A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed the first chapter! Like I said before, this is the first time I've posted anything I've written and it's amazing to see that people like it. In answer to the comment about this seeming like it could lean towards a Jacob/Harry pairing--I thought about it seriously after I started writing, especially with this chapter, but I wanted to play around with the dynamics of the Edward/Harry relationship more. I have some ideas for the pairing that are a little unusual, and am looking forward to incorporating it here.
And now, without further ado--chapter two!
Travel by portkey was, for the most part, instantaneous. Travel by airplane, Harry learned, took significantly longer. After more hours than he cared to count, Harry stumbled into the Port Angeles airport with a much more put together temporary guardian. When asked how he could look so comfortable after such a long flight, Remus simply shrugged and explained how he had traveled quite a bit in the years between Lily and James Potter's deaths and his tenure as a professor at Hogwarts.
"Besides," he said calmly, "an airplane seat is quite a bit more comfortable than some places I've been forced to spend time in."
Harry simply shook his head, exasperated, and continued on to baggage claim.
Over the course of their transcontinental flight, Remus had outlined a few of the mission parameters to Harry. As the animal sightings had all occurred near a small Muggle town, they would be living as Muggles for the duration of their stay, posing as uncle and nephew. A small house had been secured on the outskirts of town, and Remus had a job lined up at the local library. Harry, obviously, was too young to be considered entirely independent, but didn't really have the right education background to be able to enroll in the local high school. After some debate, the two finally decided that Harry was to be "homeschooled" by his uncle, and would get a job in town so as to establish connections with local kids his own age.
They still had a few hours drive before they would arrive at their new home, and after collecting their luggage, made their way through the crowded airport to a car rental station. Driving, apparently, was another skill Remus had picked up over the years.
The drive from Port Angeles to Forks wasn't terribly long, but it was still dark when Harry and Remus pulled up in front of a small-ish two storey house with a gravel driveway. Plants grew, unhindered, on either side of the walkway leading up to the front door, making the grey paneled building appear somewhat wild.
Harry decided he liked the rather messy looking exterior. The Dursleys would never have allowed their gardens so look so out of control, and the tiny backyard at Grimmauld Place would never have included plants without a more nefarious purpose. It was a nice change.
"This is it," Remus said, turning off the engine. "Home sweet home."
Harry laughed. "For the time being anyway." He unbuckled his seatbelt and reached for the door handle. "Let's get all this inside and settle in, I'm knackered."
"Sounds like a plan."
They unloaded the car, lugging heavy trunks through the front door and into a comfortably furnished living room.
"Everything's already set up, for the most part," Remus explained. "The kitchen should be fully stocked if you're hungry. But I think I might just go on up to bed."
"Go ahead," Harry waved him on. "I think I'll look around a bit first."
"Alright then." Remus stretched, arms rising above his head, a strip of pale scarred skin showing where his shirt rode up. "Just don't go outside til we can both go."
"I won't, I promise. Goodnight, Moony."
"Night, Harry. I'll see you in the morning."
When he was gone, Harry propped his hands on his hips and sighed, looking around at his new home. It was small, he had realized that much before. Comfortable enough for two people, he supposed.
The living room was painted in a mossy green and had hardwood floors. There was a squishy looking sofa against one wall, a matching arm chair at a right angle to the side. Windows lined the far wall, looking out onto darkened woods, and there was a bare fireplace opposite. A hallway branched off near the door, leading, Harry assumed, to the kitchen. Stairs to the second floor were against the wall closest to the front door. All in all, he decided, not a bad place to live.
He made his way to the kitchen at the back of the house and poked through the cupboards until he found something to snack on. As he ate, he stared out the window absently. Not really paying attention, Harry almost missed the flash of white the streaked by outside. He sat up straight, startled. What was that? It was nearing eleven at night, who'd be wandering around so late? Especially all the way out here...
He went silently to the back door and reached for the knob, about to throw it open before pausing. He had promised Remus he wouldn't go outside without him, but, well, he wasn't a Gryffindor for nothing. He threw the look and pulled the door open, trying to be as quiet as possible. His breath began to quicken in anticipation and he jerked his wrist down slightly, the wand normally stashed in his arm holster sliding down into his grasp.
Slowly, carefully, Harry stepped out into the backyard. His gaze darted around the trees but he didn't spot anything suspicious. He shook his head quickly, exasperated.
You're imagining things. Nothing's out there, you're just jumpy and tired. He let out a small huff of a laugh and re-secured his wand into its holster. He scanned the woods one last time, to be sure, then went back into the house and locked the door behind him.
Harry and Remus settled in to Forks with little difficulty. Moving into such a small town as suddenly as they had understandably brought questions from the locals, but before long, the two had blended easily into the background.
Remus had started his job at the library, and liked it well enough. They were very flexible with his work schedule, and he had arranged to have the days surrounding the full moon off in the future for religious reasons. His employers were confused, but legally couldn't deny him.
Harry spent most of his days wandering what passed for downtown in Forks. School here started about two weeks before Hogwarts would have, so students were already in classes despite it only being toward the end of August. As he wasn't going to be taking classes at the high school, he needed something that would get him among the people of the town.
They had been in Forks for a little over a week before Harry found something suitable. Located off the main street was a small coffee shop where most of the high school students hung out when they weren't in school.
It didn't take him long to sweet talk the manager into hiring him. He was handsome enough that the girls would be falling over themselves to order from him, and friendly enough that he got on well with the boys. He liked the work well enough; he liked his coworkers, and interacting with the customers, but time was passing quickly.
A week later and they had yet to find any information about the supposed werewolves. Remus was starting to get worried. Full moon was less than a week away and he was beginning to make plans to leave for the duration.
"I can't stay here for the actual transformation," he explained one night as the two were cooking dinner together. "My scent will get everywhere and it might scare them away."
"Makes sense I suppose," Harry said, half focused on Remus and half on the vergetables he was chopping. "D'you know how long you're going to be gone?"
"I'll leave the morning before and come back the night after. You'll be alright on your own?" He flipped the chicken he had cooking, looked to Harry for confirmation.
"'Course I will. "Harry dumped the vegetables in a steamer pan. "I'm working on the day of, but I'll be back here well before moonrise. Everything set for the Wolfsbane?"
"Yes, Professor Snape is having it sent over in a few days. Trans-Atlantic portkey. Have you found anything else from the shop people?"
"Not much," Harry answered. He puffed a breath of air through pursed lips, ruffling his bangs. "It's been a while since there were any sightings, and most of those were further into the mountains."
"That's what I've found too. The women at the library are still somewhat skittish about it all, but they've mentioned the police have been sending search parties out to try to track the wolves." He flicked the stove off, transferred the chicken onto a plate, then turned and propped himself against the counter, arms crossed over his chest. "If anyone can take care of it, Chief Swan can, they say." He shook his head. "Not likely."
"Hmm." Harry tapped his fingers against the countertop, thoughtful. "You know, I was looking over the maps yesterday. There's a reservation a couple of miles away. I thought I might go over and explore this weekend, see if they've heard anything."
Remus smiled, standing straight. "Good idea. I can drop you before I go into work."
"That'd be good, thanks." Harry moved the cooked vegetables off the burner and handed Remus a plate, returning the grin. "Dinner."
Saturday dawned rainy, which, after so long of the same, really shouldn't have come as a surprise to Harry. He was starting to miss the sun, and there wasn't even that much of it back home.
After a somewhat lazy breakfast, Remus ushered Harry out to the car to drive him out to the La Push reservation.
"You've got you're mobile?" he asked, pulling out of the drive and heading out onto the rain slicked roads.
Harry head the phone up and waggled it side to side. "Yeah."
They had purchased the phones shortly after arriving in Forks. Each were off at work most of the time, or navigating the town, and carrying mobiles made it easier to stay in contact.
"Good. I'll be off at five, but I might be able to come round on my lunch if you need to leave earlier." He signaled, pulled onto the highway leading out of town.
"I'll be fine. I'll find something to keep me busy."
They drove in silence for the rest of the trip, comfortable with their own thoughts. Before too long, Remus turned off the highway and navigated the last stretch before arriving on the main street of La Push. He pulled up in front of a small store and idled, turning to face Harry.
"Ring if you want me to come on my break, otherwise I'll collect you here around twenty after."
Harry smiled at his guardian, then reached to undo his seatbelt. "I will. Have a good day, Moony."
"You too, Harry. And good luck." He waved and Harry got out, slamming the door shut behind him.
He scanned the street. Most of this part of town looked to be shops: what looked like touristy gift shops, a smallish grocery store and a couple of restaurants. Harry sighed. Best get started then.
His morning was pretty much a bust. Yes, they'd heard about the wolf sightings; no, no one had seen any for a little over a month now; no, there weren't any other strange happenings around the town. He got the feeling that the locals probably wouldn't tell him even if they did know something. Not only wasn't he a Quileute, he wasn't even American. He was an outsider, and one didn't tell secrets to someone not in the tribe.
He decided to take a break from his snooping and stopped at a little diner off of Main Street for lunch. It was nearly half full, and as he entered he made note of the groups sitting together. At the bar along the front of the restaurant were three older men, hunched over mugs of coffee as they talked quietly to one another. Towards the back in a round booth were a couple of girls who looked up when he entered, but went back to their food when they didn't recognize him. At another booth near where the girls were sitting were three of the biggest teenagers Harry had ever seen. They didn't seem to have noticed Harry, and despite himself, he was almost glad. He hadn't run into any trouble with his questions yet, and when he saw them, seriously hoped not to offend anyone.
He grabbed a seat in an empty booth situated between the girls and the hulking teens and began flipping through the menu. Maybe, if he looked harmless enough, no one notice him eavesdropping.
A waitress came around and took his order before long. She must have seen him darting glances at the other boys, because she gave him a small smile.
"Don't mind them," she said, tucking her order pad into a pocket. "They may look tough, but I've known 'em all since they were tiny and they're all perfectly harmless."
Harry smiled back. "That obvious am I?"
She nodded. "Only to someone used to paying attention. I've been working her going on twenty years, I've gotten used to reading faces." She looked him up and down. "You're a new one, though. Just move here?"
"Yeah," he answered, fiddling with his silverware absently. "My uncle and I moved to Forks almost a month ago. I hadn't been up this way yet, thought I'd do some exploring."
"Well, welcome–" she paused, waiting.
"Harry," he said quickly.
"Welcome, Harry. I'm Ellie. Not too much to see up here, I'm afraid. Stretch of beach if you head out of town a ways, and a store or two if you're really bored."
"Oh. Well I've still got a couple of hours to waste before my uncle can come pick me up. What's the best way to get to the beach."
Ellie gave him directions, then excused herself to go put in his order. She paused briefly at the table where the other boys were sitting, speaking to them too softly for him to make out. One of the boys looked up, caught Harry's eye and grinned before turning back to Ellie. They spoke a few more minutes before she wandered back to the kitchen.
Harry returned to people watching idly while he waited for his food. He nearly jumped out of his seat when the boy who had grinned at him fell into the booth across from him. So much for constant vigilance!
"Hey there!" the boy stuck out a darkly tanned hand. Harry took it hesitantly and shook. "I'm Jacob. Ellie said you were new around here."
"Did she?" he muttered, turning to look at where the waitress was pouring coffee for the men at the counter.
Jacob laughed. "Don't look so put out. She was just trying to be nice. Hates it when people eat alone here. What's your name?"
"Harry," he said after a moment. He glanced over at the boys Jacob had left at his previous table. "Won't your friends be missing you?"
"Those guys? Nah. We were done eating and they were about to take off. I thought it'd be more fun to come over and introduce myself to the new guy."
Harry snorted, shaking his head. "Well don't I feel special."
"You should," Jacob said haughtily. "It's not everyone I decided to grace with my wonderous presence."
Harry found himself smiling and watched as Jacob made himself comfortable in the booth seat, stretching out his legs underneath and nearly knocking into Harry's in the process. Ellie came over from the direction of the kitchen and placed Harry's food down in front of him. She raised an eyebrow at Jacob, who only grinned at her before reaching over and stealing one of Harry's fries.
"Make sure you don't let him steal all the food out from under you," she told Harry. "Because he'll try." Harry nodded, and she walked away back towards the kitchen.
"Should I worry about you stealing my food?" he asked, turning back to Jacob.
"Usually? Probably yes. But you look hungry, so don't worry about it today."
Harry laughed and tucked into his food. "You remind me of someone back home."
"Ah, illustrious England," Jacob paused, looked at Harry, eyes squinting. "I'm guessing anyway. From the accent."
"You'd be right."
"What brought you to La Push?"
"Today? Exploring. I hadn't been up this way yet and thought I'd do a little poking around. Ellie was just telling me how to get to the beach." He was avoiding the question.
"Hmm,"Jacob mused. "Not much of a beach but it's pretty I guess. What made you leave England?"
Harry was silent for a moment. Was he really having this conversation with a total stranger. "My uncle," he said finally. "We had a– family member pass recently. Decided on a change of scenery for a while."
Jacob's face fell. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories."
"It's fine," he said, forcing a tight smile. "You didn't know."
Harry was staring down at his plate, playing with his food. Well this is awkward, he thought. Never a good plan to bring up dead people in casual conversation. It makes things weird. Very soon Jacob would excuse himself and wander off, not wanting to deal with the stress of someone going through the ordeal a death brought. He wouldn't blame him, really. They didn't know each other and it's not like there was any obligation to be nice.
"Hey, I know," Jacob said, snapping his fingers. "I can take you to the beach."
Harry was confused. "What?"
"Well, I brought the whole thing up, right? Least I can do is get your mind of it all."
"I don't know," he hedged.
"Oh, come on. Finish your food and I'll take you. My car's parked down the road, and I don't have anything else to do. It'll be fun." Jacob looked like he honestly wanted to take him, too.
Harry thought it over. He didn't really know the guy and regardless of what Ellie had said, he looked like he could snap Harry in half without trying. On the other hand, he hadn't found out any useful information yet today. Maybe if he tried to make friends, he could get an in. Besides, he had his wand with him. If Jacob tried to maul him he could take care of himself. Maybe.
Mind made up, Harry nodded. "Alright."
Jacob's face lit up in the biggest smile yet. "Great. Now hurry up."
A few minutes later Harry had paid for his lunch and found himself being dragged down Main Street towards where he assumed Jacob's car was parked.
"It'll only take us about ten minutes to get there," Jacob was explaining as they reached an older looking car parked off on a side road.
Jacob babbled for most of the drive, and Harry nodded at intervals, attempting to follow along. The drive was a short one, and before he got completely lost in the flow of words, they pulled up in front of a dreary stretch of beach.
Harry got out of the car and looked around critically. The water was dark and frothy as it crashed onto the shore in small waves. The beach itself was a mixture of wet sand and pebbles, and had large chunks of driftwood dotting the landscape. He assumed they had come originally from the forest which led nearly all the way down to where the sand started.
"Never really been to the seaside before," he said, turning to take the whole scene in, "but I always thought it'd be a bit...nicer."
"Not around here," Jacob replied, wandering further out onto the sand. "You want white sand and clear blue water you have to head south a long way."
Harry followed him down towards where there was an especially large piece of wood, and the two clambered on.
"Suppose so," he said. "But it is sort of pretty, like you said."
They sat quietly for a few minutes before Harry turned back to Jacob.
"So now you know my tragic history," he said softly. "Tell me about yours."
Jacob looked startled. "Me? I'm not tragic." he stopped, scratched the back of his head. "Least, I don't think so."
"Have you lived here all your life?" Harry asked.
"Yup. As long as I can remember. I live with my dad. I've got a couple of sisters too, but one's away at school and one's married and moved away, so none of us see each other all that much."
"It must be nice, having sisters."
"I guess so," Jacob looked doubtful. "Rachel and I don't get along all that well, and Rebecca never comes home, so. What about you? Any siblings?"
Harry shook his head. "Nope. My parents died when I was a baby and I was their first." He smiled. "It's just me and Remus."
"Sounds like you two are close."
"We are, I guess," he answered honestly. "I wen to, uh, boarding school back in England, so we didn't really see each other all that much. We get on well now, though."
Jacob made a face. "Boarding school? That must have sucked. Are you going to school in town here? Or do you get sent out to one of the private schools?"
"I'm home-schooled, actually."
"That's cool. Must be kind of lonely."
Harry cocked his head to the side, thinking. He was lonely, he supposed. He missed Ron and Hermione, and some of his other friends at Hogwarts even though he had never been terribly social. "It is, a bit. I work at one of the coffee shops in town, though, so I meet people there."
"I'll have to visit you sometime," Jacob smiled. "You can score me free drinks."
Harry laughed. "I could try. But what's in it for me?"
Jacob puffed up proudly, looking down his nose at Harry. "My excellent company of course. Hey– stop laughing! Everyone'll be jealous cause you're hanging out with the coolest guy from La Push."
"Uh huh. Whatever you say." He shifted slightly on the driftwood bench, tucking a leg underneath himself and stretching the other out long before him. "Tell me about La Push," he said. "If you're so cool you should know all about it."
"Hmm," Jacob began, tilting his head back to look up at the cloudy sky. "There's not much to tell, really. It's a decent sized reservation; all Quileute. We're all pretty close-knit, but it's like living in a regular town, I guess. Why? Did you expect Medicine Men and peace pipes?"
Harry shrugged. "I didn't know what to expect. I don't think there are quite as many stereotypes about the American Indian thing back home. Then again, I don't really think all that much is known about it, at least where I'm from. You must have an interesting history."
Harry wasn't quite sure what he was digging for anymore. Local legends, folk tales– if there were stories to be found they'd most likely be here, and Jacob was his best lead.
"Yeah, there's a lot of that. I grew up on it, so it's lost a lot of the glory, but there's a bunch I still like."
"Like what?" Give me something to go on!
"Oh, you know," Jacob flipped a hand in the air, waving the question off. He seemed to draw in on himself slightly, began looking a little guarded, and Harry wondered why. "Creation stuff mostly. Where we came from, how we got here." he paused. "Who we used to be."
Harry waited for him to continue, but after a few minutes of nothing but fidgeting, gave up. He glanced down at his watch to gauge the time and swore softly. It was almost five! They'd been talking longer than he'd thought, and Remus would be picking him up in town soon.
He scrambled to his feet and dusted off the back of his jeans. Jacob looked up at him curiously.
"My uncle's going to be in town soon," he explained. "I've got to get back."
"Oh!" Jacob got up, fumbled through his pockets for his keys. "Sorry. Guess I should get you back then."
They talked more on the way back of inconsequential things. Jacob regaled Harry with stories of his insane friends, and he found himself laughing more that he had in months. This trip was turning out well for him. Even if he didn't find the mysterious werewolf pack, maybe he'd made a friend. Merlin knew he needed them.
When they pulled back in front of the diner, Harry didn't spot Remus' car. Made it then. He jotted down the name of the shop he was working at, handed it over to Jacob, and the two climbed out of the car. They wandered slowly down to the shop where Remus was meeting Harry, and had just made it to the front when Harry saw Jacob stiffen.
"What's wrong?" he asked. He looked around the area, trying to spot anything that could have caused such a reaction, but saw nothing.
"It's–it's nothing," Jacob answered. His eyes were darting around the street and he looked tense to run.
Harry looked doubtful. "It doesn't look like nothing."
Jacob dragged his gaze down to Harry's and seemed to force himself to relax. "Something felt off, that's all"
"Uh huh," he tried not to sound sarcastic, but it didn't work.
"I should probably get going." Jacob turned to glance behind him, then back to Harry, distracted. He started walking backwards. "I'll come by the coffee house soon, though. Say hi."
"Okay. See you, I guess."
Jacob nodded and turned around, jogging back to his car.
"Well, that was strange." Harry heard a car coming up the road from the opposite direction and turned. Remus. Right on time.