A/N: For anyone that cares or is terribly upset for how long it took me to update.. I now have a job, am living with a man and young boy who are slobs and would only eat takeout if I didn't cook, and I am studying for a graduate school enterance exam.. Basically, my life is hectic and boys are gross.. so it took me this long to write this one chapter :/
I really hope you all enjoy it and review!
Disclaimer: All things and characters that you recognize from Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling.
Fenrir had quickly given into his mate's request for a run. He found it impossible to turn down such small requests when his boy looked up at him with wide green eyes filled with hopefulness and stress.
It was also the perfect time to be active in their wolf forms; the sun was still low enough that it would not overheat their fur covered bodies. The temperature had to always be considered by pack members before they transformed for amusement because the heat of the day could quickly drain their energy as wolves. A tired werewolf was vulnerable to attack and could make the entire pack's defenses weak. So, like normal wolves, they attempted to avoid the heat of day when in their animal forms.
Harry enjoyed the thrill of running through the woods under his mate's watchful eyes. Since his animalistic side had complete control under the full moon these recreational moments were made even better because he was able to enjoy the enhanced senses of the wolf. His tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth unconsciously as the wind rushed through his thick black fur. He enjoyed the combined scents of the forest that his sensitive nose was able to pick out; it was earth, the very life of the plants and the fading scent of animals that had scattered before Fenrir and Harry could reach them, to Harry it was the scent of home and safety. His enhanced ears were able to pick up the barest hints of sound, such as the bushes rustling as a deer passed through them to put more distance between itself and the scent of predators.
Harry stood still for a moment, body tense as he tried to decide if the chase would actually lead to the capture of prey, and realized that any moment of hesitation made the chances of catching dinner less likely. As he chose to let the deer wander further into the peaceful forest his instincts caused his fur to rise in warning just as Fenrir's large silver form fell on top of him.
The serious hunter quickly became the playfully hunted as he wiggled his smaller form away from the alpha, who decided it was much more fun to let his young mate believe he could escape on his own. The larger wolf even stood and looked at the vacated spot and his mate, who now stood several paces away, with an exaggerated surprised expression in his large amber eyes. Harry's tongue stuck out in a taunting doggy grin.
Fenrir sank lower to the ground, ready to pounce on his insolent submissive, and Harry quickly recognized the warning signs of an animal readying to jump, which the older wolf overstated in hopes of continuing his hunt.
Harry took advantage of his compact body by swiftly darting under a small bush just before Fenrir left the ground and a game of chase began. They both knew the alpha would always catch his mate, but they still enjoyed this playful time away from their responsibilities, which sometimes chafed at their more wild sides.
His short break became a two hour respite which had completely interrupted his normal schedule. Harry entered the protection boundary with Fenrir just before his early morning break would begin on a regular day and he became anxious as he realized that he had missed two classes. Harry transformed mid stride, intent on finding Remus, only to be stopped by his tall, naked alpha stepping in front of him.
"You're tense again." His observation was accompanied by a look that demanded an explanation.
Harry took a deep breath, "I missed classes." He tried to pull away.
"You can't let things like this make you tense, life cannot be completely scheduled. Especially, not life in a pack." Fenrir led him to a small pond that was within the boundary.
He moved with a confidence that Harry still could not emulate, especially when he was naked in front of the pack. Instead, Harry walked closer to the bigger man, to cover his own bare body from others who took no real notice of it.
"Take a quick dip to cool off and clean up, you also need to drink water, I don't want you to dehydrate." He said as he strode off quickly, he knew better than to stay and watch his young naked mate submerge himself water.
Water that will caress his smooth flesh and cling to his body. He shook his head and tried to focus on other matters before the whole pack could see what he thought of his mate's swim.
Harry rolled his eyes as he entered the water, he had noticed that Fenrir had mentioned the two rules of survival all the children heard from adults early on. He already knew they were supposed to stay cool and drink water almost constantly, at least three quarts a day, and was insulted that the adults still reminded him of those two things. There were even times when one of the adults would just appear with a glass of water for him to drink as if they didn't trust him to take care of himself; even in his classes the teachers would conjure a drink for him.
None of the other pack members near my age have adults bringing them water or told not to get too hot, they are trusted to take care of themselves. Maybe it's my size or because I take classes when the others don't really focus on school so I'm still like a kid to the pack. This is why I need to focus more on being a good submissive!
With more motivation to handle his responsibilities with more ease Harry washed off quickly and grabbed a glass of water as he searched for Remus to reschedule his classes. Harry found him with Zareth looking over a table covered in books.
Remus looked up at him with a smile. "Harry, you look much better. Ready to begin your classes?"
"Yes, sir, sorry for missing Herbology and Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"No, it's fine we were just looking over some future lessons that we were thinking of teaching you."
"Since you are more advance in your work we can't follow Hogwart's curriculum any longer," Zareth added with a wide smile. "Besides we enjoy breaks every now and then as well."
Harry perked up at the idea of being seen as advanced at something he worked so hard on. "Did you find anything interesting?"
Remus laughed at his curious nature, so much like Lily. "Some obscure spells and plants that other schools, like Durmstang, teach to their advance students. But, you will just have to wait for the lessons."
Harry was so startled by Remus' laughter and the realization that he rarely heard the man do more than chuckle that he could only shrug at Remus' words. He wondered why the man was so somber, but knew that sometimes it was best not question some things in the pack, this was one thing he was sure would be considered too dark or painful to bring up.
"I was hoping we could start classes now."
Remus thought over Harry's class schedule before making a suggestion. "We could just work later tonight."
Harry shook his head in denial. "I think I am supposed to help in the kitchen tonight."
Zareth stood, "Then we should go start Herbology now before it gets any warmer."
Remus nodded in agreement as he reached for a closed book that began to grow leaves from its spine. "Yes, you can just work through your day breaks after that."
Harry worked next to Zareth in the small garden set aside specifically for his Herbology class. He stared in fascination at the short line of flowering plants that had bloomed overnight; Zareth had been paying special attention to the plant during class for the last month. He stood over the flowers that were slightly larger than his fist and were an orange color slightly darker than a pumpkin; there were very few wizards that were able to successfully identify it and even less people that could grow it. The fact that only four plants had bloomed out of the ten that they had planted was inconsequential.
"Ah, our Summum radice sanatio has bloomed! Wonderful!" Zareth accompanied his cheerful words with a childlike, joyful, handclap. "That also means test time!"
Hmm, is he more excited about the test or the rare plant? Harry watched the older man summon the garden tools with great relish.
"Now, first question before you even touch the plants! What are the most important characteristics you should look for and why?"
The first part of the question was easily answered as Zareth had repeated the important information at the beginning of each class.
"When grown perfectly it blooms an orange color slightly darker than a pumpkin and with exactly three black spots in a row located toward the center of the flower." Harry paused as he tried to remember what Zareth had taught him recently. "If it is irregular that means it has not been cultivated correctly and can be dangerous to pick; it will also act as a fast acting poison that can cause bodily harm and death."
Zareth smiled with pride. "Very good, now inspect the plants we have grown and select any that are irregular."
Harry dropped to his knees to closely inspect the four plants, which became a time consuming process as he had to count every dot on each petal. He found that two were imperfect; one was a brighter orange than desired and the other had four black spots on each petal. He turned to point these irregularities out to Zareth and noticed that Rose and Reed had begun working in the vegetable garden next them while he was concentrating on his assignment. Harry's attention was held by the fact that the mated couple was working much slower than the industrious pace maintained by the pack while they carried out chores.
The pair did not actually seem to be making any progress in the garden. Rose was bent over low, only a handful of weeds next to her, but she was completely ignoring her task in favor of watching Reed work behind her. His tan skin glistening with sweat in the sunlight, his strength showcased in his bare broad shoulders and the shifting muscles in his arms. Reed had a hoe in his hands, but had been working the same small spot since he realized that, when she bent over, his mate's short dress raised enough to show him that she had forgone panties. He could only contemplate how easy it would be to step behind her, free himself from his shorts, and enter her. Her bold looks told him that she would welcome the hard fucking, his claim over her made clear to all that would pass by. Reed moved around her, reveling in the visible goose bumps that appeared on her skin as he possessively cupped her firm bottom, dragged his hand up across her slender back, and finally grabbed her long blonde braid. He pulled her head up with gentle, but firm, hand until her face was level with the bulge beneath his zipper. She leaned forward with a small smirk and nuzzled the rough material, enjoying the low, rough, moan her mate released at the sight and contact. All Rose could think about was how she wanted to trace the long scar that started at his belly button and curved around his shoulder with her tongue until she reached the sensitive mating mark next to it at the base of his neck.
The exaggerated sound of Zareth clearing his throat startled the couple, who had taken no notice of the occupants of the other garden, and Harry, who had been intensely watching the scene with wide eyes. His new observations of mated couples was becoming unsettling, these interactions, that he had witnessed for so many years, now made him feel and think about things. He wondered if Fenrir would do those things with him.
It was only when the couple realized that the alpha's young mate had almost witnessed their claiming of one another that they made a quick retreat to a somewhat more private location nearby. They did not want to be the ones to introduce the boy to the rough passion of mating and possibly scare him away from seeking pleasure from his mate when the time came.
"Two out of ten of our plants are actually usable; this is a great success, Harry!" Zareth patted Harry's shoulder to draw his attention back to the project. "Especially since you are so young, there are wizards who die trying to get those odds."
Harry took his cue from Zareth and tried to clear his head of the distracting thoughts raised from what he had just witnessed. He did not know why he had been so transfixed by what the couple had been doing; touching was so common in the pack, but there had been something different about this incident. Maybe it was because he was changing, viewing these interactions differently.
Harry shrugged off the praise and his own thoughts as his cheeks heated in a blush. "I had you watching over my shoulder the whole time telling me what to do when; to think kind thoughts and what not."
"Yes, well, everyone needs instructions before they can do something so important on their own. Also, magical plants can be very perceptive. You don't want them thinking you only want to use them without care." Zareth followed the odd words with a solemn look. "So many become frustrated and try to force magic and plants to work for them; if there is anything I want you to always remember it's that we are just weak shells that can channel the power. Don't try to act like the master and you should feel less strain and maybe live a longer, happier, life. It's something all magical creatures have learned and wizards are quickly forgetting."
"Do wizards not live as long?" Harry had never had contact with a wizard aside from those that were a part of the pack or the few that had attacked them.
"They live longer than muggles, but they age much quicker than any member of this pack ever will." Zareth paused after seeing that Harry was still confused. "For example, Remus tried fighting his nature, and then went to school where everything had to be learned quickly while he was still just developing his abilities. Then there is me. I did not fight my nature, I was raised by the pack and taught this same idea by the wizards in it when I was around your age. They taught us at the pace we seemed capable of handling, not just to meet a test date. He's more aged, while I'm actually a year older than him. But he's learned and is trying to change his ways."
Harry thought about the two men and did recognize a few differences. Remus sometimes walked around like there was a great weight on his shoulders; his face was more lined from age or maybe stress, and sometimes his eyes were haunted. He wondered if Remus had been in worse shape when he first found the pack and his heart ached at the thought. Zareth, on the other hand, still seemed young and in his prime, just like the rest of the pack, despite the many violent attacks they had faced.
"I learn things fast now."
"Some things," Zareth conceded before pointing out, "you've had difficulty with concepts in some of your classes that we have spent months working on, like transfiguring a live object into an inanimate one. We work at your level and don't rush your magic."
After Harry nodded his head in understanding Zareth checked the time with a wave of his wand and rushed to get them back on task when he realized there were only fifteen minutes left of class.
"Please explain the correct way to pick this plant and why it is usually cultivated instead of just taken from the wild. Then we will continue this lesson in potions."
Harry tried to remember the things they had discussed about actually picking the root.
"It has to be picked right after it blooms, after four days the bloom dies and the root is impossible to use in potions... A few roots have been known to bloom twice, but that's not common.. umm.. Leave space when you dig, loosen the soil, and pull it from the ground at the base of the bloom."
After a moment of silence Zareth gave him the rest of the information. "You need to leave at least an inch of space around the entire plant so that the root isn't ruined. Only use roots that are a dark chocolate brown."
Harry nodded his head and ran his hand through his hair in frustration as he tried to answer the next question.
"The plant is not picked in the wild because it has developed thorns that slide out when pressure is placed on them... Being pricked by them has different consequences; one potion maker was put into an eternal sleep and died of old age... The plant is also hard to find around the correct time, because there is not a plant visible before the bloom appears." Harry paused, knowing he had forgotten something. "It also does not naturally grow in clusters."
"Also, because of past accidents we have learned that more consumption of the root made the problem worse, making medicines with this base unusable and hunting for it in the wild much more dangerous. You also need to remember that since the bloom is picked with the root and pollen is given less time to spread it does not usually grow in the same area it was found." Zareth watched as Harry rubbed his head in irritation. "You did very well; it's a lot of information to remember and not something most wizards your age would know. Now head on to Defense before we get behind on your new schedule and don't let this get you down again."
Harry turned to follow the older man's order, trying to shake the dejection brought on by forgetting so much information. At least Remus is just continuing our lesson on blocking spells. Matching words to wand motions, that I can do!
Defense Against the Dark Arts went as smoothly as Harry had predicted and by the time lunch came he was much less stressed. He enjoyed his hour long lunch break in the cubs' classroom as well after he apologized profusely to an upset Lexxy for not visiting during his morning break.
It was relaxing and humorous for him to be able to sit back and watch Sinicae and Mark take care of the children. The two were great when they worked together, balancing each other out. While Sinicae and Arista corralled the children to their seats and kept them entertained with funny songs Mark was able to quickly fix five small plates. The children attacked the green beans and fresh chicken sandwiches on fresh bread as if it were prey that could escape at any moment. Harry enjoyed his own sandwich, which had so much meat that if they used store bought sliced bread he was sure it would have been falling apart, and pointedly looked at the other subs as he drank a large glass of water. He also enjoyed the fact that he was able to leave the messy table and sleepy children unwilling to take naps in the hands of the three other subs.
His class in wandless magic with Nicholas also passed without any problem as he took notes about how much more important intent was when there was no wand to direct the magic. Then it was time for him to meet with Zareth again for potions and he began to worry about the difficult potion he was going to have to start.
They dug the plants up to compare root irregularities between the perfect and imperfect plants then they moved to the potion classroom to begin to make the base potion.
"Now remember, one root system yields two base potions. I will use one root, you will follow my instructions using the other, so no matter what we will have at least two perfect base potions. The other would just be a bonus. Remember why we are doing this."
Harry was quit for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. "Because the base potion made from the root is used as a foundation in almost all medicinal potions. It will save our pack a lot of money and give us access to potions that only mediwizards can get. Because of the time consuming process and risks involved in making, as well as the fact that it is highly demanded, the base potion made from the root is very expensive."
Zareth smiled. "That is all very correct. But, we are really doing this so that you can learn how to make the potion and you can learn from mistakes. It's a potion that must be prepared exactly as explained or it can be deadly."
Harry bit his bottom lip and nodded.
"Now we need to cut the root into four large chunks, add a drop of unicorn blood, mashed bat eyes, and the sweat from a mermaid."
As Harry gathered ingredients Zareth wrote tweleve steps needed to make the potion on the chalkboard. It is going to be a long class.