Pink Green Blue

The Werewolfs Bride by Grace_has_Victory

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Rating: R. Created: February 17th, 2007. Updated: June 18th, 2008. Read Reviews (19)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

 

For NADIA MUHSEN,
who is a good mother.
May justice prevail.
Disclaimer

1. J. K. Rowling owns the Potterverse. And she has made a lot of money out of it. I don’t own anything. And I haven’t made any money at all.

2. Thanks to my beta reader, Spiderwort, who has made this series as much her project as mine.

 

CHAPTER ONE Forest HoneymoonSunday 7 July 1985Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.

Rated G for references to soft toys.

 

“Stop! Leave me alone!” Terry tried to slink off behind a tree.

“Give me Ramkin,” bargained Lucy menacingly, “and I’ll go away.”

“No, he’s mine!” He clutched a grubby stuffed toy closer.

“I’ll pull your hair.” His sister extended a fist.

“You’ll hurt him – ooowww!” Terry gasped and squealed in pain as his sister grabbed at a tuft with one hand and reached out for the toy with the other. “Noooooo!”

“Give me Ramkin,” Lucy repeated, as Terry squashed his toy against his chest with both arms and tried to jerk his hair out of his sister’s grasp.

He screamed piercingly, and suddenly his hair was released. Lucy’s scrabbling hands were nowhere near him. He could not even see Lucy. All he could see were the green branches of trees – not trunks, definitely branches – and Ramkin was safe in his arms.

Terry cuddled his grubby fur and looked around. He was apparently sitting in a tree. He was up high, in the comfortable fork between two large branches, surrounded by rustling green leaves. He looked down. He was so high up that it would have been scary if the fork hadn’t been so broad and flat. Over his shoulder and in the distance, he could just make out their parents sitting on the picnic rug. Lucy was standing firmly on the ground below her, holding Terry’s mousy tuft of hair in her hand, and staring up furiously.

“Terry, come down!”

“Shan’t,” said Terry, for indeed he had no idea how he would climb down such a tall, smooth trunk. Now he came to think of it, how had he climbed up? And so quickly, too!

“Do you want me telling Mum and Dad?”

“Tell if you like!” Since it was obvious that Lucy would never manage to follow them up this tree, it was obvious that he and Ramkin were safe, so Terry didn’t care who told what.

“Terry, don’t you understand?” sighed Lucy. “It’s happened again! Everyone will know you couldn’t have climbed that tree. Do you want everyone knowing that it has happened again?”

Terry supposed that was true. He hadn’t climbed; he had simply, well, arrived. With Ramkin. And without his hair, which Lucy was still holding. He reached a hand to his head and, sure enough, there was a bald patch on the crown. Mummy and Daddy wouldn’t believe that Lucy had pulled so much hair out; they would say that Terry had cut it off with scissors (even though, of course, he hadn’t brought any scissors into the forest with him). And they wouldn’t believe that he didn’t know how he had landed up in the tree; they would say it was more of his “odd” behaviour.

“If they know that it has happened,” Lucy yelled, “they’ll take you off to that cycle-jist again. You’ll be locked up in hospital! I told you to be careful. They’ll feed you pills for the rest of your life, and everyone at school will say you’re weird!”

Everyone at school thought Terry was weird as it was. When Terry was around, unbreakable glass windows shattered, turned-off cold taps spurted hot water, paint-pots caught fire, and Terry himself was found sitting on top of the stock-cupboard or inside the grand piano. Terry promised every morning that “I won’t let anything weird happen today,” but he couldn’t really stop the weird things happening because he didn’t know how he did them.

“Throw Ramkin down and I won’t tell!” Lucy was shouting. “It’s starting to rain, you have to come down now.”

“Strangers are coming,” said Terry. He knew that Lucy was embarrassed to let strangers know about the odd happenings in their family.

Lucy closed her mouth and turned around carefully. Two strangers were indeed emerging between the trees, a man and a woman both dressed in a kind of loose gown. They didn’t seem to be noticing the rain, although they had no umbrella, and they didn’t seem to be noticing the children, because they were too absorbed in their grown-up talk to each other.

“Terry.” Lucy’s voice was low and urgent now. “You must come down. Those people will know you couldn’t have climbed up. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble for being up a tree that can’t be climbed. But I’m not in trouble because nobody has done anything to Ramkin. So do as I say.”

“I can’t climb down,” said Terry. “Why should those people notice me?” They might not have noticed, except that Terry had made no effort to keep his pitch or volume low, and the strangers had just stepped within earshot. At the moment Terry was saying “notice me”, they both turned their heads, and they did notice him. As they began to walk over, Lucy’s face was an agony of embarrassment, and Terry meanly felt himself avenged for Lucy’s cruelty to Ramkin.

“I don’t think it’s allowed to be up public trees,” Lucy pleaded.

“Well, I can’t come down,” said Terry, more loudly still. “I flew up and I don’t know the way down. That’s what we can tell people.”

The strange man glanced up at the tree, then down at Lucy. Lucy was miserable, but she still hurled a hateful, predatory glance at Ramkin. It was this glance that tempted Terry to one last taunt.

“I had a flying carpet, and it flew off without me,” he announced. “So now Ramkin and I are staying up this tree for ever and ever unless you call the fire brigade to bring us down.”

“Children,” broke in the strange man, “do your parents know that you’re playing here?”

They weren’t really supposed to talk to strangers, but the man had a kind face, and Terry knew that, since he would have to come down from the tree eventually, he needed adult help – especially if Ramkin were to be safe from Lucy.

“They’re just over there.” Terry pointed.

“Do they know that you’re up a tree and can’t get down?”

“No, they do not,” said Lucy. “It was very naughty of Terry to climb up like that.”

“I didn’t climb, I flew,” Terry insisted.

“Ah. A very intelligent piece of climbing – er – flying.” The man walked around the tree, as if looking for the footholds that would have helped Terry up to his sanctuary. “I wonder just how you did manage it.”

The strange lady spoke for the first time. “Terry, are you scared about being up in the tree, or are you scared about being down again?” Her voice lilted, as if her words were poetry, and she rolled her Rs in the Scottish way. Her eyes were large and startlingly blue, and the eccentric gown looked pretty rather than silly on her.

“Down. Lucy was going to hurt Ramkin.”

“I was not!” lied Lucy. The stranger ignored her.

“She was going to do an operation on him by tearing up his stitches with a sharp stick and drowning his insides in the brook. I’m not coming down unless Ramkin is safe.”

“How did you get up?”

“I was running away from Lucy, and she was trying to grab Ramkin, and suddenly I was up here.”

“I suppose,” said the man, still from behind the tree, “you climbed the ladder.”

“But there isn’t any lad – ” Lucy began.

“I’ll stand right behind the ladder,” said the man evenly. “Terry, throw Ramkin down to my wife, then climb down. You won’t fall, but if you do I’ll catch you. ”

Ramkin was flying through the air before Terry thought to ask whether he should trust the strange lady with the large blue eyes. Terry had thrown crookedly, so that Ramkin almost – dangerously – landed on Lucy’s head, but somehow the curiously-dressed stranger caught him anyway and began stroking him between her two hands.

“He’s a ram,” she said. “That’s why you call him Ramkin.”

Ramkin’s fur was so dirty, and his face so squashed, and one horn so twisted out of shape, that it wasn’t surprising that strangers didn’t usually recognise what animal he was. “Most people don’t know that,” said Terry. “Most people say he’s a sheep. Unless they think he’s a dog or a dinosaur.”

“They must be city people,” said the lady. “I grew up on a farm, so I know the difference between a ram and a ewe. Now, can you make it to the ladder safely?”

Terry looked around and, to his astonishment, saw that there was a ladder behind him, a ladder that reached all the way up to her branch-fork. He didn’t remember seeing it when he had looked around for his parents, but there it was, exactly the right height. He shuffled around cautiously and placed his feet on the second-highest rung. The man stood there, holding the ladder, as he had promised. He had light-brown hair, like Terry’s, and a thin bony face.

Terry stood up slowly, leaning against the tree-branch, and managed to turn himself around so that he was facing the ladder. He grasped the sides and began to climb down. There was something odd about this ladder. The rungs were very broad, and they were close together, so he didn’t have far to step from one to the next – it was more like the steps up to a slide in the park than a real grown-up ladder. He relaxed, although it was such a long descent, and quickened his pace.

He reached the ground, and the man said, “Are you hurt?”

He shook his head. “Ramkin.”

“Here.” The lady walked around and handed him back. Terry cradled him; he was wet from the rain.

“What happened to your hair?” asked the man.

“Lucy…” He had forgotten about the missing tuft, and now he didn’t know how to explain it. “She was holding it before I flew – I mean, before I went up the tree.”

“I did not cut it,” said Lucy loudly. “I don’t have any scissors.” She opened her fingers and threw the tuft down on the ground. It was becoming very tangled and grubby. “Here, I don’t want your stupid hair. Mum and Dad will be furious to see it off. They’ll make you pay a hundred pounds out of your pocket money for your next haircut.”

The strange lady picked it up, glanced at her husband, then said, “You’re saying Lucy held your hair, and it just came off in her hand? Leaving that bald patch? And without her pulling?”

“Not much pulling. And no scissors.” Terry felt very small and silly to have to explain an impossible thing like that. “It didn’t even hurt. It just… fell…”

As if it were the most natural thing in the world, the lady said, “Let’s stick it back on, before your parents find out.” She held the handful of hair against the bald patch on Terry’s head and murmured something that sounded like, “Repair it.” When she pulled her hand away, she wasn’t holding the hair any more.

Gingerly, Terry touched his head. His hair was back in the right place, growing out of his head as if it had never been pulled off, and there was no smooth skin at all. He hardly dared ask how the lady had done it.

The oddest thing about these odd people was how they didn’t seem to find him odd at all.

“Terry, does anything like this ever happen to Lucy? Does she ever fly up trees, or lose body parts or – or make things happen?”

Make things happen. Terry knew exactly what kind of things the lady meant. With a rush of gratitude, he said, “No, never.”

“Of course I don’t,” said Lucy, piqued that they weren’t speaking to her.

“Or your mother or your father?”

“Definitely not Mum or Dad,” said Lucy. “Only Terry is weird enough. And we try to stop him, because we don’t want people thinking our whole family is weird.”

“Terry.” The lady knelt down (in the mud!) and held Terry’s arms with her hands. “Things like that happen to lots of people. But the other people, to whom it does not happen, are scared of it. So it’s probably easier to keep it a secret. We’re not needing to tell your parents about what happened today, are we?”

Lucy looked disappointed, but Terry nodded again.

“Let’s go and look for your mother and ask her to take care of Ramkin.”

Terry held the lady’s hand, while Lucy kicked at the ground and then followed. She said to the strange man, “Why are you dressed up like that?”

“Why do you think?”

“You look like something off the telly. Are you actors? Are they making a film in Sherwood Forest?”

“We all have to do some acting,” said the man. “Like now, when we pretend that you and your brother didn’t quarrel, and that nobody flew up a tree or pulled hair off. Because that’s the kindest thing to say to your parents, and it saves both of you from being punished too.”

“Why is it kind?” Lucy grumbled. “Terry deserves to be punished for climbing public trees.” But she grumbled without passion. She must have worked out that their parents would not be pleased about Terry’s version of why he had flown up the tree.

Their parents came into view; they were the process of packing up the picnic rug, because the picnic weather was over for the day. That reminded Terry of something else.

“Why aren’t you wet?” he asked the lady. “It’s raining on everyone, but not on you. You don’t even have mud where you were kneeling.”

The lady looked surprised, as if she hadn’t thought of this. “Well, nobody likes to be wet, so I keep the rain at a distance,” she said. The lilt in her soft voice was like music. “You’ve caught me out, Terry. It’s another of those things where I should not have let anybody know my secret, is it not?”

The lady stopped walking and let go of Terry’s hand. The man stopped talking just as their parents looked up from the packed picnic basket.

“Oh, there you are, children,” said their mother. “It looks as if our picnic is rained out… Who are those people? Did they speak to you?”

Terry kept quiet. Lucy opened her mouth, then closed it again. It looked as if she didn’t want to accuse Terry of anything else today.

“Children, we have warned you about speaking to strangers,” said their father. “We can’t let you play out of our sight if you’re going to speak to every stranger who walks past.”

“But they weren’t strangers,” said Terry. “They helped us.”

“They said, ‘Where are your parents?’” said Lucy. “And Terry pointed. And then they said we should go back to where our parents could see us. So we did.”

Their mother nodded. “That was probably all right, then. Especially as there was a lady there. But don’t let it happen again. Anyway, that’s definitely the end of the picnic, so let’s drive to Newstead Abbey.”

Lucy, who seemed to have forgotten all about tormenting Ramkin, followed their parents back to the carpark. But Terry looked back at the kind man and lady in the odd gowns, who were still standing between the trees, just out of earshot. The man had his arm around the lady’s waist, but they were watching Terry’s family, to make sure he and Ramkin were safe with his parents. Although it was raining quite hard by now, Terry couldn’t help noticing that they still didn’t seem to be wet. The lady’s hair, which hung very long down her back, still had a soft, wavy look, and their old-fashioned gowns were loose, not clingy, with no wet patches at all. The rain should have been hitting the man right in the chest, but Terry was sure he could see it bouncing off, about six inches away from him, and hitting puddles at his feet.

He waved at them. They waved back, then turned around, joined hands, and walked back into the trees. They weren’t going towards the carpark or the city; they were heading further into the forest.

Only after they were out of sight did Terry ask, “Mummy, why do you think those people didn’t get wet?”

“What? The ones you met in the forest? Of course they must have been wet, in this downpour.”

“No, the rain wasn’t touching them; I saw.”

“They must have been sheltered under a tree, then,” said his mother.

But Terry knew they hadn’t been. “They were dressed strangely,” he said. “Maybe they were actors for a film.”

“But there were no cameras,” argued Lucy. “And they weren’t wearing make-up. You have to wear stage make-up all over your face for a film.”

“Perhaps they were members of a club,” suggested their father. “There is a club where grown-ups can dress up like people out of the Middle Ages.”

Terry thought that sounded like fun, but Lucy broke in again. “Did you notice that they were in lo-o-o-ove?”

“How do you know a thing like that?” Terry asked.

“I know by the stupid way he was staring at her, as if he had no brains at all. She was no better; she thought he was Superman or something.”

Terry hadn’t noticed anything like that, but it was unwise to risk being called stupid, so he volunteered, “He said they were married.”

“They couldn’t have been married. They were in lo-o-o-ove. Married people don’t stare at each other in that stupid way, or hang off each other’s hands like that.”

“But he said she was his wife.”

“Well, she was really his girlfriend. Or else they’d only been married for about one day. One day at the most… Mum, are we allowed a chocolate bar?”

Terry held his chocolate bar without unwrapping it. He couldn’t stop thinking about the people who understood about making things happen. He remembered how his hair had come off in Lucy’s hand, just because he had been so angry with Lucy that he had had to escape her, and how the blue-eyed lady had stuck it on again just as easily. Neither thing was supposed to happen, yet it had all seemed so natural. How had the man found that ladder so easily? Why did the rain bounce off both of them? How had Terry himself so suddenly flown from the ground to the tree?

Was it really true that things like that happened to lots of people?

 

* * * * * * *

 

Remus and Ariadne Lupin walked on into the forest. The rain dripped down from the leaves above them, and was deflected by an Impervius charm. When the Muggle family was well behind them, Remus waved his wand in the direction of Terry’s tree, and a flash of silver light arched over the tree-tops to Vanish the Conjured ladder. Then they continued walking through the trees.

“What were you thinking just now?” he asked.

“Was I thinking something?”

“I distinctly saw a thought cross your face, but you decided not to confide it in me.”

“You’re right.”

“Well?”

“I was thinking,” she conceded, “that if anybody else had thrown a spell backwards without looking, and with his wrong hand, and the spell had hit its mark… well, if anybody else had done it, it might have looked like showing off.”

“I had to find some way to impress the most brilliant Potions student in seven years. And trying to brew a ladder-dissolver in the middle of Sherwood Forest might not have worked out too well. Especially as we don’t have a cauldron. But I thought a charm would be safe enough – no-one would have noticed the flash amid all this rain.”

“That little boy was noticing things more awkward than a few flashes. He was asking about why the rain does not touch us. Remus, why did his parents not notice such obvious magic?”

“Because Muggles don’t. My parents told me that their own parents reasoned it away. Magic didn’t exist, therefore magic couldn’t have happened. Muggle parents just don’t see it, Ariadne.”

“But Terry could not ignore it. It must be harder to ignore magic when you’re suspecting that it does exist. Remus, what happens to bairns like that? The Muggle-borns, like Terry, whose families are not understanding what’s happening?”

“It’s a secret that keeps itself,” he said. “No matter how odd the child seems… the parents don’t wish to discuss it with outsiders. Then the Hogwarts letter arrives, and that explains everything.”

“Do all Muggle siblings tease as much as we saw Lucy teasing Terry?”

“Probably not all the time. We don’t know whether Lucy always teases Terry; today might have been a bad day. For all we know, it could have been Terry who started the fight and Lucy who was only reacting. Besides, the quarrel didn’t seem to be about magic; it was just a quarrel. All siblings do that.”

“Not all siblings are that spiteful,” Ariadne observed. “The quarrel may not have been about magic this time, but the toxicity had something to do with Terry’s being different. Are you thinking that always happens in a Muggle-born household?”

“Not always. But it’s certainly a…” He trailed off.

Her fingers closed around his more tightly. She knew he was thinking about Harry Potter, his honorary nephew, the famous boy-wizard who was growing up among Muggles.

He knew that she was thinking about the children whom they had agreed never to have in their own home. For the rest of their lives, it was to be just the two of them.

But “just the two of them” was, for the time being, a happy thought. When he chanced a look down at her, he found that she was turning her head to gaze up at him. Each saw that the other was smiling. For, as young Lucy Boot had correctly observed, they had only been married for one day.

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