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   Farina gave me a glare that would make a dragon shrink back in fear when I ran into the clinic at exactly 1:30.  I think she had been hoping that I would've been a minute late so she could've yelled at me.  Luck had been on my side that time.

    I went to the nurse's station and they handed me the chart for the wizard in Exam Room One. 

    “What seems to be the problem?”  I asked once I was inside the room.

    The wizard sitting on the exam table didn't look particularly sick, nor did he have any obvious injuries.  In fact, he looked perfectly fine.

    “Er,”  he muttered,  “I've got this, well, growth on my, er, arse.”

    “Roll over,”  I told him.

    He did so and I noticed his wand sticking out of the back pocket of his jeans. 

    “Here's your problem,”  I said as I yanked his wand out of his pocket, “There are a million reasons not to keep your wand in your back pocket, growths on your arse being just one of them.

    “Oh,”  the man sat up and his face was bright red,  “Well, I'll just stop doing that.”

    “Good idea,”  I said and handed him his wand.

    I got rid of the growth with a wave of my own wand and the man left, still bright red. 

    We've actually gotten quite a few people in the clinic with the same complaint.  I was beginning to think that someone needed to tell all the first years at Hogwarts not to put their wands in their back pockets.  It seemed kind of obvious to me, but I guess not everyone thought of it.

    The afternoon droned on and I healed various ailments and injuries. A few colds, one case of the flu, and a few minor spell damages.  I also assured one very worried mother that just because her four-year-old daughter had not yet displayed any signs of magic, it did not mean she was a Squib. 

    I left the clinic at exactly five o'clock and went straight down to my brewing room.  It was so nice to escape to the peace and quiet of the room after being in the chaotic hospital all day.

    My potion was ready to send off for testing.  Whenever new potions were created at St. Mungo's, they were sent to a different department of the hospital for testing.  They had to be mixed with other potions and run through various lab tests to find out if they were dangerous or would interact with other potions.

    Potions testers also worked in the basement, in separate rooms.  It often took a very long time to get results back from the testing and it was always a very nerve-wracking time.  A few of the potions I had created had come back labeled as dangerous and it was such a let-down when that happened.
   
    I let the Wolfsbane simmer for a half hour before bottling it and filling out the form for testing.  Then I walked down the long corridor towards the testing room.

    The testing room looked like something out of a Muggle horror movie.  It was filled with all sorts of stainless steel contraptions and cauldrons bubbling with various potions.  The testers wore white hazardous waste robes and masks.
   
    There was a window with a small two door box which potions were transferred with.  I rang the bell next to the door and one of the testers came over.

    “Amy,”  he greeted me,  “Another version of Wolfsbane?”

    “Yep,”  I said as I put it in the box, along with the form,  “Hopefully this one's better than the last one.”

    My last potion had failed the tests.  I had had to completely start over. 

    “It should be ready in a few weeks,”  he told me,  “We'll owl you the results.”

    “Thanks,”  I said as I left. 

                        ******

    Victoire was waiting outside my flat when I got home a little while later. She was glancing at her watch when I first saw her and then she breathed a sigh of relief when she saw me.

    “There you are,”  she said,  “I thought you were done at the clinic at five. Did Farina make you stay longer?”

    “No, but I had to go send my potion to testing,”  I said as I unlocked the door,  “You know you could've gone to Matt's and gotten the spare key.  You didn't have to wait outside.”

    “I did,”  Victoire replied as we walked inside,  “He wasn't home.  Neither was Albus.”

    “Albus had to leave again today,”  I said,  “Oh, right, Matt had to work late tonight.”

    “Well, it doesn't matter.  You're here now.  I just have to be home by eight because Teddy's got night duty at eight-thirty,”  Victoire said as she sat down on the couch.

    Teddy was an Auror and his hours were worse than Victoire's.  The two of them were lucky if they were able to pass each other in the doorway.  Sophie spent a lot of time either at my place or with her grandparents.  She didn't mind, though. Teddy and Victoire were lucky she was such an easy going kid.

    “So, why were you loitering around my door waiting for me to come home?”  I asked as I put a pot of water on the stove and dug out a box of pasta.

    “Are you working the day after the full moon?”  Victoire asked.

    “No,”  I turned around and looked at Victoire,  “Farina gave me the day of and the day after off.  Why, is she making you work that day?”

    “Yes,”  Victoire sighed and put her head down on the table,  “I got the day of off, but she won't give me the day after off.  And Teddy's got to work that day, too.”

    “Don't worry,”  I told her,  “I'll watch Sophie.  Just drop her off here before you go to work.”

    “Thanks,”  Victoire said,  “I just hate being away from her the day after.”

    Sophie may have been a very easy going child, but there was one thing that set her apart from other kids her age.  Sophie Nymphadora Lupin was a werewolf. Wolfsbane worked fine for her, but she was still incredibly exhausted the day of and the day after full moons.

    Victoire and Teddy had found out about it while Victoire was still pregnant. Starting in the second trimester, Sophie became incredibly restless during full moons.  Victoire, being a Healer, and Teddy, being the son of a werewolf, noticed this and Victoire had a test done to find out if the baby had lycanthropy.  It came back positive.
   
    The remainder of the pregnancy had been incredibly stressful.  Lycanthropic babies are incredibly rare and nobody really knew what was going to happen. Victoire had had to take Wolfsbane and spend every full moon in St. Mungo's, in case the baby transformed.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Victoire gave birth to a seemingly perfectly healthy baby.

    Sophie did not transform until she was almost three.  Nobody knew why and we still don't know.  Victoire and Teddy had started her on Wolfsbane as soon as she was born, but nothing ever happened until she was almost three. 

    Teddy and Victoire tried hard to make sure at least one of them didn't have to work the day of and the day after full moons, but every once in a while they both had to work.  If that happened on a full moon, I stayed with Sophie at their house.  If it was the day after, Sophie would come stay with me.  There had yet to be a full moon where Teddy, Victoire, and I all had to work.  We had a back-up plan that if that ever happened, one of my parents would stay with her.

    Sophie was actually the most well-adjusted werewolf I had ever met.  She didn't seem to care one bit that she was a werewolf and went through transformations in stride.

    Victoire left a little while later and then Matt showed up for dinner, as he often did when Albus was gone.  He didn't really like to cook and even though my own cooking was mediocre, he said it was better than his.

                        ******

    The next day at work was just one of those days where nothing went right. First, the bloke who had been attacked by a manticore took a turn for the worse. He wasn't responding to conventional treatment.  Healer Sterling took over his case because he had more experience with that sort of thing. 

    Jamie had a high fever the entire day that potions just didn't seem to fix. It finally decreased at the end of the day, but he had barely woken up at all.  George and Candace were tense the entire day and were taking it out on Kyle, who really didn't know what was going on.  Eventually I had Kyle play in my study while I did paperwork just to give everyone a break.  I knew all too well what it was like to be in Kyle's shoes.

    What I really needed after that day was to go to the Leaky Cauldron with Victoire and Teddy and get my mind off of work, but instead I went to visit Cinda with Matt.  Visiting a nursing home does absolutely nothing to lift one's spirits.

    Cinda's nursing home is like a palace.  It's a state of the art facility where all the residents get their own rooms that are decorated to look like living quarters in a castle.  A king's castle, not Hogwarts.  It costs a fortune to live there, but Cinda's got loads of money.

    Matt and I arrived shortly after dinner was over and the receptionist told us that Cinda was in her room. 

    Cinda's room was decorated with pink and a lot of flowery patterns.  There were a lot of pictures of Mum as a kid and a few of Matt and I as kids.  Plus there are a few of Cinda and Richard.

    “Cinda?”  I asked loudly and knocked on the door as we walked inside her room.

    “Oh, Amy!  Matt!”  she shouted,  “I was wondering when you'd come see me.”

    Cinda has lost none of her wit as she's gotten older.  She's still as sharp as she was when she was young.  It's her body that's going.  She's just gotten old. She can't walk very well and uses a wheelchair.  Her hearing's gone as well.

    “Hi, Cinda,”  I said as I gave her a hug,  “How are you feeling?”

    “As well as can be expected,”  she replied,  “Now, Amy, where on earth did you get that sweater?  It's positively dreadful.”

    “It's what I wear under my work clothes,”  I said as I sat down on the couch, “No one can see it.”

    I didn't think the sweater was that bad.  It was brown and white striped.  At least it didn't have any reindeer on it.  Then it would be an awful sweater.

    “Oh, happy birthday, Amy!”  Cinda said.

    “Thanks,”  I smiled.

    “I have to tell you this, Amy.  You know the lady who lives across the hall? Well, her daughter just got arrested.  Can you believe that?  She robbed a grocery store...”  Cinda said.

    I spent the rest of the evening listening to Cinda gossip about the various ladies who lived in the nursing home.  Some things never changed.  Each time I visited Cinda was the same.  The gossip was different, but it was always there.

    Cinda never seemed to tire, either.  Most older people went to bed at seven or eight at night.  Not Cinda.  She always kept talking until one of the nurses came in and told us visiting hours were over.

    I never really minded.  Some of the gossip was boring, but it obviously kept Cinda happy and there wasn't much else to do in a nursing home.  She had been so depressed after Richard died; it was nice to see her happy again.

    “Cinda,”  one of the nurses said as she knocked on the door,  “I'm afraid visiting hours are over.”

    Cinda sighed,  “Well, don't wait so long before you next visit.”

    “I won't,”  I got up and gave her another hug.  Then I nudged Matt awake.  He never really had the tolerance for Cinda's gossip. 

    “Hmm?”  Matt asked.

    “Time to go, Sleeping Beauty,”  I grinned.

    “Shut it,”  he muttered and then turned to Cinda,  “We'll be back soon.”

    “Good,”  Cinda told him,  “And no falling asleep next time.”
   
    “Merlin, that place is too pink,”  I said to Matt as we walked towards a back alley to disapparate.

    “It's like your room at her house,”  Matt laughed.

    “Seriously, one room should not have that much pink,”  I said,  “If I ever have kids, none of them are going to have pink rooms.”

    We took a break in the conversation to disapparate and reappeared a few blocks away from our building.

    “What if one of them likes pink?”  Matt asked.

    “Then they can paint their room pink when they're older,”  I told him,  “Do you want to come over and have dessert or something?”

    “Nah,”  Matt shook his head,  “I think I'm just going to go to bed.”

    I left him at his flat and then climbed up the stairs to mine, where I drowned my work sorrows in a pint of chocolate ice cream.  Chocolate didn't solve everything, but it never hurt things either.

                        ******

    “You've got an owl,”  Natalie handed me a letter as I ran out of my study the next day.

    I thanked her and pocketed it.  I was late for clinic duty.  Farina was going to murder me.  I didn't even have a good reason.  I had been reading a potions book in my study and lost track of the time.

    Three minutes late.  I skidded into the clinic three minutes late.  In Farina's book, that was nearly as bad as skipping a shift all together. 

    “Eckerton!”  Farina shouted as I grabbed a chart off the nurse's station desk.

    “I'm sorry!”  I shouted back.

    “Consider this your warning,”  she told me.

    She must have been feeling generous that day.  Farina didn't give warnings. They just weren't her thing.

    I didn't have time to open the letter until after the clinic was closed.  I made sure to stay an extra three minutes and then went back to my study. 

    Sterling was on call that night and was in his study doing charts.  He looked up when I walked past.

    “Are you going to be in on Friday?”  he asked.

    “For a little while,”  I answered,  “I have to, for Jamie.  But I'm also watching Sophie that day.  I might have to bring her with me, depending on whether Matt's well enough to keep an eye on her.”

    The letter was quite wrinkled after having been shoved so hastily into my pocket.  I hoped it wasn't anything too important.  I sat down in my chair and ripped it open.

Amy,

Matt never came into work
today.  Could you check up
on him when you get out?

Love,
Dad


    I sighed and started to get my things together.  Matt usually only missed work the day of the full moon and then two days after. 

    “See you Friday,”  I said to Morris on my way out of the room.

    “Bye, Amy,”  he replied.

    There was not much food in my flat, so I stopped by the Magical Market on my way back.  I have the tendency to wait until the last minute to grocery shop and the day I was forced to do it was never convenient.

    I finished in record time and put it haphazardly away before going down to Matt's flat.  He had given me a spare key when he moved in, so I just went right inside.

    Matt and Albus's flat was the same lay-out as mine, but it looked drastically different.  The place was filled with mismatched furniture and absolutely nothing was put away.  My flat was organized chaos, theirs was just chaos.  It wasn't nearly as bad as John and Kaden's, which I had only seen on one occasion, but it was still a mess.

    It was so quiet that it almost seemed like no one was home.  I headed straight to Matt's bedroom.  The door was shut and I opened it as quietly as I could.

    Matt was sound asleep in bed, buried under numerous blankets.  His face was flushed and a wave of my wand told me he had a fever.  I gently nudged him and he rolled over and opened one eye.

    “Ugh,”  he groaned.

    “How do you feel?” I asked.

    “Like shit,”  he muttered,  “What time is it?”

    “Just after seven,”  I told him,  “Did you know you slept through work?”

    “Oh Merlin,”  he said,  “I haven't done that in months.”

    “It's ok.  Dad understands,”  I told him.
   
    “No one else would,”  Matt said.

    “No one else needs to,”  I replied,  “Now you're staying with me until tomorrow night.”

    “I don't want to move,”  he mumbled.

    “I told you not to stay up late with your friends this past weekend,”  I said as I pulled the covers off the bed,  “Maybe next time you'll listen.  Now come on, you've got a fever and you need potions.”

    “Ok, I'm getting up,”  he said.

    It took us a while to get back to my flat because Matt kept stumbling.  He looked a little drunk, which earned us two weird stares from various tenants.  It had been so much easier when we were kids and Mum and Dad could carry him.

    In some ways I never get away from work.  I mean, obviously I leave the hospital and go home, but there's still work to do there.  Between Matt and Sophie, there's always something that needs to be done when I'm not at St. Mungo's.

    This was especially evident around the full moon.  Me practically dragging Matt to my flat was a normal occurrence, especially if Albus wasn't home.

    I helped Matt into the spare bedroom and then went to get him his usual potions.  I could probably dole them out in my sleep I've done it so many times. 

    Once I'd gotten him settled, I cooked myself dinner and settled down to read for the evening.

    However, I couldn't concentrate.  Usually I could read for hours, but that night was different.  There was something I had been thinking about doing for a long time and I couldn't put off deciding about it any longer.

    When I first started my Healer training, I decided to keep my work and family life separate.  What that meant was that I never have told any of my patients about Matt.  It was his secret to share and I never thought it would be fair to me to tell people about it, even if they were other werewolves.

    It hadn't been easy.  I couldn't count the number of times I'd been yelled at by newly bitten werewolves who insisted that I had no idea what it was like.  I'd assured so many of them that they could live normal lives and half of them sneered at me, telling me I was just saying that to be nice.  They'd had no idea how much experience I'd had.

    Mum was the same way.  A few years ago she founded the Lycanthropic Children's Foundation.  Never once has she told anyone her real reasons for starting it.  It's a strange organization as it's built on secrets.  None of the active members have said they have a child with lycanthropy, but quite a few of them do.  I know due to the fact that I'm many of the children's Healer.  Mum's the President, I'm the Vice-President, and Victoire is the Treasurer.

    There was one family whom I wanted to tell about Matt.  I wanted them to know that I knew what they were going through, wanted them to know why I was working so hard on the Wolfsbane Potion.  Jamie's family.

    If only they could really know that Jamie could live a normal life.  If only they could know that another werewolf had attended Hogwarts.  His parents could benefit so much from talking to my parents.

    The idea had really gotten me thinking.  What if we got rid of the secrets in the Lycanthropic Children's Foundation?  What if we branched out to offer support for parents and children alike?  As of right now we focused on raising money and distributing it to those children who suffered from lycanthropy to help with medical bills and to buy Wolfsbane.

    Support groups would do wonders.  Parents could talk to other parents and children could play with one another.  Matt hadn't really had any friends until he got to Hogwarts.  If he'd known other children with lycanthropy when he was little, maybe he wouldn't have been such a shy kid.

    My mind was racing.  Was this a good idea?  Nobody who was a part of the Foundation would be angered to find out who was a werewolf, right?  Otherwise they wouldn't be in the Foundation.  I'd have to bring it up at the next meeting.

    I stayed up half the night working on the proposal for the next meeting.  Mum would want most of the details hammered out before I brought it up.  It was nearly one in the morning when I finally decided to call it a night.


A/N:  Thanks to all of my awesome readers and reviewers!

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