Title: Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.
Summary: Between the breakfasts of cigarettes and coffee and the nights feeling homesick for a place they've never seen, between the red marks on lunar calendars and hankerings for red meat, there were stories and ceremonies, apologies and accidents, waning and waxing, alpha and omega.
Spoilers: None, NextGen
Warning(s): Dubcon, bloodplay, pseudo-bestiality
Prompt: #178: Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others. -Eric Hoffer.
A/N: Originally this was supposed to be my entry for the nextgendarkfest but I dropped out because there was no way I could finish it the way I wanted to finish it in the time I had to write it. Thanks go out to stormsandsins for the help with the French. This is cut up into parts for easy reading since it is over 35,000 words.
"Even a wolf will not stay where sounds no bleat to offer hope of prey"
3 Days before the Full Moon
He wondered if she was home as the phone went on the eighth ring.
"Is she there, Ted? Teeeeeed. Teh-hee-ee…- Oi! Do not DO that!"
Looking down he spared the teenager a scathing glance that shut him up. He was not adverse to the idea of adding another smack to the back of his head, but the day was still young enough to not discard the urge or ignore its possibility of it happening later.
On the eleventh ring there was the clack of a pick-up. "'ello?"
Her voice was rough, impatient. It was not inappropriate to think she had been up all night, working, rummaging through reports looking for cures to curses and the matching game of faces to names.
He wondered if she had been woken by his efforts to get a hold of her all the same, it seemed unlikely but probable in any event. It was only a quarter after nine by his watch; she was either ready to sleep or freshly awakened. It didn't seem the appropriate time to ask which.
There was exhalation on the other end of the line, the sound of smoke against the receiver.
"It's me. I'm with Jamie and one of my mates, I was wondrin' if you had an extra bat."
The swoosh and slap of papers turning and being flicked away was in the background against her reply. There came an ensuing pause, for thought or maybe just the opportunity for her to take a drag off the cigarette he knew she was smoking.
"Yes, in one of the closets. I'll find it, you may keep it. Not much use for it zes days, anyway."
He smiled thinly and his eyes shot to the spot on the glass where James pressed his face up against it, taking pains to annoy him. Teddy waved the younger boy away and slammed the door to the booth shut with a glass snap to deter any further distractions.
The boy shot him a glare and turned his back to the booth, slumped and sullen that his efforts were for naught.
Teddy thought to himself that the boy was going to get his jumper wet, and he'd complain that his back was damp and cold for the majority of the day.
"There's a pity, you should come with us. I'm sure he'd appreciate the lesson." There was humor in his tone.
"I can't, I have admissions papers to fill. It's the holeedez, you know…," she paused and took a drag off whatever brand of backy was on sale, he simpered over her accent, some words brought it out more than others, her stress and lack of sleep made it almost possible to taste with some.
"Yeah, the ankle biters off from school and all that, you're not going to cancel for dinner are you?"
Her laugh was small. "Non. I will not be canceling."
"You'll just be bringing your papers to the table." He smiled with his retort.
"Oui. So when will you be coming?"
"In a bit. Our little ankle biter is getting peekish."
"Good, then I can piddle about for a bit."
"Got to hide whatever bit of fluff you've got around to keep you from answering your phone?"
He played with the cord attached to the receiver and laid an arm across the top of the dial encrusted black box, he slumped and traced the numbers on the rotary dial with his finger through the metal holes.
"As if I'd have ze time, and I was ignoring the phone because ever since maman got one put in naine nana has been calling and pretending to be funny with jokes and voices and she's not very funny and I'm getting very tired of it all."
There was a knock against the glass. Teddy looked up and from over the phone and outside his mate raised his wrist and pointed to an imaginary watch. Teddy waved him off too.
"I've got to go."
"Don't fret. Feed the little ado, he cannot help it."
"Wish it was only him. I'm out with Wood, promised him we'd go out for a bit when he came down from Romania, you know; re-live our youth and all that tripe."
There was a snort and a rasping cough from her end. It sounded bronchial and deep.
"Go zen, I will be here."
"Aces, be there soon."
"See you soon."
She hung up with no other pretense. He let the phone fall onto the peg, depressing it with a metal click.
It was raining.
The sky belched fat wet drops down onto the little box he stood in; he watched the slip of water down past the red panes, puddling at the ground.
It was a good day for a spot of practice.
A hand slammed against the pane and rattled him out of his grey mood.
Irving Wood opened the door and forced it the rest of the way with a lazy motion of his shoulder akin to a shrug.
"So vender then, mate?"
"Do we have to feed him?" Teddy asked with a smirk.
"Yes! You do! Let's go." Jamie took off in a direction Teddy could smell food coming from; the rain kept smells close to the ground, he could care less for rain in the week of a full moon. He could smell everything, from pungent to putrid, there was nothing too ripe that he was excused from acknowledging with his nose.
The other boy ran a hand through long hair, which Teddy had mentioned was not practical when one dealt with dragons for a living on more than one occasion, and tugged at his loose collar.
"We going to see your girl then?"
Teddy frowned and shoved him out of the booth, it was too hot inside the small box for two people to be in such close proximity. The other boy's cologne was making him nauseous; he found he couldn't deal with the scent while cramped up.
He started walking leaving the other boy trotting a few steps behind, taking strides to keep up.
"She's not my girl."
He stopped walking and sniffed out to decide which direction the youngest of their trio had taken to.
With a turn he faced the other boy. He gave him a look that dared him to say otherwise about who exactly Teddy's girl was or wasn't.
Irving Wood did. "You're having dinner with her."
He inhaled, looked up over the other boy's shoulder and sighed.
"I always have dinner with her."
"You shag her too?"
Teddy let his eyes fall to the other boy's. London's mood matched his own and when the repetitive white-noise of the drizzle became a stillicide pattering into the puddles coating the flagstones, his teeth set themselves into an almost painful clench.
"You shouldn't ask things like that right out, Wood. It's rude. And no, I haven't. Haven't even thought about it."
"…lately." Added the other boy with a grin.
The reply made him tight-nerved, mostly because it was true, slightly because someone had noticed.
Frustrated, he kicked at a waterlogged gap in the paved sidewalk sending water into the street.
"Besides I don't date. Not worth it, birds get curious."
"About why you disappear for three days a month?"
Raising his head to the sky he reached into his back pocket and thumbed out a fresh fag. Before placing it between his teeth he let his hand retreat from his mouth to answer.
"Yeah. Let's go eat, huh?"
He accepted a lighter from the other boy and lit up with a turn and puffed with a small bite to the filter.
Her building stood out on the marginally busy street where groups of men in suits with dripping, somber looking black umbrellas fresh from the offices and fresh off to the pubs rushed past, prowling for a quick, late lunch, and the view of gaggling, soaking schoolgirls that stood looking forlornly into shop windows.
She was the only tenant of the red-doored, three-floor walk-up. He'd remember when he and her pap helped her move in, she'd purchased it cheap on the pretense that it used to be an owlery and smelled slightly of excrement those first few months she inhabited it.
Which perhaps explained why she was the only tenant, her owning it aside, it was slightly dilapidated when she first set in to make it habitable.
Though she technically shared the three floor building with a rather eccentric robe maker that ran shop on the first floor, there was little other traffic inside besides herself and associated guests and the odd patron to the store front whose name was better suited for a brothel, in his opinion.
The hanging sign proclaimed : The Flemish Lion: For Those Simply Dressed Best (1st floor). A gryphon stenciled with an upraised paw and proud mane above and bright blue lettering below.
The tiled board set up next to the door that lead to the post box and the stairs to her floor proclaimed: V. Weasley 2 &3, there was a bell but it was molded over and would no longer depress.
He doubted if it would send up a ring at all if one managed to stab at it with enough force anyway.
Rain spewed down from guttering in need of repair, a torrent of dirty water slapped the even dirtier steps and the broom angled against the robemaker's window made brown rivers spill out from under its mane of dull yellow, muck-caked spines, it was a shite day that made even him feel soggy and shaken. Though it might have been just the early morning gloom that did most of it.
His hair bared the color of his disposition, a quiet and somber grey-hay blond.
The door to the stairs stuck, he shouldered it and tripped inside shaking off rain and a sodden temperament that could only be gotten from touting about with a thirteen year old who still found everything bright and shiny and a bone chilling, breath-frosting , wintry-mix sort of day.
He mounted the stairs with the oldest son of Harry Potter and his own mate, the dragon tamer, apprentice under Charlie Weasley, at his heels. He'd climbed the same steps enough times to know that there were fourteen, to her door at least. He'd never been up the remaining ten or so to the third floor.
Sometimes he wondered what she had up there, she told him she kept it empty and didn't elaborate. He'd pestered of course but she would often shrug and say when she found a purpose for it she would do something with it.
Her door was heavy wood with no decoration or number or name on or next to it on a plaque, he knocked heavy handed.
There were steps and he moved back when the knob turned and she filled the doorway.
The scent of cigarettes and violets hit him as it always did when she opened the door for him.
Her eyes skewed him from behind a pair of severe black rimmed spectacles, he'd come to acknowledge that they were as much a part of her face as her nose or lips, they stood out on her much too distinctly to ever be anything but a part of her.
They reminded him of Harry's in the way that they were ever-present.
Her clothes were expensive and very black, he'd have smiled and called them widow's wear but he knew how much she hated when he critiqued her modest black dresses with white collars and hems that swept her knees. She'd admonish him and say, 'If they were good enough for great-grandmaman they are still too good for me,' and she would frown and go about in a sour mood for his whole visit.
She'd swept her hair up and pinned it and she wore black stockings and tiny grey shoes that clacked against the wood.
He doubted if he'd ever seen her barefoot or padding around in stockinged feet before.
"Teddy," she went up on her toes to look over his shoulder. "Hello, Jamie. And Teddy I wish you'd told me it was Uncle Charlie's favorite novice you were bringing. Hello, Irving." She made a moue with her mouth and stood aside to let the trio inside.
"Nice to see you again Victoire, 's been awhile." The novice dragon tamer smiled back and Teddy barely contained his eyes from rolling about in his skull. 'Irving the charmer.' He doubted she was the type to be swayed but he also doubted that would stop the other boy.
"I still can't believe you used to be a beater, Victoire!" Jamie pressed up past the two other boys to hang at her side.
Teddy grinned sideways at the glaze over the younger boy's eyes. It was like he had found his dream woman. He'd take the mickey out of him when they left over making eyes at his cousin.
It was hard to believe she had been a beater, and a spirited one at that, all mud and blood and ire on the field and back to being pristine no short time afterwards.
He trotted off while James all but hung onto his cousin's heels as she went on about her own days on the quidditch pitch back when she was still in school. Settling in a mismatched chair he watched her swim back into sight from through the tiny kitchen where she set the younger boy to the task of making coffee and tea in exchange for her bat.
Irving hung in the entry way studying her collection of photographs from recent and not-so-current trips to Paris and Cairo and the latest family vacation destination; Bombay.
He watched her turn away to place a throw cushion over a basket of laundry sitting on her lounger. The move was covert but he noticed it all the same and when she turned to him he smiled and leaned his head against the back of the chair. She seated herself to his left on her toffee colored couch amongst stacks of reports and a collection of tomes whose spines betrayed their contents as medicinal and pertaining to healing.
"Bit hot in here don't you think?" The question came for the entry way. Teddy inclined his head to look over at his friend.
"Feels fine to me, mate. Maybe you tired yourself out from climbing all those stairs, yeah?" Teddy laughed and pushed his skull deeper into the heady smelling leather of the armchair.
"I think I just need to get some air, be back in tick." The other boy left, the door shut with a quiet click. There was the sound of descending footsteps and then rough coughing.
Clinks and clanks came from the kitchen as Jamie rattled mugs and tried to levitate the brewer behind him, it hung dangerously close to tipping all over the floor and Teddy had to steady it with a muttered bit of a leveling charm.
Setting them down on the low table framed by the couch, threadbare lounger, leather armchair, and stacks of books that easily came to the teenagers waist, Jamie gave a quick nervous glance at the petite witch who was more concerned with where her quill had gotten to and excused himself to fetch the teapot.
"I was theenking of going to the market to pick up liver for tonight. I want to play cards tonight too."
"No onions, though. I loathe onions." Teddy replied with closed eyes.
She made a sound in the back of her throat that he took as assent. He didn't mention how her voice sounded rough or the sallow look her eyes had, she knew already and wouldn't appreciate the concern.
Her job as a mediwitch took late nights and too much paperwork for anyone's liking to get done properly.
"Are you smoking Benson's again?" She asked, not looking up from her search for a quill amongst various papers.
"No, splurged on Dunhill's this week."
"I'd murder for one." She replied after making a sound that he took to mean she'd found her quill.
He reached into his denims and tossed her his pack. "Matches are in there."
She set down her canary yellow fwooper feathered quill and fetched one out. The strike of the match made him open his eyes and sit up properly in the chair. She waved out the stick and he watched it glow orange in the dim light. It was always dark in her flat, he wondered how she read in it.
Jamie returned with the posh little kettle she'd brought from back home and set it on a rag amongst the mugs.
"How do ya take it, Vicky?" The boy asked unaware that she hated the nickname.
"Black. Tea and two sugars for Teddy," she answered not looking up and with a small grimace setting her lips in a tight line.
"Really! That's how I have mine. Black, I mean. The coffee. Right! Okay!"
Teddy knew for a fact that James drank tea for one thing and with too much milk for another.
He had a feeling Victoire was too polite to mention the same.
The idea of James having a crush on his, at least some part Veela, cousin did little to nothing to stop the small smile he got from the thought. Little Jamie was discovering girls, it would be a great and terrible time and Teddy remembered it well.
"I'll go off and find that bat for you. Alright. We'll have coffee and then it's off on your way to go play." She ruffled the younger boy's hair as she walked past done the hallway and into her bedroom to search.
James watched her go with stupefied eyes.
There was hacking loud enough to be heard coming from the stairs.
Teddy made a face. He rose.
"I'll be back Jamie. Don't be a bother."
It was a warning that could all too easily become a chastisement.
The boy looked a little too flushed for Teddy's liking but he nodded all the same and gave a dopey smile that seemed almost whimsical.
Leaving the flat Teddy found his friend at the bottom of the stairs, head in his hands, long hair blocking the sides of his face, opaque liquid blotting the floor and coating the sides of his boots.
Slowly his approach Teddy tried not to retch himself at the smell of vomit. He spelled the spew away out of the building and into the gutter outside. "You alright, mate?"
"Yeah, had to get out of there. The smell got to me I guess."
Teddy leaned his hip into the banister and focused on the back of the other boy's head.
Below him his friend coughed and drew a shaky breath. "Smells like rot and flowers, made me a bit sick. Don't know how you deal with that Ted."
Teddy was utterly confounded; he stood with furrowed brows and slack composure.
"Deal with what?"
"Her, whatever. You know. I mean the Veela thing. Just hit me when I walked in, like I was all knotted up and shite. Merlin, felt like I was to throw up on her rug and then…I don't know I just felt like I was twelve for a second, you know randy and all that, like how it gets as the reserve during mating season with all the pheromones and shite. Didn't know she could do that."
Teddy looked back up the stairs.
"Jamie's thirteen. He's probably making a bloody fool out o' himself right now. Listen, I'll be back. Just wait for me outside, yeah?"
"Yeah, alright." The other boy got up using the banister and shuffled outside into the icy rain and open air. The door slapped shut behind and once it did Teddy didn't so much climb the stairs as rather he tore up them.
He found himself unprepared to deal with the sight that afforded him. The beater bat lay across the lounger next to the basket of linens she had been folding but she was nowhere to be seen.
"I found it! I 'ave two, blue or gold?" Her voice came from the other room and Jamie seemed not to notice as for what he held between his fingers seemed to be much more interesting than choosing a color to whatever he had sent her looking for to get her out of the room.
The younger boy stood with eyes half-lidded smoothing his thumbs over the crotch on a pair of her knickers.
"Jamie!" Teddy hissed from behind with crossed arms, seething just a bit.
The boy turned with a slack expression and glassy eyes, he looked feverish. "What?"
"Gimme those!" Teddy picked the knickers from the boy's grasp and fisted them in his palm as if to hide the evidence of the misdeed.
"Okay," Jamie stood with his arm outstretched as if not realizing Teddy had already plucked the garment from his grasp and the look still in his eyes.
The click of heels from the hallway had Teddy shooing the younger boy out of the flat with expert speed.
"Teddy? You still 'ere? Where's James, I found the extra goggle straps he wanted," she had entered the living room and had not yet noticed that no one else was in the room.
He slammed the door on the younger boy and no sooner had he entered back into the room was there a bang on the door and a shout of, "Ted!" from behind the wood as James snapped out of whatever he had been held sway in to begin with.
"Teddy?" The blonde stood holding out both a blue and gold strap for him to take.
"Sorry, bout that. Here." He offered her her knickers.
They were pale pink and crenulated, very sheer and very French.
"Sorry they're wrinkled, Jamie looked like he was about to gnaw on them."
She took them from his hand and replaced them with the quidditch paraphernalia.
"It's alright, I'm used to it. Perhaps I should have opened a window and taken a bath before you all came over." Her smile was small and perhaps a bit knowing; there was humor in the curve of her lips.
"Why would you do that?" He didn't think he understood.
Her smile widened the tiniest of bits. "Because I smell different."
He didn't know what prompted him to answer in the way he did.
"Not to me."
"I suppose your nose knows something theirs' don't."
"Yeah? And what's that, Mediwitch Weasley?"
She had the slightest of facial twitches that made her eye shake, it only happened when she was tired and cross with him. He contained his grin, barely.
"Wolves know the sheep from the sheep-eaters." She shrugged and let her head tilt onto her neck.
"You are so full of tripe with that veela rubbish, may have Jamie smitten but I am immune to thy wicked charms ye temptress of ill-intent." He waxed poetic with brief theatrics, eyes closed and a hand to his chest.
"That was quite my point."
There was the slightest bite in her tone. He felt as if he'd missed some private joke they were supposed to share. Not knowing the best way to counter appropriately he settled to merely change the topic.
Harry had also been the one to say, 'Evasion is key when outmaneuvered.' Teddy didn't know if the advice fit but he couldn't remember any other auror related gems of wisdom quite as quickly.
"We'll play cards tonight, yeah? And liver, but no onions. Maybe some Odgen's if I get a chance to get away from those two and pick it up." He smiled but it felt limp and tired on his face.
"Alright. I will see you later zen." As soon as she spoke she brought her hand to her mouth, embarrassed by her accent. She tried to ignore it by focusing on picking her still burning cigarette out of a crystal candy dish that she used as an ashtray.
He watched her tap off the ashes and suck in a drag between chapped lips.
"It's the tee's and ayche's that do it to you, you know."
She gave him a looked that told him she knew exactly where her accent was and that she didn't need him to point it out. He shook his head and waved over his shoulder on his way out.
Sighing out smoke she watched him go and went back to work.