Snake in Wolf's Clothing
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Harry, Draco and all the rest; they'd do a lot more stuff than they do in the books and it'd all be rated R through X. Alas, however, I do not.
Other Info: Harry/Draco. Post-HBP
Summary: As the Order of the Phoenix uses the house of Black as their headquarters in the war, Harry answers a call for help and gains three most unexpected allies.
Somewhere near the house, a spell flashed like white lightning in the sky . Harry was the first one at the window, ignoring Tonks and Lupin who both told him to get away for fear someone might see him. Which was nonsense, of course, since no one could see the house, let alone a window, so he paid no attention to them but instead watched a second light explode above the houses two or three streets over.
"Signal flares," Lupin said softly, standing over him. "Two white...the next one should be--"
Red sparks burst overhead, making the night sky look scarlet as they faded.
"It's a call for help," Tonks said, mostly for the younger members of the Order who'd never seen the old signals before.
Hermione and Ron both edged in close to the window, nudging Harry over so they could take a look, but without magic flashing in the sky, the streets looked as dark and dismal as they did every night. The streetlights flickered constantly, unable to work properly with the amount of magic swirling around them.
"I don't trust it," Lupin murmured. "Anyone in the Order could just apparate to the sidewalk."
"Maybe they're too hurt," Hermione said. "Or maybe there's a lot of them and they can't all get away--"
"Too many 'maybes'," Lupin said, closing the curtains again. "We can't risk going out until we know what we're facing."
"One of us has to go look," Tonks said. "I'll go."
Lupin looked up sharply at her. "There's no way you can sneak up on them. I'll go."
"Don't come after me unless you see another flare," he said over her, walking towards the front door. "I'll send up my own signal if it's not a trap."
They all watched him walk out and then there was an awkward silence as everyone carefully looked at anything but Tonks. No one wanted to mention how limp or faded she seemed again. No one said much of anything now, even to anyone in the Order. After Dumbledore's death and the recent assassinations of several more high Ministry officials, no one spoke about much except Order business, and even that was only on a need to know basis in case anyone was caught. To Harry, vital to the Order but too vital to be exposed to danger, even less information was given.
"Maybe it's best if you three head upstairs to wait," Tonks said.
"But what if it's a trap?" Ron said. "Someone should be down here--"
"I'm still a bloody Auror!" Tonks snapped, glaring out the window instead of at Ron. "Even if he's forgotten."
"But what if--" Hermione started.
Tonks cut her off before she could wind up, knowing that the young witch could be frighteningly tenacious if allowed to really get going. "No what ifs. If there's trouble, we'll handle it. You can be of more help learning spells so you'll be ready when you come of age, so you should get upstairs and get back to studying."
Their mutual frowns made her sigh and drop the facade. "Look, I know you want to help, and if I was in your shoes so would I. But even if you could, I can't let you out. It's too dangerous, especially for you, Harry--Harry?" She looked up and around the room. "Harry?"
"Oh, hell," Ron muttered, already knowing Harry was gone without looking. "Hermione, I thought you took it away from him?"
"I did!" She glared at him, managing to look wounded and annoyed at once. "Twice. I don't know how he keeps finding the stupid thing." She looked back out the window, straining to spot any sign of him and knowing she wouldn't be able to see him if he was standing right in front of her.
Despite being invisible, Harry hugged the walls of the houses as he moved closer to the source of the lights. Spells flashed over and through the street, but these were no mere flares. Mailboxes were incinerated, chunks of the pavement blown out, streetlights snapped in half. Curious muggles lay prone on the sidewalk, caught by stray curses as the wizard war spilled out of control. The rest of the houses were dark with drawn curtains. Harry had no doubt that he'd hear police sirens soon. In the recent months since Dumbledore's murder, the Death Eaters had grown bold in their targetting of muggles. The police wouldn't have a chance.
He didn't see Remus, but he did see a group of hooded figures scouring the street, levitating and fling aside cars and dustbins and setting fire to houses. Harry frowned. The Death Eaters didn't look like they were destroying things for fun. They looked like they were searching for someone.
Something exploded far down the street, but he knew that curse didn't come from a Death Eater's wand. A green afterimage lingered in his eyes and he followed it back towards a dark space between two houses. He crept closer and looked into the narrow walkway. To his surprise, he found three figures crouched together behind a rusted gate, two of them sitting up with a third huddled in one's lap, and all of them covered in long cloaks with deep hoods. When one of them looked up to see if the Death Eaters had followed the distraction, Harry froze.
"A few more minutes," Severus whispered, staring at the hooded wizards as they headed towards the explosion. "We'll move when enough of them go."
"I don't think we have a few minutes." As the second one looked up, her hood fell back and revealed several locks of blond hair framing Narcissa Malfoy's face. "The potion's weakening. He could turn any moment now."
Harry edged closer, crouching low in case Severus decided to cast another spell, and he drew his wand as he prepared to stun them. He came so close that he was able to see the wizard in Narcissa's lap. Trembling as if he was freezing, Draco lay huddled in his mother's arms, his eyes squeezed tight as he bit down on his lower lip. Harry paused and stared down at him for several seconds, wondering if perhaps Draco was cursed or poisoned. Whimpering in a spasm of pain, he grasped his mother's hand and drew closer, as if her touch could protect him.
"I won't," Draco whispered. "I can hold it back."
A lone howl somewhere in the distance made them all freeze. At first Harry thought it was a stray dog but the second howl came closer, sounding more like Remus when he'd turned into a werewolf. Harry frowned. Tonight wasn't a full moon. How could any werewolf be transformed?
"How did he find us so quickly?" Narcissa breathed.
"We can't wait any longer," Severus said, extending his arm to her. "We'll have to run for Grimmauld and hope they don't spot us."
She took his hand and stood up, dragging her son to his feet. Draco stood bent over with his arms around his stomach, but he didn't look sick. He looked like he was holding something inside himself. With a deep breath, Harry aimed his wand at Severus. If he stunned Snape first, he could stun Narcissa and Draco easily
But before Harry could cast his spell, before any of them could take a step, a huge shadow fell over them and they all looked up. He froze. Fully transformed and much bigger than Remus, Fenrir Grayback looked less like a wolf and more like a demon. Fresh blood dripped from his jaws and he crouched down, snarling at the three wizards beneath him and preparing to leap in amongst them.
Gasping, Draco shoved his mother aside and ran from the alley, hitting Harry on the shoulder and stumbling into the street. Fenrir's head snapped up and he bounded after him. Narcissa shrieked and aimed at Fenrir, but her spells missed as the huge werewolf lunged across the rooftop and leaped to the street, landing hard enough to crack the pavement under his paws. Draco stopped so fast he nearly fell forward, unbalanced as he looked up. Fenrir towered over him, his fangs glistening and blood stained. Death Eaters and Harry alike stared at the pair, too startled to act. Even Severus drew short at the gate and watched, less in startlement and more in the certainty that he was going to see his godson ripped to pieces in front of him.
Taking a step back, Draco faced Fenrir with wide eyes, wincing as the wolf dropped to all fours and slowly stalked towards him, savoring the impending kill. Fumbling at the clasp holding his cloak, Draco finally tore it off and dropped it on the ground, backing up all the while. As Fenrir passed it, he snuffed the cloth, never taking his eyes off Draco, and once he was sure the cloak wasn't a trap, he kept coming.
Then Draco stopped backing up and brought his hands up to his shoulders, curling his fingers as he pressed his nails against his skin. Breathing so deep he seemed to be gasping, he hesitated for a second more before digging what Harry now recognized to be claws into himself, tearing off both clothes and human skin, revealing flashes of white amidst the spray of blood as his scream of pain turned into a howl until finally he fell to all fours. In place of the small Slytherin stood a gleaming white wolf.
Even transformed, the fight looked completely one-sided. Draco's wolf form was much slimmer and smaller than Fenrir's. His fangs, though impressive, couldn't match the larger wolf's and no matter how sharp his claws, Fenrir's looked like they could puncture steel. Harry wondered how Draco could even stand up to him, let alone hope to fight him.
"Get up, Narcissa," Snape hissed, grabbing her hand and yanking her to her feet.
"He's buying us time," Snape said. "The faster we go, the sooner he can run."
Severus led her down the dark alley and they disappeared. Harry didn't watch them leave, too entranced by the wolves before him. Fenrir began circling, his massive paws thudding on the ground as he paced around Draco, who slowly turned to always present his fangs, never his side. Draco snarled with every breath while Fenrir moved silently, his jaws grinning wide as he started snapping at the white wolf, taunting him.
Without warning, Fenrir leaped, trying to slam Draco into the ground, but with his smaller size Draco crouched low and bounded beneath him, landing lightly on his paws and whirling around so that he could lock his teeth around Fenrir's back leg. Blood spurted around his fangs and he fought to stay on his feet as Fenrir whipped back and forth, trying to reach around far enough to bite Draco. He's frantic kicking and bounding dragged Draco off his feet and flying around like a kite tail, but the white wolf never let go. Despite the danger, Harry laughed as the much smaller wolf made the bigger one howl.
At last Fenrir had the presence of mind to simply reared up on his haunches. Now he easily twisted and slashed with one massive paw at Draco. The claws caught the white wolf's shoulders, knocking him so hard that he lost his grip on Fenrir's leg and slid across the ground, rolling once and hitting the curb. He got to his feet again, but not with the same bounding motion as before. Blood colored the white fur of his shoulder and leg, and he reared up as well, his right front leg hanging limply from a broken shoulder.
With a snarl that sounded more like a satisfied laugh, Fenrir crouched low and sprang forward, claws extended, jaws wide. The white wolf snarled and crouched as if to take the hit, but instead he yipped in fear and scooted out of the way with his tail between his legs as Harry's incendio spell suddenly turned Fenrir into a ball of flames. The huge werewolf slammed into the ground and flailed around, in too much pain to think straight. Sparing Fenrir one last look to make sure he wouldn't follow, the white wolf limped away on three legs, heading into the darkness after Severus and his mother.
Lost in the muggle streets, Draco slowed to a slow limp and crouched in the shadows behind a parked car, turning his head and licking his wounds as he whimpered. Harry watched him for a few moments, wondering how much of Malfoy was in the wolf or if the wolf completely controlled Malfoy like it did Remus. But this white wolf looked nothing like Remus' form. Draco's white fur looked thick and healthy, and his body, though small, didn't have the starved and straggled appearance Remus' did. Most tellingly, Draco hadn't run off until he was sure Severus and Narcissa had safely disappeared, and no mindless werewolf would have had the presence of mind to wait.
As Harry walked closer, Draco's head snapped up and he sniffed the air, perking his ears. Although he couldn't see anyone, he growled and raised his hackles at the empty space. Harry realized the invisibility cloak was useless and slowly took it off, keeping his wand in hand as he looked at the wolf.
"Malfoy," he said softly.
The white wolf blinked but he didn't stop growling.
"Draco," Harry tried again. "Are you in there?"
The wolf got to its feet again, its growls steady and growing.
"I think I know where Severus and your mum went," Harry said quickly. "I can take you there...if you don't attack me." He backed away Draco came closer. "Look, I know you don't like me but please, don't make me stun you. I don't think I could levitate you all the way back without the Death Eaters noticing."
Draco stopped moving when he mentioned Death Eaters and fell silent, but he didn't come any closer. Hearing Voldemort's followers attacking muggles and blowing up things in their search, Harry winced and looked back at Draco, wishing he had some kind of treat to give him to earn a little trust.
"We have to go before the Death Eaters look here," he said. "Do you want to see your mum? Narcissa? Then you have to come with me."
Harry didn't think it would work. If Hermione or Ron was standing next to him, they'd have stunned Draco by now and given him a harsh scolding as they took him back, if they didn't kill him outright. But there was something in Draco's eyes, an absence of bloodlust and a touch of something human, that made him think that he could reason with him, at least like he would with a child. And come to think of it, that was probably the only way anyone reasoned with Draco anyway.
If it was his kind voice or the Death Eaters' voices getting louder, Harry didn't know, but Draco dipped his head and limped towards him, sitting down at his feet. He didn't try to give him his paw or lick his hand, but from his labored breathing and the blood still flowing from his shoulder, Harry supposed even as a wolf Draco wanted a bodyguard. Harry smiled and nodded his head.
"Good, you're much easier to get along with when you can't talk. Now don't panic." He spread out his invisibility cloak over himself, holding the edge up so Draco could still see him, and then dropped the rest of the cloth over the wolf. Walking bent over let him cover most of Draco but his tail swung free and Harry's feet were quite visible.
"Okay," Harry breathed, "let's go."
Despite all the dark wizards looking for him and a werewolf at his heels, the walk back to Grimmauld was surprisingly uneventful. He walked in the front door and gently took off the cloak, lest he startle the wolf. To his surprise, he heard Remus' voice matched with Snape's and Narcissa's, indistinct as they rose in anger.
Harry didn't notice Draco moving down the hall until he spotted the white tail waving in the air as he turned the corner and heard Remus' startled yell. He ran after Draco, hoping he wouldn't attack anyone, and breathed a sigh of relief when the wolf walked straight to his mother and leaned against her. His weight knocked her backwards, fortunately into a chair, and he put his head in her lap. Immediately she smiled and bent over him, completely forgetting her anger. Beside her, Severus also looked relieved but he remained standing, acting like a shield between them and Lupin.
"Merlin..." Remus whispered, staring at Draco open-mouthed. "You said he was a werewolf, not a wolf animagus!"
"He is a werewolf," Severus said, looking down at Remus. "Bitten by Fenrir Greyback himself nearly a year ago."
"But...but that's no werewolf," Remus said. "He's too...too..."
"Docile? Healthy?" Narcissa asked as she lightly touched her son's head as if he were human. "Of course he is. Unlike your kind, we take care of our bitten children."
The comment visibly stung Remus, and he glowered at Snape. "How is this possible? It's not even the full moon."
At first Severus ignored the question, looking past him to Harry, who stared back with all the remembered animosity of Dumbledore's murder a year ago. Harry scowled and put his hand on his wand. Why was Remus letting him stand there and talk? Then Severus slightly inclined his head.
"Thank you for bringing Draco here," he said softly.
Harry blinked. And then Severus looked back at Remus, and Harry wondered if he'd imagined that.
"You've been taking wolfsbane," Severus explained as if Remus were Neville in a first year potions class, "like a good little Ministry-registered werewolf, holding the dark magic in check with poison. It's left your form more rat-like than wolf and exacerbated your bloodlust because your form is so starved and emaciated."
"Draco, on the other hand, takes a potion of my own creation. It calms him and gives him greater control over his dark instincts. And of course, there are the obvious differences between his form and yours." He looked down at Draco and focused on the blood-stained shoulder. Where the blood had once run freely, the skin had mended and the bones slowly but visibly moved beneath the skin, healing themselves.
"Why didn't you ever mention this before?" Remus demanded.
The glimmer in Snape's eyes told everyone exactly why he had left Remus poisoned and miserable, but Snape chose a more tactful lie. "After taking wolfsbane for so long, you are no longer capable of taking a different potion," he said simply. "And now, Lupin, shall we get to business? We have information, some of which will become useless shortly."
"I'd be a fool to trust you," Remus said. "I didn't bring you here to make you partners. Dumbledore said you were a loyal member of the Order, but you showed just how trustworthy you were."
"You have no idea what happened that night," Severus said, his voice tightening. "If I hadn't acted, I would have died, the dark lord would've killed Narcissa and Draco, and Dumbledore would still be dead."
"If you were in that much trouble," Remus scoffed, "why didn't you come to us for help?"
At her seat, Narcissa sighed and put a hand to her head. "Oh, this is such a long story. Harry, dear, could you possibly bring tea? And a bowl of milk for Draco, please?"
His immediate refusal faded as he thought about the second request. "Milk?" he gaped. "For a werewolf?"
"Don't be too surprised," she smiled. "He'd take bloody meat if you had it, but I think it best not to give him something that would excite him right now."
"Oh. Right." Harry hesitated, then looked at Remus who gave him a clipped nod. Wishing he'd kept Kreacher around, he went into the kitchen, moving as quietly as possible so he could hear Severus laboriously explaining some kind of vow, the dark lord's intention of punishing the Malfoys, and how Draco had been bitten by Fenrir. While they were talking, Harry wondered where Hermione, Ron and Tonks had gone and decided that the auror had probably forced them upstairs and refused to let them come down while there were two Death Eaters in the house. Since Hermione and Ron could both be extremely willful, Tonks probably had to sit on them upstairs.
With a tray of tea in one hand and a bowl of milk in the other, he went back up and set the tray on the table. Narcissa took the bowl from Harry and set it before her son.
"Could you warm it up, please?" she asked. "I'd do it myself, but...well..."
With a slightly downcast head and wisps of her long hair floating around her face, Harry thought she acted humble and exhausted quite well, but he'd seen her face twisted in haughty disdain before and she'd looked wide awake in the alley a few minutes ago. Before he could say anything, Remus cast the spell, seemingly fascinated to watch a werewolf lapping up milk. After a moment he looked back at Severus.
"We do need any information you have," he conceded, "and your skills even more. We still have a supply of veritaserum here. If you're not lying, you can stay. Don't expect a warm welcome, though."
Snape gave a small nod of his head. "We never do."
Administering the veritaserum went faster than Harry expected, and he wondered if Narcissa had asked for tea simply to expedite how quickly they could prove their semi-good intentions. They both answered Lupin's questions about the Death Eater plots they knew about, the recent disappearances of Ministry officials that were really assassinations, and especially the Ministry officials slated for assassination within the coming days. During the questioning, Draco finished his bowl and sat straight, watching both Remus and Harry. Unlike Fenrir's or Remus' eyes when they transformed, Draco's held a light of self-awareness more acute than a normal dog's. As he grew bored watching Remus, Draco slowly turned towards Harry and stared at him with his silver eyes. Harry swallowed reflexively but he stared back, never breaking his gaze until Draco finally looked away again.
During the interrogation, he also wondered why Remus let him stay here so long when he normally sent Harry upstairs whenever something interesting happened. Perhaps even Remus didn't want to be alone with two Death Eaters and one werewolf. That thought was confirmed when Tonks finally appeared in the doorway, tripping over the rug as she came in, and Remus looked over at Harry.
"Harry, please take away the tea and then head up to bed."
With an annoyed sigh he didn't bother to hide, Harry picked up the tray and was halfway to the door when Narcissa spoke up again.
"Oh my. I merely asked him for tea because he didn't look tired. I never imagined you treated the Boy Who Lived as your house elf."
For a moment he felt even more annoyed that she thought she could so easily worm her way into his good graces, but then he remembered that she was under veritaserum. He wasn't quite sure what to think.
"He's hardly a house elf," Remus snapped. "And now perhaps it's best to see you three to your room. I suggest you stay put until well after I've let everyone know you're here so no one hexes you."
"Stay under lock and key?" Severus asked softly, noticing that Remus had never put his wand away.
"For our own protection, of course," Narcissa said, staring at Remus out of the corner of her eye.
"Of course. The fourth floor bedroom is this way." Remus stood, but Severus waved his hand dismissively at him.
"We both know where that is," he said. "And I suggest that you not try to force your way in later, since we'll have our own locking spells on the door from our side."
Narcissa stood up and followed after Snape. With a tired huff, Draco followed at his mother's heels and passed Harry without a glance, heading upstairs behind her. Harry watched them go, not moving when he felt Remus come up beside him.
"I haven't forgotten that you followed me against orders," Remus said. "But we can deal with that tomorrow. Go on up to bed now."
Annoyed by the dismissal, Harry scowled and headed upstairs, but instead of stopping at the room he shared with Ron and Hermione, he kept walking. Glancing over his shoulder once, he threw his cloak back over himself and quietly went up the next flight of stairs, spotting Draco's tail as he went into the spare bedroom. The door clicked shut and locked, and then he heard several locking charms and even a few curses placed on the door. Harry crept closer and knelt by the door, wishing he had one of the special listening devices the twins had developed.
"I admit, I'm impressed you got us this far," Narcissa whispered. "But do you really think they'll..." Her voice faded as she walked further from the door. Harry strained to hear, but he only caught the words Draco and Azkaban. After a few minutes, the sounds stopped and Harry figured they had gone to sleep. With a frustrated sigh, he walked back downstairs and into an ambush of questions the moment he stepped into the room he shared with Ron and Hermione.