes they all wore. But they never said it out loud.
Slowly, he realized he would have to be careful about what he said to them. They had only just accepted him back into the family, and it felt like a frail connection still.
After dinner, the rooming assignments had to be nailed down. Charli would be sharing rooms with Lena, but Kitty and Dru each got their own rooms because everyone else’s rooms were already full.
Grimmauld Place, Aug 9, 1995
Dru brought an acoustic guitar with him. It was the only instrument he had with him, and although it wasn’t his usual sound—not when people were used to hearing the loud electric guitars and bases he usually played—but it was all he needed. And it took only an hour for him to realize it wasn’t the only instrument in the house.
“Have you found the music room?” Sirius asked him in the morning over breakfast. Dru’s eyes widened.
“Music room?” It was like saying the magic words. Just a moment ago he had looked half-asleep and tired. Suddenly he was excited and eager.
“It’s not much” Sirius assured him, “and it still needs a good cleaning, but maybe you can put it to use.” So after breakfast, Sirius showed him the music room, hidden behind the drawing room. As Sirius had told him, it was dusty and when Dru played a few notes on the piano, he found it was in dire need of being tuned. But he smiled broadly. With everyone’s help, the music room was clean in only a couple of days, at the end leaving only the task of tuning the piano, which Dru did in a few hours.
Dru and Charli spent the better part of each day in that room. Other people came and went, always drawn by the sounds they created together. The few who knew their music already sang along frequently to the words they knew, while those who didn’t, finally got to hear what all the fuss was about.
It was like they were finally getting to know the real Dru. So maybe the songs weren’t as cheerful as Dru was on the exterior, but they spoke truths. The themes in his music were familiar—much of his life had translated itself into his songs, so that they seemed to almost have an order to them.
Of course, it wasn’t all serious. Dru and Charli also liked to have their fun making silly lyrics to silly notes, and it wasn’t hard to join in. Much of the younger crowd became addicted to their sound, and started spending vast amounts of time with them, almost forgetting there was a real reason they were here at all.
“How long will you be gone?” Fred asked. After hearing of the true origins of their troublemaking days, they had made an effort to get to know Dru, and had found quite easily that the prankster in him remained alive and well.
“Just a couple of days”
Grimmauld Place, Aug 10, 1995
Dru knew there was much to get done. Here in the wizarding world, refusing to make appearances on full moons actually meant something. So Charli and Dru had agreed to meet the Weird Sisters on the very same day as a full moon, and could only hope they would be done by the time Dru had to leave.
Charli’s presence was calming to him. It reminded him he wasn’t the only one taking the ultimate risk by deciding to expand their audience this way. It reminded him he wasn’t the only person who had to play an act every single day, in front of everyone. He kept telling himself he couldn’t lose his temper today—the Weird Sisters could be a good contact to have, and a way in with their label.
Grimmauld Place, Aug 11, 1995
Remus didn’t make it to Grimmauld Place until late afternoon. He wouldn’t have bothered showing up at all, except there was an Order meeting tonight where Dumbledore might have news on things happening at the Ministry. He was surprised to find Dru was already there, strumming his guitar with practiced fingers and stopping every few seconds to write something down. He looked perfectly fine, and even smiled and waved energetically at him when he walked in to the music room. He was alone today, which was strange; Dru was usually surrounded by people, even here at Grimmauld Place. His infectious laugh and cheerful countenance drew people in.
“Hello Remus” Dru said as Remus took a seat on a nearby chair. “How are you feeling?” his tone was worried, as though he hadn’t been through the same ordeal himself last night.
“Could be better” Remus admitted. It wasn’t something he would have said in front of anyone else. Most people, even here at Grimmauld Place, took little notice of lunar cycles. He had noticed just yesterday how not even Sirius himself had thought twice about Dru leaving for two days. “And you?” Dru set his guitar down and stretched back into the reclining chair he was on.
“Fine, I guess” he said with a shrug. “Just tired, mostly”
“Why don’t you go get some sleep?” Remus asked, curious. He had noticed over the past few days that Dru didn’t seem to get much rest at all. He stayed up late at nights, writing, or playing something in the music room. And usually he was the first one up in the mornings.
“I don’t want to be groggy during the Order meeting” Dru said, but Remus got the feeling there was more to this. He raised his eyebrows to show his disbelief.
“What’s the real reason, Dru?” he asked again. Dru sighed.
“Nightmares” he confessed. “I always get nightmares when I sleep.” Remus had watched Dru closely over the past few days that he had been here. He had known enough werewolves in his life that he had come to expect some things: like the fact that all of them were afraid, or that not one of them was actually happy with his life. They all had a look in their eyes that said they knew the true meaning of pain and disappointment. But Dru had none of these traits… at least, not as far as he had seen. Now he realized that the fear and sadness in Dru’s life had simply manifested in different ways. In his effort to be the likeable, cheerful character he was outwardly, the darkness had taken on a new shape for him.
“I’m sorry” was all he said.
“For what, Remus?” Dru said, and he sounded angry. Anyone else might have felt offended at this, but Remus knew it was just the aftereffects of the transformation, when he was still volatile and sometimes violent. But Dru recovered himself quicker than most. “Did you know you’ve been the greatest help I’ve had in my life?” The question caught Remus off-guard. He didn’t know how to answer this. “You could have said the same sympathetic, pitiful things everyone else said, assured me everything would be fine, and told me you’d help me find a cure or something. But instead you told me the truth. You told me I’d have to man up and fight hard for what I wanted if I was ever going to catch a break in my life”
“Well, I don’t recall those being the exact words I used…” Dru smirked.
“No, you told me to be strong… like Max” he said. Remus remembered that conversation so vaguely now that the details escaped him, but evidently, Dru had not forgotten. He had been barely five years old, but the short conversation had left its mark.
“Well, you clearly took my words with a meaning I never intended” Remus said, and Dru’s face was suddenly confused. This time it was Remus who smirked. “I’d never expected you’d commit fraud and make the whole world believe you’re actually a muggle” Dru laughed. “How exactly did that happen, anyway?” He’d been wanting to ask this question for some time, but the opportunity hadn’t presented itself until now.
“I grew up in a tiny town, out in the middle of nowhere of Australia. It was the kind of place where werewolves were a distant problem that didn’t affect them much. They weren’t brought up hating us, so they accepted me more easily than I could ever have hoped. I was able to find a family, make friends. But things weren’t perfect. I still wasn’t allowed to go to school with the other kids, and I realized I might never learn how to do magic properly. I suppose most would have just given in and accepted that’s the way things would be.”
“How did you manage to get an education, then?” Remus asked, curious. It had been something he had wondered about before, though he hadn’t expected it to be part of the story.
“I got lucky. The school most witches and wizards go to in Australia is in Sydney, but one of the professors was from the same town I was living in. He knew I was a werewolf, but he knew I wanted to learn, so he took to bringing me full sets of the schoolbooks they used so I could learn on my own.”
“You taught yourself magic?” Remus couldn’t keep the admiration out of his voice. Dru shrugged like this wasn’t all that impressing.
“I did what I could at my own pace” Dru said. “So I guess my education ended up being a bit biased”
“Biased toward what?” Sirius asked. Neither Remus nor Dru had noticed him listening at the door, but neither seemed bothered by this.
“I hated trying to learn astronomy, but potions and transfiguration was fun. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I might have enjoyed history a bit more if I’d had someone like Pete for a teacher” Dru said, chuckling to himself. Sirius and Remus weren’t sure what he meant by this. Dru explained further when he noticed their confusion. “Pete’s been around for centuries. You should hear him when he gets to talking about his younger life. He’s a perfect filing system. He’s seen everything”
“How old is Pete, exactly?” Sirius asked.
“He’s supposed to have been the last Coven King of London.” Remus said, “so he must be at least a couple of centuries old”
“How do you know that?” Sirius demanded. He had gotten the impression Remus was trying not to know Pete at all.
“Kitty mentioned his name is Dimitri Petrovsky” Remus answered, then looked to Dru for confirmation.
“Yes, to everyone else, he’s Dimitri Petrovsky. We only call him Pete because that’s the way Max introduced him to us and it stuck. I don’t know how old he is exactly, but I’m sure Kitty would know if you asked her.” Dru said.
“You don’t like him either?” Sirius asked his son. Dru shrugged noncommittally.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of Pete as a friend, but I don’t think I dislike him. Vampires and werewolves… we’re not made to get along. When I first met him, my first instinct was to tear his throat out. It took us ages to be able to stand being in the same room together without wanting to kill each other, and even longer before we stopped arguing over the littlest things. Pete feels the same way I do. He’s around me so much only because of Max and Kitty. I’m just an extension to his love for them—he knows they’d be hurt if I got hurt.”
“He… loves them?” Dru wasn’t surprised by Sirius’ question. It irked him too sometimes, though he’d never admit it to Kitty.
“He’s not such a bad guy once you get to know him. You’d be surprised how much vampires seem to have in common with euromys. Pete understands some of what Max and Lena go through. And you might have noticed Kitty is almost completely unprejudiced” Dru said to them both.
“A product, no doubt, of having a pureblood father, a blue blood mother, a euromy brother, and another brother who’s a werewolf” Dru and Sirius laughed, but again, they found they weren’t alone. This time Kitty had listened in to their conversation.
“I guess when you put it like that, I’m the only normal one” She said, walking in.
“Which in the case of our family, actually makes you the strange one” Dru said with a laugh. “You’re the odd one out, Kat.” Kitty just stuck her tongue out at him.
“You never finished your story, Dru” Remus said, “about how you decided to commit fraud and become a muggle” Dru laughed.
“Well, once I was done learning, I realized I’d never be allowed to take the necessary tests to be considered for real jobs. I had some friends—Mike, Eric and Sam—who were dying to get out of the small town we were living in. They spent the better part of a year trying to convince Charli and I to leave with them. We were all a band together, and they wanted to see the world. It was Eric, the nerd in our group, who thought up the idea that we could act like muggles. I thought he was crazy at first, but the idea grew on me. No one in the world held any real proof that we were magical except for our families, so it made sense that we could act like no magical ability had ever manifested in us. Neither of us ever took any tests or made ourselves noticed either. At first, we were clumsy about it. We moved to America together, and we started playing music wherever we could get paid—muggle and wizarding worlds alike. One day we just got tired of barely being able to scrape a living, so we started looking for an agent. Taylor was a nobody just like us, and she was ambitious, like us. She was also a muggle. I don’t think any of us realized when we took her up as our agent that we’d end up getting famous.
“When we first got signed to a label, we all got together and had a meeting. We knew that if we were going to be in the limelight that much, we had to stop doing magic or even associating with the magical world altogether. We’d never meant it to go as far as it has, but now it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever find a way out.”
“But you can still do magic while you’re alone, can’t you?” Sirius asked. Dru shook his head.
“Turns out the Department of Magic in America keeps track of muggles who know about magic as well as wizards. Mike, Eric and Sam can get away with it because they’re known wizards. Charli and I can’t do magic anywhere.” Remus couldn’t imagine living with that kind of sacrifice. He could understand why Dru would prefer it, but he wasn’t sure he’d do the same.
“Do you miss it?” Remus asked.
“Of course!” Dru laughed, “but it’s also nice in some ways. Muggles don’t think twice about the fact that we never schedule anything on full moons, or that we don’t use pyrotechnics, or that we say strange things sometimes that they don’t understand. They just think we’re weird and leave it at that.
I hope you can forgive this long, boring chapter. I'll try and make the next one more interesting...