alive isn't sad // it is when it's over (dramaturgy) wrote in fathersandsons,
alive isn't sad // it is when it's over

Chapter 21, Part A - Rocking the Boat

Fic: Fathers and Sons: Chapter 21 - Rocking the Boat
Authors: dramaturgy and thinkatory
Rating: Heavy PG-13, R (for violence)
Word count: 12,774
Era: The First War Against Voldemort (1970-1981)
Characters: Remus Lupin, MWPP/L, Fenrir Greyback, many, many others
Chapter Summary: Jeremy stormed into the room, an open copy of The Daily Prophet held above his head like it was an explosive. "What the hell is this? Am I the only person who read this, or are people just choosing not to tell me what's going on? I'm fighting a war out there and people don't even have the decency to tell me that the Ministry is practically declaring war on us? And what the fuck is Wolfsbane?"
Author's Note: Sorry about no updates last week, real life caught up to both of us. Please drop us a line if you like it, or you can add the comm for automatic updates to your flist!

Fathers and Sons
Chapter 21: Rocking the Boat

Each month we sit, waiting for a reprieve from the terror shown us from the most willful of beasts: feral werewolves. But no reprieve comes. It's not a very promising thing to say that the best you can do the morning after the full moon is thank Merlin that this month, it wasn't your child, wasn't your family, but parents around Britain all think it. "What Will The Ministry Do About The Werewolf Problem?" The Daily Prophet, 31 July 1981

July 1981
It had been days since Fenrir had cut open Laurel's throat to be an example to others who would seek to overthrow him. But of course, she hadn't been part of the real plan. Just a cog. A dead cog. And Remus still felt sick over it.

He shouldn't have felt anything. They'd agreed that it was something necessary in order for their plan to work like it had to. It was improvised from the moment Wesley threw Jeremy into that meeting of the inner circle, but it worked out. Amazingly, it had worked. Jeremy's arse had been thoroughly kicked into next month, and while he was going to live, you wouldn't have known that to look at him. It was just another price one of them had to pay to see this through -- or at least that's what Remus figured Jeremy would say. It sounded like something he would say.

He still felt wretched, and he supposed that was something unlikely to change. While he didn't want to appear as though it bothered him as much as it did, or the reason for it, or his worry for the other saboteurs... it was a lot to keep contained in himself. He stood at the window in the upstairs corridor, and he watched the children in the yard with Wesley. His arms were crossed in front of his chest, as though he could keep it all in.

Fenrir sat alone in his room until he couldn’t stand the silence any longer, and forced his heir to come to his side. He lashed out over the tie against both Remus and Wesley, shoving the chair back as he stood and stalked out of his room, only to find Remus standing there. "What are you doing?" he demanded.

Remus kept from crying out at the discomfort that hit him over their tie. He didn't want to care about it but it was immediate and painful. "Nothing," he answered honestly.

"Not much to do, is there," Fenrir sighed, putting his hand on Remus's shoulder as he looked out the window as well. "There's... there's things to do. Damage control. People will always try to steal any bit of power they can get, it's just a matter of showing them you're the best one to wield it, and that's what we've got to do."

Ironically, he was right. There was not much to do, not until their brain of the outfit was up to operating. That wasn't what he meant, though, obviously. "It's certainly left an impression," he replied neutrally.

"Well, there's still the bastards to handle. She had a nice conspiracy going, judging by Curenton." Fenrir watched Wesley sweep one of the kids up and over his shoulder, and gave a short laugh. "I think you might be the best to handle that situation," he added to Remus.

He immediately nodded. "I will," he answered. It would be an easy enough thing to go to the unnameds, and then tell Fenrir that he'd successfully scared them all into submission.

Fenrir leaned against the nearby wall instead, ignoring the window and his son outside. "She helped me save you, you know. I thought she believed in the same things, but just like the rest, she fell victim to her nature."

Yes, because the way you saved people was by breaking into their houses and dragging the four-year-old boy out of his bed. Saved. "Maybe we are all nature and nurture makes no difference at all," he said, still looking out the window.

Fenrir considered that. "You were raised as a wizard, and you came to me. She was raised with me, and she betrayed me. All the more reason you should be grateful you are what you are and not what your wizarding father meant you to be."

Remus didn't know if that was true or not. He wasn't sure what Alexander Lupin may have intended or hoped, except that Remus not be what the father's hasty words had done to the son. And that had never been so much as outright stated. "That may be true," he allowed, although not for the reasons Fenrir had assumed.

"I should have named her, but I was too young, and she nearly died -- I nearly broke her in half, my Father said, but she lived. I'd worried I'd killed her. If I'd known that naming her would have kept her from becoming this..." He shook his head. "Always name them. Always. Wesley's always had a talent for it, he does it without even an effort. On occasion..." He shrugged. "I forget. It's fate, I figure. If they were meant to be named, they would be."

"Fate seems to play a part in a lot of what happens here," he replied. He wasn't sure how fate was reconciled with the effort that had gone into obtaining and naming him.

"Fate plays a part in everything, Remus," Fenrir answered, raising his eyebrows.

Remus didn't reply to Fenrir right away, and looked at his shoes instead. "But ultimately, our actions are our own," he finally said.

"I was saved by my Father so I could rule this pack, I heard one conversation that told me I had to save you -- and the Curenton lived so he could reveal Laurel for what she was and save the unified pack. Fate leads us to the actions that have to be taken by those who make history," he concluded, with a sigh.

Except it wasn't fate. It was a set of decisions made by people who weren't Fenrir himself -- which, Remus supposed, could be the definition he was working with. Not to mention saving the unified pack was the exact opposite of what Jeremy was doing. How could fate, if such a thing existed, be the tool of a lie? "Outside forces impact your decisions," he conceded.

Fenrir enjoyed this more than he should have, but Remus was a quiet boy -- a two-sided conversation where his heir shared his real opinion was rare. He didn't press or pressure, but just felt along their tie, the wolf giving its son an encouraging nudge. "Do you think I had a choice in what I did?" he asked easily. "Do you think I could have left Laurel alive?"

No, because they'd manipulated it. They'd spread the rumours, planted them in every ear from unnameds all the way up the chain to Wesley. Their plan had worked perfectly and the only end to that was her death. "You could have," he said, and then made himself add, "It was a choice -- an easy choice, you knew that leaving her alive left you weak and possibly in danger. But it was still a choice."

"The wrong choice isn't a choice, it's a mistake, I always think," Fenrir said casually. "There's the right choice, and failure. Only rarely do you get a second chance."

"But sometimes you don't know a mistake until you make it."

"That doesn't change the fact that it's a mistake."

"And until you realise that, it's just a choice that you made."

Fenrir grinned. "So they're just choices, not right or wrong. But if it's the realisation later that makes the difference between the right choice and a mistake, not ... reason or wits or knowing better, then the only reason you made the decision in the first place was the outside forces impacting you. Fate," he concluded.

It still didn't account for what you believed to be true actually being false. But as though standing in the upstairs corridor and debating philosophy with Fenrir Greyback wasn't absurd enough. "Fate," he echoed wryly.

"I overheard a conversation in 1964," Fenrir said after a moment, amused. "Only a little of it. But it was enough. Some bastards were talking about a man named Alexander Lupin, some comments he made. None of them could have done what I did -- Owen Curenton couldn't have -- but Alexander raised a werewolf as his own after calling them animals, all because I took the chance to show him the truth."

His father -- no matter what the wolf wanted, or what he insisted, Alexander Lupin remained his father -- had done that. For any other fault he had, he had kept him in his house. Others had not been so lucky, he knew. Remus nodded slowly. "Outside forces imposed on a child who knew nothing of it. I guess that is fate."

"You went to Hogwarts -- thanks to Dumbledore. Help to the poor and needy so long as they're convenient," Fenrir sneered. "Gives help to the Muggleborns..." He dismissed that. "You went to Hogwarts, you saw firsthand what wizards can be like. You're lucky to be one of us, to have a pack. Fate had me save you."

Remus had no answer to that. Wizards could be awful, people could be cruel, there was no changing that. They could also be amazing. There was no other word for people who would become Animagi to keep you company on a full moon.

"You should go settle the pack, the unnameds. Report back to me at your leisure." Fenrir clapped him affectionately on the shoulder, his wolf giving Remus's an appreciative push. "If you see Conor, tell him I want him up here. No rush."

It was, at least, something to do. A reason to speak to Skylar directly without fear of suspicion, and to find Briony. "I shall," he said, turning away from the window.

"Good." Fenrir shut the door, closing himself into solitude until Conor arrived.


Julia sat back on the couch in the Den, watching as Jeremy and his mother were... she wouldn't precisely call it an arguing, but it was an unusually animated conversation, even for the Curenton family. They'd been at it for fifteen minutes straight and the conversation didn't sound like it was likely to come to a close anytime soon.

She sighed quietly and glanced at Owen, who caught her eye over the top of The Daily Prophet. He gave her a sympathetic glance and attempted to break in, but he was unable to fit in a word edgewise.

"I don't care about the wedding," Jeremy burst out finally, irritated, and stood despite that his mother was staring at him in that critical way that made him feel like a bad person. "That's -- it's hardly the part that matters, Mum -- "

Brighid's mouth dropped open at this, but she shut it abruptly and stood to speak. "You're being ridiculous, just wait another month, Jeremy, it won't kill you to plan ahead a little and do something nice, will it?"

Jeremy gripped the sleeve of his robes in his hand as he spoke, forcing himself to sound a bit more civil, but it came out in razor tones. "I'd like to get married before I die, that's all.”

Julia took in a sharp breath, clenching her hands and feeling her fingernails dig into the heel of her hand. "Jeremy," she let out the breath, her stomach clenching. Just because it was the undercurrent of the moment didn't mean she wanted to hear it.

"I think," Owen started calmly before they could go for round twenty, putting down the paper, "that this can be discussed calmly. Jeremy, your mother is just thinking of the two of you. Brighid, they're adults and perhaps you could be a bit more... open to what he’s suggesting."

One week ago, Jeremy had been certain he was going to die, and he'd waited a week past that to even attempt the journey back to the Den because he looked too much like death to even return, and he couldn't stand to wait any longer. He wasn't safe. They weren't safe. It had all gone too well. "Mum," he began, but then turned to Julia. "It's not too late, the proper Ministry departments should still be well open. We'll have to go to Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures first, deal with the waivers and all the paperwork, but it shouldn't take too long. Let's go."

She hesitated for only a second, but it was only her habit that made her do so. She nodded quickly and stood as well. "Let's go, then," she repeated.

"Jeremy," Brighid snapped out once she realised what was going on, but softened when he looked at her in anger. "I -- " She pulled him into a brief embrace. "I'm sorry, go on."

Jeremy exhaled and patted his mother's back, kissing her cheek when she released him. "It's fine. We should go," he added to Julia. "Who knows how much paperwork they've added since I last checked."

"Well, you haven't given them time to come up with more, so having the element of surprise on your side may work for the best," Owen said lightly.

Julia cast a quick glance at Brighid. She didn't look angry anymore, neither of them did, and she tried not to worry about it. They were getting married, now, tonight. With any luck she'd be Julia Curenton in some time. "I'm sure it'll be no time at all."

Jeremy took Julia's hand and twined his fingers in hers, trying a smile on, then genuinely smiling. This was going to be good. "We'll be back soon," he added to his parents, still looking at Julia.

"Sooner you go, sooner you can return," Owen advised them as he gave Brighid a smile. She looked fit to burst all the same, but it was a look that he undeniably loved.

"Okay, we're going!" Julia gave a short laugh, and began to pull Jeremy out of the room with her. She had a hard time believing exactly how things progressed.

They walked in silence until they reached the door and Jeremy finally said, "Sorry," just a touch contritely.

He need not have said anything. "You're not allowed to make that face on your wedding day, Mr Curenton," she said, kissing him briefly.

"I don't deserve you," he said, now smirking.

"Now's not the time for cold feet," she returned, opening the door and exiting as she talked.

"If I have any faults, getting cold feet isn't one of them." He kissed her hand, released it, and Disapparated.

She rolled her eyes and followed behind him, Apparating into the Ministry atrium. It was mostly empty in the mid-afternoon, most people well at work in their respective offices, and Julia took his hand again as the crossed the tile to the lifts. "So, exactly how much paperwork do we get to look forward to?" she asked casually.

"There are five forms that I know of," he said. "You won't want to know the details of what they're saying, so just sign 'em, basically it's the quick route of stepping through the loopholes in the law that makes it impossible for a beast like me to marry a nice witch like you."

"Okay," she said, calling a lift. "Ignore the details and sign. I can do that."

"I had to punch something after I finished my research on it, personally," Jeremy went on, a bit distracted by this now.

She squeezed his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder, silent until a lift arrived for them with a ding. "It's awful and unfair. But it'll be worth it."

He nudged her gently and ducked his head away from some memos that joined them when the lift door opened at Level Six, Department of Magical Transport. "You know they can set these to explode if someone who isn't Ministry touches them?" he said conversationally to Julia.

"I didn't know that," she said, glancing up at them as they fluttered around above their heads. "Probably smart, though, depending on what's in them."

"Learned all about those charms from Mum, she used to work at The Daily Prophet, so did Dad, you know that, anyway, she said that she got a nasty burn from one like that once."

"I've heard some stories," she said. "A lot about the coffee fetching."

"Or coffee-spilling, I've heard that one once or twice," he said, just as the door opened and the lift announced, "Level Four, Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures."

"Or coffee-spilling." Julia's hand tightened around his as they stepped out onto the floor. "Well,” she said.

Jeremy squeezed her hand. "It's okay," he said quietly to her. "It's nothing. They don't matter."

She nodded. She kissed him on the mouth. "Then let's get this over with and then go do the fun part," she joked.

He gave her his best stupid grin and glanced around to orient himself to the Department, finally conceding to speak to the secretary. "Hello," he began politely.

Nettie Fenwick thrust her copy of Witch Weekly underneath the desk, embarrassed at having been caught with it. "Good afternoon," she hurriedly recovered. "Em, how can I help you?"

How to put this. "I need to speak to someone at the Werewolf Registry, there's some very particular forms I need as soon as possible."

Someone wanted to speak to the Werewolf Registry? That was unusual for the smallest division of the Department. "I'll have to go see... didn't see 'em leave for the day, but no telling, you know." She seemed to mostly be speaking to herself, but looked up at Jeremy and Julia, smiling genially. "I'll be right back," she said, pushing her chair back and leaving them at the desk.

"Great," Julia murmured to herself, but instead of following up or looking to Jeremy, she looked at the edge of the sizeable desk, one finger tracing over the back of his hand.

The secretary returned sooner than either of them thought she might, and she was still wearing the smile. "I've got someone comin' out to see you, you can take a seat if you'd like," she said.

"I told you that these were to go directly to Miss Umbridge, Kenneth, and if you can't be trusted with one simple errand then perhaps you don't deserve to be working for someone so accomplished," a tart, girlish voice could be heard coming in their direction, and Isabelle Davis arrived at the desk just in time to hit Miss Umbridge's assistant with the paperwork he'd forgotten. She rolled her eyes at him as he scrambled to pick all the parchment up, and ordered, "Now go. Fenwick, what is it?" she added without looking up from the parchment she held.

Nettie opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted as Julia's jaw dropped and she choked out, "You!"

Isabelle turned at the exclamation, and her lipsticked mouth fell open in surprise, but it wasn’t long before she wore a smirk. "Oh, how lovely to see you, Julia. Still letting the dog sleep in your bed, I see. Some things never change."

This had to be some horrible, awful, cosmic joke. Julia was getting married today and Isabelle Davis was not going to be involved. At all. She ignored the bait and spoke to Nettie. "Is there anyone else back there we can speak to? Anyone?"

Nettie looked betwen Julia and Isabelle, genuinely confused, but decided to speak to the scary younger girl that she at least knew could possibly get her fired. "Em, they was just wantin' to see you about some forms," she said to Isabelle.

Jeremy subtly stepped in front of Julia and held a piece of parchment out to Isabelle. "I have the numbers if you'd like to just pull them for us." He couldn't resist, though, and added in a deadpan, "And you're wrong, she makes me sleep on the floor." Seeing Isabelle had put Julia right out of the mood for jokes. Without changing her expression, she whacked him on the shoulder once.

The corner of Isabelle's mouth lifted at the face the werewolf made, and she pushed the piece of parchment away with a dismissive flick of her hand. "No, I know which forms you want. I wondered when you'd finally come here, come along."

Jeremy stuck the parchment in his pocket, containing his anger and squeezing Julia's hand hard. "There isn't anyone else working there?" he asked the secretary calmly.

"Em. No," she said, abashed, almost apologetic. "Smallest staff in the entire Department."

Julia tried not to be annoyed, especially with the secretary who clearly had no idea what was going on, but it was difficult. "Fine, thank you, let's just do this," she said.

Isabelle tucked her parchments close to her chest and gave them a wide smile. "Of course! Just follow me." She turned around with a flounce and walked in the direction that she'd come from.

Jeremy leaned over to whisper in Julia's ear, "It's awful and unfair, but it'll be worth it, remember?"

There was awful and unfair, and then there was semi-torturous, this was quickly shaping up to be the latter. "Right," she forced back. She kissed his cheek and pulled him down the hall after Isabelle.

Isabelle glanced back to see if they were following, and smiled when she saw they were. "The werewolves are all over the papers these days," she said to them. "Every full moon, more people dead or missing. I don't know why you'd want to marry a murderer, Julia."

Jeremy was the one to snap now, struck too hard by the truth of the statement. "That's enough," he said, the wolf reacting violently and his hand gripping Julia’s hard.

Julia saw the reaction, felt it intensely, even, and kept his hand firmly wrapped in both of hers. "Don't tax your brain cell over it, Isabelle. Just get the papers for us."

"Of course, darling, right away," Isabelle said, barely hiding her disdain, and opened a drawer to pick through the folders there. "We don't usually have to pull these papers; it's why they're so memorable, only the complete madpeople want them."

She forced a dry smile at Jeremy. "Well. She's finally got one thing right."

He opened his mouth to respond, but Isabelle continued to speak as though Julia hadn't said a word. "Because it's illegal," she said, pulling one form out with a flourish. "For good reason." She pulled another.

"That's why these are loopholes, sadly," she replied caustically.

"We're only trying to protect you. Who knows, you might be his next victim!" Isabelle yanked the next parchment out with emphasis.

Now she remembered why she didn’t just dislike Isabelle Davis, but hated her. "The editorial is unappreciated."

"The laws are in place," and she pulled another form, "because they are just." She flicked through the files and pulled another. "Otherwise, they wouldn't be laws, now would they?"

"That should be all of them," Jeremy said, toneless for fear of biting her head off.

Isabelle looked back at them and tapped her lip. "No, one more." She glanced through the folders, peering into the drawer closely. "Ah! Here it is." She added it to the stack. "Here you are." She hesitated when Jeremy held out his hand to take the forms, and looked to Julia. "Are you sure this is what you want?" she asked, in her best patronising imitation of sympathy.

She glanced up at Jeremy. Even looking so serious, her stomach jumped and her heart began to race at the sight of him. She’d never wanted anything as much as she wanted to be married to him. "Have a quill we can use?" she answered, afraid to hold a hand out for one because she was sure it would be shaking.

"Just give me the forms," Jeremy interrupted, gesturing for them. He had to see what that sixth form was.

Isabelle tutted, not taking her eyes off of Julia as she handed the werewolf the forms, pointedly avoiding any physical contact. "It breaks my heart to see good purebloods behave like this."

"Half," Julia snapped. She supposed it was nice to know she'd played the part convincingly enough while she was in school, but Isabelle certainly hadn’t been speaking of Jeremy. Did Jeremy know? Had she ever told him? She couldn’t remember, and she didn't care. "I'm half. What is it, Jeremy?"

Jeremy looked at the form as though he couldn't quite believe it. "They passed a procreation bill while I wasn't looking. It figures."

"Oh, you're barking mad if you think that law hasn't been on the books for years," Isabelle said, with more of a smirk than ever at the pun. "Now that werewolf savagery is rearing its ugly head in the worst way, of course, we have more reason than ever to enforce it. We wouldn't want little Fenrir Greybacks running around."

"Quite fortunate it's not Fenrir Greyback I'd be procreating with," Julia snapped. Children were so far beyond her mental limits right now, but now that Jeremy had the form in his hand, she was pissed off. "Jesus Christ."

Jeremy did not see this going anywhere that was promising, and he needed to stay calm if only to make sure the wolf didn't get any more agitated. "A quill and ink if you would," he said, very polite.

"You can write? I thought you might have forgotten, what with -- well, I presume living with the savages," Isabelle said, sounding much like she just wanted to laugh as she went to fetch ink and a quill. "You're all the same, I don't doubt there's blood all over his hands, Julia, they're vicious carnivores, haven't you read Fantastic Beasts?"

If she were a less stubborn person, Julia might've cried. Or screamed. Or both. Maybe later. Instead of that or indeed saying anything at all, she pressed her face into Jeremy's shoulder for a moment until the quill and ink were delivered to them.

Jeremy touched her back in comfort, kissing the top of her head and sending Isabelle a cool look. "Institutionalised racism, that's what I like to see," he said. "Let's get this over with."

Isabelle gestured to the ink and quill she'd set out on the nearby desk, and tucked her hands behind her back innocently.

"Lets get this over with," Julia echoed, picking up the quill and inking it. She hesitated for only a second, but recalled Jeremy's words to not even read it and just sign. And so she started, confidently, proud to sign her name next to his.

"Oh dear," Isabelle commented, crossing to lean on the other side of the desk. "Now you've agreed that you know the danger of living with a werewolf..."

Jeremy signed the next one and pushed it over to Julia, sending her a smile. Soon they'd be finished with this. She smiled back, and she tried to keep herself from hearing Isabelle's words, although it was difficult. She didn't care. She didn't care. As if to make this point she dotted her i's with extra force.

"And now you've agreed that you know the danger of possible infection," Isabelle explained. "Because they've not bothered to study all the different ways he could turn you into one of them -- so few witches and wizards lack the sense to stay away, you see."

"Careful on that one, it wants middle name, not just initial," Julia told Jeremy, pointing out where she’d written Patricia.

"Oh, thank you," Jeremy said, eyeing Isabelle before emphatically writing Sean into the space his wife-to-be had indicated.

"You've now agreed to tell us everything you know in the event that your husband goes feral," Isabelle said, lowering her voice.

God, she couldn't breathe. It hurt. Keeping in mind the ultimate goal, she again signed her name.

Isabelle drummed her fingernails on the desk and watched them. "I suppose we can't expect anything less from the daughter of a werewolf, can we, Curenton? She must have been raised a savage, just like you."

Of all the things that Julia would have expected to hear from Isabelle Davis, that wasn't even on the list. Memories sharper than anything assaulted her, and the part of her that remained six years old and aware that she'd forever lost her father -- not just her father, dad, was suddenly twenty and intensely angry. She slammed the quill down on the desk, lifted her bag over her head and dropped it to the ground. Before Isabelle or even Jeremy could react, in a moment of uncharacteristic rage, Julia had jumped the desk, tackled Isabelle to the floor, and began landing every punch she could manage.

"What the f -- " Jeremy got out before Isabelle released a piercing shriek of "SECURITY!" He moved quickly to pull Julia off of the evil racist bitch, not because he necessarily wanted to. Yeah, he wasn't getting married today, not by a long shot. "Julia!"

Julia had no words, just a frustrated cry. She desperately wanted to hit Isabelle again and moved to do so, but Jeremy had her firmly around the middle and she wasn't going anywhere. Her head began to clear again as Isabelle pulled herself off the floor and his hold didn't loosen. Holy shite. She'd just done that. "I'm sorry," she said, ostensibly not speaking to Isabelle but to him. "I ruined it... I'm sorry..."

He just held onto her, afraid to let her go for fear of the situation getting worse. "It's okay, it's fine, just -- "

There was a sudden shriek of "WHAT is going on here?" and Jeremy turned only to see Dolores Umbridge standing there, pink and looking uncharacteristically fit to be tied. "Well. I suppose I don't need to ask what went on here, do I? Let go of the girl," she ordered.

"We're leaving," Jeremy said, fiercely protecting her -- even though there was no point, they were in trouble.

"That's right, you are. But the girl is coming with me, and you will leave the Ministry." Umbridge offered a sweetly dangerous smile. "Come along, miss, it's not far to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement!"

Julia swallowed, leaning back against him. "Fine," she said, cleared her throat, and said it again. "Fine."

Umbridge gave a short little laugh. "Good! No time to waste." She drew her wand and turned as someone passed by. "Hem, hem! Miss Davis needs medical attention, could you attend to that? Thank you, Kenneth." She looked to the girl, with a smile that was more of a challenge than anything else. "Come along, miss."

"I'll bail you out," Jeremy murmured, and kissed her cheek, only then releasing her.

She turned to look at him and kissed him again before she could help it. "I'm sorry," she apologised again, and began walking away with Madam Umbridge.

Jeremy honestly felt like he could spit, but the bloke Isabelle had earlier been slapping around was now gathering a woozy Isabelle into his arms and attempting to transport her. He considered helping, for a minute, but just left for home before he took a shot at her himself.

Going home without Julia wasn't exactly how Jeremy had pictured this day ending, and the lift felt horribly empty, but he ignored it and Disapparated the minute he got to the Atrium. He didn't even stop after arriving on the doorstep, flinging the door open and entering the Den in search of his parents. "DAD. MUM."

"Brighid!" Owen called back from where he was working in his office. He pushed his chair back and stood, meeting Jeremy in the hallway. He looked behind Jeremy, down the hallway. "Er. Jeremy, you seem to have forgotten someone," he said.

Jeremy opened his mouth to speak, rethought it, then finally just said it. "I need bail money."

"You need what?" Brighid asked loudly, hands on her hips.

Jeremy sighed. "She's right behind me, isn't she."

"It's her talent. You need bail money," Owen repeated, just to make sure that he'd heard his son correctly.

Jeremy stood aside so his mother could enter the room and leaned heavily against the wall. "Isabelle Davis is the sole worker at the Werewolf Registry."

"Sole worker. That is somehow unsurprising," he answered derisively.

"Where have I heard that name before?" Brighid wondered. "Davis?"

"Her Death Eater father was killed by Fenrir when they helped him escape from the Ministry, but on top of that she's made it her life goal to make Julia as miserable as possible, and ... well, Julia punched her. So now she's going to be locked up and I need bail money," Jeremy concluded.

"Julia? Our Julia?" Owen raised his eyebrows.

"She actually tackled her," Jeremy amended. "Bit of a rugby thing, I think -- "

"Oh lord," Brighid sighed. "That makes her one of you now, doesn't it?"

Jeremy was more amused than affronted, but still. "I've never gone to jail."

"Give it time, give it time," Owen sighed. Julia, who hardly said boo, had tackled a Ministry worker and was now going to be spending time in lockup. "Well, if she's one of us, we'll be getting her out, then. Not what I was hoping to give for a wedding present, but..."

"We're not married yet. We got through four of six forms and then she said something about Julia's dad." He paused. "Dad, did you know there's an anti-werewolf procreation law on the books?"

"Of all the trashy – in incredibly poor taste -- " He stopped himself, focusing on Jeremy's question. "I've never seen it, but I'd heard there was such a thing. It's old -- centuries, at least," he answered, setting his jaw.

"Well, it's back. To, how did she put it, make sure we don't have little Fenrir Greybacks running around." He gave his father a withering look.

"She's like to have to spend the night in there," Brighid spoke up before they'd forget about the girl entirely.

Owen exhaled heavily, taken back to the subject at hand. "Right," he said, and looked back to Jeremy. "They are liable to keep her."

"But I have to check. Right?" Jeremy leaned his head back against the wall. "Fuck. ... Sorry, Mum."

"Of course," Owen agreed, and he pulled out his wand and took the hex off the bottom drawer of his desk where a certain amount of emergency cash was kept. "It depends on what MLE is doing, and how on the ball they feel about processing a baited young woman instead of, you know, doing things that could actually help society... How much was it when you had to bail me out, B? I've quite forgotten."

Brighid crossed her arms over her chest. "I don't remember the exact number, Owen, I had other things on my mind," she said, with a pointed look. "A riot, really -- "

"Mum, please," Jeremy interrupted with a sigh. "We know, Dad started a riot and he's an idiot, any idea how much? Please?"

She gave her son a warning look, but went on explaining to Owen, "I don't know if it'll be the same amount but it was about 100 for yours, Owen."

"Thank you, dear," Owen said mildly. He lifted the sack of galleons out of the drawer and placed it on the desk, closing the drawer. "I suspect it won't be quite that much. If more is needed, then we'll get it."

Jeremy came forward to take the money, tucking it into his pocket and stepping back in a bit of a daze. "We're still getting married as soon as I get her out of there," he added, looking between his parents. "I'll be back. With Julia. Even if I have to bribe." He tried a grin.

"Of course, you can't expect a little setback like being taken into custody to stop a Curenton from something like getting married," his father replied firmly, and smiled back slightly.

Jeremy looked at his mother. "See, it's a good thing we didn't have a wedding, because right now she'd be in there ruining a nice white dress."

Brighid had to smile at that, but shooed him out. "Go and bail her out," she insisted. "Go get your wife."

"Oh!" Owen said, reaching into his breast pocket, signaling for one more minute. "I know that this is hardly at the top of the list as far as things we're considering right now, but these were my parents'." He pulled out a pair of rings, a man's and a woman's. "For the two of you, if you'd like."

Jeremy hadn't thought a moment about rings. Then again, he recently had more disturbing things on his mind than wedding details. He went to look at them, then he realised. "You're sure?" he asked. They were his grandparents' rings, by god.

"I'm positive, take them," he said, placing them in Jeremy's hand. "There might be no white dress but, well. A little tradition won't kill you, I promise."

"Just take care when you go back," Brighid said, hesitant to interrupt as her son stared at the rings.

Jeremy closed his hand and put the rings in his pocket as well, "I'm always careful," he said. "Thanks, Dad. It's -- thanks."

Owen smiled, placing his hands on Jeremy's shoulders for a moment. "Go get married."

Jeremy didn't have to be told twice, and bolted out of the room and the Den, eager to get her the hell out of a Ministry cell and back with him as soon as possible.

Brighid glanced out of the door and watched her son practically sprint out of the door, only turning back to her husband with a smile once he was out of sight. "I can't believe she was imprisoned before he was, to be honest," she said.

"Me neither," he admitted, approaching her slowly. "I didn't think Julia knew how to hurt a fly, let alone tackle and punch a person." He shook his head. "Well. It certainly seems like she's marrying into the right family, anyway."

"I didn't doubt that for a second," she chided him, and took his hand in hers. "Well, she's talking and gravely offending Ministry officials ... she's a Curenton now, all right."

He smiled at her. "It takes a certain sort," he joked affectionately.

She tried to keep a somewhat serious expression, but failed and smiled, kissing him fondly. "He's nearly finished," she said, leaning against him. "Then this'll all be over."

He sighed, kissing her cheek and rubbing her back. "I really hope so," he said. "But first they're going to come home, tonight."

"Right." She moved away, excusing herself with, "I have to work on the cake. A little tradition won't kill them, after all."

"I somehow doubt anyone in their right minds is going to turn down a little cake regardless of whether they were just married or not," Owen said. "Of course, I suppose it's debatable who is actually in their right mind around here..."

"Even the mad appreciate my food, though," Brighid reminded him, then grinned. "If you join me, you get frosting."

"Temptress," he accused, and hexed the appropriate drawer again before seizing her around the waist.

She laughed and kissed him again, informing him as she pulled away, "And no more silliness like last time."

"That was not silliness, I happen to take cake frosting extremely seriously," he said, keeping hold and letting her pull him after her.

"Melinda had just better not walk in on your extremely serious frosting misconduct," Brighid chided, and gave him a kiss to shut him up before hurrying to get the wedding cake done in time for her criminal daughter-in-law and son to arrive home.


Part B!
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