The Forbidden Forest

Be careful of the curse that falls on young lovers
Starts so soft and sweet and turns them to hunters
A man who's pure of heart and says his prayers by night
May still become a wolf when the autumn moon is bright
-Florence and the Machine

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4. Chapter Four

Seclusion was the worst place for a child to grieve, and Elise had so many things to grieve over. The death of her father, the loss of her innocence, and the change in her humanity.

While she stayed with the Weasley family, her mother put the house up for sale and moved them to a small, lonely, property far away from other people. It was a place for them to heal and grieve. But also a place for them to hide from the war they’d been dragged into, and a place to hide a daughter who now had a monster constantly struggling to be free.

She spent her first lunar cycle at St. Mungo's Hospital in London. Her healers wanted her to experience her first transition before they could concoct a proper Wolfsbane potion. She remembered being locked and chained in a room, screaming in agony. She begged to go home. Begged for her father and mother. Even the kind warmth of the Weasley home. She even begged for Remus Lupin to help guide her through it.

But no help came. After she had been let go, her mother brought her to the new house. Patricia walked through the door and sat down at the kitchen table in the dark. Elise stood by the kitchen entrance clutching her pillow. The house was still unfamiliar and frightening to her, and she didn’t want to walk to her bedroom alone.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” Patricia spoke from the table. Even though it had only been a month since her husband’s death, she already seemed so worn and frail.

“What is it?” Elise asked her. Patricia patted the table.

“Sit down, darling.” The girl took a cautious step toward her and took a seat on the other side of the table. She was still holding onto her pillow, afraid of the dark and whatever it was her mother wanted her to know.

“I spoke to Mrs. Weasley this morning before you were let go,” she said. “The war is over.” She tried to produce a smile, but it seemed so forced. “Things are going to change—for people like you. They’re going to do the best they can to—provide you with the best life possible.”

Elise could tell that she was just barely getting around to whatever she wanted to say. And she could tell by her mother’s expression that it wasn’t something she wanted to hear.

“So what’s the bad news?” she asked. Patricia took a deep breath and let it go, but her eyes didn’t meet her daughter’s.

“You remember the man who came to see you—after—Remus Lupin?”

“Yes, of course.”

“He—he died during the battle—he and his wife.” Elise looked away and hugged her pillow closer.

Over the years, she often asked herself why his death hurt her so badly. She hardly knew him. She met him once and not for any significant amount of time. But he was her biggest connection to the world she was now part of. He was the first person to tell her what she was. He was the only other person she knew who was just like her. That’s why she called for him when she was changing. That’s why his death affected her so deeply. She felt so isolated.

“They left behind a child,” Patricia continued. “A baby boy called Teddy.” Elise nodded slowly.

“He’s not…” she started, “like me, is he?” Her mother shook her head.

“No, darling. He’s…”

Elise could hear the word she didn’t say. She would never say it. But Elise would always feel it whenever her mother spoke about her or her world. The world was “normal.” Patricia was normal. Teddy Lupin was normal. Elise was not. She would never be normal. Even in her strange world of magic and witchcraft she wasn’t normal.

“Can I go to bed now?” she asked her mother.

“Of course, sweetheart.”

“Will you walk me?”

“Yes, absolutely.” Patricia jumped up and reached for her daughter’s small hand. She was always careful with her, and eager to help with whatever the girl might need.

Elise was grateful for her, but she would never understand just what the woman was going through. After losing her husband she’d been thrust into a world she didn’t understand. A world she would never fully be part of, but one she had to learn all the same. She would have to get used to owls bringing the mail and people appearing in her fireplace. More than that, she would have to deal with a child who turned into a monster once a month and disappeared to a magical school for most of the year.

She led her daughter up to the bedroom she’d set up for her, hoping it was enough like the home they’d left behind to help her transition. But hoping it wasn’t so much like it that it hurt. She turned on the light as the child climbed into her bed, hugging her pillow close to her chest. Patricia left her daughter with a kiss on the head, and when she was gone the girl cried herself to sleep.

 

 

*Singing* I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I'm just making shit up as I go. *Does a dance*

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