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If you haven’t read the sixth book, please be warned that there will be some not-so-subtle spoilers from this chapter onwards. I love to keep stories within HP canon wherever possible and the sixth book fit with this story so nicely that I’ll admit that I danced a little jig when I read it.

Chapter 25
The Feral One




Remus watched from a hidden spot beyond a wall. He could see the tree from where he was but couldn’t see Tonks. She would be hidden under the invisibility cloak, he gathered astutely. He looked around for something to get her attention and spotted a smooth round rock on the ground. Using a simple levitation spell he aimed his wand and pointed the rock toward the tree that he knew she was perched on. The house was quiet as the rock made its way silently moving toward her.

Tonks meantime, was bored mindless. She couldn’t see a thing going on inside the house. She was only able to hear all that went on thanks to the Weasley twin’s extendable ears. Lucius was being a twit and droning on at Snape about loyalties to the Dark Lord. It was all so very him. He grated on her nerves. She imagined herself hexing the git in several different ways as she watched the empty ballroom at the back of the house.

Suddenly, a rock hit her in the head. “Oy!” she said before she could stop herself. She looked around for the culprit and spotted the brown on brown of Remus’ tattered robe just before it ducked behind a tree in the neighboring garden. She growled under her breath. A simple whisper on the wind spell would have sufficed to get her attention.

Slowly, she drew her cramped body to a standing position and climbed down from the tree. Apparating was out of the question while she was so close to the Malfoy’s house. They could have any number of magic detectors near the house. Lupin may have already set one off with his silly rock.

She tiptoed closer to Remus intent on startling him. He stood with his back against the tree looking strong, calm and casual, as usual. She was determined to startle his composure. A feeling of warmth enveloped her. She’d get him this time.

Just as she was about to reach out to muss up his hair, however, she tripped on the edge of the invisibility cloak and went flying into him with a groan.

“Oops!” she exclaimed.

Remus grabbed at the sound she made and caught her by the waist lifting her into the air to hold her like a bride. Tonk’s heart leaped in surprise as he lifted her. “Got you,” he laughed, carrying her out of sight of the house. “You really ought not to try to sneak up on a werewolf, Tonks.” He set her down on the ground and smiled down at her as she grumpily removed the cloak.

“Sod it, I almost got you that time. My flipping feet are a nuisance.” She cocked her and smiled at him. “What are you doing here, Remus?” she asked. Tonks had always liked working with Remus and had secretly hoped that she’d have been sent with him to Wolvin instead of hanging about at the ridiculous Malfoy’s manor of looney-tunes. She would have loved to stay at the Gray’s house in Wolvin.

“I heard that you were here and came to check on you,” whispered Remus. He rubbed her arm.

Tonks gave him a sly grin. “Couldn’t be because you heard that your lady love was visiting the Malfoy’s, surely?”

He laughed. “Perhaps, yes.” He still held her by the arms, glad to see her happy face. It had been a month, at least. She’d let her hair go to what he guessed was her normal color of a soft brown. “I like your hair, Tonks. You look almost respectable.”

She punched his arm. “Never you mind, my hair.”

“So what’s happening inside, then?”

“Nothing and mostly nothing all day and yesterday.” She rubbed her hand frowning. “I’ve no idea why they’re here. They seem to be waiting for someone but I don’t think that it’s you-know-who that’s coming.” She winked up at Remus’ handsome face. “Felicity has been very quiet listening to Malfoy and Snape blather on about their brave and wonderful muggle free world. If she’s smart, she’s fallen asleep with her eyes open. I don’t know how Sevvie kisses up to that man. He’s slime.”

“We do what we must do for the Order, Tonks,” said Remus seriously. He hated that they must again sacrifice perhaps their lives to stop the maniac that was Voldemort. He looked into Tonk’s young and pretty face and felt sadness for them all. Voldemort shouldn’t have lived, shouldn’t have been able to beat death. It was inconceivable. Impetuously, he kissed her on the forehead and gave her a spontaneous hug. “I wish that you didn’t have to do this, Tonks,” he whispered.

Tonks was taken aback but surprisingly not in an awkward or bad way. Remus was a nice person. Sometimes, he felt things more strongly than the others and he smelt lovely of faint musk and leather. She giggled. “You’re such a sentimentalist, Lupin,” she said. “I can’t imagine Mad Eye ever grabbing me for a hug.”

“Sorry,” said Remus. “I just suddenly realized how young you are, Tonks, and how much danger we’re all in, that’s all.”

She punched him again. “I’m not that young, mister, and you’re not that old. Even if you ARE going a bit gray about the edges.”

They both laughed.




Felicity, meanwhile, was bored to tears listening to Lucius Malfoy as he airily lamented the state of the world from a Death Eater’s point of view. What she’d ever seen in the man stymied her. He was a delusional snob of the worst kind. He was impeccably mannered and handsome, but a cruel and heartless megalomaniac. If he said vile and mudblooded scum together in one more sentence she was going to sprout her dragon wings and shish kabob him with her magic fire.

Severus, for his part, was used to Lucius and his ways. He admired the man. Lucius was everything that Severus had aspired to become but didn’t have the means or the personality. He chanced a glance at Narcissa. She sat next to Felicity on a small sofa next to the fire, a pout on her lips. He wanted to smile but held it back. Narcissa hated Felicity, blamed her for her husband’s infidelity and suspected the liaison between himself and the dragon. It was more than a little titillating to his ego that these two women vied for his affection. He allowed a smug curl of the lip. Malfoy should be as lucky in love as he had been lately.

“What are you thinking, friend?” asked Lucius spotting the change in Snape’s countenance.

“Only that our guests are taking an exceedingly long while to arrive,” said Snape glowering that he’d been caught out in a self-indulgent moment. “Are you sure they’re coming? And, why, pray tell, won’t you tell us who you’re expecting?” It was the third time that he’d asked. Snape hated Malfoy’s coyness.

“You’ve just a little while to wait,” said Lucius indulgently. He was enjoying vexing Snape. The man hated not knowing what was to come. “It does you a world of good not having complete control of your universe at all times, old chum. You really must relax and enjoy your life.”

“I find little to relax about in these unstable times, Malfoy,” sneered Snape.

They sat for another twenty minutes sipping wine and picking at the canapés until finally they heard three loud pops in the foyer.

Narcissa rose nervously and walked out of the now silent room. Felicity, Snape and Lucius waited in silence for the appearance of the new arrivals. They listened to murmurings in the hall and then Narcissa appeared with a woman with dark lank hair and a hard, once pretty face. She led the woman into the room linked to her arm. There were two men behind them.

It took a moment to recognize the face, but Felicity recognized the woman. Bellatrix Lestrange had been with Voldemort when she had escaped from him the first time, years before. She had been a young and inexperienced dragon then. Bella had been a young and pompous beauty. Her flight to Tibet flashed before her. She had turned into a dragon in a panic, scorching Bella with her fire in an effort to flee from the Dark Lord. She smirked at the memory of Bella’s shocked face and singed hair. She had been no giggling witch at a dragon’s fire. The bloody woman probably held grudges as tenaciously as her sister, Narcissa.

“I have so looked forward to meeting you again, dragon,” sneered Bella immediately. She had nodded to Malfoy and glared at Snape, but her true target was Felicity. She left her sister to stand before Felicity, who hadn’t bothered to rise at first but now stood regally. She looked down with disdain at the shorter woman. “You smell of burning charcoal, beast woman.”

“You’ve not changed your manners in all these years, Bella,” said Felicity raising an eyebrow menacingly. “You’re still as rude and presumptuous as ever, I see.” Bella’s robe looked muggle made and she certainly didn’t look the fashionable witch that she remembered. “I see that Azkaban had taken its toll on your looks, as well.”

“You should hold your tongue amongst your betters, dragon,” said Bella coldly.

Felicity was about to answer when she felt a jolt of recognition toward one of the men who had entered the room behind Bella and Narcissa. He stood watching her, knowing that he’d caught her attention. His yellow eyes were hungry and he licked his lips in a bloodthirsty way that made her reel with the danger of him. He was a large man, scruffy, gray haired and feral looking. Her dragon self almost formed instantaneously in defense, the call of him was so overwhelming. He reeked with the putrid smell of one that kills for pleasure and it was all she could do not to change into her full dragon and attack him.

He was werewolf. He was wild and mad as a hatter. She felt it viscerally and whirled away from Bella walking toward the smell of him. Her protective instincts had come alive. Beast to beast, she pushed the other man into a chair and out of the way. She barely even looked at him; she was so fixated on the werewolf. She grabbed the evil man by the neck, turning him around in the air and bringing his arms up behind his back. He howled in protest and tried to wriggle from her grasp but she was the stronger beast. She roared into his ear. “I hear your thoughts, creature,” she said in her dragon voice. It was loud, graveling and eerily mesmerizing. “You will not touch me, nor will I allow you to feast on human flesh. I will burn you alive if you come within ten feet of me or him.”

The wolf howled in anger. “The Dark Lord will kill you.”

“Not before I destroy you,” sneered Felicity. Her dragon’s tongue was beginning to fork, her dragon emerging. “I know that your lord will send you to me first. He never puts himself in danger. You will die.”

“ENOUGH!!!” shouted Snape in the background. Both Felicity and the werewolf turned their heads toward the bellowing sound of his voice. Felicity had nearly changed to her dragon and had forgotten the humans in the room; her instincts to protect had become so strong.

The humans stood with wands raised, all of them. Snape, Malfoy, Narcissa, Bella and the other man stood in a group with Snape at the forefront sneering at her. “Felicity, put him down,” said Snape sternly. He held his wand in an offensive stance, ready to strike her. She blinked, her dragon’s eyes opalescent and her face almost reptilian. Certainly, she no longer looked quite human though she stood on two arms and two legs. It took her a moment to take in what was happening. She held the wolf man in the air. Her lover, her friend, the man she was protecting was about to attack her.

“Felicity, put that man down,” said Snape again. His voice was cold. Felicity felt wounded by it. She was confused.

She pushed the wolf onto the floor but stood over him, her foot holding down his prone body. She was still fearful of his menace.

“Your pet obeys you, Severus,” snipped Bella. “How sweet.” The woman looked very pleased with herself.

“Shut up, Bellatrix,” answered Snape. He watched Felicity. She could feel the shock and repulsion emanating from him.

She felt the pain of rejection wash over her. It was a new and strange emotion. He was rejecting her help, rejecting her love, she repulsed him, and he loathed her. She looked at the humans. Bella looked triumphant, as did Malfoy. They’d planned this. She saw it plainly on their faces. They’d known that this would happen. Narcissa stood behind Snape shivering in fear; he held his free arm protectively in front of her. Severus’ eyes narrowed. “Get out,” he said coldly. “Get out of here, now.”

Her heart broke. She backed away from the cluster of Death Eaters releasing the vile wolf who sprang to his feet to stand with the others. He laughed at her. It was an evil horrible sound.

“I never want to see you again,” said Snape. “Go back to your damned Dumbledore and tell him to send you back to Tibet.” His voice was hard and full of hate.

Felicity shook with a deepening sorrow and dismay at his cold and heartless voice. Her Severus was rejecting her, utterly. She reached out with her mind to him and pleaded but she saw only the horror of her in his mind. He’d not even seen her fully dragon, but he saw that she was not human finally and fully. It sickened him.

She ran from the room hurtling out the door and into the street. He had turned her away and rejected her. Their bond was repugnant to him. She ran into the street. Her flight was like the wounded animal that she was. Dragons are emotional creatures, they exist to love and create harmony and peace for those they love. He hated her. It cut like a knife into her soul. He hated her.

She had run three blocks away before she even realized that she was running. She looked up, the tears still streaming down her face to look at a park before her and walked to the nearest bench. She sat with her head buried in her hands. Her dragon had balled itself up inside her, leaving the human Felicity in a state of confusion. Her misery overwhelmed her and she cried convulsively without even trying to stop the flow. He hated her.




Remus and Tonks had been unaware of the exchange within the Malfoy’s house. They’d been standing behind a tree in the next garden, too far from the house to hear what was happening inside. It had been Tonks who had spotted Felicity racing up the street, seemingly in terror. Her Auror’s instincts had kicked in and she’d run off after her leaving Remus mid-sentence in conversation. He raced after her, not knowing what they were charging for until he spotted the fast moving figure of Felicity ahead of them. He recognized the flapping length of her long braid.

Felicity was too fast for Tonks and had moved farther and farther ahead. Remus, feeling suddenly cloddish and old, trailed behind the two racing women. By the time he caught sight of them, he was panting heavily and still a block away. Tonks was leaning over Felicity sitting on a park bench, speaking to her soothingly.

“Felicity, are you all right?” asked Tonks. She placed a soothing hand on Felicity shoulder. “Did they hurt you?”

Felicity looked up into the face of the young woman. Her heart shaped face and kind eyes were not immediately recognizable in her miserable state of mind but she knew immediately that she was a friend to her. Tonks, her name was Tonks. “He hated me,” she said numbly, still confused. “He told me to go. He doesn’t want my protection.”

“Who did?” asked Tonks.

“Severus,” whispered Felicity. “They planned it. They knew that he would reject me.” Felicity was starting to think more clearly, just as Remus had run up to them. He bent over with his hands on his knees, panting.

“A-Are you all r-right?” he said between breaths.

Her emotions surged at his voice. This man loved her. He’d seen her dragon and loved her still. “I’m okay,” she said quietly.

“What about Snape?” said Tonks urgently. “Does he need our help?”

“No,” said Felicity vacantly. “They separated us on purpose. They brought a feral wolf with them.”

“Who?” asked Tonks. “Who was there?”

“Bella, another man, and the werewolf,” said Felicity. “He was evil and challenged me. I rose out of instinct to protect Severus. They’d planned it. Voldemort had sent them to separate Snape from me. He knew that Severus would react as he did.” Her mind began to think with more impassive reasoning to what had just happened. She shut off her misery of Severus’ rejection by stuffing it into a corner of her mind. She would deal with her pain at another time.

“A werewolf? There was a werewolf with them?” asked Remus. He sat next to her on the bench and brought his arm lovingly around her shoulder. Tonks stood up watching them.

Felicity leaned into Remus for comfort but looked up to Tonks. A look on the young woman’s face alerted her. Tonks was uncomfortable. She was tempted to search within her but refrained. “Are you afraid of werewolves?” she asked Tonks.

Tonks smiled impishly. “Not as far as I can throw them,” she laughed.

“Tonks knows that I’m a werewolf, Felicity,” said Remus quietly. “Tonks and I have worked together frequently. She’s been to Wolvin.”

She did remember. It had been at one of the Order of the Phoenix meetings. When Remus first went to Wolvin, he went with Tonks. Felicity looked from Tonks to Remus and back again. The young woman blushed. “I see,” said Felicity seeing why Tonks had been uncomfortable. She nearly laughed out loud in relief. Tonks liked her Remus. It was written in the woman’s blush. Felicity smiled broadly at the woman who now looked as if she wanted to hide under a rock. Her embarrassment endeared her to Felicity.

“I should probably get back and make sure Snape is still in one piece,” said Tonks.

“No,” answered Felicity. “He may have just rejected my help but I’m still bonded to him. He’s fine. I can feel his relief that I’ve left them.” She looked at Remus. He was oblivious to the girl’s feelings. Human men seemed to be the last to sense such things, even a werewolf human. “Dumbledore should be warned about this new werewolf. He’s a wild thing who kills frequently. I felt an intense danger from him.”

“There’s a two-way mirror at Grimmauld Place,” offered Tonks.

“Let’s go,” said Remus standing up. He wasn’t about to let Felicity go back to Hogwarts just yet. Not now that he had her so near again. The two-way mirror was an excellent idea and if that didn’t work, then one of the paintings in the bedrooms had a connection to Dumbledore’s tower.

“We’ve just time to stop for curry on the way,” he said, remembering his promise to Sirius.

Both women starred at him. “Curry?” They said together.

Remus grinned boyishly. “I promised Padfoot that I’d bring back food. You two fine ladies will be a welcome addition.”

Tonks tilted her head. “Why do I suddenly feel like the pudding?” she said sarcastically.

Felicity laughed gaily. This Tonks was a wonderful woman. She liked her very much.



***************
I’m so sorry to have taken so long to write this chapter. Forgive me. I’ve been stuck in summer school Azkaban. My time has been taken up in writing excruciatingly boring papers and making not so glib presentations. I’ll update more quickly from now on. Cheers, Pru

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