Fic: Fathers and Sons
Chapter: 01, Before a Fall
Authors: Kitty (thinkatory at LJ) and Liz (dramaturgy at LJ)
Rating: Heavy PG-13, R (for violence)
Word count: 7,584
Era: The First War Against Voldemort (1970-1981)
Author's Note: This chapter serves as a prologue and backstory; we move forward to the First War and continue there for the rest of the fic. Thanks for reading!
Fathers and Sons
Chapter 1: Before a Fall
Once a month, at the full moon, the otherwise sane and normal wizard or Muggle afflicted transforms into a murderous beast. Almost uniquely among fantastic creatures, the werewolf actively seeks humans in preference to any other kind of prey. Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 35th edition, 1963.
In the summer of 1916, the odds were against it, but fifteen-year-old Slytherin Thelonious Jugson looked a werewolf in the face. It changed his life.
It was a rarity for a good pureblood to even see a werewolf. The savages were not allowed to work with wizards, and were never considered part of decent society, or even society at large. They were not often seen in cities, hiding instead off in the countryside in... decrepit huts or caves, for all the wizarding community knew.
So, Thelonious originally hesitated in his confident gait to laugh at the gaunt, filthy man on the outskirts of the Alley, without a clue what he was approaching. How could he resist? The man's clothes were ridiculous, torn, and disgusting, his hair long and in his face. He was just beginning a sneer when the creature seemed to sense his gaze and stare past his dirty hair down at him, freezing Thelonious where he stood in mixed curiosity and fear.
Thelonious first suspected him to be a Squib or a Mudblood, because of course neither of those could afford decent clothing. Then he saw the long, claw-like fingernails, and though the stories told to good pureblood children held both Squibs and Mudbloods to be monstrous figures, real monstrosities such as this thing seemed unreasonable.
It -- it couldn't be a man, it was an it -- let its lip curl into a sneer, and Thelonious jerked back as something moved behind its eyes. It was as though a second presence had possessed its body.
"Keep walkin', wizard," it growled, and Thelonious forced himself to breathe, to move, to live as he once had.
The last, he found, was impossible.
He had seen his first werewolf. It was a savage, disgusting creature; he couldn't deny tradition that part. However, the thing, the presence flickering behind its eyes touched on something deep inside Thelonious that he had never felt before. He bought book after book, trying to learn about these wayward beasts, discovering that what little was known wasn't really so horrifying. Wizarding law regarding them was another story.
By 1917, Thelonious Jugson was a full-fledged werewolf scholar, much to the horror of his family. They tried to ignore it, he was the oldest son, but murmurs of werewolves arose at every party, always with the same cautious, disdainful, even concerned tint to the word... werewolves. Nonetheless, he tried to explain, usually at an unwanted length.
"No, no, look," Thelonious urged his sister Claudia, waving a book in protest. "They're classified as Beasts and I can understand why. However, they are in human form for the majority of the time, and if they're classified as Beasts they are not allowed to marry wizards, to cohabitate with them, even to work for them. Claudia -- it's unfair. We both have forms of magic, werewolves and wizards, and there's even some that Muggle werewolves supposedly can use -- "
Claudia reacted, really reacted, for the first time in a full year of this nonsense. He'd gone too far. She raised her head and turned her scandalised pink face to him. "So now you're a blood traitor as well as a madman?" she sneered.
Infuriated, spurned, and frustrated, Thelonious slammed his book down on the table and left her. It was the last time he saw her, or any other relatives; he did not return home after his sixth year. He allowed himself to be disowned without even responding to the owl informing him of it, choosing to take what money he had already and simply wait with breathless dreaming for the end of Hogwarts.
He miserably failed his N.E.W.T.s, choosing instead to study what little was said about the most common locations of werewolf packs. He resorted to scouring the Welsh countryside by July 1919, and, to his elation, actually found a small pack in the hills. He sank to his knees before the werewolf they all called "Father" and ignored the stares of surprise and derision from the werewolves. "Let me join you," he begged.
It was the only way he could understand. He needed to understand.
It was two weeks until the full moon, so Thelonious was forced to wait to become one of them. He lived with them in the abandoned shack they'd claimed, watching them scrabble with each other in playfights and fawn over the Father (a tall, old werewolf named Marius). All the current werewolves in this pack were Muggles, and because he was a wizard, he was the first on which pack blood magic would be used. This would give him power and status, Marius said, over other werewolves. At this news, he clung to Father Marius's clothing, trying desperately not to cry from gratitude.
The full moon came after an eternity of waiting. Thelonious watched it rise from the window of the room in which he was locked with Father Marius. He heard the howls from the other room where the pack held itself. Father Marius did not howl, from where he sat, hunched, staring at Thelonious. Thelonious was not brave enough to resist glancing at the locked door in hopes of an escape.
"Don't be frightened, Thelonious," Marius rasped, already beginning to jerk and shake with the beginning of transformation. "I have control."
Nonetheless Thelonious scrambled for the door. He wanted this, he wanted the sheer power he saw rippling through his Father's muscles as the wolf came through, he wanted to feel the wolf behind his eyes, but he collapsed on the doorknob and scrabbled at the door. When Father Marius's teeth sank into Thelonious's side, the boy stopped resisting, and dropped to the floor. "Father," he whispered, as the wolf, and the man behind its eyes, stared down at him with something that resembled love.
The scars could not be healed, Thelonious was told the next day, so he lay in agony, delirious and exhausted for a few days. Everything changed when he awoke on the third day. Everything changed for a third time not three days after his infection. Thelonious awoke, but he ... was not Thelonious. Why had he called himself that? Confused, terrified, he writhed painfully on the floor, crying, "Father, Father!" while tearing at the magical bond the two of them had.
Father Marius took his time responding, allowing Thelonious a moment to calm himself before entering the room. "Calm, Greyback," he said. "Your wolf has been named. You are no longer a wizard, and your wolf will not stand to be called one."
Greyback. Yes. Earlier dreams of being someone, something else before pain tore through his wounds and Marius's voice had whispered, "Wolf, I name you Greyback; man, you are no more." He had always been Greyback, he had always been the wolf within a man's body. The wolf, a second presence in his mind, sensed a kinship with Father Marius, recognized the other wolves, and regarded his human self with disdain. This was the main strength of the werewolf, the "wolf," the sighting of which had drawn Thelonious into this from the start. It was easier to pacify the wolf than to resist it in favor of one's humanity. Raw meat satisfied the wolf, though it took him time to recover from the illness it caused his human body.
Greyback healed, and everything was new to him, as though he was newly born. He became quite fond of his pack, and raw meat. He was blissfully happy, until painful fragments of his past returned, through dreams. As it unfolded, he withdrew into his Father's arms. Savages, they dared say? Savages, the wolves, when the wizards discriminated, loathed and cast out anything unlike them -- savages? The outrage ripped at Greyback's nerves like an angry wolf at his prison door, but Father Marius kept him in line. He lived, he learned, and he grew to love his pack.
When Marius died, the pack did not mourn. Pack was universal, not individual; nothing was lost because man was mortal but pack was eternal. They simply turned to Greyback, for the pack was his.
Alexander Lupin usually prided himself on the highest degree of preparedness, and today was no different. He checked and rechecked his parchment of details for the press conference he was covering. More details on the ongoing tale of the recently introduced Ban on Experimental Breeding -- in fact, that was most of the release, but there were some things about some new untradeable goods and an odd bit about the Werewolf Registry and lost funding. All business as usual.
Eight AM sharp he picked up the parchment and left the office for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures' small briefing room. It was usually only about half occupied since it was a small, Departmental briefing room. The Prophet sent two of their lesser reporters, usually someone who was just happy to be out of the office and no longer fetching a higher up's coffee. An old wizard who insisted he be called George (even though Alexander knew his name was Robert) came from the WWN's news portion. There was the usual collection of reporters from specialty press and the occasional member of the foreign press.
He strode into the room and behind the podium. "Good morning," he greeted them, and was greeted in return. "To start with the news today, we have more debate within the Wizengamot about the proposed Ban on Experimental Breeding, proposed by Newt Scamander, S-C-A-M-A-N-D-E-R for those of you who still haven't got it..."
Alexander gave his briefing, watching two eager girls who looked maybe three years out of Hogwarts scribbling on their parchments. George-Robert adjusted dials on his recording device, and a witch in a rather large hat was calmly sipped her tea and listened attentively. He came to his end finally, after covering all the details. "I'll now open up the floor for a few questions," he finished, waiting for hands of one of the two girls in front to fly in the air.
One of the girls jumped at the opportunity. "Is it true that the werewolves are congregating in Wales, and does the Werewolf Registry have anything to say about this phenomenon?" she called, flashing a bright smile at Alexander.
Oh, she was new. She was still smiling. "The Registry has noted a slight migration of wolves through their tracking charms," he answered. "It's hard to be precise on what the cause of this is, since there is minimal contact with the werewolves themselves, and it's highly doubtful they'd be willing to offer an opinion were it asked. Some believe it could be attributed to Owen Curenton opening the Den, in Pembrokeshire." He tried not to look like the idea disturbed him, but it was practically his backyard and he had a family to think of, for crying out loud.
The other female reporter, clearly a competitor, cut off the first, looking almost bored as she seized the next question. "What is the Ministry's opinion on Owen Curenton's behavior as of late? Is there any intent to stop him and his activism?" The first reporter scribbled furiously on her parchment, glaring at the more experienced reporters as their quills flew easily across the parchment.
Alexander's attention slid easily to the second. "Of course, officially the Ministry can't really do anything about Owen Curenton's activism, he has the right to an opinion the same as you or me, even if it does appear to be somewhat... misleading," he started.
"I would caution that his particular brand of activism is dangerous, bringing a disregard for personal safety to a dangerous level as he lives within the mile of the Den with his family. We can't endorse something like that," he added, speech snowballing rapidly. "Bringing together werewolves in such an environment is like throwing two rabid cats into a sack. It's dangerous and no good is going to come from such an endeavour. It's frightening to think that a man who treats dangerous creatures with such lax behaviour is considered a leader in his field."
The sound of scratching quills followed this statement instantly, and the first to finish copying it down waved his hand to quickly catch Lupin's attention. "So you're saying that the Department does not endorse Owen Curenton's approach to the treatment of werewolves as almost human beings?"
"Of course not," Alexander answered over the murmurs that were now circulating around the room. "But we'd say the same about a man who settled himself in a nest of chimaeras - it's unsafe and generally advised against, a man's common sense should tell him that."
"Well, if anything happens, at least he'll stop sending letters to the editor," one of the reporters said in a stage whisper off to the left, a few snorts of shocked laughter following.
"Your mouth to God's ears," Alexander put in dryly, picking up his parchment off the podium. "That's all I have for you this morning, ladies and gentlemen, have a pleasant rest of the day," he added, before striding out of the room the same way he had come in.
The reporters buzzed at the outrageous story that had just occurred in front of their very eyes. The photographers snapped their last pictures of Lupin's exit, and several hurried after their counterpart reporters. It was a race to the office, but all would display this as a near headline -- the indictment of Owen Curenton's cause by a Ministry official himself was newsworthy any day.
In his deepest moments of childish grandeur, Fenrir looked at the Pack's house and considered it a castle, its weathered chimney a turret, the upper floor that was reserved for the full moon and Greyback's pacing and planning as the castle wall, and Greyback and Fenrir, father and son, as king and crown prince. Really, the pack's house was no better than the one he'd had in his now seemingly far-flung past, the house of his wizarding Father -- Dad -- the one who had locked away the son he'd called Jacob, freak, brat, burden, for three full moons until Fenrir had fled for his true home. This place, with his real Father, Greyback, castle or not, was home. It was where he was meant to be.
At ten years old, he was the named heir of the Greyback pack, a sizable werewolf pack in Wales with one of the most well-learned and cunning Fathers one could hope for. In the two years he'd been a werewolf, Greyback's son, he had learned so much, learned and relearned, because truth only came through being part of pack.
And this was his pack. His to belong to, and one day, his to rule.
He reached along the tie from father to son in hopes of finding Greyback, greeting him, asking a question, but he was left to sulk alone in the main room of the house. The day after a full moon was a lazy one, with most too busy recovering from the previous night. They only had themselves to blame. They lacked control of themselves and their wolves.
He supposed he couldn't blame the bastard unnamed werewolves, the Muggles, the women, for not being able to control themselves as well as he could. Even Laurel, the only werewolf he'd ever bit, his friend, was eager to learn, but like every bastard, she couldn't be blamed for her lack of control. They just couldn't understand pack.
Still, it made the lazy day after a full moon even more boring, and his Father was nowhere to be found. With a scowl, he went to stalk the corridors of the house in hopes of finding something or someone to entertain him. After all, he was the first of the pack, no one could deny him.
Werewolves slept, lounged, cringed and whimpered in every room he passed, and not a worthy thing was to be found until he came near the back of the house, where a muffled discussion was being held. He approached the closed door and listened as best he could, but all he heard was that a woman was speaking.
Annoyed, he opened the door a crack.
"... have to take this sort of thing seriously. If they attack Curenton, if they shut down the Den -- "
"They won't shut down the Den," a teenage boy said, and Fenrir made a face at recognising the voice. Gabriel, Greyback's bastard first, and a waste of good food.
"Curenton would fight it, but you have to understand, Gabe, the Ministry does what it wants, when it wants, especially with magical creatures like ourselves. It always has," an older man added.
"That's not the point, James! The nerve," the woman fumed, her voice rising as she kept speaking. "The nerve of Lupin to -- he compared us to a nest of chimaeras, we're just another set of mindless, useless beasts to him, aren't we -- "
"Heather," James said sharply.
"That's not my name and you bloody well know it, and you know I'm right!"
"Alexander Lupin is nothing more than a typical wizard, a credit to his race," he replied after a moment of stony silence. "They look at us and see a pack of wild dogs. Why should we expect Ministry officials to think any differently than the average wizard?"
"That doesn't mean he should be allowed to say it for everyone to hear, to treat us this way, to attack our only wizarding ally," Gabriel cut in. "Just because they all think so -- "
" -- means someone has to say something," the woman retorted.
"Trust me, Curenton will," James said with a snort.
"Is that enough?" asked Gabriel rhetorically.
"No," Fenrir said aloud, realising this only when the conversation ground to a halt and all three werewolves were staring at him in surprise. He stared back, and tilted his head, imperious, as he went on. "It's not enough."
None of them seemed to know what to say to the heir of the pack, outspoken as they were behind closed doors, so Fenrir opened his mouth to speak again, to ask them more about this Alexander Lupin. An urgent, angry tug on the tie between Fenrir and his Father, however, forced him to abandon the conversation and bolt directly to Greyback's side -- only to find his Father a single corridor away.
"Father," he began.
"Fenrir, what have you been doing?" Greyback asked, his tone biting. "This isn't -- "
"Why can't I walk around the entire pack house if it's going to be mine to rule someday?" Fenrir interrupted.
Greyback lashed out at him over the tie, and once Fenrir seemed cowed, he went on. "It's not... comely to bother yourself with the affairs of bastards."
Fenrir shook it off. "But Father, they were talking about something..."
"Are you going to listen to the chattering of bastards when I'm dead and gone and this pack is yours to rule?" Greyback asked roughly.
The pressure his Father pushed along their tie mixed with his own strong emotions about what he'd just heard made him have to swallow hard in order to speak. "No. But -- a wizard, his name was Alexander Lupin, he -- "
The reaction was immediate enough to stop Fenrir's train of thought immediately; Greyback's face hardened into a wrinkled sneer at the mere mention of the name. "Fenrir, don't concern yourself. One day we will -- "
"It's true?" His anger, his everpresent anger found root again, the wolf encouraging it, colour rising to his face. "He thinks we're animals, and he's an important wizard, and he said that to everyone?"
"He called Curenton mad for opening the Den, involving himself with werewolves, and he called us unworthy, animals if you will," Greyback said stiffly. "However, this is a wizarding matter, not for our consideration..."
"Chimaeras. He compared us to chimaeras," Fenrir protested. "He's wrong, we're better than chimaeras, than wizards -- we're smarter, united, stronger, we can show him -- it's not enough to just sit around here talking about it, Father, we have to do something!"
Pain burst behind Fenrir's eyes as Greyback forced him to his knees with the power of their tie. "Alexander Lupin is one wizard," he barely heard over the blood rushing through his ears, "and one day we will show all of them."
By the time Fenrir managed to pick himself up off of the floor, wincing yet, Greyback was gone. This was his chance.
One day wasn't soon enough. That one day would come, he knew it, he had faith, but it wasn't soon enough if his Father was ready to give up on this fight. He half-ran to the room upstairs where Laurel lay tending her own wounds from the previous night, and stopped in the doorway.
Laurel smiled the moment she saw him, her light hair lit brilliantly by the noontime sunlight pouring into the room, and pale against the blood on her clothes. He smiled back for a moment until the wolf reminded him with a nudge of his purpose, keeping him on task. "I need you," he said.
"For what?" she asked. He sat next to her and took over dressing her wounds. She was so small, it was hard to believe she was nearly his age.
"We're going to start something," he said, binding her bandages tightly enough to make her wince, though he took no notice. "We're going to do my Father's work."
Laurel gazed up at him, approving, adoring, and nodded. "What can I do, Father?"
"Whatever I tell you. We have to leave, soon."
She nodded again, without hesitation, and they were out of the house and on their way to town within minutes.
Young Fenrir had never overly liked Owen Curenton, even though he'd opened the Den a year previous to any werewolf who needed help. There was something about Curenton that reminded him of his wizarding father, back when he was Jacob Annelsey not two years previous, before Greyback saved him and named him Fenrir. It was confusing to the ten year old werewolf, though; both were men. Curenton wanted to help and create somewhere safe for werewolves, and Alexander Lupin jokingly insulted their race in the guise of insulting Curenton. How did that make sense?
The little contact Fenrir had with the hated former race, men, led him to suspect that they may not have been as bad as his imagination tended to paint them. As it turned out, they were worse.
Common sense, the man had said, to not live among the wolves. That was common sense? He compared them to animals, to dangerous creatures. As though wizards weren't? Greyback was right -- truth came from pack, and wizards lacked any sense of it at all.
It was not difficult (loathed, but not difficult) for Laurel and Fenrir to pretend to be a normal young witch and wizard in order to get information. No one paid attention to someone who looked poor, nearly homeless. They spied, asked innocent questions, and finally watched Alexander Lupin lead around his young son.
Lupin had a son, a young son. His poor young son, who would grow up to be just like his father, a weak, selfish, illogical wand-carrier without a sense of the truth at all. No. Fenrir could do something. He could do what his own Father had done for him.
"We're going to save him, Laurel," he whispered to her on the third week. "And we're going to show Lupin just how wrong he is."
"What do I do?" she whispered back, huddling close to him as they lingered outside of the Lupins' property.
"We have a week. Just find a way to get close and make sure I can get in, all right?"
Finally, twilight lit the Lupins' property, the little garden, as Fenrir crept across the lawn. He went to the window, and it was open. He silently thanked Laurel as he crawled in and went upstairs, stealthy and silent, knowing he had little time. He opened the door of a room with a childish drawing pinned beside the doorknob, and stared inside at the little boy within with a slight smile.
I'm going to save you.
The moon was rising... without delay, he approached the bed.
John Lupin was young, but not stupid. He woke up alarmed to an older boy -- certainly not his age, but not quite old enough to be considered even a young adult -- hovering over him, one hand clamped firmly over his mouth and the other holding on to his arm tightly. Every instinct in his small body told him to struggle; his yelling was ineffective, and he began to kick with all his strength.
His wolf was quiet, controlled, until it sensed the boy's fear, and Fenrir glanced to the window, suddenly panicked. "Stop it," he growled, yanking him roughly onto the floor. He pulled the boy to his feet and began to force him down the stairs. As the wolf began to bristle, Fenrir threw caution to the wind and released the Lupin boy's mouth, dragging him behind him in a run out of the door of his house.
John winced and resisted every step of the way, but there was only so much of that he could do. If he'd been thinking straight he would have tried to grab on to the bannister or an umbrella in the stand by the door. But by the time he was free to scream and then thought to do so, it was too late.
His bare feet hit the wet grass, and he slipped but still moved. He was being dragged away from his bed, his parents, and any and all hope of rescue. "No! Stop! Please!" he begged instead, choking on sobs. "Put me back! Stop!"
The terror struck Fenrir; he wasn't going to make it to the Den. He was going to transform soon and the boy was going to get free, and he would know. His feet pounded the ground, his hackles raising -- he had to control the wolf, stem the transformation for just a few more minutes. The boy sobbed behind him, and both wolf and boy lost their temper, shoving the Lupin boy to the ground. "STOP CRYING," he demanded. "This is your Father's fault. You're going to be mine now. I'm helping you."
Stunned and unable to move, John blinked up at him. Helping him? His father's fault? What did his father do? What did it have to do with him?
What was going to happen to him?
He tried not to cry -- it was obvious that this boy intended to hurt him, but not kill him. He didn't want to try that. All he succeeded in doing was giving himself a severe case of the hiccups, punctuated by the sobs of a frightened child. "No - he couldn't have done it," he hiccupped. "You made a mistake!"
"No," Fenrir said, flashing an unhappy grimace with a lot of teeth, "I didn't." He yanked him up to his feet again and marched towards the Den, already shuddering with the effort of caging in the wolf. He was one of the best at control, one of the most gifted, but this was a strange and very exciting circumstance for both Fenrir and the wolf. They barely stumbled into the Den when the wolf tore through Fenrir's skin, and he gave the boy a last shove into the nearest room, an office, slamming the door behind him.
John went down to the floor and clenched his eyes closed. His hands flew to cover his head, and his breaths began to come in short gasps. He could hope and even pray but he was not going to be saved. His parents, his mother and his father -- he couldn't have done anything, his father was nice -- were far away. If he was lucky, it would be fast and over soon. His stomach began to drop with the hopelessness.
It was a particularly bad transformation, even for Fenrir, who could control the wolf while in human form but couldn't keep it from feeding on his ever present rage. He sobbed into the carpeting as howls broke the silence from the upper rooms of the Den, and he howled in kind as fur flowed from his skin, the transformation beginning. Once completely wolf, Fenrir and the wolf lay eyes of similar hunger on the Lupin boy, approaching him.
Why didn't he think of hiding? Why? If the little boy had known any curses worth saying, he would have used them. He looked up to see if there was still any hope of that, but that turned out to be a mistake. His eyes met the wolf's, and he literally shuddered. His entire body shook, and he mouthed no.
The fear was palpable and almost intoxicating; the boy inside the wolf grinned as the wolf licked its chops and leaped upon the boy, jaws snapping at any flesh that would be supplied, clawing to get it closer.
At first John screamed. His attempts at defending himself from the wolf were useless and each scratch burned like someone lit him on fire. The bite felt like an explosion of dynamite on his shoulder, and it rendered him completely senseless. There was the floor underneath him, the wolf over him, his head spinning, and then nothing else.
Owen had a routine in general, varied on the morning after the full moon -- he got to the Den early to undo the lockdown. All it took was the charm on each door, but that took time. After unlocking the last door, he went down to his office -- the door was closed. He didn't remember closing it or locking it after he left the night before, but most of the time, that didn't necessarily mean a thing. He tried the knob, and pushed open the door.
The sight that greeted him caused him to step back from his door as his hand flew to his mouth.
A battered and exhausted Fenrir stirred at the sound of the door opening, head raising for a moment, but didn't come to entirely. The transformation had been too intense, and the wolf had truly sated its rage and hunger for Alexander Lupin on his son. The few waking moments he had earlier were occupied by pack magic he could not possibly practise and was forced to do entirely on instinct. His eyes were dull as he looked vaguely in Owen's direction, and then his head dropped onto the floor.
Owen forced himself into his office and kneeled by the littler boy. He vaguely recognised him, there was something familiar about the shape of his nose. But the fact was that no matter who he was, he was laying on his office floor in pajamas, his shoulder torn apart and bloody. The boy was still breathing, though, thank god. It was becoming pretty clear what happened -- but why? He was quickly becoming horrified with that train of thought.
He made sure that the boy was breathing, and he touched Fenrir's shoulder. "Fenrir," he said. "What have you done? Who is he?"
Waking required a great effort, as though mental weights clung to his every struggling thought. He blinked, a contented smile spreading across his lips as he looked at the boy across the room. Curenton wouldn't understand. None of them could. This was pack. "Remus," he said, and even the name thrummed with the power of the tie. "He's mine."
Owen sat back on the floor with his head in his hands, while his head swam with thoughts. So much for creating a safe haven. And Fenrir -- had the boy had purposely... it was unfathomable. He willed his thoughts to calm themselves, but they refused. He looked up when footsteps approached.
After not finding his son in any of the full moon rooms, Greyback stalked through the house that served as the Den, searching out either Fenrir or the activist who ran the place. He knocked on the door of Owen's office before entering. His gaze fell immediately to his fallen and bloody son. "Fenrir." All concern melted; there was a snarl in his voice and a yank along their tie that made Fenrir flinch with a yelp, eyes wide.
Owen couldn't help but wince a little himself, but he tried not to appear shaken and Fenrir's bone chilling words played again in his brain. Remus... he's mine. "They were here when I came in just now," he said weakly. "I don't know..." He let the sentence go. For the first time in a long time, he felt like he didn't know anything.
Greyback ignored Owen for now. This was pack business, and no wizard needed to be involved. He strode purposefully to the quivering Fenrir and forced him to his feet with the tie of Father to son. "That is Alexander Lupin's son," he said harshly. "I have told you time and time again that this is not the time, Fenrir, we must wait, and you cannot make them understand by seizing their own children."
Fenrir shook with a sob, tears beginning to stream from his eyes from both fear and confusion at his Father's anger. "He called us animals and they laughed at us! We're not animals, we're better than they are, you've always said, how could I let this boy -- "
"Don't lie." Greyback's sharp tone bit into his ear and Fenrir whimpered again, head lowered when his Father seized him by the shoulder. "This was revenge. Not mercy. Revenge. You will atone for this."
Owen had to tear his eyes away from Greyback and Fenrir just now. This was what -- it didn't matter now. He instead looked down at the boy -- Alexander Lupin's son. It all fell into place now, in a terrifying way that he never would have thought any ten-year-old capable of. He moved carefully to pick him up off the floor, but there was simply no way to handle that shoulder carefully. He whimpered and tried to squirm away, but Owen held him carefully, soothing him with wordless sounds of comfort.
Tears streamed down Fenrir's face as he knelt before his Father, and he quickly ran to the door when Greyback released him. As the pack leader turned away from him, Fenrir looked to Remus (once John) and managed a smile. He had at least managed to save someone from his own fate in the world of wizards.
Greyback laid his hand on Owen's shoulder, looking down at the young boy as well. "The boy will return to his family," he said. "Fenrir will apologize, and I will make certain he doesn't act out like this again."
Greyback's touch seemed to snap Owen out of his horrified stupor, and he carefully stood up; it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do when one was cradling a child. He nodded at Greyback and said, "He should go home, now, and they can take care of him." This was one trip he was not looking forward to making, but it was one that he must.
Greyback hesitated at this idea, returning one of their own to the wizards, especially a named werewolf -- however, Owen seemed set on this idea, and Fenrir's act was reprehensible in this specific situation. "Tell Lupin that he will receive an apology from the wolf responsible within the night. I must... speak to Fenrir in private, first. You understand, discipline of a child."
"If he'll listen to me," Owen said dully. If he knew anything about Alexander Lupin, it was that Owen was not one of his favourite people, and their views didn't exactly cross paths. "But I will tell him that," he added, carefully readjusting Remus in his arms, mindful of his shoulder.
"He's named," Greyback said, nodding towards the boy and more specifically towards his cursed wounds. "You understand the consequences of that?"
Owen bit back a sharp reply about who should or shouldn't be understanding consequences here. Fenrir was Greyback's business, and as he'd just seen, he'd be dealing with him in time. "I do," he said, wondered if he really did, and decided that it didn't matter. "Lupin spoke harshly, but the words don't merit an attack on his son or losing him. The boy did nothing," he added firmly.
Greyback gave him a stony stare, and with an equally cold tone, said, "I agree. But he is pack now. He won't be able to escape it, whoever his birth father happens to be. His Father is Fenrir." He turned away and went to leave.
The boy -- Remus (what a terrible sense of humour Fenrir had) -- laid still and slack in Owen's arms, the only discernable movement coming from his small chest as it rose and fell with respiration. For a moment, it could have been his own son, Jeremy, in his arms. In the awful realization that hit him after, Owen wondered if he'd misheard the entire previous conversation, seen what he'd wanted to see -- or, rather, anything but what he didn't want to see. But when he looked back down at the boy he gently held, there were no dark curls or mischievous giggles. Jeremy was safe at home in his bed. There was a different boy in his arms, someone else's son, with sandy brown hair in a disturbed state of unconsciousness.
Hoping desperately that he was doing the right thing -- a fool's hope, at best -- he walked right out of the Den to take Remus home.
Despite the August day, Alexander lit a fire in the fireplace, simply because it marginally less depressing and pathetic than staring at an empty grate. From the moment they heard John's little boy screams and their front door shut, he and Nichole had not slept, wandered the house restlessly, and fretted, unable to compel MLES to do anything about it until his son had been missing twenty-four hours. Standard, they said. Twenty-four hours was twenty-three hours and fifty minutes too long in his opinion.
When he saw Curenton coming up their lane with John in his arms, his heart literally skipped several beats. They met him seconds later, and for a moment their fears were suspended -- but only for a moment. Curenton told them what happened after handing off John -- Remus -- to Nichole. His son was taken from his bed and bitten, practically torn apart for Alexander's offense and now he didn't even have so much as his own name anymore. By the time the man had used the word "named" Alexander wasn't listening anymore and made him leave. Owen told him the offending wolf would be there before the night was out to apologize, and then left.
Nichole wanted to take him to a hospital -- if not the wizarding one, a Muggle one. It was understandable, but he couldn't. He fixed the wounds himself the best that he could and perhaps that wasn't the best -- but his wife made him promise to let her take him to a Muggle hospital if it got worse. He sat and hoped that it would only get better.
They were upstairs now. Their son was awake, but not very oriented, and Nichole was staying with him. She laid him down in the very bed that he'd been torn from and talked to him in soothing tones that only mothers have. Alexander was barely able to bring himself to look at John. Remus. Remus, Remus, Remus; something told him that he was going to eternally think John when he looked at his son.
He wearily ran a hand over his face, trying not to think so much. They had him back, and that was all that he could bring himself to think about right now. He couldn't think about how this had happened because of something he'd just said off the top of his head, or how it had crushed every hope he'd had for his son or simply what it was just going to be like for him in the world. So he sat and stared at the fire.
Once the discipline was finished, Greyback yanked Fenrir out of the Den and they silently walked to town. This was just another lesson, Fenrir knew, but not only in who ruled the pack, but how to control Remus, his newly named son, with the tie. It was a comforting thought in his Father's silence, anyway.
Greyback silenced Fenrir's wolf and controlled his own as they approached the house of Alexander Lupin, finally bringing himself to knock on the door.
Something gripped Alexander's stomach, and icy cold dread settled there like lead. But all the same, he rose from the chair and went to the front door. He set his jaw when he saw them through the screen door -- it had to be the werewolf Curenton mentioned. He couldn't bring himself to be overly courteous under the circumstances, and said, "Yes?"
Greyback opened his mouth to greet him, but Fenrir was the first to speak. "Where is he?" the boy demanded. He had every right to see his son.
Fenrir immediately felt Greyback grip his shoulder, and he looked up at his Father with a blank expression. Greyback didn't look at him, instead regarding Lupin with painfully upheld diplomacy. "This is the werewolf who bit your son. His name is Fenrir. Your son is now a member of our pack. Do with that what you will, even if you deny him community he will seek it out on his own."
For a very brief moment, Alexander felt like laughing. The feeling quickly faded, but maybe that would show him to presume. The grief and overwhelming anger came back with a vengeance, and he looked between the two. "My son is a child, he's not going anywhere. My family has nothing more to say to either of you." Nothing that he would be willing to repeat in front of a child, anyway, no matter what his crimes were.
Fenrir pushed Greyback away from him, stepping forward towards Lupin. "You can't keep him, he's mine," the boy insisted. "I named him, he -- " As he felt Greyback pull on the tie, Fenrir turned to his Father. "You saved me, let me save him, don't make me leave him here with these wizards, you know what they do!"
Greyback grabbed his son by the shoulders and shoved him away from the door. He then turned his gaze to Lupin, the wolf examining his face as well. "Perhaps now you will choose your words more carefully."
"YOU'LL SEE NOW, LUPIN," Fenrir called from where he had stumbled onto the ground, ego more bruised than anything else. "NOW YOU'LL UNDERSTAND!"
"Fenrir, quiet," Greyback snapped, and forced Fenrir to his feet and a quick pace towards the Den. He turned back to Alexander. "Treat our son well. He will be back to join us. You don't understand now but you will, very soon."
"My son will be safe here at home," Alexander replied with scathing calmness, showing no signs of backing down. "Now go," he added in the same tone, his hand on his wand in his pocket. Naming, sons, it was all nonsense to him and his son wasn't going to have any part of it as long as he had anything to say about it.
Greyback's lip curled in a sneer. How typical. He said nothing more, simply gave the man a curt nod and followed in Fenrir's wake. The boy had a point after all. Even if the means had been too extreme, the lesson had been taught. Now they had only to see the results, good or bad.
Alexander watched them only a second longer before slamming the door shut and twisting the deadbolt as well as locking it with a charm. He leaned his forehead on the smooth wood for a moment, clenching his jaw in anger. He turned to see his wife at the top of the steps, staring back down at him. "He's asleep," Nichole Lupin said, beginning to descend the staircase. "I'm going to stay with him tonight."
If she just saw any of that, she gave no indication of it -- which probably meant that she hadn't. "All right," he said hoarsely, his throat very dry all of a sudden.
Nichole approached him and lifted one hand to his cheek. He felt it, but in a detached sort of way. "He's home now. All will be well soon enough," she reassured him, or tried, anyway.
Not that he didn't appreciate the effort, but he was beginning to feel the weight of the situation and Alexander wasn't sure that Nichole really grasped what was at work here. That he grasped what was at work here. "He is," he said. She drew him into an embrace and he returned it, letting her work her own brand of magic on him. "He's home."