Chapter 17 : Questions
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I'd also somehow become Becca's go-to person for wedding planning. Her best friend was another dragon tamer who was currently in Albania and Rose was always busy with work, so I was the only one left. Plus, I was often visiting Matt and Becca was usually there at the same time. It didn't bother me too much, which kind of surprised me. The past few Weasley weddings had gotten on my nerves, but Becca and Albus's pending nuptials just made me happy. And being so involved would ensure that I wouldn't have to wear a tacky bridesmaid's dress since Becca told me I could help pick them out.
But when Matt wound up ill again two weeks after Al and Becca got engaged, lycanthropy was once again at the forefront of my mind. The first day he was ill I went over to his flat after work and we lounged around all evening. He napped and I worried over how to ask him about the whole issue. The next day I went to the library to look up when the full moon was for September and saw that it was the following night. Two days after he got ill. For me, that confirmed it. What were the chances of Matt getting the flu or something three months in a row during the full moon?
Zero, I thought. Zero. I was now 99% sure Matt was a werewolf.
When Matt told me not to come over the day of the full moon I didn't argue. Instead I left him alone and returned to my own flat to await the owl telling me he was better. I stayed up all night, despite having to work the next day. I thought about Matt, the man I loved, and how he was currently a wolf. I had a million questions.
When did it happen?
How did it happen?
Where did it happen?
What did he do at Hogwarts?
Did he have the strain that Amy discovered or one of the older strains?
When morning arrived it took every ounce of self-control I possessed to resist going over to Matt's before work. I wanted to make sure he was okay, to tell him I wouldn't leave him, that he had no reason to be afraid. But I didn't. I went to work and pretended everything was normal because I was afraid of what Matt would do once he found out I knew his secret.
That is what was stopping me. Not my fear that my suspicions were correct (because I held no prejudices against werewolves), but because I was afraid he would leave me.
It was obvious that Matt wanted to keep his lycanthropy a secret, that everyone in his life kept it a secret. If he told me about it, I'd have to keep it a secret, and Matt knew I wasn't good at keeping secrets. James had mentioned it, Albus had mentioned it, and I'm sure a few of my cousins had mentioned it. I'd keep this secret and I'd assure Matt of that, but what if he didn't think it was worth the risk?
What if my lack of ability to keep a secret ruined the best relationship I'd ever had?
I spent all of work scrutinizing my choices, resulting in very little work being done. Bradley was off working a case so he didn't notice my lack of productivity, which was good. He wouldn't care, but he'd press me for what was bothering me and I always hated that.
By the time I left the office I came to the conclusion that I just had to go talk to him. It was eating me away inside and as I'd told Rose, if I waited too much longer I'd burst. Our relationship wouldn't be able to move any further until we worked this out. If it resulted in a break-up, I'd be crushed, but I'd move on. I always did.
I didn't even bother going home before going to Matt's after work. My heart pounded as I walked up the stairs and I paused for at least three minutes outside the door before knocking. No one answered. I sighed and reached into my bag for the key. Matt and I had exchanged keys a few weeks ago.
I slid the key into the lock and quietly opened the door. I shut it just as quietly after walking in. The place looked deserted, but the door to Matt's bedroom was closed. I opened it and saw Matt curled up under the blankets, fast asleep. Sighing, I shut the door once more.
There was nothing to do but wait. I didn't want to wake him up, so I sat on the couch and waited. A half hour passed, then an hour, and then an hour and a half. It was going on two hours when Matt's bedroom door finally opened.
I turned quickly and stood up. Matt jumped in surprise and rubbed his face. He looked terrible.
“What are you doing here?” he mumbled.
“I need to talk to you,” I said. “How are you feeling?”
“Like shit,” he said. “Can't it wait?”
“No,” I said, raising my voice. “It can't. I've been waiting a month. A month, Matt. I had to...I had to verify what I'd already guessed.”
Matt paled and averted his gaze. He fell back against the wall and rubbed his hair. “Lily, I can't-”
“Am I right?” I asked quietly.
Matt slid down onto the floor and put his head in his hands. After a few seconds he looked up at me, his face afraid. He swallowed. “Lily,” his voice cracked. “Please. I'm begging you. Come back tomorrow.”
He looked so utterly broken I wanted to cry. All the confidence I'd built up over the past two hours vanished. He looked like he had after that nightmare and I wanted nothing more than to wrap him in a hug and make him feel better. I stepped forward and sat down on the floor.
“Please,” he begged. “Just wait one more day.”
“Okay,” I said quietly, reaching out to touch his arm. “Okay. Do you want me to stay?”
Matt flinched and shook his head. “I'm going to go back to bed.”
“Do you want me to make you something to eat?” I asked, pulling my arm back. I felt awful. I should've known he'd still feel terrible and waited until tomorrow.
“No. I just want to sleep.”
“Okay,” I said, standing up. “I'll come back tomorrow. I love you.”
Matt nodded again, but didn't get up. I walked to the door and left, he was still sitting there on the floor, his head in his hands. Once in the hallway, I leaned against the door and let the tears fall.
After a mostly sleepless night I got out of bed just after six in the morning in order to appease Sir Thumbs. I stumbled into the kitchen and tossed a handful of food into his dish, while thinking about Matt and just how awful he'd looked the previous night. I still felt terrible about it, but it was all done now. All out in the open. Despite his not wanting to talk last night, he knew what I knew, and whatever would happen would happen.
I wanted to do something to make him feel better, but I couldn't think of anything, mostly because I didn't know what he was so afraid of. Even though I now knew he was a werewolf, I didn't know the effects it had on his life because he'd been so secretive about it.
The only werewolf I knew (besides Matt) was Sophie and she, according to Teddy, was the most well-adjusted werewolf ever. She had a large, supportive, and protective family who never made her feel different than everyone else. We'd all worked hard to protect her from the prejudices in the world and had educated her enough so that when she did encounter them, she'd be strong and able to face them. Plus, it helped that she'd been a werewolf her entire life and didn't know any different. I'm sure having Matt as her godfather helped as well.
But didn't Matt have a supportive family? His dad was the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Amy discovered a new strain of lycanthropy and created a new version of the Wolfsbane potion. It didn't get more supportive than that. So what else had happened?
What was he so afraid of? Did he think I'd break up with him over this, despite the fact that I was Albus's younger sister? Or was he simply afraid I wouldn't keep his secret?
Matt hadn't specified what time he wanted me to come over, but I figured seven in the morning wasn't what he had in mind. I made myself a cup of tea and settled onto the couch with Sir Thumbs, my stomach too queasy for an actual meal. At some point I fell into a restless sleep and awoke just after noon.
After I showered and changed I couldn't wait anymore. The uncertainty was eating me away and I felt like I was going to be sick. I decided to walk since I'd never been the best at Apparition (I splinched my right index finger during my first Apparition test) and was always worse when distracted. It was a decent length's walk, but the weather was nice.
The walk did nothing to calm my nerves and by the time I arrived at Matt's my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it. I stumbled as I went up the stairs and realized I was shaking.
I really, really didn't want him to break up with me. If he did, it would take more than just a pint of ice cream and a night of bloke-bashing with Ashtyn to get over him.
The door was unlocked, so I didn't bother knocking. I walked in and saw Matt sitting on the couch, still in pajamas, his hair messier than usual. He looked slightly better than yesterday, but still exhausted.
“Hey,” I said quietly as I walked over to the couch.
“Hi,” Matt said, sliding over to make room.
I sat down next to him and stared into his golden eyes. I loved those eyes. “Where's Becca?”
“She left for Romania yesterday,” Matt answered.
I nodded. “Are you feeling better?”
“A little.” He toyed with a loose thread on the couch and then looked up at me. “Listen, Lily-”
“I didn't mean to make you feel so awful last night,” I interrupted. “I should've thought-”
“It's okay,” Matt said quietly. “You didn't know.”
“But I did-”
“No, Lily, wait.” He took a deep breath. “I've done a lot of thinking since last night, and I talked to Amy. I didn't sleep much-”
“Neither did I.”
“I love you, Lily-”
“And I love you.”
“But I have to be the one to tell you,” he said, looking right into my eyes. “I know you figured it out, but don't say it. I have to be the one to say it.”
I looked at him confusedly. Why did it matter who said it? I already knew, so neither of us really had to say it.
“I'll explain why,” Matt added. He took another deep breath and swallowed. He looked incredibly nervous, more nervous than I'd ever seen him. “Lily, I'm...I'm...a werewolf.”
I nodded. “I know. And you need to know that I won't break up with you over it.”
Matt smiled. “That's what Amy said last night.”
“But how did it happen?” I asked.
“My parents took Amy and I camping when I was five. We were still living in Australia. I left the tent at night to use the loo, without telling my parents, and there was a werewolf lurking nearby. It was an accident, but it happened. Amy heard the screams and woke my parents up. Dad fought him off and captured him with the help of a few other Werewolf Control Unit employees. He was head of that department then. They had to obliviate a lot of Muggles.”
“That's awful,” I said quietly.
“It's only the start,” Matt continued. “First, Wolfsbane potion didn't work for me, so my transformations were painful and nothing like Sophie's-”
“That's where you got the scars from.”
“Some of them,” Matt said, not elaborating on the subject. “But the big problem was that the Australian School of Sorcery didn't allow werewolves to attend school there and my parents insisted that I receive a normal education. When I was seven they started looking for a new school and, long story short, they decided on Hogwarts because Teddy's dad had already gone there, so they had procedures set up.”
I nodded. “Makes sense.”
“But then certain people in the Australian Ministry started trying to restrict werewolf rights even more than they already were,” Matt continued. “My dad was Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures then, so he was usually able to stop the laws from being passed, but eventually, they got one passed.
“It stated that all werewolves must have their transformation centers inspected by the Werewolf Control Unit. This whole campaign was headed by this bloke named Ralph Lubar-”
“But wasn't he-”
“The one who kidnapped all of us in third year? Yeah, one in the same,” Matt explained. “He was after Dad's job and thought Dad was biased because of me. I transformed in the basement and the law said that all transformation centers had to be stand-alone buildings.”
“So it failed. Where did you transform?”
“Werewolves who had nowhere to transform or whose places failed transformed in Ministry run transformation buildings.”
“But you were only seven.”
“Eight at that point, but yeah.” Matt nodded. “The first month Dad ignored the law and refused to bring me in. But the second month Lubar Flooed to the house just before moonrise and took me himself, which was legal.”
I gasped. “But you were only eight!”
“That's where the other scars came from,” Matt said quietly. “My parents took me to St. Mungo's because they were long since fed-up with the hospital in Australia. I was there for nearly a month, right up until my next transformation. I got diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because I was afraid of everything after that.”
I was beginning to understand why Matt was so shy and why Rose had been so hesitant about me going out with him, and it had nothing to do with his past relationships. I reached over and gave him a hug.
“That wasn't all, either,” Matt said as we broke apart. “At one point during all of this, Lubar let it slip at work that I was a werewolf, information that's supposed to be kept confidential. But no one would admit that it was Lubar who did it, and it didn't matter anyway, because the information was out.
“Dad got brought up in front of the Wizengamot for breaking the transformation center law and got fired and had to pay a huge fine. They couldn't fire him for having a son who's a werewolf, but they found a way around that with the law. It was a huge scandal. Mum couldn't go out shopping without people staring. One of Amy's friends' parents refused to let her come visit and their friendship fell apart after we moved.
“We moved as soon as my parents found a house. Dad got a job in the Werewolf Control Unit, a position far below the one he had in Australia, in terms of responsibility and pay. But he worked his way up to Head of the Werewolf Control Unit and then became Head of the entire department during my third year at Hogwarts.”
“And you went to Hogwarts, telling no one about your lycanthropy,” I said.
Matt nodded. “None of us could tell anyone. Not after what happened in Australia. I was terrified of anyone finding out. I still am.”
“That's why you never told me.”
“Yeah. Things are better here than they are in Australia, but it's still a risk. Before now, I've only told one person about it, not including other werewolves.”
“Really? In all these years? But Al and Rose know.”
“They figured it out first year. John, too. But in second year we needed Kaden to know and I was absolutely terrified to tell him.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Kaden? He can't keep a secret to save his life.”
“I know. That was the problem. Rose found a charm to keep him from telling anyone. It had hilarious consequences a few times.”
“But other people know.”
“My parents allowed Amy to tell Victoire and Teddy at one point, due to their connections with Lycanthropy. I let Amy tell Dillan when her research on lycanthropy and Wolfsbane was set to ruin her relationship with him. The professors all knew. Scorpius Malfoy figured it out in third year and I spent the rest of Hogwarts afraid he'd tell someone, but he never did. Sophie knows, of course-”
“That's why they named you her godfather, isn't it?”
Matt smiled. “Yeah. I've known them for a long time, through Amy, but that was the final reason they picked me over Ben.”
“You're probably part of the reason why Sophie does so well with it.”
Matt shrugged. “Maybe.”
“I'm sure of it,” I said. “But Matt, you just told me. And I'm not getting a charm put on me.”
“I know. That's why I had to tell you. When I talked to Amy last night she told me to feel the fear and then do it anyway, and she was right.”
I smiled. “I'm glad you told me.”
“Me, too. And you really don't care?”
“Not at all. And you don't care about the fact at I can't keep a secret? But I will keep this one, I promise.”
Matt laughed. “I think you can keep a secret. James also said that you're oblivious to everything.”
“Well, I am,” I pointed out.
“You aren't,” Matt said. “You figured out that I'm a werewolf in a span of three months-”
“Two,” I corrected. “I just wanted to wait until the next full moon to verify it.”
Matt shook his head. “See? Someone who's oblivious to everything around them wouldn't have noticed anything wrong. You picked up on every tiny clue that I've been trying to hide for nearly my entire life, put them together, and came to the right conclusion.”
I hadn't thought about that. Was it really that impressive? “I guess so.”
“I'm right. You know I am. I dated two girls before you and neither of them figured it out. Thank God, because I wouldn't have told them.”
“But you told me.”
“Because I love you, Lily,” Matt said. He leaned forward and kissed me. “You should talk to Bradley and see if he'll let you do a few cases. I bet you'd do pretty well.”
“Really?” I asked. It had never crossed my mind to help Bradley with the actual investigation part of the business.
“Really,” Matt said. “Promise me you'll talk to him.”
I sighed. “Okay, I'll talk to him.”
Suddenly something else popped into my mind, something I hadn't put together when figuring out Matt's lycanthropy. “Wait a minute. What happened to the werewolf who bit you?”
“He got thrown in prison for about ten years and then got let out on probation,” Matt explained. “I don't know where he is now.”
“But he's in Australia, right?”
“Bradley's toughest case to date was looking for a werewolf in Australia for Amy, years ago when she was doing her research on the Australian strain of lycanthropy. Was he the same werewolf who bit you?”
Matt smiled wryly. “See? This is what I mean. You figured that out all on your own.”
I blushed as I settled back onto the couch and leaned into Matt's shoulder. He put his arm around me and kissed my cheek.
“What was it that clued you in?” he asked. “I know you were suspicious of the scars and that nightmare.”
“Your eyes,” I said, looking at the gold flecks swimming in blue. “They're just like Sophie's.”
“Betrayed by my eyes. The one thing I can't hide.”
“At least not without charms.”
“Charms have little effect on my eyes,” Matt explained.
“Good. I like them as they are,” I said. “What was that nightmare about, though? Will you tell me?”
Matt sighed. “It's the same nightmare I've had since I transformed in the Ministry center. Right after I had that nightmare every time I went to sleep, but now it only comes back a few times a month, usually around the full moon. I relive that night, over and over, like it's happening again.”
I swallowed hard. “That's terrible. I wish you didn't have to go through it.”
He squeezed me tight. “It's okay. I rarely ever get them when I have you lying next to me.”
I smiled and rested my head on his chest, all the worry I'd had that morning gone. If anything, him telling me about his lycanthropy had made me fall in love with him even more.
A/N: "Feel the fear, then do it anyway" is a quote by Jillian Michaels.
Thanks for all the reviews! Since this fic is from Lily's point of view and this chapter had a lot to do with Matt's feelings, I wrote a one-shot from his point of view that I'll be posting within the next week.
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