First, my warnings: (sorry, just covering my ass ;-P )

I have decided to rate this story T, but please keep this fact in mind: I've got a really sick character in this one, and the story touches on a subject that a lot of people (myself included) find very disturbing. So be warned that although the characters don't swear, etc., any more than they used to, there is a really touchy subject in the story.

Also, this story is more mystery than adventure. There isn't anything extremely exciting in this one, but there is a search into some mysterious happenings and hidden identities. It also goes deeper into characters I've introduced and further explores their relationships, rather than making a bunch of new ones. If that isn't what you're looking for, Brothers and Sons is not for you.

Lastly, this story is a sequel, not a new creation. A few characters/situations won't make sense without first reading Save Me. You can probably get by without reading the first one, but I'm not going to go back and explain things that already happened.

So, with all that said, I hope you will enjoy this story. This slightly AU world has been a lot of fun to create and delve into. Happy reading!

Faren

Prologue

Rosemary Carthy's Golden Opportunity

Rosemary ignored Kevin's nagging as she finished packing her desk into a box that had once contained the plates and salad plates in her house. They were stylish dishes, with an Asian design she liked. She'd had one or two men comment on it while they ate her home cooking, but the majority of them only wanted to see what sort of design she had on her bedsheets. The answer was none, they were gray satin, but by the time they got there it didn't matter anymore.

No one in this office knew she was quite so carefree about sex, because she'd never had it with a plain old person—least of all Kevin, the annoying man hopping around her desk and begging to know why she was leaving and where she was going. Rosemary had gotten a taste for wizards in her early twenties, and that hadn't changed in the last ten years. Of course, she wasn't so loose as all that—she could remember distinctly each wizard, and she knew the number was under twenty—but she'd maintained an image of such prudery here at the office that no one would believe it.

"Kevin, please, would you let me finish!" she snapped, unable to ignore his chatter anymore.

Kevin stopped and stared at her with hurt in his eyes, and she sighed dramatically. The twenty-seven-year-old was shorter than her, skinny to the point of being described as gangling, and had acne scars on his cheeks. How did he think she was ever going to consider his advances? She was an attractive woman with far more social graces than he. Never mind that her waist was looking a little thick and she'd discovered a gray hair in her auburn locks yesterday morning. She'd dye her hair and take up jogging, if it came to it. Attraction was the key to her industry, attraction the key to getting people to talk. When you wrote for the tabloids, nothing was more important than a sharp eye, provided the eye had the right amount of mascara framing it.

Kevin's gaze still on her, Rosemary picked up the nameplate from her desk (Rosemary Carthy stood out against the gleaming gold as the sun caught it) and threw it into the box. There. That was everything. She was ready to go.

"But Rosemary," Kevin whined again, "you're the best. You always get the juiciest stories." No doubt he was referring to her exclusive article on the newest singing sensation's bedroom secrets, which had raised their sales handsomely. "How can you leave?"

"I'm sorry, Kevin," she said, grinning because she wasn't sorry at all and she didn't care that he knew it. "I'm simply not interested in writing anymore."

"Did you and Baker quarrel? What happened?"

"I'm just tired of this format," she shrugged. "I want to do something a little more serious."

"Are you going to write for a regular paper?" he asked, aghast.

"No, Kevin. You won't see my name in print again." And that was true. He would never see it. Because Kevin was not part of the world she'd been born into, and he never would be. He was too normal. He was one of those people who'd never wrap his head around it. It was why the Statue of Secrecy existed.

As she carried her box downstairs, calling answers to the farewell cries of her colleagues, she was smiling inwardly. The Statue of Secrecy didn't do much good when there was a reporter like Rosemary Carthy on the case. The world she'd been born into wasn't the world she'd been raised in. She'd rediscovered it on her own. She'd tracked it down. Because she was a bloody brilliant investigator, of course. She'd had to track down her birth parents. She'd been told when she was ten that she was adopted, but her adoptive parents had never allowed her to seek out the people who gave her up. She did it anyway, and she'd found them when she was in college. They lived in a place called Godric's Hollow. They were wizards. She was what they called a Squib. This defect in her breeding, she surmised, was the reason they'd given her up. What they said was she would be happier, as a Squib, in a world of equals, rather than looked upon as deformed in some way by their world. A load of rubbish.

She wasn't among equals, she thought as she hailed a cab away from her building. She might not be a witch herself, but she was a damn sight more interesting than this cabbie, all the same. She'd sought out wizards and witches ever since. The handsome ones, she invited over for dinner. The ugly ones, she interrogated to learn what she could about magic. She'd taken out subscriptions to the Daily Prophet, to Witch Weekly, and to The Quibbler. Therefore, she'd spent her entire professional career in the Muggle world leading a sort of double life—by day, the tabloid reporting star, by night, enthralled by the vicious attacks and abrupt change to goodwill and fawning over one Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived and Savior of the Wizarding World. She'd spent this last few months reading stories about the discovery of his old enemy Draco Malfoy.

Then finally, finally, she'd been discovered. She'd received an invitation that she'd have been a complete goose not to jump on immediately. She'd been approached by a witch named Tabitha who knew her writing, and been asked to be on the senior writing staff of a new magical magazine. A weekly publication that would include news stories, editorials, and a few more colourful pieces to attract the less stuffy readers. Rosemary was thrilled, dazzled, and elated. She was going to work in the magical community at last. After spending ten years trying to seduce it into loving her, someone had finally taken notice.

The cabbie seemed a little bewildered when she had him drop her off in front of a pub that was closed for renovations, but he was happy enough with the tip she handed over as she and her box that once held Asian plates exited his vehicle. She stood at the front door of the closed-up establishment, trying to remember her instructions. Then she wedged the box against the wall with her hip to free up her hands. She traced a symbol on the grimy glass window set into the door, her other hand on the doorhandle. As soon as she completed the symbol, she twisted the handle, and to her delight, the door opened. Hoisting up the box, she stepped in. The nameplate gleamed faintly as she left the daylight behind and entered the gloom, shutting the door behind her with her foot.

At first, she was disappointed. The room had a long bar, thick with dust, and no barstools. The wall behind it had been torn out and never repaired. Then she saw a dim ray of light coming from a door at the top of the stairs to the left of the bar, and she hurried up them with her heart in her throat.

"This is it," she muttered, then gagged on the dust she'd stirred up in the air. "My golden opportunity."

Just as she was about to kick at the door by way of knocking, someone flung it open and smiled at her broadly. "You must be Ms. Carthy."

She smiled back. "I'm Rosemary."

"Yes, of course. I'm Lola. Come on in. Oh, dear, it is a bit filthy down there," she said in dismay, peering over Rosemary's shoulder and down the stairs. "Sorry, none of us have ever used that entrance."

Rosemary looked into the room behind Lola with glee. An owl sat on a perch next to the largest desk, which was littered with papers and quill pens lying discarded. There were three smaller desks, and a roaring fireplace. The room was a little toasty, with the fire, but it was all very fine to her eyes. There was a partition in the back of the room with a flimsy door set into it. The door bore a single word on it. Editor. Rosemary felt a thrill of excitement. She'd never seen the editor, didn't even know the name or gender of the editor. But surely, one had to be very important to become the editor of a magazine for the magical community.

"This will be your desk here," Lola was saying. "The girl you spoke to before, Tabitha, this is her desk. She ought to be along any—"

The fireplace made an odd sound, but it didn't frighten Rosemary. She'd never seen it happen, but she'd heard about it often enough. And then the witch she'd met, Tabitha Talent, stepped out of the fireplace, giggling to herself over something. The "something" appeared out of the fireplace only moments later, a young man who caught her up and grabbed her, nuzzling his face into her neck and mingling his giggles with hers. It was left up to Lola, rolling her eyes and grimacing, to inform Rosemary that this was her other co-worker Geoffrey Puck. But Rosemary already knew Geoffrey. He'd eaten off her Asian plates and slept under her gray silk bedsheets once. She grinned wickedly when he looked up and saw her. He just grinned back through a profusion of tawny, close-trimmed whiskers, and went back to nuzzling Tabitha's neck.

Rosemary looked around the room once more, then sat down at her new desk with a sigh of pure pleasure and opened her box up on her lap. She'd only just set down her nameplate, which caught the firelight and winked merrily at her, when the door to the editor's office opened and another little thrill went through her. The woman who stepped out was dressed in a skirt that looked like brown snakeskin and a jacket to match. Her blond curls rimmed a severe face with shocking red lipstick slashing across an equally severe mouth.

"Geoffrey, Tabitha, please. This is a place of business, and we have work to get done," she said in a tone that was almost simpering. She turned to Rosemary, eyed the nameplate, and smiled, pursing those plump red lips. "You must be my new reporter. Welcome to Wandwork. I'm Rita, Rita Skeeter."

"Lovely to meet you, Ms. Skeeter."

"I'm very excited about the quality of your work, and I think you're going to fit right in here. I have your first assignment. Are you ready?"

Rosemary's stomach flipped, and she nearly burst up out of her chair. "Of course."