'He's around five, I…yes.' Delilah Lupin paced restlessly across her kitchen floor, her eyes darting to the back door every so often. 'If I knew where he was, I wouldn't be calling you, would I?' She stopped mid conversation, startled at the sudden noise of the door opening and closing shut.
She whirled around quickly - her heart beating holes through her chest - and the telephone clattered to the floor, as her mind registered the sight before her.
'Del…' choked out her husband, John Lupin, his hand slipping from the doorknob.
Delilah watched him fall to the ground, whether in exhaustion, or grief, she couldn't tell. Her eyes travelled across his shirt, once a pale green, but now stained a deep red. Blood…and it wasn't his.
'Del…I'm so sorry.' He was breathing heavily now, panting, trying to hold back tears, and failing miserably.
God, no. Please, no. Not now, not when everything's so perfect. Her eyes finally settled on the small figure clutched tightly in his arms. It seemed immobile, a small, inanimate object, but it wasn't. She could recognise that honey brown mop of hair anywhere, and hadn't she had trouble getting him into those blue pyjamas just a few hours ago?
'John…is he?' She couldn't say it. No mother could.
John shook his head vigorously, and Del found herself falling to her knees, tears of relief flooding through. He was alive. Her baby was alive and that was all that mattered.
'But, Del…he's- it's all my fault- and I-'
Del put a silencing hand on his shoulder, trying to compose herself at the same time. John was beside himself with remorse and guilt and it was up to her to be strong. 'We need to get him to a doctor, John. He's bleeding.'
Uncertainty flickered in his eyes, but it was gone just as fast as it had come. He tightened his hold on the small boy in his arms and tried to push away the fear building up in his chest. He needed to concentrate. The apparition wards could be put down with a silent spell only he knew.
'Hold on tight.'
'I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Lupin.' The healer paused before looking down and shaking his head sorrowfully. 'There's nothing more I can do.'
Del wailed into her husband's shoulders, an inhuman cry of misery. John Lupin, himself, had gone rigid, and as white as sheet, unfeeling of the sharp nails digging into his skin.
'Is-Is there no cure?' he asked shakily, already knowing the answer.
The healer shook his head again. 'I'm sorry. We'll take him to Ward 19 at three this afternoon. The potion takes effect five seconds after it's administered. Your son will go peacefully.'
As soon as the information registered itself in his mind, John launched himself on the healer in a violent assault. He ignored his wife's pleas to calm down and if possible, gripped the man harder by the collar, effortlessly lifting him up and backing him up hard against the wall.
'This is my son we're talking about, not some invalid or street animal!' He bared his teeth viciously. 'My son!'
Ward 19…how could they even think?
The healer struggled against his hold, panic overshadowing any kind of common sense he possessed. If he was in any position to think, then he would have never said what he was about to say next: 'Mr. Lupin, please calm down. I'm only offering you the wisest solution. Your son is a werewolf now, do you understand me? He's a bane to the society and to himself, and by keeping him alive, you're only going to make things harder on the both of you. He's much better off dead.'
That was the last straw for John Lupin and whatever shred of self control he had, dissolved into pure wrath. It took five more minutes and three more people to get him off the poor man, but by then he'd knocked the healer unconscious. Seven years as an auror – John Lupin had been trained to know exactly where it hurt.
Later, when he'd calmed himself down enough to be let back into the room, he had sat himself on his son's bedside, opposite to his wife. His eyes unconsciously followed the angry red scar running from his son's neck to the end of his shoulder, and he slowly raised a hand to trace it.
'I'm never going to let him die, Del, never,' he said quietly, not looking up.
Del placed a comforting hand over her husband's. 'I would never have forgiven you if you had.'
'He deserves to live, just as much as any of these bastards. Perhaps even more,' he continued rambling, more to himself than anyone else. His hand came to rest upon his son's tiny chest, relishing at the feeling of his gentle heartbeat. He's alive. Thank God, he's alive. 'He'll prove all of them wrong, each and every one of them. They'll regret ever suggesting Ward 19, and…Greyback…' his teeth clenched tightly. 'I'm going to make him pay with his life.'
Del held his hand tightly. 'John, don't, please...'
John stood up angrily, running a shaky hand through his hair. 'Why not, Del? Why not? The bloody bastard nearly killed our son, and now…' he choked, but his face quickly set with determination. 'I'm going to hunt him down, even if it takes me my whole life!'
'You're going to do nothing of the sort! The ministry's been trying to get Greyback for five years, and as far as their investigations go, his slate's as clean as glass. Do you think your attempts are going to be able to make much of a difference?'
'I can try, Del! For Remus…'
'What good will revenge do to him? The damage is already done. It's best if you just let go and concentrate on a cure. You owe him John Lupin…you owe your son his life.'
'I-' John raised his hands up helplessly and slumped back into his chair, head in his hands. 'God, Del. If I had just one chance to turn back time, I'd have gone back and accepted his offer. I would have never defied Greyback and just done what he'd asked. He'd warned me twice, but I ignored him, thinking my morals were all that mattered. And now look…shit, everything's just so fucked up.'
Del walked over to her husband, slowly enveloping him into a hug. 'The past doesn't matter anymore, sweetheart. What we have to worry about is the present. John, this isn't going to be easy.'
John nodded. 'No, it isn't. I've decided, Del. As soon as they let him out, we're moving, far away from here, away from these people, away from Greyback, away from everything.'