The Sound of a Distant Stranger

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, which you may find in Mor's and my forum, "Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings Fan Stories," found here (Just take out the spaces!): h t t p : / forum. fanfiction. net/ forum /Mew_and_Mors_Weird_Pairings_Fan_Stories /76194 / Read, review, and enjoy! And check out and join the forum FUN!

This is a sequel to my 1st Elfen oneshot, "The Sound of a Familiar Stranger." I strongly suggest you read that before this. :]

- ^-^3

Twice. She'd seen him twice since he'd gone on the lamb again.

By Merlin, when I catch up to him, he'll have worse things than the Aurors to be scared of, she thought as she angrily fluffed a pillow on the couch in her living room.

Eloise Midgen huffed and threw the pillow on the couch. Then she sat down, hugged the pillow to her, and felt her bottom lip quiver. It had been so annoying recently. She hadn't understood just how boring her life had been until Fenrir Greyback had entered it and then left without so much as a "hullo, luv."

The Hufflepuff sighed. She still couldn't believe she'd fallen for notorious werewolf Fenrir Greyback. But…she had. She'd found him and nursed him back to health and then taken care of him…and she'd fallen for him in only a few months. Long months, but still. Now here she was, a year later, in her cottage, hugging her furnishings and wishing to see him again.

Two visits had done little to appease her…well, need for him. He'd come once at the start of the summer, and the reunion had been electric. Eloise had done things she'd never thought she could do—let alone things she'd never imagined. But in her lover's arms, everything felt right, so what the hell?

Then he'd returned at the start of the winter. After she read him the riot act, they shared a passionate exchange as before, but Eloise understood this had been less of a "booty call." Fenrir had actually stayed for a couple of days, and Eloise almost felt as though things were right again, him by her side and demanding seconds and thirds.

Speaking of which, the mushrooms she'd left in the frying pan on the stovetop must've been burning.

Eloise hopped up, her frazzled-ness worsened by having screwed up such a simple task. Usually she could rely on food. Cooking was a simple thing for her, a hobby she'd almost perfected after all these years. Magic rarely ever did anything but help it, and food was a source of comfort for Eloise. Not to mention the fact that the way to Fenrir's heart was assuredly through his stomach.

She chuckled weakly at her internal joke as she waved her wand to dispose of the burnt mushrooms. …holy Helga, she missed him.

What bothered her the most, she pondered, was probably that he never said where he was going. The most she ever got out of him was that he was leaving again. Period. No explanations, no adjectives, no adverbial phrases. So he'd left two months ago, making her feel cold, sad, and starving like some Muggle junkie that lazed about in the village center. They said love was a drug. Eloise would attest to that.

The witch tied up her dark brown hair and sat down at the kitchen table. Out of habit, she reached for the crumpled Prophet on the other side and unfolded it, smoothing it out so she could reread the article that was towards the middle.

Death Eaters hadn't really been front-page material for several years, but there was always something about them. This week, above what Eloise had come to memorize as the Ministry's "Most Wanted" panel, The Daily Prophet remarked about a sighting of "vicious murderer and werewolf" Fenrir Greyback in North Ireland.

Why can't he just come back to Scotland for good?

She shook her head and continued to reread the piece. It said that Fenrir had been spotted by a few eyewitnesses and that Aurors had been sent to investigate. All they had going for them were a couple of gray hairs and claw marks near a farmer's chicken coop. Other than that and the eyewitnesses' "testimonies," he had not been caught.

Eloise took several deep breaths. It did little to assure her that the Aurors were reluctant to follow through on such little evidence, but it was at least something. It bothered her, having to hear from—about, she mentally corrected—him via the newspaper. Merlin, she'd even bought the bloody subscription! Why didn't Witch Weekly cover this…?

She got up and took the paper down the hall, opening the door to the room beside hers. It was a spare bedroom, but she used part of the space for storage. As of late, she had a couple of boxes holding old Prophets. Hanging up in the room's door-less closet was Fenrir's old cloak. She'd persuaded him to allow her to get him a new one—his old one was so rugged and tattered it was a miracle he hadn't been caught—and he'd relented and she'd ordered something a little similar but more durable. It was the same color and he seemed to like that at least; he parted with his other one, as long as she promised she wouldn't make him toss it.

Which was fine with her, because she hadn't thought of tossing it until he'd mentioned it. No, it lived instead in this spare closet, clean…

…but not entirely devoid of his scent.

Eloise removed it from its hanger and sat on the bare bed, hugging the cloak to her chest. If she gave her imagination a workout, she could almost feel him in her arms, as though he were sitting on the floor between her knees, leaning back into her, his head on her lap. Oh yes…

When she next saw him, she was definitely going to make him wish he'd only have to worry about Aurors.

- ^-^3

December was cold, wet, and dreary on the Scottish coast. Eloise bulked up on blankets and warm robes and constantly kept up on the Heating Charms she'd placed around the house.

She even tried cleaning out the chimney flue in her home and lighting a fire…with near-disastrous results. Apparently flues didn't like to be cleaned with magic, so they tried smoking Eloise out of that thought. Never again did she want to see another picture of a lovely, warm hearth.

The brunette groaned and kicked up her feet as she leaned back in her recliner in the living room. Ah, yes, all any witch needed was a recliner, a good Heating Charm, and a slightly warmed glass of firewhiskey…

Something collided with the sole window in the room, jostling Eloise out of her comfort zone.

"What in Merlin's name!" She jumped up and glared at the window. Nothing was there.

Eloise got up and peered outside, but the frost on the outside had frozen after building up a nice, thick layer, so all the witch saw was white. She walked to her door and looked out the peephole. Nothing. No, wait—

She cracked it open and a little barn owl stumbled inside, a piece of parchment tied to its left leg. Eloise closed the door and picked the bird up; the poor thing was trembling at her touch—he was so cold.

The witch returned to the recliner and sat down, cradling the owl in her lap. She untied and unfurled the note…then tried to make heads or tails of the chicken-scratch jotted down in faded ink. At first, she thought it said "All clear" or maybe "Jw deer," neither of which made sense.

The owl trilled in her lap as he warmed up. A shiver ran through his body and she calmly stroked his feathers. Oh.

"I'm here."

Eloise gasped, the note bursting into black flames as the owl began shivering again just as the door throbbed from someone knocking on the other side. She went to the vestibule immediately and opened the door. "No wonder the owl's shaking so violently," she quipped when she locked eyes with her favorite pair of eyes—sky blue rimmed in black.

Fenrir snarled. "N—n—n—no… That d—d—damned owl is c—c—c—cold…!" he snapped.

She stepped aside and let him in, closing the door behind him…while also hiding her chuckle. Fenrir, she thought, was a sight unlike anyone else might ever know. Thankfully, only she got to see this side of him. She also doubted he'd appreciate her laughing at his minor woe.

He shivered again and removed his cloak. He began to unbutton his shirt as she hung up his cloak.

"What do you think you're doing?" Eloise asked, gesturing to him.

"I'm f—f—f—free—freezing in these wet c—c—c—clothes…!" he hissed. He peeled his shirt off him and sighed, catching a breath that was no longer stilted by his chattering teeth. He sat on the floor as she placed a Heating Charm on him. "D—dammit all—about time, woman!"

Eloise rolled her eyes. This was how Fenrir showed affection—good thing she was used to it, otherwise she might take offense. "Yes, yes, already… Don't you know these spells? Surely by now, considering your age—" She stopped—not because she was finally thinking of their age gap, but because she had to hold in her laugh at the look on his face. Apparently he didn't like being reminded how old he was.

She sat on the couch behind him, and he relaxed in their normal position, with his back against her legs and his head resting on her lap. "I hate winter."

"Then don't run in the winter."

He snarled. "When will you learn that I have to keep moving?"

"When will you learn that you seem safest when you're here?" she retorted. Eloise brushed the hair out of his face and cupped his face in her hands, locking eyes with him. "When you first turned up on my doorstep, the weather was bad, you had no energy, and so you stayed."

"And healed," he interjected, as though that was the only reason he ever came to her cottage.

"But you stayed through nearly the entire winter, Fenrir. And when you were here—with me," she added with the tiniest of pouts, "no one came looking for you."

"Of course they were looking for me!" he corrected with a growl.

She sighed. "But no one came looking around here." She hugged him to her very gentle so as not to scare him away, though it took a lot to scare him away now, with all they had shared. Eloise vaguely wondered if Fenrir had ever shared so much of himself with another person… Oh, well. He was hers now, and that was all that mattered.

He took several deep breaths; the few times she had seen him, he appeared to be working on reigning in his temper. "This isn't…some job, Eloise," he curtly stated. "It's my life."

"Well, it's my life, too, now," she whispered with a smile. He frowned at her expression, but Eloise felt that Fenrir needed her to be like this, to be herself. He didn't need any more melodrama or horror stories. He simply needed her.

"I can't…" The words faded on the werewolf's lips, for he'd said them before. He'd said it millions of times, that he couldn't have a "normal" life, that he couldn't go out and get a job, that he couldn't be someone on whom Eloise could rely.

And she'd refuted billions of times that she relied on him to stay as he was. She wasn't asking for anything. Even if she had daydreamed once or twice (a month) about what things could be like if he wasn't a wanted man, she honestly didn't want anything about them or between them to change. Except for the fact that he was always leaving.

"I've only seen the Lestranges once this whole time," he finally offered, as though it might appease her.

Instead, Eloise tensed. Though she didn't mean to, she removed her hands from his face. "Oh? What do they want?"

"I said I saw them, woman," Fenrir pointed out as he reached for the warmth of her hands again. He closed his eyes when her fingers played along his jawline. "They'd didn't see me. They didn't really seem to see each other, either."

The witch paused for thought. "But they're…brothers, are they not?"

"Yes, they are, Rabastan and Rodolphus…but they looked…" Fenrir grimaced. "Rabastan looked panicked and Rodolphus looked disoriented…"

Eloise frowned, hating to see him this way. "And you look dead exhausted," she announced. She brought her legs up beside her on the couch and leaned on her side. "Are you tired or hungry?"

"Both," he said, but the low grumbles of his stomach stopped when he closed his eyes and rested his head on the couch. Eloise curled around him as best she could while staying on the couch, for sleep had seized her, too.

Oh, well. She could make him beg forgiveness later.

- ^-^3

"So, I have to ask—what's it like, life on the run?"

Eloise waited for her lover's response as she bit into a slice of toast. She was already counting her lucky stars. About three weeks had passed, and Fenrir was still there. Several times, she'd even woken with him at her side—in her bed even! Of course, that was only after at least four showers and a Scourgify just in case.

Fenrir crossed his arms in front of his chest and sat there. He was quiet enough that he either was lost in thought or he had fallen asleep… "It's—it's…" He pursed his lips; since meeting Eloise, he had had to learn to be more outspoken and to actually use words in place of grunts. "It's like that moment when you've cast the Imperius Curse and missed and are trying to think of a plan b."

She raised an eyebrow. "Oh, so that's what it's like…oh, yes, I completely understand."

He stared at her. "You…do?" He scowled when she crammed the rest of the toast into her mouth. "You little fodder…!"

"I'm not trying to make light of your situation," Eloise said truthfully. "But can you try to draw an analogy that…well, that a normal…um…" She fidgeted.

"A good person would understand."

She bit her lip and dropped her gaze. Eloise stood and moved about her kitchen, starting to put some dishes away so that she didn't have to look at the hurt she was certain was on his face.

Fenrir sighed gruffly. They both knew this sigh very well—it was the what-do-you-want-from-me sigh, and things didn't bode well when he used it. "I'm. A werewolf." His words were clipped, but he didn't say anything more. As if "I'm a werewolf" was his best answer.

Eloise paused and stared at the sink. Maybe that was the best answer, though. Maybe he lived solely like an animal when he wasn't around her. Eloise thought hard; before, when she hadn't known or loved Fenrir, she probably could've easily pictured him as a savage wolf who ate or destroy everything that crossed his path. Now? Now Eloise had a hard time picturing another's blood matting his sideburns and stubble; the only thing that she saw these days dribbling on his face was either drool from waiting to be fed or sauces or juices from what he was eating.

"Let's stop talking about me," he finally asserted. A second passed, and he asked, "…what do you do?" He waited.

"When you're not here?"

He gave her stupid look.

"Of course that's what you mean, sorry…" Eloise washed her hands and sat back down. "I—a lot of the time, I find myself worrying about where you are and how you are. I do things around the cottage and reread old copies of the Prophet and Witch Weekly."

He eyed her. "How can you…?"

"Afford all of this?" Eloise let her hair down and toyed with the ends of it. "My parents still help me out—a small amount of family money, you see. So many Wizarding families are like that… But I stand up to my slight agoraphobia and anthropophobia every now and then and venture into the nearby village to sell some of the things I cook and do trades and orders for the pub in the center. I'll go to the two other villages if I have to, I don't mind all that much. I just prefer being here on my own." All right. Hrmm. She hadn't meant to sound so pathetic. Although…looking at the two of them, there really wasn't any pathetic about her life anymore. When you start dating a werewolf, your life can't get any worse…um. And of course Eloise would never agree with such an idea…! Heh.

Fenrir studied her for a second. "This is what you've done?"

"Hmm?"

"All this time, this is what you've done?"

"It doesn't seem like much, but it's enough for me. I'm content having what most see as very little." Eloise saw that they had finished eating breakfast, so she cleared the table, already planning what she'd be taking into the village this coming week.

- ^-^3

Several nights later, Eloise had fallen asleep in the living room with the current Witch Weekly open on her chest. When she awoke to the sound of her magazine falling on the floor, Eloise blinked, wide awake.

The cottage was rather quiet.

A minor sense of dread overtook the witch as she groaned and sat up. "Oh, please tell me you did not do this again…" She almost added "and so soon, too," but he'd stayed for a little over a month, which was more astonishing than Potter's defeat of the Dark Lord, Eloise felt.

With a second groan, the brunette got to her feet and ran a hand through her hair. Sometimes she wished Fenrir would give her a little warning; her heart really needed the time to prepare.

Instead of fretting or getting angry with him, Eloise set about preheating the oven and gathering all of her ingredients. Nothing was quite as calming as cooking for her.

It was an interesting thing, what she did. Eloise had yet to encounter another witch who did was she did, the cooking and the vending and the trading. So many witches in this day and ages were striving to be like Granger or Weasley—Ginny Weasley, of course. Those two were trying to change the Wizarding world by law and by sport. Other classmates of Eloise weren't trying to be as spectacular, but she felt they were doing more than her. One of the Patil twins had gone into Ministry-work while the other did a column for the Prophet, or something similar. Susan…well, actually, Eloise didn't know what Sue was doing; she hadn't heard from her old roommate and friend in so long… Hannah was running the Leaky Cauldron and helping Ernie with his business on the side, and Megan had decided either to join the Weird Sisters' staff or groupies—whichever worked out best. Leanne had moved away shortly after the end of school, so Eloise had heard little from her, as well. And Eloise knew that at least two of the Slytherin girls from her year had somewhat successful shops, while yet another was doing potions or the like.

In short, everyone was using their magic but Eloise.

It wasn't the bottom-line truth, but it was still fairly true. Eloise might use magic to clean her house, yes, but she…well, she didn't like the magic part of her very much anymore. Ironic, wasn't it? She didn't like very much dealing with the Muggles in the village, though some of them were kind, but she just couldn't stand rejoining the Wizarding community when she'd spent so much time building up her barriers.

But of course, Fenrir crashed into them and there she was, on display and ready for ridicule. But…Fenrir never did, not really. He would call her "woman" and speak gruffly, but Fenrir never did anything truly to hurt her. The first time they'd met when she'd been taking care of him, he had called her "ugly," but Eloise knew it was his way of retaliating, of trying to bite the hand that—er, fed him.

He certainly doesn't intend on hurting you these days, a mischievous voice taunted the witch, and her face reddened. Merlin, no, Fenrir did not want to hurt her… It was a bit of a funny thing, being in his arms—he was like a bull in a china shop with her, trying to be so careful so as not to break her. And though her spirit sometimes wanted to break when he was gone for long bouts of time, she knew her spirit was strengthening from his continual disappearances—just as it was doing this time.

Eventually all the cooking was done over the next several days, and Eloise dressed in her best dress and cloak for the Saturday market day. Upon closing the door behind her, she finally noticed a piece of parchment crammed into the latch of her front door. She unfolded it and read:

Will be back soon.

Though it took her a couple of minutes to decipher the familiar chicken-scratch, Eloise did, and she wondered how long the note had been there. She figured he had probably put it there when he left; the parchment had yellowed enough to back that hypothesis.

Eloise rolled her eyes, though her heart ached. Why did he have to be this way? Why wouldn't he even allow her the courtesy of waking her and telling her where he was headed? And—and—and kissing her goodbye! Holy Helga, that'd be nice!

The more the Hufflepuff thought about it, the angrier she got. As much as she loved him, she felt there was a lot more he could do to show he felt the same. But it hit her as she froze on the village's limits—

did he really feel the same?

Eloise swallowed the lump in her throat and drew the hood of her cloak tighter around her head and face. Ugh, she just needed to get through this day and then she could go home to peace and quiet…and no Fenrir. Her cheeks flushed and she shook the thought of him from her mind; she needed to stay focused to make some good deals.

"Good morning, sirs," Eloise announced in the pub's backroom. The proprietors—two brothers and their friend—turned and greeted her.

"Ah, Miss Midgen," the eldest brother (of about seventy) stated. "Good to see you again. How have you been handling the snow?"

"I haven't let it win," she replied as the brothers' friend took her baskets from her. "How's business?"

"Brilliant!" the younger brother exclaimed. "I know I've said it before, but I'm still stunned that your food lasts so long in our fridges, ma'am. You're a genie in the kitchen."

"A genie?" Eloise politely laughed—if only they knew! But she actually hadn't ever used magic to preserve the food she made and delivered. She merely chose the right ingredients and cooked them at the right time.

"I wish we had a genie—or anything at all," the friend remarked offhandedly.

Eloise pushed her hood a bit away from her face. "Oh? What makes you say that?"

The proprietors exchanged a look between the three of them. "Haven't you heard, Miss Midgen? About the disappearances?"

"Um, no…"

"They're all talking about it," the older brother supplied. "It's no longer just chickens and sheep. A few of the younger children from the surrounding areas have gone missing, and there was a young girl from the next village over."

A chill ran down Eloise's spine. "When did these…disappearances start?"

"Almost two months ago," the younger brother answered, loosening his tie. "Are you safe, wherever you are, Miss Midgen?"

She knew why he was asking; Eloise had only ever mentioned that she was from nearby, but she didn't actually live in any village, and her cottage was cloaked from the view of most and protected from the rest. That was one thing she liked, being good at charms…but one thing that was not charming was the idea of Fenrir's arrival coinciding with all of this activity… "I assure you, I am safe," she finally said when she realized the three men were still waiting for her answer. She nodded to them. "Why don't we halt all this talk and talk business instead, yes?"

Her heart was not in her dealings that day, though, and Eloise was itching to get home. A shame, since her anxiety appeared to give her some sort of fire for her business, but Eloise was wishing and crossing her fingers that these problems in the villages was not caused by her wolf…!

She hurried home after she was done in the village for two reasons—she wanted to see if Fenrir had returned yet, and she did not want to be in anyone's way if it turned out that Fenrir was not the culprit. She didn't want to think of him in such a light, not in lieu of all they'd experienced, but Eloise also understood that old habits were hard to break. Look at her—a couple of decades later and she still obsessed with her looks.

The witch slammed the door behind her, not automatically putting up the wards, and tossed her belongings on the chair in the sitting room. "Fenrir!" she called. "Please, tell me you're here! Fenrir!"

Her last shout was swallowed when a hand came over her mouth.

- ^-^3

"Don't ever do that to me again!"

It had never felt so good to yell at someone. But, frankly, Fenrir Greyback deserved it.

When the hand had come over Eloise's mouth, she had panicked, since rarely did Fenrir scare her anymore. Well, time to throw that idea out the window. But she wheeled on him when he didn't grip his hand over her mouth or pin her or anything. Relief had flooded her upon seeing his eyes—and anger had grabbed her when she realized they were safe. "You imbecile!"

He snarled, one corner of his mouth picking up angrily as he closed the door behind him—she hadn't even heard him come in behind her. "You're the imbecile!"

"How dare you—! I was coming home to my cottage and you—"

He cut her off. "I doubt you've even heard by now!"

"Heard about what? The livestock going missing?" She furrowed her brow angrily. "Gotten a little hungry, have we? At least you stayed local this time."

Something flashed in his eyes, and he appeared—even if only a bit—genuinely hurt. "You think that's me, woman?"

Eloise faltered. "Actually…no." She took a deep breath and calmed down. "I wanted to ask you…if it was."

He didn't seem entirely convinced, but his irate expression softened, too. "Put up the wards."

"What?"

"The wards," he repeated in his typical fashion.

Eloise looked at him and then waved her wand. After she was done, she followed him into the kitchen, where he had dropped down into a chair at the table. "Fenrir, what is going on?"

He took a deep breath himself. "Eloise…we've got…a…problem."

Her hackles went up. "What kind of problem?"

"…the lycanthrope kind."

Her eyes widened. "I thought you—you told me—you had stopped a long time ago—"

"It's not me!" he barked. He sighed and collected his thoughts before continuing, "There's another wolf in the area, trying to start a den."

Holy crap. He could not be saying this…! "Oh my Merlin, another werewolf…!"

Fenrir stood and approached her in two short steps. He cupped her cheek in his palm. "I don't know if they've picked up on my scent yet. But if they haven't—"

"—the Ministry will think it's you," Eloise finished for him. He nodded and her words caught in her throat. No, she couldn't lose him again! And by how his voice sounded, this time would be for good…!

"I—I know I don't do good. I know you want me to go good and not bad and I've been trying, I have… I just thought…" Fenrir briefly kissed her. "I thought I should say goodbye this time," he breathed.

Eloise's heart felt ready to burst, but her feet were frozen, just as they had been at the village. If this wasn't love, then what was? She looked up at him a little expectantly.

"Oh, don't expect me to say it, woman," he griped, but his tanned face gained a smidge of color.

Eloise found it in her to smile. "I never would," she said. Her momentary happiness died down. "But can't I have a second to think? I…" She gripped the front of his cloak. "I don't want to lose you…"

"Same here," he mumbled, the closest she knew he'd ever come to being sentimental. "But my leaving would…it would…pro…"

"Protect me?"

"Ahem. Yes. That thing." He was close to sneering or snarling once more, but he began to back away from her.

"Fenrir, now you wait, don't go without letting me have my say…" But he glared at her to try and keep her from following him. "Fenrir…!"

Unfortunately, he did that wolf-y thing and turned and exited in the blink of a human eye, and Eloise was left glowering at where he had been.

Well, I never did make him wish he was dealing with Aurors instead of me, Eloise groused internally, but her anger flamed out as she looked around her. How could he have scared her like that only to say goodbye? And for him to say goodbye…good Merlin, could he handle this new den forming…? Perhaps Fenrir might need her for something, for anything…

Eloise bit her lip. Would he need her?

And could she be there for him?

Eloise took another long look around her and pondered the idea. She loved this cottage so much, and her family, too. But she never left her home. She never did anything with anyone, for anyone. She never did much but cook and read periodicals…what kind of life was this?

The thought quickly churned in her mind as Eloise grabbed an old satchel she'd purchased from a catalogue ages ago—the spell would still work on it, she hoped—and began searching for anything that meant something to her or had any use. And when she'd gone through the whole cottage, she had fewer than twenty essential items packed. Now…

Now she needed that one essential person.

- ^-^3

Eloise did the unexpected and paid the nearby village a second visit in such short order. The villagers were a tad noisier and busier than usual, and the witch stopped a woman to ask her why.

"Didn't you hear? The culprit's been spotted in our sister village—they say it's some great beast!" The woman's eyes were wide with fear, and she didn't stay for Eloise to ask any more questions.

The brunette hastened to the neighboring village, hitching a ride in an elderly couple's automobile, despite not liking the contraption very much. Hey, as long as it took Eloise to her destination faster…

Her mind was whirring with thoughts and ideas. She had to figure out what she would do when she found him—Probably plead him to let me travel with him, she mused. But her gut twisted and jumped as the coming village's board came into view. Something told her that maybe Fenrir wouldn't be all that she found here.

This place was no worse for the wear. Some people were even running and screaming, grabbing a few random things. A handful of the Muggle men had found their pistols and shotguns, but Eloise doubted those weapons would help much against a werewolf. And if Fenrir was tailing that other wolf and was shot in the crossfire—Eloise shuddered and scolded herself. She didn't need to think about that possibility right now.

She thanked the couple for the ride and noted that the couple didn't stay long; they'd only paused to drop her off and then they'd put their foot on the gas pedal. Eloise, meanwhile, looked around for any sign of her lover. She did spot a few dark gray hairs near a chicken coop in front of a family's house, but there were large, wild claw marks engraved into the wood of the front door. Eloise knew Fenrir's claws well, and they were not nearly powerful enough to do that damage, especially not with the full moon so far off.

Off to the right, ahead of her, Eloise heard a big crash and snap. She got up from kneeling by the chicken coop and ran towards the sound; good thing she'd had the presence of mind to change out of her dress and into a loose shirt, jeans, and dragonhide boots. "Fenrir!" she called, her voice hoarse.

She saw a giant dark shape loom over her—but she wasn't scared. She knew that shape. "I told you that you're the imbecile!" he snarled more harshly than he ever had before.

"I can help, I swear!" Eloise pushed a lock of hair out of her eyes, amazed that she wasn't more terrified at seeing Fenrir looking so feral while still being human. "Fenrir, I bet you ten Galleons that I remember more magic than you do!"

He growled, almost ready to howl. "Eloise, magic doesn't matter in the face of me!" He gestured to himself with his clawed hands that looked painfully on the verge of transforming.

"We wouldn't have to say goodbye this way!" she huffed, matching his dark look. She put her foot down, relishing and feeling a tiny guilt about the hesitation that crossed his expression.

Fenrir grimaced. "You're a distraction."

"Why, thank you. Love you, too." But the humor was set aside in the millisecond in which the color drained from Fenrir's face. Eloise had barely enough time to look over her shoulder and see a—a monster launch off the ground…towards her.

Fenrir finally howled and shoved Eloise behind him, jumping at the werewolf. They met at the peak of their leaps, and all Eloise could see was clumps of hair and fur, flashes of yellow and white, and spurts of blood. The sight made bile rise in the back of her throat, but her veins also surged with white hot fury. Just when she finally had Fenrir back, she was not going to let this other crazy lycanthrope take him away from her!

"Confringo!" she bellowed—the Muggles be damned—aiming for the other werewolf or at least the space between the two of them. The spell had the desired effect and pulled them apart, but where Fenrir landed a bit roughly, the other werewolf was thrown into a metal-backed wooden cart. And hard.

Eloise huffed, amazed by the strength of her Blasting Curse. She then glanced at Fenrir and went and helped him up. "No magic on us…," Fenrir growled lowly, but she doubted he was going to contest her fighting anymore. Not when she may just have saved his life—for the second time, one should note.

"I didn't kill him, did I?" she asked as a panicked afterthought. Fenrir gave her a quizzical look, so once she had made certain that he was all right, she slowly approached the other wolf. He was still breathing and—"He looks younger than me," she thought aloud, stunned. It was scary, thinking about spending one's young life like this. Scarier still was Fenrir's swearing that he had nothing to do with this new werewolf or the newcomer's trying to begin a new den. She glanced back at Fenrir. "What now?"

"Kill him," Fenrir replied resolutely.

Eloise gaped at him. "You've got to be joking! We can't kill him! I—"

"Then I'll do it," Fenrir said.

"No!" Eloise held up her hand. "No, just…let me…wipe his memory."

"Oh, that's a fantastic idea."

"And we'll restrain him until the Aurors come."

"Eloise," the wizard said urgently, "I can't be here when the Aurors come."

The Hufflepuff bit her lip. Well, what else did he expect her to do? She wanted to go with him, but she also couldn't leave the Muggles to face this creature… She shook her head. "I still insist on Erasing his memories." And she gripped her wand and aimed it at the werewolf before Fenrir could protest any further. "Obliviate!"

The flash of light was jarring, but Eloise knew it had worked. She just hadn't expected on this second blast rousing the werewolf into consciousness. Just as quickly as he had leapt into action, the wolf's eyes flew open and even if he didn't recognize where he was, he knew he wanted Eloise dead and he even swiped out at her—

But Fenrir had more experience being a wolf, and his claws moved more precisely and faster. Though his claws sliced through the lesser werewolf's jugular, his claws had moved so fast that no blood got on Eloise. Instead, the wolf's eyes rolled back into his head and his form collapsed on the dirt, blood pooling against a once-immaculate patch of brilliant white snow.

"That is why," Fenrir whispered gently to her as he helped her up, "you can't merely Obliviate his memory in this kind of situation."

She was shaken, but Eloise returned to reality when she looked at Fenrir's face and finally understood what he went through when he was gone. But a crack sounded behind them, and Eloise panicked upon seeing two Muggles. Of course, where two were, more would come, and Eloise Obliviated her face and Fenrir's from their minds. She gripped Fenrir's hand tightly as they made a mad dash from the village, her hood drawn low over her face and her slowness eventually causing Fenrir to pick her up and carry her in his arms.

They stopped after what felt like hours of running, and Eloise insisted that Fenrir put her down. "You're a wanted woman now," he teased lightly as he placed her on the ground, but he still didn't quite let go of her. His grip on her hand was so tight that he felt welded into place.

"Please, don't remind me…" Eloise shook her head. She couldn't believe all that had happened just now. She had never Obliviated someone before, let alone three people! And now she was an accomplice to what Fenrir had done… But the thought warmed her the tiniest of bits; he had saved her without a second thought.

Fenrir nudged her gaze upward as he hooked a finger under her chin—at least he had the decency to use the clean and non-bloody hand. "You were already a wanted woman, Eloise."

Eloise sighed and let him kiss her forehead. "By you, I presume," she added for him, hardly believing he was going for the sentiment in such a moment.

"We should keep on moving," he announced, and she relented and let him lead the way.

While she didn't find the idea of being a criminal with him funny or all that romantic, Eloise couldn't be completely dismayed. Despite all that had been said and done, the witch…actually felt that she had done the right thing. Besides, nothing felt better than the skin of her palm against his.

- ^-^3

I knew from the start that I wanted her to run away with him. Why not? Why give up what you love? And she wasn't all that tied down to her cottage…though hopefully the cottage will have a cameo in Elfen 3, 'cuz I liked the cottage even if Eloise didn't love it. XD But I loved this… Eloise is making him more human and Fenrir is making her more wolfish… B3 Toss in a little bit of gore in with that love, and that just seals the deal, dunnit? XDDD But yeah. This was so much fun to write—happy Thanksgiving 2011 to me! ;D Oh, and "agoraphobia" is the fear of outside (as in, what's outside your house) and "anthropophobia" is the fear of people. I do think the Eloise I've shaped has a bit of both. But she definitely doesn't have "lupophobia"—the fear of wolves. ;3

Thanks so much for reading and please review! I hope you look forward to Elfen 3, "The Sound of an Amorous Stranger." I've got big plans for them…! ;DDD

-mew-tsubaki B)