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Chapter 13 : Moments of Honesty
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That was enough for them right now.
Using his hand to shield his eyes from the afternoon sun, Riley stopped in front of the house and squinted at the number nailed into the door.
Thirteen. How unlucky. "You're sure this is it, Ted?" he asked.
"I'm sure. This is definitely the address I found in the twins' file," he promised, nodding. Ted patted Riley's shoulder blade twice and pushed him forwards. "Let's get this other with. You said Tim's pack may be involved, so the quicker we find find him the quicker we can stop whatever it is they're doing."
Ted started to walk, knowing Riley would follow, and knocked on the front door. He waited for a few moments, tried again when no one came, louder the second time. "Hello!"
He turned to frown at Riley, who nodded his head; someone was definitely in there. But he was frowning, too. "Oh, my. A wolf in sheep's clothing."
He knew what was being implied; Ted hadn't seen the name Logan Burns on the Register. Unregistered werewolf. "No way."
Ted's gaze went back to the door the moment he caught that it was opening and a face watched him through the gap, his body half hidden on the other side of the door. A familiar face; the same annoyed smirk and ice blue eyes. How Ted knew his name came back to him. "Logan Burns. You teach Transfiguration at Hogwarts. Most students don't know whether to respect you or hate you, but from what I hear only Hugo and Skander really like you. I didn't."
"Ted Lupin. Annoying student and ministry employee." Logan stopped the overly fake enthusiasm and shook his head. "No, I don't want to play this game. Tim said you'd come eventually."
"He taught you?" Riley asked.
"From fourth year onwards, when McGonnigal retired and Digby became Headmaster. They needed a replacement, and from what I hear Professor Burns needed the money," Ted told his friend. "It was the same year the twins started school. I remember them now, too. As soon as I saw your face. Can we come in?"
Logan bit his bottom lip, considering the question and Ted had to wonder why when he knew they would come. Until he locked eyes with Riley and it made sense. A vampire had to be invited in; it was one of the only forms of protection a human still had that was known, even if only a few people knew. Logan pushed back and pulled the door open, never taking his eyes away from Riley. "Come in."
He walked away, turning left into another room, and Ted and Riley exchanged a glance before following, closing the door behind them. They turned in the same direction, entering the living room, and stood in front of Logan, watching him in surprise when they noticed he was sat back in his chair, feeling at ease in his home with a vampire and probably knowing all about what was going on behind closed doors. Yet he'd been unsure a few moments ago. Why?
"You can sit. I don't bite, that's your job," he smirked.
"Why aren't you at Hogwarts?" Ted asked, taking a seat on the couch. He pulled Riley's arm until his friend sat down. "It's a school year. Where you finally sacked?"
Not dropping his smirk, Logan pointed at the fireplace. "It's the weekend, I'll be back before dinner. I'm surprisingly good at my job. What do you want?"
"You mean Timothy didn't tell you?" Riley gasped mockingly.
Ted nudged him in the arm and Logan moved forwards in his chair. "He told me you'd find out that I took him and his sister in eventually and would ask questions, he told me you knew about the vampires and the werewolves turning people, he told me about Hugo, he told me a lot of things about Hugo actually. And what they all want with him," he added. "But I want to hear it from you. So, I'll repeat; what do you want?"
"Alright. Why did you take in the twins? You're not a people person, you wouldn't do that." Ted sat and watched and waited for a whole minute, listening to the clock on the wall tick loudly until part of him couldn't take it any more and part of him grew afraid that Riley's impatience would cause him to do something reckless. "Did he give you a list of what you can and cannot say?"
"We share a bond," Logan finally answered.
"You helped him throughout the year, helped keep his secret quiet from Digby and took him in because he's a werewolf. Isabella came with because they're siblings and wouldn't part," Ted summed up quickly. "Am I close?"
"We share a bond," he repeated calmly. "All three of us."
"A bond that no one can severe," Riley muttered, more to himself than to anyone else. "That's what Timothy used to say; a bond between family is a bond that no one can severe."
"Except family themselves," Logan finished. He turned to Ted. "He's good, quick. Same father, different mothers. We both took our mothers' last names."
"You took them in because they're your brother and sister." Logan nodded once, sitting back in his seat. "Did you know before they came to Hogwarts?"
"No," he murmured. "They told me on the first day of school, Isabella doesn't like to keep secrets. I didn't believe it until she told me about my mother. Then they reminded me all about our father."
"What about them?"
"Nope, none of your business," Logan said with a small, not-entirely-friendly smile. "What do you want, Lupin?"
"Where is Timothy?" Riley asked.
Ted grabbed Riley's arm before he could move, hoping his friend would stay put because they all knew he wasn't strong enough to keep Riley in his place. Work was one thing, Riley could keep control of his bloodlust and his temper around humans, but werewolves seemed to get under his skin too much for him to ignore. And Ted remembered Logan Burns; he was a sarcastic dick, with a temper he'd consider as bad as Riley's if he were completely human, but was only made worse by his aggression that came with being a werewolf. He started to wonder if them coming here was a bad idea. It seemed to take forever before Riley relaxed enough for him to let go.
"You said Timothy told you things, so you probably know about everything that's going on, not just with Hugo," Ted started.
Ted gave him a look and continued as though he hadn't been interrupted. Just thinking about what he was going to say pained him, he wanted so much to know to help Hugo, but if he wanted to know anything at all he had to be patient. "You don't have to tell us anything about their plans, I'm not asking you. We want to go straight to the source, we want the pack. Just tell us where Timothy is."
"He wants no part in it, neither of them do."
"We're not Aurors. We don't want to arrest him," Riley said. "We're in charge of making sure that vampires and werewolves respect the Ministry's laws and clean up after them when they don't. We want to stop them from whatever it is they're planning before it gets worse."
Logan's laugh was mocking, with a hint of barely concealed fear. Whatever he'd been told, it scared him. "You can't stop it, there's only two people in the world who can end it and neither of them are ready. All you can do is pray you get out alive."
He stood up then, moved across the living room to the door way, and Ted stood as well, pulling Riley up with him. Logan wouldn't tell them any more and Ted remembered him enough to know when to stop pushing. "I don't know where Tim is. I ran away from them when I was a kid and I was put into foster care, made sure I was away during full moons and no one ever knew what I was. I never went back and I never ask Tim where the pack are, I don't want to know. But there's a shop in London by an old, green comic book store, this stupid, little sweet shop that he loves because they still sell these sweets that his mum used to get him. He goes there on Saturdays."
"Thank you," Ted said gratefully, holding out his hand.
Logan looked down for a moment, then shook his hand. "I meant what I said, Lupin. Pray," he whispered before letting go. "It's time to leave, I have to get back to school. I'll watch out for Hugo. He's not the worst student to come into Hogwarts. I think I can get past the fact that he's related to Louis Weasley."
Ted held up his hands. "I don't even want to know what Louis ever did to piss you off. I'm just going to say thank you and leave."
Riley nodded his good bye and waited until they were out of the house and around the corner before speaking.
"Brother. Did not see that one coming."
"Now that I know a bit more about him, a lot of things about him makes so much more sense," Ted sighed. "We can't do much about the wolves until we find Tim or a lead to another pack. I say we keep our eyes open, deal with some vampire problems and wait until next Saturday."
"How are we meant to go to Tim? Burns didn't tell us where the shop was," Riley argued. "You may not have noticed, but London is pretty big."
"There's only one old, green comic book store by a stupid, little sweet shop; Adam's," Ted replied. "Hugo loves both of those places. Come on, maybe on the way back to the Ministry, we can play the Guess Who Logan's Daddy Is game. If he was a part of that pack, maybe he could help us, too."
Riley stopped in his tracks and grabbed Ted's arm to stop him from moving, too. His friend's look was questioning, but Ted kept quiet and waiting as patiently as he could for Riley to speak.
"I know who Logan's father is, because I've always known about Tim and his family, big brother not included," he said hesitantly. Then he added quickly, "I also know exactly where their father is. And so do you. In fact, you know him very well, Ted."
After sneaking into the kitchens to fix lunch, Skander met Hugo by the lake. Hugo pushed himself up and crossed his legs, leaning against the tree they had decided to meet at. The wind was mild compared to the night before, it was a noticeable breeze but definitely one they could handle, and Hugo was glad Skander had decided to eat out. He still felt a little out of it, like he was in the world but not quite a part of it, and he was so tired. He knew he couldn't handle being around so many people today; he'd barely been able to during the days leading up to the full moon, and he guessed Skander had realized that.
His gift really does come in handy, Hugo mused.
Sitting beside him, Skander opened up the little basket one of the house elves had given to him and handed Hugo his toasted bacon sandwiches.
"Only the best for a growing werewolf," Skander joked halfheartedly. Hugo grunted in response, his mouth already full of food. "You really are an animal, you know that."
Hugo swallowed quickly, though careful not to choke, and opened his mouth, ready to make a comment. But he noticed a shadow from the corner of his eye, too quick for him to really be sure that he'd seen anything at all. He frowned and Skander followed both his gaze and his example. He ignored his friend's questions and narrowed his eyes, squinting. Nothing was there, if he had seen something it was long gone now.
"Hey," Skander said, nudging his arm. "What is it?"
"Nothing," Hugo answered after a few more moments of silence. "I thought I saw something, but nothing's there."
"It was probably one of the many creatures in there," Skander shrugged. "Who really knows about every thing that is in there."
They agreed that Hagrid, an old family friend, probably knew and continued to eat, making small talk about homework and Defense the next day. Neither really wanted to talk, both were tired. But they still had things to talk about and while they knew people would be awake now, they had guessed that people would still be in the common room, as well as around the castle to get to the Great Hall; they couldn't talk as freely as they could outside, not with prying ears and curious family members in a school notorious for spreading rumors.
"What was it like?" Skander asked quietly when he saw Hugo finish his last bit of breakfast. "You told me that you can barely remember your first change, that your mind was not your own. What's it like with wolfsbane? Is it any different?"
Hugo thought about last night, the way he felt when he'd been a wolf. He took a few minutes to gather his thoughts, not sure exactly how to put his thoughts into words.
"It was different," he said at last. "I didn't feel... human, but not completely animal either. I had these animalistic urges, to hunt and stuff, but it was like there was a voice in the back of my mind telling me no, there was this small measure of control. It managed to keep the animal at bay. I wanted to hunt you, but I stopped myself. I had to."
Skander awkwardly stretched out his arm and rubbed Hugo's shoulder in reassurance. "Well, thank you. I appreciate you stopping yourself from killing me. I'm sure your new friend is, too."
Hugo had to laugh at little then; Skander was really the affectionate type, nor was he any good at reassuring people. He was brutally honest and it often annoyed or hurt people. This was the first time Hugo could remember when his friend's honesty had made him feel a little better. He usually just found it funny.
"You're welcome," he replied. "And his name is Dimitri, you can call him that."
"I don't like him enough," Skander grimaced. "There's something off about him."
Hugo groaned. "Please don't start this again. What can he have done for you to not trust him? Did you see something bad when you went snooping inside his head?"
"I didn't see anything at all," Skander whispered, suddenly self-conscious about the fact that they were out in the open, even though they could see no one around them. "That's what's wrong; I can't feel anything when I'm around him. My ability works on everyone, not even shielding your mind works on me, but I no nothing about him."
"You really feel nothing?" Hugo asked quietly, not sure how to process what he was hearing. His friend was right after all; as an experiment, Hugo had shielded his mind and the boy's ability had still gotten through. They knew his magic worked on anyone.
"No." Hugo's eyes went straight to Skander's, strangely hopeful. Maybe there was an explanation as to why, maybe Skander could. "I feel cold."
His hopes plummeted noticeably, or maybe it was feeling his emotions which had caused Skander to wince, but neither could comment on it. They heard the girls' calling before they saw them and the boys looked up, their faces passive. Hugo waved them over, ignoring Skander mutter about preferring Dimitri's company.
"At least he kept quiet," he whispered, earning an elbow in the ribs.
"You two missed breakfast," Cam told them sternly. "Headmaster Digby was speaking to us."
Hugo's eyes widened, his mind spinning as he came up with every bad thought as to why Digby would want to speak to the students so early on a Sunday morning. "Why?" he stammered.
He didn't expect Lily laugh. "Don't worry, you weren't the only one's who didn't show up; I don't think it was compulsory since he never gave any warning about it. I bet he's counting on how quickly we students can talk." She waited for Hugo to calm, thinking he was nervous about getting into trouble for not showing up at the Great Hall, he guessed. Then she continued. "He was talking about changes to Defence lessons. We normally learn about werewolves and vampires in bits over the years, learning all the best bits in seventh year, not that they really know anything of true importance about either creature, especially the vampires. But because of the attacks, we're being taught things now, things we wouldn't even get learn next year."
Both boys noticed the gleam in Lily's eye, the excitement was so strong that Hugo didn't need Skander's ability to feel it. They waited for her to finish, impatience creeping up on them and they knew she knew it.
"Well, come on, Potter, spit it out," Skander demanded.
"Apparently we'll be having people from the ministry once a week to teach us about the wolves and the vampires; what to look for, how to stay safe and defend yourself, stuff like that."
"Digby doesn't think it'll do any good, considering we're here for most of the year and are well defended," Cam continued. "But the Minister, along with other members of the Ministry and the school governors had this big meeting with Digby about the parents who'd contacted and demanded that the school do something to keep their kids safe, given that there have been so many and we live in a castle that occupied a werewolf and near a forest that is rumored to have them. The others agreed that even though we're here, it wouldn't hurt for us to learn. The head of Regulation and Control is bringing his two best, the one's in charge of each division."
Blocking out his moment of panic about the school having a werewolf, having been scared for a moment that people knew about him before he remembed that she had spoken in the past tense and the only known wolf in question, Roxanne's friend Aidan, was no longer a student, Hugo stood up, instantly understanding what she meant by that. "They're bringing -"
"Ted and Riley," Lily finished grinning. "I don't think they know yet, they finished talking yesterday and Ted hasn't said anything. But they won't start for a few weeks yet, so I doubt they'll say no. This is so awesome, we'll finally get to learn something interesting. Louis will be so jealous. He's always going on about vampires and werewolves."
"Yeah, because he's part werewolf thanks to his dad and just obsessed when it comes to vampires," Skander scoffed. "He's insane and we've heard the rumors about him."
Lily narrowed her eyes and stepped closer to Skander, even Hugo turned and shook his head. Louis had a fascination with vampires that his family weren't exactly happy about, but to say that he seeked them out was another matter, one his family didn't want to hear. There was no evidence that said their cousin was doing what he was accused of and they'd defend Louis to the end, even if they didn't like his choices... And Skander knew that.
"Leave Louis out of this," she growled.
"Scared it's true?" he mocked.
"Skander," Hugo warned, knowing the dangerous look in his cousin's eyes. Even Cam kept quiet.
"Louis can do whatever the hell he wants, he always has. I don't care what he does and I will never not love him, because he's my family," Lily said softly, too softly Hugo thought. "You, on the other hand, mean nothing to me and I will hurt you if you don't keep your mouth shut about him. You have no right to talk about my family, rumors or otherwise."
The two looked each other in the eye, leaving Hugo and Cam to hold their breath and watch, feeling helpless. It wasn't obvious what would happen, neither were very predictable, and all Hugo felt he could do was wait to intervene if needed.
It came as a shock when Skander stepped back. "You may not care about what he does, but I do. It worries me," he said at last. "What I can feel when he's around. Louis is one of the only members of Hugo's family I might actually like, he's one of the only people who didn't automatically hate me because of my last name, and I don't want anything to happen to him."
Lily dropped her gaze, but she didn't apologize for her words and neither did he.
And no one mentioned the other family member who, like Hugo and Louis, didn't automatically hate him after knowing his last name, who didn't treat him differently because of the actions of a member of his own family.
They were looking at her.
The bruises still covering Lex's body made him ache and groan when he walked and the change during the last full moon only seemed to make it worse, but he bit his lip and kept his mouth shut. He had to keep quiet or they'd know. They couldn't know. He didn't want to die.
He lowered himself down onto the make-shift window sill and stared out of the window, watching the moon as he contemplated what to do now.
Ryder was gone, he had no way of getting the information he needed. Ryder may have been a vicious wolf, just waiting to get himself killed, but he was also a chatty drunk. He had been useful to Lex and now he was dead by Dimitri Eliot's hand.
He winced when he moved and his thoughts turned to his plan; he had a part to play, just like the others, and it was one he played well. But it hurt like a bitch and he seriously hoped it was worth it in the end.
With Ryder dead, he couldn't get his information about Greyback and Donavon's plans without getting it himself. It was a dangerous idea and he'd already decided he didn't want to die, but he had to play his part. Which meant his choices were limited and neither kept him safe; he could either get in Don's good graces and take Ryder's old place to get the information or he could follow and spy and try not to get caught getting the information.
The first was the safer of the two, even if just a little, but the last meant he might be able to get the information faster. He didn't have the time to wait, not when the Weasley boy was already a werewolf and the vampires were looking for him.
And us, he thought. He knew that was true; there were other groups, many sides playing a role in this war, and he knew there was one who would look for them. It wasn't just Riley and the Ministry.
Lex had to do what he needed to do before they came, he had to know of Greyback's plan.
He stood up quickly when he heard the voices. Too quickly, he knew when he winced again and he had to wonder if taking his anger out on Timothy had been worth it. The kid was right after all. Lex didn't care that he'd been his mentor, nor had he liked the idea of being his friend; Ryder was a fool. He got himself killed, it was his fault he had to find other means of gathering information.
Lex squeezed his eyes shut and groaned; no one was going to know that he'd felt anything other than loathing for the kid. He followed the voices as he pretended the moment hadn't happened, surprised to find the only three wolves he didn't expect to see, the only one's who didn't want to play a part in the Weasley boy's fate.
That he knew of.
They sat together, huddled into a corner, and whispered. Lex leaned against the wall, just able to hear them.
"We need to get out now, Mac," the one closest to the shadows, Ryan, whispered. Even without much light, Lex could see the fear in his dark eyes.
"It's not that simple, Ryan," the third voice, Amelie, replied fiercely. But her soft voice gave her away; she was just as terrified. "Don has eyes and ears everywhere and will hunt us down and kill us."
"I agree that we need to go. We can't stay here, not when we know we won't help them do what they want to do to the boy," Mac said quietly. "But it's too dangerous with Don watching. He's going to see Greyback soon, I say we leave then. We'll run, hide. If we put enough distance between us before he knows that we're gone, then we might be safe. The world is too big for him to find us."
Amelie and Ryan shared a look, then nodded shakily in agreement. "We can wait three more days."
Lex held back a scoff; they didn't know what he knew. They were just going to die in three days. He almost walked away, ready to leave them to their fate just as they had left him to his. It was Mac's next words that stopped him.
"We should bring Lex with us, drag him if we have to."
"Are you serious?" Ryan asked angrily, trying not to yell. "He abandoned us to be Ryder' and Don's pet. He wants this."
"I don't think he does. And were we any different? We saw the look on his face that day and we did nothing," Mac whispered regretfully. "We could have helped him, we could have got him out and run a long time ago."
"We were thirteen," Amelie said softly. "We didn't know that they were preparing him to be Tim's second in command. It could be easy to bring him," she continued after a pause. "If Don doesn't trust him anymore."
"No, Don does trust him," Mac promised. "It doesn't matter what happens between Lex and Tim, Lex is Don's protege; he'll be the pack's second unless we get him out with us. We were his friends once, we owe him this."
"I agree. Ryan?"
After a pause, Ryan spoke. "In three days we get Lex and we run."
"You'll die," Lex told them, speaking without meaning to.
They jumped and spun around to face their old friend. Amelie and Ryan looked fearful, afraid that the resentment that had formed between them would cause Lex to tell, but Mac just watched, the look on his face a silent plea for them all to go. Lex glanced around, making sure there was still no one near who could hear them, and took a hesitant step forward.
He had one chance and he had to trust someone. He told them what he knew.
"Greyback was put in solitary confinement for bad behavior, Don won't be going for a while," he murmured. "We'll die if we leave this soon."
They all noticed his use of 'we' rather than 'you'; Amelie and Ryan relaxed a little.
"Then what do you propose we do?" Mac asked.
"Are there others apposed to this or is it just you three?"
Amelie stepped forward. "There are others who don't want to hurt Hugo Weasley, though not many, but they're not willing to risk their lives and leave. Why?"
"Talk to them," Lex said instead. "See if they will once they know it's safe to do so."
"Why?" Ryan repeated.
Lex stepped back, leaving them in their corner. "I have a plan."
A/N: It's been a while. My inspiration kinda took a holiday, even though my muse stayed to plan almost all of the other chapters. So maybe I can update faster next time.
Lots of things are happening and the next chapter will be big. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, please leave a review and let me know what you think. :)
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