Hey folks! For those who are just now tuning in, this is the last book of my Wood Series based around the children and extended family of Oliver Wood. I almost can't believe that what started on a whim back in college would turn into 8 books and the creation of so many characters that I love - namely Daisy, Remus, Alan and Jamie Wood.
If you're lost, I'd suggest going back to at least Book 3 - Surviving Hogwarts. Though to get Iris and Oliver's fulls stories, you'll need to start at the beginning with Saving Iris. There are a few shorts and oneshots as well that add to the universe and characters. And I do have at least one more short planned at the moment for after this book - possibly more and whatever oneshots pop up along the way.
Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Normal on the Surface
Daisy walked down the street in Diagon Alley, sunglasses firmly in place as she glanced around.
"Would you stop?" Remus said, smiling slightly as he tugged on the long braid that trailed over her shoulder, his eyes twinkling behind his own Ray Bans. She frowned at him as she pulled her hat down. "No one cares that you're walking around the Alley."
"You wouldn't think that by the way the media keeps going after us," she said, glancing around.
"If you're that worried, why didn't you change yourself?" he asked, glancing down at her.
"Because you can't change and I'd rather avoid reports of you stepping out on Laura," she said with a sigh.
"How thoughtful of you," Remus said, smiling as Daisy rolled her eyes. "Laura will appreciate it." Daisy snorted slightly as she glanced up at her brother and then pulled the cloth bag on her shoulder higher. "Though, honestly, you should have just turned into Laura." Daisy stopped for a moment and then huffed, slightly irritated that she hadn't thought of that before they left.
"We're just out to get stuff from the apothecary and then back to the flat," she said. "The faster, the better."
"Are you telling me that you don't appreciate the masses fawning over you? Because I do. I'm a hero," Remus replied, puffing his chest up slightly.
"Why couldn't Alan had come with me?" Daisy grumbled.
"Because he's off with Bridget," Remus replied. "And Jamie sucks at potions, so you're stuck with me - your favorite older brother." Daisy laughed loudly as she leaned into Remus' arm.
"A) You're mostly here to help me carry everything and B) Jamie does not suck at potions. Jamie sucked at transfiguration… and well, most everything else but potions. He wasn't half bad at that," she said. Remus just chuckled as they continued down the street towards the main shopping district in Diagon Alley.
"Well, either way, it's me you're stuck with, so best to deal with it," he said cheerfully. The two were about to step into a store when a little girl with wide blue eyes stopped in front of them, her brown hair in two plaits.
"Is it really you?" she whispered, gazing up at them. "Pixie Wood?"
"The one and only, kid," Remus said, chuckling. Daisy smiled down at the girl, holding her hand out.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Maggie," she said, grinning in glee as she eagerly shook her hand.
"Very nice to meet you, Maggie," Daisy said politely. The little girl looked over at Remus, her eyes widening as she craned her neck slightly to look up at him. Standing in front of the tiny girl, he was practically a giant. Daisy chuckled, seeing into the little girl's head.
"She's wondering if you have giant blood in you somewhere," Daisy sent him. Remus chuckled.
"You're much taller in person," she said, slightly in awe. Remus pulled his sunglasses off as he knelt down next to her, scrunching down until he was about eye level with her.
"This better?" he asked. She grinned and nodded.
"Maggie! Where are you?" a frazzled witch shouted, her arms loaded down with parcels and shopping bags. "What are you doing?" She ran up and her eyes widened as she saw the Woods. "Merlin! I'm so sorry if she's bothering you!" The little girl giggled as Daisy and Remus looked up at her mother.
"It's no problem at all," Daisy said.
"Really… thank you for what you've done and what you're doing," the woman said quickly. Daisy shifted on her feet, feeling a bit awkward with the attention. She could handle people complimenting her on her skills on the pitch, but she still wasn't quite used to the recognition that came after the media reported on the events that happened at the Ministry shortly before the forum.
"It's nothing, really. Just doing our part," Remus said lightly. Daisy fought off the urge to roll her eyes. Of course he and Alan were loving the attention. Even though they weren't Prostatis, just being involved in the incident afforded them similar fame.
"I think it's amazing that you can do such brilliant things," Maggie said, grinning up at the two. "Can you show me?"
"Maggie! Don't ask them that," her mother hissed as her face turned red.
"Change your face," she said, leaning towards Remus. It was at that moment that Daisy realized the little girl had mistaken him for Jamie. Remus frowned as she started giggling.
"Not funny, Pix," he said, scowling at her.
"This is Remus," she said to the little girl. Her eyes widened as she looked back at the tall man.
"Beater of the Year Remus?" she asked softly. "That's even cooler!" Remus blinked a couple times before smiling down at her. "Can I have your autograph?"
"Of course! You play, Maggie?" he asked as she skipped over to her mother and pulled out a small notebook and pen out of her purse before skipping back.
"I want to, but Mum says I'm too little," she said, holding it out.
"We're thinking of starting her in Little League next year," her mother replied.
"What position do you want to play?" Daisy asked, halfway expecting the little girl to say seeker.
"I want to be a chaser," she said grinning as Remus scrawled out his name in his usual chicken scratch before handing the book to Daisy.
"That so? You have to be quick," he said.
"Daddy says I'm pretty fast," Maggie replied before looking over at Daisy. "But you're still my favorite seeker." Daisy smiled at her. "And Wills is my favorite chaser."
"Don't let him hear you say that," she said, glancing down at the girl. "He's already got a big enough head." Maggie giggled as Daisy handed the book back to her.
"Thank you so much for this," her mother said.
"It's nothing," Daisy replied.
"Come on, Maggie. We've taken up too much of their time," her mother urged. The little girl grinned at the two one more time before turning and skipping off with her mother while launching into an animated conversation about quidditch.
"Is it like this all the time for you?" Remus asked as they walked into the store.
"What? Little girls stopping me on the street?" she asked as she browsed a display of bottled herbs.
"Yea," he replied, looking down at the list in his hand. "I mean, I've gotten a few free drinks here and there from lads in the pubs when I go out, but… don't get many kids stopping me."
"It's mostly kids and girls with me," Daisy said as she grabbed a basket and started putting various bottles in it. "Teens and such. Women. Few blokes here and there."
"Everyone wants to talk to the famous Pixie," Remus said, grinning at her. Daisy rolled her eyes slightly.
"And now you, it would appear," she said.
"She thought I was Jamie," he said, frowning slightly.
"And then went bonkers when she found out you were Remus," Daisy replied. He smiled again and nodded.
"Can't wait to tell Laura," he said, grinning as he started putting various packages in his own basket.
"You all still coming over tonight for dinner?" Daisy asked, glancing over at him. Remus nodded.
"Wouldn't miss it," he replied. "It's our last chance for everyone to hang out before you and Jamie leave for a couple weeks."
"And then practice starts up when we get back," Daisy said, frowning slightly. Remus watched her a moment before sighing.
"There's nothing wrong with focusing on practice, Pix," he said. She stopped reaching for something and turned to face him.
"I know, just… I can't help but think there's something else we could be doing," she said, crossing her arms in front of her.
"That's what Dominique, Teddy, Chris and the others are doing, Pix. It's their job and they're much better at tracking down this network than you could be," he said. "The best thing you can do is focus on training your magic and training on the pitch. Outside of the heroics, we need to keep people from freaking out. Like it or not, they're looking at us and it's important that we keep going as though everything is normal."
"But everything isn't normal," she said, still frowning.
"But it will be. And the last thing we need is for panic to spread… that'll only make things worse," he replied.
"We can't just pretend that nothing is happening. That there's not some sinister group of dark wizards out there trying to take over the world. It didn't do a lot of good the last time around," Daisy responded.
"It's not like last time, Pix. We're here and we know what they're up to. This isn't going to be a repeat of Voldemort. There's no way they'll get the chance to get the upper hand and the Ministry is far from sticking their heads in the dirt about this," Remus said.
Daisy took a deep breath and nodded.
"Suppose you're right… we do have enough to worry about outside tracking them down," she said, returning to browsing the shelves. "And we have to do that bloody interview with the Prophet."
"And we need you to stock up on potions and balms before you leave," Remus said, smiling.
"Just how injured are you expecting to get in two weeks?" she asked, glancing at him.
"Never know," he said.
"Just focus, will you? I still need to help Lila cook before everyone comes over," Daisy said.
"Your wish is my command," Remus said with a goofy bow. Daisy rolled her eyes at him but couldn't help but laugh softly at his theatrics.
"Remus, you just put way too many bulbs in your basket. I only need three," she said, returning to the shelves.
"Can't read this… looked like a six to me," he said, staring closely at the parchment.
"It's a three and you know it," Daisy snapped back at him with a twinkle in her eye. Remus just shook his head and put some of the bulbs back.
"So… you told Dad about the move yet?" he asked, glancing over at her as she made her way down the aisle.
"Not yet," she said with a frown. "Thought it best to wait until we get back from the island." Remus snorted slightly.
"He's not going to be happy whenever you tell him, Pix. You best get on with it," he said, looking over at her.
"Not yet," Daisy said, glaring at him. "And don't any of you even think of telling him."
"Not me you have to worry about. We all know Jamie can't keep a secret to save his life," Remus said, chuckling. "Not to mention Christos still has a bad habit of blurting out everything he sees." Daisy rolled her eyes.
"I really wish he'd stop doing that," she said. "If he's not blurting it out, he's twisting it." Just the other day, Christo had asked Wills how ring shopping had gone while they were having lunch with her parents, causing the chaser to turn bright red and her father to reach for his wand. Thankfully Iris and Daisy stopped him and explained that Wills had been out looking for new practice hoops to put up in the training room on the first floor of the building. Christos, always in the mood for mischief, had pretended he didn't know they were called hoops – instead insisting that he had assumed it was called a ring.
"One of these days, Dad really is going to jinx him," Remus said.
"Not if he knows what's good for him," Daisy muttered.
"Come on, Pix. Didn't you say you still have dinner to cook?"
The flat was noisy that evening as people chattered loudly around the table, plates of food in front of them. Outside of the Woods and their significant others, Dominique, Cunningham, Teddy, Victoire, Lucy, Ryan, Christos, James, Freddie, Roxanne, Chris, Toby, Molly and John were all there. They had extended the table to fit everyone.
Daisy smiled to herself as she sat back and took a drink of wine. Her eyes met Lila's, who held up her glass in a salute, a ring now glittering on her finger. After Daisy outed the proposal, Jamie had gone out and bought a ring, presenting it to her in romantic fashion over a candlelight dinner that Daisy had helped him make (though she had seen in Jamie's head that he had tried to pass it off as his own work – Lila had eaten enough of his and Daisy's cooking to know it wasn't true).
"Good to see Jamie finally put a ring on it," Kelly shouted out at the couple, causing Jamie to blush slightly.
"Decided on a date yet?" Lucy asked, leaning towards them. Her wedding was coming up in about a month and a half and she seemed intent on having a hand in every single wedding after hers.
"Um… we're still planning to wait a bit," Lila said softly. "Until things die down." The table, which had been full of loud laughter and cheery talk just seconds ago, fell quiet at the mention of the one thing at the back of everyone's minds. The war.
"Any progress?" Wills asked, looking at Teddy. He sighed heavily as Victoire glanced at him, the worry evident in her eyes.
"We've made some, with the professor's help, but not as much as I would like. Hermione keeps calling us in to speak at various sessions in the forum which is getting in the way a bit," he said.
"That still going on?" James asked in between large bites of food. Of course, he would be able to think about food and eating during anything. Even a conversation about war.
"For a bit longer, I think," he said. "It was only supposed to be about five days initially, but the leaders voted to extend it to two weeks when they were made aware of the threat. We've got aurors from all over the world coming in for briefings. Hermione's insisted that each government sent a few of their best to assist us here and report back to their own departments."
"Good to see everyone working together. That should make it easier, right?" Wills asked, smiling. Teddy rolled his eyes slightly.
"You'd think," he said, snorting slightly.
"Teddy's becoming a bit frustrated with the Americans," Victoire said, glancing at him.
"I'm none too thrilled with them either," Chris said, as Dominique's face mirrored his.
"They keep trying to take over the investigation," Teddy grumbled.
"They aren't that bad," Toby said. Teddy glared at him. "Well… a bit pushy and loud, yea. But not so bad when you get to talking to them." Daisy chuckled slightly. Leave it to Toby to try to find the good in everyone.
"I'm with Toby. They aren't all annoying," Molly chimed in.
"That's because you're already half in love with one of them," Dominique said with a snort, earning a glare from Molly.
"Am not," she snapped back.
"Becoming a bloody pain in the ass, if you ask me," Teddy continued, ignoring Dominique and Molly. "Especially that Richards bloke. Thinks I'm too young to be heading such a large-scale investigation. I was the one who bloody found them, after all!"
"Teddy we all know you're brilliant. Uncle Harry wouldn't have put you in charge if you weren't," Lucy said soothingly.
"I know I'm brilliant! Just wish Richards would see that," he said before taking a large drink of his wine. He glanced over at Daisy and Jamie. "He wants to question you two and Aunt Iris. I've told him everything there is to know is in all the reports, but he's still insisting."
"Well, he's going to have to get through Dad first," Daisy said with a sigh, though she was secretly grateful for the layer of protection. Oliver Wood had only become even more watchful of his children - especially Daisy - in the days since the attack. And while it normally bugged the living hell out of her, she did find it welcomed in terms of dealing with the media and everyone else.
"And me," Wills chimed in. Daisy looked over at him, smiling slightly as she shook her head slowly.
"Reckon Nilsson would have something to say about it too. He's always been a mite bit more protective of you than the rest of the team," Kelly added.
"Might as well add the entire team to that," John said with a chuckle. "Even Blanks was going off about how he nearly punched a reporter trying to get information out of him about Pix." Daisy laughed loudly. While the loudmouthed beater had irked her in the beginning, she had finally come around to him.
"Still annoying," Cunningham said, causing Dominique to frown at him slightly.
"So… you two ready to start with Puddlemere?" Wills asked Remus and Alan, changing the subject without the finesse he usually exhibited on the field.
"Dad's been having us hit the pitch before we start with the full team," Remus said, smiling. "Good to be working with him again." Daisy snorted.
"Right," she said.
"Not all of us are as adverse to his coaching as you," Alan said with a smile.
"Because you lot got off easy compared to me," she muttered into her wine glass. The brothers shared a look and then turned their attention back to their sister. "And before you say a word, I do not need to hear 'He's just looking out for you, Pix' again."
"I liked you a lot better before you could read minds," Remus replied. Christos laughed from where he sat across from Daisy.
"But it is fun, no?" he asked. Daisy and Wills just glared at him in response. "It was an honest mistake! I thought they were called rings not hoops!" The rest of the table broke out into laughter, though John still had a strained look on his face. Something Daisy didn't miss.
"Speaking of you two, see that Pix is settled in with Wills," Lucy said, grinning. Daisy rolled her eyes, knowing a conversation about when exactly they were planning to tell her dad was about to start up. She glanced down the table, sensing John's discomfort.
"Yes, and we're telling Dad soon before you lot get into dissecting that," Daisy said, hoping to deflect the conversation and hopefully spare John anymore pain. "After the trip back to the island."
"Yes, suppose you two are ready for that," Wills said, sensing what Daisy was doing.
"About as ready as we can be. Though I suppose Pix is a bit more eager than I am," Jamie replied, fixing his eyes on his sister.
"Definitely ready to figure out more about what I can do," she said. "The professor has been looking into it a bit already and said he's found some stuff on the last person to have the gift."
"How did he find that? It's been so long that it's faded into legend," Christos said, leaning forward.
"Came across some manuscripts during his last visit to the island," Daisy said. "There was a witch, named Athanasia, who had the gift back about 500 years ago. He thinks if we focus on studying her, it might glean some information on what I can do."
"I remember this," Christos said. "We have stories about how she would commune with the dead and was a great healer."
"Anything about her bringing the dead back," Dominique asked. Christos shrugged.
"I suppose there were some. It's been a long time since I've heard anyone talk about her," he replied before taking a bite.
"Are you going back with them?" Toby asked. Roxanne perked up at bit at the mention of Christos leaving. The man in question smiled slightly, likely having read her mind.
"No, I will stay here while Nikos accompanies the Woods back to the island," he said.
"That's good to hear," Kelly replied. "Feel better having one of you stick around. In case something should happen."
"I doubt that Magnus could recoup that quickly," Chris said seriously, turning the discussion back to the war.
"The British groups are pretty much decimated. We've tracked down all the members and are in the process of questioning them. Seems hardly anyone knew what he was up to or what the information was being used for outside those that were at the Ministry that night," Teddy said. "And we've got some good leads on other groups around Europe and America. Rees was particularly forthcoming. We didn't even have to force feed him truth serum."
"Still think Hardwick's involved," Daisy said, scowling. James glanced down at her and back at Teddy who just sighed.
"We haven't found anything connecting him to Magnus, Pix," he said.
"Still, just let me at him. I'm sure I'll see something in that thick skull of his," she snapped.
"No. It's better that you don't go near him," Teddy said. Daisy started grumbling to herself as the conversation turned abruptly to Lucy and Kelly's wedding. Jamie studied her a moment.
"Don't do it, Pix. You heard him. Let the aurors take care of investigating," he sent her. Daisy's eyes flew over to him.
"But we all know that all it would take is for one of us to read his mind," she whined.
"And we all know the best thing for you to do is focus on honing your skills," he shot back. Daisy sighed heavily and took a large drink of wine.
"Fine," she said grudgingly. She glanced up, sensing Christos studying her. She knew he had listened in to her and Jamie's conversation.
"I'll see what I can do, Pixie," he said with a smile. She nodded and turned her focus to Lucy, who was grinning as she went on about the flowers they had chosen.
"And we really need to go shopping for the bridesmaid dresses," she said, looking at Daisy.
"I told you I'll have time when I get back," she said.
"No. We're going tomorrow and that's final," Lucy said. "You, Molly, Victoire and Dominique. Tomorrow at 12 p.m." Daisy rolled her eyes and nodded her agreement.
"I, for one, am anxious to see how you look," Wills said, grinning down at her.
"Not the first time I've done this," Daisy said, looking up at him.
"First time as maid of honor," he replied. "And I wasn't invited to the last wedding."
"Trust me, with the amount of people in our family, after the third one you'll be wishing you could beg out of them," Daisy said, glancing over at Jamie and Lila then down at Paul and Dominique.
"I'll never get tired of weddings," Wills declared, grinning down at her.
"Get ready. Sure to be at least three more in the works over the next couple of years," Molly said, grinning at Dominique, whose face had turned red.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said, stealing a glance at Paul, who had gone pretty redfaced as well. Remus laughed loudly with Alan at the other end of the table. "You do realize that you're part of the three." He immediately stopped laughing.
"I… what?" he asked, causing the entire table to burst into laughter.
"The bets have been going on the last year or so," James added. "You and Laura, Jamie and Lila, Dominique and Paul. And then Pix and Wills. So far, Jamie and Lila are in the lead for the next wedding. Followed closely by Pix and Wills."
"Nope. I promised not until she was 25," Wills declared loudly. "And I'm not about to cross Coach." Daisy took a deep breath, glancing down at John again. This time he met her eyes and smiled tightly.
"It's fine, Pix. I knew this was part of the deal coming back to the fold," he thought. She nodded, though her brow was furrowed.
Later on, Daisy stepped out on the balcony to get away from the noise for a bit. The triplets and Wills were loudly - and quite messily - attempting to do the dishes. Which had ended up with Remus and Alan half-soaked while Jamie was attempted to send dishes over from the table and Wills was too busy laughing to actually help. Everyone else was sitting around the living room, watching the chaos.
"Figured I'd find you here," John said, stepping out. Daisy looked over at him and smiled.
"Sorry about earlier," she said. "Everyone gets so carried up in all the chatter about weddings and whatnot that I think they forget…"
"It's… well, it's not completely okay, but it will be," he said smiling at her. "Like I said. I knew what I was getting into by hanging out with you guys again."
"Glutton for punishment, are you?" Daisy asked lightly. John chuckled and nodded.
"Must be. I'm somehow friends with the triplets," he said, glancing back inside to see Remus and Alan laughing at Wills, who they had just dumped an entire pot full of soapy water on. "Somedays I wonder just how old they are."
"They'll never grow up," Daisy commented. "Should have seen the prank they pulled on Wills. I recorded it and Dad snorted firewhisky out his nose when I showed it to him. They were giving him 'the talk' and nearly scared the piss out of him." John's eyebrows rose as he chuckled.
"Glad they never tried that on me," he said. He leaned against the railing and looked down over the street. "How are you really feeling about everything?"
"I'm okay," Daisy said immediately, causing John to stare at her a few moments.
"You can be honest with me, Pix," he said. Daisy sighed.
"I am okay, most of the time. But sometimes I just get so… impatient. And angry. I want to end things now. Go out and hunt Magnus down and make him pay for what he did to Alan," she said, a scowl fixed on her face.
"Pix, you know the best thing to do is go to island and figure more things out about what you can do," John said with a sigh.
"I know," she said, frowning at him. "But doesn't mean I don't want to go out and kill Magnus."
"Are you sure you're ready do something like that?" John asked quietly. "Hexing and jinxing are one thing, but killing someone…"
The two were quiet a couple minutes before Daisy answered.
"Some days I think I am. But then I remember how it affected Mum and Dad," she answered. "I just… I don't want to lose anyone else - even if I can bring them back. And if it comes to us or them, well, I'll do what I have to."
John looked down at her, seeing her face fixed in resolution. In just the few days since the attack, Daisy seemed older, more world weary. And determined. Where just last year she was terrified of her gifts, now she was sure. Ready.
"Well, for now it's probably best to just… focus on getting to the island and training. We'll worry about the rest when you get back," he said. Daisy looked up at him. "For all we know, the aurors could take down the whole network before it even gets that far."
"I hope so," Daisy replied. "Merlin, I hope so."
So I had originally planned to wait until I had at least 10 chapters to start posting, but as usual, got impatient, so decided that I would start with one chapter a week or so until I get enough written I can shorten up that time span. I've got chapters 1 and 2 finished and half of chapter 3 and up to chapter 4 planned out. I've gotten into a decent groove with the storyline for at least the first half of the book, so that's good news and should make writing go by a little faster in the days to come. I do have the ending started on - just trying to figure out how to get from here to there and all those details. I'd keep at it a bit longer tonight, but I've got a morning meeting so really should get to bed (it's currently 1 a.m. my time).
AleenaBean - I know. He really does end up with the short end of the stick a lot of the time. But I really want to give him a happy ending, so I'm hoping I can get to that either in this book or through a oneshot or short or something. Dude, you and me both. Action chapters are really hard to write, so I'm probably going to make the first few chapters a bit slower with more focus on plot building and character development (not to mention I'm introducing some new characters - again). Again, still working out the plot, so I'm hoping between today and next Tuesday, I'll get farther along with that so I can post the next chapter.
As always, thanks everyone for reading, reviewing and following!