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Chapter 5: A Stranger's Help
Hugo ran his hand over his arm, just above his scar. The skin was almost sensitive to the touch; it was like it knew the full moon was near, it was like a warning of what was to happen to him in just a few days. Hugo swallowed thickly, his body almost reacting in fear. He didn't know whether he wanted to be sick or pass out, he couldn't seem to stop the involuntary shivers and sudden trembling every time the thought entered his mind, or a member of his family spoke of the attacks and their fears of what would happen during the next full moon, and the nightmares he had endured since his attack had only gotten worse, especially in the last couple of days. Sometimes it was one of his parents who had to shake him awake, other times his screams were enough, but he was always found shaken and sweating and almost frozen in fear.
What if something happened while he turned? What if the next news report of an 'animal attack' was his doing? What if someone got hurt, was turned or killed by him? Hugo didn't know if he could live with himself if he did something.
He needed help. He needed control. Most of all, he needed it from someone who knew personally, not just from research. As much as he loved Teddy, his honorary cousin could only be of so much help to him. He needed him; the one who had saved him. He was the only one Hugo knew had any idea for what to expect, what he would have to go through, anything that could help. He knew there was a wolfsbane potion, but he couldn't just go out and buy some, they were instructed to alert the Werewolf Capture at the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures; procedures still had to be followed for potential werewolves and checks were mandatory with Werewolf Registry. They'd contact the department and, unless Teddy himself answered the call, which was unlikely since specializing in werewolves put him in charge and he had other cases to deal with, they'd go straight to his dad or Uncle Harry with the news. Or worse, his mother.
No, Hugo decided, he would not be purchasing the potion himself and he couldn't allow Teddy do it for him.
His other option had been to make it himself, but he ruled it out pretty quickly for a number of reasons. The potion took time to make, and with the full moon on its way, it was too late for this month; he would have to buy the necessary ingredients, which would cause suspicion should the people selling them to him realize what said ingredients could and would most likely be used in, which would lead to a call to the department, which would get his family involved; he didn't have anywhere he could go to make it and he wasn't stupid enough to make it in his room because that was another reason for his family to become involved and there was no way they would believe it was just a project because he was curious and wanted to see if he could make it - he had tried that with Veritaserum; finally, it was an incredibly difficult potion to make and he was more like his father than his mother when it came to this subject, worse in fact: he was absolutely rubbish at Potions. So, he couldn't make it even if he wanted to.
Hugo truly believed finding him was his only option. But even that didn't fill him with much hope. He had no idea who the guy was or were to even begin to look. He didn't even put much faith in the boy's name being real, so searching for him that way wasn't an option. Not that he hadn't at least tried when he'd been stuck in his dad's office at the ministry the other day; Dimitri was a fairly uncommon name. It belonged more in France and Russia than in England. Only three were actually documented as having lived in London; two were too old to be the boy that he met, one was a French immigrant who went missing and was presumed dead in the 1600s. And they had only been the Muggle records Harry kept in case any cases ever overlapped.
All his little search did was give him a headache wondering why his Dimitri was living under the Ministry's radar. That usually wasn't a good thing.
Hearing the owl's screeching from the shop around the corner, Hugo sighed and continued walking aimlessly around the cobbled Wizarding street. He had chosen today to purchase his new books and uniform for Hogwarts in a just over a week and because George had heard, he was at the shop today, which meant he had been able to leave everything in the old flat above. His favorite uncle had been weary of him being alone, his family had been keeping him in sight since his attack and were worried because of his sudden nightmares, but it was only mid afternoon and wouldn't be dark for a while yet, so he had allowed it. Hugo promised he'd keep his wand close to him and be back by six. Since it had just gone four, Hugo had more than enough time to be alone to think and worry and try not to freak out. At least not completely.
He flexed his arm up and down, trying to stop the tingling around his scar without any luck, and turned the corner. He stopped, that familiar scent from the garden weeks ago filling his senses, and he saw him walk past. He kept his distance from the crowd, obviously not wanting to attract attention to himself. Hugo followed him, watched him stop suddenly, like he knew he was being followed, and then walked faster, trying to get away.
"Hey," Hugo called and he picked up the pace. "Dimitri, wait!"
He stopped hesitantly, one foot lifted up as he decided whether or not to continue moving, but they both noticed the crowd slow down to stare, mostly curious bystanders. So, he turned slowly and faced the young werewolf. "Weasley."
Hugo glared at each and every person who had stopped or lingered nearby until they continued on their way, before he moved closer to the dark haired mystery in front of him. He hesitated in lifting his hand, but decided he would, and took hold of the boy's arm, despite his glower, and pushed him to continue walking. "I have been looking for you."
Dimitri cocked his head to the side. "Interesting, because I told you not to."
"Actually, you only said you hoped we didn't meet again," Hugo corrected quietly. "You never said I couldn't go looking."
“Do not get smart with me,” Dimitri snarled, removing his arm from Hugo’s hand roughly. But he continued walking with him.
They continued to wonder in silence, Hugo glancing between the buildings and the boy by his side, and then he realised that they were circling back so Dimitri could get to the wall to the pub. Hugo bit his lip, chewing on it in impatience, until he could no longer take the silence. “So,” he said, clapping his hands together a little too enthusiastically. “What brings you here?”
Dimitri raised an eye-brow, more than a little confused, though he tried not to show it. “Is that why you were following me? Polite conversation?”
Hugo shook his head quickly. “No. Do you want to get right to it? I mean, I was just trying to relieve the awkward tension with easy conversation first.” He gave Dimitri a huge, weird smile and raised his hands, palms out, as though he were offering the boy something. “Is it working?”
“No,” Dimitri answered, not bothering to look at him. As Hugo dropped both his hands and his smile, Dimitri rubbed his eyes with his palms. “The reason I’m here is pointless now that you are here.” It was Hugo’s turn to look confused, though Dimitri still couldn’t see. Hugo was surprised he knew where he was going and hadn’t yet bumped into anybody. He dropped his hands and dug into his pocket, pulling out the music player, and shoved it into the boy's unexpected hands. “You left it in the house. I don’t have an owl, so I decided to have it mailed to you. I would have done it sooner, except I been having trouble getting out of the house.”
“Did staying out all night get you grounded?” Hugo asked, regretful.
“Something like that.”
Hugo cleared his throat awkwardly, feeling guilty for getting him into any trouble; all he’d done was try to help him. He held it up. “Thank you.” He laughed half-heartedly. “My mum says I have my iPod attached to me, that she’d have to get it surgically removed if she ever wanted me to put it down.” Dimitri frowned, wondering if there was a point to the story. “After that night, when everything had calmed down, she realized I didn’t have it with me and so did I. I told her I’d left it at my friend’s house, that’s where I said I’d stayed, and that I’d get it back soon.” Dimitri watched him turn the iPod around in his hands before putting it in his pocket. “At least some normalcy has returned to my life.”
They stopped outside the ice-cream shop. Hugo had told him he had been looking for him and he wanted the boy to say whatever it was he felt he had to tell him, so that he could go home. “What do you want, Weasley?”
“I need help,” Hugo whispered, getting straight to the point. The stranger in front of him wasn’t the only one who wanted it over and done with. “I don’t know what to do.”
Dimitri ignored the fact that Hugo looked scared and broken, he didn’t want to see him crumble in front of him; he had no idea how to help with that. “That’s what you’re family are for.” He saw Hugo open his mouth, hesitate and close it again. “I mean, you told them about that night, so…” Hugo closed his eyes. “You did tell them, didn’t you?” Nothing. "Hugo."
Somehow, his given name being said like that made it that much worse. “Teddy has been very supportive,” he finally said, still looking down at his feet.
“And what about your parents?” Dimitri asked. He scoffed when once again Hugo remained quiet. “You didn't tell them.”
Hugo raised his arms in defence and opened his mouth to answer back. He realised before he could say anything that they were in public, took a deep breath and let his hands drop. “Telling people something like this is a lot harder than it seems.” He glared when Dimitri rolled his eyes. “I just couldn’t tell them, I don’t know how. Believe me, Dimitri, I tried. I didn’t even tell Teddy myself; he noticed my arm when my sleeve rolled up and figured it out.”
“Of course he did, he works for the wolf division in Regulation and Control; he knows what to look for,” Dimitri growled, then he shut his mouth quickly, not able to believe that he had actually said that.
“How do you know that?” Hugo asked, his eyes narrowed.
The boy in front of him shrugged. “I hear things.” He rubbed the back of his neck, pointing behind him with his other hand. “I have to go, Weasley.”
“Please!” Hugo was behind him before Dimitri could move, his hand clasped around his elbow and he turned him around slowly. Dimitri groaned; Hugo looked ready to cry, his eyes soft and pleading, his features just hiding the fear he felt. Dimitri hated seeing that in people. Hugo nodded his head to the ice-cream shop. “Just listen to me. Five minutes, Dimitri, if that is actually your name,” he smirked softly.
Dimitri couldn’t help it; he had to laugh. Hugo was showing so much faith and trust in a stranger, despite the fact that he wasn’t sure about his name. He nodded quickly, unable to really speak, and allowed Hugo to lead the way into the shop. It was more or less empty; a woman with a little girl paid for their ice-cream and left, nodding to the boys when Dimitri held the door open for them. Once they were gone and they were alone apart from the owner, Hugo made his way to the counter.
“The usual, Hugo?” Florean asked. Dimitri cast a curious glance between them, but Hugo just smiled and nodded at the old man. “And for you, son?”
It took a second and a nudge in the ribs from Hugo before Dimitri realised the owner was talking to him. He pretended to think, wondering if he should have some or say he was okay; he didn’t need human food. Instead, he pointed to the youngest Weasley. “I’ll have the same please.”
With a nod, Fortescue left to make their order and Hugo led Dimitri to a table in the corner, away from prying ears, should more people come in. Sitting across from the now nervous Weasley, Dimitri leaned forward. “Why were you looking for me?”
“Right,” Hugo whispered and nodded. “I’m not really sure, now that I think about it.” He ignored the boy sigh. “You found me, you knew what it was and you did something; I remember I heard a snap. I believe you can help me, you understand what to expect and what to do, I know you do. Look, the full moon is in five days and I’m terrified. Please, I need your help.”
They stayed sat in silence, Hugo staring desperately at him. Their ice-creams came, but Dimitri didn’t touch his and Hugo just played with the spoon, scooping up the dessert only to drop it back in while he waited for an answer. “I’m not a werewolf, if that was one of your thoughts,” he finally said quietly. The look on Hugo’s face told him it had been. “But I have met my fair share. I can’t get you wolfsbane potion; I had to sneak out of the house to get here. This is why you have to tell your parents, they can help you through this.”
“I know and I fully intend to,” Hugo promised. “But after this full moon; I want them to have the month to get used to it, so they are prepared to help me next time. If I were to tell them now five days before, they wouldn’t be able to cope with worrying and trying to help me. Plus they’re going to be mad enough when they find out I didn’t tell them for a month.”
Sighing and wishing he were anywhere else but in this shop, but accepting Hugo’s words, Dimitri only nodded. “You promise?” Hugo swore he would. “Good. You said Teddy Lupin knows; is he able to help you and do you have anywhere you can go?”
“I asked if I can stay at his house on that night, while my parents work; Dad and Harry are watching for wolf activity and Mum has things to do in her home office, anything to help dad on the legal side. They said yes, so if they call, he’ll answer. My cousin, his wife, is away visiting family, so she won’t be there to call us on our lie.” A lump formed in Hugo’s throat when he said lie, but swallowed it quickly and continued. “They live in the country and there are woods not too far; he said it should be safe if I went deep enough. Does it hurt? Do you know?” he asked quietly.
Dimitri didn’t have it in him to answer that; he knew the first change was the most painful, your body changing from human to animal, but it was different for each individual, some could take the pain whereas others couldn’t, and he really didn’t know Hugo well enough to give an answer he could accept. So he took the scared boy’s hand and squeezed once awkwardly before letting go. “Everything will be okay,” was the most he felt he could say.
It seemed to reassure Hugo slightly, because he relaxed and took a small bite of ice-cream. “I’m thankful to Teddy, but there’s only so much he can do for me, you know?” Hugo whispered.
“But I still don’t want to go through this on my own. Is that selfish?”
“No. I’d be surprised if you did.” Dimitri glanced at his watch. “I really have to go, Hugo,” he murmured, standing up. He moved to walk away, but stopped. He couldn’t believe he was saying this; it was stupid and dangerous and he didn’t even know if he could get out of the house with everyone watching his every move. But he knelt down at Hugo’s side until the brunet turned to him. “Give me the address; if the forest is not too far I’ll find it.” Hugo shook his head, opening his mouth to say no, but Dimitri covered them quickly, effectively stopping him; he didn’t need another reason to take his words back. “You asked for my help; take it and be grateful. I will meet you there.”
He waited for Hugo to nod and do as he said, writing it down on a napkin, before moving backwards. “Good, I’ll see you in five days. And, yes, my name really is Dimitri; Dimitri Eliot.”
He walked away, his ice-cream untouched. Once outside the shop, he ran all the way to the wall, not stopping until he reached his destination. Theo stood up and glared. “What the hell took you so long?”
“Sorry,” he apologised hurriedly. “There was a queue,” he lied and pointed to the entrance. “Do you want to open the wall? We should get back before Zack does and Sophia wakes up.”
He watched Theo tap his wand against the bricks and open the door for them to leave and he took one last look behind him, before disappearing from the magical alley.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed chapter 5, I would love to know your thoughts.
Next chapter: Hugo's first full moon.