A/N: *clambers through an open window*
*makes you a lovely cuppa*
*brings the warm beverage to you to enjoy with a nice new chapter*
*pats your head lovingly*
*dives back out the window with more chapters to write*
Fenrir Greyback felt like shit when he dragged his body upright following the change. The Wolfsbane practically poured out of him, the stink of it burning his nose as it bled from his pores like sweat on a muggy day. They'd tripled the dose they'd been giving him in the lead-up to last night's full moon and Fenrir thought they might've finally succeeded in giving him aconite poisoning.
He'd never felt so horrible after a full moon in his entire life.
As such, the sound of footsteps in the corridor leading to his cell had his hackles raised immediately and a feral snarl ripped from his ragged throat. Merlin, he hoped it scared away whichever prick thought it'd be fun to poke the werewolf this morning. When the steps continued, undeterred, Fenrir crouched in the corner, prepared to spring at whoever it was that dared come to torment him when he felt like he was on Death's doorstep.
"Be right out here if you need us," one of the gruff voices of the guards filled the corridor and through the pounding in his head, Fenrir wondered if this was what mortality felt like.
The door to the cell opened without hesitation, suggesting to him that it was probably some Ministry prick, one of the scientists they'd been sending for the sake of trying to study his species and figure out what made him so vicious and so indestructible. Hackles raised, a growl ripping out of his throat, Fenrir sprung the minute the invader stepped through the door as it opened.
And his eyes widened in surprise and then horror when first the Granger girl stepped in, followed quickly by Fenrir's pup. Already mid-leap, he gave a shout of warning and watched the little witch bring her wand up while Lucian tried to step into his path, obviously intent on protecting the witch, and Granger simultaneously attempted to put the boy behind her, trying to move him out of Fenrir's path.
Fenrir landed awkwardly in front of them, twinging his ankle badly as he tried and failed to keep from colliding with the pair. Granger managed to wrap Lucian into her arms, lifting the boy and twisting them both so that her back was to Fenrir, braced for impact. Propelled by unspent momentum, Fenrir barely managed to catch hold of the pair, caging them in his arms and twisting them both as his ankle gave under him and took all three of them to the floor. He bore most of the impact on his rump, rolling to his back with Granger and Lucian bundled in his arms and sprawled across his chest.
"What's going on in there?" the guards demanded though they already shut the door.
Morons. He could've killed them if he hadn't registered their identities in time.
"Fuck," Fenrir grunted as he slammed into the cell wall, hitting his head but preventing the witch and his pup from coming to too much harm.
"Dad?" Lucian asked. "Are you alright?"
"Fucking Artemis, that hurt," Fenrir growled, dazed, his ankle throbbing and his skull feeling split open.
"Lucian, are you hurt, sweetheart?" Granger was asking, already wriggling in his embrace and disentangling the boy, searching him for injuries.
"I'm fine, Mum," the pup assured her. "Dad, are you alright?"
"Are you sure, sweetheart? You didn't hit your head?" Granger fussed and despite the pain ravaging his body, Fenrir was bitterly grateful that the witch was obviously so focused on the boy.
She was still in his lap where he slumped low against the wall, having stood Lucian back on his feet, her hands roaming his small body checking for injuries.
"That was me," Fenrir told the witch.
"What?" Granger asked, still worrying over the kid.
"That hit their head," Fenrir said. "Fucking hell, you're squashing my nuts, girly. Shift over, could you?"
She did, lifting off him and scooting toward Lucian quickly.
"Are you hurt?" she said, crouching next to him. "Lucian, if you're alright, maybe fetch your Father's pants for him, love?"
Lucian didn't move, too busy staring at him in elation and worry and fear and happiness and love and agony.
Fenrir patted the witch's knee when she glanced at the boy impatiently, obviously keenly aware of his nudity after the full moon.
"C'mere, pup," Fenrir grunted at the kid, the wolf in him not caring about human foibles like clothing when he was seeing his kid for the first time in two years.
Lucian didn't wait for a further invite, flinging himself down on Fenrir's chest, his arms wrapping tight around him and squeezing hard.
"Shhh, pup, shhh," Fenrir crooned when the boy clung to him, his body trembling, a low whine coming from deep within him.
Granger put her hands over her mouth, her eyes filling with tears as two years of misery and heartache and missing each other poured out of the boy and his father. Fenrir curled both arms around his son, careful not to squeeze him too tight, knowing yesterday's moon would've left him tired and sore all over.
For a long time, Fenrir simply held the kid while he whined, crying into his chest, clinging to him desperately. It had been so long. Too long. Listening to the pitiful sounds his pup emitted, Fenrir felt wracked with guilt for the first time in his life, remorse flooding him that his actions had landed them in this situation and caused his pup so much pain. His job was supposed to be to protect the boy, not wound him like this.
"It's alright, pup. Shhh," Fenrir murmured, smoothing his hands over his hair and down his back, comforting him quietly even though his head was aching and his ankle might be broken and he was still sweating aconite.
Tears were running down Granger's face as she watched them, her heart in her eyes, and Fenrir winced at her, trying to indicate that though he didn't want to rush the boy, he was in agony.
"I'll get your pants," she whispered, rising quickly and hurrying to the pitiful pile of clothing in the corner, before returning to him. "Oh, Merlin…. Your ankle…"
She stopped on her way back, eyeing the appendage and Fenrir glanced down, noting that it was twisted unnaturally.
"Lucian, sweetheart, your Daddy's hurt, darling. I know you're happy to see him, but I think we should heal him, don't you?"
Lucian jerked back quickly, his eyes red and swollen from crying, his little face horrified.
"Hurt?" he asked hoarsely.
"His ankle, sweetheart," Hermione said, hurrying closer and pulling her wand out, training it on the broken foot and muttering a spell, trying to mend it.
"Spells will just bounce off," Fenrir grunted, nudging Lucian aside a little and wincing as he slid further up the wall into a proper sitting position.
"No, no, there's a spell that works, even on werewolf wounds," Granger muttered. "Oh, what is it? I know it. I read it last week."
"Are you hurt anywhere else, Dad?" Lucian asked, before sniffing loudly. "I smell blood…"
"Blood?" Granger asked worriedly, her head jerking up from where she'd remembered the spell and was in the process of healing his ankle though it itched like hellfire.
Lucian leaned closer, sniffing loudly, before pulling back and covering his nose, his eyes watering again.
"What is that?" the boy choked, coughing as the stink of the aconite pouring out of him.
"Wolfsbane," Fenrir grunted. "Think I cracked my skull open, too."
"It hurts my nose," Lucian whispered, looking horrified.
"Wolfsbane?" Granger asked, moving around him with ease once his ankle was healed – the bone mended though she could do nothing for the swelling.
"Sweating it out," Fenrir answered. "They increased my dose for the full moon."
"By how much?" Granger was frowning. "Lean forward, can you? Let me see your head."
Wincing, Fenrir attempted to lean forward, aching all over, and Lucian rushed to help, the kid lending his strength to pull him forward so that Granger could examine his head. She clicked her tongue and Fenrir could tell that wasn't a good sign, smelling the spike in her anxiety as she examined it.
"You've cracked it," she said. "There's blood. I can heal it, but it might hurt."
"Do it," Fenrir shrugged, unconcerned about a bit of pain after the intensity of the pain associated with the transformation.
She nodded, healing him quickly.
"Fuck," he swore again quietly, the resounding thump of his pulse in his skull driving him mad, his scalp itching as she repaired the fracture in his skull and then knitted the split skin back together with magic.
"Are you all right, Dad?" Lucian asked when Fenrir winced as Granger sat back, frowning.
He mustered a smile for the kid even though he felt like there were a thousand hornets swarming inside his brain, stinging him all over.
"I'm fine, pup. Just fine," Fenrir nodded. "Hell, Pup, you got big."
Lucian looked down at his feet and bit his lip before looking back up at him, his eyes filling with tears.
"Shit, kid, don't cry," he said quietly, pulling the boy back into his arms and cuddling him fiercely when great wailing howls wracked him, sobs rocking his slim frame and wrenching ungodly sounds from his chest.
Granger was crying again, and Fenrir's wolf snarled and howled and paced restlessly, desperate to spare the kid the pain he currently endured. Desperate to find a way free of this cage so he wouldn't have to be without the boy for much longer.
"He needed to see you," Granger offered through her sniffles as she dried her face with the hem of her shirt when there was nothing else to use. "After the transformation…"
"It was the first he spent alone," she elaborated. "At the ministry facility, he was kept in a separate room, but he could still see Ranulf and the others through the glass."
"Where'd you put him?" he grunted.
"In the greenhouse," she admitted. "Just in case. He mentioned that his howls would've drawn the pack."
Lucian's sobs intensified at the mention of the others and Fenrir winced again, clutching the child even tighter when he bit Fenrir's chest, Lucian's claws raking over his shoulders and his arms as his wolf fought to wound him as Fenrir had obviously so wounded his son.
"I'm so sorry, Lucian," Fenrir muttered into his hair. "I miss you every day, son. Every day. They're keeping me drugged up and chained so I can't get free, but don't think for a second that I don't miss you or that I don't want you, boy. You're my son. My blood. My pack. I love you. Don't ever forget it."
Lucian sobbed harder, outright howling now and the guards opened the door, obviously alarmed for Granger's safety. They winced when they saw the state he was in while the child cried. Fenrir wondered viciously if they'd ever been faced with the agony of a child like this before. Not many dared to bring a kid to Azkaban prison to visit a parent. Maybe these dumb cunts would go home and feel guilty that they rendered such agony in an innocent child. Fenrir had committed the many crimes that had landed him in this place, and Lucian was the innocent bystander hurt by his actions and his incarceration.
More than ever, Fenrir regretted having been caught.
Granger cried quietly, looking helpless as all of Lucian's pain and fear and rage and hurt and sadness and desperation and longing poured from his throat. Fenrir's eyes moved to her as she watched Lucian while the boy cried, and he could see that she'd obviously had a rough night too. Had this strange witch he'd once planned to ravish, and then to devour when he was done, really spent a sleepless night worrying for his son? The dark circles under her eyes and the pain hanging on her face for his boy suggested she had.
She had no cause for it, he mused frowning thoughtfully, never letting up the strength of his embrace for the son in his arms. She had no reason to want to raise his sons. No basis for it. No logic, if he thought about it plainly. She'd be ostracized for it, he was sure. No one in the wizarding world would ever understand lycanthropy in all its glory, and thus, they feared it and shunned it whenever they discovered it. With documented proof of Lucian's special circumstances on Ministry record, she would have a hard time hiding the truth of what she'd allowed into her home.
That he was a werewolf would be bad enough in the eyes of the wizarding world. That Lucian was the result of a mate-bond, more so, given the freakishness of Lucian's half-shift. That this witch was so young – so fresh from war and education – so new to her womanhood and her adulthood, and suddenly playing mother to anyone wouldn't sit well with the dense human creatures she would be forced to associate with. That she'd dared take on both of his sons, and the sons of two other convicted criminals – vicious killers, both – would surely do more damage to her reputation than any one person should reasonably volunteer for. Such things were usually the result of ill-fate and unfortunate circumstances, not voluntary.
And yet, she had done it. Even knowing she might have to come back to this wretched prison every month and snog him for the right to raise his boys, Granger had done it. She'd taken them in, and from the look of agony on her face, she'd opened her heart to their suffering without reserve. His arms were occupied cuddling Lucian while he lost control, this pain overwhelming, but Fenrir felt the strangest urge to reach out and wipe the tears from her cheeks.
It was an unusual urge for him. Tears were a sign of human weakness, most often, and the predator he'd become had little time or use for weakness. And yet, it persisted, this strange need to touch her, to offer her comfort even though her heartache was second-hand and empathetic.
"I had to come," she repeated while he watched her, still clutching Lucian to his chest, in no hurry to let his son go. "He was so insistent…"
Fenrir simply nodded. The yearning for Pack was strong when one spent the first moon alone, and all the more painful for every moon spent without them thereafter.
"He said… that the Pack would come?" Granger whispered, worrying her lower lip with her teeth while she searched his face, looking for something he couldn't offer her.
"Outside the Ministry, he'll have been howling in such a way as to be heard," Fenrir nodded. "If the Pack were within hearing distance, they'll have come."
"I didn't see anyone when I went out to collect him this morning," Granger frowned.
"Doesn't mean they aren't there," he shrugged. "Wolves are wary creatures by nature."
"Should I be worried?" she asked. "If they try to take the boys… I'll be in a good deal of trouble. I would be forced to stop them."
"You wouldn't survive trying if the Pack was determined to take them," Fenrir shook his head at her, smoothing his hands over Lucian's hair, and using his nails to scratch behind the boy's ears, trying to comfort him.
"They can't," she shook her head, frowning heavily.
"They won't," he told her, reaching for her arm where he'd bitten her and tapping it indicatively. "If they try, show them this. They'll stop."
"Why would they stop?"
"Same reason it makes Lucian trust you. I've marked you," he told her, curling his arm back around Lucian and shifting the exhausted boy further up his chest, sitting up a little more, intent on getting to his feet and carrying the boy over to his cot in the corner where they'd be more comfortable.
"Marked me?" she asked, her eyes widening in horror.
Fenrir chuckled darkly when she blushed just a bit.
"Been reading werewolf-themed bodice-rippers, girly?" he smirked.
She shook her head in denial, but he could smell the guilt on her.
"Only means I've bitten you," he said. "Made you part of the Pack. Made you smell a little like me. The mark will indicate to the Pack that you're one of them and that they can trust you. They won't try to take the boys from your care as long as you carry that mark unless I order them otherwise."
"Are you sure?" she worried. "I'll be in big trouble with the Ministry if they go missing."
"I'm sure, girly," he promised quietly, glancing down as Lucian when his sniffling and whimpers evened out into the slow breaths of slumber.
"Do you need me to take him so you can get up?" she offered, reaching for him.
"He'll wake," Fenrir warned.
"He's exhausted, the poor thing," she shook her head, leaning over on her knees and collecting Lucian even though he was all knees and elbows in sleep. Fenrir watched the way she scooped him up so carefully, easing him off Fenrir's chest and cradling him so gently, rocking back slowly onto her heels and rising to her feet despite the boy's weight.
"Huh," he grunted when Lucian didn't wake, but instead snuggled into her shoulder and sighing contentedly in his sleep. "He likes you."
She smiled, evidently pleased at the assessment.
"Maybe pants?" she suggested when Fenrir rose to his feet too, rubbing his aching head and walking a little gingerly on his ankle. "They'd lock you up again for indecency, carrying your boy around in the nude."
"Most parents bathe their pups together, don't they?" he challenged. "Even the human ones?"
"Some," she allowed. "But typically none as old as Lucian."
"Aye, well, he's a werewolf. Nudity means fuck all," he said, but he put his pants on nonetheless, sensing that she was wildly uncomfortable while she did her damnedest to keep her eyes off his junk.
"You want him back?" she offered when he moved over and sat on his cot, leaning against the wall.
He nodded, reaching for the boy and gathering Lucian into his arms when she handed him over unreservedly, obviously trusting him enough to know he'd be decent to his pup, even if he'd never been overly decent to anyone else.
"I wanted to bring Ranulf, too," she said. "Got permission from the Minister to do so… but I thought Lucian needed you more today. He was very insistent to see you when I collected him this morning."
"Rough night, probably," he nodded, smiling at the youngster when he burrowed into his chest and nipped him lightly in his sleep before sinking even deeper into unconsciousness. "It was a bad moon last night, even from here."
"Some are worse than others?" she asked curiously.
Fenrir glanced sideways at her, noting how intrigued she looked, suspecting her brilliant mind would just love to absorb everything and anything he could tell her about life as a werewolf.
"Same as any other shift in the planetary sphere, girly," he told her. "Some moons are better than others. Some half-moons hurt, depending on the alignment of the earth on its axis and how it correlates to the other planets in the galaxy."
"Was there something special about last night?" she asked. "I didn't think there was anything terribly important about the date…?"
Fenrir shrugged. "They don't exactly let me keep a calendar in here," he reminded her.
"Oh," she frowned. "Yesterday was June 24th. I think I read that there was supposed to be a partial full moon lunar eclipse last night, now that I think about it."
"No wonder it was horrid," Fenrir grumbled.
"Do eclipses make the transformation worse?" she asked, frowning at him. "I'd have thought that with the moon partially blocked by the sun, you'd suffer less?"
"Makes it worse," he said. "On a full eclipse, we change when the moon comes out, change back for the brief length of the eclipse, and then change again when the eclipse passes. Double the transformations."
"So a partial full moon?" she asked.
"Partial shift," he shrugged. "No wonder they dosed me triply."
"I'm certain they can't legally be allowed to do that," she frowned at him. "Your lips are blue from the aconite. I think you might actually have aconite poisoning…"
"So do I," he sighed. "It's why I didn't heal when I busted my ankle and my skull just now."
"You could ordinarily heal from those things? Quickly?"
He raised one eyebrow at her.
"Girly, you threw a Killing Curse at me during the final battle up at the school. What do you reckon?"
She looked a little horrified.
"You remember that?"
"Wanted your throat for it before they caught me," he said quietly. "Hurts like fuck when you get hit with one of those. The body actually dies, briefly, but the lycanthropy heals the cells as quickly as they perish. A bit like being electrocuted for you, I'd imagine. Only a thousand times more painful."
"I was protecting a friend," she shrugged. "And you were eating people. You deserved it."
Fenrir supposed she had a point. He'd been at his lowest during the height of the war and had resorted to scare tactics and heinous practices far beyond his usual wretchedness. Humans didn't even taste nice.
"Probably did," he conceded, sighing again and smoothing his hand over Lucian's back.
"Will you tell me about the Pack?" she asked. "Lucian tells me you've another son and a daughter, too?"
"Fillan and Reika," he nodded.
"I've asked for passes for them to visit you too if they should come to call on me," she said quietly. "Kingsley wouldn't give them to me outright without me meeting them first, and he might insist on meeting them himself, but I expect he'll give them to me easily enough."
"Really?" Fenrir asked, his heart soaring with hope at the thought of seeing all of his children.
"Lucian insisted they would come to find him, and that they would want to see you if they can," she nodded.
"They will," he nodded. "If they hear Lucian howling or catch his scent, they will."
"Shall I bring them to see you?" she asked.
"Would you?" he raised an eyebrow. "I imagine the Pack will help themselves to your life if you let them, girly. Fillan's trouble. You let him in your house and you'll have trouble getting him out."
"Yes, that's what I'm afraid of," she admitted quietly. "I've already got my hands full with Lucian, Ranulf, Alrik, and Dmitri. The last thing I need is a headstrong teenager invading my cottage. We haven't the room… Lucian and Ranulf already have to share until I get a free moment to perform some renovations. Not that I could separate them if I tried. Though I suppose given that all four boys have ended up sneaking in and climbing in with me since I took them in, there are technically several empty beds."
"They bunk with you?" he asked, surprised.
"All four every night," she nodded, sighing tiredly and sitting down beside him, leaning against the wall and looking exhausted. Fenrir wondered how worn out she must be that she trusted him so much. Then again, he had his pup dozing on his chest. He could hardly lunge at her.
"Wearing you out, girly?" he grinned, reaching a hand for her and smoothing the backs of his fingers across her cheek.
She didn't even flinch.
"You have no idea," she murmured. "I'm not used to the insanity of toddlers and Lucian's such a help with the younger ones, but he's got his own set of troubles, you know? I can't imagine letting anyone else into the house at all when I'm barely holding it together as it is."
"The Pack could help with that," he told her quietly. "They're a handful, and they live by their own rules, but they're used to caring for Pups. If Janey's still alive, she'll be able to help you with them."
"Rieka's mother?" she confirmed.
"Lucian told you?" he raised an eyebrow.
"A little. He called her Aunt Janey?"
"Pack pups call every adult not their parents Aunt or Uncle."
"Even you?" she asked.
He shook his head.
"They call me Alpha unless I sired them."
"Macho," she rolled her eyes and Fenrir thought about growling at her for the disrespect but sensed she was teasing him.
"You would really bring them here?" he asked.
"Your children?" she confirmed. "Yes. I don't see why not. Being incarcerated doesn't actually prevent Azkaban inmates from receiving visitors, or post for that matter. It's just not widely advertised and when the Dementors were guarding this place, no one was going to volunteer, were they?"
"They'll drive you mental, girly," he told her seriously. "Pack's a grumpy lot. Don't like outsiders. Even with that mark, they'd be suspicious. They'll test you. Especially Fillan. With me locked up, I expect he'll have taken a run at the Alpha title."
"He's not even sixteen," she frowned.
"Werewolf," he shrugged.
"Lucian said something about aging differently as a werewolf?" she nodded, her frown deepening, making her look troubled and world-weary.
"How differently?" she pressed. "He said that Alrik and Ranulf showed a noted difference in development, even though Ranulf is younger, but that being bitten by him helped."
"He's been biting them?" Fenrir asked.
"I've told him not to. It's not good for them. They're only little."
"Good for their development," he disagreed. "Wolves age faster than humans until they reach adulthood. A bit like full-bloods, you know. The process is sped up until they're of an age, build, and cleverness to protect themselves. Lucian could probably survive on his own if he had to."
"He doesn't have to," she said.
"If he was with the Pack, he'd be expected to run and hunt and kill for his dinner," Fenrir shrugged. "He might try it now that he's not locked in a Ministry cell, especially if the Pack visit."
"I am perfectly able to buy enough food for him," she huffed.
"Can't fight nature, girly," he said.
"So I should be wary of Fillan, is what you're saying?"
"Probably," he shrugged. "Did most of his developing during the bad years and the war. Hasn't had me there to savage him and keep him in line. And he's young. Powerful. Cocky. He'll give you trouble."
"That's the last thing I need," she grumbled.
"Probably behave if you tell him you'll help him come and visit me," he suggested.
"That won't work for long after I bring him the first time," she sighed.
"Might be out of here before you need to bring him a second."
"With Wolfsbane poisoning?" she frowned.
"It'll pass," he said. "They've got to keep upping the dose because I keep metabolizing it. Soon they'll have to stop or kill me. Building up an immunity, see?"
"And when it no longer works?" she asked, looking sideways at him. "Last week you said it might be more than a year."
"Still might be," he nodded.
"You don't imagine Fillan would want to see you more than once in the next twelve months?"
Fenrir smirked crookedly.
"Don't imagine so," he shook his head. "He'll have grown wild with no alpha to pull him into line. He'll come in here and try that cocky youngster bullshit with me and I'll have to savage it out of him. He won't want to come back for a while after that."
"You would savage your own son?" she scowled at him and blimey, this little witch really was something, ready to defend another one of his sons from the world and even from Fenrir himself if he had to.
"You're screwed, girly," he chuckled, grinning at her. "If I was you, I'd get a move on renovating that cottage. You're ready to put yourself between me and a kid you haven't even met yet. You might as well roll out the welcome mat for him."
"He's a boy," she huffed, crossing her arms defensively.
"He's a werewolf," he corrected her.
"Like that really matters, at the end of the day," she rolled her eyes. "If you're just going to hurt him, I won't bring him."
"Won't hurt him if he doesn't try and pull rank on me," he shrugged. "We're wolves, Granger. It's the way of the Pack for youngsters to challenge their elders and fight for their place."
"Well, I'm not a wolf," she retorted. "And if you think I'm going to let you savage someone for being a little cocky and arrogant, you had better just think again."
Fenrir laughed darkly.
"We'll see," he smirked. "But you pull rank with him like you're trying with me and maybe I won't have to pull him into line."
She huffed, scowling at his amusement and obviously displeased.
"Should I be worried about the others?" she asked. "Janey and Rieka and whoever else you have in your pack?"
Fenrir tapped the bite on her arm again, shaking his head.
"If they ignore this?" she challenged. "If there's some other Alpha in your absence?"
"Won't be," he shook his head. "Except Fillan."
"There are none you might've turned during the war who would take over in your stead?"
"Plenty who could," he shrugged. "None who'd dare."
"Why not?" she challenged. "You're locked up."
"Won't be for much longer."
"You have been for over two years, Greyback," she reminded him. "And you anticipate a third. Why shouldn't someone else step into your shoes after such an extended absence? Someone has to lead them, don't they? That is the nature of wolf packs."
"Fillan will have done it."
"Fillan's a teenager who's barely cut his teeth," she argued.
"Anyone else who dared will die in my jaws," he threatened darkly.
"That may very well be, but as you don't plan to be free for a while yet, what am I to do in the meantime if someone has dared, and they try and take the boys?"
"Kill them," he shrugged.
"I'm not a murderer."
"Bullshit," he scoffed. "Caught a Killing curse from you myself, Granger. You're a killer. Nearly killed me with that spell, and I'm hard to kill."
"You got up and walked away," she shook her head.
"Aye, but I'm old, and I'm tough," he admitted. "Age brings power, girly. And I'm older than I look. Taking the life of other wolves brings more power, and I've taken many."
"Meaning?" she narrowed her eyes on him.
"Meaning that unless they're older and tougher than me, you could probably take them out with one of your killing curses," he shrugged. "In those with no pack to draw on and no strength built up through years of fighting and killing to survive, death can still come easy."
"Is that why Remus succumbed to the curse and you walked away?" she frowned.
"Lupin rejected his wolf and the lycanthropic way of life right from the off," he shrugged. "Made do with that make-shift pack of humans he befriended in his youth, but they were picked off one by one and he was left alone. Lone wolves are tough, sometimes, and he was in his way. But without anything to fight for, he had no hope of surviving a killing curse."
"He had a son to fight for," Hermione frowned.
"Lupin's got a pup?" he frowned in return, shocked to hear it.
"Teddy," she nodded.
"With that weird witch? The shape-shifter?"
"Metamorphagus," she corrected.
"He a wolf? The boy?" Fenrir asked.
"No," she shook her head. "He's like Ranulf. Born to a werewolf father and human mother. He doesn't shift."
"She wasn't his mate, then?" he asked.
"Tonks?" Granger raised her eyebrows. "I always thought she was."
Fenrir rolled his eyes.
"And anyway, she wasn't a werewolf. They couldn't have had a mate-bond bearing offspring like Lucian without her being a werewolf, too."
"Can have something else," he said quietly. "Still powerful. Still different."
"In what way?" she wanted to know. "Teddy transforms like Tonks did."
"Shape-shifter?" he guessed.
"Metamorphagus," she corrected again.
"Can he do animals, too?"
"Animagi is learned," she sighed.
"Wouldn't be animagi," he shook his head. "Not if they were mates. Have him try it one day. Reckon he can shift to a wolf with no trouble. How old is he?"
"Three," she frowned at him. "Three years olds can't perform animal transfiguration."
"Most can't shape-shift either, but this one can, right?"
"A genetic gift from his mother."
"And he's probably got a few genetic gifts from his father, too," he insisted. "Check it, girly. See what he can do."
"I'm not going to suggest to any three-year-old that he transforms himself into a wolf. What if he gets stuck and can't change back?"
"He would eventually," Fenrir rolled his eyes. "Nothing wrong with going wolf for a while."
She simply shook her head, obviously too tired to argue, but sticking to her guns nonetheless. Fenrir sighed. He could do with a nap if he was being honest. His body still ached with the wolfsbane pouring from his skin and throbbed dully from last night's transformations.
"I should go," she said after they lapsed into silence but for a delicate yawn she tried to cover.
"Can stay if you like," he offered.
She glanced around dubiously.
"Lucian needs his rest," she said tactfully. "At home, in his bed. Not in a prison cell, even if he does get to be with you here."
Fenrir sighed, supposing she had a point. It wouldn't do anyone any good if they all bunked down for a little cat-nap in his cell. She would be dealing with enough bad press as it was, without adding to it with whatever gossip the guards in this shithole might leverage as fuel for the fire.
"I'm sorry to have brought him only to have him be so upset and now sleeping," she offered as she scrubbed her hands over her face before she rose to her feet, looking down at Lucian where he was still cradled in his arms.
"To be expected after a moon night," he shrugged, rising too. "He'll sleep hard for the rest of the day and overnight, probably. You'll have to carry him home."
"That's alright," she smiled, and Fenrir could tell she already loved the pup almost as much as he did. "He had a long night, and a lot of emotional upheavals this morning."
She held her arms out for the boy, prepared to cradle him and carry him home. Fenrir didn't want to let him go. It'd been so long since he'd seen his son that the thought of being apart from him again so soon caused him physical pain, but he knew there was nothing for it. She was right. His prison cell was no place for his son.
Resignedly, he passed the child over to the young witch who had no conceivable cause to want to raise Fenrir's offspring but had resolved herself to do it anyway.
"Oh, before I forget," she said just as she was about to turn away with the boy in her arms. "In my back pocket, I have something for you."
Fenrir quirked an eyebrow.
"Inviting me to put my hands on your arse, girly?" he teased, smirking. "Subtle."
"My hands are full," she rolled her eyes. "But I can keep it and bring it with me next time if you're too chicken…?"
Fenrir laughed, shaking his head and stepping into her, sliding both of his hands into the back pockets of her jeans and squeezing her arse firmly. He heard the cadence of her heart pick up, beating a little faster inside her chest, and she glared at him but he could smell the way her body reacted to the touch.
"All this for me?" he teased before his brow wrinkled and he ducked his head, leaning into her and sniffing the side of her neck. "Smells like it's been for someone else recently, actually. You getting laid, girly?"
"I hardly see how that's any of your business."
"Smells like Potter," he replied and her cheeks flushed crimson.
"Would you just take the photo and release me?" she sighed.
"You rutting Potter now?" he smirked instead, squeezing her arse again, not about to let go when the fleshy globes felt good in his paws, even despite the denim clothing them at present.
"Must you be vulgar?" she scowled at him.
"It's a simple question," he answered.
"Harry and I are… well, that is… He's helping me with the boys and we're both mature adults with human needs and…" she stammered uncertainly.
"You got all hot under the collar after your last visit and needed an outlet, huh girly?" he laughed, pulling her in closer against him despite his son curled in her arms, breathing her in, and squeezing her arse again one more time.
"Greyback," she hissed.
"You did," he grinned. "No shame in it, girly. Better to see to your needs than suffering."
She frowned up at him and he could tell she still thought like a human instead of a wolf. Not surprising, given she wasn't a wolf, but he'd wear her down and make her see things his way.
"Just take the photo, Fenrir," she sighed, obviously not wishing to discuss the matter.
Humans. So fussy about such basic needs.
Rolling his eyes and grinning wolfishly, he caressed her arse for a long minute before turning his hand and retrieving the sliver of paper from her pocket. When he pulled it out and inspected it, his heart clenched inside his chest. It was a picture of his pups.
"This is Ranulf?" he asked hoarsely, staring down at the photograph of Lucian holding a small, dark-haired boy on his lap and grinning toothily for the camera.
"Yes," Granger smiled gently. "This was taken two days ago after I got them all haircuts. I thought you might like to keep it until I can bring Ranulf by to see you."
Fenrir didn't even think about it before he gripped her chin and tipped her head up, his lips crashing down on hers in a show of gratitude. She made a startled sound at the sudden attention but she didn't pull away. Instead, she kissed him back, tentatively at first, and harder when he leaned into the sensation, overwhelmed with gratitude that this tiny witch who had every right to hate him kept going out of her way to do kind things for him that no one not of his Pack had ever done before.