The Lion, the Wolf, and the Wizarding World
A/N: Post HBP fanfiction story written in honor of and with respect for J.K. Rowling's marvelous creation, the Harry Potter series. My gratitude goes to Rowling and her publishers and producers who have brought the Harry Potter stories to life and given people like me universal permission to share our thoughts about them through our own efforts at flattery through imitation. Thank you.
Chapter One: A New Adventure
An unnatural stillness had settled over the small town of Little Whinging in Surry on that Wednesday evening. Leaves did not rustle in the darkness as there was absolutely no wind. A few streetlamps gave off an eerie light, and a few others seemed to have gone out completely, but none of them flickered in the slightest. A small black tabby cat perched itself regally under the street sign that labeled the corner of Magnolia Crescent and Privet Drive, watching unaffectedly as an odd looking silver wolf stared up at the full moon balefully for a moment, and then returned to pacing back and forth among the shadows along a particular block of Privet Drive. A black sedan approached the street corner where the tabby cat stood guard, but parked a few meters before it reached the corner. A door opened at the back and three figures stepped out onto the walk, each surveying the surroundings with an odd distaste coloring their faces. The tabby turned from her observance of the wolf to regard the three newcomers. And they in turn addressed her in kind.
The tallest, a young man with flaming red hair and wearing a long black leather trench coat spoke quietly to the tabby saying, "Don't let Harry catch you hanging out down here, professor. He won't take well to being babysat so."
"Don't be ridiculous, Ron," said the second figure, a young woman with bushy brown hair and an upturned nose. "Harry knows they need to be here."
"Oh, he knows it, Hermione," said the third figure, another young woman, this one with hair as red as the young man's and a spattering of freckles across her nose which were barely visible in the dimmed street light. "But that doesn't mean he likes it. Harry was very clear about wanting to be left alone this summer until his birthday."
"Well it is his birthday today, Ginny," the first young woman replied.
"Yeah, as of twenty seconds ago," said the redheaded young man. "Come on, we'd better get on with it. He'll wonder what's keeping us."
The three young people moved off down the lane toward number four and the tabby watched them go, an irritated spark in her yellow eyes. Shaking her head, she returned her attention to the silver wolf whose muzzle poked out slightly from behind a bush that grew under the open window of number four. The three young people stood upon the doorstep now, just half a meter from the wolf, and the young man raised his left hand to knock. But before he could do so, a sudden wind rushed down the lane, battering windows and knocking over garbage cans. Leaves swirled in the air, taking flight upon the strong wind, and the two young women clutched their heads, holding their hair out of their faces.
"Right, I'd say that's our cue," the young man stated plainly, and instead of knocking, he pulled a long wooden stick from his pocket with his right hand while testing the doorknob with his left. Finding the door locked he pointed the stick at the knob and whispered, "Alohamora." The door clicked and the three young friends entered the house as quietly as they could. The two young women then waited in the foyer while the young man quickly ascended the stairs to the second floor and hurried down the hall to a door adorned with several locks and a small cat flap at the bottom. He shook his head with a sigh and knocked on the door. A shuffling sound indicated someone's presence in the room, but the door did not swing open, and no one spoke. Sighing again exasperatedly, the young man tested this door as well, and finding it unlocked, he entered the room. What he found was enough to take any human being's breath away.
There, sprawled upon the thinly carpeted floor, chained and gagged, white faced and angry looking, his scar standing out bright red upon his forehead was Harry Potter, Ron Weasley's best friend of six years and Chosen One of the Wizarding world. Ron gasped and searched the room for any other occupants. Finding it empty, he stooped to try to unlock the bonds that held Harry's arms and legs away from the center of his body at painful looking angles. Harry's green eyes followed him with a hint of alarm. He shook his head in warning as Ron reached for the shackles on his wand arm first. Noticing this, Ron stopped and gave Harry a questioning look, and was rewarded with a nod toward the corner of the room where the closet stood. Nodding, Ron moved to the corner and opened the closet door, wand trained on the contents within. But he found nothing. He turned to ask Harry another silent question and only saw the first hint of Harry's eyes flashing in warning before a powerful force slammed into his back, leaving him feeling dizzy. He began to fall as a second blast caught him in the shoulder, rendering him unable to cry out as he slammed onto the carpeting next to Harry elbow first. He only hoped the girls downstairs had heard the crash and would have enough sense to get help before coming to see what had happened.
In the foyer below, the two girls whispered softly to one another, entirely unaware of the predicament their male counterparts were in above them. Hermione glanced toward the staircase a time or two, wondering what was taking them so long, but Ginny had assured her they were likely just spending a moment catching up after the long summer. When Ron had been up there for more than half an hour, they both began to fidget, feeling they would be late to their appointed destination if those two didn't hurry it along soon.
"Come on, let's go and get them," Ginny sighed irritably as she placed a foot upon the first step.
"Something feels off, though, Gin," Hermione replied hesitantly. "Harry said he would meet us in the foyer here because he didn't want to wake his relatives. He was anxious to get going, and then that wind. I dunno. Maybe we should ask the professor to come in for a moment, just in case that cousin of his, Dudley, has gone and done something foolish."
"You worry too much, Hermione. Honestly, don't you think the two of us could pin down that foolish muggle cousin of Harry's without a professor around? Really, you've been an adult witch for nearly a year now. We don't need a professor for this."
"Maybe not, but I'm going to tell Lupin what's keeping us at least before we go up."
"Oh fine!" Ginny huffed, and she sat down on the step while Hermione leaned out the front door to speak to the wolf in the bushes for a moment. When she pulled her head back in her hair was tangled and windswept. The two of them ascended the staircase, then, looking for their boys.
As soon as Hermione saw the two of them gagged and bound in chains to the floor, she barred Ginny's way into the room and pulled her along as she raced back down to the foyer. A streak of light caught Ginny in the back as they descended the staircase, causing her to crash into Hermione and the two of them tumbled the rest of the way down. At the bottom, Hermione wrapped protective arms around her friend and reached for the front door. Her hand had barely closed upon the doorknob and turned it when the silver wolf from the bushes leapt in and charged up the staircase. He was followed by a stern looking woman in a long black robe and pointed, wide brimmed hat, and a pink haired woman wearing torn blue jeans and a tight fitting black tee shirt. There was a roar from above as the wolf tore into some unknown foe, and the two women charged up the staircase as well.
Hermione checked Ginny over for wounds, and finding none, quickly revived her with a quiet, "Ennervate."
"What happened," Ginny asked and then winced as she attempted to stand, her right ankle having been twisted a bit in her fall.
"I'm not entirely sure," Hermione whispered in reply, "but it involves chains and gags, and Lupin, McGonagall and Tonks are up there now, trying to sort it out."
"Oh my gosh, Harry," Ginny cried as said boy suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs, chains still trailing from all four limbs and a bloody gash upon his cheek. He had a similarly adorned Ron strung across his shoulders, and the two of them attempted to descend the stairs. Just then, two burly figures appeared behind them, wands raised and angry looks upon their faces.
"Look out," Hermione warned, and both boys turned, catching the full force of the spells sent toward them in their chests. An angry red light illuminated the hallway, and the friends began to tumble down the stairs. Hermione quickly caught them with a levitating spell as Tonks and Professor McGonagall stupefied the pair of Death Eater trespassers from behind. The burly men collapsed in a heap, one on top of the other, and Tonks hurried down the steps to inspect the youngsters.
"Are you four all right? I saw Remus and Minerva rushing into the house and couldn't help abandoning my post to come and help. That wind has most likely thrown the car into the ditch by now anyway."
"We're fine, but I'm not sure what spell hit Harry and Ron. They won't wake with a simple ennervate. Did you hear what spell those thugs cast at them?"
"No, I missed it. Poor Harry is bound to spend his birthday trying to explain this last episode to Madame Pomfrey, I'm afraid. Hold on, let me contact her and see what she can do." Presently, Tonks pulled a small round hand mirror from a back pocket of her jeans while the wolf, a.k.a. Remus Lupin, came down and nuzzled her leg before moving over to inspect the two boys himself. Tonks smiled fondly at the wolf and murmured, "Funny what a well made wolfsbane from a trustworthy potion maker can do, isn't it? That good for nothing Snape and his smelly old concoction had nothing on the twins' version." She returned her attention to the mirror and called out clearly, "Madame Pomfrey," and was promptly rewarded with the face of an old friend, clad in a nurse's bonnet and scowling worriedly.
"What is it Nymphadora?" the face in the mirror asked impatiently. "I've got patients to attend to." Then with a sigh of recognition she added, "Don't tell me, Mr. Potter has need of me once again?"
Tonks frowned at the use of her hated first name, but ignored the annoyance for the moment in favor of the business at hand. "I'm afraid so, Poppy. It seems we were a few seconds too slow on the uptake here and the Death Eaters got in before we did. Harry and Ron Weasley are both unconscious and in need of your expert assistance."
"Well, bring them here, then. I'm afraid I simply cannot leave at the moment. There are just too many injured persons here tonight. Are they stable enough to floo?"
"I think they are. And I'm sorry for your load. This war is really beginning to take a toll on us all, I'm afraid."
"That is the nature of war, though, isn't it," Madame Pomfrey replied curtly. "Well, I expect I'll be seeing you all in a moment then. I'll get a couple of beds ready for the boys. Heaven knows that boy must be getting homesick for this place by now anyway. Seems he just can't stay away for too long, can he?"
Tonks chuckled and bid the face in the mirror farewell before turning to the rest of the group. "Any chance there's a floo set up closer than Mrs. Figg's house? I don't expect these two were the only ones sent here tonight. And has anyone checked on the rest of the family?" The young auror looked around the group and was pleased when Professor McGonagall responded.
"There seems to be no one else here. Perhaps Mr. Potter can tell us where they've gone when he wakes up."
"Dad connected the fireplace there in the sitting room to the floo network three years ago so that we could bring Harry to the Quidditch World Cup, but it was put on inactive status right after since this is a muggle home and all," Ginny informed them as she hobbled over to an armchair to rest her swollen ankle.
"What kind of fireplace is that any way?" McGonagall asked looking over the electrically powered stove that stood in front of a boarded up wall space.
"Oh, not that," Ginny corrected her. "That's some kind of muggle contraption for warming a room. No, the fireplace is behind those boards. Stupid muggles, boarding up perfectly useful fireplaces, honestly!" she finished agitatedly.
"I see, well, I suppose it will have to do," McGonagall said crossly. "I'll have to remove the boards and reactivate the floo. Old Scrimgeour isn't going to thank me for this, I am certain. Well, here goes." She waved her wand significantly, and the pellet stove stepped aside and the wall boards arranged themselves in a neat pile on the floor beside the wall. Another curt wave and the dust cleared away from the newly revealed fireplace. A third quick spell set a magical fire burning there.
Tonks hefted Harry into it, pulled a small cloth bag from another pocket, tossed some green powder from the bag onto Harry and the flames, which had managed to swirl around Harry without causing any damage to his clothing or skin, and called out, "Hogwarts School, hospital wing, Madame Pomfrey's office." In a swirl of dust and smoke, Harry disappeared from view, and Hermione and Ginny dragged a limp Ron over to take his place. The same process was repeated for him, and Ginny and Hermione were next to step into the fire. When they too had been whisked away, the old professor turned to her two remaining companions.
"I suppose we'll have to return in the Ministry car, then. Someone's got to move it, I suppose."
"I would imagine so," Tonks agreed, and the two women and the wolf exited the house through the front door, wands aloft and senses alert for any further disturbance. Tonks levitated the two fallen Death Eaters behind them, and the silver wolf circled back a time of two to peer around at their surroundings suspiciously and to check on the captives' physical states.
"You worry too much, Remus," Tonks said to the wolf. "If someone were going to attack us, they'd have done it by now. They wanted Harry, and he's beyond their reach now. Relax, love."
The wolf almost seemed to smile fondly up at the pink haired auror as he slid his muzzle under her hand and licked at her fingers. Tonks giggled and stroked his fur while the old professor turned the corner ahead of them and promptly disappeared from view. When Tonks and Lupin arrived at the car, the black tabby cat was waiting for them. Tonks opened the back door, and both the cat and the wolf crawled in, followed by the two floating captives. Tonks herself took the driver's seat.
As they departed the area, none of them noticed the silver eyes of a grey fox peering around a bush, watching their every move. The fox scurried away when the car was out of sight and was lost in the shadows of the neighborhood. The full moon escaped from behind its over-protective cloud cover and shone down upon the now empty street corner. A black crow took off from a tree branch, as though startled, though no sound could now be heard, and the eerie stillness had fallen once again.