Title: Eyes That Can See in the Dark
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Warnings: Bloody animal death, sex, violence, profanity, some mentions of past torture and gore. This ignores the DH epilogue.
Summary: Draco, for a year after the events of Rejoicing in Their Strength.
Author's Notes: This is a sequel to my chaptered fic Rejoicing in Their Strength, and won't make much sense (and will spoil the ending of that story for you) if you haven't read the previous one. The title comes from a Rudyard Kipling poem, "Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack." This will be a fourshot.
Eyes That Can See in the Dark
Chapter One—First Moon
The Aurors were stupid.
That was Draco's sole thought as he leaned back against a tree in the small woods near the Malfoy estates, with Harry's arms securely wrapped around him, but not his sole sensation. He could feel the warmth from Harry at his spine, like a devouring furnace, and the way that Harry sometimes lowered his head so that he could nuzzle the back of Draco's neck, and how his breath sighed out now and then, as though he wondered what he had done to deserve Draco in his life.
Draco highly approved of all those sensations.
Right now, though, he was watching the Aurors picking through Malfoy Manor, doing their very best to identify the murderers of Lucius Malfoy, and shocking themselves with what they found. Rooms full of torture equipment, with no magical signature but Lucius's on them. Books of Dark Arts with certain pages marked. Ropes and chains, screws and shovels, shards of glass and bolts of iron.
Draco could have told them all those things were there, and that he had suffered from Lucius's supposedly tender care for years. The Aurors had come regularly to make sure that his family was keeping to its house arrest, but so unobservant were they that they had never noticed "Narcissa Malfoy" was only an illusion—Lucius had tortured her to death months ago—and that Draco was under multiple glamours to hide the wounds that had almost destroyed his body.
They had never noticed that Lucius was mad, suffering from the effects of casting too much Dark magic down the years, though it was an easy conclusion to come to, and something Draco knew they had investigated with other former Death Eaters. But a polite smile and witty conversation was all that was necessary to fool them.
Oh, Draco could have spoken out, but then Lucius would have killed him. He preferred survival to trying to inform the Aurors of something they should have noticed for themselves.
And right now, he had no inclination to solve their other problem for them, either: namely, what had happened to make the wards of Malfoy Manor fall and a large pack of werewolves surge through them and kill Lucius Malfoy in what looked like a targeted hunt. Not even werewolves using Wolfbane, ran the thought, would have been so rational. And if the Ministry hadn't known what was happening here, how could anyone else have known?
Harry lowered his head so that Draco felt the scrape of his teeth, and whispered, "We should go."
Draco nodded. Harry's pack had come back at dawn of the full moon night when Harry had slaughtered Lucius and cast spells that should cover every trace of their magical signatures and confuse the tracks enough that it looked like fifteen or twenty werewolves had been there instead of five (six, if one counted the newly turned Draco). They had likewise carefully removed every trace of the fivefold pack-strength that had let them get through the wards, though they couldn't restore them to exact, pristine condition without a mastery over the house and gardens that not even Draco possessed. Then they had kept a watch on the house each day, waiting for the Aurors to discover the death.
Now they had, and they had only grown more bewildered as their investigation went on, instead of less. Draco was confident that they would find no clue to lead them to Harry's pack.
"We should go," Harry said again.
Draco twisted to look up at him with a slight smile. Harry's power flapped around him like a cloak or a rising wind. It hadn't been easy for Draco to ignore when he was a mere spiritual traveler, using his astral body to escape the torments of his physical one. It was even less easy now that he was a werewolf and all but Harry's acknowledged partner. He lifted his hand and laid his fingers along Harry's jaw.
"All right," he whispered.
Together, they made their way back into the woods and Apparated home, to the Forest of Dean.
As his first full moon spent as a werewolf drew closer, Draco had begun to have problems with Hyacinth.
She watched him with remote eyes most of the time now, while in the first days after he transformed she had been full of helpful advice about learning to live with a strong wolf, or need, inside him. She seemed content to think that he made Harry happy. She didn't resent the time that Harry spent with him, and in fact had warned Celia, Josh, and Leila off when they showed their teeth to Draco.
But now something had changed, and without entirely knowing what it was, Draco was reluctant to speak to her directly.
His wolf stirred in him restlessly, but with fits and starts, making Draco suddenly see blood running across the surface of a calm pool or interfering when he tried to brew Wolfsbane. Now and then it made one of his old injuries—not even the transformation could heal him completely—flare up, especially in his legs, which Lucius had cut to shreds before the pack rescued him. The wolf seemed to believe that it ought to have a completely healthy body, and was punishing Draco for the wounds he could do nothing about. He gritted his teeth and endured each time, because he knew that complaining would only increase the tensions within the pack, always greater near the full moon.
This afternoon, though, was the worst. The wolf pressed down on him like a second sun, and he lay still and panted, unable to concentrate even on his brewing. The scents of the forest made his head reel. His hands opened and shut without purpose, and he remembered the tortures that Lucius had inflicted on him to make that happen. He shut his eyes, but that made shapes surge across his mental vision, as though he were watching imaginary wolves chase real deer.
The voice pierced to the core of him, and Draco was abruptly on his feet before he knew he was going to obey. Of course, Harry always had that effect on him. Before Draco had become a member of the pack, he had felt much the same way, enchanted and soothed and drugged by the strength that Harry carried with him.
But Harry was out for a run in the forest with Celia and Josh, helping them to work off some of their extra energy and spending time with them to ease their jealousy. Leila had gone off by herself among the trees with a book, as she often did when the moon was coming. The only one left in the glade besides Draco—
She gazed at him without moving, her eyes so violently yellow that Draco felt his lips pulling back from his teeth in an instinctive snarl. He had seen those eyes turn red when she was rescuing him, but that had not been as frightening. Then, Draco was caught up in the excitement of finally seeing the man who had tortured him punished, and he had floated in his astral body, beyond any physical touch that Hyacinth might try to offer him. Only Harry was powerful enough to touch a spirit.
But now he was in his body, and Hyacinth was on all fours and still looming over him.
Draco remembered Harry warning him that Hyacinth's wolf was strong enough to have driven her to commit murder in the days before she joined the pack, and that even Harry could barely contain it. He was to back down if she seemed challenging.
But Draco's pride had survived much of the contest with his father; at times, it had been the only raft he had to cling to on a vast and lonely sea. He was not about to surrender it now. And his wolf was in flood. Surely the magic that churned down his limbs and baked his bones was as strong as Hyacinth's.
He lay back down, in defiance of her command, and showed his teeth to her.
Hyacinth moved a step closer, her head lowering, a growl rumbling up her throat. The growl was frankly terrifying, and Draco knew that she could smell his fear.
But he wouldn't be cowed by anyone short of Harry himself. So he growled back.
Hyacinth stepped away and turned her back on him, as though he had done something that changed her opinion of him. Draco found himself bracing for her to whirl around him and bite.
But she only said, in a thick voice choked with the remnants of dying things, "We will see what happens when the moon shines, little dog," and walked across the clearing to lie down near one of the doors of the houses. In moments, she was asleep.
Draco stared at her for a long time. She showed no sign that she was feigning, and no inclination to stand back up and confront him again, so he gradually stood up and went back to his brewing.
He hated the fact that he kept glancing over his shoulder, and continued to do so until Harry returned.
The moon was up and the magic was flowing.
Draco shuddered when the transformation took hold. He had lived almost a month now without any major pain, other than the discomfort of minor injuries that would always be there, and he hated the sensation of it flooding him now. But he dug his nails into the earth, contrasted the present with the past to the glory of the present, and endured.
Besides, it was pleasant to feel the tormenting restlessness stop at last and the sap of strength and life flood his limbs. He trotted a few steps forwards, his head up and his nose at last separating out all the scents from each other properly. Harry could talk all he liked about a werewolf's enhanced senses; they still seemed dim and confused when they had to work with the human physical equipment. Wind flowed better into a long canine muzzle, and there were sensitive hairs to funnel the air the right way. Draco sneezed in pleasure and rolled in the dirt so that some grains would cling to his silver coat, purely because he cared less about being clean when he was lupine.
Celia and Josh ranged past him, whirling round and round in play. They were so equally matched in strength that neither of them could gain a permanent hold over the other, and so each new fight was another chance that might go to either of them. Draco scrambled back to his feet and watched with his tongue hanging out. He didn't know who he favored. Celia smelled more of determination and was, he thought, the more intelligent of the pair, but Josh had better control of his wolf and so was the model that Draco aspired to more at the moment.
It ended with Celia crouching so that Josh slammed into her instead of leaping over her, and she whirled around and pinned him to the ground with her teeth on his muzzle so he couldn't breathe. Josh whined in resignation and wagged his tail to show that he'd surrendered, since with the position he was in he couldn't bare his belly or throat. Celia wagged back, then nipped him and pranced around the clearing to demonstrate her strength.
Leila walked towards Draco, her back leg dragging slightly, and gave him a formal sniff, which Draco returned. She hadn't participated directly in his rescue, not having the strength to leap to the floor of Malfoy Manor where Lucius had imprisoned him, and she was shyer than Celia and Josh, so Draco hadn't got to know her very well even in the month since. But he had admired her brewing skills and the way she kept up with the pack despite the injury she had received before her turning. If Josh was his model for the way to control his wolf, Leila was his model for coping with less than physical perfection.
Now, as her scent flowed over him and Draco caught traces of fear and anxiety and loneliness and envy, he understood that Leila sometimes felt left out of the pack herself. She was older than the rest, with more of her life behind her before she was changed, and she wasn't as strong. She had wondered if anyone else felt like she did, and looked in vain for reassurance. Harry had seen to the bottom of her dilemma and offered her sympathy, but Harry couldn't always be around, and Leila wouldn't want him to soothe her all the time even if he could be. She had her pride.
Draco understood all that with a single sniff, and saw Leila regarding him with softened eyes and a slow wag of her dark tail. She understood him better, too. Draco panted. Being werewolves certainly made communication more efficient.
Then Harry howled.
The clearing was so supercharged with the rolling electrical power of the pack that Draco hadn't felt him step out of the house where he preferred to change—it was as though Harry had some qualm about letting them see his mouth and nose warping out of shape and his limbs melting and twisting—but there he was now, a handsome black wolf six feet tall at the shoulder, most marked by the ragged patch of white on his forehead where the scar had once stood and the golden eyes that retained a trace of green. He yawned and swept his tail back and forth, looking carefully around the glade.
At least Draco wasn't the only one watching him avidly. Harry was the strongest werewolf present and the heart and center of the pack.
Harry trotted towards Draco and shouldered into him in greeting, nipping his jaw lightly. Draco nipped his back and then pressed himself against Harry's side, sighing in relief as warmth flooded him. He missed this when they were human. Harry could conjure enough power to make Draco feel enclosed in a thick blanket, but it wasn't the miracle that it had been when Draco was a pure spiritual body who would know no kindness in his physical life.
Then the clearing shook with a second advent of power.
Draco glanced up. Hyacinth, a bright scarlet wolf, was coming out of her own house, and her eyes were fixed on him, yellow swimming with dots of red.
Draco showed his teeth and felt all the fur on his body stand up. Hyacinth prowled forwards, step by silent step, her fangs showing. Draco knew that this was a challenge. Hyacinth knew that Draco was near in power to her and Harry, but not how near, and when they were human, there wasn't room for this kind of physical fight, especially given Draco's injuries.
The way she scraped a paw through the dirt and pissed contemptuously in it now said that she thought torn ears and malformed legs should not slow him down.
Draco could feel Harry, Leila, and the rest of them backing out of the way. This was a battle they had no part in, and as concerned as Harry might be—Draco knew that he had shielded Draco from contact with Hyacinth a few times today, when the pull of the moon became particularly bad for her—he couldn't interfere. Werewolves were a mingling of human and wolf, but more in thrall to their wolves when the moon rode high.
Draco howled and sprang forwards to meet Hyacinth.
She charged with a deliberately weighty pace, Draco noticed, doing her best to make use of her enormous mass. She was shorter than Harry, but heavier. Draco knew that he would simply be bowled over if he tried to meet her head-on.
So he spun to the side, light and fast, and ripped open her shoulder with his teeth, then sprang aside before Hyacinth's return strike, made with a paw instead of her fangs, could hit and paralyze him. Hyacinth snarled in pain. Draco danced around her, making little feints inwards, his mind full and buzzing.
Usually, the wolf felt like an alien twitch in the back of his brain, an alien taste in his mouth. This time, they were fully in accord, because Draco was doing what the wolf wanted. Intoxicated, he danced, and saw again the wisdom of Harry's way of handling the wolf: give it what it wanted some of the time, and the rest of the time it would spend torpid and under your control, working for you instead of fighting you.
He could only lure Hyacinth into a futile waltz for a few minutes before she regained command of her rage. Then she crouched and bared her fangs. Draco came alertly to a stepping stop, his legs braced for movement in either direction.
Hyacinth simply waited, tilting her head a bit to the side. She smelled of scorn and fury, and Draco's pride rose. Had she learned nothing during her contest with him? Did she still think him so unworthy of respect? She was showing him her throat not in submission, he knew, but because she thought he wouldn't be able to give her a fatal wound there before she could tear her head down and bite him in return.
Snarling his own contempt back, Draco charged.
Hyacinth remained in place all the time, bracing herself for their meeting. So Draco decided that he would give her a blow that would stir her no matter what happened. He changed the angle of his rush and lowered his shoulder so that he would roll her.
Hyacinth's head twisted back and her jaws flared open. Draco didn't see the trap until too late; he'd committed too much to his own momentum, the way Hyacinth had in that first clash when he had managed to wound her.
Her fangs caught him on the leg, and then Hyacinth flexed her neck and spine as she surged to her feet and flipped him, over her head and around in a howling heap until he landed heavily on the ground. Draco panted, blinking the moonlight and the battle out of his eyes, and then discerned Hyacinth above him, looming, enormous, stinking, pressing down with her fangs on his throat and growling a question.
Draco wished that wolves had longer nails on their paws than they did. He would have loved nothing more than to reach up with one hind leg and scrape at Hyacinth's unprotected belly, tearing a wound there and forcing her to release him and deal with it. The next time, he would be wise to her traps and not caught as easily.
But for the moment, he had short nails, and she was pressing down more, and it was getting hard to breathe.
Draco snarled back and tilted his head reluctantly, showing his pale belly to the moon and the pack, but also showing his teeth, so that none of them could think he'd surrendered of his own free will.
Hyacinth leaped back and howled her triumph to the sky. Then she whirled around. Draco rolled to his paws and away in time before she could piss on him.
Then she looked as if she might consider challenging him about that, but Harry howled in his turn, his voice a silver ladder straight to the stars, and the rest of the pack had no choice but to blend their howls with his. Draco turned and saw Hyacinth at Harry's side, giving him a challenging stare. Draco lowered his ears and joined the pack right behind her, avoiding her direct gaze.
Harry moved his tail, sweeping it lightly across Draco's face in reassurance before he leaped forwards.
And suddenly Draco was part of that chase that he had only watched before, the pouring silver flashing and leaping of it, the charge over logs and past dead trees, the jump over small hollows in the ground, the whip of wind through guard hairs and uplifted ears, the brush of a tail against the sky. The moon was everywhere, maddening, whipping their blood to froth, calling howls out of Draco's throat almost without effort.
He leaped, and the world leaped with him, the trees falling down behind him and the starry sky looming closer, the sky collapsing away and the trees dancing up, until the earth welcomed him back after his flight with a dusty sigh of satisfaction.
When they bounded through patches of moonlight, the effect was so great that Draco wanted simultaneously to continue the straight run and to run madly in circles chasing his tail until he collapsed from the dizziness. It was only Harry that kept him with the hunt and the pack, dancing and running on.
Draco knew he must have felt this overwhelming power from him before, the first time he had been wolf, but he had not noticed it at the time, caught up in the immediate differences that came with walking on four legs and seeing the world as clearly with his nose as with his eyes. But now, he felt it like a rushing river or a second moon, pulling him in closer, making him rise and rise until it seemed possible to soar forever without thought of a fall.
Hyacinth ran ahead, directed by Harry's yelps to do her own hunting, and Draco surged up to run beside Harry.
He kept up with ease. Harry flicked his eyes and ears sideways, and his scent exploded in pleasure. Then he tucked his ears flat to his head and charged an immense barrier of brush in the way, which Draco thought was growing on a fallen tree.
Up and over he swished, his muscles like iron, his coat like running blood.
And Draco was beside him, his muscles like steel, his coat like running water.
Draco knew they hunted that night, because he woke in the morning with blood on his mouth, and he had confused, distant memories of catching a rabbit and tearing its head off. But for him, the night was that moment:
He and Harry, in flight under the moon, side by side and equal in strength and in joy.