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   Matt and Sophie were both asleep when I returned to my flat.  It was kind of cute.  Sophie was curled up on the foot of his bed, the copy of Beedle the Bard next to her head.  I reached down to pick it up and she opened her eyes and yawned.

    “When's Mummy coming back?”  she asked.

    “In an hour or so,”  I replied,  “Do you want to help me make dinner?  I bet she'll be back just when it's ready.”

    “Yeah!”  Sophie said excitedly.

    She ran ahead of me into the kitchen and was already wearing an apron that was way too large for her by the time I got there.

    Sophie absolutely loves to cook.  I'm sure that in a few years she'll be a better cook than I am.  Mum always told me that cooking was like potions, but I never got the hang of it.  Maybe Sophie will be good at both.

    We decided to make chicken parmesan, one of Sophie's favorites.  Her favorite thing to do was grate the cheese and half of it wound up in her mouth.  She grinned sheepishly as I took the remaining cheese and I had to hide my laughter. 

    There was a knock on the door while the chicken was in the oven and Sophie made a beeline towards it.  I followed her and found Victoire letting herself in.

    “I snuck away,”  she grinned as she picked up Sophie,  “How's my little angel?”

    “We're making chicken parmesan for dinner!”  Sophie said excitedly,  “Only I think Uncle Matt's going to sleep through it.”

    “Why don't you go wake him up and see if he's hungry?”  I suggested.

    Victoire put Sophie down and she disappeared into the bedroom.  I went into the kitchen to discover that I had nearly burnt the chicken.

    “How was she?”  Victoire asked as she began to set the table.

    “Fine,”  I said,  “I found her asleep on Matt's bed when I got back.  Then we made dinner.”

    “Good,”  Victoire smiled,  “Teddy and I are thinking of enrolling her in a preschool program.”

    “This year?”  I asked,  “Isn't she a bit old for that?”

    “We've been researching and we found one that takes kids up to age six,” Victoire said,  “It's private, in London.  They only go three days a week, too. Mum keeps telling me that she's bored during the day.”

    I nodded as I scooped spaghetti onto all the plates.  Victoire's grandmother watches Sophie most days, but she also watches a few other kids.  Victoire's cousins kids, to be specific.  Sophie's better off at my flat after full moons, where it's quiet.

    “That would probably be good for her,”  I said.

    “I think so too,”  Victoire replied,  “It'll get her ready for next year, if we send her to Kindergarten.  I think she's just bored at Grandma's.  She's the oldest one there.  Andrew's only two and he's closest to her age.”

    Andrew was Victoire's cousin Fred's son.  The rest of the kids that Victoire's grandma watched were babies.

    “She needs to play with kids her own age,”  I agreed,  “And if it's only three days a week, some months she won't even have to miss any days.”

    “Exactly,”  Victoire said,  “No one's going to notice.  Kids get sick a lot.  No one will pay attention that she misses a few days every few months.”

    “Can you enroll this late in the school year?”  I asked.

    “I think we'll have to wait until after Christmas,”  Victoire said,  “So don't mention anything to her.”

    “What's for dinner?” 

    I turned around and saw Matt slowly following Sophie into the room.  He still looked utterly exhausted, with large purple bags under his eyes and a yellowish bruise on his forehead.  His arm was still wrapped up in bandages and he was limping slightly.

    “Chicken parmesan,”  I replied,  “Are you hungry enough to eat?”

    “I'll probably just have spaghetti,”  Matt said as he collapsed into the nearest chair.

    “How are you?”  Victoire asked him.

    “Awful,”  he muttered,  “My head is killing me.”

    “Here,”  I set a goblet of pain potion in front of him,  “I'm sure you're due for a dose.”

    “Thanks,”  Matt said and downed the potion.

    Sophie dominated the dinner conversation.  Matt was far too tired to pay attention, much less participate in the conversation.  Victoire always listened to everything her daughter said, careful not to interrupt.  I paid vague attention, but my mind kept wandering towards the poor Muggle who had been attacked by a werewolf.  I was hungry for more information about it.  Who did it?  Why were they out in the open?

    “Have you got any pickles?”  Victoire asked as we were cleaning up the kitchen.

    “Pickles?”  I stared at her,  “Er, possibly in the fridge, but why?”

    “I just feel like a pickle,”  Victoire shrugged as she looked in the fridge. “Excellent,”  she grinned as she pulled out a jar.

    “You're strange, you know,”  I laughed.

    “I know,”  Victoire shrugged,  “I blame it on the odd hours Ted and I keep.”

    “What time is he done at work?”  I asked.

    “Nine,”  Victoire answered as she took a bite out of one of the pickles, “But he's got the weekend off.  We're visiting my parents.”

    “That'll be nice,”  I said as I loaded the dishwasher.

    “Yep,”  Victoire said as she polished off the pickle,  “And then back to the grind on Monday.”

                        ******

    Monday was very chaotic.  Not only did I have to catch myself up on what had gone on in the ward over the weekend, but I also had to track down the two trainee Healers who were in charge of data collection for the study Rose and I were running.
   
    Trainee Healers basically have to do fully qualified Healers' bidding, much like assistant brewers.  This often included data collection for Healers who were running studies.  Luckily for me, the two trainees involved with my study had actually wanted the job.

    Finding them was often a whole day process since they were never in the same place for more than ten minutes.  I finally managed to find one after I finished up my clinic hours at eleven o'clock.

    Lianne Dorsay had been studying to become a Healer for just over a year and was very interested in the research aspect of it.  Her short stature, round face, and curly brown hair gave her the look of someone still in Hogwarts, but she was far more mature than she looked.

    “Lianne!”  I shouted as I ran to catch up with her.

    She turned around and smiled when she saw me.  “Amy!  I've been looking for you.”

    “Where are you headed?”  I asked.

    “Spell damage,”  she replied,  “They're short handed today.”

    “I'll walk with you,”  I said as we continued down the corridor,  “How did data collection go?”

    “Fine,”  Lianne said,  “Eight people showed up and none of them had any issues with the charms and potions.”

    “Good,”  I said,  “All the data look usable?”

    “Yep,”  Lianne said,  “It's all entered into the book.”

    “Thanks,”  I said as we got into one of the lifts.

    “No problem,”  Lianne replied.

    The study Rose and I were conducting was slow going.  We could only collect data once a month and we usually only got five or so participants each time.  I had yet to get enough data to reach any conclusions, so we kept going at it.

    I didn't have any time to look at the data that day.  Morris was busy with the Muggle who had begun to come to terms with the fact that he was now a werewolf and did not have much time to deal with the rest of our patients.  I spent my day with the rest, healing various burns, bites, and stings, and administering potions to the people who had had to spend the night.
   
    Five o'clock arrived and I was finally able to escape to the basement to brew.  It wasn't that I hated working with patients; it just got draining after a while.  Spending my evening hours in solitude with only simmering solutions for company was a nice break.

    Even while my newest version of Wolfsbane is being tested, I still have to brew regular Wolfsbane.  It's a month long process for each batch and there are not many Brewers who can manage it.  Three at St. Mungo's can, including Morris and I.  There's an old witch who can brew it as well, but she's getting on in years and is looking to retire.

    “Merlin, Amy, what is that smell?”

    I jumped and turned to the door.  Victoire was standing there, with her hand over her mouth, looking a tad green.  I glanced at the clock.  I'd been brewing for nearly two hours.

    “Wolfsbane,”  I said as I stood up stirred one of the cauldrons,  “Same as always.”

    “Really?”  Victoire said,  “Did you do anything funny to it?”

    “No,”  I shook my head curiously,  “This is the normal kind.  Are you sure you're ok?”

    “Fine, really,”  Victoire shrugged,  “The smell of Wolfsbane never makes me feel ill.  Except-”

    She cut herself off and we looked at each other.  A look of horror appeared on her face and she slowly sat down on the nearest chair, looking greener than before.

    “Let's get out of here,”  I said, grabbing her arm and pulling her out of the room.  I quickly locked it and we headed to the nearest loo.  Luckily no one was in it.

    Victoire leaned against one of the sinks and slowly shook her head.  “Why didn't I realize it before.  Vomiting in the morning, wanting pickles of all things after dinner....”

    “How long has it been going on?”  I asked.

    “Few days,”  Victoire sighed,  “And I'm late.  I thought it was stress. Ted's been working longer shifts, Sophie's growing up and I'm trying to decide whether to send her to school.  I just, it never crossed my mind.  Ted and I weren't going to do this again!  We swore!”

    I stood perfectly still and didn't say a word.  Victoire looked worried and slightly scared.  I couldn't blame her.  After Sophie was born, Victoire and Ted decided not to have anymore children.  It was too risky.  There was very little known about children who were born as werewolves and every case seemed to be different.  Whose to say if Victoire and Ted had a second child the pregnancy would go as well as it did for Sophie?

    “You don't know for sure,”  I said quietly, knowing without a doubt that she was pregnant.  Nothing made Victoire feel ill, ever.  It was one of the traits that made her an excellent Healer. 

    When Victoire was pregnant with Sophie, the smell of Wolfsbane made her positively ill.  If she was near it too long, it made her dizzy, gave her a headache, and made her vomit.  The same thing happened to Matt whenever he was around it.  At first she thought it was just one of those weird pregnancy things, but once she found out Sophie was a werewolf, she knew otherwise.

    “Ted's going to be so angry,”  Victoire groaned,  “We agreed, no more kids!”

    “It's half his fault!”  I rolled my eyes at the thought of Ted ever getting angry.  I could count the number of times he'd been angry on one hand.  He and Victoire never fought.

    “I guess,”  Victoire giggled,  “But still, Amy this is so bad.  What if the kid's like Sophie?  Or, what if, you know, if the kid's like Matt.”

    “Then you'll deal with it,”  I told her,  “You guys are great with Sophie. She's such an awesome kid, Victoire.  Honestly, there's kids who don't have lycanthropy who are more difficult than she is.  And if the kid's like Matt?  Well, then even more incentive for me to get this potion right.”
   
    “I know, I know,”  Victoire sighed,  “We can do it, it's just is it even fair for the kid?”

    “Plenty of kids deal with things that aren't fair, many worse than lycanthropy,”  I said quietly,  “Look, first you've got to take a pregnancy test. Tomorrow, right when you get to work.”

    Victoire nodded.  “All right.  I'm not saying a word to Teddy until I know for sure.”

    “Makes sense,”  I agreed,  “Is he going to the meeting?”

    “Yeah,”  Victoire said and glanced at her watch.  “Merlin, we'd better leave now.  Your mum'll murder us if we're late.”

                        ******

    The Lycanthropic Children's Foundation is a very small organization that meets every Monday at my parents' house.  There are only six members, which is all we really need for what we do.  Basically, we obtain donations and then people with lycanthropic children seek us out, usually through St. Mungo's.  Most of our donations come in the form of spare change tossed into the containers we have set out at various shops, and large anonymous donations.  The money is then given out anonymously, through me.  I have access to the children's information through work anyway, so applications are sent to me and then I present them, omitting names.

    Besides Victoire, Mum, Teddy, and I there were two other members.  Joe Gordon was our Treasurer and Betsy Wrigley worked with Teddy to seek donations.

    Everyone else was there when we arrived, even Teddy and he was usually late. Mum had set out a tray of biscuits and a pot of tea.

    “Amy, Victoire, you're nearly late,”  she said as we entered the living room.

    “Sorry,”  I replied,  “Work.”

    “Well, you're here now,”  Mum said,  “Anyway, I was about to tell everyone that we received another 100 Galleon donation the other day.”

    “Brilliant!”  I grinned.  Donations that large were rare.

    Once everyone had announced their excitement over the donation, we spent the remainder of the meeting deciding who to give it to.  It was always so difficult to decide who to give donations to.  Every single one of the kids deserved something, but we just did not have the funds to give everyone something.

    After a bit of debating, we decided to split it between three different kids.  Victoire wrote the checks and I got the envelopes ready for owling the next day. 

    “Does anyone else have anything to discuss?”  Mum asked.

    “I do,” I stood up and took a deep breath.  Here it goes.  The proposal. 

    Mum looked at me curiously, but didn't say anything.

    “All right,”  I said,  “We've spent the past few years drumming up donations and giving them to children, which is extraordinary.  The money is so helpful for the kids and their families.  It pays for hospital bills and Wolfsbane. 

    “However, I feel that we can do more, so much more. Working at St. Mungo's I've seen that these kids need more than money.  They need support and so do their families.  The parents feel so alone and so do the kids. 

    “Money helps them, it really does, but no amount of Galleons can ease the loneliness and feeling that it's you against the world.  Which is why I feel that we need to expand what we do.  I think we could organize support groups.  One for the kids, the parents, and even siblings.  I really think it would help a lot.”

    I stopped and looked out at everyone.  Mum and Betsy looked shocked, grins were slowly appearing on Victoire and Teddy's faces, and Joe looked skeptical.

    “But if we do that, people are going to find out who the kids are,”  Joe pointed out.

    “Only the other people in the support groups and us, and I don't think anyone who would be attending the support groups would use that information against the kids,”  I said.

    “Good point,”  Joe agreed.

    “I think it's a great idea,”  Teddy said.  Victoire nodded.

    “Why don't we think on it for a week and if we all still agree next week, we'll start making plans,”  Mum decided.

    Everyone thought that was a good idea.  Mum adjourned the meeting and Betsy and Joe left shortly after that.  Teddy and Victoire stuck around for a little while to eat a few more biscuits, and then left as well. 

    “It's going to be ok,”  I whispered to Victoire as they left.  She nodded and then left.  She was going to have a hell of a time keeping her suspicions from Teddy; she looked so worried.

    “Is everything ok with Victoire?”  Mum asked as we cleaned up,  “She looked preoccupied tonight.”

    “It's work,”  I said quietly,  “Don't worry, she'll be fine.”
   
    “The lot of you need to take a holiday,”  Mum said,  “You, Victoire, Teddy, your father.  All of you, workaholics.”

    “Healing is a time consuming profession,”  I shrugged,  “I knew that when I started.”

    “Still, you could surely take a week and go to France or something,”  Mum told me.

    “What would I do in France?”  I sighed,  “I'd worry about my patients and lose a week of brewing.  I can't afford to do that.  You know that.”

    Mum turned and looked at me.  Her eyes looked strangely sad.  “Amy, just keep in mind that it's good to take some time for yourself.  If you don't, you'll regret it when you're older.”

                        ******

    “I feel like we're sixteen and trying to secretly take a pregnancy test at Hogwarts or something,”  Victoire whispered to me the next morning.

    Victoire had appeared in the doorway to my study five minutes earlier, clutching a paper bag in her hand and looking paler than I'd ever seen her.  I immediately got up, told Morris to cover my patients until I returned, and rushed out the door.

    “Well, we're not sixteen.  You're twenty-nine and married.  There's nothing wrong with you being pregnant,”  I told her.

    “Then why are we sneaking around, trying to find an empty loo?”  Victoire asked.

    “Do you really want to do this with strangers around?”  I pointed out.

    “Very true,”  Victoire agreed.

    We slowed down as we neared the next ladies' loo and I began to push the door open.

    “Lupin!  Eckerton!” 

    I groaned inwardly and lowered my hand.  Farina.  How was she always able to pop up at the worst moment?

    “What are you two doing on the Magical Bugs floor?”  Farina barked,  “Lupin, you're due in the clinic in ten minutes!”

    “Er,”  I began, trying to think up a good excuse.

    “I have to do something,”  Victoire muttered, gesturing to the bag,  “But I'll be in the clinic as soon as I can.”

    Farina's eyes narrowed on the bag and then her stern face softened.  I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing clearly.  Farina's gaze never softened.  But I was seeing clearly.  Farina's expression was almost sympathetic.

    “Take all the time you need, Lupin,”  Farina said,  “Eckerton, Spell Damage is running low on Skele-Gro, I'll need you to brew more this afternoon.”

    “Right,”  I nodded as she walked away.  I quickly opened the door to the loo, hoping no one else was inside.

    “What was that about?”  I asked as I peeked under all the stalls,  “Ok, this one's empty.”

    “No idea,”  Victoire shrugged as she entered one of the stalls,  “I've never seen her like that before.”

    “Does she know about Sophie?”  I asked.

    “No,”  Victoire answered,  “I mean, she knows I had a difficult pregnancy but she doesn't know Sophie's got lycanthropy.”

    “Do you think she's actually worried?”  I asked.

    “Possibly, but I find it hard to believe,”  Victoire said,  “I've never seen Farina show any emotion besides anger and indifference.”

    “Me either,”  I said as the door opened.

    I turned and saw a witch with a bright green hat entering the bathroom.

    “Sorry, this one's closed,”  I told her,  “Toilet's been regurgitating.”

    “Then you should lock it!”  the witch said as she left in a hurry.

    She had a point, I thought as I pulled out my wand and locked the door. Victoire came out of the stall, holding a small cup and looking quite worried.  She wordlessly set the cup down on one of the sinks and we stood next to each other, staring at it.

    If Victoire was pregnant, the solution would emit blue hearts in ten minutes. If she wasn't pregnant, the solution would turn green and emit nothing. 

    “Remember when I found out I was pregnant with Sophie?”  Victoire said quietly.

    I nodded.  I remembered that day like it was yesterday.  I was the one who had first suggested to her that she may be pregnant.  Victoire denied it, thinking she was just overtired and getting ill.  Fresh out of Healer training, we were given the worst hours, occasionally having to pull twelve hour shifts.

    We were both coming off a twelve hour shift and I insisted she come over to my flat and take the test before going home.  She agreed and did.  The test was positive and we were both thrilled.  Ted had been on a mission and the day long wait for him to return seemed to take forever.  When Victoire was finally able to tell him, he was so tired that after he woke up, he thought it had been a dream.

    This was so different. Victoire had been nervous before, but that was nothing compared to now.  Then, we had been hoping the test was positive.  Now, we were hoping for a negative. 

    “I wanted a huge family, Amy,”  Victoire said in a shaky voice,  “I wanted at least four kids.  But now...”  her voice trailed off.

    “I know,”  I said,  “But things don't always work out the way you want.”

    “Amy, if this is positive-”  Victoire cut herself off.

    The cup was bubbling.  Any second now we would know the result.  I held my breath and didn't blink.  Then it happened.  A tiny blue heart rose above the surface and popped immediately.  It was followed by more and soon the potion was bubbling and emitting heart after blue heart.

    I turned and looked at Victoire. She was staring at the potion, her face as white as Nearly Headless Nick.  Then, all of a sudden, she burst into tears and I put my arm around her. 

    “Wh-what am I g-going to do?”  she sobbed,  “I can't be p-pregnant again, I just c-can't.  I got lucky last time, Amy.  I won't get lucky again, that just d-doesn't happen!”

    “Maybe it will,”  I soothed,  “You're going to get through this.”

    “What's T-Teddy going to say?”  Victoire wailed,  “We swore we wouldn't d-do it again!”

    “Like I said last night, this is half his fault,”  I told her.

    “I know, but it's not T-Teddy who's pregnant!”  Victoire cried,  “I'm p-pregnant!”

    “Listen, we're going to go to the Ministry and tell him right now,”  I said, “Take deep breaths.  In and out.  Teddy is not going to be mad.”

    “I can't!”  Victoire said as she glanced at her watch,  “Merlin, I'm ten minutes late for the clinic!  Farina's going to murder me!”

    “No,”  I shook my head,  “We're going to tell Farina you've got to go home early.  You saw her face when we went in here, she might actually let you.”

    “N-no she won't,”  Victoire sobbed,  “I have to get to the clinic.”

    “No,”  I said a bit louder,  “You're going see Teddy and then you're going to go home.”

    It took another five minutes to convince Victoire to go home and then another five to calm her down.  She still looked like she'd been crying for fifteen minutes, but better than before.


A/N:  Thanks to all my lovely readers and reviewers!!!  You guys are amazing!

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