My feet squelched against the wet surface as we landed with a loud crack. Remus caught me round the waist just in time to stop me falling into the moshy ground. His body gave me some shelter from the harsh wind which roared around us. I peeked around his shoulder but saw nothing except darkness and the distant shapes of tree branches hitting each other viciously which could scarcely be heard over the wind’s roar.
“W-w-where are we?” I stuttered quietly whilst straining my eyes to hear of any approachers.
Remus looked down at me with a frown etched across his features. “North,” he stated simply. “The Yorkshire Moors to be precise.” With a sigh and a slight shiver, Remus pulled off his coat and placed it over my body. I was about to object when he cut across me. “We need you to appear strong so they think I’ve added someone important to the pack; not another person reliant on others. If you walk in shivering then they’ll immediately class you as weak.”
I nodded, realising that he was right. Remus looked down at me and his features softened into a small smile but his eyes still burned with worry. “Tonks… I’m going to be there the entire time. If anything goes wrong then just get out – grab a wand if they’ve left one lying around. Apparate – don’t worry about me.”
I frowned at Remus; if anything went wrong then they’d kill him. Of course I wouldn’t leave him behind.
Remus seemed to notice my defiance and went to cut in sharply, but I interrupted him first. “No. I-if I have the c-chance then I’ll stay and f-f-fight with you.” I whispered, shivering. “I might not b-be a courageous Gryffindor, but I-I’m a Hufflepuff. And H-h-hufflepuff’s put loyalty first; I’m s-staying.” I glared up at him to see his features twist into a scowl, his eyes looked haunted and for the first time I saw a hint of the wolf. He opened his mouth to retort so I spoke first. “And d-don’t call me Tonks.”
I sighed with relief as the coat’s heat began to warm my body and looked at the trees with a hint of smugness as Remus’ expression froze in surprise and his eyes darted to me in confusion. “Wha-?”
“Tonks is too noticeable. S-someone might have heard about me – call me… D-dora.” I scrunched my nose up in dislike instinctively. It was a silly name. A child’s name. The type of name which went hand in hand with bubble gum and dollies. Nymphadora. My mother’s first attempt to make me into her ‘girly girl’ rather than the tomboy I grew to be.
Remus frowned but nodded at my request, his eyes darted around the nearby area to see that we were truly alone. “Fine. But Ton-Dora, for you this is a mission. This is something that you’ll report on and leave behind as a distant memory. This – this is my life, Dora. If something goes wrong promise me you’ll leave, promise me you won’t stay behind? If they kill me then it will be a rightful death on account of who I am. I’m a werewolf, Tonks, don’t forget.”
I opened my mouth, ready to retort when Remus suddenly tensed. His hands became ridged around my arms and his eyes darkened into a scowl. Laughter filled the air; fierce, mocking laughter – the kind which fills horror stories.
“Well look what we have here boys. Has the whimpering fool bought one of his playmates for dinner?” More laughter echoed around us. The air buzzed with excitement as more twigs and branches snapped under pairs of feet.
As much as I wanted to take a step closer to Remus, to feel as safe as when we landed, I stood my ground. I needed to appear strong; I needed to show them I wasn’t weak. With a deep breath, I took a step away from Remus and held my chin up. Briefly I saw Remus’ hand reach out towards me before quickly being pulled back to his side.
“Rancook, McQuire – light up.” The mocking voice demanded. There was a shuffle of feet with more sounds of branches snapping, and then silence.
My heart beat rapidly against my chest and my throat lost the ability to swallow. Pull yourself together. You’ve been in worse situations then this. I thought angrily to myself. Yes, another side of me argued, but I had a wand then.
No matter which way I looked at it, I was wandless and had never been so vulnerable. Remus stood straight-backed and glowered at the people I couldn’t see. There were faint coughs and a violent sound of someone spitting on the floor. Yet no one moved. My heart bounced against my ribs viciously.
After a couple minutes of tension-filled air and straining my eyes and ears to make sense of the darkness, light started to appear. It flickered in the wind, but didn’t disappear. Fire danced in the air, bringing the desperately needed light. Torches were passed round the group, being lit one by one so that the pack was slowly revealed to me.
Together, they were terrifying. An image that would plague children’s nightmares, a picture of fear and every bad story that I’d ever been told. The group were placed in front of a large, dark forest. Some of the group were hunched over, wiping their dirt-caked fingernails over their face. Others stood tall, their sharp teeth glinting in the flame light. It was a mix of women, men and with a small gasp, children. The children were more wary than the adult werewolves; they stood further back; peeking around the bodies of their elders. Some of the werewolves had children hanging off their backs, though their mud-covered bodies hid where the adult’s bodies ended and the children’s began.
It was the image of one of the children which pulled me back to the mission at hand. I knew her face; it was so similar to her mother’s features. She had the same nose and lips; yet she had her father’s cheeks and curly hair. For a moment I was blinded by the image of her parents’ bodies as they lay lifeless on the floor. Blood covered the wall and doors had been smashed in whilst we desperately searched for the missing children. The girl, and her brother, had been on missing posters for weeks. Charlene Hemmingway.
Yet now her innocence was plagued by the features which were twisted into a snarl. Her clean, groomed hair was now knotted and wild. She was barefoot, as was the rest of the pack, and her pale skin was covered in harsh scars which decorated her feet in diagonal lines.
Remus coughed beside me; a warning. Don’t do anything. I nodded slowly and instead dragged my eyes to the man who stood in the centre. Everyone’s eyes darted between him and me. With pointed teeth and matted grey hair, Fenrir Greyback stood in front of me; his mouth stretched into a bloody grin.
“Well, what do we have here? Did Remus forget you’re not supposed to play with your food?” Some of the group chuckled and sneered menacingly, yet others stayed silent; watching for Fenrir’s next move. “Or has he finally learnt that playing is the best bit?”
Fenrir stepped forward, his excitement stopping him from staying still. Remus edged towards me slightly, as if creating a shield between the werewolves and me. Fenrir snorted but his eyes never left me. “What? You think you can protect her? You think you can keep her from us?”
There was a slow beat of silence as my mind rapidly sought how to act; auror training had never prepared me for something of this scale. Unbelievably, the silence was broken by a deep, low chuckle. Remus laughed, though there was no trace of amusement in his eyes.
“It’s too late.” Remus smirked.
Fenrir dragged his gaze from me to glare at Remus momentarily. “What do you mean it’s too late? Why?” Fenrir’s glare intensified as he watched Remus, before they narrowed in suspicion. “What’ve you done, Remus? Have you led others here?” Fenrir’s voice increased as his head darted side to side. “Have you betrayed us?” Fenrir roared.
Others shouted and spat, whilst some looked round in alarm. Some of the pack had started to turn whilst the few who held wands, raised them in Remus’ direction.
“No. I mean it’s too late for her.” Remus gestured towards me and the wolves lowered their wands, Greyback paused to face us once more; his eyes narrowed in confusion. “She’s already been bitten.”
The clearing became silent once more, the pack were still as they watched Fenrir cautiously. “Bi- she’s already been bitten?” Fenrir stuttered, his face blank with surprise. “Bu-who bit her? No-you? You’ve never been able to stomach it. You wouldn’t have had the guts to bite an innocent.”
I peeked at Remus from the corner of my eye; he was frowning and biting his lip whilst keeping eye contact with Fenrir. His eyes were dark with guilt and remorse; he was even convincing me. Fenrir grounded his teeth together loudly, his eyes moving from Remus to me.
I felt myself tense as Greyback stepped towards me, gradually closing the gap between us. His sharp, yellow teeth glimmered as he passed a torch, his lips twisting into a snarl as he circled me. “What’s your name, girl?” he growled.
Focus, Tonks. I raised my head to look him in the eyes, “Dora.”
His grin widened as he leant in close to me and sniffed deeply. “I can smell the wolf in you, Dora.” I realised with a start that Remus gave me his jacket for more than one reason. The hairs on my neck prickled as his hot breath hit my pale skin. “Why have you come? Did your family reject you?” He turned to face me, his eyes scanning my face for any hint of a lie; luckily aurors had always been trained to deceit others under pressure.
I bit my lip and allowed myself to think of my parents momentarily; my eyes filled with hot tears as I gazed at Greyback. “T-they said I w-was different now that I was a w-werewolf.” I sniffed, “I’m not w-welcome back h-home.” Greyback slowly nodded, satisfied with my answer.
“Just a waitress. D-dismissed. T-they said they didn’t want s-someone like m-me working for them.”
Greyback nodded, the corners of his mouth lifting into a small, pleased smile. “Do you see, Dora? Do you see what wizard kind are really like? They know nothing of loyalty, of use, of our brilliance. They pretend to care, until one of their own gets bitten – then they reject us all. Do you see, Dora? The pack would never leave a wolf alone, no matter how peculiar they are.” Fenrir’s eyes wandered back to Remus momentarily before returning to me. “We’re a family. And one day, wizard kind will look with fear at the days they doubted us. The days they put us in the shadows, like an embarrassing secret. With us, you’re part of something. You’ll fight with us to bring us justice. Without us, you’re an enemy to us, to your family, to wizard kind. Pick, Dora. Join the pack and fight with us or leave now and be an enemy to everyone.”
The werewolf stopped, panting, and looked at me with all the authority he could muster. The children in the pack stepped closer, listening entranced to Fenrir. Being brainwashed into his beliefs.
And yet, I could do nothing to stop him. I couldn’t stop the children listening. I couldn’t stop his warped beliefs spreading no more than I could stop Voldemort’s. I did the only thing I possibly could. I nodded.
Fenrir’s mouth stretched into a wide grin. “Then, Dora, welcome to the pack.”
Whilst some of the pack cheered and yelled behind Fenrir, others howled into the night sky as if they were already in their wold form. Their crazed eyes closed and their necks stretched into the darkness. The children copied, their matted hair blowing wildly in the harsh wind.
Greyback turned to face Remus who had watched the entire proceedings as still as possible; only the rise of his chest and the wind in his hair showed any sign of movement. Fenrir watched him for a moment, his head slightly tilted as he observed Remus. “It’s been a long-time coming.” He growled, “I knew you would join us eventually, Remus. You’ve done well.”
Remus stared back at Greyback mutely before slowly nodding. Fenrir raised his hand and met Remus’ in the middle. The pack was still as they watched Remus gain some respect from their leader. The plan was working.
The wolf, named Rancook, who had got lit the torches originally and was one of the few who held a wand, stretched his neck back and howled into the sky once more. The pack followed suit and the torchlight shone against their dirt-ridden faces and ripped clothing.
“Don’t worry.” Fenrir smirked, turning back to face me. “You’ll fit in soon enough.”
I watched the dirt-covered pack and felt myself grimace. Tonks, no. Don’t even think ab- “Then can I suggest a wash?”
Fenrir glanced at me, his face blank with surprise. Remus twisted his head to face me with incredulous eyes. Why did you speak? Why did you say that? What is Moody always saying – think before you speak! Greyback watched me for a moment before his features twisted into a grin. “Yes, you’ll be of use to us.” Hi. Sorry this chapter took so long to get up! I've got three WIPs up at the moment and am focusing on each one per week!
So... Tonks and Remus went on a mission. They met the wolf pack. What did you think of Greyback? How about the rest of the pack? Believable? Just as you imagined? The best way to answer is to review! (Please ;) ).