Harry was getting far too big and too old to be locked in the cupboard under the stairs still, he wasn't as tall as an almost sixteen year old boy should have been due to being contained in such a small and confined space for so long as a child. Not to mention the constant starvation that his relatives had inflicted upon him throughout his life; which had already made him far too small for his age.
There was no way that at almost sixteen years of age that he should have still been able to fit into the tiny space that really should have been used to store the vacuum and the other cleaning supplies. The small space was dominated by a mattress that had no cover, instead piled upon it were the threadbare blankets that Harry used to keep warm. It was a pitiful sight to behold, most people wouldn't have even inflicted it upon their pets and yet this was the only space Harry could call his own.
It was ten minutes until Harry's sixteenth birthday. The summer so far had been unbearable for him, days of endless solitude where none of his family had really spoken to him, they hadn't even noticed that he was there apart from when they gave him his beatings. His relatives would laugh as they hit him, kicked him, Vernon occasionally using his belt. As a wizard Harry would heal a little faster than a muggle so as soon as the injuries were gone, they would start all over again.
No one from the wizarding world had spoken to him, not even to check up on him, to make sure that he was okay. No one really knowing what to say to him after what had happened at the end of the last school year. It had been his fault Sirius had died in the Ministry of Magic and there was no way that they could bring him back, Harry understood that now.
Guilt racked his body every day, knowing that he had been the cause of his Godfathers death, it had been his stupidity had got Sirius killed. There had been days where Harry had thought that he was no better than Voldemort. At least the Dark Lord was honest about what he did, he never pretended to be good, he killed outright and with no conscience. Harry simply caused the deaths of those he loved unintentionally but they were still dead regardless of the reason why and it was his fault.
Harry had been hoping that Ron or Hermione would try and talk to him at least, they were supposed to be his friends after all, regardless of his stupidity. He had hoped that they might send him a letter, invite him to come and stay with them, anything. It had been the one hope that had kept him focused on staying alive through all of the beatings that he had had to endure, however he had heard nothing from either of them all summer and he just didn't understand why.
Instead he had been suffering at the hands of his Aunt and Uncle, who as usual couldn't stand the sight of him in their home. Even Dudley, who had been frightened of him at least a little the past few summers that he had come back from Hogwarts had seemed to regain his courage somewhat and was more than happy to resume playing the role of the bully; picking on Harry whenever he had the chance, something that was fully encouraged by his parents of course they were, as always, so proud of their little diddykins.
It was probably the nightmares that Harry had been having that made him an easy target for his relatives to torment and torture. They had been frequent ever since the night Sirius had died and they were also the reason that his Uncle Vernon had locked him back in the cupboard again. Apparently Petunia and Dudley had been too scared of the relentless screaming to not have Harry locked up at night.
The door to his cupboard had been reinforced with a further three locks just to make sure that he wouldn't be getting out and they had also been smart enough to take away his wand before shutting him in and locking the door, ensuring that he was unable to escape through magic or brute strength. They hadn't wanted to take any chances that he might get out, Harry just counted himself lucky that they were remembering to feed him this time. He was at least getting small portions of food once a day and for that he was grateful, he hated the hunger that gnawed at his empty belly making him feel light headed and sick.
During Harry's younger years there had been occasions where they had just forgotten altogether. As a small child he had gone for days without food, he had had to resort to rummaging in bins to keep himself fed. It was not a time that he looked upon fondly now that he was a teenager. It was times like this that Harry wished that the rest of the wizarding world could see their hero, locked away, starving and beaten daily. He often day dreamed of what they would say, what they would do but there was never anyone here but him.
Harry had woken up from yet another nightmare, screaming for Sirius to come back, to not go through the veil but as usual it had all been in vain and he had woken with a jolt, gasping for breath, the reality of what had happened weighing down on him heavily, almost crushing him. His throat was raw and dry from his screams and he had no way to get water to soothe it since he was trapped inside his cupboard, he would have done anything for a glass of water right then.
As he tried to get his heart rate under control, he became overly aware that his skin was itching and crawling as if he were covered with tiny little bugs, scurrying all over him. In the cupboard it wasn't uncommon for spiders to scurry over him but they didn't bother him any more, this however, this was damn near terrifying. Reaching up he tried to brush the bugs away but found that there was nothing there, just his skin that was radiating heat like it was a furnace.
The air all around him was hot, almost boiling, slicking his body with sweat that was dripping from him and making it incredibly difficult to draw breathe. He had already stripped down to his boxers but his skin seemed to be heating up from the inside out. His chest felt restricted, as if his lungs were refusing oxygen.
A dull pain spread out over his body, starting in the very tips of his fingers, spreading up his arms, down his spine and all the way to his toes. It wasn't until this dull, almost tolerable pain transformed into something that felt more akin to being flayed alive, did Harry open his mouth and scream, unable to hold it back any more, the pain too unbearable to withstand in silence. His throat protested valiantly, but he couldn't stop, it hurt too much, Harry just wanted it to end.
Footsteps sounded on the stairs, loud, angry footsteps that sent dust clouds and flaking paint to descend upon the now sixteen year old boy who had turned such as the clock had stuck midnight seconds before. He was writhing and screaming in agony as heat encompassed him, a strangled, hoarse scream escaping from his throat, yellow fur with black spots beginning to sprout across his skin.
Sharp elongated fangs grew painfully fast from his gums and Harry screamed again, scared and unsure of what was happening to him, his mind was rejecting the possibility of what was happening, he just couldn't process it, his mind retreating to safe place inside of him where it didn't have to deal with any of it.
Harry did not dare to even move for fear of being in more pain, triggering something else to happen that would hurt him even worse. The sound of his Uncle Vernon undoing each of the padlocks in turn was drowned out by the blood pounding in his ears. If he had heard him then he might have thought to shout a warning but he neither had the presence of mind nor the forethought to predict that he would be a danger to his relatives.
“Going to give you such a beating boy,” Vernon snarled viciously from the other side of the door, angry that he had been woken up yet again by his maniac of a nephew, he was so ashamed to call the boy anything familial, he was only glad that he was not related to him by blood.
Vernon was irritated to the point of violence because he had to be up early in the morning for work and yet Potter insisted on keeping them all awake until all hours of the day and night with his pathetic screaming and crying. The boy was a sad excuse for a human being and Vernon couldn't wait to be rid of him one way or another. All this screaming and crying like an infant child would not do, he had bullied and beaten Harry out of it when he was a child, he was fully prepared to do it again.
Vernon's words went unheard by Harry who was too busy staring at his hands, fear and terror coursing through him as he watched his nails lengthen, sharpen and turn themselves into the claws of a predator. His heart was beating so fast in his chest that he thought it might explode, the roaring in his ears only getting louder with each passing second of pain and agony.
Magic flowed across Harry's now furred skin as his back arched off the thin, lumpy mattress, twisting and convulsing painfully and at angles that should never have been possible for a human to bend to. Rolling himself over on to his stomach, Harry gasped for breath, every inch of his body feeling as if it were on fire.
His now clawed fingernails tore into the mattress, ripping the fabric to shreds as a roar of pain escaped from his already raw throat, more pain engulfed him as he struggled to predict which way his body might want to bend next, trying to preempt it before it happened to make whatever was happening, easier but it was all in vain and if possible caused him even more pain.
Harry didn't even notice when his Uncle ripped open the door to his cupboard, too consumed with what was happening to him to notice anything that was going on around him. The sight that met Vernon however was one that made him scream. He had never before seen anything as horrific as what was going on in the tiny cupboard, not even on the television.
The sound of bones popping out of their joints, muscles tearing and convulsing beneath the skin was all too much for Vernon Dursley who stood frozen in horror at the sight of what had once been his nephew but now was something else entirely. Harry Potter was no longer a slight teenager any more, he had become something else, something monstrous, something that didn't belong in the muggle world.
Vernon didn't even have time to shout out a warning to his wife and son, who were still sleeping, upstairs before the creature pounced on him, moving so silently and swiftly that there was no way Vernon could have expected or avoided the attack. Harry’s fangs extended to their full length as they clamped around the soft, fatty flesh of the man's neck. The creature had hit him squarely in the chest and the force of the impact had them both falling to the ground, the creature that Harry had become on top, preparing for the kill.
The jaws of the beast tightening their hold upon the man's neck before tearing out the jugular, blood spurting out in all directions, splattering the patterned wall paper that Petunia had spent hours picking out and then spent a fortune paying a decorator to come and put up. The yellow flowered pattern was now tainted with red flecks of her husbands blood, the last beats of his heart allowing him to bleed to death.
A garbled sound escaped the older man's lips, his dying words inaudible and no one around to hear them. He tried to speak again as his life faded away but it wasn't going to be enough to save his family as the creature stepped over his large body and began to silently move up the stairs, careful not to make a sound.
The headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore was on his way to number four Privet Drive to collect Harry Potter, saviour of the wizarding world, and move him to the home of the Weasley's for the remainder of the summer.
He had meant to arrive earlier in the evening but he had been waylaid by the Minister of Magic who had been insisting on talking to him about Voldemort and what they were doing to destroy him. The wizarding world was in uproar at the return of the Dark Lord and Fudge was starting to panic too. Dumbledore however neither had the time nor the patience to deal with Fudge, especially considering the man had spent the past year bad mouthing him and destroying his reputation.
Tonight Albus had a job to do, he needed Harry to help convince Horace Slughorn to return to the school and teach potions. Severus would take over the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts professor instead, a move that he hoped would break the curse on the position. He had it all worked out, he just had to put his plans in motion.
Privet Drive was still and silent when the headmaster arrived. It was half an hour past midnight and it was officially Harry's sixteenth birthday. The headmaster had not planned for it to work out this way but he thought that it was rather nice that he could take Harry away on his birthday, he knew that the teenager had a hard time while he was staying with his relatives, he was only sorry that he hadn't been able to take him away from them sooner.
The unfortunate demise of Sirius Black the previous school year had left a bad taste in everyone's mouths. No one really blamed Harry, he was just a child, instead they were blaming him because he had not prepared or tutored the boy well enough, he had not had the forethought to prevent this from happening, at least not until it had been too late to do anything about it.
The boy was growing up, there was no doubt about that, he had become a strong and reliable young man, dependable even and magically powerful too. It was time to start introducing the teenager to what needed to be done to end the war and destroy Voldemort, to prepare him in a way that the headmaster should have done the year before.
There were horcruxes that needed to be destroyed and he could not longer do that himself, not with his hand now cursed. After the way Harry had coped at the Ministry of Magic the previous year, Albus was sure that Harry would be both able and strong enough to do what was required of him and it was time to start down that long and winding road that would hopefully lead to the demise of one of the most dark and dangerous wizards their kind had ever known.
Approaching number four, an uneasy feeling was settling in his gut, something didn't feel right in this quiet little street tonight. Magic was thick in the air where it shouldn't have been in a neighbourhood full of muggles. Mrs Finch had not alerted him to any danger surrounding the house this evening and she was always keeping an eye on Harry.
It concerned him greatly that as he reached the front door of number four he could smell a slight metallic twang in the air, it was not a smell that belonged in the well kept muggle street. It was mixing in the air with the dark magic, intertwining like a sickly sweet perfume that enticed you in and promised the world but delivered nothing once it had you hooked.
Withdrawing his wand, expecting the worst, Dumbledore unlocked the front door with a simple swish and flick. It had been years since he had needed to utter the words himself both he and the wand that he had won in a duel many years ago were too powerful to need to utter the words of the most simple of spells.
Even as the lock of the door clicked open there was something else that made him feel rather uneasy. The wards around the house were weak, which was never supposed to happen. They were meant to hold until Harry turned seventeen, something was very wrong here. The only way that they could fail early was if the Dursley’s were dead and there was no one left to honour the protection that Lily had left for Harry.
The moment that the wards fell Voldemort and his followers would descend upon the house in droves, all of them wanting to claim Harry and present him to the Dark Lord and claim their reward for being such loyal and devoted servants.
Whatever had gone wrong here, Dumbledore had to prioritise. Finding Harry and ensuring his safety had to be the most important thing, nothing else mattered. If the wards fell then they would find other arrangements, there were always other safe houses to use. It was horrible but it was true, the future of the wizarding world lay upon the shoulders of sixteen year old Harry Potter, they needed him safe. Vernon, Petunia and Dudley Dursley were of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.
Pushing open the front door, Albus was met with the sight of a large man that he recognized to be Harry's extremely prejudice Uncle. The man was lying quite still upon the ground, a large bloody hole where his throat had once been clearly stating that he was dead. Aside from the large neck wound the body was untouched but the rest of the house was in silence and that did not bode well for the other occupants.
Dumbledore kept a firm grip upon his wand as he took another step into the house ad against his better judgement he closed the door. They were in a muggle street and it would not do to have them realise that there was something going on inside this house, for if there was something that Albus Dumbledore was sure of, whatever had happened, dark magic was responsible. The second thing that he would have bet his life on was that whatever had killed Vernon Dursley was still in the house and he didn't want it getting out to slaughter more innocent people.
Vernon's blood coated the walls in a rather grotesque fashion, it was quite a sight to behold, the scent of death hanging heavy and thick in the air, mixing with the powerful dark magic that lingered throughout the rooms of this once happy family home. It made even the great and powerful Dumbledore not want to press forward and go deeper into the belly of the house, too afraid of what he might find here for he truly had no idea what could have done this.
While the wards still held, as fragile as they were currently, he knew that whatever had happened within these walls, it wouldn't be Voldemort but there were scarier things in the world than the Dark Lord. This was something that Albus knew to be true and he feared what it was that had managed to find itself in Harry's already difficult life. Whatever it was that had done this, it wasn't welcome and would be destroyed.
Albus hesitated a moment, taking his time to observe the body of the largely grotesque man, it looked as if Vernon Dursley had been either trying to free or attempting to contain something in the cupboard under the stairs, at least that was what it looked like. The elderly wizard frowned at the sight of at least three locks upon the door and he could only just about see the corner of the mattress within the cupboard.
He wasn't aware that the Dursley's had been locking Harry up again, if he had known then he would have made the effort to come and retrieve the boy sooner. It made him wonder just how bad things had become here without him noticing. He knew that it was even more important to find the teenager now, he needed to know that he was okay.
The headmaster's blood was running cold with fear, the only thing that kept him going was the adrenaline pumping through his system. He had no idea what he was about to face but he was hoping that Harry had had the state of mind to find his wand so that he at least had the chance to defend himself.
Stepping forward, towards the body, Dumbledore glanced into the small space that contained a tiny bed and little else. The thin mattress was torn to the point of being completely destroyed. However there was no blood in the small cupboard and that gave Albus hope that Harry might still be alive.
A low territorial growl coming from upstairs caught the headmasters attention, alerting him to the fact that whatever had killed Vernon Dursley was, as he had suspected, still in the house. Tightening his grip upon his wand, Albus steeled his nerves, preparing himself for whatever was up there.
Knowing that he had to find Harry, no matter what the cost, he glanced up into the darkness, knowing that something terrible was up there and he would have to face it alone, he didn't have time to summon help. He put his foot upon the first step and winched as the floor creaked loudly underfoot. He froze not daring to move, keeping his eyes focused on the landing just above him, watching for any sign of movement.
Silence descended, the darkness in the house almost consuming everything else, the headmaster didn't even dare mutter Lumos in case it triggered whatever was out there to attack. Albus stood, holding his breath waiting, though he wasn't exactly sure what it was that he was waiting for.
As he was steeling himself to take another step there was movement on the landing above and a large animal that looked remarkably like a leopard moved in the darkness, it's startling emerald eyes fixing upon the elderly wizard with hunger. Wanting to see the thing properly, Dumbledore flooded the hallway with light from the tip of his wand and what he saw terrified him.
Blood and skin hung from the creatures mouth, more blood coated the landing though there were no more bodies to see. Dumbledore could only imagine what had happened to Petunia and her son, Dudley and possibly even Harry too, there was no telling how long this creature had been in the house. He was really starting to wish that he had spent more time with the teenager, taught him how to apperate, taught him how to fight, anything to have prevented this.
There was a hungry gleam in the predatory green eyes that stared down at the headmaster, a low, threatening growl escaping from the animals hackles as it bared its teeth, showing it's unhappiness at being disturbed while it was feeding. This place belonged to this creature now, it had staked its claim and had come out on top, the last thing that Albus wanted was to challenge the creature.
In that moment as he stood staring at the magnificently beautiful and terrifying creature, Dumbledore was certain of only two things. The first was that the creature before him was a Nundu, a rare and frightening creature that was infamous for it's brutal and vicious nature, not to mention the amount of wizards it took to bring a single one down.
The second certainty that the elderly headmaster was aware of was that he was going to die tonight, in this house and there wasn't anything that he could do to stop it. He had walked into the Lion's den so to speak and he had come unprepared and for that he was going to die. There would be no hallows, no horcruxes left to save him and he was determined that he would greet death as an old friend and together they would depart this world as equals.
The Nundu was a creature that was considered by many to be the most dangerous beast alive and one had never been defeated by less than one hundred wizards working together to bring it down. This was how Dumbledore knew that he would never make it out of the house alive. He was powerful but he wasn't nearly powerful enough to take down a Nundu single handed.
Never in his entire, long existence had he ever thought that his life would end like this. The Nundu were rare, those that existed were native to East Africa, there had not been news of one in England since way before his time. They were rare and dangerous beasts indeed, to see one now was something amazing, a once in a lifetime experience, an experience that was going to end his life.
It was as the Nundu prepared itself to pounce that Albus Dumbledore realised why the startling eyes seemed so familiar to him. In the few seconds before his death the headmaster knew something vitally important about the creature that killed him, that it wasn't in fact a creature at all but a scared sixteen year old boy who had come into his creature inheritance without knowing what it was that was happening to him and as the creature he had reacted on instinct and protected himself in the only way he had known how in his creature form. It was just a shame that he didn't live long enough to share this with anyone else.
The moment that all three of the Dursley's were dead, the worst happened. Petunia Dursley was the one who lasted the longest, fighting for her life, however as she drew her last breath the protection wards around number four privet drive fell. The protection that Lily Potter had died to give to her one and only son had failed. It took a matter of minutes before the quiet street that rarely saw anything out of the ordinary happen was teeming with dark robed deatheaters.
All of the agents for the Dark Lord had come here with the aims of kidnapping Harry, wanting to present him to Voldemort and to get in his favour. They all had their wands drawn, ready for an attack as if it might be a trap, none of them wanted to fall into an ambush laid by the Order of the Phoenix.
However the thought of being the one to capture Harry Potter and deliver him to their Lord was just too tempting an opportunity to pass up. They all wanted a piece of this, they all wanted to be in the Dark Lord's favour and to earn his praise.
Bellatrix Lestrange was the first deatheater through the door, sending a spell towards it that had the door almost explode off it's hinges. Stepping into the entrance hall, the evil woman gave the body on the ground the briefest of glances, caring very little for it. Death didn't faze the witch at all, especially not the death of a muggle, if anything she was more likely to celebrate it than grieve.
The blood on the walls was of little consequence either, however she was a smart enough witch to recognize that the wounds upon the muggle were not from anything known to the muggle world, not with the scent of dark magic lingering so heavily in the air. Something was here, something dangerous.
“Baby Potty, come out and play,” she called into the darkness of the house with a mocking laugh, wanting to goad the teenager into doing something stupid. She was confident enough to believe that the sixteen year old wouldn't be able to defeat her in a duel.
Two other deatheaters were stood behind Bellatrix, their wands shining light into the otherwise dark house. The lucky two that had accompanied Bellatrix into the house while the others waited outside were Lucius Malfoy and Baine Mulciber. They were two people that Bellatrix felt confident enough in their ability to cover her back in case this was an ambush. She didn't want to take any chances.
It was the latter member of the group that seemed to be the most unnerved about the situation they were in however. The others wouldn't have been able to smell it but he could, he knew what had happened here. It was one of the many traits that the human Nundu had that made them rather powerful wizards.
Baine could distinguish the individual threads of scent in dark magic to what it was and also, most of the time, figure out what had been the cause of it too, he knew that in this house there was another like him, a sixteen year old boy that had just come into his inheritance. Baine knew that whoever it was, he was probably scared and had no idea what was happening to him. The fact that this muggle was lying dead on the ground was proof enough of that.
It had thrown him for a moment because it was an uncommon occurrence, the Nundu were extremely rare creatures in themselves, to find another human one was unheard of in this country, though it wasn't as if they had a register that they all signed. The creature they became was feared and many wizards hid it from those that would persecute them. There could have been hundreds and he wouldn't have known about them, there was only one who knew what he was.
Baine had come into his inheritance when he was sixteen too, and all because he had been so involved in the dark arts that it had touched his very soul, infecting him like a disease. Of course there had to be some form of underlying Nundu blood from one of his ancestors because being touched by dark magic just wouldn't be enough. However as the clock had struck midnight on the eve of his sixteenth birthday the creature had exploded from him.
He was fortunate that he had not been at school at the time, just as this teenager was, however he had killed both of his parents in his first transformation, or so he had been told. He didn't remember any of it and neither would this young man, the first change was too brutal, too painful on the mind and the body, it was a defensive mechanism not to remember.
It was Severus who had told him what had happened on that night, his childhood friend who he had bonded with in Slytherin house when they had gone to school together. They were friends even now and Snape was the only one whom Baine trusted not to share his secret with anyone.
Baine said nothing as they moved through the lower level of the house looking for Potter and for the thing that had been powerful enough to get through the wards and do what needed to be done to bring them down.
These other deatheaters had no idea the advantage that Baine had, he kept what he was a closely guarded secret. He was a creature of renowned evil, he knew that the Dark Lord would exploit him if he ever found out what he was.
There was a reason that there was only one other person who knew what he was, however Severus Snape was not here to confide in, he had had other business to contend with tonight. The man was a spy, keeping tabs on Dumbledore and reporting back to the Dark Lord, so tonight Baine was going to have to make this decision alone and decide what to do without any assistance.
“Upstairs,” Lucius hissed, keeping his voice low, though he wasn't sure why. Bellatrix had made enough noise entering the house and shouting that a few whispered words were not likely to matter, however the hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end. He knew that something wasn't right here, even he who worshipped the dark arts didn't like the uneasy feeling of being here, it just felt so wrong and unnatural.
“Something is not right here,” Baine said, wanting to warn the others but there was very little that he could say to discourage them. Saying anything else and he might give away that he wasn't entirely human. The last thing he wanted was for the likes of Lucius and Bellatrix to know that he had some form of creature blood in him, out of all of Voldemort's followers these two were the worst and would exploit him until he drew his last breath if they ever found out what he was.
“Scared, Mulciber,” Lucius sneered in mocking. It was all a front though, he was just as terrified and agreed wholeheartedly that something just felt wrong in this house. The dead muggle on the floor with his throat torn out, the dark magic that hung heavily in the air, it was probably very sensible to be scared.
“Just cautious,” Baine returned rather sharply as Bellatrix started up the stairs, fearless and careless to the end, the two men following in her wake as two more deatheathers came in through the front door.
A low warning snarl had the three on the stairs all freezing in place, even Bellatrix who, although careless and a little reckless, was by no means stupid and knew a dangerous predator when she heard one. “What is that?” She hissed, half looking over her shoulder at her brother-in-law who shrugged his shoulders, having no clue but feeling the urge to turn tail and run.
Baine had a horrible feeling that he knew exactly what it was but he couldn't tell them, couldn't warn them, not without telling them what he was and giving away his deepest secret, something that he was not willing to do, not even to spare their lives.
What confused Baine however was whether or not the young boy who had become a human Nundu tonight was Harry Potter or in fact another witch or wizard who had stumbled across the house of the boy wizard accidentally. The latter option just seemed to be too much of a coincidence but Baine wouldn't rule anything out.
The more he thought about it though, it made sense that the Nundu was the Potter boy, it was a shame but undeniable that the poor boy had had so much exposure to darkness that it really wasn't surprising. The shock was that Potter had the Nundu blood in his family line at all, it was something that Baine was going to have to look into.
Voldemort had tried to kill Potter several times already, the teenager had had his blood used in the ritual to bring the Dark Lord back to his own body, all of this was bound to have affected the young and impressionable teenager in an adverse way. Baine actually found himself feeling sorry for Potter, after all, he knew that the first transformation was not easy and even when that was done you still had to hide away your true nature for the rest of your life out of fear of retribution.
“What is that, at the top of the stairs?” Baine asked, shifting his wand light to see if he could make out the dark shape in front of them. The three of them were stood half way up the staircase when they realised what it was that they were seeing.
The half eaten body of Albus Dumbledore, the great wizard staring at them through empty blue eyes that were completely void of the life, the twinkle that had once taunted so many a witch and wizard long gone. The half moon spectacles half hanging off him at an angle, blood speckled upon the lenses.
It took a long moment for the three prominent deatheaters to process what it was that they were seeing and by this point it was too late to do much about it as the Nundu raised his head to glare at the intruders that had dared to interrupt his meal.
Yellow fur was flecked with blood, it's muzzle stained crimson, intestine still hanging from it's jaws as the creature chewed some unknown and unrecognisable part of Albus Dumbledore's organs. A low growl echoing from it's throat in warning as Bellatrix pointed her wand at the creature only for Lucius to knock it back down to her side instantly.
“Don't be stupid,” he hissed at her quietly, “Don't you know what that is?” He had never seen one himself, having never travelled to their native country, however he knew what they were and the sight of it before him now only made his fear heighten. If Lucius Malfoy was ever going to fear for his life then it was going to be in the face of this beast.
“It can't be,” she snapped back. Bellatrix could not believe that this creature was something so rare and so dangerous, it was near enough impossible and yet there it stood, green eyes glowing in the minimal light as it watched the three intruders.
“It can be,” Baine said, glad that they seemed to know what it was without him telling them, which would have only raised questions that he couldn't answer. Lucius Malfoy knew more about dark creatures and dark magic than most wizards, Bellatrix would have no reason not to believe him when he told her what it was that they were facing.
“It can take over a hundred wizards to bring one of those down, if you start firing spells you'll only piss it off and then we're all dead,” Lucius said as he took a step backwards. Baine following suit, not daring to turn his back on the creature. Unless he transformed then he was just as susceptible to an attack as any of the others. The poison in the fangs might not have killed him but the fangs could still do what they were intended to do and tear him to shreds.
Slowly even Bellatrix began to back down the stairs, the Nundu still snarling at them in warning. They had been lucky tonight, the creature had been feeding and had had enough meat not to need to kill again. He was too busy feeding to attack those that trespassed on him now, however if they got closer or threatened him in any way then he wouldn't hesitate.
“Where's Potter then?” Bellatrix hissed when they reached the bottom of the stairs, the horror of what they had seen upstairs still lingering in the minds. The scent of blood so thick in the air that it was hard to draw breath without tasting it at the back of your throat. It was making Lucius a little sick to the stomach, Bellatrix didn't mind too much and Baine was too used to it to notice much.
“Either that thing killed him or...” Lucius said with a wince, realising what it was that he was suggesting. It was insane, he knew how rare it was and he didn't want to make himself seem to be a fool. However it would be just Potter's luck to have been exposed to enough dark magic to turn into such a beast.
“Or...” Bellatrix demanded rather impatiently as the three of them plus the other two deatheaters that had been brave enough to come inside of the house hurried out of the front door, not wanting to risk provoking the creature into an attack by staying in a place it had clearly claimed as his own.
“That is Potter,” Baine finished, realising that this was where Lucius had been going and that there was no way that they could hide it. Voldemort would know soon enough now and then the Dark Lord would stop trying to kill Potter and start trying to recruit him.
“We should report this to the Dark Lord,” Lucius said somewhat nervously. Reporting anything back to the Dark Lord was a rather dangerous task to undertake, however the news that Albus Dumbledore was now dead would no doubt cheer him up, make him jubilant even. The problem was that the information that Harry Potter seemed to be a dark magical creature that was rare and dangerous.
“We're leaving him to roam free?” Baine questioned in shock. He had known that as a deatheater they had a certain disregard for life but to let a Nundu run free and unchecked was barbaric, even for them.
“Do you want to try and contain that thing?” Lucius asked, clearly challenging Baine. He wasn't stupid, he was not about to go back up those stairs. No amount of galleons would make him face the Nundu again, he knew that they were highly dangerous and nigh on impossible to subdue without a huge force to back you up. Their breath alone was toxic, he wasn't going to be getting any closer to it if he could help it.
“Not alone,” Baine snarled, glaring at Lucius with hatred. He loathed to allow the beast to go free, the first transformation was always the worst. He would have no control at all, it was something that came with time and with practice but it was never going to be an easy transformation when you had no idea what was happening to you.
It looked as if Potter had killed his family and then killed Dumbledore when the man had come to see him too. Baine doubted very much if Potter was going to survive the guilt that he would feel over this if he ever realised what it was that he had done. The boy was too inherently Gryffindor not to be weighed down by what he had done, even knowing he had no control over it.
Some creature inheritance was widely known about, however the Nundu were so rare that that they were believed to be extinct. In Great Britain it was practically unheard of to have any of them, at least to Baine's knowledge, there was no way that the young man could have predicted this happening.
Baine found himself wanting to know for certain who it was that had transformed tonight, though he was fairly sure that it was Harry Potter, the strange thing was however that he had an undeniable urge to protect him, regardless of who he was. It was writhing in his gut, clawing at him, wanting him to change forms and go to the boy. He had been a human Nundu for too long however and his control was better than that, though he would not able to hold off all night. He would go to the boy one way or another.
He had no idea why this urge was starting to take over but it was so strong that he couldn't deny that it was there. He ended up putting it down to the two of them being the same species and nothing more, at least he could think that for the moment because there was no other explanation that he could think of for what he was feeling. He felt so drawn to the Nundu in the house that it was driving him to distraction and he couldn't really afford to be distracted. He knew how dangerous his kind were when in their creature form.
Baine knew that as soon as the other deatheaters were gone that he would take the opportunity to make the transformation and track down the new Nundu and protect him. As the murderer of the great Albus Dumbledore he would be hunted and he would need to be shielded from that. Baine knew that he would do whatever it took to protect this young creature and he couldn’t even explain why.