Amycus was almost eleven years old when Aristides left their home.
Mum didn't allow Alecto or him to say goodbye. He sent them to Alecto's bedroom, facing the backyard, instead of having them in Amycus' room because it faced the street. Mum didn't want them to see their brother when he left.
Father wasn't there at the time. Amycus didn't know where he could be but Alecto did. His sister wasn't smart —neither of them was— but she saw through people easily. They could lie to her and she'd know, even if most of the time she did nothing about it.
"You know where Father is, don't you?" he asked.
She was sitting on her bed, playing with a toy Quaffle Aristides bought for her. He was sitting on the floor with his back against the door.
"Have you heard of the Death Eaters?" Alecto asked after a couple of seconds. Her eyes were fixated on one of the many posters of her bedroom; on it, some Quidditch player flew around a Quidditch pitch of green and gold.
He was tempted to say yes: how could his little sister know something he didn't? The phrase Death Eater sounded thrilling and dangerous at the same time. Upon hearing it, Amycus shivered.
"No," he said at the end. Aristides was a Slytherin at Hogwarts and he taught Amycus to be honest with family and secretive with strangers who might hurt him with his own honesty. "Why?"
Alecto didn't answer immediately. She threw the Quaffle and it fell on the floor in front of her bed. The carpet muffled the sound of it and didn't allow the ball to bounce.
Downstairs, the silence was deafening.
"I think Father might be one of them. They are criminals."
Amycus looked away. He would be lying if he said he didn't find it interesting. His father, their father, a criminal! He could feel his accelerated heartbeat and felt ashamed at his excitement.
"What do they do?" He asked, perhaps with more interest than needed because Alecto looked at him as if he had the forked tails of a crup.
"They kill mudbloods."
His sister's response didn't scare him.
He looked at her and her eyes were not vacant anymore. She had in her eyes the look she got when they stole Mum's butcher knife and killed a cat to see how it was inside.
"Does it have something to do with Ari?"
Alecto nodded. "His girlfriend's mother is a mudblood. Father told him to let go of her or he'd take action."
It made sense. Aristides wasn't like them. Amycus didn't know if his brother had been like that even before Hogwarts; he was too little and didn't remember. But he knew his older brother didn't have the same views their parents taught them.
His brother was planning on going abroad to work on a dragon reserve, in Romania or in South America. Their father hadn't liked that but Aristides was determined to get away. Now, Amycus knew why.
"I think Ari's wrong," Alecto said.
Amycus looked up. His sister stood from the bed and went to her closet. From it, she took her worn–out ballet slippers. She was never good at it but she enjoyed it still. Amycus guessed it was the same as him playing the piano: he had no talent but he liked to do it. So, he said nothing about it.
"He gave me these," she said. "He told me to do what I wanted even if Father and Mother don't like it."
Amycus understood her meaning.
"He has never been quite like us," he said.
They stared at each other sadly.
"What if we never see him again?" Alecto asked. She set the ballet slippers on her desk, placing them carefully there as if they could fall apart at any time.
"We will see him again," Amycus assured, though it was a promise that didn't depend on him completely. "We're his siblings and he loves us."
"Does he?" Alecto asked. She was too young to sound bitter and Amycus was too naïve to identify the resentment. Her sullen question, though, echoed in his mind. "He didn't care about us, Amycus. He just left and didn't try to say goodbye."
He closed his eyes. Alecto was right. She was always right even if she was younger than he. Still, Amycus didn't want to doubt his brother.
"Maybe he's afraid of Father?"
Alecto snorted. His sister was good at that. "He's a fool. He thinks his halfblood girlfriend is better than we are and Mum made him leave because of that. She didn't wait for Father in case he brought home his colleagues."
"You think Father would kill Aristides?"
She didn't answer.
"Aristides is weak," Alecto decided. Of the three, she was the first to voice her disappointment in things and in people. Amycus knew Aristides let her down, but he wasn't sure if his brother could be called weak. One had to be very brave to leave their home and all they knew. "He is afraid. I won't ever be afraid like he is."
Just then he heard steps coming up the staircase and moved away from the door. His mother came into the room looking exhausted. She sat on Alecto's bed and called them to her, embracing her two younger children.
Their mother loved them but she rarely voiced her feelings. Amycus thought this could be one of those strange moments. Instead, her mother patted their backs and stood almost immediately.
"You will practice two hours this afternoon, Alecto. Get your viola; we're starting right now."
His sister did as their mother asked without looking bothered by their brother's departure anymore. He didn't believe she got over it, but that was how Alecto worked. She shunned those who weren't worthy of her time, like their father. She avoided speaking of feelings, like their mother. Amycus, instead, got his shyness from their father and his dislike of people from their mother. Aristides, luckily, got the best of them and still wasn't content.
When his mother and sister went downstairs and the first notes of Alecto's viola were heard, he chose to never be like his brother.
He'll always stay with his family, but he would say the truth whenever someone acted blindly. He'd stay because Aristides went away.
And he'd always miss his brother.
Years after Aristides left, years after his father murdered their mother, years after he took the Mark, Amycus found them.
Or rather, Alecto found them in class, staring at the board with utter attentiveness and sharp grey eyes. They looked a bit like her but so much like Mother that it hurt Amycus to see them.
"They are Hestia and Flora Carrow," Alecto told him right after her first class with the twins.
She was happy. He saw it in the nervousness of her voice and the constant fidgeting. He guessed he was happy too.
"Do they know who we are?" He asked because if they knew it meant Aristides spoke of them to his family.
But Alecto shook her head.
"They were surprised to hear my surname," she answered sadly, grimacing and trying to hide her discontent. "It seems as if I was right and Aristides forgot about us as soon as he set foot outside our home."
Amycus chuckled darkly, refusing to believe so.
"It seems France wasn't a good idea," Amycus said, rubbing his chin. "Had we stayed after the war, we might have heard of him."
"We did what we wanted, Amycus. Thinking of what could have been will get us nowhere."
"Still," he insists, grabbing a short glass and a bottle of bourbon from his sister's desk. "He's our brother."
Alecto smiled. "Aristides will be surprised when we go visit."
"Of course," she said, grabbing her cloak from the perch beside the fireplace and lighting it up with a spell. "Come. I got his address."
Amycus knew that look. It was the same look she got when they stole Mum's butcher knife and killed a cat to see how it was inside. It was the same look she got when she used the killing curse on a person for the first time. It was the same look she got when a mudblood screamed under her spell.
"Let's go," was all he said.