Chapter 7 : Attacks on Both Sides
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The full moon had been just under a week ago and things had felt relatively normal since then; he was no longer exhausted, he didn't snap at people as much and it felt more like a horrible dream than something that actually happened.
He couldn't remember much of that night, not as a wolf; his mind had not been his own. Mostly he remembered the change, the pain he felt, Dimitri's reassurance that it would be okay. And his nightmares were less frequent; he knew what to expect now and he knew someone would be there. He didn't feel as scared that he'd be able to hurt people; his main fear now was that it'd be Dimitri he hurt.
The moment he reached Teddy and Victoire's house, he'd gone to the window in hope of still being able to see Dimitri. He tried not to look disappointed when he couldn't. He'd paid enough attention to his honorary cousin to know that his mum had called twice and his dad once, Teddy had told them each time that Hugo was asleep and fine, then he'd crashed on the couch, sleeping without dreaming for the first time in weeks. Hugo had woken around six, going home in time for dinner, just as he'd promised Rose.
And he'd been feeling guilty ever since.
He'd promised Teddy, Dimitri and, more importantly, himself that he would tell his family everything after his change. They had to know and he shouldn't keep such a huge thing from the people who loved and protected him. But he hadn't. He didn't know how and he was terrified of telling them, of seeing their reactions to his curse. He wasn't like Teddy, he was only born to a werewolf; he had traits but did not turn. It was different for Hugo.
His parents and family members were going to be disappointed in him, Teddy especially, for not keeping their promise, something he had never done before. Lily was going to hate him for not telling her something as important as being a werewolf; they grew up together, they were best friends and told each other everything. And Dimitri... Hugo honestly didn't know where the boy fit into all this. They weren't friends, they weren't together; he was just a stranger who helped him and felt he owed him and Hugo was selfish in liking him by not letting him leave.
Hugo groaned and hit his head on the glass, feeling like the guilt was eating him up inside and he just wanted it to stop. He knew what to do to stop it; he just didn't know how to do it. He felt he deserved to feel the way he did, despite his hatred for it.
But there was only so much Weasley/Granger teenager could take before he snapped. Being a werewolf just made that worse.
"Hey." Lily walked back in; making sure the compartment door was closed before sitting next to her cousin. She copied him, stretching her legs out on the couch. Hugo let out a chuckle when her feet just reached the edge. "Looking forward to Hogwarts this year?" she asked, ignoring his laugh.
He shrugged. "What's so different about this year compared to last year?"
Besides me now being an animal once a month, he mental yelled.
"You're a prefect," she said like it was obvious, rolling her eyes for added effect. "We get to practise to take our apparition tests in April. We're sixth years so we can go to Hogsmeade every weekend if we wish. Oh," she exclaimed, patting his shoulder. "Do you think that because of the werewolf attacks, they'll stop that? Or just make us come back before dark? I hope it's the latter, I'll accept that. But sixth year is gonna be fun either way."
Hugo just managed to shut his mouth before he told her exactly what he was thinking; that she should be worrying about the werewolf at her side and not the one's outside. "Yeah, fun. And I think Dad said it would be the latter; he and Harry spoke to Professor Digby about it."
Professor Digby. Hugo almost shuddered at the thought of the name and made him feel like the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He had been new when Professor McGonagall was in charge and had taken over as Headmaster when she retired. That had been when Teddy had still been in school not him, so he had not seen her teach, though he had met her a few times when he went with his mum, but right now he wished she would come back instead, just so he wouldn't have to worry as much. Digby was strict but fair and Hugo usually got along fairly well with the man, but his family had been attacked by werewolves when he was young and he was not a friend to them. Understandable, Hugo knew, but he didn't know the depth of the headmaster's hate; the thought of him knowing about Hugo's 'condition' made him want to run as far away from the school as possible.
"Oh, good," Lily sighed in relief. "Because I'm really looking forward to being able to spend my weekends in the village."
Hugo scoffed; he didn't see the appeal of spending his weekends at Hogsmeade. Sure it was a nice way to take a break, get some fresh air and hang out with friends, but he got bored after about an hour of walking around. Honeydukes was the highlight of his visit and ever since his friends and Lily had started dating or she had gone and left him to find other people, he found he was always on his way back to the castle long before everyone else. He'd rather be alone in his dorm room or the library than alone wondering outside; that was just sad.
Lily only ignored him as he knew she would; they'd had this discussion every visit since third year until fifth year when she gave up and refused to talk to him about it. She just dragged him along instead. He wondered briefly if she would still be able to do that now or if he would be too strong. He decided it didn't matter; he always let her drag him away so she would never be able to tell something was different.
That only reminded him that his family still didn't know what had really happened to him and guilt took another hit to his insides.
"Are you okay, Hugh?" Lily asked quietly. "You've been acting very strange recently."
Of course she had noticed, he knew she would; she knew him better than anyone. Except maybe Teddy. "I'm fine, Lily. I'm just thinking about what you said, about if the werewolves’ attacks would mean no Hogsmeade. I wonder how it's going for Dad, Harry and Teddy."
"They'll get to the bottom of it," she reassured him. "Everyone will be safe, I promise."
But I'm not...
Teddy pushed forward, out of the crowded elevator to the marginally populated atrium, which he thought was a lot safer at the moment. He sighed when he noticed that the tug he felt from people bumping into him had caused a tear in his new shirt. He fixed it quickly and made his way to the small cafe they had set up a few years ago, which was really more like one of those Muggle food carts, only bigger and without wheels, and had a few tables and chairs spread around it.
Teddy ordered his desperately needed coffee to go, hoping this would keep him awake long enough to finish his paperwork. The increased werewolf attacks meant a lot of work for him and the lack of sleep and extra hours was finally beginning to take its toll on him; he felt he was going to drop any minute.
"Here you go, Ted."
"Thanks, Tara," he said gratefully, taking a sip of his drink as he took his change. So much better.
"Hey, will you tell your friend he has to order something or leave?" she asked, nodding to the man at one of the tables, his head buried in a file. "I don't mind, it's not like he's hurting anybody, but the boss wants him to go and he's too busy to pay any attention to me. Maybe he'll listen to you."
"Sure. I'll see you tomorrow, Tara." Teddy moved around the table to stand opposite the man and ducked his head to see his face. "Riley?"
He was met with silence. Teddy stuck his foot out, nudging his friend in the shin, and called out his name, louder this time. But he still didn't answer, his file seemingly more important. Teddy recognised the stamp on the front which told him it was from Regulation and Control and the words 'Vampire Division' on the front. As head of that division he understood why the man thought it was important, just as Teddy was in charge of keeping the werewolves under control. But vampires were a little different, with their own societies and laws which Riley had to make sure were followed as well as vampires who stayed in Wizarding society, though that was uncommon. There were also individual matters, for vampires who chose to be alone, and covens. Just thinking about the job his friend did made his head hurt and his own look relatively easy; his main concern was the full moons, vampires were constant. But he'd known Riley for a long time, knew things others would never know of, and he knew Riley could take care of himself. He was perfect for his job.
Teddy tried again. "Riley!"
His friend raised an eye-brow, but didn't move further. Teddy knew it was the only acknowledgement of his presence he was going to get and proceeded to sit opposite him. "You've really got to stop ignoring people, mate. They want you to order or leave." He took note of Riley's half drunk, now cold, cup of tea. "I suggest the latter. Come on, we can go back up together."
"I know what they want from me, I can hear them," Riley muttered. "We can leave in a minute; I've just got to figure this out. It's been bugging me all week, but no more, Ted. I refuse to let it."
"What is it? Maybe I can help," Ted said. "Two eyes are better than one, right?"
Riley dropped the file and turned it so it was in the middle. Teddy realised just how much the file had been getting to him with that one gesture; Riley rarely let people help him, preferring to solve the problem himself. Not because he was competitive; he didn't trust people, not even the people who worked for him. Ted only knew it was something to do with an incident years before. Riley never objected when Teddy said he was one of his only friends. The only other person Teddy knew the man talked to was his contact among the vampires, who Ted had met a couple of times; Zack.
Teddy turned the file in his hand. "These are attacks, Riley." The man muttered a yes. "But you don't deal with werewolves," he said, thinking of the current attacks.
"You're right, I don't deal with werewolves," he answered calmly, not taking his eyes of the file. "So why is there a file filled with apparent attacks on my desk? I remember hearing something," he muttered, rubbing his eyes. "I just cannot remember what it is."
"And it's to do with this?" he pointed at the file.
"I don't know." Then his eyes widened; he couldn't think properly to remember everything, and he wanted to be completely wrong, but he was sure it was true. He remembered Teddy telling him about a member of his family disappearing for a night on a full moon and he stood up faster than Teddy could blink, file in hand. "I have to go talk to your godfather."
He was away from the cafe and halfway to the elevator when Teddy finally caught up with him, coffee forgotten. "Hey, Riley, wait!" He grabbed the man's arm and was pulled into the elevator. "Don't do that again."
"Then don't touch me," he muttered, file open again. Teddy was ignored all the way to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite his many tries.
"Riley, please tell me what the hell you are thinking," Teddy called, watching him bang on Harry's office door. Riley shushed him and waited, ignoring both his friend and the Head Auror's assistant until Harry opened the door.
"Can I help you, Mr Spence?" Harry asked, his eyes narrowed suspiciously when he saw Teddy and his confusion. Riley held up the file, showing him the attack on the first page. "What about them? And why do you have them? They're not your job, they're Ted's."
Riley pushed his way into the man's office, considerate enough to wait for Teddy to enter before shutting the door. "That's what I thought, but they're not werewolf attacks, they're vampire attacks."
Harry took the file from his hands, studying the images more closely. "They are different, but, due to the level of violence, it's not by much. Who gave these to you?"
"I don't know, but these vampires are young, bloodthirsty," Riley explained. "Too inexperienced to go undetected."
"What do you mean undetected?"
Riley ran his hand over his jaw, a nervous tick Teddy had grown accustomed to seeing and he cleared his throat to get his attention, nodding his head so Riley knew it was okay. "I mean that this is a pattern I've been noticing for the last few months, but this is the first time they've slipped. Which means that previously it was older, more experienced vampires."
"But there has been no reports of any kind of vampire activity, attacks or otherwise," Harry pointed out sceptically.
"No, because no one was looking for them, but it would explain why the number of disappearances are so high," Riley countered, pointing at Ted. "We've talked about werewolves not being the only factor."
Harry cast a curious glance at his godson. "It came up, but we had no evidence so we didn't feel it necessary to tell you."
"Until now," Riley cut in. "It's got to be the older vampires."
"But why?" Riley raised an eye-brow, just staring, waiting for Harry to get it. When he compared the vampire's potential involvement to what they had assumed the werewolves were doing, it came to him relatively quickly. "Because they can successfully turn a person without accidentally killing them."
"And you're sure about this, Riley?" Teddy asked.
He nodded. "I'm positive. There have definitely been attacks on both sides; I think these," he pointed at the file, "are from the people on the missing list, the new ones. Both sides are building forces, but I don't know why."
Teddy heard him falter at the end and wondered why; did he really know why and lied? Or was this the thing he had been trying to remember? Was his falter his disappointment in himself? "Can you ask your contact?" Riley turned, his eyes narrowed. "Zack? Can you ask him?"
"I don't know," he muttered, turning back and forth between Harry and Teddy. "I mean, I guess I could try, he is back in England now, but I don't know if he knows because he's not a part of that. And if he did, I'm not sure he would tell me."
"But you can try?" Harry asked him cautiously. Riley nodded once more, saying he'd go today, then turned to leave, having nothing more to say. Teddy went to follow him; he sensed Riley knew something more and hoped his friend would be more likely to tell him once they were alone. "And you'll get in touch with your werewolf contacts, Ted?"
"Already on it, Harry." He stopped just outside the door, watching his friend's retreating back. Riley turned at the elevator and waved him over, but Teddy raised a finger, saying he'd be another minute, and went back inside. Any information about the vampires and the werewolves could wait one more minute; he needed to know about Hugo. He hadn't seen him since he left the house after the full moon five days ago and he hadn't heard anything from anyone else. It was starting to worry him.
"Harry, how is Hugo? Did he say anything to his parents? To any of you?" Teddy asked, trying to remain casual.
Harry looked up from his desk and dropped Riley's file, shaking his head. "No, not really. Just that his nightmares were becoming less frequent; only three in the last five days and just one of those woke him up, Hermione said. But no screaming at all. It would seem staying with you did something which helped him."
"Must have done," Teddy muttered. He had been afraid this would happen. "He didn't say anything else?" Really?"
"Really. Honestly, I think he's mostly been sleeping up until yesterday. Hermione practically refused to let him do anything else, he'd been so tired. Teddy, what's going on? Something tells me that this is not what you wanted to hear?"
Harry look of concern nearly had Teddy telling him everything and he wanted to; he had told Hugo he wouldn't lie for him anymore. But he understood Hermione's concern, he had been exhausted, and you could never get a word in once she made up her mind. Even so, he didn't consider that an excuse not to tell them. Hugo was just as stubborn as his mother; he'd have found a way. So why not tell them? Teddy could only think of one reason: fear.
It was for that reason Teddy chose to keep quiet, just for a little longer. He would talk to the boy and if he still didn't say anything to his family, Teddy would deal with it if he had to. He was giving Hugo another chance, but it was his only one. "Nothing," he said at last. "It's nothing, Harry, really. What you said is exactly what I wanted to hear. It's just that I could have sworn he mentioned something about talking to everyone, but I must have misheard. I should go, I'll see you soon."
Harry said good bye and Ted made his way to Riley. "What's the matter with you?" he asked once they were inside the elevator, thankfully alone.
"Nothing, it's not me," Teddy told him honestly. "I just have to make a call."
A/N: Chapter 7 everyone. Yay. Chapter 8 is almost done and I've decided this will be updated on Mondays, so watch out for that because hopefully I can keep that going. :)
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