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Devlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue by GingeredTea
Chapter 4 : Into the Fog
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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“Devlin.”


No, don’t wake up.

That name always meant wakefulness was to be fought, because it always signaled such a nice dream. He waited in the silence of his sleep for the lullaby, or the wind rushing through his hair, or the uncontrollable laughter that made his belly ache.

“Dubhán, Dubhán, wake up.” That name meant wake up now, because it was real and here and now - he felt his eyes snap open, flooding his brain with light and sounds and smells.

There should have been stars above his bed - the magical ones he and Grandfather had made together in a rare moment of relaxation - but instead it was simply plain. His heart was hammering in his chest as he propelled his body upright. He turned his head because the first thing to be done was to be aware and he couldn’t do that without knowing exactly where he was.

Then he saw him, a strange man that sparked something in his chest and made him feel lost for a moment in a fog of not knowing, and knowing, and not wanting to remember. Green eyes, so sharp and brilliant that he thought he was staring into the killing curse for a moment, regarded him intently. He scrambled to his feet.

“Don’t touch me,” he said, low and sharp and demanding. The strange man flinched, as if his words had actually stopped him from doing so.

“It’s okay,” the strange man said, but he ignored the calming tone. Manipulation. He wouldn’t have it - manipulation was for the weak minded. He felt a bit of coolness seeping back into his flushed skin and he could think again. He moved his hand towards his pocket, for his wand.

“Dubhán, don’t.” His eyes snapped to the voice and found Geoffrey on the other end. He looked exhausted and ragged and afraid. Scenarios swam in his mind - captured, the camp attacked, Voldemort killed...a dream. He clung to the last in his mind.

“What happened?” He said, regardless, because he couldn’t deny the tiny bit of doubt that remained that this was real, that this was happening, no matter how hard he tried to dispel it from his tightening chest. But Geoffrey turned away to regard the green-eyed man, as if the stranger knew more than him.

“Devlin,” the green-eyed man began. His blood ran cold, sluggishly, through his body. He felt like a puppet someone else was controlling as his body jumped at the name. No! He didn’t allow his emotions to control him like this. He grabbed all those marionette strings back from whatever small part of his brain had held them in his shock. Control - it was more important than anything else.

“I made Geoffrey bring you here,” the man said and his eyes snapped back to him, drawn away from his inner thoughts about the name. The man was lying, he was sure. His gaze flickered to Geoffrey for another moment, but Geoffrey’s eyes were there, his magic was there, and last night when he had gathered him in his arms, it had definitely felt like Geoffrey. This man wasn’t controlling Geoffrey. He hadn’t made Geoffrey do anything.

“No you didn’t,” he said, his voice emerging past his tongue as sharp and bitter and biting. “There is only one man who makes Geoffrey do anything,” he let his eyes rake over the strange man, “and you certainly aren’t him.”

The strange green-eyed man went still as if he himself were a puppet that no one was bothering to animate. He kept his eyes on the man regardless, a bloom of fear in his chest.

Fear is for lesser beings than you and I.

“I suppose you’re right,” the man finally said and his voice was too-soft, too-gentle, and too-caring, for his liking. He was familiar with anger, disappointment, pride, triumph, and manipulation - but not this honest kindness and it made his gut twist and squirm at the uncertainty. How did he reply to that? “I didn’t make him do anything, but I did demand it of him.”

Demand...

He was familiar with those. They always began with a threat. His eyes flickered over to Geoffrey.

“Release me now,” he said sharply. The man frowned and his lips quivered on the up-turn as if he were about to cry. He snarled, disgusted.

“I won’t do that,” the man said instead of crying.

He glared.

“I can hurt you,” he said softly and deadly.

“Don’t, Dubhán,” Geoffrey said, his voice dead and grey.

“I’d like to talk,” the strange man said, but that was the last thing he wanted to do. He twitched his fingers and his wand was in his wands, real and warm and ready. He sent a stunner towards the man without whispering a word, but the strange man blocked it - as any respectable wizard should have!

“I don’t,” he bit out, eyes hard upon the man, who seemed stunned despite his missed spell.

“Please, Devlin,” the man said and his thoughts about the name came rushing back. Why was this man calling him that? That was a name from his dreams! Because you are dreaming.

“I’m not Devlin,” he said, to distract his uncertainty and fear. He would not feel the fear!

“Yes, you are. Please, just listen-”

He sent another curse, this time of the burning variety, towards the man, but once more, he simply blocked the spell. He waited for the anger to shimmer into those green eyes, but now there was merely more concern twinkling there - driving him mad.

“Let me go!”

“He doesn’t remember you,” Geoffrey whispered and Devlin felt the fear wash over him again, his brain working in a whirlwind around him to figure out what Geoffrey had meant. He licked his lips, his brain screaming at him to make everything stop so he could think.

“Harry.” There was a lady there now, looking around. Harry, Harry, Harry.

“I hate Harry Potter.”

“I’ll hate him too, Grandfather.”

Laughter, a hand in his hair, a rare smile.

“Good boy. You are special - better - than him.”

“Because I am like you.” 

He felt his body moving - backwards - until he was wedged into the corner. She turned around at  his shuffling noise and her blue eyes pierced through him, sharp and intent andseeing. He felt as if someone had reached into him and taken all his air.

“Hello,” she said, her lips tipping upward at their corners, her eyes crinkling, her eyebrows lifting just a little. She swallowed. “Have they explained things, yet?”

Her voice swept through the air and onto him and made him feel warm. Suddenly he could breathe again. He let his body relax just a little against the corner.

“No,” he answered, eying the strange man again.

“How rude,” she said, her eyes flickering to the strange man for the briefest of moments and then back to him. “May I?”

“I’d rather you let me go,” he said, not because he wasn’t supposed to be rude to women (he’d never been taught such a distinction), but because she seemed half-way clever and he didn’t think he had to be rude for her to understand him.

“I’m sure,” she said openly, moving closer to him. “But that can’t happen right now - so perhaps we could speak.”

“I don’t think so,” he said again, more firmly.

“Perhaps could talk and you could listen?”

“If you please,” he said to her, shrugging, “but I won’t be listening.”

“Alright.”

He hadn’t expected her to agree and it was with a sense of perplexity that he watched her conjure a chair and sit mere feet away from him. Her wand was on her lap - just as visible as his own. She didn’t think he was some foolish child - like the strange man had! It made her just a bit more bearable.

“There was once a boy,” she said softly, watching him, but without the unnerving intensity of the man. “and if you asked him what his favorite thing was, he would say ‘magic’. Even as a small boy, he was talented at magic, you see. He could make things happen that he wanted - bring things to him,  make lights dance and books come to life. He could tie his shoes before all his friends, because the laces just did themselves. He was a clever boy.”

He frowned at the silly story, listening despite his earlier declaration. He couldn’t help himself - it seemed to have nothing to do about this. It had been so long since he had heard a childish story.

“One day, a man came to his house. He snuck in, you see. He wanted to fight the little boys father, but he found the boy first. The boys father came to rescue him, but the man had kept the boy out of his father’s reach.” Her voice was even and deliberate, but her fingers fiddled with a button on her coat. “He decided that taking the boy would hurt the boys father more than anything else. So he took the boy and he told the father later that the boy was gone-”

“You mean dead,” he said, despite himself. He hated when people called it anything but what it was. She nodded.

“Yes, dead. They had murdered him, he told the father. They had made him scream first, he said, while he looked at the father, laughing.” He listened, partly because she had done him a compliment by using the real words for these things - things he was more than familiar with.

“Then one day, the father met a man with a picture in his pocket of the boy - alive.”

Dread filled his stomach like a freezing charm pointed down his throat. His lungs were on fire.

“He told the father and the mother that the boy had never died.”

His heart began to pound, making his cheeks flush and his brain thrum. Once more he felt lost for a moment in that fog of not knowing, and knowing, and not wanting to remember.

“What have you done, Geoffrey,” he said, without really realizing he had said the words - that he was capable of forming words through the fog. Geoffrey’s face was covered by his hands, but he drew them apart like a curtain, at his words.

“Everything that I could for you,” he said, his voice like nothing in the air. As if someone had reached into his lungs and pulled out all the emotions there, ready to be used in his words. As if he were empty. As if nothing mattered to him anymore. Geoffrey’s eyes were empty too and he had never seen eyes like that before on someone who was alive.

Nothingness is but a moment away...beg.’

Please listen to us, Devlin,” the strange man said. He was begging - him. He felt a rush of disgust and pleasure all at once. This man wanted his approval. This was the way theirvoices sounded, when they knew they were about to be punished. But what could he do to this strange man?

“My name is Dubhán!” He shouted, not loudly, but as sharp and potent as his grandfather when he was furious with someone. Like everything in the whole world - even a grain ofdirt - was more valuable than whatever he was yelling at. He should know - grandfather had once told him he would rather be staring at a slow crawling beetle than his ‘foolish little face’. He’d been crying, then.

The man seemed taken aback at his tone and he smirked, pleasure rushing through him at the look in the man’s eyes.

“I’ll call you whatever you like,” he said finally, his voice just a bit more subdued. “Do you know my name?”

“Of course.”

“Mind proving it to me?” The humor in the man’s tone was lost to him - he didn’t like being challenged. Always be aware, his grandfather told him. He could never win against them (perhaps if he knew Geoffrey would fight with him, or stay out of the fight entirely, be would have a chance, but he couldn’t be sure).

“Harry Potter,” he said, with a false politeness covering up the sharp edge.

“Do you remember me?”

Remember him?  The words made him feel lost again, knowing, but not knowing, but feeling like he might not want to know. There were lots of things he didn’t really want to know - like whether the Killing Curse was painful, or how many little boys or girls they had killed in the last raid, or what the Death Eater’s did to the women and children they captured, or if his grandfather would keep him safe even if he stopped being so clever and entertaining...or if grandfather had really kept the one promise he had ever made with him.

He looked at the man again, frowning - feeling like he knew this answer.

What a clever boy. Would you like to know a secret, child?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I once had a worthless father as well - but like you, I was better than him.”

He felt something explode inside of him and suddenly his head hurt, his chest ached, his legs felt useless, and disgust, fear, and uncertainty roiled in his gut. It was one of those things that he didn’t really like knowing, even though he already knew.

“Yes, I remember.”

He had once desired this man to rescue him, but now he knew that desires were worthless. To desire something is to be crestfallen when it never comes about. It was only after he had thrown all those desires away that he had been able to really think about survival.

He found, now, that he didn’t have the taste for them anymore. It didn’t appeal to him now that this man had rescued him, or that the women was standing there who could sing him more lullabies. He didn’t need them anymore and they only served to remind him of his weaknesses and failures.

There was relief spreading across the man’s face - disgusting relief that had no real standing to be there. The lady’s face, at least, was less open.

His head was pounding and he clenched his jaw against the pain.

“Dubhán?” His eyes roved over to the lady, curious at her use of his real name. “We can’t stay here much longer.”

“Good. Leave me alone.”  The world swam before his eyes, but he kept his body rooted to the floor. “The Dark Lord will come get me.”

“You’d be coming with us,” she said once more, gently. “I’m afraid it is non-negotiable”

He unclenched his jaw to protest, but a wave of pain over came him, threatening to pitch him off his feet.

“I won’t go anywhere with you,” he said through the haze of discomfort. Geoffrey was peering at him, frowning ever so slightly.

“You don’t look so good,” the lady said, rising from her chair to come closer.

“Don’t get near me, I’ll hurt you!”

She turned to the man, took her wand and scribbled something in the air between them - something he couldn’t see. After the man nodded, he disappeared.

He tried to fight through the growing pain. Now was his opportunity. Now there were only two. He inched his hand into his pocket and withdrew his wand. His palms were sweaty and his vision swam but he tried to take aim regardless.

“Expelliarmus,” the lady whispered and the force of her spell bombarded him, leaving him breathless and wandless.

He would have said something scathing, but the man had come back, and there was a new, brown haired man with him.

“Hello, Remus,” the lady said, without her eyes leaving him.

He watched as the new man ‘Remus’ turned around. It was Geoffrey’s eyes that caught him on his way to the lady. Geoffrey surged to his feet and Dubhán narrowed his eyes, watching Geoffrey.

“You!” Geoffrey shouted as his body slammed against Remus, pushing him into the wall. “You!” His forearm was against the new man’s throat now, his eyes an intense dark amber that had Dubhán breathing quickly.

“Don’t even think of getting near him,” Geoffrey growled and it appeared to him that Geoffrey didn’t even care that the new man hadn’t bothered to fight back. Potter and the lady looked panicked and then - they withdrew their wands. Potter threw a stunner, but it did nothing, because Geoffrey was so angry that his wolf’s magic was protecting him.

“We don’t know each other, you’ve mistaken me for some-” Geoffrey pressed his forearm harder against the man’s throat, stopping his words. Dubhán did not flinch at the yelp of pain that made it through the new man’s throat - he had seen worse cruelty before.

“To hell we don’t!” His voice was as scathing as a scratch from his claws would have been. “I shouldn’t have brought him here! Not if they’ll allow you near him!”

The Remus man went pale, straining his neck to look over Geoffrey’s shoulder. They’re eyes met, amber-brown to green-speckled-gold. He felt something rush over him at the new man’s regard.

“I’ll kill you with my bare hands!” Geoffrey growled, low and hard and real.

“Tell hell you will!” Potter shouted throwing another stunner.

“Try something stronger, Harry,” the lady said and he watched as Potter brought his wand up once more. He has the unmistakable urge to protect Geoffrey from Potter’s wrath...

He’s a traitor.

He felt small and powerless suddenly.

Part of him knew that Geoffrey would die soon - at the hands of Voldemort. Part of him wished the man would die less painfully. Another part wanted to kill him, himself.

But welling up from it’s beaten part, a tiny bit of him could not relinquish the friendship, protection, and care which Geoffrey had given him. That tiny bit of him wanted Geoffrey to live and it overwhelmed him.

He’s a friend.

“Don’t hurt him!” He said, rushing from his spot in the corner and wishing he had his wand. His hands curled around Potter’s wand arm, dragging it sideways so that the spell comes forth and hits the little wooden kitchen table inside of Geoffrey. He clung to the man, breathless, his world spinning on its axis as the pain overwhelmed every sense his body had.

Stop it,” he said, desperation in his voice. Potter was looking at him, shock and concern etched across his face. He turned away, gritting his teeth against the nausea. “Stop it. Don’t hurt Geoffrey, please. He...won’t hurt the man...” He felt weak, unshielded, brought back into the body of a child. His vision was blurring and shaking and becoming muted. The tone of his words stopped Geoffrey and now he was regarding him as well, but with a more knowing glint to his eyes. He let go of the Remus man, who fell against the wall.

“Dubhán?” But he couldn’t speak anymore, not even to confirm the fear in Geoffrey’s eyes. He felt his muscles tense, relax for a fraction of a second, and tense again. He stumbled backward, into Potter’s arms. He kept his regard on Geoffrey, willing the man to keep him safe while he could not.

“Please...” he managed to whisper, steeling himself for what he knew was coming, before he collapsed onto the floor, convulsing.

OoOoOoO

The moment the boy collapsed, Potter’s eyes snapped to Geoffrey’s, accusation making them narrow and gleam.

“What is wrong with him?” He demanded, trying to hold onto the boy, even as his body convulsed in his grasp. His spine arched and his mouth opened, as if to scream - but no sound came forth. Geoffrey came forward, unable to help himself. He went to reach for the boy, but Potter snatched him away, holding him closer.

“Don’t get near him. For all I know you poisoned him!” The woman was worrying, turning her wand in her hands as if in the next moment she would remember a spell to fix her son’s pain. The werewolf was behind Geoffrey still - against the wall catching his breath. He was unimportant at the moment.

“I didn’t hurt him,” Geoffrey defended, somehow horrified by the very idea. He’d never hurt the boy - hadn’t him bringing him here proved that? “He...I don’t understand it entirely but this used to happen when he was tiny. It’s...something wrong...I don’t know-” he ran a hand through his hair, finding panic between him and the words he so desperately needed to explain the situation to Potter. “The Dark Lord wouldn’t tell me what causes them! He took something for it. It hasn’t happened in years. I thought...perhaps he had outgrown whatever it was...”

“It looks a bit like a seizure,” the werewolf said behind him and Geoffrey turned around to snarl at him and put him back in his place, away from the boy.

“He needs a healer,” the woman said, sounding desperate. “I don’t even know if we can travel with him this way, Harry.”

Harry clung to the boy, almost in tears. He had just rescued Devlin and he felt like the child was dying before his very eyes. He hadn’t gotten to kiss him or hold him or tell him how much he was loved! Dying!

Alexandra sent Remus for a healer and when he returned, with the finest healer the Ministry had to offer - which was saying something, since Harry had made sure he really was the best when he’d encouraged the Minister to hire him, Harry still didn’t feel right relinquishing control.

Healer Blake peeled Devlin away from him gently and laid the boy out on the floor. He didn’t wave his wand. He didn’t pour potions down Devlin’s throat. He simply looked up at Harry and asked: “He’s been tortured?”

Harry didn’t know. He hated that he didn’t know. He felt guilt and doubt and fear overwhelm him. Tears clung to his eyes, traitorous. He swallowed hard, his brow knitting together and threw his arms into the air, the ultimate show of unknowing.

“Yes,” the Death Eater said, very softly, from the chair that Harry had banished him too. “But a very long time ago.”

“With what?”

“Crucio.”

“That is all I need - it is what I suspected. This is what happens,” he began slowly, making sure Harry was looking at him before he continued, “before Crucio victims lose their minds. It is extremely rare, actually, since most minds by this point aren’t strong enough to not...fall over the edge.”

Harry fell forward and brought the boy into his arms again. The tears were falling and he couldn’t spare the thought to hate that they were. Alexandra was more composed beside him - she always was in times like these.

“What can be done?” She asked, her lips tight, her breathing deep.

“Nothing - there is no cure. Such episodes are usually brought on by stress and so the only thing is to avoid stress. Beside that, I can give him pain relieving potions. When was his last episode?”

“Two years ago,” the Death Eater supplied, without waiting this time. “He can’t take pain relievers, either. He’s built an immunity.”

Alexandra talked with the Healer for a while longer, and he agreed that the boy could be moved by Portkey. It was agreed that Alexandra would bring Devlin home and Harry would move the Death Eater somewhere safer. The Healer left with Remus.

Harry passed Devlin to Alexandra - he still hadn’t fallen still - and began to hand her the first Portkey.

“He took medicine for it,” the Death Eater said suddenly into the silence. “I didn’t know if you had told the Healer...about him and the Dark Lord. He has medicine though. It is not a cure, from my understanding, but it has been two years since the last incident. The Dark Lord invented the potion for it.”

“Wonderful - so there is something to help him that we’ll never bloody get our hands on!”

The Death Eater stood up and made his way towards them. He went to the boy. Harry almost dragged him backwards as his hand touched Devlin, but Alexandra gave him a stillinglook. His hand went into Devlin’s pocket.

He withdrew a tiny shrunken bag. He handed it to Harry.

“There should be six vials in there. He was never allowed to leave his room without the pack. One vial every day.”

“Thats...what do we do after that?”

“Convince the boy to write down the brewing instructions for you - I can’t help you with that part. I imagine he’ll be furious with me for a while. Shall I show you how to open the pack?”

Harry nodded and the Death Eater opened the front pocket first, which apparently didn’t need a password. There was only one vial in there ‘an emergency dose anyone would be able to give him’ the Death Eater said as he handed it to Alexandra and she poured it down his throat. He stopped convulsing moments afterwards and Harry felt a rush of relief flood his body.

“Go with him now...if you want compliance. He’ll wake up shortly, if I recall. I’ll show Mr. Potter how to access the other vials.”

So Alexandra left and Geoffrey opened the other pockets up, admitting it opened at a magical ‘signature’ that had to have been given pre-approved access.

“I’ll leave it open,” he said, zipping the pockets up again and handing it to Harry.

“Thank you,” Harry said and the words were genuine. Much later, Harry would realize it was the first time he actually felt gratitude towards a Death Eater.

"May I beg a favor of you, Mr. Potter?"

"You can ask," he said, always weary of favors.

"That man - don't let him near Devlin again. He bit the boy - I could tell."

Harry stared at the Death Eater, realization dawning. It was like the mask coming off all over again to reveal the human. The Death Eater had reacted to Remus the way Harry had reacted to the Death Eater when he thought he had murdered Devlin. For the first time in his life, seeing the human behind the mask didn't bloom rage in his chest.

"I can't promise that, because it's now how it seems. Remus saved Devlin and the only reason Devlin is a werewolf is because werewolves do not have hands. I'll tell you the whole story another time. I want to be there when Devlin wakes up."

The Death Eater looked oddly at him for a long moment.

"Tell me later?" He said, more to himself than to Harry. "You mean for me to live?"

"I suppose so, yes."

Had he meant to kill the man? He can't recall - but Devlin seemed attached to him and Harry wasn't about to wear the blood of his son's friend.

"I'm going to bring you back to Sirius' house for tonight. Then we'll move you to a better safe house."

OoOoOoOoO

Apparently this had been the plan all along, because Sirius was in the front hall waiting for them.

"Got him," Sirius said, when his wand was trained on his heart and Potter had handed over Geoffrey's wand. Potter looked at him for a moment, his mouth opening and closing.

"Be nice, Sirius," he said finally, before he was dashing past them to the living room. There was a woosh as the floo too him elsewhere. Sirius turned to him, quizzically, obviously wondering about Harry's parting words.

"Don't do anything stupid," he said, but his voice was much kinder. "I'm not alone."

He led him, at wand point, into the kitchen. There was a red headed man sitting at the table, a brown haired girl, and him. His neck was still red from where Geoffrey's arm had pressed against it.

"Hello," the brown haired girl said, sipping at her tea. Normally Geoffrey would have paused in the doorway for a moment - to observe his surroundings and assess the danger, but the wand at his back pushes him forward, into the room. Closer to him. No matter what Potter had said, it m ade the hairs on the back of his neck raise to be near this man.

"Hello," he said, regardless of his feelings. The wand jabbed into him again and in a fit of unease, he spun around.

"You have my wand," he seethed, "I cannot escape. Potter will kill me if you are harmed and there is no where safe for me out there, regardless. The least you could do is speak to me, as if I were intelligent enough to understand you. Or do you have a problem with what I am?"

"You see that man over there? He's my friend. I don't fucking care about 'what you are'. I do care that you almost killed Remus, though!"

He shook. The hairs on the back of neck stood on end.

"I was protecting the boy!" He said, growling. Had Potter told these people? Was this a sick secret that Potter kept so that the man wouldn't be tainted by the judgement.

"Remus would never hurt Devlin!" The red headed man said, looking indignant. He was the type of man who always spoke his mind, Geoffrey could tell. Reacted on instinct. Never thought things through. Geoffrey glared.

The boy had once told him that if one couldn't tell the truth, they often times shouldn't speak at all. So Geoffrey didn't - he remained silent, seething inwardly. The boy had been so small when he had first met him and it makes his heart ache to think of how much smaller he would have been when he was bitten.

'Remus saved Devlin'

"I was protecting the boy," he said, dully. Empty. What credit did he have here? It wasn't worth defending himself when they saw him as undefendable.

"From what?" The brown haired girl asked, her voice soft and thoughtful. "You attacked him without provocation. You told him not to get near Devlin, yet he hadn't even approached him. So why attack him. Especially since you were outnumbered and couldn't have expected to win."

"Potter meant for him to take the boy. It was perfectly logical," he said after a while. The wand was still at his back, but it was no longer jabbing. He was staring into his tea, submissive. "But Dubhán didn't deserve that. To be ripped away from me by him? I couldn't let that happen to him, not without...not without him knowing I'd try to stop it."

The red head looked furious as well as confused, the brown haired girl looked thoughtful once more, and he looked a bit more pale.

"You knew," he said, his voice wavering. "How did you know? Did...did Devlin tell you?"

Geoffrey looked at him solidly, observing every muscle that flexed on his face, across his shoulders, in his neck - looking for deception. There was only honest, agonizing, confusion.

"You're tame," he said softly, a statement rather than a question. He didn't need the man to confirm - everything about him did it on his behalf. "Of course I knew it was you that had bitten him. If you had gotten closer - if he hadn't been ill - he would have known too."

His wolf propelled him forward, until that wand jabbed into his back again and a hiss of warning came from it's owner. He was only three feet from the other werewolf.

"When he's a werewolf, he is all mine. My to keep safe, mine to reassure, mine to calm when he wakes screaming during the full moon from unknown nightmares. And when his eyes flash amber and he growls at the Dark Lord, he is mine - mine to shelter, mine to correct, mine to try desperately to make him see the ill logic of his reaction. I couldn't let you put your hands on him. He doesn't remember and I wouldn't let him feel that fear then - in front of people he doesn't yet know won't kill him. I was furious. Furious at you. Furious at Potter. What was he thinking, assigning you the job to drag the boy away from me! You might be his creator, but I have been his protector and it is me he would come running to if we all met under the full moon!"

He licked his lips, looking up at Geoffrey with a regard full of fear.

"Thank you," he said finally, fumbling to put his tea cup down without spilling the liquid. "I am glad he had you." Such a human. He didn't even pretend to lay claim for the boy. He was thinking with his human brain and Geoffrey looked away, disgusted.

"Why don't we all sit down?" The brown haired girl offered, motioning to the various empty chairs. "Sirius, I heard Harry in the hallway and this isn't being very nice."

The man grunted, but withdrew his wand and stepped back to take a seat for himself, next to the other werewolf. Geoffrey observed the room. He walked around the table to sit at the opposite end.

"Are you all waiting for something?" He asked suddenly, hating the silence. Silence fed his instincts and right now he needed to think in more human terms.

"For word of Devlin, of course," the other werewolf said.

"Then you will be waiting a while."

OoOoOoOoO

It began in his chest, where the original curse had hit. It always did, like a remembered sensation that would spread out, it’s haunted tendrils becoming more and more real as it crawled against his skin, sinking into his body. And then it would consume him like an angry fire.

He felt it rushing into his veins, turning them into hot wires, his skin suddenly frigid around them. The pain was everywhere - stabbing him in the darkness when he moved, crushing him while he was still. It crawled up his spine, sunk it’s teeth into his lungs - tried to make him scream. But he wouldn’t.

He swallowed the hot bile rising like acid in his throat and thrashed around, conscious of some kind of restraints around him. They felt like fire on his frigid skin, like the least touch would tear the delicate tissue. He tried to get free, but the burning touch became tighter, sending waves of pain deep into his bones. He could feel them reverberating beneath his raging, boiling, blood.

Something was forcing his mouth open. If he could feel and control his limbs he would have grabbed at it, but he can’t. He chokes and sputters as luke-warm liquid pools in his mouth. He can’t breath and his body gives a shutter as it reflexively swallows. The liquid felt freezing as it seeped into his stomach and he felt a fizz and sizzle as it put out the fire there. He stilled himself, feeling as if he finally could.

But then a moment later his whole body felt as if it were being tugged and the pain that he always felt skyrocketed beyond measure. He was no longer thrashing about, but that was little consolation - now he could think and feel and know that there was supposed to be more than just the pain.

He felt like he could take no more - felt himself slipping under the blackness into the nothingness.

Don’t go there, whispered the voice, just like it had always done. He felt his body and mind give a big shake, and then fall perfectly still. He was surrounded by mist and he might have thought he was floating, except that there was grass beneath him, tickling between his toes. He looked down to find paws instead of feet. He was never the little boy here - always the wolf.

His body gave a great shake again and droplets of moisture flew from his thick coat to shimmer in the air before joining the mist once more. There was no pain here. He moved his body, more surprised than he ought to be, at the lack of pain. In here, he was never completely the wolf or the boy, but an odd mixture of them both.

For a long while he simply curled up upon the cool grass, content to be away from the nothingness and the pain. Then noises began to penetrated the fog like sharp knifes. His ears quirked at the sounds.

Voices - they interested him little. He curled up again, his ears flat to try and block the sounds out. Then, slowly, another sound approached. The clip of nails against the floor, hot humid breath against his face, and barking.

His wolf shook and sprang to his feet. The mist was gone. They have escaped from the abyss. Their eyes open, pure amber.

Hhuhh, huhhh, hhuhh. The sound of panting. He turned slowly to come face to face with the animal, it’s keen amber eyes trained on him.

“Devlin?”

Suddenly he was aware that one of his cheeks was warm and his head was slightly raised, resting on something. Something that had moved. He scrambled backwards, closer to the animal and farther from the warm something.

Now he could see what it was - a man. He growled at him, his scent unfamiliar even as his face triggered memories. When the wolf and he came together it was always hard to decide who could remember properly.

The animal whined and his gaze flickered to him, understanding. Wrong? What is wrong?

But he could not speak to the wolf like he would have, had he been a wolf. He tipped his head, but the animal was not able to understand. His gaze flashed back to the man, thedanger, and he eyed him critically.

“Devlin, it’s alright.”

Devlin? Since when were we that? His wolf laughed, finding humor in the image of themselves as a little boy, so full of fear.

Never, he replied, because it was worthless to think of when he was. He didn’t speak to the man, having nothing to discuss with him. They would kill him soon. It didn’t matter who he was or that they might have loved him once - love was worthless and didn’t hold any power in the face of opinion.

Still can’t stand to hear him called a bastard, hmm? Malfoy had once said to him, smirking while his grandfather wasn’t looking. Well get used to it, he’d call you one too, if he knew what you had done. You’re a Dark Wizard now - he hates them more than anything.

“It’ll be okay,” the man said again, trying to sound soothing even as he lied. Lied, lied, lied! Nothing was every ‘okay’. He knew it better than most.

“Harry?” His eyes flashed away from the man - but only for a moment - to look upon the new danger. It was the woman from earlier, who had stolen his wand. He drew himself farther away from them both. He didn’t think he could stomach it if she killed him. He wasn’t sure he would be able to meet her eyes or hold in his screams if it was her. “Leave him be for a bit. You’re scaring him. He’ll find us when he’s ready.”

She didn’t threaten the man, but he complied regardless - and he could see the man didn’t want to comply. He watched them leave and when they were gone it was only the huhh, hhhuhh, huhh sound of the dog panting that was left.

A paw snuck onto the sofa and the dog looked at him with it’s wide amber eyes, sniffing. He offered his hand, keeping his regard on the doorway through which the danger had left - only momentarily, he was sure.

“I don’t suppose you know a way to escape, hmm?” The animal simply lapped at his hand with his wide, warm tongue. “No, I didn’t think so.”

He was on his own to find an escape, then.

 


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