Nothing More To Say
"Merry Christmas!" Alice exclaimed happily, wrapping her arms around Lisa's neck the second she opened the door.
"Christmas was three days ago!" Lisa scolded her playfully and laughed.
"But we didn't see each other!" Alice said breathlessly and went on to hug Remus, who had come to the door as well.
"How are you, Frank?" Lisa hugged her cousin, who was standing behind Alice, carrying a large plastic Tupperware box.
"I manage," he replied with a grin, wrapping one arm around her waist quickly. "Where should I put this?"
The Longbottoms were ushered inside, and Alice helped Remus set the table, serving the turkey fillets they had brought, while Lisa and Frank chatted on the couch.
"Why didn't you tell us you were coming?" the blonde witch said, smiling brightly. She hadn't seen her cousin as often as she would've liked lately.
"Why didn't you tell me you weren't coming for Christmas?" he shot back. "The whole family was there."
Lisa's smile faded. "Were they?" she said flatly with a blank expression on her face.
"They were. Aunt Dawn almost burst in tears when Mum asked after you," Frank said, observing her carefully. "Uncle Rob looked like he was trying to pass a kidney stone. Why didn't you tell me you had a falling out?"
"You didn't ask," Lisa replied, suddenly terribly fascinated with the end of one of her blonde locks.
"... What happened?"
A flame flashed in Lisa's eyes and they snapped to meet Frank's. "My family showed themselves for the racist, narrow-minded fools they are, that's what happened!"
Alice and Remus stopped talking and turned to stare at them.
"How so?" Frank asked calmly.
"Grandpa sent me a Howler," Lisa growled. "Yelled my ears off about how I'm a disgrace to the family name by living with a werewolf."
Frank's brows traveled up his forehead, and Alice shot Remus a quick look.
Lisa's hands curled into fists in her lap. "The next day my parents payed us a visit. They wanted to drag me back to Low Row, told me they 'don't approve of my living conditions'."
Everyone was quiet for a while, processing the information. Then Frank said, "So you decided to shut yourself off?"
"Me?!" Lisa exclaimed indignantly. "It was Grandpa that cut my access to the family vault and told me I wouldn't get a single knut of inheritance if I ran off with a half-blood! It was Dad that came barging in here, trying to forcefully make me go back with him! How is any of this my fault?"
"They may have said all of that, but they still want you to be part of the family. They haven't disowned you." Frank's calm, soothing voice only seemed to irritate her more.
"Oh, wake up, Frank! They don't want to reconcile!" Lisa snapped.
"And how would you know that?" he insisted. "Have you seen them? Have you talked to them in the last two months?"
Lisa stared at him for a moment, at a loss for words. "They gave me an ultimatum. I was asked to make a choice, and I made it."
Frank's hand rose and covered hers, squeezing lightly. "It doesn't have to be a final one."
She pulled away. "It doesn't seem that way. They don't want to accept the person I love, and I can't help that. I'm not a doll they can dress and control, and I'm not going to live my life according to their rules. If they truly loved me, they would see that and act like civilized wizards."
Frank seemed ready to counter this, when Alice unexpectedly called, "Lunch is ready!" and rushed to set the last plate on the table, knocking two glasses of pumpkin juice down in the process. She stammered apologies as the orange liquid seeped into the tablecloth. Remus reassured her it was fine and reached for his wand to clean it up.
Frank looked at his cousin, but she only shot him a hard look and joined the other two. He sighed, standing up as well, and dropped the subject for the time being.
The four of them had a lovely meal, chatting about the tiny Auror cubicles, Mad-Eye's impressive capture of four Death Eaters, who were released only a few hours later thanks to it being 'a misunderstanding', and the rumors Voldemort had been recruiting within the Ministry.
When it started getting dark, the Longbottoms stood up to leave. Alice occupied Lisa's attention with some talk about Marlene and Sirius, and Frank took this opportunity to speak to Remus.
"Lupin. A word?" he said quietly, inclining his head to the side. Remus followed him a few steps down the hallway so the women couldn't overhear. "Here," Frank said, pressing a tall, square package to his chest. "This is something I got for Uncle Rob's birthday; it's on the 8th of January. I was going to ask Lisa if she wanted me to put her name on it as well, but it doesn't look like she'll send him so much as a birthday card."
Remus sighed deeply. "I know. I don't like this any more than you do, but—"
"Make sure she visits him," Frank cut him off. "They already lost a daughter. Trust me, it's not easy for them to keep out of touch the way they're doing now. Lisa won't do it if I ask, but she'll listen to you."
Remus smiled slightly. "I think you overestimate the control I can exert over her."
Frank shook his head. "I'm not overestimating anything. If you truly care about her, talk her into going. I know she doesn't like being on bad terms with them either."
The werewolf looked down at the package in his hands. "I'll try."
The following week, Remus came back home from another hard day of low-paying work to find Lisa on the couch, reading. She looked up when he came in and smiled at him, got up and went over to kiss his cheek.
"Welcome back. There's grilled cheese in the fridge, of you want any," she said, then went back to the couch.
Remus stared at her for a moment. It wasn't right that she was separated from her family because of him. If he were a real man, he would break up with her and let her go off and find someone more suitable to her status, but he was too selfish. Sighing deeply, he went inside the bedroom and returned with Frank's package. Then he set it on the coffee table, right in front of her.
"What's this?" she asked with mild curiosity, looking up from the book.
Remus sat down, propping his elbows on his knees. "It's a birthday gift for your dad. His birthday is this Sunday."
Lisa threw him a glare. "I'm not going."
"He called you a monster!" she snapped. "There is nothing I want to say to him."
Remus sighed and took her hand in both of his. "Listen to me. Family is important. Don't you remember how upset you were when you thought you might die without ever getting to make up with them?"
He held up a hand. "Let me finish. Even when your grandfather cut you off, they still stood by your side. Even when you were angry with them for something out of their control, they still never blamed you, kept trying to reach out, kept asking after you. Even now, they're sitting somewhere, worrying about what might be going on with you. Try to understand. They only want to protect you."
"They're trying to protect me from you!" Lisa exploded.
"And rightly so," Remus continued calmly. "I am a werewolf, Lisa. You know what most people think of those like me. Even you were afraid at first."
"I know." He caressed the back of her hand with his thumb. "I know. Your parents' failings lie with caring about you too much. They are afraid, and fear clouds people's judgement. No matter what, they're still the people who raised you, and you'll always be their daughter. Don't you think that instead of getting angry you ought to try explaining the situation to them?"
"Explain to them about basic human decency?" Lisa said bitingly.
"Explain to them that I keep away during full moon nights, that I wouldn't hurt you. We've been together long enough for them to see that if I could, I would have done it by now."
He held her intense glare, and Lisa could almost feel herself soften under his green eyes.
"Just explain?" she said.
He nodded. "Just explain."
"And you think they'll listen?"
"It wouldn't hurt to try."
They were silent again for a bit.
"Fine," she surrendered, "but you're coming with me."
He smirked slightly. "I'm working weekends."
"I'm not going without you," Lisa said stubbornly. "Either they accept both of us, or I don't need their understanding."
Remus squeezed her hand. "They don't have to accept me," he said quietly. "They just have to accept that you do."
"You want to be with me. That's more than I dare ask."
Lisa's irritation disappeared completely at those words, and she laid her hand on top of his. "Alright. I'll go, but I'll only make up with them if they can take their heads out of their arses and treat you like the amazing person you are."
"Only if they agree to that," she cut him off firmly. "They may be family, but you are the most important person in my life. If they can't deal with that, then too bad, because I can't lose you."
Remus looked into her chocolate eyes, unsure of what to say. He felt happy and guilty at the same time, like a grounded child enjoying ice cream.
"Stop giving me that look," she scolded him playfully and squeezed his hands before getting up and going over to the fridge, taking out the grilled cheese for him.
Lisa stood outside the front door of the Fawley estate in the quiet village of Low Row, clutching the present in her hands. She didn't even know how to begin. Her hands were starting to go numb from the cold, so she decided to just improvise. After a short knock on the hard wooden surface, a house-elf opened the door.
"Miss Lisa!" it squeaked excitedly.
"Hello," the young witch said kindly, cursing herself for forgetting the elf's name. "Are my parents here?"
"They are, Miss. Mr. Robert and Mrs. Dawn are having tea with Master Hector and Mistress Susan. Should I announce your visit?"
"Erm... no, thank you. Just lead me to them; I want it to be a surprise."
The house-elf nodded vigorously and side-stepped to let her in. Lisa followed it down the familiar well-lit hallway to the den. Through the door glass, she could see her parents and grandparents gathered around the table.
"That would be all, thank you," she said to the house-elf, one hand on the knob. The servant made a low bow and retreated, while she took a deep breath and entered.
The first one to notice was her mother.
"Lisa..." Mrs. Fawley muttered, making her husband whirl around.
"Hi, Mum," Lisa said quietly.
The room was silent for a whole minute.
"Well," Hector Fawley began loudly, "I see you have come to your senses. Late is better than never, I suppose, but what you—"
"If by 'come to my senses' you mean 'left Remus', then you are wrong," Lisa said evenly. Her relatives stared at her with wide-eyes.
Then her grandfather's brows knitted. "Then why are you here? If it's to ask for money, I have already told you that as soon as—"
"I don't want gold," Lisa interrupted. "And I am not here to negotiate. Frank and Remus are both convinced I should give you a chance, make you understand... If you want me to be a part of this family, then you are going to have to treat me as an adult and respect my choices."
"Respect your choices?" Hector spat. "Respect the fact that you fornicate with a werewolf?!"
"Hector!" his wife gasped.
"Yes," Lisa replied calmly. "Simply put, if you don't accept Remus, you don't accept me."
Robert sighed. "Lisa. Has it really never occurred to you that that creature is obviously using you?"
Anger burned at the pit of her stomach, but she knew she couldn't go back without at least trying. "And has it ever occurred to you, Dad, that Remus has feelings like any other person?"
"No," Robert said without missing a beat. "You are too young, too inexperienced to understand... Werewolves are not people. They are beasts, wild and savage. Did you learn nothing from bedtime stories have I read to you? This is basic things even children know."
Lisa's hands balled into fists, but she forced herself to remain calm. Blowing up wouldn't help in convincing them. "Those were old wives' tales, Dad. Are you scared of hags coming in the night too? You've never even seen a werewolf in person."
"We are only trying to look out for you, sweetheart..." Dawn began hesitantly.
"And we don't need to meet a werewolf to know what they are like, just like we don't need to poke a dragon in the eye to know it would burn us," Robert cut in. "There are books, people have researched this so others don't have to risk their lives."
"Books are written by men, and men are often wrong," Lisa countered. "Werewolves were human too, before they were bitten. And after that the only time they are dangerous is around the full moon, and Remus makes sure I am never close when he transforms. As a human he would never hurt me."
Robert sighed tiredly. "You are too naïve to see it. He is your first serious boyfriend, he has charmed you and possibly even manipulated you into believing him! Do you even realize your own status? You are a Fawley, the Heiress of a Great and Ancient House. The sole Heiress. He could gain a fortune by seducing you, respect in the wizarding world, make a name for himself..."
"He has not 'seduced' me!" Lisa snapped. She was beginning to slip.
"He is using you. A half-blood wizard of no name, knows no sane person would ever hire him — he's looking for an easy life," Robert insisted. "You haven't lived enough to see, haven't had enough interaction with people beyond Hogwarts. Don't trust good manners and a charming smile; people are rarely what they appear."
"If that were true, wouldn't he have left me as soon as I was disinherited?" Lisa asked, trying as hard as she could to keep the anger out of her voice.
Hector puffed dismissively. "And lose all the hard work he's put into ensnaring you? Why would he do that? What other woman would even look at him twice, now that everyone knows what he is?"
"I've always known what he is. Even before we started dating."
"And you took it in stride, did you?" Robert asked skeptically.
Lisa paused. "Well... no, but I—"
"But he had already been working you for quite a while," Hector cut in again. "Coming over to this house, pretending to be human... He may look like one, but never forget that he is not. He doesn't think like the rest of us, doesn't feel..."
"He does feel!" Lisa snapped.
"The way a dog feels," Robert took over. "He feels cold, he feels hungry... but he can't feel love, not the way we do. He's a different species, and he's been lying to you, for years now. Why can't you understand?"
Lisa stared at them in silence for a minute. "So that's it, then? You refuse to believe that I am acting of my own accord and that Remus is not manipulating me?"
Robert sighed again. "Lisa, you're just too—"
"I have nothing more to say." She turned on her heel and marched down the hallway, her mother's sobs echoing behind her.
When Lisa got home that night, it was already past eleven. She had taken a long walk after that conversation with her family, thinking things over. As she expected, it had come down to choosing between Remus and her family. And she had made a choice. A final one.
She didn't hate her father, or her grandfather. They were simply bind, and she knew nothing she could say would make them see the truth. No matter what Remus said or did, from the moment they had learned of his lycanthropy it had all began to seem like a manipulation, and everything he did in the future would also be seen as such.
Lisa didn't want to admit it, but she knew Remus was a good manipulator, better even than James or Sirius. However, she doubted that he himself knew that, and he rarely used this ability for something other than talking himself and the Marauders out of trouble.
When she entered the flat, Lisa found her boyfriend in the far corner, doing the dishes. She closed the door behind her and leaned against it, sighing deeply.
Remus turned around. "Hey," he said softly, leaving the half-washed dish in the sink to approach her. "How did it go?"
Lisa sighed. "I don't want to talk about it," she murmured, wrapping an arm around his torso and sinking into his embrace.
"Was it that bad?" he said, caressing her head. "You didn't curse someone again, did you?"
She shook her head slightly and buried her face in his chest. "I have nothing more to say to them. They made it clear that they'll never understand."
"But if you tried to—"
"They think you're using me," she said. His whole body stiffened. "They think you've sweet-talked me into this, that you wanted to make a name for yourself by seducing a pureblood."
Remus reached up, resting his hand on her head. He didn't know what to say. "Lisa, I would ne—"
"Oh, don't be daft, Remus," she said impatiently. "Of course you wouldn't. You think a few books and some misguided opinions can change the way I see you?"
"Even when you have reason to?" he asked quietly.
"Even then," she said gently and pulled back slightly to look at him, her arms coiling around his neck. "I know who you are. I know how I feel about you, and how you feel about me. That is all I will ever need. No amount of arguments, however well-structured they might be, will ever change that."
He smiled sadly. "You should not hold on to a belief so stubbornly. It will hurt much more once you are let down."
The smile she gave him was as radiant as the sun. "I believe in you. I've never been in less danger of being let down."