Chapter 5 : Motives
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Researching houses and ghosts was the last thing on his mind.
It seemed to take every ounce of energy he could muster to pull himself out of his chair and leave his office. He handed his file that said everything was in order to the department head's secretary, gave his good byes to the people on his team and to his friend Riley in the vampire division and made his way to the atrium. The lift was crowded, impatient workers pushing and prodding, digging their elbows into sides in their eagerness to get home was frequent and had no doubt left Ted with a bruise or two, but not even that stopped him from nodding off when he wasn't on the move.
He knew it was because he hadn't been sleeping well, he worked like this every month and was usually fine, but as long as he was able to get home and crash on his couch, Ted didn't really care about why he couldn't sleep anymore.
With everyone rushing to get out, the lines to use the floo moved quickly. It was Ted himself who held up his line. He stood inside the large fireplace, too tired to feel embarrassed or like an idiot, but awake enough to hear people moan about holding up the line and that he needed to get a move on. And he tried, for a good few minutes, he tried to get home. But it wouldn't let him go.
Victoire didn't say anything about blocking the floo, she had no reason to. They'd only set it up the other day and this was his first time using it, but Harry had used it to visit yesterday and everything had been fine.
So, why can't I?
"Will you hurry up already?" A large, angry man yelled from the line and Ted didn't have to tell himself twice when the words don't mess with him came to his mind. He was in no mood to pick a fight with anyone, werewolf genes or not; he wasn't going to start with the giant in the atrium.
"Alright, alright," Ted muttered, stepping out. He cursed when they pushed him away to get out, but bit back any remarks and used the visitor's entrance to get out.
He made sure the image of his front door was clear in his mind; Apparating was necessary for his job since he had to go up and down the country if he needed to visit the packs and he'd had to take his test four times before they'd pass him, but he was still prone to splinching. In the state he was in, he knew he was more than likely to hurt himself unless he really concentrated.
Once he was sure he could go, he felt the pull of Apparation and opened his eyes to see his house and feel a horrible pain in his arm, like something sharp had cut him. He balanced himself so not to fall over and pulled off his jacket; his arm was covered in blood, pouring out of a huge gash just above his elbow.
"Damn it," he growled, biting his lip to keep from crying out in pain. Thankfully it wasn't as deep as it had been last time and he knew enough healing charms to patch himself up, he just stupidly wished they didn't hurt so much.
Keeping one hand over the blood, he used his other to fish his key out of his pocket and open the door. It was then at Teddy finally realized today was just not his day; the key wouldn't turn and the door wouldn't open.
"Vic," he yelled, banging on the door. "Come on, open the door. Oh, please be in!"
Ted kept on banging, blood seeping through his fingers, and no one came.
"Is that fun, Ryan?" Victoire asked, smiling down at the little boy while he pushed blocks of different shapes and colors into a plastic ball that could be seen into and opened at the top.
"Mummy do," he said in reply, pushing the toy closer to her.
Victoire moved to the other side of his growing collection to toys, to sit beside him, and put the ball in front of both of them. "Will you show Mummy where they go, Ryan?"
He nodded, happily pointing at the different shapes and taking over to 'show' Victoire what to do. He spoke animatedly, laughing and clapping when he got it right; he loved to be right and he loved to tell her about it. So, Victoire knew something was wrong when Ryan stopped completely.
"Sweetheart, what's the matter?" she cooed, rubbing his back in soothing circles. "Tell Mummy."
Victoire's coaxing only lasted for a minute or so; the room slowly grew warm, not enough for her to notice at first, but when she did it was because she was already sweating. It was worse than the summer heat without air conditioning; it shouldn't be happening, it was warm for Autumn, but still breezy outside and the house had been cool.
She turned to Ryan, who looked torn between watching the wall and watching her, and he looked fine. Victoire placed her hand on his head; he wasn't hot or even just warm, his body was cool.
It's just me. Thank God. Why is it just me?
Ryan started to cry, small tears rolling down his cheeks, then they quickly became loud sobs; he was upset and he was scared and he was whispering 'Mummy' over and over. Victoire tried to calm him, told him that everything was okay, but she knew the tremble in her voice was making things worse.
She couldn't deny it anymore; something was in the house. And she wasn't going to risk her son's life or her's for it.
"Come on, sweetheart, we have to go." Victoire pulled herself up, stumbling in the heat, and held out her hand for Ryan to take. He did so, staring at the wall, and Victoire helped him up. They ran to the door, where Victoire let him go. She pulled at the handle, unable to open it. She wanted to scream, but no sound came out. And she knew she was getting hotter.
Then she heard the banging, the pleas from Ted to open the door; something was wrong, he was hurt.
"Daddy!" Ryan cried.
His cry, his fear, seemed to stop everything else. The heat disappeared, allowing Victoire to breathe again, and the door opened itself. She ran into Teddy's arms, tears in her eyes, and took huge gulps of air.
"What the hell happened?" he demanded, her reaction scaring him.
"I don't know, it was - what the hell happened to you?" she countered, changing the subject the moment she saw the blood.
"I couldn't get through the floo, I had to Apparate and I splinched myself," he explained briefly, taking Ryan in his arms and picking him up. "What is going on?"
Victoire grabbed his good arm, not caring about the open door or the house in general. "I'll tell you everything at Shell Cottage."
She Apparated them away.
Unlike the younger members of the family, who where still in Hogwarts, Louis' classes at his new school in Paris didn't start for another week and he had decided to visit his parents. He was still there when Victoire, Ted and Ryan got there, promised to keep his nephew company while they talked. He didn't ask what was wrong, but Ted knew he wanted to. Victoire held her little boy tight and kissed his head before letting him go, watched Louis take him to the beach while Fleur healed Ted's arm.
"You splinted yourself again, Ted?" Bill sighed, coming down the stairs. He frowned when he saw Victoire's face, her still wet eyes. "Honey, what's wrong?"
"I picked up Ryan from daycare after work like normal and everything was fine until about ten minutes before Ted came home," she murmured shakily. "Ryan and I were playing, then suddenly he stopped and he was staring at the wall. Then it got impossibly hot, it was like I was burning inside. Ryan started to cry and I managed to get to the door, but it wouldn't open. We heard Ted trying to get in and Ryan screamed for him. Then it just stopped. We came here."
Victoire breathed in and out deeply, until her voice was steady and confident and sure. "There's something in the house and I think that Ryan can see it. It likes Ryan, it didn't try to hurt him."
"It's Nicky all over again," Fleur whispered, her hand covering her mouth.
"Except Nicky was usually seeing Fred and Fred has never tried to kill us," Teddy scoffed, biting his tongue to keep from saying any more. He'd never hated and feared something so much before.
"We should talk to Nick, do you think he'd help?" Victoire asked, feeling guilty about ignoring him in the beginning all over again.
"He already is." Teddy jumped up, suddenly remembering his conversation with his brother-in-law, and racked his brain for places to stat his own research. "I went to see him the other day and he told me what he knew about the house."
Teddy relayed everything he'd been told from the moment he'd set foot in Kieron's; he'd been given little to go on except the instructions to research the house, but it was a start. He only hoped that there was something for him to find.
Teddy made a quick trip to Vic's old room to change into a t-shirt, thankful that they'd left some of their old things here when they'd had nowhere to put them before the move. Grabbing his jacket, but not putting it on, Teddy told them he'd be back soon.
"Where are you going?"
"To research the house like I was told to," he called back. He squeezed his eyes shut and prepared to Apparate again.
He had to get to his car.
Ryan's bedroom was light and open, made her feel at peace. The only thing missing was her baby. They'd taken him; as soon as he'd started to cry, she'd stopped, not wanting to scare him, and that woman had used the opportunity to take him away from her.
First they'd trespassed, broke into her home and tried to make it their own, now they were taking her son away. She wouldn't let them get away with that; she'd make them pay for their crimes, just as she'd had to pay for hers. She'd get her baby back.
She ran her fingers over Ryan's toys, breathed in his scent from his favorite blanket. He'd have to come home soon, he couldn't sleep without it.
A sharp cry of pain brought her back to the present and she looked out to see the man come back, the woman called him Teddy. He came prepared this time, she watched him heal himself quickly and run to his car. He was looking for something; he pulled an old file from the back seat, then dropped it in the front, got in and drove away. He wasn't coming in, he didn't have Ryan.
She knew they wouldn't be back tonight and she knew where they'd be; the woman's mother had said the address when she'd left through the fire. They had such odd means of transportation.
She decided to let them have their moment. The full moon was coming and this Teddy was going to be busy; she'd been listening, knew he was like the animals he looked after. She could handle the woman; she'd come during the full moon.
She'd get her baby back.
A/N: Hey guys, new chapter. Are things confusing or starting to make sense? Bit of both? (I'm usually like that. :P). Please let me know what you think. Also:
Louis just graduated, he's going to an art school in my headcanon.
Fred is Fred Weasley. I imagine him being one of the trapped spirits rather than an actual ghost - he doesn't want to stay on Earth, he's waiting for George. :)
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