Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
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Special Thanks To: CambAngst who was awesome enough to BETA read this story for me. He has just won a Dobby Award for best Villain so do yourself a favor and read Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood (M). It's completed so no excuses to not check it out.
Wolf let out a sorrowful howl as he stood on top of a hill overlooking a sleepy village.
He hadn’t been alone in such a long time that the solitude felt alien to him. For several years he had a pack to accompany him on nights like these for the hunt or play. But now…the Stag was forever gone, buried underneath the earth alongside his mate. According to the Other One, the Rat was dead as well, but no traces of him were left for either Him or Wolf to mourn over like the Stag, whose body rested in the sleepy village he was visiting. The Black Dog was the only one left out of his old pack but just thinking about him brought anger to Wolf. The Dog had betrayed him, their friendship and their family, and the reasons behind the treason were still unknown for both Wolf and the Other One.
He howled once more, shifting his tone so it sounded like it was another wolf joining him. The last thing he wanted right now was to get attacked by other predators that thought he was alone. Wolf was in no mood for such nonsense even though he was hungry, and a hunt or fight would certainly clear his head and fill his protesting stomach. The Other One usually brought a piece of fresh meat for him to eat every full moon but this time he seemed to have forgotten due to the grief that Wolf could still feel despite Him being locked away.
Howling for a third time, Wolf watched as the snowflakes began to fall on the already white ground. The weather was terribly cold but thanks to his thick winter coat, he was able to withstand the bitter chill. His paws, on the other hand, were a different tale. He had traveled a great deal during the early hours of the night and the snow and ice had only made matters worse. He was tired and wanted nothing but to curl up under a cave, rest his sore paws and sleep. Wolf was on a mission, however, and had no time to spare on rest or a simple game of hunt.
He trotted to the bottom of the hill and sniffed around. The smell was fresh all around him with a hint of grass hidden under the snow; however it was the lack of human scent that made both Wolf and the Other One happy. Once he made sure that no human or predator was anywhere around him, Wolf hurried towards the village’s entrance. He had to be careful, the Other One kept shouting inside his head. Wolf suppressed a growl and hunched behind a large rock to survey his surroundings and to appease the shouting voice.
The village was enclosed by trees of every size and hills that went as far as his eyes could see. The community itself only consisted of a few human buildings, all covered in snow, with only a handful of them being magical. Here, the smell of magic was weak compared to the other village he had visited many times just a few moons back. From his hiding spot, he could see lights coming from a few human dwellings but not a single one of them was out and about this late at night.
Slowly, he walked into the village, his large paws sinking into the snow with every step, and stopped only once when a loud noise came from somewhere nearby. He immediately hunched on the ground, allowing the snow almost bury him, and pointed his ears forward to listen carefully. Wolf was nervous at the thought of going into a human place all on his own. And the Other One was not helping his mood with his constant barking which only made his hackles and paranoia raise further. Wolf relaxed, however, when he saw a rat scurrying frantically out of the rubbish bins as fast as its legs could carry it. Wolf almost walked away, but when he caught the familiar scent coming from the bins he forgot about his mission and went to find the source.
He went through the spot again and again but he could not find the rat or any trace of where it had gone thanks to the heavy snow flakes covering the tracks it might have left behind. His nose never failed him but for the first time ever he doubted himself. The Rat was dead yet it didn’t make any sense that he had smelled his magical trace on a common rat. Wolf whined. For a few heartbeats he had been hopeful that the smallest member of the Pack was still alive but by the looks of it, he had imagined it. Grief will do that to you, the nagging voice said.
He put the incident behind him, and began to walk as silently as his paws could take him. He kept to the shadows and low to the ground hoping to avoid any human contact. The place was not much further away; his nose guided him towards the decaying smell that began to overwhelm his senses the closer he got. When he arrived, he found the entrance gate closed and the only way to get it open was with human hands. That, however, meant nothing to him. With one strong kick from his hind legs, Wolf leaped over the wall and found himself in an eerie graveyard.
The place was too quiet for Wolf’s liking; his ears twitched nervously as he paced through the site, scouting for any sounds. He was used to the random chirp of crickets or the owl’s hoots way above the ground, not the heavy silence that filled his ears. As he weaved his way through the land of death, he allowed his nose to guide him to the Stag’s final resting place. The earth and snow were covering his scent but Wolf could still smell the faint mixture of magic and fur from the Stag and the blend of cinnamon and lavender from his mate. Even though he couldn’t read the markings on the stone, by scent alone, Wolf was found the spot he had been looking for all night long.
As he sat there staring, sadness began to flow back at the loss of his Pack. Without even thinking about it, he turned his head to the moon and howled several times. He whined for the lost fawn he knew they had thanks to the Other One’s memories. He howled for the betrayal he never saw coming. He howled for the Rat who was dead for no reason. He howled and the Other One said nothing to stop him.
He was alone once more. No pack to protect and no pack to look after him. He remembered the first time he met his family. They were annoying, always following him like pups; however, it was their loyalty and friendship that won Wolf over. He loved his outings with them because they gave him the freedom he desperately needed. He howled again but this time it was for himself. For his own pain and sadness.
“Ruddy animals!” A voice from the entrance yelled, yanking Wolf out of his grief and putting him in high alert. “Can’t get a good bloody night’s sleep thanks that bloody howling.” Immediately, Wolf scurried from his spot and hid behind a large statue of a weeping angel where he watched as a human, drunken by the smell of him, staggered around the land of the dead looking for Wolf. He held something in his hands, a dangerous item by the smell of it. He wasn’t magical though, a simple mortal. A simple and dangerous mortal according to Wolf’s instincts.
“Where are you? Here doggy, doggy.” The man made a high pitch sound with his lips that hurt Wolf’s ears. Wolf fought with his desire of ripping the man’s throat, to taste his blood and rejoice on the killing but he knew that the Stag and the Rat would not have approved of his actions. Keeping both eyes on the man and swallowing a growl, Wolf retreated slowly and silently, letting his hind legs lead him out. Once he had put enough distance between himself and the man, Wolf turned and left the graveyard.
Now that Wolf considered his mission as done, he wanted nothing but to sleep and rest his very tired paws. Snow was beginning to fall rapidly so finding shelter was Wolf’s number one priority. As he turned to leave town, the smell of Rat and magic filled his nostrils once more. Not wanting to lose the scent again, he began to follow it, making sure he kept to the shadows just in case of the pesky humans.
He followed his instinct down a small lane where, at the very end of it, Wolf found himself in front of a destroyed human dwelling. There, his nose became overwhelmed with many different scents that made him both sad and angry. The top and most distinct layer was death; the stench of it was everywhere around the territory. A second scent made Wolf’s fur stand on end as the rotten smell of evil was complementing death’s unpleasant odor. It was the faint smells, however, that drove Wolf to leap over the gate to get closer. He could smell the Stag and his mate everywhere in the dwelling. Along with them, he found traces of the Rat which probably explained why Wolf smelled his particular scent around town. He had been here with the Stag and by the smell of things The Black Dog had been here as well.
They had all been here at one point for their scent was still strong. All except for Wolf or the Other One whose scent was so faint it was almost gone. Wolf snorted, feeling irritated at the thought of his pack being without their Alpha. He sprang over a broken window landing on hardwood floor where he slid a bit due to his claws and the bit of ice on the floor. Human furniture took over most of the space which made Wolf wonder how the Stag could live in a place like this.
The smell of death and evil followed him inside but this, for sure, had been the Stag’s territory. He sniffed around a bit and found his pack’s scents all over the place along with a different scent Wolf couldn’t recognize. It smelled of magic but it wasn’t dark magic. It was the kind of magic Wolf was used to but it was weak and mixed with the Stag’s mate’s scent. The fawn perhaps, Wolf guessed as he headed to the second floor following his pack’s scent. The Other One’s voice kept shouting in his brain that the place wasn’t safe, that he should leave but sleep was taking its toll on Wolf so whatever the Other One was barking, Wolf paid no heed.
He traced the Stag’s scent to a room that was open to the night’s sky. There was a bed that looked very inviting; however, Wolf decided to settle on a large chair that was at the end of the bed.
Wolf looked up at the night’s sky and whined repeatedly as if he were crying. They were gone, his pack. However there was hope, Wolf knew, for the Fawn was lost but not dead. It was up to Wolf to protect him for the Stag’s sake if the Fawn was ever found. He was part of the pack, the family, no matter what or the time that passed.
He howled one last time to the pale full moon and her stars before sleep took over his exhausted body.
I woke at the sun’s first light shivering uncontrollably.
I found myself under the open blue sky and in the worst possible place. I couldn’t recall coming here but Wolf had somehow found his way to the Potters’ wrecked home. As I lay nude, I wondered how James would’ve taken to me being in this state in his own bedroom. Be confused most likely and then go on a fit, spluttering words and not forming a complete sentence. I smiled a bit to myself, easily picturing my old friend going on about a naked man in his bedroom. My smile however disappeared as I realized that I had no way to get home. I had no wand. No money…the only hope I had to get home was to find someone from my world and their kindness. Being nude, however, was going to put anyone off from helping me out so after mumbling some apologetic words to James, I began to rummage through his wardrobe for something decent to wear.
In my mind, I could hear Lily fussing over me; wanting to make sure that I was warm before I left. The thought of Lily looking annoyed at the lack of clothing I had chosen made me smile because I knew that it was something she would do. I didn’t need much; a simple pair of trousers, shoes and a button up was enough to look decent for either the muggles or wizards. In a world after the war, it was difficult for people to trust others. Even if a person wasn’t locked away in Azkaban or clearly branded with His mark on their arm, people were not ready to trust strangers knocking on their door. People don't easily forget the families that were taken or killed when strangers came to their households. So the more professional I looked the better. At least I hoped so.
As I went down the dangerous staircase, I was surprised that the werewolf had managed to climb through all the wreckage without fear of dying. Once at the bottom, I looked around the place feeling solemn at the emptiness. Yes, the house was well furnished, it had muggle paintings Lily loved hanging on the wall and a few scattered books here and there…yet it felt empty without Lily, James and Harry.
They had disappeared from the house where James grew up without warning or notice. Peter was gone, possibly on a mission for the Order, so I had tried asking Black about their whereabouts. I was hoping that he knew where they were and their well-being, but all he kept doing was avoiding any contact with me. In some of those instances where I had succeeded to get a few words out of him, I was able to catch a glimpse of his eyes and all I could see was hatred and resentment in them.
Dumbledore told me that they were safe and I trusted his word and decision to not tell me where they were. However, on the last day of October, I was listening to the wireless when the program had been interrupted with the news of Voldemort’s downfall and the Potters’ death. Immediately, I apparated into headquarters looking for Dumbledore and demanding answers when we received notice that Black had killed Peter Pettigrew and twelve muggles. He had laughed maniacally, they said, as he was being taken away to Azkaban.
Despite being a month after my friends’ death, I still hated myself for not going to Dumbledore about Black’s bizarre behavior. He had fooled us all, pretended to be our friend, becoming Harry’s godfather only to turn his back on all of us for personal gain. More than once I found myself thinking of seeking a permit go to Azkaban and get the answers I needed but every time I talked myself out of it. He wasn’t worth my time after everything he had done. Knowing the why behind his treason wouldn’t bring Harry’s parents, my friends, back from the dead.
As I walked around the place I saw traces of my friends still untouched by the weather. I had been here just once after the funeral to reclaim any sort of belonging that had sentimental value to me. Hagrid, Dumbledore, those that had survived the war and knew the Potters had argued about what to do with the house. While some wanted to destroy it and build something new to symbolize rebirth, others like Dumbledore and I wanted to keep the house as it stood to symbolize the great sacrifice the war had meant to everyone and to remind people of how violence can tear any family, whether it was magical or muggle, apart.
After much arguing, both parties agreed that for now the house would stay as it was and that a memorial would stand in their name. I had provided the last picture I had taken of the Potters to a sculptor and he immediately began his work.
I stepped out of the house and shivered slightly. Thankfully the sky was clear from any clouds so I took that as a sign of how my day was going to go. As I closed the gate behind me, a large sign had risen out of the grounds. I didn’t need to read it as I knew what it said and I hated every word of it. I turned to leave but suddenly a spark of my old teen, rebellious self made me stop. I hated what the sign said, what it stood for, so I took it upon myself to change a bit of it. I couldn’t erase the words but I could add one of my own.
I picked up a glass shard from the house and began to carve onto the signpost trying hard to not cut myself. After I was done, I looked at the graffiti. I was never one to destroy public property as James was but something had driven me to deface it. I smiled at the inscription doubting that Harry would ever read it but I could only hope.
The small inscription made the sign a bit more tolerable in my eyes. It wasn’t much but it was sincere. It was the thought that went through almost everyone in England. It ran through those who had survived the war unscratched and those who had lost everything. Without wanting to or even knowing how, he had lost everything but at the same time, had become the salvation to everyone.
“Good luck, Harry, wherever you are.”
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you did, didn't, have some CC, please let me know! :D I cannot promise when the next chapter is coming but thanks to Dan I know what will happen and I hope you'll like it.
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