Only one more words crossed out this time. I'm afraid this is all for this time around. World and Spring will have to be left out.
The pizzas were good and the children enjoyed the treat. When they were tucked in, Frank brewed a giant pot of tea and they all sat around the table in the garden.
"What about your sister?" Susan asked Frank.
"My sister?" Frank said. "Yes. No. She's what is normally described as an enabler, I think. She pays mother's rent, and all her other expenses. Not her drinking directly, but she enables her drinking by paying almost anything else. She's afraid of my mother. She threatens with killing herself, or us, or my sister. Not that I think she'll do it, but my sister thinks so. We help her economically, but we do not have much to give."
"Frank," Susan continued, "your sister is probably a witch as well. Think back. Did strange things ever happen to you when you were younger?"
"Yes," Frank said, almost not daring to raise his voice. "We could be think-together as we called it. We always knew where the other was, we were very close that way. And if one of us was in danger, the other one knew. KNEW, not suspected, and knew where as well. She once saved my life, and I saved her from intended robbery. But as we grew, it dwindled. We were told that you could not be think-together like we were, and we stopped trying. But sometimes still, I feel her close."
"Is she married?" Knud asked, "please tell us a bit more about her."
Franks collected his thoughts for a little while, took a sip of his tea and spoke: My sister, Sille, she's 3 years younger than me. She lives in central Copenhagen, close to where we did earlier. She works as an accountant in a bank and is married to Svend, another bank person. They have no children. Svend is reliable, a nice, regular guy; extremely boring, but nice to Sille, and that's what counts. We do not meet often; they do not like going out, and visiting them in their apartment with three lively children is not fun. We talk often on the phone, mostly she's updating me on Sarah's latest stunts. She's a good sort, a considerate sister. She never speaks badly about Freya, the children or me to our mother. She just glides off when mother tries to make her do so."
"Our last reunion was rather a disaster," Freya volunteered. "A Christmas dinner at our old place in Copenhagen. She got drunk, even if we tried to prevent it. She yelled at the children, calling them and me names. Sille tried calming her down, and Svend and Frank too, but she just kept on and on. In the end she threatened with reporting us to the child welfare service again, or killing us or herself. That's one of the reasons we moved here." Freya ended with a sigh.
Susan looked sad, shook her head and said: "It seems we did right not giving Sarah her magic back. Even if I feel loath to withhold it from anybody. With sister Sille it's not a matter of if, but when. There's no children, she's not in any danger, we can wait a bit, I think, with no ill effects. But not for long. She'll have to be told and given her magic to understand, and maybe better to help Sarah."
Knud nodded "But with you two it's another matter. I suggest you come visit us tomorrow at Birch Manor. We'll have to give you some wands,, and some basic training before the child is born."
"Maybe ..." Susan hesitated, then took courage. "Maybe you could leave Carla, Peter and Janet with us for some days? You would have no trouble over what to do, when the baby arrives, and they could learn about their magic together with our grandkids."
Frank and Freya looked at one another and smiled, Freya sighed a big, heartfelt sigh. "You know what? I've been mostly worrying over that, where to do whit those three. Sille used to babysit, but she has made it no secret that it's not something she likes to do, and Sarah of course is more and more demanding of her time now she knows the birth is imminent."
"A great solution," Frank said. "Can anything at all be done for my mother? I mean with magic and potions and such." He looked and felt a bit sheepish.
Susan looked at Knud, and answered: "I suspect I could heal her from her alcoholism. I never tried, but I know the spells and the theory. I could make her body no longer crave booze, but it wouldn't do any good, I think. Because as I see it, the physical part, the addiction, is not the central part. It is only a symptom.
I can not heal her mind. I can't help her bitterness, her deep, ingrown dissatisfaction with everything, possibly even herself. I can't help the craving for what she perceives as her right. She has for so many years felt cheated out of what she was entitled to, felt left out, left behind, slighted, and so on, that it is the way she is now, inside. Sorry, those were harsh words. Not what you hoped to hear, I'm afraid."
Frank looked up at Susan and sighed deeply. "No, not what I wanted to hear, no. But I feel, deep inside that it's the truth. I always thought magic was a solution for anything like it is in the books. It's not so, I see that now. I appreciate your honesty." He bowed his head, falling silent. After some minutes he emptied his teacup and spoke again: "You have given us more than enough to think about, and a hope for our future, more than we'll know I suspect. I'm bone-tired now, and so is Freya, I suppose." She nodded emphatically. "Let's come to your place tomorrow, around noon. Then we'll have time to prepare, to pack our bags, and you'll have the same."
"That's a deal," Knud said.
"I'll leave the puzzles here for the trip tomorrow," Susan added, "They'll keep the little ones occupied on the trip. It's not that far, but I remember my childhood's everlasting trips to granny's." She swung her wand and all the brain teasers were scrambled again. And the store bought ones went to her place at the table, where she picked them up and put them in her backpack. "No need frustrating them with those ones," Susan said smiling.
"Neat," Frank said. "Magic takes some getting used to, but it sure makes life easier."
Knud agreed. "Do you want me to put wards on the house and your car? Nothing dangerous, only sounds and a zap, if somebody tries to enter who's not one of you five."
"Yes, please," Freya said. "It's probably totally unnecessary. But I'll sleep much better for knowing that no-one can get to us undiscovered. Thanks for suggesting."
"Tomorrow, at twelve," Susan said. "We'll be waiting for you."
They all hugged, and as the garden gate closed behind them Knud drew his wand.