Be not afraid of greatness: some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some
Have greatness thrust upon them. -Twelfth Night II.5.156-158
"All right, Harry." The words galled him, tasted of wormwood. But they had to be said. "Come out now."
The boy ambled from the shadows. His friend Sisith, the serpent who so frequently accompanied Pollux, was wrapped around his shoulders. The snake lifted its head, met Remus's eyes. It hissed softly, doubtless making some comment that he didn't want translated.
"You have to save the world." By Merlin, I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe it's true…. "It's apparently your destiny."
"Which makes it my duty," the boy shot back, just a child, and already a regular little philosopher. "Of course, it'd be that even if it wasn't my destiny."
Despite himself, Remus couldn't fight the flash of pride. Scowling, he quashed the feeling. He was supposed to be- and was- utterly appalled and disgusted that he had to do this. He was not proud that his godson had, by the age of twelve, destroyed Lord Voldemort, successfully integrated aforementioned Dark Lord's traumatic memories, befriended a basilisk and a small army of dragons, become an Animagus, broken into and out of Azkaban, rescued several kidnapped children from a possessed man, and retrieved the cure for lycanthropy by stealing it from the heart of the Ministry of Magic.
…Okay, maybe a little proud. But that didn't make him any less angry!
"I'm not here to argue semantics with you," he growled. "I'm here to lay down some ground rules."
"Rule one: I expect to be informed before you go off risking your life. Rule two: since you'll inevitably rush into danger regardless of whether or not I've forbidden you to do so, I expect you to train for at least three hours a day. That way you have a marginally better chance of survival. Rule three: Sirius will learn of this eventually. Rule four: don't neglect your health or schoolwork for this. You might have Voldemort's memories, but that doesn't mean you can't fail a test."
Harry saluted. "Anything else?"
"Of course. Rule five: for the love of the druids, Harry, use sense. I can't tell you how much trouble your father and the rest of us could have avoided if we'd just thought things through. Remember that whatever you do will have consequences, and you can't predict those. Rule six: don't go on any of your missions alone. Always take backup."
"I know that."
The werewolf's entire body went stiff. "I see. And where was this backup when you rescued Sirius and Dudley from Azkaban?"
Harry froze. "Er… I had Sisith. And the amulet."
"Not. Good. Enough. From now on, you will bring at least one other witch or wizard whenever you go off adventuring. Do you understand me, young man?"
"Yes, sir," he mumbled, meek as a lamb.
Remus sighed. The fight leeched out of his shoulders. "I know you do, Harry. You're a good kid, despite your… hobbies."
The boy nodded, but the sorrow hadn't fled his eyes. He tried to hide it, but Remus wasn't fooled.
What should I say? The werewolf wondered. That I'm GLAD James's child is risking his life to save mine? That-
The words slipped out, honest and pure. "I'm proud of you, Harry."
And Harry's sadness went away.
This is it, Tyr thought. He rubbed at his arms- or, more precisely, the goose bumps covering them from wrist to shoulder.
Outside, the sun was setting, painting the world hazy pink and gold. Shadows lengthened, blue fingers caressing the ground.
He crossed the small apartment, looked towards the east. Clouds.
Normally, Tyr didn't mind clouds. They kept the sun at bay, something he could appreciate while working at the docks. This night, though, he utterly despised them.
The moon was full, but he couldn't see it. It was hidden behind these accursed clouds.
He- and doubtless the other werewolves, though they hadn't yet come out of the containment chamber- had gotten through moonrise unscathed. That was good, even more proof of the Chalice's purifying power. But the Wolfsbane Potion could also delay transformation on cloudy nights. If a werewolf had taken Wolfsbane, his body was safe… until the moon peeped out from around the clouds. Then, when the first of its unfiltered rays struck the surface, the werewolf would transform.
It was entirely possible that the Chalice, which used the Wolfsbane's most potent ingredients, suffered the same flaw. What if, when the moon broke through, the werewolves found themselves uncontrollably transforming? He had no doubt that even if they were to transform, they would retain their right minds- but the thought of hoping so much for complete control and being let down at the last minute was too much for him to bear.
The door creaked open. Tyr spun, a growl rising in his throat. Then he fell silent. "You shouldn't be here, Harry. What if the potion didn't work?"
"Then it has a funny way of not working, what with you and the others being able to transform at will and all," he shot back wryly.
Tyr acknowledged the point with a nod. He returned his gaze to the window. Was it his imagination, or were the clouds thinning?
Within him, the wolf- passive but alert- rumbled its reassurances. We are one, now. The moon-call will hurt no more.
"Any particular reason you're here, Harry?" he asked.
"I just got a late owl from Blaise. Apparently he's been trying to reach me for the past two days with a reminder that the werewolves in his Dreams were apparently telepathic. He thinks that you and the others should test that out later tonight."
Are we? Tyr asked.
The wolves didn't exactly have ancestral memories- that was the domain of the dragons- but they did possess a general outline of their history. It was hard for the human parts of their minds to understand, but their wolf-selves had vague impressions of originating far to the east and north, of long battles in the night, of coming west. Those not-quite-memories were very faint, though. The only truly strong one was that of the Chalice vanishing. There had been battle that day, wolves and dementors and humans in gleaming armor, but the fight had been a distraction. When the werewolves returned home, they discovered that their precious treasure was gone.
The wolves couldn't 'remember' what happened next. Their impressionistic history was tied up with possession of the Chalice. With it gone, they couldn't absorb any more experiences into the tapestry of their history.
The humans, though, were intelligent to reason things out. The day the Chalice had vanished, there had been a battle between werewolves and humans. Some of those humans had to have been bitten, but they hadn't drunk of the Chalice. They were wild, untamed, and fully capable of spreading the cursed gift across Britain. Later, their 'descendants' had spread the disease into Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World.
"Any more news?" Tyr grunted.
Harry shrugged, the fabric of his robes rustling. "Four of us opened new raths earlier today. We were down south, of course- the sun sets earlier there, and I didn't want to miss this." By this point, he had walked up to stand beside Tyr. Both wizards stared at the clouds which hid the moon, waiting.
"Hermione is fine, I assume?"
"Of course. She's in France with her parents, nowhere near the raths. Unless that knight crosses the English Channel to get to her, she's safe."
"Good." A vein throbbed in the werewolf's neck. "Because if you had let her near the Fae after what happened last time-"
Harry scowled. "Give us some credit, Tyr. We're not fool enough to make her perform the ritual when she risks being kidnapped and dragged halfway across Britain."
"Sensible kids don't decide to take down the most powerful man in the country."
Harry shrugged. "Point, I suppose."
"All right. Point. But about the telepathy, which is why I came here in the first place- are you going to try it out?"
Tyr considered. "Not tonight," he decided. "They're all so excited that I couldn't get them to focus."
"You're not," Harry observed.
"I can't fight the feeling that this will all go wrong somehow. It's ironic… for years, I've been the only one holding out hope that a cure exists, that we're not cursed for the rest of eternity. Now that the cure has been found- with my help, no less- it's hard to believe. I keep thinking that any second now, the moon will come out from behind that cloud and-"
"Oh, look." There was soft laughter in Harry's voice. "The moon came out from behind that cloud."
Tyr spun. He hadn't realized it, but during his conversation with Harry, he'd turned away from the window to face the young Parselmouth. Now he turned back to look at the moon- a bright silver orb that was no longer hidden behind clouds.
His thoughts froze, as did his body. The moon, shining and white, became the entire world. It was all he could see, all he could think about. The other senses faded to insignificance.
The moon was out. The full moon was out, it was there, and he wasn't a wolf. He was human.
Within his mind, his wolf-self smirked. The canine equivalent of I told you so floated across their bond.
"I don't believe it," he breathed. "I don't- I can't-" He shook his head, stunned. "I don't believe it."
Harry grinned at him, green eyes shining in the moonlight. "Believe it, Tyr," he laughed. "You'd better believe it."
Tyr had long ago accepted that security in the CC sucked. If his people had had anywhere else to go (which they didn't, as they'd be fired from any other jobs the moment the full moon rolled around), they could have escaped simply by walking out. Still, the wizarding public was rather nervous about a colony of lycanthropes, so they insisted on employing (usually terrible) Aurors and trainees to watch over the prisoners. In reality, the Aurors weren't guards so much as supervisors who told the werewolves where to unload the latest shipment from Sweden. Still, shouldn't their security be at least marginally better on the full moon, when a group of rabid magical beasts was going berserk just half a mile from their barracks? Barracks wherein they had probably gotten roaring drunk, as most of them did every moon?
Evidently no, it could not.
"Look on the bright side," advised Harry, who had taken Pollux's form. "They could have shipped you all to Azkaban. It's always better for your enemy to underprepare than for him to over-plan."
"I know that, intellectually at least," Tyr grumbled. "But this is downright insulting. They could at least pretend to do their jobs and-"
"Hey!" yelled a female voice. "Stay away from the werewolves!"
Pollux blinked, pulled up short, as Nymphadora Tonks stalked out of the shadows. She was the first Auror (technically an Auror-trainee, but close enough) he had seen all night.
"It's okay, Dora." Remus melted out of the shadows. A huge grin threatened to split his face. "Tyr, Pollux, this is Nymphadora Tonks, the only person in this place who bothers doing her job. Dora, these are Tyr Ulfhednar and Pollux Riddle."
"Charmed," Harry improvised, giving a sweeping bow. "Ah… what exactly are you doing here?"
Tonks sucked in a deep breath in preparation for her explanation. "Remus let slip at our last meeting that the werewolves hurt themselves when they're in their feral state, which made me realize that it would be pretty easy to make werewolves' lives a lot easier with just a couple basic spells. We can't afford Wolfsbane- at least, that's what they tell me- but what about a simple Stunner? I thought that if I Stunned the werewolves when they transformed, they wouldn't hurt each other, and I could wake them up when the moon was down." She huffed, glared at Remus. "I didn't expect them to, you know, not transform."
It was fairly obvious that Tyr and Pollux had interrupted the explanation. It was also quite, quite obvious to Tyr (not his almost-thirteen companion, who had very little experience with actual interpersonal relationships) that Tonks's anger was that of a woman who had just discovered that her man was keeping something from her. Despite the seriousness of their situation- any Auror, no matter how friendly, knowing that the werewolves were cured was bad- he had to fight to suppress his laughter.
Remus saw his alpha's amusement, of course. The younger werewolf shot him a death glare before summarizing the events which had led up to their freedom. "Last December, Pollux approached Tyr with a proposition…."
He left out some details, partly for brevity's sake and partly because they didn't know how much to trust her with. His story neglected to mention anything about Sirius's escape, Voldemort's memories, Dumbledore's interference, or ancient prophecies hidden under Hogwarts and guarded by an almost-as-ancient snake. And of course he was too intelligent to let slip that Pollux was none other than Harry, his godson.
Tonks's eyes shone. "So you really are free," she whispered. "That's- by Merlin, Remus, that's wonderful. But why haven't you told anyone?"
He met her gaze. Softly, solemnly, he asked, "What do you think will happen if Fudge learns that a group of already-feared dark creatures has become even more powerful?"
She blanched. "Oh. Good point." An awkward silence, a shuffling of feet. "I'd… better get back. They'll notice that I'm gone, soon. Well, probably. They were hitting the bottles when I left, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Night, Remus." She ducked her head, scurried off into the night.
"Night, Dora," he called after her. Then, once she had faded into the shadows, he turned to Tyr and growled, "Not one word."
"I didn't say anything," the alpha replied blandly. "Now, are the others out?"
The younger werewolf nodded. Before he could answer, though, a woman's voice called, "We're out. We were just waiting for Remus to reason with his girlfriend."
The werewolf stepped into the light. "Who is this?" she asked curiously, gesturing at Pollux.
Tyr stepped back, letting the other werewolves- his people, now and for always- look at the young Animagus. He, too, turned his gaze to the Parselmouth, a young man with ancient wisdom, an implacable storm waiting to clear the old away.
They had discussed this moment, him and Remus and the other werewolves. Their decision had been unanimous. Not even Moony had disagreed.
"This," he said, directing his speech at her but addressing all the werewolves, "is Pollux Ophion Riddle, Moon Lord, Leader of the Hunt, who saved us all."
The other lycanthrope's breath caught. The shadows behind her shifted as their inhabitants, werewolves all, leaned in for a closer look.
Tyr Ulfhednar stood tall and proud, every inch an alpha. The scent of destiny lay heavy on the air. "This is Pollux Ophion Riddle, who brought us the Chalice of the Moon. This is Pollux Ophion Riddle, the Lightning Speaker. Pollux, this… is your army."
End of book three
Book 4, Harry Potter and the Tournament of Houses, will be up sometime in the first half of March. It'll involve wonderful things like werewolf conspiracies against Tonks, politicking with assorted magical creatures, Mad-eye Moody (or IS he?), another period of I'm-not-talking-to-you between Harry and Mark, and of course the thing mentioned in the title. Until then, adios!