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Chapter 2 : The Big Bad Wolf
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AN: Newly beta-ed by indyheart, because she is amazing!
Chapter Image by Caren @ TDA!
The scene depicted Grace, only 16 standing in a bleak and dusty, cluttered room, clutching a letter, and eyeing it with anticipation. "It says I can bring a toad," she spoke finally, turning to her friend Anne Smithville who sat on her bed watching her curiously.
Anne laughed, tilting her head to the side. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well, if you let me turn you into a toad...."
"No!" Anne barked a laugh. "Why would I let you turn me into a slimy toad?"
"Well the only other options are a rat or a cat...and I really don't want to go without you," Grace whined, encircling her arms around her friend in a hug.
"Hmm. A toad, or a rat, or a cat. What kind of place are you going to?"
"It's a school for witchcraft and wizardry..."
Anne frowned for a moment. "You know we would have been separated anyway," she said softly. "I cannot believe you're getting out of here next week."
"But you'll be out soon too, I know it!" Grace interjected.
Anne was her only friend at Noctars, they grew up in the institution together. Anne was a couple years older than herself, but had not yet been able to completely harness the power of her "gift". Anne was a werewolf and, although she could mostly take control of the wolf that appeared when the moon was full, and completely transform into her wolf form, she was still forced to turn when the moon came. That was enough for the administration at Noctars to keep her here.
Grace had helped Anne as much as she could while they were there. She saw the good in her and the good in the wolf. It was the two conflicting souls trapped in her one body that had caused her such turmoil. Anne, like most werewolves, would become stuck somewhere between human and beast, and both would lose full control of their actions. Grace, however, had a special bond with werewolves. She was an Everto Trucido, a demon slayer. Since werewolves weren't innately evil, but became evil the way anything else becomes evil, she had a special interest in keeping them safe from darkness.
Anne sighed. "So, that old man that comes and visits you...he must be a wizard, right?"
Grace smiled. "Albus? Yeah, he's a wizard. He's the one who sent me that letter, he's the Headmaster of the school I'm going to be attending in the fall. Apparently, I come from a 'pure-blood' family, which means that I was bound to be a witch...I just had to finish my training here first. My brother's there, you know, James."
"Your twin? You talk about him an awful lot for never have being able to meet him."
"He's family...the only reason I haven't met him yet was for his own protection...for everybody's protection. You know how evil finds me wherever I go, I get attacked at least once a week by something and, if I wasn't trained, I would probably be dead or have accidentally killed somebody. That's why Albus suggested that my parents put me here."
With a bit of uneasiness, Anne gently smiled at Grace. "Grace why don't your parents ever write to you?"
"If something got intercepted, my family could get attacked by association with me, you know that. It'll be different at Hogwarts, though. Protection spells and all that, yeah?"
Anne laughed, "No monsters? How will you spend your free time?"
Chuckling, Grace said, "I'll probably still have to do my job, you know? Probably have to leave to fight and that."
Stopping her laughing, Anne touched Grace's arm. "So you're finally going to meet the people you've been having visions about. Are you nervous?"
Grace looked at Anne thoughtfully. "Nah, I should be fine. The visions are all jumbled anyway. The only clear thing I can see is how some of these people die, anyway. Gretchen said that things would become clearer as I go along—"
"-Was that before or after she gave you that." Anne cut her off, looking pointedly at the scar on her mouth.
Subconsciously she brought her hand up to cover it. Grace was very insecure about her scars, particularly that scar, although Anne once said that she should show her battle scars proudly because they would show her victories and remind her of their failures. "She wasn't always like that, she was good once...before she snapped."
Gretchen was a seer who had become blind as a child. She had helped Grace understand some of the visions she was seeing and made her understand that they were unchangeable as what she was seeing was a person's fate. Eventually, she became overcome with the pressure of knowing peoples' inevitable fates and lost her mind. Grace feared that something similar would happen to her. One night, Grace had gone to Gretchen after a particularly disturbing vision. Before she even had time to react, Gretchen had slashed her across the mouth with a blade, pinning her up against a wall. What she said would stay with Grace forever.
"Your words will truly be your downfall. May this forever be a reminder of that."
September 1st, 1976
Grace waded through the assortment of first-year bodies, her lips firmly pressed together. As she had never been forced to be around so many creatures at once that weren't trying to kill her, the sea of children caused a sudden onset of claustrophobia. Her uneasiness was soon accompanied by a wave on nausea as she struggled to escape the crowd. So close to her escape, Grace felt a bit scandalized by the group of girls blocking her exit as they chattered happily between themselves. They needed to move. Grace gently picked up one girl with intention to move her, when Minerva McGonagall appeared from behind one of the large doors of the Great Hall.
Grace had frozen, unsure what to do with the terrified girl she held out in front of her. She watched McGonagall falter in her stride, taking in the sight before her. Embarrassed, Grace noticed McGonagall's mouth fall open slightly, looking taken aback as she attempted to regain her composure. Grace wished, then, that she had simply asked the girl to make room for her to pass. That ship had sailed.
"Miss Potter," McGonagall began, her authoritative voice laced with worry. "What are you doing to that first year?"
Paralyzed in her moment of hesitation, Grace felt her mouth become dry. She looked from McGonagall to the girl and back again. Finally, she swallowed forcing her tongue around in her mouth in an attempt to moisten it, she suggested, "Making friends?"
McGonagall shook her head slightly. "Please put her down, Miss Potter," she snapped. "We do not manhandle other students, here."
Grace nodded and slowly, allowing the girl to drop back to the ground, released her. As her feet touched the floor, the girl recoiled away from Grace as if she were going to harm her.
Frowning, Grace opened her mouth to apologize to the girl but was cut short by McGonagall clearing her throat.
"Move along now," McGonagall said sharply. "The Sorting Ceremony is about to start."
The doors of the Great Hall opened, revealing an abundance of students burbling amongst themselves, taking a mild interest as the first years filed in. Grace stepped through the threshold and silenced the hall for a moment before she became the subject interest for fresh conversations.
She felt a pull inside her, causing her belly to flip. Grace turned her head sharply as she walked slowly and the found the eyes that were boring into her. She inhaled and suddenly could smell him. Her breath heaved as she continued slowly forward, never taking her eyes off him. He was thin, with sandy colored hair, and golden eyes. He was a werewolf, she knew instantly, and he was her werewolf. He was the werewolf that she had been waiting for, her Servator, she could feel it. He could feel it too, she knew, the wolf inside the boy.
Suddenly, the lower half of her body collided with something very solid, nearly causing her to lose her balance. She looked down at the first year who glared back up at her as he stood with the rest of the group. Grace frowned and apologized softly before looking back over to the werewolf. He had become engulfed in a heated discussion with three other boys, stealing glances at her.
"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," McGonagall said. "Since we have a transfer student, we shall start with her, and then proceed in alphabetical order. Potter, Grace."
Grace stepped forward, aware of the stares from the other students. She had seen her brother in the visions she had, but most were vague, and began to wonder what he would be like. What was his reputation? Which House is he in? Would he like her?
Her attention floated briefly back over to the werewolf as she sat on the stool. All four boys' attentions were on her and now able to see their faces, she knew who they were. She had seen these boys, she had seen vague triumphs, failures and otherwise—and she had seen their downfalls. One of these boys, the one with the messy hair and hazel eyes, was her brother. She smiled at them and felt the hat meet her head gently.
"Trucido," the hat whispered in her head. "I haven't sorted one of your kind in-"
A burning sensation rippled across her ribcage and along her back. Grace felt her skin tear and she gasped. The scorching continued growing in intensity and Grace grasped at her robes, feeling the two images appear, puckering her skin as if she was being branded. She felt more on her lower back. Her face was screwed up as the pain intensified and she touched one of the incomplete images. The contact instantly sent a searing pain throughout her entire body. She folded herself forward, losing balance and crashed to the ground with the stool. The Sorting Hat flew from her head. She screamed and her world turned black.
She could smell him.
He smelled of books and chocolate-chip cookies. He smelled of burning wood, a musky, smoky scent. He smelled of fresh-cut grass in the wake of a rain shower. He smelled of the earth, of loamy dirt, the kind that falls from your hands and trickles to the ground like a waterfall as it descends from a rocky cliff. He smelled of moss and tree bark. He smelled of warmth. She remembered that smell from somewhere....
Grace inhaled deeply, vaguely aware of the pain of her body and the soft surface she was resting upon. Slowly, she allowed her eyes to flutter open. She peered up at the white ceiling, confused. She inhaled again, taking in his scent, and pushed herself up to sitting, gasping as she felt the pain that reminded her of the injury to her torso.
She wrapped her arms around herself and looked around for the werewolf. She was alone. She inhaled again, and she could still smell him. Grace frowned and observed her surroundings; there were many beds, all were empty and all were white. She must be in the Hospital Wing. She brought her head down to her chest and breathed deeply.
He had carried her here.
That was why she could smell him. His scent was on her.
Grace smiled and swung her legs off the side of the bed, her smile turning into a grimace. She had to find him, to talk to him. She was vaguely worried about his reaction when she would tell him about their connection, but, according to her book, he would feel the connection as well. Only, Grace was deterred slightly, as the book also said that her Servator would most likely be her true love. That was not the case. Grace loved this werewolf, she knew, but she also knew that she would never fall in love with him. Or, at least, she was never supposed to fall in love with him. Her visions had shown him meeting his true love many years from now, but she had only hoped that they had been muddled. It would have saved her a lot of looking that she was sure she would have to continue to do.
The voice ripped Grace from her thoughts and she looked about sharply. She gasped as two heads appeared, floating in the air.
"The fuck?" she spat, standing quickly, attempting to ignore the pain that gripped her.
One of the boys laughed, the one with long shaggy hair and grey eyes. The one that would fall through the Veil. "Sorry," he apologized, and the rest of their bodies appeared.
The other boy, the one she knew to be her brother, was holding a shimmering cloak in his hands.
"Invisibility cloak," James offered. "Brilliant, yeah?"
"Yeah," Grace breathed, lowering herself to sit on the bed again. "That explains some things," she muttered, reflecting on some of her visions.
"What was that?" the grey-eyed boy asked, tilting his head to the side.
Grace shook her head. "Nothing," she said. "What are you two doing here? And why the fuck are you invisible?"
James smiled, "Well, since your last name is Potter...well, I can only assume that you're the twin sister that my parents have told me about...."
"And we're invisible," the other boy chimed in, "because dear Poppy doesn't exactly like visitors this late."
Grace smiled lightly. "You're my brother, then?"
"I've been waiting a very long time to meet you," she said, a bubbling joyousness feeling beginning to eat away at her stomach.
He grinned at her in return. "So have I. I mean, I never thought I actually would. Mum and Dad, they don't like to talk about you much. Only that you had to leave."
Grace regarded the two boys standing before her before carefully asking, "And did our parents tell you why, exactly, it was that I had to leave?"
James nodded. "Kind of, they said that you are some kind of monster killer...or something. They said you had to leave because of the danger-"
"-You mustn't tell anyone," Grace demanded quietly, eyeing her brother. "Nor you," she finished as she addressed the other boy.
The boys exchanged looks before James asked, "Why?"
Grace sighed. "It's really not a big deal. I just don't want to have to explain things to everybody."
"Fair enough," the grey-eyed boy said with a grin.
"So...what have you been doing?" James asked, shifting his weight oddly. "And what happened in the Great Hall back there?"
"Well...," Grace began, unsure where to start. "It's actually a bit of a long story, so maybe we should wait until we're somewhere...else? I promise that we will talk but, listen, I need your help." She paused, looking from James to the other boy who returned her gaze curiously. "I need to speak with your friend...t-the tall, thin one. The one with brown eyes."
"Moony...?" the boy with grey eyes whispered to James.
Grace started. "Moony?" she gasped. "You know then? Here, take me to him." She stood gingerly, looking down at her body which was shrouded in a white hospital gown. "Do you know where my clothes are? A-and my book, I had a book on me before my...incident."
James held up his hands, shaking his head. "What do you want with Remus?" he asked firmly.
"And what do you think we know, exactly?"
Grace smiled, breathing excitedly. "Well you called him Moony, which means you must know that-" she stopped for a moment, bringing her hand up to the scar on her mouth and she faltered. "Unless you don't know...in which case...I've said too much. Look, if you could just bring me to him-"
"What do you think you know?" James demanded, his voice raising in volume slightly.
The other boy licked his lips and asked in a lower voice, "What do you want with him?"
Frowning, her brows furrowing, Grace sighed. "Listen, if you could please just trust me-"
"We don't even know you," James said slowly.
"I am your sister."
"And I have a brother, but it doesn't mean he can be trusted," the other boy confirmed.
"Listen to me, I know, okay. And if you know, then you know what I know. He's not a demon, for fuck's sake; I'm not going to harm him."
James shook his head. "Look, that's just a nickname. We all have nicknames. Sirius, here, his is Padfoot. Mine is Prongs, and our friend Peter's is Wormtail. They don't mean anything." He smirked oddly.
The visions of the werewolf, running and playing with animals came to her mind. It was always the same three animals: a dog, a stag, and a rat. They were curious animals for a werewolf to run with.
'Those nicknames,' Grace thought. It hit her all at once. They were animagi and they knew Remus' secret. Their silly nicknames gave it away; perhaps they should be careful with whom they disclosed that information.
"Sirius," she began, slowly, "James, I know. It all makes sense now. Remus is a" -Grace glanced around her, ensuring herself that there was nobody around to listen to their conversation, and lowered her voice- "werewolf and you all became animagi so that you could...." She trailed off, glancing at the wands that the boys were quick to brandish. "So that you could keep him company?" Grace smiled, feeling a tug at her heart. These boys were closer friends then she had thought.
"What is the meaning of this?" Madam Pomfrey interjected, entering the ward. "Miss Potter, why in the name of Merlin are you out of bed? As for you Mister Potter and Mister Black, you two should be ashamed of yourselves...aiming your wands at an injured student-"
"-Please, Madam Pomfrey," Grace began mildly. She had the habit of speaking too quickly, before she had time to formulate her thoughts. She would need to choose her word very carefully in order to reach her ultimate wants. "I expect Professor Dumbledore told you about what I am?" She waited for the nurse to nod expectantly. "Well, then you must understand that my magic doesn't exactly work the same way as the rest of the students. My brother and Sirius, well, they were just demonstrating for me...how they use magic. I don't have a wand and was curious on how one works."
Madam Pomfrey seemed to puff up physically. "Well, that certainly could have waited until the morning. What are the two of you even doing here? It's nearly midnight and Miss Potter needs her rest!"
"Poppy," Sirius began, flashing her a toothy smile. "Jamesie here just wanted to meet his sister, and I of course am here for moral support, surely you can understand?" he finished, quirking an eyebrow.
Huffing, Madam Pomfrey put her hands on her hips, her face reddening slightly. "Mister Black! It is time for you and Mister Potter to leave, Miss Potter needs her rest and—"
"With all due respect, Madam Pomfrey," Grace began, carefully. "I have important matters to attend to involving my...occupation...and I must leave. Could you possibly tell me what House I belong to so that I may get my things?"
"B-but Miss Potter, you are not fully healed yet—"
"-I can assure you I am," Grace lied. "Because of what I am, I have special regenerative properties in my blood. I am fully healed. And, as I am sure Dumbledore has also told you, that my job is a very important one and can be halted for nothing."
Grace felt a bit of regret for lying, but it was imperative that she speak to Remus. Beside, it wasn't all a lie. She did have regenerative properties, and her job was extremely important, but she was not fully healed and did not have a mission to do at the moment. She would, however heal in a matter of hours, she was sure. She watched as the nurse pursed her lips in consideration.
"Fine," Pomfrey sighed, sounding a bit defeated. "But I don't like this one bit, I'll have you know!"
Grace smiled and asked, "What happened to me anyway?"
"You will have to speak to Professor Dumbledore in the morning," Pomfrey said. "For now, have Black and Potter take you back to the Gryffindor tower. There's a room for you there."
"So," James said, finally after having walked for several long moments in silence alongside Grace and Sirius. "Who told you?"
Considering his question carefully, Grace said quietly, "Nobody told me. I can kind of see things, some things. It's very spotty. I'd been having visions of a werewolf running with a rat, a large dog, and a stag. When I saw Remus, I knew he was the werewolf—"
"Shush," Sirius hissed. "Don't talk about these things in the middle of the corridors!"
It was already after midnight, and Grace suspected that there wouldn't be anybody around to hear her, but ignored the matter anyway. She stepped onto a staircase and continued, "-and when I heard all of your nicknames, well, I kind of just figured it out from there."
"Wait, how did you know it was him?" James asked.
Grace sighed, "Well you already know I'm an Everto Trucido, a demon slayer. We have a special connection with werewolves, by best friend from the institution I was attending is a werewolf, her name's Anne. She gave me this—" Grace held her arm out in front of her, showing off her bracelet. She had only two charms, a moon and a wand. "Well, the moon charm anyway. Albus gave me the wand...."
"She's on a first-name basis with Dumbledore?" Sirius mused. "Most people have the courtesy to call him Professor Dumbledore, here...."
James seemed to ignore this. "So, you could sense Moony?"
Nodding, Grace smiled. "Yes," she sighed, "but there's much more to it than that. Remus is special...but I can explain inside, looks like we're here." She stopped in front of the portrait.
"You've been to the castle before?" Sirius asked, realization dawning on him that neither he nor James had actually led her here.
"Mhm, a few times. Now, c'mon." She tugged at his arm eagerly.
Grace's heart fluttered in her chest as they reached to door to the boy's dorm. Remus' scent ambushed her senses as they had neared, but was most overpowering now as James slowly turned the door handle and pushed open the door.
"Wont we wake everyone?" Grace asked in a whisper.
Sirius laughed, "Just the four of us in here, special circumstances, I'm sure you understand, eh love?"
The door was closed behind her and James raised the lights, shouting "Up and at 'em, mates! We've got ourselves a visitor!"
A short slightly pudgy boy threw back the hangings on his bed and squinted out into the light. Grace inhaled. This was Peter, then. This was the boy who was going to betray his friends. This was the boy who would be the death of her brother and his future wife.
"Hello," he yawned, stepping out of his bed, his striped pajamas clashing with the room's decor.
Grace swallowed. She needed to maintain her composure. This Peter was still good. This wasn't the same Peter who was riddled with cowardice. She needed to remember just that because, if she didn't, she feared she would be motivated to intervene with fate. She smiled awkwardly and nodded to him in response, hoping that would come across friendly enough.
"Moony," Sirius said in a sing-song voice, pulling open the curtains around the werewolf's bed. "There's someone here to talk to you."
Grace watched for a moment as Remus inhaled. She knew he could smell her. After only a few seconds, Remus was standing, staring at her wildly.
"What is she doing here?" he asked in a low, soft voice.
Before anyone had been able to respond to his question, Grace had lost control of herself and found herself wrapping her arms around the boy in a warm embrace. Her wounds screamed at her under the sudden pressure of another body, but she ignored them. "I have waited so long to meet you!" she whispered, inhaling his scent deeply. She could feel him doing the same to her, smelling her. She realized that he was probably very confused. The wolf inside him was yearning for her and the boy didn't know why.
She tilted her head back to look into his eyes, the wolf peering through back at her.
"What are you doing?" he asked shakily. "Who are you?"
Grace smiled at him. "I suppose I have quite a bit of explaining to do...."
"And, hello, we are still in the room, you know," Sirius said indignantly, standing next to James and Peter.
Reluctantly letting go, Grace turned around to face the other three boys in the room. "Well," she said. "Maybe you all should take a seat, it's a bit of a long story...."
AN: Hope you enjoyed! If you've got the time, I would love to hear what you think!
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