1) This is technically both an HP fanfiction, and a fanfiction of my own novelette collection, Nights of Blood and Fire. NoBaF is actually a original fiction revision of my fic Werewolves of London, of which She-Wolves is an AU Spin-off.
2) This story will contain themes such as, and not limited to, possessive behavior, violence, blood-letting, smut, psychological trauma.
3) For those who read Werewolves of London before it was pulled: While background circumstances and some character dynamics are the same, the events in WoL have no bearing on the story that will unfold in She-Wolves.
* Orias Mulciber is my take on the canon character of Mulciber.
Fancasting: Jason Momoa as Fenrir Greyback, Chris Hemsworth as Thorfinn Rowle, Brock O'Hurn as Orias Mulciber, Stephanie Bertram Rose as Lavender Brown.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit from this story.
Hermione scratched at the crescent-shaped wound on her side before she could stop herself. She slapped her fingers away with her other hand and shook her head.
Chestnut eyes wide, she glanced about the Forbidden Forest as she straightened her shirt. The last thing she needed would be for her thoughtless fidgeting to expose her still-healing bite mark to any of the other witches and wizards helping scour the woods for survivors—or worse, bodies.
In the days following the Battle of Hogwarts, a number of combatants on both sides were still unaccounted for. She was more than aware that Fenrir Greyback was on that list. Hell, that was why she volunteered to help. She thought it only by the grace of the Powers That Be that she'd not changed with the full moon that immediately followed the Battle—perhaps the bite was too fresh to affect her body, just yet.
Not that skulking through the woods, searching for a werewolf just a day after the full moon had passed seemed particularly smart, but in a way, she kept hoping she'd trip over him. Not . . . alive, not dead, but in some terribly wounded limbo, so she might have the pleasure of snuffing out his life . . . .
Hermione set her jaw, huffing out a breath as she once more shook her head at herself. Okay, so it was probably safe to say her condition was not bringing out the best in her.
A scent tickled across her nose, then. She shot her hand up to face in a shielding motion at the way it felt like it singed her nostrils. Not even a smell, really, more of a sensation . . . it sent images of blood an fire through her head, and she just knew.
Someone close by shared her condition. And she needed to find them before anyone else did, in case they were anyone of a mind to out her as a soon-to-be werewolf.
She turned her head, trying to catch the direction. . . . There . . . . With another glance around, assuring herself no one was near enough to notice if her actions seemed suspicious, she took off.
Hermione tried not to worry that she was entering a thicker bit of forest. After all, despite that she bore this bite mark for just shy of a week, she could already tell she felt a bit more at home among this magic-tinged swath of nature than she had before the War. Nothing here was frightening to her, anymore.
But still, she held her wand at the ready as she approached the dense cluster of foliage nearly concealed by a tight, if slightly offset, ring of trees.
The closer she got—creeping forward on silent footfalls—the more certain she was that she could hear the person breathing. Shallow and shuddering. Yet, it was an oddly steady sound, as though, rather than struggling to breathe, this was simply how they breathed.
They were wounded . . . .
Hermione ducked into the ring of trees to kneel before the foliage. She was careful as she reached out, pushing some of the leaves back with one hand, while keeping her wand raised with the other.
She nearly dropped the weapon as she met a pair of familiar blue eyes. Impossibly wide, those eyes seemed nearly incapable of blinking as the lips of this face she recognized trembled.
Feeling herself fall into a sitting position as her wand hand dropped, she could only stare at the witch she'd discovered.
The blonde girl turned her heard, wincing at the motion, as she looked around before she asked, "You're Her—You're Hermione, aren't you?"
"What? Yes, of course, I am! Lavender, what—?" She cut herself off as she remembered, she'd been the one to blast Fenrir away from her, in mid-act of mauling Lavender Brown's throat.
She'd just seen the other witch's pained expression as she moved her head. Lowering her gaze to the blonde's neck—obscured by a messy, tangled spill of locks—she reached out a tentative hand.
Lavender did not move as Hermione pushed her hair out of the way. At the sight of the ruined skin, marred beyond Hermione's own—comparatively neat—bite mark, yet still clearly healing, Hermione shuddered.
Had she done this? Was this jagged work her fault?
Lavender surprised her, then, reaching to clasp Hermione's hand between both of her own. "I don't remember—don't remember what happened, but don't blame yourself, please—please? It wasn't your—your fault, he was always going to do this to me."
Hermione's brow furrowed, tears welling in her eyes as she listened to the other woman's rasping voice. But . . . something was her fault, that was for certain. Fenrir had bitten her—unlike Hermione, he'd attacked Lavender with the intent to kill her.
Lavender's very presence felt different; Hermione could tell something had changed. Her memory loss and her speech impediment . . . .
Hermione let out a shuddering breath of her own, now. "But it is! If I hadn't ripped him away, if I'd done anything else to get him away from you, maybe you wouldn't be like this!" It was painfully clear the girl had suffered some oxygen loss to the brain . . . perhaps she'd even died for a few moments, before the magic of the lycanthropy curse brought her back.
That made Lavender her responsibility, didn't it?
"What do you remember?"
Lavender darted her gaze about, seeming confused. "I remember—remember you, and him." She paused to chew her bottom lip as she tried to think harder. "Nothing. I'm—I'm sleepy, now."
Hermione arched a brow. That was certainly a non-sequitur line of thought. Though, she was relatively sure by him, Lavender meant Fenrir.
"I've got to get you out of here," Hermione said with a shake of her head.
Lavender's very weary eyes brightened a little at that. "Okay. He's not here—not here, anyway."
Hermione stopped, mid-motion, as she crawled into the swath of foliage. Continuing on to sit beside Lavender, she looped an arm around the other witch's shoulders. If she was going to Apparate them away from the Forest so she could find someplace to hide Lavender for a while, she didn't want anyone to see her do it.
After all, if they found Lavender, they'd have to examine her. If they examined her, they'd learn she was bitten. No. In her condition, she might not survive the rough, careless treatment known werewolves received. Hermione couldn't let that happen to her.
"You mean Fenrir?" Hermione asked to clarify. "You were searching for him?"
Lavender nodded . . . then rolled her eyes at herself as it made her wince, again.
"He's the one who bit—who bit us, and I'll not be able to survive on my own long."
Biting her lip, Hermione held in a sorrowful sigh. "You're looking for a protector."
It appeared as though Lavender started to nod, before she stopped herself and simply said, "Yes."
"Well . . . ." Hermione sniffled and gave a determined nod. "Now you've got one. Hang on, I'm going to try to move us a little at a time, so I don't make your injuries worse, okay?"
Slipping her arms around Hermione without a word of question, Lavender ducked her head down against the other witch's shoulder. Hermione didn't know if it hurt, or simply confused her, that Lavender could barely remember anything, yet trusted her so completely, already.
That had been two weeks ago.
They still had a long, looming fortnight to go before the full moon. While Hermione had a plan in place for how to prevent the two of them from hurting anyone while they were going through their first shift, they were not the problem.
Hermione learned, rather fast, that though Lavender had lost her memory—and, indeed, any trace of her old, shallow self—she had developed a rather peculiar sixth sense. Hermione wasn't one much for divination of any sort, but Lavender's predictions could prove to be quite uncanny.
Of course, when they were so cryptic Hermione couldn't make heads or tails of the other witch's message, her frustration with the entire thing had her holding her tongue so she didn't lash out and call rubbish on the matter.
She stood at the window of their room in the rundown little Muggle motel they were holed up in. Yes, they could've gotten a room at the Leaky Cauldron, right across the bloody street, but if anyone glimpsed Lavender there, it would be chaos, as she was still considered missing, and Hermione'd learned since that she'd not been the only one to see Fenrir sink his teeth into her during the Battle.
But . . . this was where they needed to be. Lavender insisted that Fenrir was about, somewhere not too far. And that, aside from them, he'd bitten two others during the chaos. Two others, she cautioned, who might not be as careful as the witches planned to be when the moon rose.
Hermione sighed as Lavender stepped up to lean against her, slipping her arms around Hermione's waist to hug her from behind. "I don't—I don't want you to go."
Her shoulders slumping, Hermione frowned. "I've no choice. Look, for the purest pure-blood families, there'd have been no bigger blackspot on their line than a werewolf—"aside from birthing a Squib, or marrying a Muggle-born, of course, but that was beside the point she needed to make—"If I can't get wolfsbane from the apothecary, then Knockturn Alley might be our only chance. It's not exactly a thing you can casually buy alongside your child's school supplies, or something. I'd bet every galleon in the Malfoys' vault that there must've been a place or two there that whipped up potions of it."
As Fenrir was still unaccounted for, what with his reputation for being the most savage werewolf in all of Wizarding Britain, the newly-staffed Ministry had ordered a lockdown on the supply of wolfsbane. The hope was that anyone attempting to purchase the flowers without proper authorization might lead them to bite victims in hiding, or even Fenrir, himself.
Hermione and Lavender were practically climbing the walls from cabin fever, but they could feel themselves getting more short-fused, more . . . unpredictable, and thus dangerous, with every day that passed. If they didn't dose themselves to take the edge off, they might as well go and start living in the woods, now.
Their only real shot, as she had no idea where she might find it growing wild that the Ministry would not be monitoring, was to scour the seedy little shops on Knockturn Alley. The place had been abandoned, entirely, since the War's end. No one set foot there for fear of being linked to the fallen Dark Lord.
"Have you seen something? Will I be in danger if I go?"
When Hermione turned her head to meet Lavender's gaze over her shoulder, she saw a frown she already recognized. The blonde wanted to lie. She never managed—this new version of Lavender Brown didn't like lying—but it warmed Hermione that she was so strongly considering it just to keep her close.
Turning in the other witch's arms, Hermione ducked her head, brushing soft kisses along the scars on Lavender's throat—her typical parting gesture.
"I don't think anything—anything dangerous to you is waiting, but . . . ." Lavender only frowned harder, trying to find a way to explain. The others were out there, close, she could feel it, but Hermione was right, they needed the wolfsbane.
Something waited, but without a way to explain herself clearly, she knew Hermione would stubbornly not wait around to listen, and she could not go with her, either. Hermione would have her hands full with her search, and Lavender was wandless. If anything went wrong, it would fall to Hermione to protect them both without revealing what they were becoming by falling to their feral sides.
Her small shoulders slumping, Lavender cupped Hermione's face in her hands and kissed her. "Be care—be careful."
Hermione snickered. "Always. You get some rest while I'm gone, please?"
Lavender hmphed, but pulled away and retreated to the bed. Just as she worried for Hermione's safety, she knew Hermione worried that not all of the damage done to Lavender's body had healed, yet. She fretted constantly about whether Lavender was sleeping enough, if she was eating well. God forbid a drop of water got on her forehead, the other witch panicked about cold sweats.
Her heart was in the right place, though. Lavender couldn't let strangely-worded turns of phrase like that linger in her mind too long, though, or she started imagining strange things, like people having their heart in the wrong place—like, perhaps in their foot, or something.
"Stubborn—stubborn thing," she muttered, though her tone was warm, and she was aware Hermione heard her perfectly, even as the brunette slipped from the room.
Knockturn Alley had always been a horribly dark and ugly place—twisted and gnarled, and shadows that seemed to warp and shift unnaturally cast everywhere. It was worse at night.
And it was certainly worse after a mere two and a half weeks of disuse.
Hermione was quickly coming to her wit's end with this search. She'd been through at least five different shops that seemed ideal suspects to house a secret stock of wolfsbane potion.
Just as she was about to give up, she found something at shop number six . . . . Not the potion, but a few near-dead potted plants of wolfsbane in a backroom, the locked door of which was no match for Hermione Granger's Alohomora. She'd just have to make the bloody potion, herself.
Shrinking the plants and stashing them in her trusty beaded bag, she just as quickly hurried through the shop to slip back out into Knockturn Alley. As she paused to brush off her hands against the thighs of her jeans, she caught that strange, not-quite scent of blood and fire.
Lifting her head in the direction from which she felt it, she noticed a tall blonde figure in dark robes disappear further down the alley.
Hermione's heart hammered in her chest. "Thorfinn?"
Before she could even stop herself, she was taking off after him.