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Chapter 6: The Full Moon
Hugo paced the floor of his bedroom, his overnight bag packed carelessly and waiting in the middle of his bed, and continuously alternated between rubbing his hands together, running them through his messed up hair and folding his arms across his chest. He was agitated and on edge; a side effect of the full moon, Teddy had told him. It didn't help that he was terrified of what would happen to him tonight.
He took a deep breath, stopping his pacing, and stared out of the window, to the evening sun, watching it disappear. It took a good few minutes, but he controlled himself; he couldn't freak out, not now.
"I'll freak out tomorrow," he muttered to himself. "Yeah, tomorrow."
"What's happening tomorrow, Hugh?"
Hugo turned quickly to see his sister, Rose, standing relaxed at his open door, her arms folded lightly and her hair loosely tied up, exposing her pale neck. She pushed back a stray strand of red hair, looking at him expectantly for an answer. She wasn't suspicious of anything, her smile told him that, and he inwardly sighed in relief. "Nothing," he answered, shrugging, trying to sound nonchalant. But he heard his voice waver and he seriously hoped that she did not notice. "Planning my day."
"And what are you going to be doing, little brother?" Rose asked him.
Hugo returned his big sister's smile; everything was fine. "Sleeping. Through most of it, I might add. Don't except me back till tea time."
Rose laughed quietly. "We wouldn't expect anything less; you can sleep through anything. Though why you chose to stay with Teddy instead of me is still a mystery."
Hugo zipped up his bag and flung it over his shoulder, wrapping his arm around Rose's shoulders as he made is way out into the hall and down the stairs. "You're here with Mum, while Teddy's all on his own. I figured it would be a good thing."
"But that reason is exactly why you should stay here," Rose protested. Hugo raised an eye-brow. "You're leaving me with Mum!"
The house was filled with laughter as they entered the living room to find their mother waiting for them. Hermione moved closer and hugged her son tightly. "You do exactly as Teddy says and you stay inside, do you understand me? I don't want to go through what I went through last month."
"I understand Mum, I promise," Hugo whispered, hating that he was lying to her. Soon, he thought. She'll know soon.
They let go slowly and smiled at one another, before Hugo walked over to the fireplace and grabbed the floo powder. "Don't think I didn't hear that before," Hermione said to Rose sternly as she stood at her daughter's side. Hugo hid his smirk, taking the opportunity to stand inside the fireplace.
"See you tomorrow," he waved and called Teddy's address. The floo network was a quick and relatively easy way to travel, Hugo could not deny that, but he always fell out, literally, dirty and sore. He didn't know how it happened, but he always hurt something; last time he fell on his side tripping over his own feet and fractured his arm, the time before that he sprained his ankle. Today, however, he was more than thankful that Teddy had been there to catch him.
"Up we get," Teddy said, pulling him to stand properly in his feet. Hugo pushed back and fixed his t-shirt, his bag swinging gently from his shoulder. "At least some things haven't changed; your hand-eye coordination is still crap."
"Shut up," he snapped, glaring. "It's a stupid way to travel." Hugo tried to push past Teddy, but he kept his arm fairly on the boy's shoulder to prevent him from moving. Hugo wondered briefly if he could remove Teddy's arm forcibly if necessary, but chose not to. He stood there instead and waited to calm down as he knew his friend wanted. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Teddy said quietly, wrapping Hugo in his arms. "I know you're scared. I'd call you a fool for even pretending to me that you weren't." He felt Hugo nod against his chest and went to move back, but Hugo held on tighter; he was too scared to let go just yet. Once he let go he'd have to leave and he didn't want to do that yet.
"Do you understand what you have to do tonight?"
"Yes," he whispered.
"You go as far into the woods as you can, where it's safe," he continued. Neither mentioned that Teddy was talking about it being safe for other people as well as for Hugo.
"I know." He swallowed thickly, stopping any tears before they could even fall; he would not cry anymore. Once he felt he could do so, Hugo stepped back slowly. "I'll go now. I'll leave my bag in the trees at the edge of the forest, that way I won't have to come back in dirty clothes tomorrow." He paused to think about it. What if his clothes were ripped to shreds because of the change or he took them off and lost them? He didn't like the thought of coming back in nothing at all. "Or worse."
Reading his expression easily, Teddy couldn't help but laugh, and Hugo soon followed quietly; being able to laugh at the little things seemed to make the situation a little better. "That sounds like a good idea."
Nodding, his eyes drawn to the door as the thoughts of what could happen hit him; Hugo took hesitant steps towards the exit. It was silent, like he was being led to his death, until he twisted the knob and let the door swing open. "They find out after this," Teddy called out. "Your family need to know and won't lie for you again."
"I understand." Hugo didn't turn back or say anything else; he stepped outside, bag in hand, and shut the door. Then he ran the rest of the way to the forest. He felt like the quicker it happened, the quicker it would end, and that was all he wanted; for it to end.
He stopped suddenly, sliding into the dirt on the ground, when he noticed a figure leaning against a tree. He was just close enough to make out the boy's anxious features and recognize his familiar scent. "He actually came," Hugo muttered, unaware that he had spoken out loud.
Dimitri's head snapped up at that and they locked eyes with each other, his arms folded stiffly across his chest. Hugo didn't care how the boy had managed to hear him coming and made his way over quickly, watching him step forward a fraction but making no other move. "You actually came."
"I told you I would." Dimitri nodded his head to the bag. "Camping tonight?"
Hugo pulled his bag to his chest and stepped into the woods, dumping it close enough to the entrance that he knew he would find it, and continued to walk. He heard Dimitri follow him cautiously, but paid little attention; the sun had just set and the full moon was rising. He could feel it. "They're clothes for tomorrow," he answered him. "I don't know what's going to happen and I don't fancy walking back to my cousin's house naked." He cocked his head to the side and turned enough to just see Dimitri. "That would be embarrassing."
Dimitri agreed quietly and continued to follow him. "Do you know where you're going?"
"Nope," Hugo said. "I'm just going as far in as possible. I'll hope I find my way out tomorrow, right now it's not on my list of priorities."
Dimitri said nothing in return, despite the harsh comment threatening to leave his lips. He understood Hugo's distress and had known enough werewolves over the years to know what the full moon could do. He wouldn't hold Hugo snapping at him against the boy; he'd probably snap too if it were his first full moon.
They wondered aimlessly in silence, except for the vague sounds of surrounding animals, until they found a small circular clearing, probably suitable for camping, and Hugo stopped in the middle while his companion stayed by the trees. He slipped his jacket off slowly, already missing the warm leather, and threw it in Dimitri's direction as he kicked off his shoes. The boy caught it easily.
"I want that back," he told him. It was his favorite jacket, given to him by Rose for his sixteenth birthday, and even though he had thought about not wearing it for tonight, he couldn't part with it. He'd never gone without it.
"You'll get it back in the morning," Dimitri promised, sensing its value when Hugo gave it to him instead of throwing it to the floor. He turned his head to the sky; the moon was above them, shining a silver light into the clearing.
It was time.
Dimitri's head snapped down to the ground when he heard a strangled cry and he watched Hugo fall to his knees, his face twisted in a grimace and his nails digging into the dirt below. "It'll be okay, Hugo."
Hugo lifted his bowed head, feeling heavy on his shoulders, and yellow met green as their eyes locked once more. "Leave, Dimitri," he whispered, struggling to hold off the change. "Run."
Dimitri took a step back, Hugo's jacket hugged to his chest as though for protection. Hugo fell to his stomach, unable to hold it any longer; he could feel his body changing. The pain was almost overwhelming, but he managed to keep from screaming, instead focusing his mind on the boy in front of him. "Run," he yelled, using that as an outlet for his pain.
And he did.
Dimitri took off in the direction they had come, not looking back until he heard one last yell and then the howl of a wolf. "It'll be okay, Hugo," he repeated almost silently.
He pulled on Hugo's jacket, so not to ruin it, and strained to hear, trying to figure out where the wolf could be; he promised to stay for Hugo, and stay he would, but he had to protect himself too, it wouldn't do anyone any good if he was bitten. Dimitri stepped back into the trees, his eyes constantly scanning his surroundings for movement. He cursed when he stepped on a stray twig and it snapped loudly under his foot and he heard a huff and growl of a nearby animal. "Shit."
He heard the wolf come his way and he sprinted in front of him, back to the clearing. He saw it run from his right and he moved faster to the other side as it closed in on him. Dimitri leapt into the air and caught a branch of the nearest tree, pulling himself up into the safety of the leaves just before teeth snapped at his ankles.
From the top, Dimitri watched it circle the tree he hid himself in and then disappear. He climbed across the trees he could reach, his eyes never leaving the wolf below for the rest of night. He promised to make sure that Hugo had wolfsbane for the next full moon as he watched him hunt and chase animals in the forest, getting the feeling Hugo would prefer not to do that, considering he'd be at Hogwarts for the next change. When Hugo found his way back into the clearing and he had curled up into a ball in the middle of the ground, Dimitri settled down on a branch until dawn came.
The moment he sensed the sun begin to rise, Dimitri dropped to the ground, hesitating when Hugo stirred, and quietly made his way back to the entrance. He grabbed Hugo's bag and started back, figuring it would be better for him to dress in the clearing rather than the entrance. He stopped by the trees again and waited. It didn't take long and as the sun rose higher, Dimitri watched Hugo's transformation from wolf back to boy, his mouth smeared with dried drops of blood. He looked so peaceful sleeping, as though none of last night had happened, and Dimitri didn't have it in him to wake him. So he placed the bag near to Hugo's head and sat cross-legged on the ground beside him. He kept his eyes on the sleeping boy's face, refusing to look further and acknowledge his naked form.
But then Hugo turned around to lie on his back and Dimitri instinctively covered his eyes with his hands. He heard Hugo stir, and with his eyes shut tight, he pulled off the leather jacket and covered him. Only then did he feel it safe to open his eyes. Hugo was still sleeping, though his movements told Dimitri he'd wake soon enough, but at least he would not wake up completely exposed; that would be embarrassing. For both of them, he acknowledged to himself.
Hugo groaned in his sleep and his eyes fluttered open, glancing at Dimitri before closing again. Then they snapped open and he sat up quickly. He looked around, taking in his surroundings, and noticed his jacket covering him up. He pulled it closer. "I'm naked," he muttered. "Mostly." He finally faced Dimitri again. "Thank you."
"No problem," he said, not knowing what else to say. He pointed to Hugo's bag. "I left for a few minutes at dawn, I thought it would be better to get dressed here than walk naked to the entrance," he coughed, clearing his throat, thankful he couldn't blush as he imagined that happening. "Considering you didn't get your clothes off in time." His eyes widened at his words, despite the situation being true, and Hugo did blush.
Hugo pulled his bag to him and muttered another thank you. Dimitri looked away as he pulled on his underwear, socks, jeans and shoes. "What happened last night?"
Dimitri glanced in Hugo's direction, only turning fully when he knew he was dressed apart from his t-shirt. "Nothing much, you stayed around here mostly." He didn't feel it necessary to mention he had chased him into the trees. But he remembered the dry blood and closed the gap between them. Hugo tried to move back, confused, but Dimitri wrapped his hand over the boy's wrist and kept him in place. "Please." Hugo stopped trying to move and Dimitri used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the blood away. "Don't worry, it's not serious," he whispered to take away Hugo's fear when his eyes widened. "Although I do feel sorry for the bunnies," he joked, laughing softly.
Hugo tried not to follow Dimitri's example and laugh at what he had done, but he couldn't. "Oh no, not the bunnies," he chuckled.
Dimitri wiped away the last of the blood and dropped his arm slowly, standing up and holding his hand out for Hugo to take. Taking it slowly, Hugo got to his feet, t-shirt and jacket in hand. He pulled them on quickly. "Don't worry; I'm sure they'll forgive you. I would and I'm not nearly as nice." He picked up the bag, handing it to him, and guided him out of the clearing, leaving the shredded clothes behind. "Come on, we should go."
There was more silence as they left the woods, but this time they welcomed it; it took transforming into a werewolf to feel comfortable around each other. Hugo almost scoffed but just managed to turn it into a small cough, he didn't want the moment to be ruined by looking weird.
They made it to the entrance and Dimitri stopped him from going any further. "Do you know what you're going to do next month?"
Hugo tried not to look down, wanting to pretend he hadn't notice that the boy in front of him, still a stranger in so many ways, had threaded their fingers together to keep him in place. He didn't want Dimitri to know because he didn't seem to want him to let go. He'd never had feelings as strong as this for a person before, he'd had crushes of course, but this felt like more; Hugo actually liked Dimitri.
Dimitri cleared his throat to get Hugo's attention and he shook his head before glancing down. He was thankful Dimitri wasn't much smaller, just a couple of inches at most. He hated being taller than others sometimes; it was such a pain. And he didn't even consider himself that tall, not compared to other members of his family and friends.
"Yes," he finally said. "Either the forbidden Forest or the Shrieking Shack, though I think that would depend on whether or not I have wolfsbane potion."
"I'll meet you in the Shrieking Shack then." He knew all about the shack and the rumors that came with it; Theo had told him. "I can bring you the potion if you need it; call me if you need it." He handed Hugo a piece of paper; his mobile number.
"You have a phone?"
"I do, I don't have an owl remember," he said, taking it out of his jeans pocket as proof that he wasn't lying before shoving it back in, saying no more about his reasons for having one. "But it's only for emergencies," he reminded him quickly. "Only if you absolutely need to or I'll just hang up on you."
Hugo laughed at his attempt at joking; he got the feeling he was definitely lying. "And don't forget to tell your family this time."
"So you can shift the responsibility onto them?" Hugo joked, though Dimitri told him that was true. "Why are you doing this? Why are you helping me?"
Dimitri looked down quickly, all traces of humor gone, and shrugged his shoulders. "Because you asked me to, because I feel involved now, I didn't get there in time to stop it and now I want you to be okay. I don't know, Hugo; figuring out why I want to help you isn't exactly top of my list, actually helping you is."
Hugo wanted to tell him he didn't need to feel guilty about not being able to stop it, that he would be okay and he didn't have to stay because of that night. But the selfish part of Hugo's mind didn't want to give Dimitri a reason to leave, he wanted him to stay, whether he helped or not. "Thank you," Hugo said instead, finally acknowledging their joined hands by squeezing gently. "I'm grateful you stayed with me last night, to know that I wasn't alone."
And quickly, before he had a chance to really think about it or Dimitri had a chance to move, Hugo closed the gap between them and briefly placed his lips against Dimitri's. "Thank you," he repeated softly.
Dimitri didn't move, not even after Hugo moved back. He stayed where he was and watched Hugo swing his bag over his shoulder and run back to the house. Hesitantly, he ran his finger over his lips and groaned, his eyes squeezed shut. "This cannot be a good thing."
A/N: Poor Hugo, but he survived his first full moon. Next chapter, because I am actually ahead and have things written, will be up soon. :)