Enigma's Love – Part 6 – Peace in Friends
After such a harrowing year like the one that had just ended, summer would look like a welcome release. The end of the fifth year could only come too quickly for Dory, Remus, the twins, and Harry. All of them were looking forward a relaxing summer with no worries but that was not to be the case. After Sirius had made his dramatic reappearance, he insisted on spending more time with Remus and Dory and the kids, therefore inviting himself to stay with them during the summer. Dory thought it would be nice to see him again but not have him wrecking their house but she was outnumbered by three teenagers who seemed duly excited to be spending the summer with the legendary Padfoot.
When everyone had finally made it back to the house, the three teenagers slowly made their way up to their rooms to put away their school trunks while Sirius subsequently made his way into the living room and "claimed" it as his own. He threw his bags down on the floor and then flopped down on to the couch and kicked off his boots, stretching out and making himself very comfortable. Dory and Remus saw this and shook their heads in despair at their friend as they knew for three months; their living room was now 'his' bedroom.
After a few hours, Harry, Cesare, and Anastasia reemerged dressed in muggle t-shirts and shorts, eager to begin their summer vacation. Hey quickly took notice living room had been changed. They noticed the boots flung onto the floor and clothing spread all over and the looks Remus and Dory were giving when Sirius wasn't looking.
"Made yourself at home already?" Harry said to his godfather in a bit of a shock that he could wreck a place so quickly.
"Regretfully so." Dory stated bitterly as she walked into the kitchen to see if the house elves knew that there would be more for dinner now.
The night remained thankfully uneventful since everyone was tired from getting back from Hogwarts. Everyone went to bed rather early and slept peacefully through the night. The next morning, Dory was the first to stir in the house. She awoke when the sunlight came in through the window and hit her bed. She still had her head on Remus' chest with his arms protectively wrapped around her in sleep. She slowly pushed herself up and moved Remus' arms as she placed a soft good morning kiss on his lips. He stirred slightly but rolled over on his stomach and fell back to sleep when Dory got out of bed. She dressed comfortably as she was planning on spending the day lounging in and around the pool. She quietly crept downstairs so she didn't wake anyone else up. No sooner she got within the first landing on the stairs, Dory was greeted with the sound of rather loud snoring. She took a few more steps down and had to stifle a laugh at the sight she saw. There was Sirius, sprawled all over the couch with the sheet bunched up and tangled all over him and the source of the snoring. Dory walked quietly into the living room and straightened out the sheet for Sirius and draped it back over him, suppressing the urge to burst out laughing. Dory then decided it was best not to wake Sirius up, remembering a very cranky Padfoot when that happened at school, and grabbed her breakfast of a muffin and tea and went out on the deck by the pool before it got too hot.
As the morning went on, Dory was slowly joined by everyone else in the house, first Anastasia, who had early morning habits like her mother, then Remus and Cesare. As the four Lupins sat and ate quietly, they were secretly placing bets on who would get up first out of the known late sleepers – Harry or Sirius. All of them pretty much agreed that Harry would be next. And sure enough they were right, around 10:30; Harry stumbled in running his hands through his sleep messed hair as he shot a dirty look to Sirius' horrendous snoring on the couch.
By noon, the rest of the house had enough of the buzz saw in the living room; they decided to take a somewhat cruel course of action. Dory and Remus magically slipped the sheet underneath Sirius to begin their course of action. Once the sheet was in place, the three teenagers took a position on each part of it and on the count of three, flung Sirius to the floor with a very loud thud and a few mumblings that should not be repeated.
Sirius pried his eyes open to find Remus and Dory standing over him with unwelcome grins on their faces.
"Morning, Padfoot." Remus stated with a smile at his fallen friend. "Or should I say afternoon." He added as he looked at the clock and noticed that it was nearly noon.
"Do you treat all your houseguests like this?" Sirius growled as he picked himself up off the floor and threw his blankets back on the couch and staggered towards the bathroom.
"No, just the ones that sound like the swallowed a lion when they sleep." Dory called out as she burst into laughter and went back to the patio to catch an owl post.
A few moments later, after Harry, Cesare, and Anastasia had changed into their bathing suits to spend a day in the pool, everyone had come back out on to the patio, curious to see what the letter said. Remus sat down beside his wife and picked up the envelope that the letter came in and took special notice of the seal on it, Order of Morgana.
"What's that all about? The High Orders usually don't owl post unless it's important." Remus stated as he pointed to the letter in Dory's hands that had put a look of combined shock, horror, and elation on her face.
"I have been invited to Ireland for the Celestial Festival next month and they have named me at the head of it." Dory said with a hint of sadness in her voice.
"That's wonderful. You have been waiting for that since you graduated from Hogwarts." Remus exclaimed excitedly as he kissed her. But then he noticed that she was not celebrating the dream that had come true for her. "What's wrong?"
"I can't go." Dory replied flatly as she placed the letter on the table. "It's during the full moon next month."
Now Remus knew why Dory was upset, it was because of him and his damned lycanthropy. Guilt nearly broke his heart that he was keeping his wife from her dream. He got up from the chair and walked over to Dory, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into a loving embrace, his cheek touching hers. "I want you to go. I'll be all right." Remus whispered, trying to be reassuring.
Dory shook her head against him as a few tears fell from her eyes. "I can't leave you. What if you have a bad month? What if you get sick or hurt? I couldn't live with myself if I wasn't here for you." She whispered as she leaned against her loving husband.
Remus backed up a bit so he could look into his wife's eyes and show her how sincere he was being. "I want you to go. I will be fine. I'll take the Wolfsbane potion and lock myself in our bedroom until morning and sleep it off. I can take care of myself with this and I'll have Sirius just downstairs if I need him as well as Harry, Cesare, and Anastasia." Remus whispered to her straight from his heart. "Please, Dory…don't give up your dream because of me." He pleaded with her. That was what crumbled Dory's defenses and she gave in. In three weeks, she would be at the head of the Celestial Festival.
As the date of the Festival grew closer, Dory became more and more apprehensive about going, especially on the day she was to leave for Ireland. It was the day prior to the full moon and she could already see in Remus its effects beginning to take hold. Remus slept a bit later that morning and when he finally did awake, he was already starting to run a fever and beginning to get a cough.
"I'm not going. I am staying here with you." Dory stated firmly as she began to open her suitcase and unpack what had been packed for days.
Remus grabbed his wand from the nightstand and pointed it directly at her suitcase, closing it and locking it from the bed. "We already discussed this adnauseaum. You're going. I haven't been taking that Wolfsbane potion, which quite frankly tastes disgusting, for the last week so you can back out now." Remus stated in an irritated tone. He knew he could handle this and he wasn't going to let her waiver now.
Dory reluctantly gave in, not wanting to get Remus agitated when he wasn't feeling well. She placed her suitcase just outside the door and walked back to the bed to give her husband a passionate kiss to say goodbye. "I'll be back in a few days. Now you and Padfoot better not wreck this house. I don't want to have to move." She said with a smile and laughter in her voice.
"I can only promise for myself. Padfoot – I offer no guarantees." Remus replied as he lied back down and checked the cooling charms he placed on the bed. "Have fun and don't worry about me." He continued as he urged her out the door with one final kiss. Once Remus heard the door close downstairs, he fell asleep again to feel a bit better.
The next day was far from an improvement. For a few brief moments the previous night, Sirius had helped Remus put cooling charms around the house so he wouldn't pass out from the combined heat of July and his fever that was becoming dangerously high. They came in quite useful now. When Remus awoke in the morning, harsh coughs ripped through his system as he staggered down the stairs. Sirius had made sure he was up early that day and he was glad he was. When he took one look at a ghostly pale and feverish Remus, he rushed to the stairs to help his friend to the couch and let him lie down. When Harry, Cesare, and Anastasia came down, all three, despite seeing this many times before, were a little taken back at how horrid Remus looked. Anastasia saw her father was beginning to drift back to sleep on the couch but she knew he must be terribly uncomfortable with his fever. She ran into the kitchen and got a cloth and soaked it in cold water and placed it on his forehead as gently as her mother would have.
"Thank you, Dory." Remus mumbled almost deliriously with his eyes closing. His conscious mind then came back for a second as he turned his head to face his daughter rather than his wife. "I'm sorry, Anastasia."
"It's okay, Dad. Just rest, you'll feel better." She whispered.
"Don't play nurse maid to me, please. I can take care of myself." Remus pleaded with his daughter and indirectly everyone else who was in the room. "Go to Hogsmeade for the day, on me. It would probably be far more fun than sitting with me." He implored, almost begging to send the kids out so they didn't have to see him like that.
Sirius knew exactly what Remus was asking. He remembered that he never truly liked being fussed over during this time period and he knew there was an edge hiding underneath that calm exterior that Remus did not like to let out and he knew he would not want to lash out at his children or Harry. As the young trio was grabbing their brooms, Sirius stopped them, pulling out three Quidditch tickets. "You three can have these. Consider it a little present. Don't tell Remus though. I don't think he would like it much." He whispered quietly so Remus didn't hear.
"No problem." Cesare responded with a smile. "The last thing we want to do is upset Dad today." He concluded as the trio walked out the door.
Sirius turned back towards the living room to see Remus almost beginning to drift off. He flopped down in one of the near by chairs and turned on the television. "Something to keep me occupied today." He thought to himself.
Harry, Cesare, and Anastasia landed in Hogsmeade and were promptly greeted by Hermione and Ron. Cesare whipped out the quidditch tickets and waved them tauntingly at Ron, showing that there was only three.
"Ron can have mine." Anastasia piped up to stop the torture. "Hermione and I will spend the day here in Hogsmeade and we'll all meet back here in the evening and go home together, agreed?"
The feeling was unanimous as the three boys went in the direction of the Quidditch match on their brooms and Anastasia and Hermione started around Hogsmeade, seeing what new magical items they could buy to practice with.
In Ireland, Dory was extraordinarily bored. The festival was saving their energy for that night's full moon coven gathering, so during the day everyone was more or less goofing off. Some were playing chess or cards, while others were chatting or reading Tarot. The biggest attraction though was the quidditch match on TV. Dory noticed Arthur Weasley sitting on one of the couches, engrossed in the match, and she decided to sit down next to him and watch since she was a fan of the sport, remembering her days as a chaser for Gryffindor. The game was interesting but that was not what caught Dory's attention. As the crowd was shown, Dory instantly picked out Harry, Ron, and Cesare. "What are they doing there?" she screamed loudly as she got Arthur's attention and pointed out their children in the stands.
"Ron said he was only going to Hogsmeade, not to a quidditch match." Arthur stated with a hint of anger in his voice at being lied to.
"Now I know Remus wouldn't let them do that." Dory stated and then one name popped into her head. "But Sirius would." She cursed under her breath as she grabbed some parchment to send a howler to Sirius to voice her fury at this.
Sirius had been flicking channels all afternoon, trying to find something decent to occupy his time. When he came upon a quidditch game, he stopped and he heard Remus awaken. Remus moaned softly as he rolled over on the couch to face the TV. "Finally, something other than sleep." He stated to Sirius as he made himself comfortable again. Both Moony and Padfoot were thoroughly engrossed in the game and commenting on each player's technique. After a little while, some crowd shots were shown and Sirius spotted Harry, Cesare, and Ron in the stands.
"Bloody hell, now I'm in for it." He thought to himself as he looked to Remus to see if he was watching. Sirius noticed one split second that Remus was distracted by a series of coughs and he quickly changed the channel to save his own behind.
"Turn it back, Padfoot. I was watching that." Remus exclaimed in an annoyed tone.
"Sorry, Moony. I think I sat on the remote." Sirius lied as he changed it back to the game. "I am in deep trouble if he saw that." He continued thinking to himself.
Several hours later, the in question quintet came back to the Lupins' house. As they walked into the house chattering away like a flock of birds, Sirius sat silently on the couch in the dark. The five teenagers casually strolled into the living room, forgetting what time it was or what day it was until they saw Sirius sitting there with a questionable look on his face.
"Where's Dad?" Cesare spoke up to break the silence.
"He's upstairs already."
"How's he doing?" Anastasia added.
"He was running a fever of nearly 106 when he locked himself in." Sirius stated simply and unemotionally as he looked at Ron and Hermione. "I think it's about time you tell them or they may be in for a shock in a few hours." He continued. "And I see my tickets got you good seats on television." He finished and turned to go upstairs to sleep for a few hours before Remus got too bad.
Harry and Cesare cringed when Sirius told them that he had seen them on TV, which also meant that Remus might have as well.
"If were lucky, your Dad was asleep when Sirius saw us." Harry said nervously.
"If not, we blame it on Sirius. They were his tickets." Cesare replied as he moved to sit down on the couch.
"What did Sirius mean that you should tell us something or we would find out in a few hours anyway?" Hermione asked as she too sat down.
Harry and the twins looked nervously at each other, trying to figure out what to say about Remus and his lycanthropy. Unspoken nods and gestures signaled that they were all in agreement and Anastasia was the first to speak.
"What we have to tell you does not leave this house. Promise?"
"Of course, now what can be so dreadful?" Ron answered.
"Our Dad is a werewolf." Cesare stated plainly as if it was commonplace to say this at anytime.
Ron and Hermione's eyes went wide when they heard that their favorite DADA teacher is a bloodthirsty beast at the full moon. But then, they absorbed what they had just heard and their expression changed to one of understanding. Cesare and Anastasia wondered now why they had waited so long to say something but then it came to them.
"Just don't say anything to him that you know, he's very sensitive about it and doesn't like having it out in the open to too many people." Anastasia added, mindful of her parents' feelings about this subject. "We should head to bed; it's going to be a long night." She suggested as she urged everyone upstairs.
Remus didn't know what time it was when Sirius helped him back up to the bedroom. Once inside, he put a locking charm on the door and collapsed in the middle of the room, not even having the energy to make it to his bed. He slowly took off his clothes, because his aching muscles made it quite difficult to move, and flung them to the floor next to a chair by the bed and laid back down on the floor as the wolf began to take over. Pain ripped through his body as gray fur began to cover him and his bones began to shift. His body convulsed uncontrollably as he screamed in agony, which became a chilling howl. As the wolf consumed his mind, the wolfsbane potion kicked in and sedated the wolf into a deep, nearly unconscious sleep.
Morning was not a welcome sight for Remus. The sun was beginning to rise and the wolf was regressing, resulting in the wretched pain again. When the pain subsided, the suns rays were filtering in through the window showing morning's first light. Remus groaned in pain as his head felt like it was going to explode. He rolled over so he could attempt to get on his hands and knees. He knew full well that he was going to throw up in a matter of minutes and it would be better if he was at least in the bathroom. He fought wave after wave of nausea as he crawled into the bathroom. The cold tiles felt good on his skin as he crawled towards the toilet. Once he reached it, he ended up getting violently ill over and over again, making him wish for death even more.
Sirius made sure he was up early again to see how Remus made out. He slowly climbed the stairs and walked down the hallway to Remus and Dory's bedroom door. He tried the handle, but remembered Remus had locked it. He knocked and called out his name but the only answer he received was the sound of someone retching. Sirius silently cursed to himself as he took out his wand to unlock the door. He opened it carefully and quickly gazed around the room to find Remus. He noticed a pair of mesh shorts, like what athletes wear, and underwear on the chair next to the bed and the clothes Remus was wearing the previous day on the floor. He picked up the clothes and then scanned the room again, noticing that the bed had not been slept in so Sirius assumed that Remus spent the night on the floor. Sirius turned down the blankets on the bed and then he noticed a pair of bare feet behind the bathroom door that was partially shut. He walked up to it and found Remus sitting on the floor with his head on the toilet, shivering and sweating.
"Moony, you look like hell. Why don't you at least get into bed?" Sirius said quietly.
"Go away." Remus growled angrily. "I can do this myself, Padfoot."
"Of course you can…that's why you're lying naked on the floor." He responded as he threw the clothes at him.
Remus pushed the door closed so he could get dressed. After a few moments, when he had clothes on and his stomach had settled, he reopened the door and leaned against the door frame. He could barely keep his eyes open and all he wanted to do was sleep. Sirius walked over to him and wrapped his arm around Remus' shoulders and guided him to the bed. Remus crawled into the bed and pulled the sheet up over himself, falling asleep almost instantly. Sirius closed the blinds for his best friend and quietly exited the room.
When Sirius came downstairs, he found all five of the kids lounging around the pool in their swimsuits, munching on what they proclaimed as breakfast, with the stereo already playing muggle music. Harry and Anastasia were lounging on a raft in the pool, Hermione in a chair catching some sun, and Cesare and Ron eating at the table. The music was at a level so they could have fun and hopefully not wake Remus. Everything was going fine, swimming, goofing off, general merriment until Sirius saw an owl carrying a red envelope fly into Remus' bedroom window. "Oh damn…" he thought to himself.
Remus had been soundly sleeping, despite the muffled music coming from outside. He had been in such deep sleep that he never even heard the owl fly in the window. He never would have known it was there until it nipped him on the finger. Remus moaned and rolled over to avoid the offending bird but with no success, the owl nipped him again. Remus groaned in agony as he opened his eyes to see the owl. He rolled over and saw the red letter attached to it leg and knew exactly what it was, a howler. He untied the note and thanked the bird as it flew back out the window. Remus rubbed his eyes sleepily, trying to focus his eyes so he could read the address to see who it was from. He looked at the return address and saw Dory's name at the top of the envelope and it was addressed to Sirius.
"Why would Dory be writing to Sirius?" he thought to himself.
Now came the difficult task of giving Sirius the letter. Remus was exhausted, sick, and extremely weak. He didn't even want to get out of bed, much rather go downstairs and outside to give this to him, but he forced himself. Remus pushed himself up into a sitting position and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He then slowly pushed himself up, leaning on the chair to keep himself upright. Once he felt stable enough to try walking, Remus moved very slowly across the room to the door, every step agonizing and tentative. Once he left the safe confines of his bedroom, he leaned against the wall all the way down the stairs. Exhaustion was again setting in when he reached the bottom of the stairs but the only thing that kept him going was the thought of returning to his soft bed. He went to the sliding door and leaned up against the door frame, squinting at the bright sunlight.
"Padfoot?" Remus started to get his attention. "Why would my wife be sending you a howler?"
Sirius was a bit surprised that Remus would come all the way downstairs with how horrid he felt (and looked) to talk to him about the letter. He'd just assumed that a scream would have been sent out the window.
"Moony, you should really get back in bed. You look like you're going to fall over." Sirius stated, trying to change the subject.
"Nice try, Padfoot. Now, I want you to explain what all of this is about." Remus said with anger building in his voice. "I really don't feel well, Sirius, and I want to go back to bed. So just come in here and tell me what happened." He finished as he turned back into the house and sat down on the couch to wait for him.
Now Sirius was stuck. He knew all too well that Remus did have a bad temper hiding underneath that calm surface and if he pushed him, it would get ugly. He slowly got off the patio chair, faintly hearing the calls of the young quintet saying he was in for it, and walked in to the house and found his summoner. He silently walked into the living room where he heard the harsh coughs coming from. He thought Remus looked worse now than when he had found him that morning. He watched Remus barely be able to keep his eyes open as he sat on the couch waiting for him with the Howler on the table in front of him. He knew Remus was bloody well waiting for him to open the aforementioned cursed thing so he did just to get the torture over with.
"Padfoot what in the seven levels of hell were you thinking?!!! I turn on a TV here and I see my son, Harry, and Ron at a quidditch match by themselves. Let's just say Arthur Weasley is none too thrilled as well. I didn't think a man such as he could turn that shade of red when he got angry. And where were Anastasia and Hermione? Those five are usually never separated. Damn – this just doesn't have the same effect. I will deal with you when I get back." Dory's voice echoed from the letter.
Sirius turned to Remus and he could swear that he saw his anger about to explode. "I can explain…" he stammered, trying to ward off an attack.
"Why the hell were they at a quidditch match when I said they could only go to Hogsmeade?" Remus screamed.
"I thought the boys would have fun so I gave them my tickets. They are almost 16, Moony…"
"I am highly aware of that but still they are only 16 and it is not exactly safe for Harry on occasion if you haven't forgotten Voldemort."
"He's stuck in a wall." Sirius stated in his own defense but he saw Remus getting beyond agitated.
"I'm not dealing with this now. I am going back to sleep. You can deal with Dory on your own when she comes back tonight." Remus finished as he pushed himself off the couch and slowly made his way back up to the comfortable confines of his bedroom, leaving Sirius to wallow in his own impending fear.
Hours later, Dory walked back into her house to an unwelcome sight. The house looked like it had been through a war with all the junk food and butterbeer bottles all over. Maybe not a war zone, but a herd of teenagers. She walked further in to find Cesare sound asleep in one of the chairs, Harry in the other, and Ron on the floor. Then she found her intended target flaked out on the couch, Sirius. She whipped out her wand and mumbled a quick 'enervate' and he bolted up right in shock.
"You know I hate that, Dory." He replied in a disgusted tone.
"I really don't care right now. Consider this part of your punishment – helping me clean up this mess." Dory stated firmly.
Some time later, and several cleaning charms, the house was back in order. That's when Sirius got the nerve to bring up something he had always wondered about. "Dory, I want to ask you something that I have been wondering about for twenty years. How did you know so much about werewolves before Remus?"
"My family had dealings with them." Dory said very nondescriptively, having heard this question before.
"In what way?"
Now she couldn't avoid it. She dreaded this day for a very long time. "My brother, Stephen, was a werewolf but he wasn't as lucky as Remus is." She said sadly.
Sirius never thought that her knowledge had come from first hand experience. But one thing caught his attention. "What do you mean 'was'?"
"My brother was bitten when he was very young, like Remus, but his transformations were a lot harder. You know how Remus is usually up again after a day or two, my brother was out of commission for usually a week and a half, so he could never go to school. Well, when he turned thirteen, his transformations became more violent. One night, just a few months before I came to Hogwarts, there was a lunar eclipse. This is the reason why I freaked out when Snape and Malfoy played that prank on me and then I slammed James into the wall."
"How could I forget that?" Sirius interjected, remembering that fateful night.
"Anyway, that night he transformed but it was so violent that his heart exploded in the middle of it, leaving him stuck half way between human and wolf. His hands were curled up since they were beginning to change into paws, his snout was coming in. It was truly frightening. My parents had to transfigure him back to human form before his funeral; there was no way they were going to bury their son looking like that. After that day, Stephen was never brought up too much."
Sirius felt such sympathy for her. He had never known that she had to suffer so much as a child. "Does Remus know?"
Dory nodded. "He met Stephen once. My mother tells me that once when I was five, Remus' parents brought him over when they came to meet my parents. There weren't too many families with lycanthropic children and they wanted to know how my parents coped. Well, it was a few days after a moon and Remus was still quite sick from the transformation. My mother said that he was curled up in his mother's arms, almost asleep, until I came in the room and his face lit up with the biggest smile. She says we played together until we both fell asleep, but then we didn't get to see each other again until we got to Hogwarts because he moved."
Sirius said nothing else about it, seeing how painful it was to tell. Dory hid her feelings well and even with that, Sirius could see the pain behind her eyes.
A few days later, when Remus was up and around again, the mood was far more jovial. Everyone was hanging out around the pool, relaxing, when Sirius and Remus started plotting. As Dory walked by the two marauders, Remus found it quite amusing to take his wand out and magically shove Dory into the pool. She fell in with a big splash and reemerged with a look of vengeance on her face.
"Remus Joseph Lupin, I'm going to get you for that one." She threatened as she lifted her hands out of the water. "Accio Remus!" She picked him right out of the chair and dropped him right in the pool in front of her. He popped up and gave her a wet kiss and then dunked her under.
The quintet of teenagers were laughing hysterically, watching grown adults act younger than them. But Sirius' laughing howls caught their attention.
"You think this is funny, Padfoot?" Dory stated and then looked to Remus and nodded. "Accio Sirius!" she cried and repeated the same act that she did to her husband.
Laughter filled the yard now that everyone was soaked. Life was seemingly all well…for now.