Chapter 12 : Trust
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"He was born into this pack, he has this obligation to stay. His father was leader before he was sent to Azkaban and now it's his number two, but Tim said Number Two is still in contact with his father and that the number one rule is to keep Timothy safe. They're preparing him to take over, to lead. Only Timothy doesn't want it, he wants out of the pack. The only reason he stays is because of his twin sister." He stopped, took a moment to figure out how to say what was coming next. This was the bit they were asking about really. "The wolves were talking about you, said they needed you, and his sister wanted to make sure they didn't get you. The wolves can't get you under any circumstances, they said. So he stays and he helps her. He told you, his friend, to keep Hugo safe," he finished, facing Skander briefly.
"Keep me safe from what?" Hugo demanded quietly.
"I honestly don't know," Dimitri promised him grimly. "He never got up to that when he told me this."
"And when did he tell you?"
"The last time we saw each other," he answered softly. Hugo had never seen him look so guilty. "Three years ago."
Hugo's arms dropped from his chest to the floor, his body feeling heavy like lead. He felt... betrayed by Dimitri. Two months and he'd never said, not once. "I know I should have told you," he rushed. "But I don't know why they want you and I wanted to find that out before I told you. I wanted you to know everything. But I also wanted to keep it from you for as long as possible," Dimitri admitted. "This should never have happened to you, Timothy was meant to keep this from happening, and you should be out living your life. You shouldn't be keeping secrets from your family or sneaking out to change or being afraid to go out in case they choose that day to come for you. This shouldn't be your life, I shouldn't be in your life."
The feeling of betrayal slowly ebbed away, until Hugo felt able to move again. He wished he'd been told sooner, he didn't want to be treated like a child who couldn't look after himself, but the gratitude he felt knowing people cared enough outweighed any anger he thought would come. So did the hurt at the thought of Dimitri not wanting to see him. "Why shouldn't you be in my life? What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing, I hope," was his quick response, his eyes weary. "You would never have met me if this hadn't have happened. That is how it should be, that's all."
"So you're glad we met?" Hugo asked.
"I don't hate that I know you, if that's why you're worried," he answered slowly, bypassing the question slightly. Answering it properly would mean admitting that he didn't understand what he was beginning to feel around Hugo. "You're alright."
"We were talking about more important things," Skander interrupted, unknowingly making Dimitri thankful he had come after all. "Do you know anything about the attacks? Both werewolf and vampire? Does Timothy? Can you find out anything that could help us?"
Dimitri raised an eye-brow, but didn't look surprised. He guessed Ted Lupin had told them something; Hugo had mentioned speaking to him in his letter. He put a finger to his lips, then pointed at Skander. "You talk too fast and way too much when you want to." Hugo snickered. If the situation didn't feel so serious, they probably would have laughed at how truthful he was being. "I know that the attacks are from both wolves and vampires. I know that people are being turned, that some of the bodies are accidents. But some are messages. I don't know what the message is or who it's for, because I don't know what is going on. I do not know what Timothy knows and talking to him is a last resort only. I will find out what is going on and I will help you. I want to help you."
"But you won't talk to the friend who seems to know things," Hugo said, confirming what he had been told. "Why?"
"Because we parted on bad terms," he replied casually, but his eyes told Hugo that was all he wanted to say. It became a staring contest, Skander helplessly watching from the side, until one of them gave in. And they all knew who that would be; Hugo had never lost at this game, no one had ever been able to change his mind, not Skander or Lily or his parents. If Dimitri didn't know that before, he'd know now.
The man sighed, giving up and hating himself for it. "The last time we talked, he wasn't careful. He turned before I could get away, didn't have any wolfsbane, but the one's who followed him did and they came for me. I almost died because of him, if I see him I might just kill him. So no, I will not talk to him unless I have to."
"Fair enough," Hugo said eventually. His calm tone of voice made Dimitri suspicious, they could both tell, and he cocked his head to the left. His green eyes darkened, his emotions barely in check, but he managed it. "What's with the look?"
"It's not fair that I tell you everything and you tell me nothing," he said. "Spill, Weasley. What are you thinking?"
Hugo smiled softly, until Dimitri pushed himself backwards against the wall, unnerved, and neither knew which emotion he was trying to keep out. "I wouldn't really want to see him either," he said quietly. "Unless he was useful."
Agreeing with him, even partly, didn't help in calming Dimitri and he ignored what the hint suggested completely. His whole body felt overcome with something he had not felt in a long time; he was willing to admit to himself that he was suddenly scared. Dimitri got to his feet, his hand already pressed against Skander's back to push him away from the door. "It's time for me to go, I'll see you soon," he muttered.
"Dimitri, wait! There are still things we need to know!"
But he was already gone.
The slam of the old door broke the trance-like state Dimitri's abrupt haste cast over them and Skander's hand clapped over Hugo's shoulder. "What the bloody hell was that all about?"
"I have no idea," his friend muttered, equally as confused.
"You never said he was crazy," Skander accused, straightening his jacket and opening the door for them to leave.
"He is not," Hugo protested angrily. "He's just... Guarded. Maybe we shouldn't have asked him so much so soon. He said he doesn't talk to Timothy; he might not know anything other than what he told me that night."
"I think he knows more than he's letting on," Skander countered with a frown. "There's something off about him, I can feel it. Why are so defensive over him anyway? You barely know the guy." His frown became a gasp, low and with wide eyes. "Unless you like him. Oh, Hugo," he groaned.
Hugo shrugged uncomfortably, suddenly unable to look his friend in the eye properly while he felt his face redden. But they both knew it was due to embarrassment over talking about a crush and not shame for liking the boy who just walked out. "So what if I do? It's not a crime to like somebody."
"Yeah, but not him!"
"Why? Because you have a feeling? Not good enough," he growled. "You do not dictate my life. I can't believe were even fighting over this!"
"I'm just trying to keep you safe," Skander said softly, gripping his friend's arm tightly to stop him from leaving the shack.
"You have more in common with him than you know. You may not like Dimitri, but you sound just like him," Hugo replied. He tore himself away from Skander's grasp and started down the small corridor, expecting the other boy to follow. "And I do not need saving," he yelled the moment he heard Skander's footsteps.
Dimitri stepped out of the Ministry's visitor entrance before he had the chance to change his mind and let it take him back up. The atrium was crowded for so early in the morning, work already starting for many of them, and he found blending in easier than he had thought it would be when he'd decided to come. He ducked and weaved through the crowds and he eventually reached the elevator. He pressed the button to his desired floor, knowing the person he wanted to talk to would already be in his office, and waited impatiently for the voice to tell him they had reached Regulation and Control.
In reality, the ride was quick, with only a couple of stops until his own. In his mind, it had been agonizingly slow, each beat of every person's heart acting as his countdown, beating louder in his ears until he wasn't sure whether it was counting the seconds till he could leave or till he would feed. He felt his fangs begin to free themselves in his mouth. He ran out of the elevator when it was time.
Pressed against a shadow in the wall, ignoring the voice in his head warning him about potential onlookers thinking he was crazy, Dimitri calmed himself. He'd been around humans plenty of times; he could be here. It was just because of the confined space.
"It was just the confined space," he whispered. "Like claustrophobia."
Dimitri moved, repeating it over and over in his head like a broken record, and found the department he was looking for. He turned his back when someone called for a young looking man coming his way, the words "Is this what you're looking for, Ted?" finding its way to his ears. The man, Ted, barely acknowledged Dimitri's presence, he was too absorbed in whatever the other man had given to him. Dimitri quickly glanced back, his eyes going up and down, and decided that Riley could do much worse.
He stopped at the door to the office he wanted, knocked once and waited for the one on the other side to answer.
Dimitri rolled his eyes and stepped inside. "Are you this polite to everyone, Riley?"
Riley sat back in his chair, not bothering to hide the surprise shown clearly on his face. He looked fatigued, his eyes tired and his body shook ever so slightly. You wouldn't notice unless you knew to look for it. He was hungry. "What brings you here, Dimitri?"
"How long has it been since you fed?" he asked instead, hoping it hadn't been as long as he suspected. Considering what was happening in the world, having a Ministry official lose control and expose himself as 'one of them' would only make things worse.
"A few days," Riley answered vaguely. "Everything's fine. Why are you here?"
"It doesn't look fine," Dimitri stated. Riley narrowed his eyes and folded his arms over his chest. He'd answered the boy's question, no more he was saying. Dimitri couldn't put it off any longer. Slowly, he moved across the office to sit across from Riley and nodded in understanding. "You've been around for a long time and you're not completely against humans like D -"
"Like Zack," Riley finished for him.
"Right. You even like one of them. I saw him walking past by the way, and I kinda get why. You could do worse. And that's not the point I'm trying to make." He shut up quickly when he saw Riley move forward, looking worried. Babbling wasn't something he did often. "How do you keep those feelings away? Or even get rid of them completely?"
"Oh," Riley murmured, finally understanding, and instead of concern like Dimitri thought there'd be, the worry was gone and Riley smiled softly. "You like Hugo. Dimitri Elliot has a crush on a werewolf. I can only imagine what Daddy will say."
Dimitri scoffed, too halfhearted to be convincing, and shook his head. "Zack only cares about a person when they've done something to piss him off. If he doesn't kill them, he'll hate them. Hugo hasn't done anything to piss him off. The only thing Zack will care about is if whatever this thing is with Hugo, the wolves and the vampires will end up involving me, and therefore the others. The only reason he helped me with the potion is because I asked him to and the only reason he's okay with me helping Hugo in the first place is because I'm not getting involved with anything else."
Riley chose not to tell him that Zack wanted him to help because he'd found out what they wanted from Hugo and cared enough to not want that to happen. Dimitri would surely get involved once he knew. He took a moment to think over what the boy had said. "True," he conceded and Dimitri briefly wondered if the nod of the older vampire's head was due to his agreement or if it was involuntary because he was still shaking. Riley was trying too hard not to lose his composure. "So, why are you afraid to like him?"
"I'm not afraid, I'm practical," Dimitri defended himself. "There are too many factors getting in the way, too many things that could go wrong, and more importantly, it's too damn inconvenient. I don't want this, so make it go away."
"I can't. What the hell even made you think I can?"
Dimitri shrugged awkwardly. "Have you ever felt something for someone and wished you didn't?" Riley looked at him like he was an idiot. "Oh, right. Sorry."
"If you don't want to like him, then stay away from him," Riley told him bluntly.
"No, I can't, not now. He needs my help, I have his potions. I can't stay away anymore." Dimitri put his head in his hands. "God, it's worse than the first time."
"What first time?" Riley demanded with narrowed eyes.
"Nothing," he replied quickly. "I've been around for a long time, Riley. I've had some sort of feeling for other people. This just feels different. Genuine, maybe," he said, testing the word to be sure it was the one he was looking for. "I think that's why I'm so -"
"Freaked," Riley added for him.
"Maybe." Dimitri stood up quickly, Riley following. "I have to go now. You've been... Not very helpful actually, but thank you anyway. Bye."
"Dimitri, wait!" Riley called, but the boy was already out of the door and down the hall. He followed quickly, continuing to call his name. "You said 'first time' not 'other times', what was the first time, Dimitri? What do you mean? Dimitri!"
The elevator doors closed as he got there. Dimitri only nodded as it moved away. As soon as Riley was gone, he sank to the floor of the thankfully empty elevator and hoped the man wouldn't go to Zack about what he'd talked about in the office. He'd said too much.
Riley could feel Teddy's presence at his side long before he turned to see him.
"Are you alright?" he murmured.
Riley nodded reassuringly. "Yes, I just had an odd conversation with my nephew."
"That was Dimitri?" Ted asked. "What did he want?"
"He has a crush and doesn't know what to do," he said vaguely, he was unsure as to what Hugo had told the man and he knew Dimitri wouldn't want him to say anything.
"Right," Teddy said, understanding. He put a hand on his friend's shoulders. "God, Riley, you're shaking. What's wrong?"
"Nothing. I need to get to work." With speed that was almost inhuman, Riley ran into his office, he door slamming shut behind him. It was opened and closed again minutes later. "Ted, you need to leave."
"No. How long ago did you last feed?" Teddy demanded to know. Riley shook his head, his hands in his hair. Teddy gripped him by his arms, pulling his hands down, and pushed him against the desk. "It's been too long and you are losing control. You need to feed."
"No, I have -"
"You can work later, you can help your family later. You need to feed now."
"I can't!" he yelled, control slipping more and more. "I don't have anything here! I'll wait until I can get out later and can get home. Working will keep my mind off it."
"You won't last," Teddy whispered, hoping to calm him down. "We are working non-stop, till the early hours of the morning most of the time, and it's not helping you. We hardly seem to leave, we're getting little sleep. I'm worried about what might happen if you leave this office again today."
"But I don't have anything here."
"You have me," Teddy said softly, after only a moments hesitation.
It took Riley longer than he felt it should to understand what his friend was saying. He pushed Teddy away with newfound strength. "No. I could kill you."
Teddy grabbed his arm before he could get to the other side of the desk and pulled him back. Their foreheads touching, Teddy said, "I trust you. You just need enough to get through the day."
Riley stayed silent until his shaking became more noticeable, Teddy's heart beating loudly from under his hand. He could feel his blood flow through his veins and his fangs came through. Teddy watched as Riley's eyes glowed a deep red, something to do with the blood he remembered his friend saying. "Will it hurt?" he murmured.
"I don't remember," Riley admitted. "It's been a while since I've fed on a human, and the last time a vampire bit me, I was human."
"That was a long time ago," Teddy whispered, more to himself than Riley. He gulped and nodded. "Do it."
Riley placed his finger against Ted's lips, keeping him quiet. He whispered soothing words and reassurances, calming him. Then he shut his eyes and thread his fingers through the man's dark hair, his fangs sinking into Ted's neck. His friend groaned, but made no other sound, holding onto Riley's shirt tightly. He drank until he felt Ted's grip loosen and couldn't bring himself to take any more. Riley lowered Ted onto a chair and knelt in front of him. Blood seeped out of the wound and he pressed his finger into the sharp point of his left fang, wiping his own blood over the skin and healing the red marks. Riley felt his fangs retract and he knew his eyes were his usual brown again. He got Teddy to look at him.
"Thank you. I feel better now," he said and Teddy couldn't help the chuckle that escaped his lips, as though the man had talked about no longer having a cold. "Why do you trust me so much?"
"Because you've never given me a reason not to," Teddy answered immediately, his hand unconsciously going to his neck as though he could still feel the bite mark. Was Riley saying this was a reason?
"It's fully healed, I promise," he said softly. Riley fell, almost in slow motion, onto the floor and sat back against the desk, his eyes never leaving Ted. "To drink fresh, human blood again, from the vein, it's hard to stop. That's part of our curse; the want for human blood."
"But you did stop."
Riley nodded slowly, almost reluctantly agreeing with Ted; it had been so much more than a matter of stopping for him, he just didn't know how to explain that to him. "Only because I focused so hard on you," he told him. "I felt your hold on my shirt and when you started to lose your grip, I pulled away. If I hadn't done that, if I had given in completely and drank, you'd probably be dead by now."
"But I'm not," Ted said, suddenly irritated. "If you're not going to let anyone else in and trust them, the least you could do is trust what I say. Or are you lying and you don't trust me either?" Riley turned away him quickly, but it was too late; Ted saw the hurt in his friend's eyes. "What did they do to you?" he whispered.
The moment was gone and Riley's eyes became indifferent, cold even. "This shouldn't have happened, it was my fault and it won't happen again. We have work to do, there are worst things in this world than me, we should deal with that first. First," he repeated absently.
"What about it?" Ted asked, pushing their almost fight to the back of his mind.
Riley got up quickly, reverting back to the man Ted knew; driven, determined and eager to work. Not cold. "Something Dimitri said, about the first time," he murmured, pacing. "He was talking about something else, I have no idea what, but it got me thinking about these attacks. We need to go back to the beginning, maybe that'll give us some idea as to what's happening?" He paused, watched Teddy curiously. "Why were you looking for me?"
Teddy frowned, trying to remember, then his eyes widened and he pulled out the file he'd stuffed into the magically enlarged inside pocket of his robes, holding it up. "I found Timothy Dalton." The file was out of his hands before he could blink. "You giving me his name and age helped, I could only find one match; Timothy and Isabella Dalton, born April 3rd, 2001, to an Emily Dalton. Their father is written as unknown. I think it was a home birth, because records indicate they were brought to the hospital a couple of days after they were born, for the regular check ups and to be registered to the Ministry's archives and all that."
Riley nodded and um'd throughout, his eyes on the file, but Teddy kept talking. The more he worked on and talked about the case, the easier it was to forget what had happened between them moments before. "After that they kind of dropped off the map, no one heard from them, no one saw them, until they started Hogwarts. The story is that their mother died when they were three years old and they were put into foster care, different families in different places."
"What about during Hogwarts?" Riley asked.
"They were placed into a more permanent foster home, stayed there all through Hogwarts, with a man named Logan Burns. I swear I know that name," Teddy said with narrowed eyes, but the memory wouldn't come to him.
"They treated Burns like a father?"
"More like a big brother," Ted corrected. "Burns was about twenty-four when he took them in, too young to be a dad to two twelve year olds apparently. Anyway, Timothy was a good kid, they both were; both in Gryffindor, both prefects, Timothy got the Head Boy position, he played Quidditch and was captain. Then after graduation they disappeared again. Haven't been heard from since. Until now, of course."
Ted shook his head. "I didn't look that far into his background, just in terms of looking after the twins. He was good to them, from what I gather." Teddy stopped beside Riley and pulled out a slip of paper from the back of the file. "I got their last known address, maybe Burns still lives there. We can go check it out."
Snapping the file closed, Riley looked up, a ghost of a smile on his face. A lead at last.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this new chapter. Please let me know what you think. :)
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