Ripples – Chapter 4
Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any of the characters or plots developed in either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: A single moment can affect the entire reality as we know it.
Author’s Note: This chapter is the chapter that really starts explaining what’s going on. Of course, to do that in an interesting manner, I will be using flashbacks. They will not be linear. Hope it doesn’t confuse you too much.
Note 2: Realité Tordue is French for Twisted Reality.
Note 3: Thank god for the Harry Potter Lexicon. This site is a godsend.
Note 4: The werewolf flashback was also used in Acquainted with the Night.
Everyone person can make the biggest difference in the world, no matter who they are. Their actions create reactions that couldn’t even have been dreamed of. Every little thing you do affects everything on this planet.
The early dawn light filtered through the window, spreading a sparkling light through the small kitchen. The simple surroundings appeared glamorous in that captivating shine of morning glow.
Remus Lupin was enjoying the peace it brought at the plain wooden table in front of him. Nursing a cup of tea, he thought of the events that had brought him to this point in life. There were so many things that he had done wrong.
It was hard not to wonder what his life would have been like if things hadn’t gone so terribly wrong. Would he and Violet be happy together raising Willow? Would her uncles Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail spoil her rotten? Would she play with her cousin?
Shaking his head, the former Marauder tried to stop that train of thought. It was no use travelling down that road. Those things wouldn’t happen. All he had was now, and he should be grateful that he had Willow in his life at all.
It was then that the girl herself walked into the room, still clad in Scooby pyjamas and yawning. The young redhead made her way to the table before sitting down and staring at Remus.
Moony looked down at his daughter with a smile on his face. The girl met his gaze with wide green eyes that portrayed the innocence of a 10 year old, as well as shocking intelligence. It was an odd combination.
“Yes, Willow?” Remus finally asked softly, as the girl continued to look at him. He was going through a continuous trial and error phase concerning parenting.
The youngest Lupin blinked for a second before shyly answering. “May I have some breakfast, please?” Remus smiled at the quiet voice, she was so timid, it reminded him of himself at that age.
“Of course, what would you like?” He answered, standing up and heading towards the cupboards. Willow simply shrugged and replied that anything would do. Remus decided to settle on something simple, as he pulled the bread out. He sliced off several pieces, enough for both of them, before pulling out his wand.
Bringing them over to the oven, he alighted it with a spell, before laying the bread on a pan, and leaving them to toast. He looked over at Willow and saw her head tilt in confusion before she spoke.
“Don’t you have a toaster?” the words were sweet and the tone in them was slightly bewildered. She regarded the oven and pan with bewilderment.
It took Remus a second to comprehend, but soon enough, a light went on in his head. “I guess I’ve gotten into the habit of just using magic to do it.” He told her truthfully, “I don’t use ecle… electricity much.”
Willow’s face took on a pensive look and he could practically see her store the information away. He had seen her do it before, with everything new she leaned. She put it into her memory in case she would need it later.
The rest of breakfast was spent in relative silence as the father and daughter enjoyed honey on toast together. As they neared the end, Remus could tell the Willow was once again looking at him with a question on her mind.
The young girl shuffled in her seat, nervously looking down at her hands. Remus looked at her with gentle eyes, wordlessly encouraging her. He wanted her to be able to ask him anything.
“Well… It’s just…” Willow was having some trouble wording her question; “I was just wondering why I didn’t know you ‘till now.”
Remus felt his eyes widen and his pulse quicken. He knew she would ask that question eventually. He just hadn’t expected it this soon. He supposed it was better that he told her before Hogwarts, though. With a sigh, he prepared for the long explanation to follow.
“This is a long story,” he began, avoiding looking at his daughter, “Perhaps we should go somewhere more comfortable.”
The two of them settled on the couch. Remus took a deep breath, no more stalling. He opened his mouth and started to speak.
“To start off, I’m going to tell you something about myself,” this would be the hardest part, “You see, I’m not completely normal, even by wizarding standards. When I was very young, I was bitten.” He stopped, hoping that that would be enough, but knowing it wouldn’t be.
“By a dog?” Willow asked, looking at him with a small-confused frown on her pretty face.
“Not quite,” Remus replied, a humourless smile on his face.
~The night was eerily calm and quiet. The large full moon cast its unearthly glow upon the small muggle playground. The teeter-totter lay unmoving, with no children to rock it back and forth. A stray, falling leaf fell lightly down the empty, old fashioned, freestanding slide. The bright colours of the climbing structure were dimmed in the gloom of the night. A wisp of wind moved through the park. It caused one of the swings to sway and let out a very audible creak, disturbing the oppressive silence. There was a young boy sitting in the mentioned swings neighbour. He jumped at the suddenness of the seemingly loud noise.
He was nine, perhaps ten, years old. His light brown hair fell haphazardly across warm hazel eyes. Young Remus Lupin was dressed in jeans and an oversized white tee shirt. His eyes roamed about the playground nervously as he ran a hand through his unruly hair.
“C’mon Dad, where are you?” the boy was whispering apprehensively to his absent father. Remus’ gaze could not penetrate the shadows caused by the towering pine trees surrounding the park and a sense of foreboding was heavy in the air.
A gust of wind swept through the playground. Leaves scattered, and the teeter-totter crashed as the balance shifted to the opposite side. The empty swing swirled without direction on the current, its chains creaking with rust and age. Remus shifted uncomfortably as the wind played with his hair, throwing it casually about his face.
Remus stopped trying to tame his wildly flying hair as a low, rumbling growl emanated from behind him. The boy whirled around, only to find himself face to face with a giant wolf. Its panting breath was blown into Remus’ face. It smelt like death and decay and a mere whiff of the nauseous gas make Remus sick to the very pit of his stomach. The wolf’s shaggy grey man was unkempt, tangled with leaves and twigs, and matted together in disgusting lumps.
In a flash, the wild canine erupted with fury and was upon young Remus, easily holding the panicked child down. Its razor-sharp claws scratched the boy’s legs and arms as he squirmed helplessly and hopelessly beneath this larger and stronger foe. The absurdly large canines of the wolf descended upon a hysteric Remus.
The young boys terrified and pain filled screams filled the night and strangers shivered safely in their tightly locked homes. None dared to risk their lives for heroism.
Remus didn’t dare looked up as he finished the first part of his story. He didn’t think he’d be able to stand it if she looked at him with disgust. He took a deep breath and awaited the insults. Which, of course, was why he was so surprised at what happened next.
He felt a pair of small arms wrap around him and he almost leaped up. It only took a second to realize what was happening. It had been a long time since Remus Lupin had been hugged, but he did know what one felt like.
After a second, he returned the calming gesture, holding his daughter close. It was several minutes later that he finally released her, a smile on his face making him seem much younger.
“Thank you,” he whispered, running a hand through her red locks. She simply smiled at him before asking if he could keep going. With a quick though, Remus started back up again.
“I married Violet… Sheila… your mother, right out of school,” he told the small girl. Three years later, you were born. It would have been perfect, if it weren’t for one man.”
Taking a deep breath, Remus continued. “His name is… Lord… Voldemort,” He said the name as quickly as he could, not liking the way it rolled off his tongue. “He was a wizard, but he wasn’t a good one. He was one of the worst. He believed highly in blood lines, and didn’t like non-magical people at all.”
He looked down at Willow, checking to see if she understood. The look on her face was one of childhood innocence. “I don’t know why someone would be that way.” Her quiet reply made him smile at her view towards the world. He hoped she would stay that way.
“Neither do I, Willow.” He told her, rubbing a hand over his face. He then continued his tale, “Anyway, this was a very bad man. Then, this man did something that really hurt your mother: he went after her sister and her family. Lily Potter was your aunt She was married to one of my best friends, James.”
Willow looked even more interested at the thought of family, and Remus had to wonder. What had her childhood been like, if she was this starved for family? He made himself a promise to make sure she was never lacking in that department.
“They had a son named Harry, your cousin. He’s a year older than you. Now, Vol… Voldemort, everyone calls him You-Know-Who, he wanted your cousin dead. He tracked down your aunt and ended up killing her and your uncle.”
Remus had to stop himself at the familiar sense of loss. He felt his hand grabbed by a smaller one, and looked to see that Willow had tears in her eyes as well. He took a handful of strength from his well of it and remembered.
~As the couple apparated to the scene, it was easy to spot the dried tear tracks on their faces. The woman was clinging to the taller man, though they both looked equally broken. Walking closer they saw a familiar face.
Albus Dumbledore was staring at the quaint house quietly. It was difficult to believe that it could look so innocent so soon after the horrendous event that had destroyed it’s occupants.
He turned and regarded the two people who stood, grief-ridden beside him. The war had been tough on all of them, but this had to be the worst they had experienced. He could sense the turmoil inside of them.
His voice was quiet as he finally spoke, “Violet, Remus,” he began, “I’m so sorry.” He ended it like that, figuring that the simplest approach would be the best.
Violet Lupin broke down in a sob, and clung to her husband’s ragged robes. The tears began once again streaming down her face. Remus Lupin looked at him with desperation in his eyes.
“What about Harry?” he asked, his voice urgent, “Is Harry okay?” Remus Lupin concern for his nephew was overwhelming. He looked around, as though, in some way, he expected to find the baby just sitting around.
“I’ve sent him to live with Petunia and her husband,” Dumbledore answered gravely, “It is what’s best for him.”
This got another reaction from Violet, as she looked up in anger. “How could you do that? You know how she’ll treat him! How could you do this?!” Her anger was palpable as she stared down the old man.
Remus Lupin tried to calm his wife down. Even as he whispered the soothing words, he knew nothing would ever be the same again.
“Your mother was quite upset,” Remus conceded, “I guess that’s when our problems really started.” Remus tried to swallow the lump in his throat, as Willow sorted through the information.
“But, how did Harry survive?” her question was quiet, and inquisitive. Remus realized that he had skipped over an important part in his explanation, and quickly backtracked.
“No one knows how Harry survived,” he explained quietly, “But, somehow, he did, and You-Know-Who was incapacitated.” He didn’t know exactly what word to use for his condition.
“Incapacitated?” That was just the question he didn’t want to hear, not knowing exactly how to explain it.
“He wasn’t killed, though he should have been,” Remus tried to make sense of something he didn’t completely understand, “But he almost died, there’s barely anything left of him. But, he’s still trying to come back.”
Willow nodded. Happy for now with the explanation he had given her. Seeing the look on her face, however, told him that she would not be happy with that forever.
“Now,” he finally continued, after a minute of silence, “It all really fell apart at the funeral.”
~The mood in the room was an odd blend of despair and happiness. Times were confusing, and those in presence were confused about what emotions to feel, given the odd circumstances.
Violet Lupin was kneeling in front of the coffins. She appeared to be muttering, perhaps some kind of prayer. The wake was quite a muggle idea, but the young woman had insisted on it. As she sat there, she came to a very difficult decision.
Slowly standing, she spared one last glance for her departed sister. She then worked her way towards where her husband stood, engaged in the kind of polite conversation that filled the room.
Tapping him on the shoulder, Violet quickly got Remus’ attention as he turned his hazel eyes to meet her green ones.
“I’m leaving.” The words came out colder then she had meant them to, but she did mean them. Remus sent her a confused look. “I’m taking Willow, and I’m leaving, Remus.” She told him, practically spitting with the level of uncontrolled emotions.
Remus opened her mouth to protest, but she quickly cut him off, “I’ve had enough of magic. It killed Lily. I won’t have my daughter growing up with it.”
Without giving Remus a chance to get a word in edge wise, Violet Lupin stalked from the room. She wouldn’t change her mind.
Within an hour, she had Willow and was on her way. She would start over, and she would have a normal life.
Remus ended the story, feeling a sense of relief that he had gotten it over with. It was a hard tale to tell, but he understood that Willow had to know. He looked down at her, checking on how she was taking the news.
The sight he was greeted with was heartbreaking. The young girl had tears in her eyes and a crushed expression on her face. Remus felt a heavy pressure on his heart as he took in her face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her, concern evident in his voice as he took his daughter into his arms. She looked up at him with watery eyes before sniffling a response.
“You must hate me,” she whispered, her voice thick with un-shed tears, “I must remind you of all that bad stuff, and you must hate me.”
“Listen, I’m going to tell you something…” Remus started, trying to soothe his little girl…
~As Remus Lupin walked into the small room at St. Mungo’s, his eyes were immediately drawn to the bed where his wife lay. The site of her would have been enough to catch his attention on a normal day, but today was not a normal day.
Looking down at the small pink form laying in Violet’s eyes, he revelled in his first sight of his daughter. Walking over, he looked at the mother with a question in his eyes.
Holding out the small child, Violet offered her to her father. Remus picked the miniscule form up in his arms, and gazed into the eyes of his child.
Looking at that little girl, Remus fell in love.