Today is Fiction Friday, and I am in full-out Dangerverse fan fiction mode, so you will just have to put up with a Dangerverse entry for Fiction Friday along with a chapter. I'm sure you're all terribly disappointed by this. I'm also in something of a hurry, so forgive the rushed opening!
Today's story, as I promised on the Facebook group, is set about a year after the war and features Charlie Weasley and his continuing adventures with nasty werewolves. Read carefully and you might notice a pattern emerging...
Chapter 59 of Surpassing Danger, "The Bargain", will be up shortly! Please read, and comment, and enjoy, and I'll see you all next time!
Charlie Weasley lay full-length on the ground, covered with one of the cloaks his department used as part camouflage, part fire repellent. Both parts were very necessary when dealing with temperamental dragons, and the only non-temperamental dragons Charlie had ever encountered had been sleeping dragons.
And sometimes they’re even grouchy then. Like if you tickle them.
He allowed himself half a second’s smile at his own witticism, then returned his attention to the task at hand. The Second War against Voldemort had been over for nearly a year, but the mopping-up probably wouldn’t be completed until he was an old man, even for a wizard, and some of the effects of the war’s end were still in active motion.
Like all the changes for werewolves. His ears reporting no motion around him, Charlie risked one careful scoot forward before freezing in place again. The ones who’re willing to behave themselves, remember they’re human twenty-seven and a half days out of the moon cycle, are starting to be accepted back into wizarding society. But the ones who aren’t…
Although he was technically a full-time dragon keeper, some of Charlie’s work during the war had been assisting his fellow member of the Order of the Phoenix (and good friend) Brian Li in his efforts towards contacting werewolves, of both types, and convincing them it was more worthwhile to be the first type than the second. These efforts had been met with results one could generously call “mixed”.
Since a lot of the more powerful werewolves tend to get, and stay, powerful not because they’re werewolves, but because they’re amoral bastards, and were long before they were ever bitten. Lycanthropy just sped them along their merry way.
During the war, since no facilities or personnel had been available to guard this type of werewolf, the Order had compromised by housing them in tiny pocket valleys hidden inside dragon preserves. The Muggle-repelling spells around the preserves ensured no fresh prey wandered in, and the hungry dragons beyond the valleys’ walls ensured none of the werewolves slipped out.
But then the war ended, and we couldn’t justify keeping them there anymore. So we had to bring them in and have them undergo testing and rehabilitation, and the ones who passed got to go back out into the world. Charlie gritted his teeth, careful to make no noise. If we needed any further proof that lycanthropy affects the soul but not the mind…
For a surprising number of werewolves had been both less than honest on their screening tests, and decidedly clever in their choice of a new hiding place. As long as they made sure to choose only Muggle prey, or deprive any magical prey of a chance at a wand, the very same valleys where they had once been confined made perfect spots for them to set up their filthy camps, where they could rule supreme and unchallenged.
Or they would have been able to, if my Tonks hadn’t spotted their pattern. A rush of pleasure filled Charlie at the thought of his brilliant, talented wife, likely using her Metamorphmagic to camouflage herself on the other rim of the valley by now. We’re moving on this one tonight, and we should have the rest of them cleaned out within the next few days. And afterwards, we’ll just open up the passes to make them wide enough for dragons, so no one ever tries this little game again…
A red spark rose into the night, and Charlie leapt up out of concealment, as other wizards to his right and his left did the same. In perfect synchronization, they Apparated to the floor of the valley below, and dragon-keepers threw heavy-duty Stunning Spells towards shocked and snarling faces while Aurors kicked in the doors of the rude shelters which had been knocked together to do the same.
Movement to one side caught Charlie’s eye. One werewolf was running towards a ramshackle construction of logs set up on end—and in his hand—
The Disarming Charm shot from his wand before he could so much as form the first syllable with his lips, and the werewolf yelped as it struck him in the back. The wickedly gleaming knife he’d been carrying flew high into the air, and Charlie snagged it with a quick Summoner and caught its handle, sticking it into the ground at his feet as he conjured ropes around the feet and hands of the groaning werewolf.
Then, and only then, did he approach the rude palisade of logs.
He thought, for an instant, it was empty. Then one of the lumps of dirt on its far side moved.
“Don’t you dare,” the werewolf rasped, levering himself up painfully to glare at Charlie. “Don’t you touch him—that’s my son—”
“So you just thought you’d get all fatherly towards him?” Charlie waved at the knife winking in the light of the fireballs he could see Brian’s wife Corona conjuring overhead, now that the battle was over. “I don’t remember my dad needing one of those.”
“He’d be better off dead than in your hands.” The werewolf strained against his bonds, panting. “I never saw the truth until I changed the first time. It was a gift, the greatest I could have given him—you one-shapes don’t understand—”
“You’d be surprised how much I understand.” Charlie stepped past the log he’d removed, tossing a Silencing Charm onto the werewolf as he went, and knelt down inside, facing what he could now see was a very dirty, very frightened little boy of three or four.
“Hi,” he said. “What’s your name?”
The boy licked his lips, once, then again. “Bobby,” he whispered. “But I’m not s’posed to say that anymore.”
“’Cause he said so, right?” Charlie reached down and hauled the werewolf into view. “And he’s the boss of you?”
Bobby nodded, staring wide-eyed at the writhing, red-faced man in Charlie’s hold.
“Well, guess what.” Charlie dropped the werewolf back to the ground. “I’m the boss of him. And I say you can say whatever you want. Within reason,” he added quickly, remembering a few of the things he’d overheard his own father say at this age after an accident with one of his plugs in the back shed. “But you’re definitely allowed to say what your name is. And if you want to get cleaned up a little, maybe?”
Another nod, with a half-abashed look. Charlie drew his wand and ran the gentlest of Cleaning Charms over the little boy, revealing a shaggy crop of light brown hair, an amazing collection of scrapes and bruises in various stages of healing—
And one that’s never going to heal quite all the way.
“Really got into the whole ‘it’s a gift’ thing, didn’t you?” he asked, removing the Silencing Charm from the werewolf. “Bit your own son.”
“It was the only way I could keep him with me!” the werewolf snarled. “The only way to keep us together! And he’s not even grateful.” He arched his back until he could see within the palisade, and Bobby shrank away with a whimper. “Won’t listen, won’t obey, needs discipline all the time—”
“Yeah, I think I’ve heard enough.” Charlie replaced the Silencer and moved all the way into the palisade, facing Bobby. “You want to stay with him?” he asked, indicating the werewolf.
Bobby shook his head vigorously.
“Think you’d rather come home with me?” Charlie opened his arms. “Just for the night, to start with.”
An instant later, he had an armful of desperately clinging little boy.
I do believe that’ll make one more for Mum and Dad’s tally…
Standing up with Bobby on his hip, Charlie spotted Tonks headed his way. He grinned at her. “Look what I found,” he said. “Can we keep him?”