Alex sat on the couch in her living and quietly watched as Neave wobbled around playing happily by herself. She looked like she was being jangled by invisible strings from above, only her puppeteer is drunk. The only thing Alex could make out beneath Neave's unruly bed head was her smile that could light up any day, no matter how dark. She chattered endlessly to herself as she played, she dumped her baby doll on to the coffee table next to the splattering's of playdough and loose building blocks before rubbing her head on to it affectionately.
"Ba-ba-babba," she babbled removing the doll again from the table again and sitting down on the floor with it.
Alex remained transfixed in her own little bubble, unable to bring herself to talk to her daughter or even move from her spot on the couch. She did mange to lift her head up though when she heard the bedroom door open. Out strolled Mason, looking as untamed and dishevelled as his daughter as he walked out of his bedroom wearing a pair of joggers and an old grey tshirt, he yawned several times whilst making his way over to Alex before collapsing on to the seat next to her and wrapping his arm around her small frame.
"Morning," he muttered, whilst yawning yet again. "I haven't slept like that in ages, how long have you been up?"
"A couple of hours, I couldn't sleep," Alex told him. "but I didn't want to wake you, you were flat out."
"Must have exhausted myself over thinking everything." He admired Alex's natural beauty, softly stroking her plump cheeks before cupping her chin with his hand and pulling her face closer to his and planting a gentle kiss on her lips, "I'm sorry to ask but have you made a decision yet?"
"Nope. I feel awful, this should be a no brainer. Help my baby or keep my powers, a normal mom would have this all sorted by now. It's just, I thought if Neave got turned back everything would go back to normal. I thought I could go back working on the wizard council, so I could feel like I'm more than just a stay at home, and Neave could go back to day care and be with kids her own age."
"Hey don't be hard on yourself, you are so much more than just a stay at home mum" Mason engulfed Alex in a hug and held her tightly in his arms, "this isn't an easy decision for you to make. Besides, you aren't really deciding between helping Neave and your powers are you?"
"You're right, I'm choosing between our baby and us. If I was choosing between me and my powers I would have said right then and there, but I can't lose you."
"You won't lose me."
"Yeah but you won't be my boyfriend, and I can't bring Neave up on my own."
"You won't! I'll be there for you both no matter what, and we can always find another place with another room so I can still live with you both or I can just sleep on the couch?"
"That's not the point! We wont be 'us' anymore, and we've fought too hard to be together, it can't just end after all we've been through. I love you too much."
"I love you too, but we could always appeal with the love and romance council. Who knows, we might stand a better chance with Justin being the headmaster of WizTech."
"And what if our appeal gets denied, then what?"
"I don't know love," Mason sighed in defeat. He turned his attention to Neave who was stumbling her way over to him giddily, laughing to herself when she finally reached her dad. She stretched her arms out to him to be picked up and bobbed herself up and down as she waited impatiently, Mason smiled at her lovingly and scooped her up in his arms. She immediately snuggled into his chest and he held her close to his body, Mason stared down at Neave entranced with her beauty and smiled down at her as she beamed up at him. "Can I say something? I think you need to do this, we'll deal with what happens with us later but for now we need to focus on Neave. And I think this would be the best thing for her."
"I think you're right," said Alex getting teary eyed, "we need to do this for her. Maybe you should call Jillian and let her know and I'll speak to Justin,see if he has any ideas what we can do to stay together, I mean we've got a kid together the love and romance council has to take that into consideration, right?"
"Maybe, who knows. But listen, why don't we go out tonight just you and me? It might help take our minds off everything."
"What like a last ever date?"
"Don't think of it like that, as far as im concerned its just a regular date…"
"Alright, I'll go on a date with you… I guess," Alex joked grinning at Mason.
The piles of paperwork surrounded Justin as he sat at his desk, covering the whole of the surface and leaving almost no room for anything else. He looked up at the mountain of work and smiled, whispering to himself, "goodbye Tootie Tootie." With a wave of his wand a small twister appeared sucking up all of the pieces of paper and causing them to vanish. "Right, that's him dealt with let's get back to my school!"
Justin smiled to himself as he took out a large dusty text book from under his desk and slammed it on to the surface in front of him, sending large puffs of dust exploding in to the air. He wafted his hands around coughing uncontrollably as he tried to vanish the cloud of dust surrounding him, when it was finally clear enough for him to see and after clearing his throat he opened the book and peered into it excitedly. A smile stained Justin's lips in that very moment he was content, he was back in his school back doing what he loved. He took a moment and looked around his office, he admired all of the old oil paintings hung upon the cold stones walls, the endless amount of bookshelves full to the brim with leather bound books and the large glass stained window that looked out on the vast amount of land surrounding the castle.
As he was enjoying the silence just was interrupted by a sharp buzzing coming from his intercom, "professor?" Helen screeched though the small speaker, "your sister is here to see you."
"Send her in," Justin rose from his seat and strolled to the front of his desk just as the doors burst open and Alex came strutting in.
"Wow look at you all suited and booted," she smiled gesturing to Justin's formal getup. He looked down at his light grey suit and carefully adjusted his tie, "you're looking pretty smug with yourself too," Alex added as she sat on Justin's desk.
"Well I'm just happy to be back, I've just destroyed everything that belonged to Chancellor Tootie Tootie so he is officially gone from this school and considering I was told last night he is going to be locked up for a very, very long time I think it's safe to say he's never coming back!"
"Anyway," Justin sat next to Alex on top of the desk, "how are you doing?"
"Been better, I guess. I'm just trying to stay positive for Neave, that's the most important thing…"
"Where is she? I miss my little buddy…"
"Mason's took her to see his mom while I come and talk to you."
"What do you think the chances of mortal and a werewolf being allowed to date would be if they had a child together?"
Justin's eyes widened in surprise, "you're going through with it? You're going to give up your powers? Wow, I wasn't expecting you to make a decision so soon."
"I had to sometime…"
"I know but, I don't know, I just always pictured you coming back and working on the wizard council and causing more problems with your magic that I'd have to fix."
"Me too," Alex sighed, "but Neave has to come first, so do you think we'd win if Mason and I appealed to stay together?"
"I don't know, it's kind of complicated. You see Tootie Tootie was in charge of the love and romance council and now he's gone I still need to fill the position. Helen's been hinting she wants the job but then I'd need a new assistant and-"
"Justin just answer the damn question!"
"Long story short," he began, "there could be a chance but any appeal has to go past the wizard council and a few other panels to assure the mortal would be completely safe and from what the council know about Mason and his temper, it could be difficult…"
"So would it be worth trying?"
"Of course! Mason loves you, and Neave! If it means you can keep your family together obviously you both should appeal but it could take a very long time and it might not go your way…"
Alex groaned loudly, collapsing her head in her hands, "why is this so difficult?"
"I know," Justin wrapped his arm around his little sister, "but it'll be okay. You just have to think positive and everything will turn out fine."
"You're right, I need to just look at the good things and stop thinking about the bad stuff. I'm going out on a date with Mason tonight so that should take my mind off things for now…"
"Who's babysitting Neave?"
"I'm going to call Harper, she said if I need any help to let her know. I'd ask you but I know you'll be busy with your precious school."
Justin's face began to blush red as a beetroot and radiate heat like a hot pan. You could have cooked a three course meal on his face. No-one could have missed it, especially Alex.
"You're hiding something," she stated, edging closer to Justin suspiciously.
"No! No I'm not!" He stammered fearfully.
"What are you hiding?"
"Nothing! I do not have anything to hide," he began to waffle on, "I am completely honest about everything and I am certainly not hiding anything from you…"
"Okay then, you leave me no choice," Alex pulled out her wand and aimed it at Justin.
"Some are evil, some are kind-"
"Fine, fine!" He protested blocking Alex's wand with his hands as he hid behind them in fear, "fine! I'm going to dinner with Juliet."
"Like on a date?"
"No… I don't think so, I don't know!"
"Do you still like her?"
"Obviously I still like her! But I'm just so confused, she was the one who ended it. I just don't want to get hurt again."
"What did she say when she asked you out?"
"That she wanted us to talk, that was it."
"She so wants to get back together!"
"But how do I know if it'd be the right thing to do? I mean, she really hurt me the way she just ended it like that and the fact she kissed Mason."
"Justin, you know nothing like that would ever happen between them again. Believe me if it did I'd give that boy something to answer for," Alex said pounding one of her hands with her other fist.
"I know that, but the fact that she was the one who initiated it…"
"Justin, just go and hear her out. If you still have feelings for her you need to give her a chance, besides, if I cant be in a relationship somebody should be!"
"Yeah I guess, thanks Alex. And don't worry, I'll back you and Mason all the way if I have too."
Mason closely followed Neave as she trotted around her grandmothers living room, inspecting her new surroundings. She repeatedly tried to eagerly grab various objects and decorative ornaments around the room as she passed by them, causing Mason to quickly jolt forward and snatch them before she had chance to get her hands on them.
"Um, no Neavie," he scolded her whilst lifting her off of the ground and placing her back in another direction. Only for her to then scamper off and try to get something else. "Neave!" Mason huffed chasing after her.
"Calm down," ordered Linda walking in holding two cups of tea in her hands, "she's fine!"
"Mum some of these ornaments are glass, if she smashes one she'll cut herself!"
"Oh here take this," she handed Mason one of the cups of tea and placed her own cup down before rushing over and picking up Neave in her arms. "lets go and find your toys, eh?"
She carried Neave up the stairs and Mason fell back on to the couch, sighing in relief. "Thank you!" he cried, "I just can't cope with her today, I even caught her going through Alex's knicker draw earlier!"
"Oh poor Alex," a male voice beamed from the doorway.
Mason's stomach turned and a low growl erupted from within him, he looked behind him and saw his father stood boldly in the doorway. He smiled before sauntered in to the room and sat down next to Mason. "What are you doing here?" he asked his dad, scowling at him furiously.
"I did knock, didn't you hear?"
"Stop trying to be funny, does Mum know you were coming?"
"Well I spoke to her on the phone this morning and she mentioned you and the baby were coming, so I figured she wouldn't mind if I dropped by…"
"That's a no then."
"Oh Mason, you're supposed to be glad when you see your parents!"
"Yeah, that's how it is for most people…"
"Lets show Daddy what we found!" Linda cooed to Neave as she brought her back down the staircase, "look Daddy it's-" she froze midsentence when she saw Grant sat in the living room, "oh," she grimaced, "Look Neave, it's grumpy Grandad." Mason chuckled at his mum earning an angered look from his dad. "Anyway," Linda continued, "look Daddy we found some building blocks!"
"Wow!" Mason cheered enthusiastically getting down on the floor to Neave's level while Linda scattered the blocks on the floor for them.
"So why are you here?" She asked Grant coldly, "you didn't say you were coming."
"I just thought I'd come and see the kids while they're here, is that a problem?"
"I'm not a kid," Mason spat, keeping his eyes focused on Neave as she carefully attempted to build a tower with the brightly coloured blocks.
"Oh right, Mr. Independent. I am very sorry," Grant scoffed rolling his eyes.
"Neavie, are you going to say hello to Grandad?" Linda spoke softly stroking the soft hair on Neave's head.
Neave looked over at her grandfather, the stranger sat on the couch, and immediately felt intimidated. She quickly rushed over to her dad, knocking over the small piles of wooden building blocks, and buried herself into him, hiding her face and most importantly away from the unfamiliar man staring at her.
"Neave," Grant leered reaching out his arms to her, "are you coming?"
Mason looked down at his daughter as she continued to forcefully press her head in to his chest, and hide in his embrace. He then looked over to his Dad, who was still waiting with open arms and filled with guilt when he felt Neave tremble in his arms. "Just leave it," he mumbled, "she doesn't want to."
"Oh just give her to me," he insisted reaching over to Neave.
"No," Mason concealed the baby in his arms, "she doesn't know who you are, she's scared."
Grant scoffed, "I can't win can I? You moan that I never see her and now you're saying I have to leave her alone!"
"I'm not saying that, she just needs time Dad."
"Yeah you're right, anyway she'll have to spend more time with us if she's going to stay like this," he swung his arms around gesturing to Neave's current wolf state, "she needs to be around her own kind."
"Grant," groaned Linda, "she doesn't just have to be around werewolves you know…"
"I know but I think it'll be good for her, that way she can learn to be a real werewolf!"
"About that…" Mason started placing Neave on to his lap as he sat cross legged on the carpeted floor beneath him, "Neave won't be staying this way."
Linda and Grant turned to each other, looking befuddled, Linda eventually looked back at her son. "I'm sorry love, you've lost us."
Mason cleared his throat and nervously fidgeted with the pig tails placed in Neave's hair, "Neave's going have a procedure to have her powers removed, so she wont be a wolf anymore." Both of Mason's glared at him in silence. "It's a simple procedure and harmless," he babbled on anxiously, "then when her powers have gone Alex is going to pass her powers on to Neave, so she won't be a mortal."
"But Alex will be?" Linda said focusing all of her attention on Mason.
"You do realising you both can't stay together then," Grant spat as he leapt from his seat.
"Is it really that bad her being a wolf? Being one of us!" He bellowed, pacing about infront of Mason.
"That's not why we're doing this dad-"
"No you're not, she is doing this so Neave can be like the rest of them!"
"Again. That's not why we're doing this…"
"Then what is it! What is so bad about Neave being this way?"
Mason stood up with Neave in his arms and approached his father, "whats so bad? What's so bad is that if she stays this way she can never have even the tiniest bit of a normal life. She can't go back to her regular daycare, she will never be able to go to any normal schools or colleges. She can never go out in public without being stared at or judged and one day she'll realise this and she'll know that people are actually scared of her. And if that isn't enough Dad, we are terrified that she is too young and too fragile to handel these powers. She's already been so ill, we just don't think it's worth the risk!"
"And what if she can't handle her wizard powers?"
"Then we'll try to manage them, wizard powers are something that can be hidden and controlled Dad, they're not like werewolf powers."
Grant scoffed shaking his head, "why does she even need wizard powers anyway? If you're that bothered couldn't you leave her mortal?"
"No, because I don't want to outlive another daughter Dad, and neither does Alex, you know mortals have shorter life spans."
"Well I'd rather a mortal granddaughter than a wizard one."
"Oh well what a pity," Mason scolded his father sarcastically.
"Linda tell your son how ridiculous he is being!" Grant demanded angrily.
Linda turned to Mason and timidly shrugged her shoulders and gave a weak smile, "I don't really care," she stated.
"What!" Grant stormed over to his wife, "what are you saying?"
"As long as Neave's okay then I don't care if or what powers she has. She could be a bloody unicorn and I wouldn't care! As long as she's happy and healthy that's all that matters. Yes, one time I may have been appalled by this, but none of that matters anymore."
"Of course it matters!" Grant exclaimed, "she won't be one of us!"
"Grant, she doesn't need to be a werewolf to be in this family. She's Mason's daughter for godsake! Are you seriously telling me you wouldn't count her as part of the family because she'll be different to us?"
Grant became quiet and started stumbling on is words, "well… Well… how will she take part in the autumn moon feast?"
"She can still be there," Linda laughed.
"Well… what about if we want to go for a hunt or-"
"Dad," Mason interrupted, "I don't think you've answered mum's question."
"Are you saying if Neave loses her werewolf powers she won't be part of this family anymore?" Linda repeated.
Grant hesitated, he looked over at Mason who stood staring at him in utter silence. He then cast his eye over to Neave who was being held tightly in Mason's arms, she nuzzled her face against her fathers and tittered to herself playfully as she cupped his cheeks into her dainty fur hands. "Yes," he muttered quietly.
Mason's eyes widened in fury, "fine then at least I know where we stand. Does that mean I'm not apart of this family because I'm the one whose having her powers taken away?"
"I just don't understand, your cousin Charles settled with a nice werewolf girl and they've got a child together. I just don't know why you've never wanted to do the same?"
"I have done that, you just wont accept that because Alex isn't a werewolf! Besides Charlie was practically forced in to that by Uncle Walter, it's obvious he's not entirely happy."
"Linda," Grant sighed, "are you honestly okay with this?"
"Yes," she nodded walking over to Mason, "if Mason and Neave are happy, then I'm happy and do you know why?" Grant shrugged his shoulders at his wife, "because I've not got you brainwashing me anymore with your ridiculous high standards and prejudices. And if your offended by that then I am sorry Grant, but personally I think Mason and Neave will be fine if you decided to not be involved in their lives anymore."
"You know what mum, I was just thinking the same," Mason smiled at his mum confidently before turning back to his dad, only to see him gaping at him in shock.
"In fact," smirked Linda running over to a nearby drawer and pulling out a thick document and a ballpoint pen. She quickly scribbled on the paper and passed it too Grant, "Divorce papers. Well, they're the only reason you came isn't it? I've done my part, all you have to do is sign."
Grant grabbed hold of the pen a hovered it above the dotted line, he looked up at his family and gave a sleazy smile, "you know it doesn't have to be this way, we can all sort this together. As a family."
Linda and Mason turned to eachother and in unison, turning back to Grant, blurted out, "no thanks."
Grant scowled at them before quickly writing his signature and launching the divorce papers at Linda, "There. We're over. Happy now?"
"Yes I am," Linda beamed, "I can finally get you out of my life, I'm estatic!"
"Is this it then?" Grant asked, "you're both done with me?"
"I think so…" Linda teased, "now let me show you the way out," she forcefully marched Grant over to the front door and lead him outside.
"Bye Dad," Mason called behind them.
"You cant be serious," Grant laughed nervously.
"Oh but I am," smirked Linda, "bye Grant." With that she slammed the door in his face, "I can't believe I just did that." She said wandering back over to Mason and Neave, "did that really just happen?"
"Yeah it did," Mason laughed, "I'm proud of you Mum, you finally stood up to him."
"I guess I did didn't I?" Linda smiled widely and placed kisses on both Mason and Neave's cheeks. "I can't believe it! Now we can focus on you little madam," she once again kissed Neave and softly stroked her plump face affectionately. "She's going to be okay you know," Linda told Mason, "now you've got some help she'll be absolutely fine. And so will you and Alex, even if you two can't be together and you've both got me and Alex's family to help with anything!"
"I know," Mason sighed, "but it's the thought of not being with her that scares me."
"You'll both figure something out, you two always do."