Having been asked to try to run both stories concurrently I've made a posting schedule that will hopefully have the same amount of time having elapsed with each post; which means playing catchup with one story or the other from time to time. Those who prefer to read one and then go back and read the other may want to know that the [a] designation is Prince Peak [following Krait and Severus] and the [b] designation is Hogwarts.
Jade knocked on the door of the turret room that was the effective cell of the Odessa ex-werewolf Wolf Luytens.
"Herein" he said politely.
Jade went in.
The man rose.
He was tall with hawk like features not unlike her father's, but more Germanic in colouring, the tan a snow tan rather than the rather sallow features of Severus Snape. His hair was tow coloured and caught back in a ponytail; and one of his bright blue eyes was ruined by the vicious scar that cut, white and shining, all the way down the lefthand side of his face, a legacy from his making as a werewolf when he was thirteen by Fenrir Greyback. The other eye had enough small laughter lines and sardonic amusement to mark his nature.
"Guten tag, Herr Hauptman Lyutens" said Jade.
"Guten tag, Gnadige Fraulein" said Wolf.
He saw a slim girl with long light brown hair, loose for the holidays, a magnolia skin and eyes at first glance grey but with a kind of mutability of colour to them; the curious look she shot him tinged them with green fire. She was dressed in black leather trousers and a black leather vest. It seemed strange garb but it suited her.
"Austrians are so nice mannered" said Jade. "I'm Jade Snape; the only way to put this is baldly, I'm to be your jailor for the time being; has my father explained this?"
"Yes Fraulein Snape; also I will tell you as I have told him that I will not permit the fact of you being a woman to prevent me from trying if I might to escape."
"No obviously not. I wished to discuss with you the parole arrangements you have with my father, to go out for exercise unsupervised twice a week."
"You wish to rescind that?"
"No I merely wished to check the details and remake the arrangement with you so there is no misunderstanding over such parole arrangements. As it is the holidays, and being between OWLs and NEWTs I have no holiday assignments I have much more time at my disposal than my father as headmaster of a school; I thought to offer an extra parole every morning for a couple of hours to run together. I have been accustomed to follow a strict regimen of physical fitness, I do not wish to go soft and apart from wishing company myself it would be churlish not to offer you exercise with a little company."
"Thank you; I should like to accept" he said.
"Have you taken animagus form as a wolf?" she asked "Uncle Remus – he was a werewolf, my dad's friend, one of the first cured – had the instincts of wolf and he found it comfortable to take it as animagus which gives him all the advantages of being a wolf but with his thoughts intact."
"I thought you had to be born an animagus?"
"Oh! No! Remus' friends all became animagi to be with him when they found out what his furry little problem was."
"That is loyalty" he was struck. "Furry little problem? That is the English understatement then."
"You did not have such friends at Durnstrang then?" Jade asked sympathetically.
"I was not allowed to remain at Durmstrang; werewolves are ineligible!"
"Not allowed school? Allowed to be cannon fodder and die for the greater good but not educated in how best to defend yourselves in human form? GITS!"
He gave a bitter smile.
"Your father has shown me many things that I dislike about the system" he said "And a picture drawn by a small boy where erklings came into your forest….the picture of a wizard that I find hard to swallow."
"It was The Prince" he said simply.
"Attitudes come from the top as often as not" she said. "You didn't even notice the irony in me using the phrase 'for the greater good', Gellert Grindelwald's infamous phrase. Like making muggle werewolves."
"That was not right" said Wolf "Muggles are not…cannot…."
"My father thinks the ones who survived to become werewolves were at least sensitives maybe low power magic wielders. We have found that there are degrees; you know when a black person and a white person have a child the baby is often brown; and two mid shade people can have babies all the way from white to black and any shade in between. Magic works the same way. And it can hide in levels too low to show for generations and then pop out in so-called muggleborn or mudbloods to the people over here. Rather they should be called revealed-bloods. But Hogwarts accepts anyone who can pass the test; we had there a child who was born werewolf; her father absconded. My brother Erich performed a blood sacrifice ritual to cleans her blood of the disease; it's from her the cure comes. She's coming here next term, she's a nice kid. Well, we knew that Durmstrang would not have muggleborn or half-bloods; and we thought maybe they could come here instead. Looks like we might be opening our doors to juvenile werewolves too, and helping them cope or curing them as they choose."
"Your father – your whole family – is remarkable."
"We do what has to be done I guess" she said "Hows about the wolf form then? I don't mind trying it to run with you too" and she shrugged into a shaggy brown wolf, wagged her tail a couple of times and shrugged back. "Hmm yes, easy enough. Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You take so difficult a thing so lightly!"
"Meh, Transfiguration is my thing" said Jade. "You know a bit what changing feels like before you used to lose it; should be a piece of piss for you!"
With Jade talking him through it, Wolf had soon grasped the principles of taking wolf form. He had not wand of course; but the animagus transfiguration did not need it, especially not with clear step-by-step instructions as issued by Jade who had helped her own group through the transformation. He sat and huffed at her happily, his tongue lolling out.
Jade repressed the urge to do his ears.
She was wont to do Padfoot's ears because he had lived with them in dog form before she knew who and what he was and it was a permitted liberty; because he was a favourite uncle.
Doing the ears of a virtual stranger and one's prisoner at that was an unwarranted cheek.
And next morning they ran together on the mountainside; and the air was keen and the smells to a wolf nose delectable!
She changed back as they approached the castle and motioned to him to do the same; Severus had employed a goblin caretaker, the lugubrious Strang, who was less bad tempered than he pretended and was actually rather soft hearted – if anyone got to know him well enough to find out – but who would be a little disconcerted if a pair of wolves wanted to come into the castle.
He was to have charge too of the cable car Severus was having put in.
"The smells!" said Wolf "I didn't know I had such senses when I was in wolf form!"
"Remarkable" said Jade, falling back on David Eddings "It is something of a revelation; I usually do snake, family associations and all. I may just shift. Wolf's a lot more versatile than snake though sometimes poison fangs are useful" she grinned "Like threatening to bite first years with a poison that will make them come out in boils all over."
He raised an eyebrow.
"Could you? Temper poison like that?"
"Should think so. Mum can. Well, inside Hauptman; ten minutes of parole left."
It took Wolf a couple of days to formulate his plan.
When Jade next knocked and came in to visit him he jumped her from behind the door, holding her tightly to counter any form she might change into, relying on his sheer strength, taking her wand and covering her mouth.
"My deepest apologies Fraulein Snape for thus manhandling you" he said.
Jade had half frozen; she had been grabbed to immobilise twice since being out of the orphanage; once by Fenella Fenwick who had twisted her arm and once by Pritchard when Baddock was masquerading as her father.
This had not the same feel; there was no intent to harm. She relaxed against him and considered, noticing that his musky scent was rather pleasant. Having been a wolf seemed to leave some enhancement of the senses lingering.
Hauptman Wolf Luytens noticed the light flowery scent of Fraulein Snape's hair like sunlight on a meadow. He gritted his teeth and used her wand to make magical bindings. He gagged her gently with a clean handkerchief.
"They'll tighten to whatever form you turn into" he said "I've seen it happen on werewolves. Someone will come looking for you; I am sorry" he looked into her eyes, which were lavender-blue and….
And then his feet and hands felt odd; and he glanced down to find that they were CABBAGES!
The magical bonds fell away and Jade took off the gag.
The door shut with a gesture from her.
"I suppose that gives a whole new dimension to the French habit of calling people 'my little cabbage' murmured Jade and waved a hand.
He had hands and feet again.
"Sorry to inconvenience you" said Jade "But I have my duty too, to my father and to the safely of the school and the innocent children here. I know YOU would not attack little girls – and boys next year too – and I know too that you did not even know it was a school you were sent to as extra guards. But if you get away YOUR sense of honour means you will have to seek out your Prince; and his apparent lack of honour will make him use all the information he can wring from you to use against us and the kids here. So, I will do what it takes to keep you here. If necessary, for the children's sake, I will kill you. I do not want to; I like you. And you got one further across me than anyone generally has done before."
"I – I had not realised that someone so young could be so skilled at magic – soundless and wandless! Why I know no adult who can do that!"
Jade shrugged and pointed to the zig-zag scar.
"I didn't get that doing fancy work and reading Hans Christian Anderson" she said "I'm one of the group that fought Voldemort; just because I was underage doesn't mean I didn't manage to mix it with the others. We chose to lose our childhoods that others might have theirs. Sorry; didn't mean to sound grim. It just feels that we did it all to get rid of him and now we have to do it all over."
"I am sorry that it feels that way. I – I shall miss our morning runs."
"That went past me a little fast; you wanted to give them up? You do not strike me as the sort of person to throw a pet because I won our little spat here."
"I – but will you not withdraw the privilege?"
"Of course not; why should I? You are under parole for the duration. Why should I suddenly doubt your parole? You warned me you would try to escape."
"Thank you for trusting me to keep my word."
"You, Hauptman, are a gentleman and a man of honour. Were all Odessa like you we should be looking to them as allies not as the enemy" said Jade.
He bowed his head; for to that he had no answer.
There was only one reason Wolf wanted to escape; to see how his daughter was. They would have told her he was missing, believed dead, in the cause of the greater good. She was a capable child, well able to take care of herself but he would have liked to have taken word to her.
Otherwise his durance was anything but vile.
The rooms he had as his gaol were roomy and comfortable, he had had a roaring fire over the winter, and was allowed books from the library. He was taking the opportunity to fill in the education he had lost to his – what did Fraulein Snape call it – his furry little problem. Had he only had little Irmi with him he would have been really quite utterly content; especially with long conversations with Severus, a man with as dry a humour as himself, clever and knowledgeable and worth listening to. And the conversations with the man's lovely daughter were humorous and deep, for she would drop in as her father was wont to do and just chat about this and that; as well as the joy of running through crisp dawn alpine pasture with her. He hoped that when school restarted she might find time to still visit occasionally….hard to think of her as a schoolgirl of what, it must be sixteen, rising seventeen. In this of course Wolf was mistaken, not knowing that Jade was a year ahead of herself; and not one of the older ones in the year at that. She had the self assurance of a young woman years her senior; and yet she could be such a child, as when she came dancing in one morning pirouetting around with joy to announce to him that she had eleven 'O' grades from her OWLs!
"And that's better than Hermione Granger!" said Jade "And it's wrong to gloat but she can be so – so THINGEY about her academic achievements sometimes; she tries not to be smug that she got seven 'O' grade NEWTs and mum got five 'O's and two 'E's but she doesn't always succeed. I shall mention it oh so casually to her when she comes to teach just for shits and giggles!"
Wolf was conversant with what OWLs and NEWTs were, the standards were comparable to German qualifications and could be offered as direct translations to most intents and purposes if job hunting with one set of qualifications in the other country's jurisdiction. Eleven OWLs were pretty good even without being of the top grade; rivalry over 'O' grades on any more than three NEWTs, even what sounded a friendly rivalry, seemed almost superfluous!
Jade bounded in an almost puppyish way on the mountainside that morning gambolling and chasing butterflies.
She did not SMELL puppyish however as she ran hither and thither instead of her normal sensible wolf-trot pace at his side.
Not that she ever smelled anything but attractive adult female wolf; it was just easier to ignore when she was being less….. flighty.
Wolf pulled himself into human form; and when she noticed, Jade did the same and came over to him.
"Is something wrong? Am I being too silly? I'm sorry" she said.
"No, I am sorry… I think if you do not mind it would be a good idea to run in future in human form. It – it will be better." He said.
She looked at him, eyes dark smoky blue and a little hurt.
"What have I done?" she said.
"Nothing" he said harshly. "I – I will extend my parole until we get back as it will take us longer in human form."
She was trying to catch his eye; he looked firmly away. He had the disconcerting thought that she could see too much.
"Do I smell too female wolf with the instincts all turned on in animal form?" she said directly.
"Yes" he said as bluntly.
"Forgive me; I should have thought of it. I will put together a non canine form to run if you like. It is not proper to be ruled by instincts; and besides when I am sought as a mate I want to be sought for in my human form. Besides I should think that wolves can't kiss" she added thoughtfully.
Her eyes were lavender and the pupils large; and Wolf fought with himself.
"Wrong mouth shape" he made himself say.
"And too many teeth" said Jade, grinning at him.
The moment passed; and they resumed the run.
Jade forced herself into the cold-blooded mode she had used to survive the orphanage.
Attraction was not love.
She liked Wolf very well. And he liked her. And he smelled nice and the thought of his arms around her when he had captured her was…..frankly arousing.
It was worth nothing until he trusted her enough to talk about his daughter; otherwise it was a mere descent into animal passions, strong, compelling, but ignorable.
She would be a black panther to run with him.
That would be more comfortable for both of them; and she would not get close enough to him in human form for poor human senses to breathe in each other's scent.
Besides it would be unfair to him; there were her NEWTs to consider and Jade was nobody's fool to consider the world well lost for love.
For Krait it had been different; in the precarious position both of Jade's parents had been every day might well have been their last.
If it was more than attraction it would last out her NEWT years.
If not….. she shrugged.
Jade was a very practical little person who knew how to keep the howling wolf inside as well chained as if with the chain Gleipnir.
One simply did not dwell on the thoughts that arose no matter how nice they made one feel inside.
So she concentrated instead on helping Wolf to catch up on his studies between outside excursions; persuading him to give parole to study outside in meadow flowers.
Wolf was grateful; both for the tuition and to her not mentioning the gist of the conversation that they had had. And to running with him in another form too, one that did not smell in the least bit attractive!
There was too the business of supervising the alterations to the building that Jade was overseeing on behalf of her father; and she asked Wulf to give his parole and come to threaten some of the goblin workers for her.
"I can jinx them into a ball quite well enough myself but then they'd never come back to finish the work" she said "Whereas they'd take it from a man. Absurd but there you are. And you are awfully good at looking intimidating, like daddy is."
Wulf grinned and willingly gave his parole for such a project.
The roof leaked and the single rooms were being knocked into larger dormitories, with ducts built to carry hot air from common room fires rather than have fires in the bedrooms. Severus knew far too much about what teenagers could get up to with fire to wish fires in bedrooms. They should have thickly curtained beds for warmth – and privacy for those who disliked a dormitory atmosphere – and plenty of warm quilts. Sixth formers were to have the privilege of having smaller numbers, two to four young people to a room, room mates chosen by friendship and also having studies attached. There were enlargements going on too, and the instructions to the goblin masons was to cut stone from the mountain side to make the approach even more precipitous to discourage visitors, at least on the final approach. Narrow pathways would lead down that were designed to be defensible; and the treeline well cut back to give early warning of any broom approach.
Wulf ran a practised and military eye over the alterations and said,
"Your father knows what he is doing."
"Professor Fraser – David – is mugglborn; as a child he wanted to be a soldier. He has taught us well" said Jade.
"He is something special to you?" it was casually phrased.
"Oh yes!" said Jade "He is like another brother though he is daddy's ward not son; he remembered his parents too well to want a father. Though dad is as close to a father as he has. He and his wife Ellie were glad to come here to help."
Wulf made no more comment other than to the dilatory builders whom he bullied very effectively.
"Thanks" said Jade warmly.
Jade did not show Wulf all the building works.
Unbeknownst to the masons certain sections of the new buildings were to become secret rooms and passages; and there were to be underground escape tunnels out, one of which exited through the well that Severus had sunk as a precaution in case the piped water from the mountainside reservoir became contaminated by outside agency or otherwise. Severus and Beloc planned to move the walls into their final positions once the builders had gone.
It was strange, reflected Jade, to be a marauder in charge of BUILDING secret passages instead of finding them!
Severus was also having sundry pictures on the walls of his office to give advice, wanted and otherwise. He had picked Phineas Nigellus who could be relied on to pour cold water over ambitious schemes, and to keep in touch with Dumbledore; and Prongs Potter just because, and to keep in touch with other marauders.
"Not Miss Cackle as a former head?" asked Jade when he returned a couple of weeks before the beginning of term to finalise the wall movements and hang the pictures.
"That silly old moo? I should rather think not!" said Severus forcefully. "She's done her best to ruin my poor girls already, I'm not having her in here to try to ruin them some more, whatever the amusement value of letting Phineas Nigellus loose on her!"
Jade grinned at that concept but nodded. From what she had heard of Miss Cackle she was likely to irritate her father enough that he would throw the painting out of the window.
She was pleased to have her family here again; and they would all run in the mornings, Severus raising a slight eyebrow at Wulf's presence.
"When the children at back at school, should you wish to continue this custom we shall have to discuss a tighter parole" said Severus.
Wulf clicked his heels.
"That is understood; indeed I hardly expected to be permitted to run if you had pupils along too."
"I would have liked to have offered you a situation as teacher of German and Germanic customs as we are to be a trilingual school" said Severus dryly "But to do so you would have to turn your back on one Fuhrer and accept me as your leader. That I will not ask of you."
"Thank you" said Wulf. "It is quite hard enough having to confront evidence that my Prince had not acted in a way that I like; I have no doubt there is some explanation but….."
Wulf was too good a man to waste on Gerhardt Grindelwald!
It was fortunate that Wulf's parole had ended and he was inside when the attack came.
Somehow Odessa had managed to scare up dementors; or else nordic fey as like dementors as made no odds, swooping suddenly from the sky on a surge of despair and terror.
There were dozens; Odessa certainly believed in grand gestures. And these would be the front guard with forces behind to take over; Prinz Gerhardt had not given up on the idea of ruling the school and so ruling the future.
They all had their wands out.
"Expecto Patronum!" the voices of collective Snapes roared out to place the creatures at bay, to pick off one at a time.
Severus did a slight double take at his daughter's patronus as it rocketed out of her wand; it was a new one.
It was a wolf.
Severus permitted himself a brief raise of an eyebrow. He should have seen THAT one coming; Jade had been quite mopey at Christmas when she visited because everyone kept trying to pair her off with Fabian and she had declared that there was no way that she could marry Fabian because he was too easy going and she could bully him.
Presumably she felt that she could not, even as his jailor, bully Wulf Luytens.
Wulf was peering out of the window at the dementors, holding the bars Severus had put, staring in horror. Severus shouted
"WULF!" and threw his wand high in the air towards his captive.
He scarcely needed it himself after all; he could produce doe or snake at will without a wand, protected by Lily and Krait both.
Wulf concentrated; and caught it.
"Expecto Patronum!" he cried.
His too was a wolf.
Rather a flirtatious lady wolf, Severus thought.
And then they were down to serious business with killing the creatures, using Krait's spell.
"Ri-DE!" rang out from the voices of Severus, Krait, Dione, Sirri, Beloc, Erich, Jade, Lydia, Seagh, Mimi, Tala – in Erich's care – and Lilith.
Severus did another double take, Lilith should not be on the battlements with such things coming in nor attempting to cast spells, why she did not even have a wand yet….
Lilith, scar blazing, had her finger firmly pointed on one of the dementors which was laughing and cackling its way to a noisy explosion of rending crepitant laughter.
"Gotcha" said Lilith calmly.
Lilith was eight.
Severus gave up.
After all, Jade and Lydia had been no older when they had been fighting evil.
Wulf caught on fast; and he was destroying them too.
They fell in numbers, were scattered again as surviving ones tried for a concerted attack with a pack wolves snapping at their…..well, where their ankles would have been if they had them, for Erich also seemed to have acquired a rather lupine patronus. Tala still struggled to produce one. Krait's knight-prince trotted beside a doe to stand and hold them back; somehow having the doe helped Severus to feel that the other marauders were there too. Dione also had a knight as did Sirri and they ranged themselves in serried ranks. Seagh's patronus was a highland stag; appropriate enough though it made Severus start for a moment.
Somehow there was something comforting in the continuity there too even though the boy was too much a loner to be a Marauder.
And then David and Ellie were there, apparating in to join the group, and Ron and Hermione, Ron landing with a bump as usual.
And it was all over bar the laughing.
Severus ran up to Wulf's cell.
"That was the advance guard" he said grimly "I'd not leave you without protection against dementors; they have no discrimination. They will now send in troops to mop up and place – they think – their own teachers in the place. They will rescue you if they win. You can either give your parole and make your escape as you see fit if we fall if you do not wish to be with them; or you can sit tight in here and wait to see if they rescue you or you are still our prisoner. Either way I want my wand back."
Wulf regarded him thoughtfully; though he handed the wand back.
"Severus, tell me truthfully, how much do you think they know about you and your family? The fact that your little ones go with you?"
"I have no idea. I make no secret of it. We came via railway; as far as the link goes, and by broom the rest of the way. I imaging they know that I have an indefinite number of children from babies to adults; after all, let's face it I have trouble keeping track at times."
"And they still send dementors" said Wulf. "I will give my parole; to observe, not to run. I want to see things from the angle you see them. I will not fight my people but I will watch them."
Severus nodded and laid a hand on Wulf's shoulder.
If, as was not impossible, he was family some day, he must be allowed to sort through his tangled loyalties in his own way.
Severus knew well enough about tangled loyalties after all.