Author's Note: This is the story of the Pungo Lake Pack, for any who are curious about them. I enjoyed exploring each background and personality and situation so much that I had to write it down and share it in a brief overview.

I am getting extremely busy in real life (here, it's a farmers time for planting corn/beans, and then harvesting wheat, which means 14 hour days, 6 days a week) so expect updates to be sparse until late June, early July, which is when most of my writing gets done.

HELP WANTED: Anyone who can speak French fairly well, enough to help with common french phrases and words. Thanks! :)


Maurice and Derrick


There are, of course, several things in Ontario that are more dangerous than wolves. For instance, the step-ladder.

-J.W. Curran


It was rare, and decidedly odd, for a werewolf and a witch or wizard, and even rarer, a muggle, to be able to sustain a relationship. The problems for muggles in a relationship with werewolves were obvious; not only would the Statute of Secrecy need to be broken, at some decided point, but learning of a whole new world was a shock for anyone. And a muggle could not become a werewolf; even living among the wolves was to risk infection and death by some accident. It had happened before; it would happen again.

For a wizard or witch to live with, and marry, a werewolf without becoming infected in turn took a great deal of dedication, love, and willpower. It was natural after a time to wish to share the depth of culture, as well as the experience and in turn pain, with their spouse. Still, some did not do so from fear, a fear that stemmed from multiple sources. Fearing losing the ability to have children, fearing the pain, or the loss of control; and fear of previous peers who would now look down on them for the condition. Or perhaps fear of their own government, who would now regulate every aspect of their lives.

To be a werewolf was to be separate, as a child, as a student, as an adult. You were other, and other was dangerous.

But the mother of Maurice and Derrick was a witch, a wealthy one from a blue blooded Canadian family, and she had the misfortune to fall in love with a werewolf one summer in the Selwyn Mountains.

Her family rapidly disowned and abandoned her upon her refusal to leave her new husband; perhaps her non-werewolf state was the only thing she had left of her old life to hang on to. For whatever the reason, however, she would not be turned, and her husband loved her enough to not allow himself, or his pack, to press the issue. She learned to bind wounds, to transfigure silver cages, to ease the pain of transformations; and on the advent of the Wolfsbane Potion, she learned to brew and raise plants specific to its creation.

She was loved by everyone, and became a cornerstone of the pack.

And following the natural course of life, she became pregnant, not once, but thrice. Her first two children, sons, were a rare breed known simply as Born Wolves. The term was technically inaccurate; They were not werewolves upon birth, but were moderately infected with the disease known as Lycanthropy. If they wished, before their magical majority, they could choose to be infected and live life as a werewolf.

But her third pregnancy came late in her life, after her two sons were full grown and wolves in their own right; and wolf-children were hard to carry, large babes and yet fragile.

The pack doted on her, took care of her, but still she withered. Finally, in desperation, her husband confronted her, demanding she turn, to save her own life if not the childs; but she would not.

It is hard to speak of the grief the night the mother and child died; that she went into labor far to early, and on the night of a full moon, while the pack roamed the far mountainside. The alpha caught the blood-scent first, and his howl shook the earth beneath his paws as he thundered back, as fast as was possible for mere flesh and blood feet to go. But it was too late, and perhaps that was both the most merciful and most painful thing; he was not there to see the light fade from her eyes.

They burned her where she lay on the branches of a spruce tree, the Selwyn werewolves custom, and then the alpha left, apparating from camp as her ashes rose to the slightly waned moon, and for a long time Maurice and Derrick waited for his return with the pack, until they finally felt the truth; he would not be coming back.


Matilda


Woman to a man is either a god or a wolf.

-The White Devil


Maurice and Derrick had both been tutored by the pack in basic spell work and potion making. Children were rare in a werewolf commune; most join as turned adults. The two boys would have been fine staying there forever, but for their mother, who insisted they go out and see the world. Derrick attended a basic school in Watson Lake, learning muggle maths and sciences, and was content. But Maurice found he had a taste for learning, and went out from his pack to the other side of the continent, to The Academy of Washington, D.C, the premiere magical institute of the eastern coast, which hosted classes for wizards and witches from age eleven to twenty-one. At age thirteen, during the summer months, he returned home to his pack to take on The Change; he loved the werewolves, and could see no other life for himself. Still, with special dispensation, he finished his schooling at The Academy, and in his sixth year he met Matilda.

Matilda, known affectionately as Matty, didn't care that he was a wolf. She cared that he was polite, and affectionate, and intelligent. That he was also a werewolf was of no consequence to her; she could let him go for one night of the month. Her friends thought this odd; and soon, she herself was too odd to hang around with. But by then she had fallen in love, and hardly noticed the lack of chipper girls or flirting men around her in classes. She had Maurice, and that was enough.

Matty became a Potions Mistress in her own right, and after graduation and her Potions Mastery, wished her old life farewell. They returned to Canada, and she met his pack, his father and mother and brother, and lived that summer among the werewolves, seeing how life was.

On the first moon of autumn, she was turned by her own fiance as he stood in front of her, his gentle golden eyes locked on her own, and on the second moon she changed, a large grey wolf with dark streaks down her side that strongly resembled the streaks in her own brown hair.


Pungo Lake


We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be — the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer — which is, in reality, no more than the reflected image of ourself.

-Farley Mowat


Maurice was an alpha in his own right; a large black wolf and larger man, with an air of command. The pack loved him, and would have welcomed him as their own after his father was gone. But Maurice could not stay, not with his mother's blood still echoing in his nose. Another man, red haired and furred, took over the mantle of the pack, and Maurice and his wife and his brother left the wilds of the Selwyn Mountains to find somewhere else, somewhere fresh, the howls of their former packmates in their ears.

They were all moderately talented in many different skills useful for witches and wizards living in the wilds; carpentry, herbology, potions making, woodskills. Maurice was their leader as they traveled, a role his younger brother never coveted, and they kept on the move, visiting packs and working odd jobs for board and food, as well as the occasional wizarding settlements.

Maurice wanted to settle down somewhere to call their own, but most places that were still large and wild had been settled long ago by other packs. They could have attempted to join one of these larger established packs, but none had fit well with them.

It was while visiting the Yosemite Pack that they learned of the new release of red-wolves into the swampy refuge on Alligator River and the Pocosin Lakes, and the initial success of it. Maurice had been intrigued, and after discussing it over with his wife, contacted the North American Bureau of Magical Affairs, which oversaw the area not just of the Unites States, but many of the small settlements in Canada and Mexico as well.

It had taken a year for the proper paperwork to go through and the permits to be acquired, but the next spring the Pungo Lake Pack commune was officially inspected and building could begin. By law, any werewolf seeking a new home could contact them for admittance, but werewolves were generally a close knit family oriented group, and there was no contact from other wolves until two years after the three had moved to North Carolina.


Kevin and Julie


Wolves are harmful to humans in many respects: they attack livestock and dogs, wild ungulates and other useful animals, spread diseases and attack people directly. The little use which may be derived from captured wolves (skin, tasty meat which is fully suitable for food) as well as sporting pleasure of the hunting of wolves, are not to be compared with the damage to human health and economic interests caused by these undoubtedly injurious predators.

-Vladimir Heptner


Kevin, Julie's father, had been an average potions brewer at a local apothecary in Austin, Texas, and an avid hunter on the side. During one such hunt with a group of muggles in the Rocky Mountains for a rare bull elk, his camp came under attack by a rogue werewolf. Kevin was able to protect most of the camp, and kill the wolf by using his muggle rifle to shoot the beast. The muggles, thinking it only a rabid wolf, were horrified when upon death it transformed into a human woman. The enforcers were called in, and memories wiped. Kevin was featured in a wizarding Hunting magazine, and made the news for his heroic actions.

Only a month after the story broke on the wireless, while home with his wife and daughter, another werewolf broke into his home as they were eating a meal. Before he could stop it, it had slain his wife and infected both himself and his eight-year old daughter, who barely survived the encounter.

Heartbroken and shattered, Kevin tried to piece his life back together, but his new instincts and magic made life a great deal harder. His daughter, scared and confused, took even more of his time. His small salary was barely enough to support the cost of Wolfsbane's ingredients, though he luckily had the skill to brew it himself. He tried to contact werewolf packs, but found few that would even deign to talk to him after his recent brush with fame, and what he had been famous for doing.

One wolf, her eyes narrowed in disgust, told him it was only what he deserved, for killing the mate of a werewolf.

It took three others to pull him off her, though he had never struck a woman before in his life. Only his daughter's sobs broke the blood-haze, and he turned away in disgust at both himself and werewolves in general, thinking them all barbarians and heartless and cruel.

It was his daughter who kept him grounded, kept him from going mad at everything new he now had. He was so much stronger, faster, braver. His sense of smell made potion brewing only easier, and he saw the natural fit it was for many wolves, though the use of the finer silver cauldrons was now no longer possible without use of special animal-skin gloves. And he hated the feel of them, how he lost some of the connection he loved with the potion he created.

He began to rebuild his life, though many he thought friends had abandoned him, all with heartfelt excuses and sad eyes. He worked harder during every day except those framing the moon, when he stayed home with his daughter and comforted her on their new way of life.

And then a man broke into his home, a wizarding thief, his eyes desperate as he rooted through Kevin's personal potion supply, and Kevin broke him, his instincts screaming territory, home, protect, mine.

When the enforcers were done with the investigation, Kevin packed up his things and left, nearly destitute with reparations , his daughter at his side, a new destination in mind. There was a place he might go, on the coast, where maybe his daughter could grow up with some semblance of peace, away from prejudice, away from those who called her mongrel, and perhaps free to relearn how to be a child again.


Neil


It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be.

- Virgil


Neil was used to be somewhat of an outcast among his peers. His fellow enforcer's always claimed it did not matter to them, that Neil's wife was non-magical, but they were never invited as a couple to the many social functions thrown by the MEB, or Magical Enforcement Bureau.

It wasn't technically a breach of the Statute, their relationship, as his wife Lucy's grandmother had been a witch, and her mother a squib. It was enough that she had known of magic, and he had not been the one to tell her. But it caused raised eyebrows whenever other's learned of it, and he knew it was responsible for him never being promoted beyond lieutenant. His captain had hinted as much, in a closed conference with his superior.

Lucy is a nice woman, but… the others find it hard to accept a higher rank going home to a muggle household every night.

There was prejudice even in the liberal leaning wizarding area of New York, New York.

But he hadn't been bothered overmuch by the limitations, and despised desk work in any case. He was content out in the field, out among the dregs of magical and muggle society, solving the crimes they found and stopping others. He was good at what he did; he was respected. But his wife was a muggle, and he saw that knowledge in the eyes of every other enforcer in the Bureau.

He did not care that she could not cast a spell or brew a potion. He didn't mind that she had trouble seeing things that he could see, and hearing things he could hear. He had warded his entire house as best he could to protect her, had draped her in charmed jewelry the envy of her coworkers where she worked in a upper-class animal hospital inside the city. He had money; he spent it, lavishly, anything to show her that it did not matter to him that she lacked something he did not.

She was his light.

And she stood by him when he returned from the wizarding hospital of St. Angelo's, his arm bandaged, the fateful night of the full moon in December when his squad attempted to subdue a werewolf rampaging across the Amish countryside, slaughtering cows and livestock and three muggle men.

Enforcer Geoffrey had killed it with a well timed over-powered Argenti Dente, a child's jinx to turn teeth to silver, and in the wolves case, a fatal mouth-full of poison, too close to brain and heart to be reversed in time. As if the enforcers would, after their lieutenant and another enforcer had both been infected. Better for the beast to die and face true justice for its crimes, than escape under legal clauses none agreed with.

Neil had thought it would be bearable, having another wizard going through the same rigmarole and regulation. But the loss of first his job, then one by one his friends took their toll as the months passed.

He attempted to find more work, and soon realized just how unfair the wizarding world was to those living under disease and plague; Doors were shut, some in his face, others as he walked away in polite acceptance.

Then ex-enforcer Howard was found dead, apparent suicide by colloidal silver, a simple muggle dietary compound, and Neil realized if not for his wife he would have lost everything, and been tempted by the same fate. Escape through death seemed simple enough, for a werewolf.

But Lucy continued to shine, locking him away in the special silver cage once a month, sitting by his side while he paced and growled and bloodied himself, gently cleaning him up afterwards, singing a special lullaby her mother had always sang to her, that she had hoped to sing to the children they now would never have.

A muggle woman could not bear a werewolf's child.

He began to tire of searching for jobs, tire of existing on his wife's salary, tire of the city and its lights and smells and overwhelming crowds of people.

It was her idea to look elsewhere; if it hadn't been, he never would've mentioned it, knowing she loved her job and the home they had made together.

A simple change of scenery, dear one; perhaps something in the country. I have a degree in veterinary science, I can work nearly anywhere.

He had walked into the Bureau, past what had once been coworkers and subordinates, to a place he had dreaded going; the Werewolf Support Service, a understaffed and infrequently used place that many considered a joke in the Bureau, a place to send those one step away from being fired as punishment and a warning.

He found the name to several communes and wizarding settlements open to werewolf presence, though it depressed him to find less than a dozen the country over. One, only a few years old, was only a few hours travel down the eastern coast in a muggle vehicle, and Lucy knew how to drive.

It was worth a visit.


Grace


Thou art my sworn brother: I'll tell thee, I do love that Moor,
that witch, very constrainedly. She knows some of my villainy. I do
love her just as a man holds a wolf by the ears; but for fear of her
turning upon me, and pulling out my throat, I would let her go to the
devil.

-The White Devil


Grace was everything a stereotypical model would be; tall, blond, and slim, with electric blue eyes the envy of her fellow editors at Witch's World, a working witch's go-to magazine for everything from fashion, to men, to work.

Her focus had been with the advice columns, and her specialty, the pursuit of handsome, and hopefully rich, wizards.

She didn't hesitate to say what she meant, and she never hesitated to take what she wanted. Perhaps some of her nasty, and most certainly jealous, co workers called her names behind her back, things like wizard-hunter, broom-slut, or the funniest of all in her mind, harpylicous.

It never got her down; insults were the prerogative of those who had nothing for those who had everything, and she had it all. Popularity, money, men… any and all she wanted.

Of course, she should have known that that one hulking man had a secret, he was simply too handsome and polite to not, but she hadn't let it bother her. She was Grace Falcon, editor of Witch's World, and nothing could take her down.

Except, she found, turning into a wolf once a month.

Her infection was anti-climatic at best. The details, sordid and risque, she preferred not to speak of, though it might bring another sort of fame to her abruptly infamous life. The man she could never find again after that one night, which was a shame; she had practiced the castration spell specifically for his benefit.

At first, the worst part was losing her job. Her friends, catty the lot of them, were no great loss. She didn't like them anyway. But her job? It defined her, as a witch, as a woman. She thought the new angle for "Single American Werewolf" might have gone over well with the magazine, but her editor in chief thought differently.

Then, it was the allergies.

Why, what god, had made werewolves allergic to silver? She loved silver; all her favorite jewelry was silver, all her expensive plate settings lined in the beautiful metal, her spoons matching its gleam.

But getting new cutlery and jewelry soon dimmed to the horrible smells. She loved living in Trenton, New Jersey, but soon the horrific scent drove her from the streets, a manicured hand over her petite nose. She dreaded stepping one high-heeled foot from the house.

Luckily for her, she had a nice nest-egg saved up, and the expense of Wolfsbane was negligible for her. She wouldn't truly have to work another day, if she lived frugally, though she supposed boredom would off her soon enough if she found no outlet. Not to mention men found her much less attractive with her furry condition; she would have thought her athletic figure was only enhanced by the disease.

But she quickly found a new bane, after her first horribly inconvenient full moon.

The hair.

Her apartment was modern; decorated by famous wizarding duo Frank and Ferdinand Trischka in stark black and whites with elegant carpets and leather furniture. But in wolf form, she found a problem she was blessed not to have in her true life; she shed. Her fur was mostly white, and if she did say so herself, she made a quite strikingly beautiful wolf, as she would have expected if she ever would have thought of herself becoming something so inconvenient to her lifestyle. But after one night, her beautiful fur graced not only the dark carpet, but the black sofa she had delicately laid on.

And in the morning, she found puncture holes in its butter-soft surface from her sharp claws.

Merlins beard, broom, and balls! She cursed, and accepted the inevitable.

She would have to relocate.

She carefully packed her things, researched locations that she deemed bearable, and pinpointed one that may fit.

After a polite talk with the leader of the Commune and his most handsome brother, Derrick, she withdrew her galleons and prepared for a new life on the East Coast, though she insisted on furnishing her very own cabin to her quite reasonable standards.

Cabin, how quaint, she sniffed, and apparated away with a sharp grin.


Lorie


One who is not willing to risk his child will not catch the wolf.

-As quoted in John S. Rohsenow, ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs


Lorie was a young girl living with her grandfather when it happened.

Her parents had died years before, in a freak potions accident that had leveled their home and much of the neighbors as well. Lorie had gone to stay with her only surviving relative on her muggleborn father's side, Grandfather Hallace, a muggle row-crop farmer in rural Illinois.

She was six when it attacked, but luckily a muggle rifle could tear the flesh of a werewolf as easily as it did a true wolf, though it took more bullets.

She had disobeyed, sneaking out into the garden before dawn to see the roses open their blooms and the faeries come out, as she had read in her picture book, and the wolf had come from the fields, grey and slim and fanged, its claws wickedly sharp.

The last thing she ever saw was the moon, pale and full, shining through the misty morning air, crisp and cool against her hot face as her blood spilled into the ground.

Grandfather Hallace heard her scream, and reached for the rifle beside his bed, shooting straight through his bedroom window at the monster that had his granddaughter, and only when he saw it change to a gaunt young man did he dial the MEB instead of the muggle emergency services, the phone number one he had been given when he had also been given custody of a minor witch.

They apparated onto his farm and took her away with the body of the monster, leaving no evidence behind except her absence, he unable to follow her to the hospital for those people, because he was normal.

He worried about her as the weeks passed with little word, other than that she had survived.

Then one day, as he rumbled up the long driveway from the fields in his open cabbed tractor, he saw them on the porch, a large woman holding the frail hand of his beloved Lorie.

He rushed to her, and only once his booted feet touched the last step onto his wooden porch did he realize her once beautiful green eyes were pale and faded and blind.

The scars covered her face, and later he would find they also stretched down her torso, nearly slicing her in half.

The werewolf did not intend to infect, the woman, the witch, said, her voice kind yet cruel. But she is, now, and I must set certain precautions in place.

Grandfather Hallace learned to live with a werewolf as he had learned to live with a witch for a granddaughter; one day at a time, with prayer and thanksgiving.

He had never cared that she was magical, and now never cared that she was a werewolf, just as he would never care that she would always be blind.

Instead, he sold off his remaining acres of land, he had been thinking of retirement anyway, and hired the best tutors a witch could have, to teach her to see with her fingers and cast spells by sound and scent.

And every evening, he took her to his large garden, and taught her every plant by touch, the textures and feel, spike and fuzz and petal.

After many years, it was her turn to take care of him, her careful spells easing his last years, her eyes brimming with tears when he asked of her his last wish.

Don't be alone, Lorie. Please.

After the funeral, she paced for a week in the memorized confines of the house, afraid to leave, afraid to step out into the unfamiliar darkness of the outside world. But she had promised, and had felt the brochure her Grandfather had translated into Braille on the printer bought for that very purpose. There was a place she could go, to be among others of her kind, if she wished.

If she was brave enough to step out her door.

She had promised, and she went, and found another home. The wolves taught her to run with them, for she was as blind in wolf form as in human. She found a place for herself, in the large gardens that sustained the Pungo Pack.

She had promised, and she wasn't alone.


Zeke


Physiologically, we know a great deal about the wolf, although we still have much to learn. But why should we continue to study the wolf? Some people curse the animal; others deify it. As scientists study it, we may be able to blunt these extremes and place the wolf in proper perspective. Viewed from the inside, the wolf is a large, intelligent canid predator with a variety of interesting biochemical, neural, and hormonal adaptations. It is neither good nor evil.

-David L. Mech


Zacharias, who would only allow others to call him Zeke, had been a boy whose life followed an easy path. The youngest of three siblings, he had been the only boy, and spoiled because of it. New clothing, new gadgets, and on his sixteenth birthday, a new muggle car, for both his parents were muggleborn, and proud of their culture.

Their children would learn to drive, learn to use computers, learn to have a foot in both worlds.

It might have been dodging the Statute at times, but worthwhile to them; and to their children. It gave them an air of sophistication, to fit in so easily in the city around them.

Living in Miami, Florida, with its roaring muggle life and bustling wizarding businesses was a fast paced life.

Zacharias made good grades; he played quidditch as a beater , and was ruthless at it. High-strung, his professors told his parents, but it was with a smile.

Then, one night, he allowed his friends to take him to a wizarding bar on the west side of Palm Alley, after a particularly stinging defeat in an inter-school quidditch match. They were sixteen, and should not have been allowed alcohol, but the bartender that night was an older brother of another player, and it was understood they would spend the night at that friend's house.

But first, Zeke wanted to show them his new car, and of his friends only one before had rode in a muggle vehicle. They laughed and piled in and Zeke took off into the streets, high on life, on firewhiskey, on the full moon shining above them.

It was something that played out all across the country, when teenagers and cars and alcohol mixed together, and the tragedy that commenced was not to end for the driver.

At the crash site, Zeke dragged himself free, the only one who had worn a seatbelt, the only who who had known what aseatbelt even was, buckling it on from pure ingrained habit, sick and shocked and wide eyed.

His palms hit the rough asphalt and dug in, skinning his hands and then his knees, and he shook his sweaty hair out of his eyes and did not look behind him, knowing what was there and so very sick. He lay face down on the pavement in the night air, gasping, crying, and beginning to fumble for the chain around his neck, the location charm his parents insisted he always wear.

It was the growl that stopped him cold, so very loud and real, and he looked up into golden amber eyes, framed by dusky brown fur.

The ears were back, the muzzle twisted in a snarl, and the eyes went from car to him and back again, and dimly Zeke knew that if he could smell it, the sharp copper-tang of blood, then the beast in front of him must be bathing in its scent.

He pushed the charm with numb fingers, and the wolf stalked forward, legs stiff and eyes angry, and he imagined with dizzy thoughts that they were accusing.

He passed out, and never remembered the one perfect bite on his outstretched wrist, the barest prickle, but enough to infect.

His parents arrived, and then soon after came enforcers and mediwizards.

Of the five in the car, only Zeke survived, and as far as he saw it, it was a curse, because now he was a werewolf.

The enforcers searched for the beast, but he was never found, and Zeke knew as he looked down at the scar he bore on his wrist like a macabre bracelet that it was his punishment, for being so stupid, so reckless, so guilty.

He dropped out of school, though his parents strove to keep him inside. When they continued to push him, he ran away, moving from place to place, stealing food and money, slowly going mad with guilt and grief and pain.

On full moons, he used his wand, glad he was too old for the Trace , to transfigure bars of silver between tree trunks to hold him inside. He had always been an expert at transfiguration, and a near genius with charms. If only he could conjure food, he would vanish forever into the forest, until he finally got the courage to end it all.

Later, he would total the time and know he ran for two years, three months, and twenty-seven days; but he only judged it by the moons that passed, reveling in the wolf even as he hated his human half. The wolf was pure, loving, joyful; as a man, he was a murderer, worthless, a bane on society. He traveled in the wooded paths, avoiding civilization, going from one wild place to another.

Then, along the coast, he sang under a full moon, and heard an answering howl.

In all his travels, he had not encountered another werewolf. Now, they came, surrounding his makeshift prison, their golden eyes traveling over him. Eight of them, ranging from black to grey to one pure white wolf, looking on in curiosity as he snarled back at them.

Then one stepped forward, twice his size and black as midnight, and around him came a feeling of dominance and power and command, so much so that he dropped to the ground and bared his throat, hoping that, perhaps, this being would finally put him out of his misery.

And he waited, as the hours passed, every fidget met with a commanding snarl, until with the first rays of the sun he felt the change, every bone snapping out of place, his skin a wave of agony, his throat hoarse with screams.

He looked up with human eyes as the bars of his cage were dispelled, to see a large black man with a wand in his palm and a cheerful smile on his face.

Hello, cub.

He went back with them, subdued, and was fed and given his first bath outside of rainwater, and he told his story, wincing and fidgeting and longing to run.

But he didn't, couldn't, because the black man, Maurice, held his gaze and by doing so held him there, and a feeling of safety he had never felt creeped over him, until soon his greatest fear was not that they would make him stay, but make him leave.

They didn't.

They did, however, contact his family, and Zeke learned to his grief that his parents had both passed in another accident, and his two older sisters were determined to come stay with him, if he wouldn't go to them.

We've lost you once already, brother, we won't again.

He hadn't thought the wolves would let them stay; but they didn't mind having another two witches in the commune, especially ones like his sister Glory, who could cook the most marvelous meals from barely anything, and Hillary (who insisted on being called Hank), who had a talent for building magical structures and making them stay. He missed them, hadn't known he had, but as they settled in around him, as he met all the wolves and learned that there was a way to live with the curse, he slowly began to let hope settle in his heart.


The Pungo Lake Pack


For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

-Rudyard Kipling


After nearly a decade, the pack of three had grown to nine, and with them had come a muggle and two witches.

The commune expanded with its new growth, more buildings constructed, more animals raised, the garden larger and a greenhouse set up. They built a room for entertainment; Hank spelled a pool into existence, for the hot days of summer.

The next notable arrival didn't happen for a decade, almost to the day, after the commune was first settled. A wizard apparated right into the middle of the commune without so much as an acknowledgment that is was supposedly warded to prevent such.

He was tall, with dirty blond hair and stormy blue eyes that crackled with power, and only the scent of ozone clung to him, none of the moon or wolf they associated with other werewolves.

Maurice approached him cautiously, unsure what the stranger's purpose could be.

"Zak?!"

The question came from behind him, from an incredulous Neil who had joined the pack a good five years before.

The blonde turned, smiled.

"Lieutenant Raggon! There you are. Just heard about..." He waved his hands around them. "All this."

Neil tilted his head, frowned.

"Zak, that was… Merlin, years ago. And it's just Neil now. I, ah…"

Zak waved that comment away absently.

"I've been studying, in Australia, at the stones there. So much like Stonehenge, you know, if not more powerful. Some are even calling it Australia's Stonehenge, which seems ridiculous to me. Still, I've finished there and thought to look up my old pal, and lo and behold, you had up and left! Where's my Lucy?"

Neil opened and closed his mouth, unable to speak. He had not seen the other wizard since New York, long before he had been infected. Zak Gryphen was a professor, when he wanted to be, in just about any topic he chose, a magical genius. He had money, that he was born with and that he had earned on various jobs, doing things impossible to other wizards.

If he hadn't always been so kind, and so… well, innocent, Neil might have been jealous of his friend.

Friend.

Zak turned, brightened, and held out his arms as Neil's wife ran up, her green eyes alight with excitement, to fling herself in his arms.

Neil sniffed, though he couldn't help but smile as he watched them. He hadn't told his friend of his misfortune, already having been disappointed by so many others.

"Is that alright, Neil?"

He looked up, confused, and Zak laughed.

"What?" Neil said defensively, embarrassed to have been caught daydreaming. Beside him, Maurice smiled.

"Of course it is."

Neil looked around, saw all the wolves had drawn close, eyes curious. Lucy shook her brown hair, stepped away from Zak to embrace him as she spoke.

"Zak's retiring." Neil glanced over at the man, who he knew to only be in his thirties, and who only grinned unrepentantly at his incredulous look. "And wants to move here."

"Here?" Neil repeated dumly. Zak laughed.

"I'll build me a tower or something, a ways up in the woods perhaps. Privacy for my studies. I've decided to write a book, do some experimenting on my own, and thought a place like this would be good for me. Peaceful and the like."

Neil stared at his friend, who he knew had more money and power than god, and tried to fathom why he would think a werewolf commune would be peaceful.

But then again, he figured a werewolf might not present many problems for the wizard, whose animagus form was an overly large black panther.

Zak grinned around.

"Introduce me, Neil. Quit gaping like a idiot."

Neil did so, slowly, still putting it together in his mind. First Maurice, the alpha, then his wife Matty and brother Derrick. Then Grace, Derrick's on-again off-again lover or whatever they considered themselves, followed by Kevin and his teenage daughter Julie. Lorie was next, her pale green eyes blind but smiling as she nodded in Zak's general direction. Last was Zeke and his two sisters, Hank and Glory, who both eyed Zak like he was the next thing on the menu.

Neil swallowed a smile, and cleared his throat, before slowly leading them on a grand tour of the facilities.

One thing could be sure, with Zak around, life was sure to always be interesting.


~*~To Be Continued: Three and Seven ~*~


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