Chapter 15 : Similarities
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Matt came by at three, looking much better than he had Thursday night, and by that point I'd had a nap and felt recovered from my night of babysitting.
“Should we bring something?” I asked Matt as I scrounged around in my mostly empty cupboards. I probably should've thought of that earlier.
“Already have it covered,” Matt said as he held up a bottle of wine. “Victoire and Dillan are cooking everything, so I figured wine would be a safe bet.”
I nodded. “Thanks. How are you feeling, by the way?”
“Better,” he said. “Shall we go?”
“Yes,” I said.
Together we walked out of my flat and disapparated, hand in hand, once we were on the street.
The smell of the salty air hit my nose as soon as we reappeared a few yards from Shell Cottage. I breathed deeply and smiled. Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur's was my favorite dwelling of all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. They'd lived there since they got married, years before my parents got married, and it was quite possibly the most calming location in the world.
It sat next to the ocean, but rarely flooded. I suspect Uncle Bill put some charms on it to prevent that. It was a rustic place, with a lot of exposed wooden beams, and Aunt Fleur had decorated it in a sea décor to match. They didn't have a single neighbor, a fact I was somewhat jealous of.
Despite my love of Shell Cottage, I didn't visit very often. Victoire and I were never very close growing up, possibly because of the age difference, but most likely because she was far more refined than me. I'd always been closest with Rose and Hugo out of all my cousins, and thus went to Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron's more often. Teddy, on the other hand, Teddy was like another big brother to me since my dad is his godfather. We were still close in our adult years, but Teddy's job as an Auror results in him being sent off on missions and rarely home at normal hours.
I did manage a few visits a year, when my schedule happened to coincide with Teddy's, and Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur invited us all over. We usually saw each other at Christmas and before the Hogwarts term started as well.
But I didn't see Sophie very often now that she was at Hogwarts. She'd be starting her second year and I hadn't seen her since the big gathering at the Burrow before her first year. The Lupins spent this past Christmas in France with Victoire's parents, much to Nana Molly's dislike.
Matt and I walked through the sand and once we were only a few yards from the house, the door opened and Sophie came running out, dirty blonde hair flying behind her.
I was shocked to see how grown-up she looked. She'd filled out, no longer looking like a string bean, and once she reached us, I noticed she was now only an inch or so shorter than me (and Matt as well). But she still had that innocence of childhood. She'd be thirteen in a month, which was just bizarre to think about. To me, Sophie would always be a kid.
“Hi, Uncle Matt!” she said, hugging him tightly.
“Hey, Soph,” he replied. “You've got to stop growing. You can't be taller than me.”
“Good luck with that with Uncle Bill's genes,” I said, laughing.
Sophie grinned and turned to me, giving me a hug. “Hi, Aunt Lily.”
“How are you, Sophie?” I asked.
“Good,” she said, grinning as she stepped back.
I grinned back and then my eyes caught hers. They were blue yet gold at the same time. In fact, they looked just like- I turned to Matt and glanced at his eyes. Blue with gold flecks. I looked back at Sophie. They were the exact same shade, the exact same weird shade I hadn't seen on anyone else.
Matt and Sophie didn't seem to notice my revelation and turned to go into the house. I followed after them, thinking about their identical eye color and what it could possibly mean.
The thing about Sophie is that she isn't an ordinary kid and never has been. She was born a werewolf, although she didn't transform until she was three. Teddy's dad was a werewolf and Victoire's dad got attacked by a werewolf the night Dumbledore was killed at Hogwarts, giving him wolfish tendencies. Genetics work in weird ways and they produced Sophie, a werewolf since birth.
Everyone else was already in the house and it was chaotic. Aunt Fleur, Victoire, and Dillan were busy cooking in the kitchen, dodging Remus, Henri, and Lucy who were in the middle of a game of tag. Uncle Bill, Teddy, and Amy were in the living room, clearly trying to stay out of Aunt Fleur, Victoire, and Dillan's way. Matt and I said hello to everyone and then followed Sophie into the living room.
“Excited about second year?” Matt asked as we sat down.
“I can't wait,” Sophie said. “It's been so boring here and at home.”
Blue eyes with gold flecks. I couldn't get my mind off of it. I had never seen anyone, ever with golden eyes except for Matt and Sophie, and I'd forgotten that Sophie's eyes were golden. That's why even Ashtyn remembered Matt's eyes from when we were at Hogwarts. Victoire's eyes were clear blue, like all Veelas, and I didn't really know what color Teddy's were. I glanced over at him. They were brown today, but that didn't necessarily mean anything.
Could Sophie have gotten her weird eyes from Teddy's metamorphmagus abilities? She wasn't a metamorphmagus, but was it possible her eyes got stuck in between two colors when she was developing? But as far as I knew neither of Matt's parents were metamorphmagi.
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up. Matt was smirking at me and Sophie was trying not to laugh.
“What?” I asked.
“You just volunteered to watch Remus and Henri next weekend,” Teddy said.
“What?” I exclaimed. “I did not! And I can't. I babysat Hugo's brood yesterday and that took all of my babysitting quota for this month.”
“Next weekend will be September, so it'll be next month,” Teddy pointed out.
“But I didn't say anything,” I reminded him.
“Exactly. I said, 'last one to say 'not it' gets to babysit for us next weekend,'” Teddy explained.
“That's not fair,” I muttered.
“You should pay attention,” Teddy said. “I'll see you at five this Saturday.”
“I'll come with you,” Matt said, putting an arm around me. “We'll survive.”
Teddy laughed. “Are they really that bad?”
As if on cue, Remus and Henri came tearing through the living room. Henri caught up to Remus and tackled him.
“Oww!” Remus shouted. “Henri!”
“Tag!” Henri exclaimed, jumping up. “Got you!”
“Eeeee!” Lucy ran into the room and bumped into Henri. She fell onto the floor and started screaming.
“Oh, honey,” Amy said as she got up to grab Lucy. She settled back onto the couch with Lucy in her arms.
Remus, clearly recovered, took off after Henri and the two disappeared upstairs to continue the game of tag.
“They're not as bad as Hugo's kids, just because there's only two of them,” I said.
“Dad, you don't even let me babysit them,” Sophie said, sighing.
“Next summer,” Teddy replied. “You can babysit them next summer.”
Sophie screwed up her face. “I never said I wanted to.”
“They're exactly like Fred and George were at that age,” Bill mused.
“They won't even sit still to get their hair cut,” Victoire said as she walked into the room with a tray of appetizers. “It's getting ridiculous. Their hair is down to their shoulders.”
Teddy closed his eyes and his hair turned the exact shade of the twins' and grew to shoulder length. He opened his eyes and grinned at his wife. “There. We match.”
Victoire rolled her eyes. “I'm tempted to shave it off while they sleep. I could do yours, too, if you'd like.”
“I'm good,” Teddy said as he shrunk his hair back to its normal length.
Dillan and Aunt Fleur soon returned from the kitchen and we enjoyed the fantastic appetizers Dillan made while sipping wine and discussing our own Hogwarts days. Sophie never grew tired of hearing about anyone's time at Hogwarts. I'd never known anyone to love school that much since Rose.
“Can you see the twins at Hogwarts?” Amy asked as Remus and Henri ran through the room tossing a Quaffle back and forth.
“Take the Quaffle outside!” Victoire shouted after them, before turning to Amy. “Hogwarts won't know what hit it.”
“Gryffindors, for sure,” Uncle Bill added.
“It is the best house,” Sophie said seriously.
“I don't know about the best,” Dillan said. “Ravenclaw is pretty brilliant.”
“Says the bloke who couldn't solve the riddles to get into his own common room,” Amy said, laughing.
“Really?” I asked.
Dillan nodded sheepishly. “Sadly, yes.”
“What about Lucy?” I asked. “Think she'll be in Gryffindor?”
“Too soon to say,” Dillan said, taking his daughter from Amy. “But she is pretty smart.”
A bell rang in the kitchen and Dillan handed Lucy back to Victoire, then got up to check it. He returned a moment later and announced that dinner was ready.
We moved into the kitchen and took seats around the table, which had been magically elongated to accommodate everyone. I sat next to Matt and Sophie sat on his other side.
Dillan had outdone himself with filet mignon wrapped in bacon, twice-baked potatoes, and a medley of vegetables. Victoire and Aunt Fleur made two different kinds of bread to go with it. I piled my plate high because it wasn't everyday you got food like this.
As we sat around eating I was struck by how well Matt fit into my family. It was obvious that he was already a member of the Lupin part of my family, which was a little strange because I didn't spend as much time with them as I'd like. But Matt, he seemed to spend quite a bit of time with them.
I wondered vaguely why Victoire and Teddy had chosen to make Matt Sophie's godfather as opposed to Ben, Victoire's younger brother. Amy was made godmother because of her close friendship with Victoire, but Matt was just Amy's little brother. I couldn't imagine making John one of my kid's godfather just because he's Ashtyn's brother. Instead, Ben was Remus's godfather. Gabriella, Victoire's sister, was his godmother. Albus and Rose were Henri's godparents.
Whatever it was, Matt and Sophie definitely had a connection. This only served to reassure me of Matt's secret not being anything awful. Victoire and Teddy wouldn't have made him Sophie's godfather if they didn't trust him completely.
We stayed at Shell Cottage long after Lucy fell asleep in Dillan's lap and Remus and Henri finally crashed on the floor in the living room. We finished off the bottles of wine started at dinner and told Sophie even more stories from our Hogwarts days. But when Sophie started to nod off on the couch, people began to leave.
Matt and I left with Amy, Dillan, and Lucy, after saying good night to the remainder of my family members. Sophie was thrilled at the prospect of me bringing Matt to Nana Molly's on Tuesday. Yes, Matt fit into my family perfectly, and that only made me love him more.
The Annual August Weasley Gathering is second only to Christmas Eve in my family. It is a tradition older than all of my cousins, something that began when Uncle Bill first went to Hogwarts. When Mum and all my Weasley uncles were kids, Nana Molly cooked a huge feast the night before everyone went off to Hogwarts and the tradition continued even after everyone graduated. By the time Mum graduated it served more as an excuse for everyone to get together despite moving out and on with their lives and a sort of therapy to deal with losing Uncle Fred.
Then all my aunts and uncles started having kids and once Teddy hit Hogwarts age, the traditional dinner reverted back to its original purpose, only with far more people. Eventually we all graduated and once again the Weasleys didn't have any kids at Hogwarts, but the tradition was far too engrained to end, and so it lived on. When Grandpa Arthur died a few years ago, it once again turned into a way of mourning.
Sophie is the eldest of my cousins' children and thus the eldest great-grandchild of Nana Molly, and since she started Hogwarts last September, the cycle has continued once again. So much has changed, but this dinner remains the same. Everyone is expected to take the day off work if they're able, just as with Christmas Eve. There have been occasions when Albus or Teddy or my dad have been off on missions or Victoire has had to work, back when she worked as a Healer. But for those of us with standard nine-to-fives, we're expected to be there.
Cooking starts in the morning and those of us who can get off work early, and can actually cook, arrive early at the Burrow to help. I am not a part of that group, given my inability to cook even the simplest thing.
Bradley and I closed the office at three, giving us enough time to swing by our respective flats to change and grab the drinks we were each bringing (Bradley couldn't cook either).
“See you shortly,” I said to Bradley as we parted ways in Diagon Alley.
Bradley nodded and gave me a quick wave before disapparating. I hurried down the street to my own flat to wait for Matt.
Despite the short notice, Matt had been able to leave work a little early. Working for your dad did have its perks, I supposed. I changed quickly, grabbed the case of Butterbeer I bought the previous day, fed Sir Thumbs, and waited.
Matt arrived a short while later, an identical case of Butterbeer in his arms.
“Great minds, right?” I said, grinning.
“Yep,” Matt agreed.
“Ready?” I asked.
“Ready,” he said.
We left my flat and Disapparated as soon as we hit the street. We reappeared in a field near the Burrow, Nana Molly's rule having always been 'no Apparating in the direct vicinity of the house.'
“I'm not even going to attempt to tell you who's married to whom and whose children are whose,” I said as we walked toward the Burrow. “I can't even keep it straight. The redheads are all Weasleys and the non-redheads are probably people who married in.”
“Except Albus,” Matt pointed out. “And Sophie, Remus, Henri...and Victoire and her sister.”
I groaned. “That used to be such a sure-fire way of figuring out who's a Weasley and who isn't. But I think a few of the kids don't have red hair, actually.”
Matt laughed. “Don't worry. I'll be with you most of the time, anyway. And Al and Rose. Does Kaden usually go to these things?”
“Sometimes,” I said. “He's not a Weasley, but he's always invited.”
The yard was already packed. I'd lost count of just how many members there were in my extended family, but we probably had enough to field a Quidditch league. And that would probably happen at some point during the evening.
We maneuvered our way through the crowd until we reached the Burrow, which was just as packed and smelled amazing. We stayed inside just long enough to say hello to everyone cooking and drop off the Butterbeer, then headed back outside to find Al and Rose.
As soon as I saw them, sitting with James at a picnic table, I wished more than anything Albus had already proposed to Becca. It was going to be incredibly difficult to keep my mouth shut all evening.
“Welcome to the no children table!” James said as we sat down. “Hugo was here briefly but then Oliver started chasing Remus and Henri with a broomstick, so he had to leave. Haven't seen him since.”
I laughed. “Can you imagine keeping track of kids in this chaos?”
“Speaking of kids,” Albus began. “Kaden won't be coming because his wife is pregnant and apparently her morning sickness comes during the evening.”
“Kaden's going to be a father?” Matt exclaimed. “Never thought I'd see the day.”
Neither did I, I thought. Kaden, despite the fact that he's older than me, always seemed so immature.
“And they don't want anyone else to know just yet,” Albus added. “I probably shouldn't have even told you lot, so keep your mouths shut.”
Great. Another secret.
Talk soon turned to Quidditch, as it inevitably does with Weasleys, and I listened rather than participated. There were only so many times you could discuss Oliver Wood's career with Puddlemere or the match where every single player in the Cannons got injured. But Matt, James, and Al, well they could discuss it for ages.
Instead I watched Matt. The gold flecks in his eyes were glinting in the unusually bright sunlight, causing me to think once again of Sophie and her similar eyes. I had yet to figure out if there were any metamorphmagi in Matt's family because there was no way to just slip that into a normal conversation. I'd decided to ask Teddy about Sophie's eyes instead because it seemed less weird. For all I knew there was another reason they were two different colors. But Teddy had yet to show up. Victoire, Sophie, and the twins were here, but Teddy must've gotten held up at work.
“-and he could've had a great career playing for England, had he not injured his arm during that last season with Puddlemere,” James explained.
“I still say England was dumb for not drafting him anyway,” Albus argued. “They lost the Cup that year because their Keeper was utter crap. Wood could've saved half those Quaffles even with a permanent arm injury.”
“But who would take a gamble on an injured player like that?” Matt asked. “And there's a good chance Wood would've played a few decent matches but then struggled with that injury.”
“He would've helped the Cannons, even with an injury,” Albus said with a smirk.
“But Wood wouldn't have gone from Puddlemere to the Cannons. That would be a bad move. He served Puddlemere well as a coach after he retired,” James said.
“I swear, you lot have this same discussion every time we get together,” Rose muttered. “Can't we talk about something else?”
“Like what?” James asked.
“I don't know, the latest trends in wizarding psychology?” Rose suggested. “There is some fascinating research being done on the effects of constant memory charms on a person's ability to remember events that take place after the charm.”
James and Albus exchanged a look. “I think we're good with Quidditch,” James said.
Rose sighed. “I'm off to find some intelligent conversation, then.” She took her drink and got up.
“You're not bored with Quidditch, are you, Lily?” James asked.
“Not Quidditch in general. I love Quidditch. But the three of you always talk about the exact same things over and over. It gets a bit dull.”
“We could discuss the Cannons' chances in the next League Cup,” Matt suggested.
I groaned. “I love you, but I hate the Cannons.”
Matt sighed and shook his head. “Lily, this relationship won't work unless you at least tolerate them.”
“You won't ever find another girl, Matt,” Albus said. “No one else likes the Cannons.”
“Except Uncle Ron,” I pointed out, gesturing to Uncle Ron, who was standing with my dad a few yards away. “I'll tolerate them, but you won't find me supporting them in a match.”
“Fair enough,” Matt said.
The conversation turned to Oliver Wood once more and I glanced around the yard while sipping my Butterbeer. The kids were running around chasing each other, and it appeared Remus and Henri were in charge of the lot, even though they weren't the oldest. A few of their parents were keeping an eye on them, but most of the adults were congregated in small groups, probably talking about Quidditch.
I finally noticed Teddy, reaching into one of the coolers for a drink. He must've just arrived, as he was still by himself. I excused myself, although James, Albus, and Matt didn't seem to notice, and crossed the yard to the coolers.
“Hey, Teddy,” I greeted him.
“Lily!” he exclaimed, giving me a hug. “Great to see you! Twice in one week, too.”
I laughed. “Weird, isn't it?”
“In a good way. So, have I missed much?”
“Oh, James, Al, and Matt are talking about Oliver Wood, again. Rose got up in disgust about twenty minutes ago and I'm not sure where she went off to. Your sons have taken charge of all the kids and will probably lead them into trouble soon.”
“So, basically, nothing new?” Teddy asked, grinning.
“Nope, nothing new,” I said. “Sophie all ready for school?”
Teddy nodded. “She's been packed since last week. If I told her the Hogwarts Express was coming early she'd be ecstatic. It's weird, this time last year I was so worried about her leaving, but she wasn't nervous at all. I always thought she'd have trouble adjusting, but she never did.”
“She's always been able to go with the flow, hasn't she?” I pointed out.
“Yeah, she has. But I thought with the lycanthropy she'd run into a few problems. My nana said my dad had trouble, before he met your grandfather, Sirius, and Peter. So I always thought Sophie might, too. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she didn't, but it's funny how things work out.”
“It is,” I agreed. “But your dad didn't have Wolfsbane potion back then.”
“Good point,” Teddy agreed.
There really wasn't a good way to work this question into a conversation with Teddy, but with Teddy, I didn't feel apprehensive about being random.
“This is really random,” I began.
“You're always random,” Teddy said with a laugh.
“Not always. Anyway, are Sophie's eyes that mixture of blue and gold because you're a metamorphmagus and the genes went all wonky?”
“You know, you're the first to ask that,” Teddy said.
“Really?” That was surprising. I would've thought most of my family would've asked.
“I think most everyone just assumes it's because of the metamorphmagus genes, but it isn't.”
“Then what is it?” I asked. “Because Matt has the exact same eyes. Blue with gold flecks.”
Teddy sighed and set his beer down on a nearby table. “Sophie's natural eye color is blue. The gold flecks are from the lycanthropy. In werewolves whose eyes are really light, such as blue, green, or very light hazel, the wolfish characteristics of the eyes are more noticeable. The lighter the eye color, the more noticeable the gold flecks are, so much so that in some werewolves, who have the lightest blue eyes, the gold takes over and their eyes look nearly pure gold, unless you look up close. In werewolves with brown eyes, the gold flecks aren't very noticeable.”
I swallowed hard. “That's...that's really interesting. So, since Sophie's eyes are like that because she's a werewolf and Matt has the same eyes-”
“Lily, don't freak out,” Teddy said, patting my back. “Some people's eyes are two different colors. Genetics are weird. But I will tell you this, every werewolf I've encountered through work who has blue eyes, has had eyes just like Sophie's. It's always difficult dealing with them because of that.”
I nodded. “Thanks...for telling me.”
Teddy smiled. “Don't jump to any conclusions without evidence, Lily. Number one rule for Aurors, and for life in general, I'd say. Get your facts right and then confront whatever it is that needs confronting. I've got to go find Victoire, but I'll talk to you later.”
“Okay,” I said, nodding as Teddy left.
I sat down at the picnic table and absentmindedly took a sip of the beer Teddy had left. It was disgusting. I picked at the label instead of finishing it. Was it possible Matt's secret was that he, like Sophie, was a werewolf? And if so, what did that mean for our relationship?
A/N: Thanks for all the lovely reviews!
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