Chapter 6 : The Other Werewolf
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There were footsteps on the stairs, light and delicate and almost-silent, but he heard them, because he hears things almost no one does. He watched the doorway cautiously, waiting for the lady to appear. The little girl was busy eating, the man busy cooking and him - he had been busy fiddling with the sandwich. It wasn’t poisoned - he’d eaten a bite from it already - but a churning in his stomach told him he wasn’t going to keep much of anything down, so he wasn’t going to put it there in the first place. His insides cringed at the mere idea of vomiting - in his opinion there was nothing else quite so humiliating.
Her blue eyes were sharp and observant with an edge of pure focus that reminded him of his own eyes. That was what he shared with her and she with Voldemort; and it was the thing he still remembered about her, after all this time.
Her eyes were on him in a heartbeat, looking at him with an intensity that was on par with the man’s, but different. She was studying him, watching every muscle in his face, searching from one eye to the other, waiting for some emotion to flicker through them. He felt a bit like he were being memorized.
She greeted the little girl first, planting a kiss into her messy hair, touching her shoulders and whispering ‘how are you, Emma?’ into her ear. The little girl turned her head slightly, to look into the ladies face, and neither shook nor nodded her head. ‘It’ll be okay, baby,’ she said softly in reply and of course he heard, because he hears almost everything. The little girl nodded and glanced at him as if he were her problem. He wanted growl because she simply didn’t know and if she knew - if they knew - maybe they would think differently of him, except he wouldn’t tell them. He wouldn’t allow them to know how weak he had been, to make Grandfather promise something like that.
“Hello, Devlin,” she said now, turning her eyes upon him. He felt small again and fought to feel like himself under her gaze. She said his name with a hidden sharp edge - like avelvet covered knife - and he mastered the urge to correct her. He still remembered the strength of her magic against him and her willingness to use it - the man was hesitant but she didn’t think twice.
“Hello,” he said evenly.
The man had turned around to flash her a smile, which she returned half as flashy, but before he completely turned back to the stove, his eyes caught sight of the almost-uneaten sandwich.
“Hey, eat more of that, alright? Or maybe you’d like something else? I have some egg and sausage...” he said, but he already knew as much - the overbearing smell of grease and eggs had been working at his stomach for a while now. “Do you want some?”
“No,” he said abruptly, pushing the food away from himself and trying to breathe deeply to keep the nausea at bay. He hadn’t felt this sick since... - don’t think, don’t think, don’tthink. Oh Merlin, he was going to be sick.
“You have to eat something, Dubhàn,” the man said, obviously trying to be appeasing by using the correct title. “One bite isn’t enough. Please - come on, have some sausage, okay, or-”
He slammed his palm onto the table, effectively shutting the man up.
“That was uncalled for, Devlin,” the lady said, frowning at him. The little girl looked scared.
He rose from the table quickly and darted for the door. The man grabbed at him and managed to grasp one of his arms, sending the rest of his body towards the floor - and oh Merlin! He threw up, right in the kitchen. His body retched, half bent over, as the man tried to grab him again and he continued to struggle. He was on his knees now and he felt his face flush with humiliation and degradation as his neck was forced downwards, sick. He was looking at the floor. He was looking at the floor!
The man flicked his wand and the mess was gone, another flick and he was clean as well. Now the man was crouching next to him and it was more than he could take, so he turned away and hid himself in his knee caps and arms.
He still remembered how the blonde man - don’t think, don’t think, don’t think!
“Devlin?” The man was whispering, but he ignored him. He wished he could simply disappear and be saved from this humiliation. “It’s alright. Do you need a potion?”
It wasn’t alright. It was horrendously embarrassing and the man was simply lying to him, waiting for him to believe him and then he would point out how stupid he had been to believe. That was part of torture. Or maybe he really did care, but he wouldn’t and it was just like the food, then.
Eventually they would know just who he was and then they wouldn’t be acting like this and so he simply wouldn’t accept it in the first place. Dubhàn was never the type to want things he couldn’t keep. After all, desires were worthless causes that in the end only left one weak to disappointment when the desire did not come true.
He uncurled himself and rose shakily to his feet. This time, the man didn’t help him, but his hands fidgeted at his sides, as if he were holding himself back. The lady was watching him with something akin to regret and he felt a pang of triumph that at least his humiliation made her feel bad as well. Uncalled for? Rubbish! He had been trying to save her the mess!
“Let me help you to the bathroom,” the man said. His spatula was on the floor, the bacon sizzling and burning on the stove and it made his stomach ache more, because these were things that the man was ignoring just for him and part of him wanted to melt into the little boy again and into his mans arms - but he wouldn’t because it wasn’t going to last.
You’ll look a fool when they prove you wrong, Geoffrey had once said to him, cautioning his one-time bet with a couple other werewolves. This situation somehow brought those words to the forefront of his mind. Things always reminded him of other things. He had once told Grandfather that his mind worked a bit like a spider-web; one thread always linked to another related thread. Grandfather had been the only one to ever keep up with his far-fetched ‘but oddly accurate’ associations.
“No,” he said stubbornly. He brushed past the man. He paused just outside the kitchen door, half still there and half in the hallway. If he turned now to slink away to his room they would suspect he was still sick - still weak - and so, unhappily, he walked into the living room. The dog that looked so wolfish had been let out of his room by someone and was curled up on the sofa. It’s tail wagged and it’s amber eyes raised slightly to meet his face. He didn’t look him in the eye, but he was a dog, and Dubhàn forgave him for his pure animal limitations.
“Hello,” he said and he almost laughed, because it had been the first hello that he had initiated since his arrival here. The wagging tail quickened and the dog’s mouth opened. Huhh,hhuh, huhh. The appeasing panting had begun. It’s entire body wiggled in a way only a canine’s could and Dubhàn sat beside him, reaching out a hand to be sniffed.
Sniffing quickly led to appeasing and friendly licking. It inched closer to his body, testing his boundaries. When he made no motion to stop it, it finally lifted itself up and gave his face a wide slurth of a lick. Dubhàn crinkled his brow and wiped at his face with the back of his sleeve.
“Don’t you think that was a little uncalled for?” He asked softly, cringing as the the remaining saliva dried on his skin. All he got in reply was more eager panting. Dubhàn pulled himself further onto the sofa and leaned back, slumping a little. The dog, following his body language, calmed as well. It laid it’s head on his lap and Dubhàn began to draw circles on the soft fur of it’s head.
In the kitchen Harry and Alex were attempting to have a conversation in front of Emma, meaning much of their meanings were being inferred from less than complete thoughts. Emma was frowning at them slightly, munching on her breakfast, and she was reminded of the times Remus would beg Uncle Sirius to ‘read between the lines’ when they both babysat her.
All she could completely understand was that her dad wanted to go and see the boy - Devlin - in the living room, but mum wanted to let the boy ‘have his space’ for a while. She wasn’t so sure why they were talking so much about him, because they certainly never talked this much about whether or not to talk to her. She wasn’t jealous, either, because this was just odd and not the sort of thing she wanted. It was like the boy was in trouble, except no one was angry. She frowned again, listening to the round-about conversation as she moved onto her pancakes.
Draco Malfoy was beginning to seriously consider using his money and influence to procure a time turner. It was a thought that had first occurred to him at around four am this morning, when he had received a summons from his Master and then been informed that ‘the Potter brat’ as he still referred to him in his own head, had escaped. At first it had been a passing idea as he scoured the local muggle village for any sign of the boy.
“He wouldn’t be this stupid,” another Death Eater had snarled at him. He was a werewolf and Draco scowled at having to be near him, but he was probably right - he was more likely to know about the boys stupidity level than him. “Not again.”
But Draco hadn’t had the time to question him, because as he had spun around to ask further, Auror’s had appeared and before they were able to put Anti-apperation wards in place, Draco had left. It was what he was trained to do, but it still earned him a hefty bout of screaming under the Dark Lord’s wand.
There was a fresh out of Hogwarts Death Eater who hadn’t left but instead had had the foresight (or so he said, Draco rather thought he said so to cover up the embarrassment), to have worn muggle clothes beneath his robes and had shrugged them off in an alley way and then ran screaming out into the street and into a muggle house. He boasted that he hadn’t even needed to use magic to make the Muggle’s moments later tell the Auror’s that he was meant to be there. It was only the talisman that Voldemort made practically all of them wear that kept him safe from the memory modification.
So of course this boy wasn’t screaming or drawing in deep unsteady breaths right now - no he was bloody well smiling.
Draco tried to calculate exactly how many years, weeks, days, and hours he would have to go back in order to kill the Potter brat rather than kidnap him alive, as his nerves twitched and his muscles spasmed.
Harry knew it would happen, but it didn’t change that his blood was boiling and his magic was freezing the air around him. Kingsley didn’t look to happy to see him, even though it was him that had come to Harry.
“You have to understand Harry-”
“Don’t talk to me like I’m you bloody colleague right now! Just don’t!”
Kingsley shook his head sadly, bringing his hand up to rub at his face. He looked weary and exhausted and Harry knew he had probably been up since late last evening. Probably no more than an hour after that freaking Healer had seen Devlin.
“Was he tortured?” “A long time ago.”
Harry slammed his fist onto the kitchen table, glad that it was the middle of the night and that Devlin and Emma were fast asleep. “They’re worried he’ll be the only source,” the man said, openly leaning backwards away from Harry’s anger.
“I don’t care what he knows!” Harry said, softly. He was always viciously surprised by the Ministry’s willingness to disregard humanity.
“But they do Harry and if he were anyone else-”
“He isn’t anyone else!”
“Which is exactly why Voldemort might have felt secure telling the boy things...”
Harry knew that was true also, but it didn’t change that he didn’t care.
“What about the Death Eater - Gregory.”
“Yes, him,” he said, waving a dismissive hand. The man’s name had no use to him.
“There are things he is...refusing to talk about...”
Harry looked up, angry words for the man on the tip of his tongue, but something in Kingsley’s eyes made him pause.
“Like the boy. We can’t use truth serum on him, at least not with a guarantee that what he says is really true, because he’s well equipped at Occlumency.”
Why wouldn’t the Death Eater talk about Devlin?
“We did get one of the new captured ones to speak, though. Before you went to Devlin, you were called into a Death Eater raid on a little town-” Harry nodded “-and we’ve since learned they were looking for Devlin there.”
“How’d you know to ask that?” Because it took specific questions to guarantee accuracy with truth serum.
“The leader of the crew mentioned it was the town Ms. Watson was found in - a well known escapee of Voldemort.” Yes, Harry remembered her. He tried not to think of her now.
“So you think...you think it’s close to there?”
He rose from the head of the table to walk around it, suddenly feeling far-from tired and full of jittery energy. Kingley was seated the other end of the table, and by the time Harry made it around him, the man was peering sideways, as if in his own thoughts. Harry continued his pacing and it wasn’t until he had turned the corner and come up on Kingsley’s other side, that he realized that the man hadn’t been peering into his mind but at the boy in Harry’s hallway.
His skin was pale like cream in the dim lighting, his lips light and frowning, his hands hanging listlessly at his sides, and his eyes had an eerie brilliancy in the magical lighting, making them look more like Harry’s than Tom’s. But even though he was still dressed in the pajama’s Hermione had bought and delivered at Alexandra’s request and he had obviously slept at some point (Harry had seen it with his own eyes!), his hair remained perfectly parted.
He looked like a little ghost and it took Harry a moment to remember he was real and he wasn’t just imagining him this time.
“Hey buddy...” he said, cringing at the lameness of his words. The boy’s lips twitched in his own disgust at the name, but he didn’t move. “What are you doing up?”
“I heard someone outside,” he said softly and he must have meant Kingsley. There was disappointment in his little green eyes and Harry tried not to show his hurt or his understanding about who the boy had hoped was outside Harry’s house.
“This is a friend of mine from work,” he said softly, leaving the man’s name off on purpose.
“Shacklebolt,” the child said, throwing the name at him just as purposefully. Kingsley made a noise in the back of his throat that Harry translated with ease: ‘see he does know things’. Harry sent the man a glare over his shoulder.
“Harry, I’ll talk to you tomorrow, alright?” Harry nodded and the man left, through the back door. Harry remained watching the boy for a long moment after the Auror had left.
“You haven’t killed him?” The boy asked, softly. His hands shook and his dark green eyes bore into him.
“Who?” Harry asked, surprised and confused.
“No..he’s safe.” Harry had made sure of that, even if he hadn’t bothered to learn his name. The boy nodded, like he had more to say about the subject, but preferably not to Harry. Not that such was unusual - he didn’t seem to prefer anything about Harry, or Alexandra, or Emma. The only thing he had shown a spot of affection to was Zee. “Were you worried about him?”
Those green eyes found him again, sharp and full of offense.
“He’s a traitor,” he said tightly, clenching his hands at his sides.
“Sometimes what people feel is right...changes. Sometimes they have to do what they feel is right, even if it is at the cost of betrayal,” Harry said lightly, gauging the boys reaction - which was minimal, to say the least. Harry thought the boy might simply prefer to stare at him with those haunting eyes for the whole night (and Harry would let him), but then his body shifted and his mouth opened.
“I won’t, you know.” It took Harry a moment to understand and when he did he felt that all-consuming worry that only his children could make him feel. Harry struggled to find something competent to say to the boy, something that would help him see that he had been rescued not kidnapped, but before he could utter a word, the child had turned on his heel and swept up the hallway. Harry stood there for a long time, listening to his footsteps leading back to his room. He should ask why the boy had been awake, except that he knew the child wouldn’t tell him. He should follow him, except that Harry knew the boy wouldn’t want him too.
He should - but he simply didn’t have it in him. He hadn’t really slept since Devlin’s return and he didn’t think he would be able to sleep tonight. He settled down at the table, cradling his head in his hands, and wept.
Upstairs Devlin sat on the bed, contemplating his own inability to sleep. He could no longer think as clearly as he needed and he knew the only remedy was sleep. Yet in this state of mind he knew that sleep would only lead to nightmares and the last thing he wanted was to have the lady and the man hear him screaming without them even trying!
He peered at the dog that had decided it did belong in the room and on the bed.
“Would you like to see a trick, Zee?” He asked softly, regarding the dog until it lifted it’s head a bit and peered back at him. When he stayed silent for a moment longer the dog let out a half-whimper half-bark. He smirked.
“Alright but we have to put up a bit of...security.” He slid off the bed and over to the door. He didn’t dare to use his wand - he’d felt the wards a bit and was almost-certain they would know if he used a wand. He’d asked the little girl if she could do magic and she had said yes ‘accidentally’ which meant their wards would expect a bit of ‘accidental’ magic, even if his was going to be done quite on purpose. He reached his hand towards the lock on the door and pulled his magic to the surface. It vibrated beneath his skin, making him break out in goosebumps. A moment and a focused thought later and the door was locked - magically.
They man and the lady could still get through, but only if they also used magic. For good measure he also cast a silencing spell, or as close to one as he could get without a wand. Accidental magic, even applied purposefully, still had its limits - although age and mastery were making them few and far between for him. He could do almost anything with without a wand that he could with a wand. Still, there was a lot he couldn’t do with either. He was only nine!
Zee was watching him thoughtfully, one ear cocked more than the other.
“You see, I told Grandfather that I wanted to learn how to brew the Wolfsbane potion, but he said he didn’t have the Potion Master to spare, so I was allowed to learn this trick instead...” He crawled back up onto the bed, palms and knees sharing his weight. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to think of what it would be like, to be covered in soft fur like Zee. He was practiced enough that the transformation came with ease - he felt the shifting in his bones, across his skin, and to his nose - which was always the oddest and always made him feel like he wanted to sneeze, but couldn’t.
He yipped and Zee stood abruptly on the bed. The dog seemed taller now, of course, just as he must seem smaller. They sniffed each other - Zee seemed thoroughly confused. He made himself behave, since all he really wanted to do was sleep. Without nightmares. It was harder to think like a human as a wolf and it made it especially hard for nightmares to plague him. He snuck close to Zee, trying to convince himself that it was a moon-day and he was home, even though his whole body felt different as a wolf rather than a werewolf. The dog allowed his closeness, although part of him was still confused and nervous, the little wolf knew. He fell asleep half on the dog, with his butt in the air, his tail tickling thedogs ear as it lay to one side.
When he woke up it was still dark through his curtains, but he knew he wouldn’t get back to sleep, so he jumped off the bed and transformed. There were footsteps out in the hallway. He laid on his stomach and peered through the gap at the bottom of the door, a strategy he had picked up with Grandfather, who always noticed when a door opened. The footsteps were from someone wearing black boots and a moment later a white cape swooshed around and came to settle above the boots. There had been a white robe hung outside of the man and the lady’s room...
So the man was leaving.
He waited, holding his breath and pressing his ear against the door.
“Are you almost ready, Harry?”
It was the lady’s voice. They couldn’t possibly both be leaving.
He heard the slight woosh of the floo moments later.
They couldn’t have both left...they wouldn’t leave the girl, would they?
Hadn’t she spoken about a school?
He crept out the door and into the hallway and down the stairs; all the while his heart hammering against his ribcage at the prospect that he was alone. Except he wasn’t.
The man from the odd little house was sitting at the table, across from an unfamiliar man - drinking coffee. They were staring at him now, their expressions an unusual mixture of surprise and preparedness. He felt frozen in the doorway, afraid to make any sudden movement.
“Hello,” the new stranger said, running a hand through his black hair. He was well-dressed despite wearing what appeared to be a rather muggle styled leather jacket. His hair puffed at bit after his hand was finished, making it look more dashing rather than messy and his blue eyes came to regard him with an intensity Dubhàn hadn’t felt since the green-eyed man looked at him after he first woke up.
The stranger that Geoffrey had attacked remained quiet, observing him with the same intensity that the other was, but with a more closed expression. He would have preferredDubhàn not notice him, Dubhàn was certain. But he couldn’t look away.
There was something uniquely intriguing about him that went beyond the fact that Dubhàn thought he knew him or that he was a werewolf. After all, he thought he knew a lot of things about this world, but the feeling that rose in his chest while he was trying to remember this man, was quite different. He couldn’t exactly detect what was so intriguing.
He turned more fully to the man that didn’t want his attention, cocking his head to the side slightly and angling his shoulders in a questioning and slightly appeasing manner. The movements still came easily, this soon after the moon. But the man had no reaction and Dubhàn wasn’t sure if it was because he was unwilling to lend him some reassurance, or because he simply did not wish to partake in his rather wolfish communication.
“You’re a werwolf,” he said instead as the dark-haired man put his cup of coffee down and looked at his watch, tapping it as if had suddenly stopped working.
“Yes,” the grey-haired man said softly as he too put his cup down. He stood slowly, approaching him.
“Geoffrey was angry with you,” he said, knowing his eyes were taking on the amber hue as the wolf awoke in his mind. It took a lot to anger Geoffrey and the boy in him urged him to take another step away from this man who Geoffrey hadn’t wanted anywhere near him.
“That is true,” the man said.
“Why?” He asked. Somewhere deep down, his wolf knew the answer - it’s knowledge was evident in the way it over-took his senses and in the way his shoulder began to throb dully.
And so, when the man began to answer, the wolf in him wasn’t all that surprised by the words.
“Because I bit you, when you were very young.”
After a long moment of silence the werewolf reseated himself, sighing with an air of defeat. Dubhàn stood frozen at the door, a rare moment of uncertainty overtaking his thoughts. The wolf in him was pleased to see this man, but the boy couldn’t be sure. Geoffrey hadn’t wanted this man near him. There was only one type of werewolf Geoffrey wouldn’t let him near and it was the kind that would gladly bite anyone, child or adult. The kind that were cruel and ruthless and insane.
But this man looked like neither of those things - he looked rather tame, to be honest.
“Remus won’t hurt you,” the other man said, but it was unnecessary, because he already knew that.
They were both probably waiting for him to make the next move, but he was frozen in a limbo of knowing and not knowing and he couldn’t think of what to do next, let alone command his body. He stared into the werewolf’s eyes for a long moment, frowning while he felt that knowing but not knowing feeling swell around him. And then he remembered being thrown in front of Voldemort and how it had been his wolf that had protected him from Crucio and insanity. Suddenly it didn’t matter why this man had bitten him - without the bite he would have died.
“I’m not afraid,” he said, vaguely recalling the black-haired man’s words. He took a step forward, lingering squarely in the doorframe now. He leaned against one side, trying to look casual and knowledgable, even as that odd feeling clung to him like a dense fog.
“Good,” the strange man said, relaxing a bit. “Do you want something to eat?”
He shook his head. He was no longer so afraid of poison (he had eaten a bit of dinner last night), but he still felt like he would throw up and he wasn’t about to tempt fate around men he didn’t know.
“Harry said you’d probably say no,” the man continued, trailing off as he stirred his tea.
“Where is the girl?” He asked softly, glancing up the stairs. It was quiet up there.
“Probably asleep like any normal person should be; it is four in the morning.”
“What about the man and the lady?” The two men stiffened at his words and after a moment he thought it was likely because he hadn’t referred to the lady and the man as his parents.
“Your mum and dad went to the Ministry to pick up some paperwork they left - so they can finish it at home.” He chose to ignore the new man’s labeling of the lady and the man.
“They left you here to make sure I didn’t escape.”
He slid his hands into his pajama pockets, wishing he was wearing robes or at least something a bit more dignified than bright blue flannel pajama’s with whales. It was down right impossible to look mysterious or commanding in this outfit. The pockets weren’t at the right height, to begin with. They left his elbows lank, rather than out a bit, like a blazer would have. The fabric was loose around him, moving when he moved, and it made him itchy. If they hadn’t taken his backpack, he would have had Wizarding clothes to change into.
“What is your name?” He asked sharply, trying to at least sound commanding.
“Sirius,” he said brightly, and he wanted to scowl because apparently the pajama’s also made it impossible for his commanding voice to have any effect.
“Black?” He asked and the man nodded. He strode into the room, pulled out a seat, and sat down. “Bella told me about you.” He said evenly, watching the man.
“Is that so?” Sirius said, and he could tell he had hit a nerve.
“Yes, that is so.”
“What did she say?” His teeth were clenched, his voice a forced calm, and his lips a mastered smile.
“Oh, lots of things. But Bella’s not quite right in the head, so I can’t be sure what was true.” It was the truth, but it was also meant to calm the man - he wasn’t foolish enough to make the man mad when he had no way to escape.
“Yeah,” he said, looking like he wanted to say more, but holding back.
“So doesn’t this house have a backyard or something? I’ve been stuck inside for two whole days.”
They shared a look across the table while he pretended to wait patiently for them to consider his pathetically easy to answer question.
“It has, but you’ll have to ask your dad or mum about going outside.”
“Surely you two are competent enough to make sure I don’t go anywhere...” he drew circles on the table, injecting just enough jab into his words for them to be believable - these two knew he wasn’t some innocent toddler.
“That’s irrelevant,” the werewolf said softly, “it is up to Harry and Alex.”
“Well then, when will Harry and Alex be back?”
There was pity in the werewolf’s eyes and anguish in the other’s eyes. They felt something for him, like the man and the lady, and he scowled, because he didn’t understand what to do with their emotions.
“In a couple hours,” Sirius said, trying to sound reassuring, which was foolish, because he didn’t need reassurance.
“He’ll come get me, you know. No matter if the man never lets me go outside, he’ll come rescue me.”
They didn’t have anything to say to that, apparently. They swirled their tea, tried to start small talk, talked to one another about Quidditch scores, which led into bickering, which lead to more bickering (an odd sort of cheerful bickering that he had never encountered before) about all sorts of random topics.
Until finally, minutes after the clock said it was six in the morning, the lady and the man reappeared from the floo. He was almost happy to see them. Especially if it meant theywould leave.
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