As the weeks passed and turned into months and the weather started warming, Marcus started worrying slightly less about Nora's father, however he was starting to get a bit anxious about how long they'd be able to keep the secret from her. Marcus was still doing well at keeping up appearances, though once the quidditch season had started up again after the winter break, Oliver let slip something about bludgers or quaffles nearly every other time they met up, earning him glares from Adrian, Katie and Marcus.
Even Laura – in all her years of keeping the secret – had forgotten she had left her wand in her purse once rather than the secret pocket in her jacket and nearly didn't grab it from Nora in time before she reached in it to look for lip gloss.
Nora, for her part, never seemed to catch on to anything, which was a small miracle in and of itself. They continued to spend time with Wood, Katie, Adrian and Laura. Everyone had gotten good at hiding whatever surprise they had whenever they did muggle things like go to music bars or movies – though Laura and Adrian were long used to it. Marcus was surprised to find out that Nora had even gone out a couple times with just Katie, Angelina and Alicia, inviting them along with her to see a couple bands and get drinks after.
Marcus felt quite settled in his life with the non-magical woman. He would go to work in Diagon Alley and then spend most nights with Nora. He was spending less and less time in the wizarding world, which didn't go unnoticed. He received more owls from his mother. At first, they were mostly scathing notes, asking how he could dare forsake his pureblood heritage for a squib he had only known several months. Then she resorted to pleading with him to come to tea so they could discuss it rationally after he had ignored the previous letters. He was half-surprised that she hadn't sent any howlers.
He was more surprised that they hadn't heard more from Nora's father. While Nora continued in her usual communication with him, if he mentioned Marcus, she didn't bring it up. Adrian said that the elder Pucey had taken to ignoring him, which didn't bode well for Operation Tell Nora Everything. It was this very reason that Marcus found himself heading over to Adrian's one afternoon before he met up with Nora, Katie and Oliver on another double date.
Marcus could hear Adrian shouting as he entered the apartment. Once he stepped in, he saw the younger man pacing in front of the fireplace.
"I told you, Frederick, she has a right to know! For Merlin's sake, Marcus is practically living with her!" he shouted. Marcus stopped and wondered if he could make a quick exit. At that moment, Adrian looked up and saw him. "Marcus, help me talk some sense into him!" Marcus cleared his throat and walked over to the fireplace seeing the irate man's face in the flames.
"Good evening, sir," he said. Frederick glared at him, seeming as though he didn't completely trust him, though the fact that he wasn't openly hostile hopefully meant that the combined efforts of Adrian and Nora had convinced him that at least Marcus wasn't dangerous.
"I take it you think that Nora should be informed of her heritage?" he asked as though it was the most preposterous thing he had ever heard.
"I do think she has the right to know," he said. "She's here. She interacts with the wizarding world on a daily basis. She should know."
"Have either of you given a thought to what is best for Nora?" Frederick shouted.
"A fair bit more than you," Adrian spat. Marcus shot him a look. Antagonizing the man wasn't going to get them anywhere.
"She's wizardborn! And her mother and I have kept her from magic since she was born! How do you think she's going to take that?" Frederick shouted.
"She won't be happy with you, that's for sure," Adrian said with a snort.
"Or either of you," Frederick shot back.
"Well that's a risk we're going to have to take," Marcus said. "She deserves to know. And I'm not entirely convinced she's completely without magic."
"Oh, so you think we're going to tell her and then you can march her down to Diagon Alley for a wand?" Frederick scoffed.
"That's not what I meant," Marcus said with a heavy sigh. Adrian studied him quietly.
"What did you mean?" the older man shouted. Marcus stared at his face in the flames a moment.
"It's part of who she is," Marcus said.
"And do you think your family is just going to accept her with open arms? I know them and how they are. Forget that she's my daughter. How do you drink they'll react when they find out she's wizardborn?" Frederick responded.
"I don't care what they think. I've already told them," he said. "Last I checked I was practically disowned as it is."
"And you think the rest of the wizarding world will be any better? Once they find out she can't do magic… they'll look down on her!" Frederick shouted.
"Nora can handle it!" Adrian shouted. "She's not some… wilting flower that needs protecting. She's made of stronger stuff." Frederick sighed heavily.
"I'm just not sure, Adrian. We agreed not to tell her… And you were supposed to keep her away from the wizarding world," Frederick said, sounding as though the fight was starting to leave him.
"It's not so easy here," Adrian said.
"Would have been if you weren't so close to her," Frederick replied.
"Honestly Uncle, it's like we're talking in circles. You want me close to protect her but then you want me far away so she's not too close. We all knew this was going to happen one day," Adrian said. "At least we're not waiting until it's too late." Frederick sighed again.
"I have to think about this. It's not just Nora we're talking about… we'll have to tell Eliza too," he replied. "I'll be in touch." His face then disappeared from the flames.
"So, this is why you wanted me over?" Marcus asked.
"The old man just can't get over the fact that Nora isn't a little girl and he can't protect her like he used to," Adrian said, walking over to the liquor cabinet to pour them both a glass of whiskey. "Really, she should have been told ages ago." He walked over and handed a glass to Marcus. "Now more than ever."
"Why's that?" Marcus asked before taking a drink.
"Because of you," Adrian said bluntly. Marcus looked away. "Don't lie to me, Marcus. You're getting serious with her. You practically admitted a couple months ago that you're thinking marriage already. If your relationship is going to work like I think it will, we need to tell her everything."
"Now you agree with me," Marcus said.
"I've wanted you two together since the first time I saw you two interact. You're perfect for each other. She lightens you up and you mellow her out. Now to just get Uncle on board and everything will work out," Adrian said.
"You're forgetting that we have to tell her everything. That we've both been lying to her," Marcus said.
"Minor details," Adrian said. Marcus scoffed.
"Yes, telling a grown woman that her father, cousin and boyfriend have been lying to her - some of them her whole life - minor detail," he said. "You know she's going to blow up."
"And then she'll calm down and everything can progress as it's supposed to," Adrian said lightly. Marcus stared at him. Adrian sighed. "Do you want to be with her?"
"More than anything," Marcus said.
"Then we have to tell her," Adrian said. "With or without uncle."
"Let's give him a chance to come around. If I'm going to be a long-term part of Nora's life, it won't due to have him angry with me," Marcus said.
The day had arrived. Marcus and Adrian had waited a month and with no word from Frederick, they had decided they needed to tell Nora and set a date. Marcus fidgeted the whole way to Adrian's apartment, worried about how Nora would react.
"What's gotten into you?" Nora asked, glancing at him as they made their way up the stairs.
"Nothing," he said, smiling weakly. Nora laughed softly.
"Sure," she said with small roll of her eyes. She stepped up to the door and pushed it open.
"Daddy? What are you doing here?" Nora said as she and Marcus walked into Adrian's apartment. Marcus gulped as a distinguished looking older man stood from the sofa. He had dark blonde hair that was peppered with gray and the same deep blue eyes as Nora. He smiled at his daughter as she ran over and hugged him, a look of genuine joy on her face. Frederick Pucey looked over her shoulder at the stunned Marcus, fixing him in a cold stare. Memories of their last conversation flinted through his mind as the realization hit him.
He was going to tell her. Adrian must have told him their plans and given him an ultimatum.
"Well, darling, I wanted to come visit," he said smoothly, smiling down at her as she stepped back. She laughed.
"You could have called. I would have made dinner at my place," she said. He placed his hand on her cheek, as his eyes took on a sad look. "Daddy… is something wrong?" She had seen that look before. It was the same look he had when he told her that her mother was sick. When he told her that her brother was in a coma.
"We need to talk," he said. Immediately, Nora's eyes filled with tears.
"Not again," she whispered.
"I think you should sit," he said. He looked over at Marcus. "You should be here for this," he said a bit more coldly. Marcus swallowed and nodded, stepping over and sitting next to Nora on the sofa. Adrian walked in from the kitchen, his face grave, as he sat next to Nora's father.
"You two are making me nervous," she said. She reached over and grabbed Marcus' hand, an action that didn't go unseen by her father. Marcus grimaced slightly, not realizing how strong a grip Nora had.
"Darling… there's really no way to get into this, but to start from the beginning, I suppose," he said, with a sigh. He ran his hands through his hair and looked at Nora. She hadn't seen him this worked up since her brother died.
"Just tell me that no one is dying," Nora said. He smiled at her, though it still looked forlorn.
"No, no one is dying. No one is sick. It's just… We've been… holding things back from you… since you were born," he said. Nora cocked her head to the side.
"What do you mean? Like, you and mom?" she asked. He nodded slowly.
"And Adrian. And now Marcus," he replied. Nora looked at her boyfriend, confused, then over to her cousin and finally back to her father.
"Am I… are you not my real father?" she asked quietly. Frederick rubbed his face, not sure how she jumped to that conclusion.
"I am your real father. And your mother… she was your real mother. Adrian is your real cousin… but… there is something about me, Adrian and Marcus that we've been… hiding from you," he said. "Before I tell you, I want you to understand, we only hid this from you to protect you. When your mother and I left England, times were not safe. Not for people like your mother or people like myself who helped them. And they wouldn't have been safe for you, your brother and your sister either."
"People like mom?" Nora asked. Frederick stared at her a moment and then took a deep breath.
"Nora… there is another world… a world that we all belong to… one that you didn't know exists because we hid it from you. A world with magic," he said. Nora shook her head, confused.
"Magic? Like… pulling rabbits out of hats and shit?" she asked, dubiously. "Are you all in some magic club that I don't know about? Oh, god, you're in a cult." He laughed softly.
"Not quite like that," he said. He looked at Adrian. He pulled a long stick out of his pocket. Nora's eyes went wide as she laughed nervously.
"A wand? Did you seriously just pull a wand out of your pocket?" she asked. The serious look on all three men's faces, stopped her mid-laugh. Adrian waved his wand and a bottle of whisky and four glasses zipped over to the table. Nora's face paled as she looked at the glasses and then over towards the kitchen where they came from.
"That was… strings, right?" she said.
"No, cuz. That was magic," he said pouring whisky into the glasses. Nora pulled her hand from Marcus and covered her mouth, silently watching him.
"I come from a family of pureblood wizards. A long time ago… there was a belief that purebloods were the… top of the food chain, so to speak. And there were some who… thought that those who possess magic but were not born into these families should not be allowed to practice magic… Some thought they should not live," her father said. Nora looked at him.
"One such wizard was a man name Voldemort. In the 70s, he gained an extreme amount of power and gathered many followers. Our family - the Puceys - sided with the Dark Lord, though not completely outright. But I didn't agree. The political thought at the time, well, it didn't set right with me. At that point, I had met your mother and fallen in love. Your mother was non-magical… what we call muggle," he continued.
"It wasn't safe for her. Or for people who were magical with non-magical parents - called muggleborn - or those who had some sort of muggle blood in them - called halfbloods. People were disappearing and dying left and right. Your mother and I knew that our children would never be safe in that world. And I knew that my family would never accept me being with your mother… so we escaped to the U.S. Shortly after, Voldemort was defeated. We considered coming back… but then you were born and your sister. When neither of you showed any signs of magic, well, we felt it best to stay. Your mother's parents moved there to be close to us as well," he said. He paused.
Nora took a deep breath, staring at her father, unable to speak.
"And then your brother was born and he was the same… People in our world… they didn't… they don't see people born from magical parents without magic in the same way. We didn't want any of you to think that you were anything less than wonderful, so we decided not to tell you and to keep you from the wizarding world," he said.
"What do they call us?" Nora asked suddenly, looking down at the table.
"What?" her father asked.
"I assume there is a name. There is always a name. What is it?" she asked.
"Squib," Adrian said. Marcus shot him a look. Nora closed her eyes, taking slow, deep breaths.
"The proper term is wizardborn," her father said, shooting a look at Adrian. "But yes… the not so formal nomenclature is squib."
"So the school you keep talking about… it wasn't a normal boarding school?" she asked, keeping her eyes closed.
"No… it was a wizarding school. Called Hogwarts. All three of us went," Adrian said. Nora opened her eyes and stood abruptly, stepping over Marcus, who seemed to have lost his ability to speak. She began pacing.
"So… you three are… wizards," she said calmly, glancing at them. They nodded. "And our whole family - on your side at least - are wizards?"
"And witches," Adrian said. "That's what we call the woman." Nora stopped and glanced at him then continued pacing.
"Before I was born, there was a… war?" she asked, glancing at them again. "A man - wizard - wanted to kill all the people with non-magical blood?" They nodded again. "You and mom escaped. Had us. We didn't have magic, so you decided the best thing to do was to pretend that magic never existed?" Her father nodded.
"The thing is, Nor, he came back," Adrian said. "About a year after Marcus and I graduated… he returned. Voldemort. And there was another war. It ended in 1998 after a final battle at our school. A lot of people were hurt or killed."
Nora stopped pacing and staring at all of them.
"So… the danger has been gone since 1998… nearly 20 years… and in all that time, none of you thought it was important to tell me or Eliza or David that this entire other world that you're a part of - that we are a part of - existed?" she said. "That there were two fucking wars that you escaped from? Is that why you kept your family away from us? Were you even disowned?"
"That is true," Adrian said. "They disowned your father after he left. Called him a blood traitor. I was disowned when I was 17 after I stood up for my friends who were muggleborn to my father."
Nora took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Marcus was frozen, sensing what was coming. He knew Nora well enough by now that he knew this was just the calm before the storm. He glanced over at her father and Adrian. They were also steeling themselves for what was sure to be an explosion.
"What the actual fuck?!" she yelled, her eyes flashing open. "Seriously?! I'm supposed to believe all of this just because Adrian performed some parlor trick?! Are you all high or something? Or is this some sort of massive prank?" She sounded as though she didn't want to believe them.
"It's true," Marcus said quietly. He pulled out his wand from his coat pocket and stood. He closed his eyes and apparated to Nora's apartment. He looked around, seeing her favorite book sitting on the coffee table. He grabbed it and then apparated back to Adrian's apartment with a loud pop. Nora stood, eyes wide and unable to speak. Marcus quietly walked over and handed her the book, then stepped back. Nora looked at it, recognizing it as her copy of the first book in the Outlander series. She quietly opened it, seeing the handwritten note inside to her from the author.
She gasped and looked up at him, then over at her cousin and father, the book falling with a thud to the floor, the truth finally sinking in.
"So, this whole time… you've been lying to me?" she said softly. Her father stood.
"We only did it to protect you, darling," he said, walking towards her.
"And mom knew?" she asked, her voice starting to raise.
"Yes, she did. She agreed that we should… keep the wizarding world secret from you," he said. Tears sprung up in her eyes as she took a shaky breath.
"It was all a lie," she whispered. She closed her eyes momentarily before they flew open and she glared at the three men before her. "My whole fucking life is a lie!" she shouted. "Jesus fucking Christ, how could you keep something this big from me?!"
"It's not all a lie, Nora," Adrian said. "More like… we had to tell you half-truths. Keep certain things away from you."
"Are you even a football coach?" she asked, glaring at him.
"No… I used to play a wizarding sport called quidditch. After I retired, I became a coach on a quidditch team. Oliver and I played together and he hired me after he became coach of our team," he said. She looked at Marcus.
"Are you a lawyer?" she asked. He nodded.
"I am. Everything I told you about my work is true. It's a bit different than the muggle world. And I live and work in the wizarding world… a place called Diagon Alley," he said softly, looking up at her.
"That's why I could never go to your place," Nora said, putting two and two together. He nodded.
"There was no way to take you there without you knowing," he said. Tears started streaming down her cheeks as she looked at her cousin and father.
"I'm 33 fucking years old, and you decide that now is a good time to tell me all this?" she said. "Why now? Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"As I said, your mother and I didn't want you to know," her father said. "We thought we were saving you from… ridicule or prejudice… by keeping you away from the wizarding world. But… when you got close to Marcus… there was no way we could hide it from you anymore." Nora looked at Marcus, then back at her father.
"How could you?" she asked. "How could you keep this from me? From Eliza? From…" she stopped as a garbled sob broke loose from her lips. "From David."
"Nora… we thought we were protecting you," her father said. "That's all we wanted to do." Nora shook her head.
"Right, because we're defective. So, you didn't want us to be judged. Or maybe you were just ashamed of us," she shouted.
"Nora Marianne, that is not why we didn't tell you," her father shouted back. "That would never be why we didn't tell you. You are not defective… you're just different. And I could never be ashamed of you. In fact, I couldn't be more proud of you." Nora was starting to look more and more overwhelmed with each word. She finally shouted in frustration.
"I… I gotta get out of here," she said, walking towards the door. "Don't follow me." She stepped out, slamming the door behind her.
Silence filled the apartment.
"Well… I suppose that could have gone worse," Adrian said, sipping from his glass. Frederick and Marcus gaped at him.
"She just stormed out of here in a rage," Marcus said.
"She'll fume for a few hours and then she'll see sense and come back to talk. She has too many questions to stay away and she never could stay angry for long. Her curiosity will win out in the end," Adrian replied.
"We wouldn't be in this situation if you hadn't meddled," Frederick said, glaring at Adrian and Marcus.
"With all due respect, sir, she had a right to know about who she is," Marcus growled. Frederick turned his glare to Adrian.
"And what were you thinking? Pushing her together with a wizard?! A pureblood! Knowing what she is!" he shouted.
"She moved here of her own free will, Uncle. She was going to bloody run into the wizarding world at some point, with or without my help," Adrian said. "It's in her blood. You can't deny that it hasn't called to her - squib or not."
"I WILL NOT HAVE YOU CALL MY DAUGHTER A DAMN SQUIB!" Frederick yelled. Adrian stared at his uncle and then set his glass down on the table and stood.
"Squib, wizardborn, call it what you want. But there is some magic running through her veins and it calls to her. Why do you think she was always reading those fantasy novels of hers? Why do you think she was drawn to music and writing? The most magical thing in the muggle world. That friend of hers growing up that was a witch - Marjorie? Why do you think she was drawn to her? To me? Even more than muggles. For Christ's sake, even her best friend from university is a witch. Not to mention, how many times did she get close to it and you made it disappear?" Adrian shouted, getting into the older man's face. Marcus sat back, watching the them. He didn't feel it his place to step into this portion of the argument.
"Do you know how many times she contacted me, talking about how she didn't fit in? How she saw things differently than everyone else. How she saw and heard things that others didn't? How she connected with music on a deeper level than anyone else around her? The other kids attacked her in school relentlessly because of the things she saw and felt and thought. So much so, that she eventually stopped talking about them... And then, I had to watch as she fought to push all of that down inside her because she was afraid to tell you and she was afraid to be different... And I couldn't tell her anything," he said. "Thank Merlin she came here for university, because at least then I was nearby and could help her see that it didn't make her odd. It was a part of who she is. That whole confident, fearless Nora that we all love, that was because she finally accepted who she was without you stopping her. Even if she didn't know the full truth."
Frederick covered his mouth with his hand and moved to sit on the sofa. He rubbed his face.
"She never told me…." he murmured. "I never knew…"
"Have you ever thought that maybe she had magic all along, but your desire to keep her from this world suppressed it?" Adrian said, looking at him. Frederick looked up.
"But… she never… there were never any signs as a child. There was no accidental magic," he said. "No letter from Ilvermorny. If she had got one, we would have sent her. Told her everything. We had agreed that if our children had magic - which we were so sure they would - we would raise them in the magical world..." Adrian sighed and sat down next to him on the sofa.
"Then maybe she's not a witch and it was repressed… but there is something there," he said. "Enough to show me that she belongs here. She belongs in the wizarding world as much as she does the muggle world. I think, Uncle, that you may have underestimated her. She can handle it. She always could."
"I feel I've made a grave mistake keeping this from her all these years… her sister too," Frederick finally said. "Did Eliza ever say anything to you?" Adrian shook his head no.
"But David… he did," he said quietly. Marcus sat up. Nora rarely spoke of her younger brother, outside of that night they got drunk at her hotel. "He… felt it. The magic. I tried to help him, but… he died before we had the chance to explore it. It came a bit late, but it was there."
Frederick took a deep shaky breath.
"Merlin, what have I done?" he said to himself. Marcus shifted uncomfortably as the older man began to weep. "What have I done?"
And finally, the big reveal. I originally was going to put it all in one chapter, but decided to split it up as it was too long. Part 2 will come... soon? Got a couple of long, busy days with the Olympics, so we'll see... (HOLY SHIT I SAW CHLOE KIM WIN GOLD IN PERSON AND IT WAS AMAZING!)
Aphrodite-Venus-u.k: Haha, your wish is my command! Pucey drama commences...
As always, thanks for reading, following and reviewing!