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Auribus Teneo Lupum

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.: Chapter One :.

A Change of Shackles

 

 

 

The darkness of their hopeless world swirled around them, its spiteful bleakness almost audible in their joint silence. The wizarding world’s last hope sat around the long worn table in the basement kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Their hands were folded in front of them, their eyes fixed on the gnarls and scrapes in the aged wood. None of them wanted to put voice to what they were all feeling through their very cores.

 

Without Harry, they were doomed.

 

There were more of the resistance (the Order of the Phoenix) beyond this room of course, but those here were the ones heading the final fleet of light. Ron and Hermione had felt Harry ripped away from them by the snatchers. They had felt his fingers torn from them just as the crack of apparition took them to safety and they had had no choice but to seek help now. Even if Harry wasn’t their best friend and his life hadn’t been their personal priority, there was no point in destroying horcruxes if the only person that could destroy Voldemort was killed, tortured into madness or worse…

 

Hermione bit her lip, fighting back the tears from her eyes before looking around at those seated at the table. The table that they had once all gathered around for a happy Christmas meal. She and Ron were joined by Remus Lupin, Tonks, Kingsley, McGonagall, and a large handful of Weasleys including Molly, Arthur, the twins, Charlie, Bill and Fleur – who was almost as pregnant as Tonks.

 

With a deep breath in, Hermione managed to find her words. “We will just have to get Harry back, there is no other option.” Silence followed and then…

 

“He Who Must Not Be Named has a location as impenetrable and unplottable as this building – even more secure, perhaps. We have no idea where it is,” Kingsley began rationally, hastening to continue when he saw arguments brewing on the tongues of their younger members. “I want to save Harry as well, I don’t dare to think what they may be doing to him…”

 

“Harry is the one bloody thing He’s always wanted,” Fred hissed, “we know exactly what he’s doing, humiliating him, degrading him, driving him insane with pain and torment beyond…anything.”

 

“And he knows that Harry is the wizarding world’s last hope, he’s sure to…publicise this somehow,” George added with a repulsed shudder. “There’s no way he’ll keep this to himself. He’ll take pleasure in using that method to take Harry's pride from him–”

 

“And the hope from the rest of us useless pillocks,” Ron murmured self-loathingly, the first words he had spoken since he and Hermione had landed on the cold hard ground after apparating and realised Harry wasn’t with them. Hermione placed her hand on his on the table top.

 

Another agonising silence drifted across the dim room briefly.

 

“So vat do ve do zen, if storming ze castle is out of ze question?” Fleur asked tentatively, an elegant had resting on her slight bump. Bill took her hand gently.

 

“The way I see it is there is only one way into Voldemort's stronghold, and that is to be captured ourselves,” Remus began, looking at each of them solemnly in turn, as if preparing them for what he was about to say. “And once we are in there, we won’t be getting back out until the He is dead. As much as I…”

 

The werewolf grit his teeth, his hands shaking where they curled into fists on top of the table. Tonks moved to touch his arm reassuringly, but it seemed nothing could comfort him. “Even though Harry is the world to me, we have to face the fact that the only way we can rescue him successfully is to destroy the remaining horcruxes and then get captured ourselves. Then when He is vulnerable we must help Harry–”

 

“You mean leave Harry there?!” Ron snarled leaping to his feet along with a few others at the table.

 

“You’ve got to be bloody joking!” Fred added.

 

“Sirius would’ve died before leaving Harry there,” George began and Remus leapt to his feet too, his hands crashing down furiously on the wooden table so hard it shuddered on the stone floor.

 

“And Sirius would have died and Harry with him, because of his recklessness!” Remus thundered, his usually calm, quiet voice tearing a little – with worry for Harry. “Do not suggest I care for Harry any less than any of you. I am a great deal older than you. I’ve lost my two best friends in the world to this mad man’s war and I have seen from experience that thinking with my head is the only way to ensure Harry gets out of this alive!”

 

“Well said, Lupin,” a sardonic, low voice interrupted the row.

 

Everyone in the room stopped and whirled where they stood or sat to face the door that they had never heard open, where none other than Severus Snape stood, watching them all stoically. Some of them stood there stunned while others leapt for their wands. Snape merely held up a hand as if that had the power to fend off every curse that they had been about to send his way.

 

“It might behove you to listen for once in your lives, particularly when your enemy has the upper hand on you. The Dark Lord has Potter, I am pivotal to his rescue,” Snape said simply, gesturing with his hands to show he was unarmed – visibly at least. He stepped forward slowly but McGonagall’s wand raised a little more fervently in her shaking hand.

 

“That’s far enough Severus,” she bit out. “Just what do you hope to achieve, you Albus’ murderer striding straight into our midst?”

 

“How did you get here anyway?” Charlie demanded with a sneer.

 

Snape gave that familiar grimace of a smirk. But it was without amusement and tainted with bitterness. “All will become clear once I divulge to you Albus’ master plan that he revealed to none but myself. I give you permission to test my honesty with Veritaserum of course,” he added hastily when some of them were about to argue. “I will answer your question first, however, by telling you that as part of this plan, Albus ensured my invitation to this safe house would remain in the event I might need to abandon our first plan to confront you all – on the strict and only event that Harry was lost somehow, someway. Moody’s tricks were never enough to keep me out, not against Albus’ magic. All bets are off now, even Albus suspected this may happen, though he hoped against it with his dying breath…”

 

“Breath that you stole!” Molly Weasley screeched.

Snape only gave a solemn nod. “That I cannot deny, only explain the reason behind a crime that can never be justified. I will explain that and more, but you must listen to me–”

 

“And why?” Hermione demanded, her voice terse and strong, unwavering in the face of her once professor. “Why should we give you the chance after all you have done? You who loathed Harry most?”

 

The potions master’s face twisted with an unreadable expression before slowly, his thin lips moved with the reply of, “because the only way to save Potter and end this war is to work together, and whether you believe it or not both of those things are my priorities right now. That and finishing the Dark Lord once and for all…”

 

They all stared at each other, wands still poised in their hands as an all too familiar silence fell. None of them knew what to do.

 

*                     *                     *

 

White-hot agony like nothing he had ever felt before lanced his every muscle and bone. The cavernous room he had been hauled into (what seemed like days ago now) was blindingly bright. So bright it hurt his eyes even though they were lidded with exhaustion. And it was cold, icy cold so that every particle of air felt like a stabbing needle in his every pore. It felt like an eternity had passed since they had strung him up here, his wrist bound above him with invisible bonds and his body hanging limply from them, forcing him to balance awkwardly on his knees the balls of his feet.

 

Hermione and Ron had escaped the snatchers, that was what mattered. They had escaped this. They were safe now that Voldemort had what he had always wanted – him. Bound, humiliated and in pain, as naked as the day he was born in front of a hall full of death eaters and their 'Dark Lord'. Just let it end, he thought longingly, over and over again, shoving that desperation for the release of death to the forefront of his mind so that Voldemort could not even glimpse the thoughts that laid behind it.

 

Most of the horcruxes were gone and Ron and Hermione were surely close to destroying the last two. Voldemort evidently hadn't realised the others were gone yet and Harry was determined it would stay that way, he would fight for it with his dying breath.

 

Exhaustion rippled through his bones and he could not help but groan as continuous spasms of anguish ripped up his arms, legs and spine from holding this position for far too long. He wobbled unsteadily, his head lolling to the side. He was so tired. But passing out, relaxing into his bonds or surrendering the tension his muscles for even a moment was out of the question.

 

The bonds that held him painfully in place were laced tightly around his flesh. They were woven around his body, starting from his wrists and downward, down around his arms, throat, chest, his stomach and legs until they tied off at his ankles. The thin, silvery barbed-wire styled constriction bit spitefully into him whenever he so much as shifted to try and alleviate the fiery pain the position imbued his limbs.

 

A grunt left his lips as his body went into spasms in release of the agony and the wire sliced into him as if he were butter, tearing bloody ribbons that oozed and wept blood down his body in thick streams. A dark cackle sounded from ahead of him, where he knew without even opening his eyes that Voldemort was sitting on a throne-like chair, surveying him with rapt attention. As tempting as the idea of death was in face of this torment, his stubbornness and pride would not allow him to simply topple over so that the wires could slice him to pieces – would not allow Voldemort to win.

 

Another high-pitched laugh from ahead of him told him that Voldemort had heard those thoughts. He could not stop Voldemort from getting into his head, but he had been successful so far at shoving the less precious thoughts forwards to hide what he didn’t want the bastard to see. “You are such a precious boy, Harry,” Voldemort breathed in mock-comfort. “But if exhaustion would permit those eyes of yours to open you would see a room full of death eaters around me, each with their own torment in mind for you. You will not win, this is only the beginning.”

 

Harry parted his lips, swallowing hard in an attempt to moisten his dry throat. “S'not…in me to…give up,” he managed out, his voice hoarse and shaky with blood-loss, exhaustion and pain – each of them dragging him ferociously towards unconsciousness. “Or bend…for the likes of you!”

 

“Oh, but dear Harry, you don't seem to realise – this is about power, everything is and those with power can make you bend for them,” Voldemort hissed and with a flick of his wrist the wires wrapped around Harry tightened. They tugged him forward hard, folding him flat at the waist so that his nose touched the ground and he was forced into a bow at Voldemort's feet. The wire sliced deeper, gouging great grooves into him. He swore he felt them meet bone in places, felt a rush of blood soaking him and he could not help himself. He screamed.

 

“Oh, yes!” Voldemort hissed with almost orgasmic glee. “I can make you scream boy and bleed and cry for your dead mother but you will not die, not yet. Not until the entire world has seen you quiver and squeal at my feet. Not until they realise that not even their golden boy can defeat Lord Voldemort.” The wire tightened again, forcing Harry's head up a fraction lest it slice into his throat and Harry stared up at those blood red eyes through the tousled, obsidian curtain of his fringe. He glared even as he continued to scream until his throat ached.

 

“That's it, sing for me, little boy. Bella has managed to acquire some Prophet reporters to record your defeat for the public,” the Dark Lord chuckled. Voldemort's leg shifted, a bare, wretched foot hovered under his nose – the very one that had sullied Cedric's body before he was even cold. “Show your contrition for the world to see and I may give you mercy.” He pressed hard at Harry's cheek with his foot and stopped tugging on the bonds to cease Harry's cries. Harry was left gasping for breath, giving dry sobs that he struggled with all his might to bite back. That foot was still pressing against his cheek impatiently. He knew what Voldemort wanted in return for 'mercy', what he had called the Prophet minions here to witness and show to the world…

 

 

Across the hall at the back of the circle of death eaters and heads and shoulders above them all, the owner of two icy-blue eyes watched on. From the second the golden boy's blood had oozed from that honey-tinted flesh, he had been frozen in place, his eyes fixed on the boy the Dark Lord was so gleefully tormenting. He hadn't noticed it before; it was so subtle that even when that blood had been spilt he had only just picked it up above the stench of wizards gathered here in the hall of Malfoy Manor. The Potter boy was a very special one indeed.

 

A smirk touched Greyback's face as Potter used all his strength to snarl and spit at the offensive foot. Voldemort roared with fury, seizing Harry's throat and holding him up from the ground so that their faces were inches apart. Harry cried out again as the blood-stained bonds sliced deeper and deeper into him. Greyback swore he would be cut to pieces any moment now, but the boy sank his teeth into his lip to silence his screams as he glared back into those crimson eyes.

 

“You would have us believe you do not fear death or pain,” Voldemort hissed, “But I know better.” With his other hand he pressed his wand into Harry's throat, plucking the wire digging in there with the tip just to draw a pained gasp from Harry. Harry winced. The wand pressed harder into his already abused flesh. “I'll cut away everything you are, piece by piece until you crumble – and you will. What shall be first?” His grip on Harry's throat tightened.

 

“Your nose? An ear? Perhaps I'll start with your fingers…” He trailed his wand worryingly downward, hesitating over a nipple that was flecked with blood already from the lacerations above. “One of these? Or perhaps…lower…” Harry's flaccid penis was just hanging there humiliatingly between his legs for all to see, vulnerable to any torture. He forced himself not to even blink.

 

“Well my loyal followers?” Voldemort offered to those gathered in the large circle. “What shall we do with the wizarding world's chosen one?”

 

The hall erupted into sound, lewd and repulsive suggestions were called out, derisive, spiteful laughter filling the air. Harry swore he was choking on it, suffocating on it all and he closed his eyes tight, preparing for any and all of the tortures about to befall him. But suddenly, a resounding, rasping bark of a voice thundered above them all and sent the grand room plunging into silence. “Give him to me,” the vaguely familiar voice demanded.

 

Voldemort dropped the boy unceremoniously onto the floor, a snarling gasp of pain punctuating the action and the Dark Lord stepped over his captive casually, as if he weren't even there. The circle of death eaters parted as their lord approached, allowing him to see where Fenrir was propped against the wall, his bulky arms folded over his tight, muscled chest. Fenrir surveyed the man casually as he approached with unconcerned azure eyes. Voldemort's wand was hanging limply in those long pallid hands and he gave Fenrir a smile as he stopped a few feet from him.

 

“Fenrir Greyback, an ally that has more than earned my respect,” he said, quite convincingly, as if he trusted him with his life. A feigned display that Fenrir could smell on the very air, but he cared not. He had aligned himself with Voldemort purely because Voldemort had offered lands and dominion over the wizards that had hunted him and his kind for all these years. He was not the man's lacky, what he was was a great asset, perhaps one of the few things that were tipping the scales of this war in Voldemort's favour – and the man knew it.

 

“My friend, what would you do with the Potter boy?” the Dark Lord asked with a peculiar lilt to his voice. “What can possibly interest you? Why, he doesn't even have any meat on his scrawny, underdeveloped frame to tempt your appetite for young flesh.”

 

Fenrir did not even blink at this. His tendency to enjoy tumbles with teenage boys and girls and the way he stole young from their inadequate human parents to turn them, to take them for his own pack now and again had spurred rumours that he liked to devour human children. He may even have let a comment or two slip to aid the amusing rumours. He was perfectly happy with that reputation; it let everyone know what he was about before they even met him. He was powerful, merciless and inhuman. He snorted and turned his head slightly to look upon the fallen, naked boy over Voldemort's shoulder. He was still, Fenrir noticed, not wasting energy struggling and losing more blood, but waiting for a chance…

 

He was a born fighter, far superior to the wizards gathered in the circle right now that were fidgeting uncomfortably and positively stinking of fear. Oh, the boy smelled of fear too and pain but he was baring his teeth against it, refusing to surrender. He liked that. “Werewolves can't bear young,” Fenrir said simply after a moment of inhaling the scent of the boy's defiance. “The mother's moon cycle forces her to change once a month and so kills the child with all the shifting innards. That’s known. That’s why we steal human children and turn them for ourselves. But witches and wizards can bear our young for us if they have the recessive lycanthrope gene.

 

“They are immune to the venom in our fangs and claws and the immunity in their veins means that we can breed them and never accidentally turn them into one of us. There aren't many that carry the gene left after all those raids the Ministry executed on our kind when they first came into power, but my mother was one. He brought me into the world a pure-blooded wolf more in tune with my senses, more powerful and faster than a turned werewolf. And that boy is one,” he finished, indicating the boy laying in a pool of his own blood on the floor.

 

There was silence and then from the broken circle a death eater spoke. Macnair, Fenrir thought his name was. “Such nonsense. Fairytales werewolves tell their young. There is no being alive that can successively bear werewolf young, the beast would tear them apart from the inside out–”

 

“Our young do not have fangs or claws in their transformed state for some time. They don’t even go through the change until they see their twelfth year – beyond the womb,” Fenrir corrected gruffly, his eyes glowing as they turned on the circle challengingly before looking back to Voldemort. “The boy carries the recessive gene, I want him, My Lord and if I am wrong, then my venom will turn him as soon as I so much as nick him. And you can have him back and watch him tear himself apart with confusion and starvation at the full moon.”

 

Those crimson eyes surveyed him carefully, as if considering his words and calculating his own response with considerable care. Wisely so, Fenrir thought as he stared back, unyielding, sensing the Potter boy's consciousness waning. He was losing a lot of blood, he realised distractedly.

 

“I cannot allow the other side to get him back,” Voldemort said after a moment. “He is valuable bait and ransom. His capture has crushed any resistance they have held so far, and what is more the brat has a tendency to cause havoc when left to his own devices. I regret that I cannot give him to you, Fenrir.”

 

Greyback raised a brow. “But as I understand it, your chief concern is that he not be allowed to escape, trust me, not even the golden boy can outrun me, especially not now I have discovered how infinitely valuable he is to me. He will not be escaping from me and his little friends won't even know I have him. You want this boy held but you don't want him to cause trouble? Believe me, after a moon with me he won't run, he won't even be able to leave my side. The perfect prisoner.” He watched Voldemort calculate all he had said carefully, his fingers twisting around his wand thoughtfully as he contemplated them.

 

Across the hall, the boy writhed in anguish as he struggled onto his knees, gasping for breath, his hair hanging over his eyes. He'd been here for nearly three weeks now and hadn't broken, it was admirable, that kind of foolhardy courage and pride. Exactly what he had dreamed of conquering in his bed. Without looking away from him, he spoke to Voldemort once more. This was getting tedious – he would have the boy regardless and if these tactics to avoid a troublesome skirmish failed and Voldemort still refused…

 

“He is far too stubborn and proud to break under this kind of torture,” Fenrir continued, “Give him to me, my Lord, let me claim him and you will see him conquered and the last of the other side’s resolve will crumble.”

 

Voldemort turned to look at the boy now. The Dark Lord was every bit as proud as the boy, Fenrir thought and that allowed the Dark Lord to understand fully how unlikely it was that the boy would break under pain. Seeing Voldemort's mind at work Fenrir added, “You know what power I wield, my Lord. You know that any werewolf pack in this country will move at my command, I have made this power yours by allying with you. I think that earns me privilege enough to claim what is mine by nature without a fight?”

 

He had never spoken so formally nor so much to any wizard. It would be simpler if he could take the boy without a struggle and not risk him getting even more injured – he needed him healthy, after all. But this was the last of his chivalry. The Potter boy was his whether Voldemort permitted it or not.

 

“Oh, you have earned it well and will do so countless times in the years ahead, no doubt,” Voldemort said with snake-like softness and cunning. He was not a coward, this wizard but he still knew better than to wrong him. Fenrir was sure that if any other person had asked for the boy, he would have refused outright and possibly punished the asker for their sheer audacity.

 

"If the boy is as you say, yours there is simply no way I can refuse." Voldemort’s voice was filled with feigned politeness and camaraderie. It made Fenrir's skin itch. He remained still, however. Even when Voldemort glided back towards Potter and pulled him up by his throat with a hiss of, “Relashio!”

 

The bonds fell away and Potter was left hanging limply off the ground, choking and spluttering but too weak with the loss of blood to raise his arms to fight. His eyes were open still, however, staring unyieldingly into Voldemort's with unconcealed rebellion and hatred. “I think you can understand my desire for reassurance, however. I know that you will not mind swearing on this brat's blood that you will not allow him to escape and that in a few months time you will bring him to me – conquered. You will have him kneel before me – perhaps with your whelp in his belly.”

 

The man was clever. To swear on the boy’s blood would mean if Fenrir tried to keep him for himself and go back on their deal, the boy would die anyway – Voldemort would not risk the enemy getting their hero back for anyone.

 

Fenrir wondered if the boy had even heard the exchange and watched the crimson rivulets dribble down that pale skin. The boy needed attention before he died from blood-loss. It was a tribute to his inner magic and strength that he had not keeled over already. “And once he has kneeled before you, I will take him away again and do with him as I please,” Fenrir said, making sure that was clear. “I am going to claim him as mine, mate him. I think you know what that means to a werewolf.”

 

Voldemort gave a slow, twisted smile. “Yes, unfortunately for dear Harry, life. As long as you do not let him escape and swear it now, you can do what you want with him.” He paused and then dragged his wand through the deepest cut across Harry's chest, twisting the tip in the wound until Harry gasped. “So will you swear it?” he asked casually.

 

Exhausted with this display, Fenrir stalked over to him, ignoring the flinches from the circle gathered around them and bringing a single claw to his boy's wound where Voldemort's wand was biting into the flesh cruelly. “On his life I swear,” he growled out, having absolutely no intention of letting this boy's life end any time soon. He was a find indeed, an asset to his pack, reputation and power. Voldemort need not have concerned himself with Potter's escape, Fenrir had no intentions of letting him go. “I will take him now.”

 

There was a moment when Voldemort's fingers dug deeper into the boy's throat, as if he would not release him, but those crimson eyes met Fenrir’s and at last, he let go. Fenrir caught the boy's limp body before he hit the ground and pulled the bloody form to his chest with one burly arm under the boy's knees and the other behind his back. He was ice cold and shaking – barely conscious but definitely still there. His head was hanging limply on his shoulders like that of a broken puppet.

 

He'd managed to win him without an all-out war with the Dark Lord, he was Fenrir's priority now. And the only person that will spill any of that precious blood is me, he thought. “Thank you, my Lord,” he forced out, managing to hold back a sneer. No one was his Lord. “I will see to him and then begin the journey back to my pack–”

 

“Someone can heal the boy and apparate you both back to your territory, Fenrir,” Voldemort offered with false chivalry. Fenrir struggled not to sneer again and shook his head. Just a few more moments of politeness to get out of here with his prize not suffering any further harm. Just a few more minutes of resisting the temptation of ripping the Dark Lord's head off…

 

“I like to do things the werewolf way. I will await your next summons,” he said, before heading towards the door. The thought of letting their repulsive magic near him or carry him even for a second made his skin crawl. As he left the circle, he snapped at the pale blond boy who looked as if he wanted to hide himself as much as possible, “You, this is your house. Show me to a washroom where I can clean the boy.” The Malfoy brat looked up to his father, who avoided his eye, leaving him to move forwards and frantically lead the way out of the cavernous room.

 

After a few minutes of following the boy down a long, dimly lit hallway lined with tapestries and robust decor in slytherin's colours, Fenrir barked, “I hope you're grateful that I gave you an excuse to get out of there boy – you looked like you might faint if the Potter boy spilled anymore blood.”

 

Malfoy swallowed hard and risked a glance up at the unmoving cargo in Fenrir's arms as the werewolf fell into stride beside him. Fenrir knew what the boy was thinking without him saying a word. Potter was as Voldemort had said, a beacon of hope in this war and seeing him fall had no doubt quashed what little hope for an end the Malfoy brat had possessed.

 

“Not used to seeing Potter lose, that's all,” Malfoy murmured, trying to sound unaffected, indifferent and failing. He kept his eyes ahead as he added quietly, “He has an irritating habit of triumphing over whatever he faces. He always wins everything, including peoples’ adoration.”

 

Fenrir chuckled, following the blond into a room off the hall that proved to be a large lavishly fitted washroom with gleaming black marble from floor to ceiling and gold fittings. Extravagance to every extreme, he expected no less from a family like the Malfoys.

 

“He'll have to get used to someone else coming out on top from now on,” Fenrir snorted, approaching the large sunken bath. He only just refrained from leaping back in surprise when a dozen ornate gold taps burst into life, rapidly filling the tub with smooth, foaming water that smelled reassuringly of tea tree oil and had a healing glimmer to it. That would help him to tend to his boy.

 

The other boy, meanwhile, was still standing there, staring at the limp body in his arms, the still semi-conscious Potter. “Make yourself useful and fetch me his clothes,” he barked at the Malfoy-child, shrugging out of his cloak and his low-riding trousers whilst still holding his boy to is chest awkwardly. He was so cold. He didn't want to lay him on the cold marble floor.

 

Malfoy stood there for a moment as if he hadn't heard him before turning and vanishing out the door, which closed silently behind him. Fenrir grumbled at his peculiarity and stepped down into the tub with his barely conscious boy in his arms. It felt odd, being so careful, holding something so fragile.

 

The warm water sloshed against his chest, the flow from the taps ceasing as he laid that slender, lightly muscled body back so that it was floating on the water with the aid of Fenrir’s broad arms supporting his back and head above the surface. The boy gave a soft, unintelligible groan as the soothing water swept over him, a sound caught between relief and pain.

 

Fenrir gave a soothing, reverberating growl and bowed his head to the boy's chest, lapping at the deep lacerations slowly, tentatively. The boy groaned in half-pain again, still not aware of his surroundings and when Fenrir lifted his head he was pleased to see that his saliva (as predicted) had healed the wounds on the boy's torso so that the once spiteful gashes had reverted to mere pinkish coloured blemishes on that honey-hued skin.

 

Those marks would be gone by morning, thanks to the healing properties of his spittle but Fenrir knew the boy would be far from grateful. He smirked at that and bowed his head again, awkwardly holding Potter above the water to tend to the rest of his wounds.

 

At last when that tight, taut flesh was healed except for the bloody mars across that slender throat, Fenrir pulled the boy to his body so that he could feel that chest against his own and leant that dark head back gently, massaging the base of the boy's skull while his mouth eased away the last of the bleeding gashes. This was part of the ritual courting of a mating partner. If either partner was wounded, this was the only way they should be healed, it was how it was done, it brought them closer to the time when they could complete their union – it furthered their connection.

 

Potter was breathing softly, as if in light sleep when Fenrir lifted his mouth that final time and though he saw that brow still furrowed as before, Fenrir could sense that he was out of danger now. Still weak but more than ready. He growled softly again, sniffing at the hollow of the boy's chest, grazing the area with his teeth in approval; satisfied that the water had cleaned them both. He scored a path up over that neck, taunting the boy's adam's apple gently with a canine before settling his mouth on the juncture of that shoulder.

 

Their next destination was his territory of course, but he was not stupid enough to risk dragging a prize as valuable as the boy around with him unmarked. He would draw attention to himself just by being at Fenrir's side, and of course, once Fenrir bit him (he would not leave it to chance that someone else might taste that flesh first), his body would become aware of its buried werewolf instincts. It would begin to prepare itself for conception, for its first heat – would give out the scent of being ready and fertile. He would ensure the world would know he was claimed before he took so much as a step more.

 

With another reassuring growl that came to him on instinct more than anything else, he bathed that soft juncture between shoulder and throat with his tongue, anesthetising the flesh for what was to come. Below him, he felt the boy's skin growing hot, flushing beautifully and not only because of the warm bath water. He heard his boy give the smallest of confused groans and sucked firmly on the damp area of flesh before sinking his fangs in. It wasn't a deep bite, just enough to mark and he lapped at the place where he'd pierced his intended, quickly healing it before the blood even had chance to flow. But this mark would not vanish entirely.

 

Lifting his head he was pleased to see a purplish-red bruise forming that would eventually fade into a purple-opalescent scar – Fenrir's claiming mark. And it'll become a mating mark when he bites me in return and completes our union, he thought with a grin of the times that lay ahead. His instincts thrummed excitedly. He hadn't bedded one so young and ripe for so long…

 

As luck would have it, the Malfoy brat returned the second Fenrir was out of the bath, towelling his boy down. The blond just stood there watching him (or Potter, more accurately) holding out a pair of black cotton trousers and a pale green shirt. “It's all I have that will fit him, he's always been shorter than most of us at school,” he murmured, jumping slightly when Fenrir snatched the garments from him, dressing the still limp body as quickly as possible to give the Malfoy-brat as little time to stare at his boy as he could.

 

“If I didn't know any better I'd say you fancy him, the way you seem to know so much about him – the way you watch him. Hardly the kind of obsessive compulsion I would expect of an alleged enemy,” Fenrir accused sharply. At this Malfoy only looked away.

 

“Careful. People have a nasty habit of falling in love with Potter – of feeling they need to make silly mistakes and sacrifices because of him-”

 

“Just who do you think you're talking to, boy?” Fenrir snarled warningly. “Don't presume to warn me about a thing. I am a pure-blooded werewolf – and an alpha at that! I'm not vulnerable to mortal feelings, much less to the influence of a boy that is barely a man.” He wrapped his fur cloak around Potter's body then and tugged on his own trousers, heading for the door with the Chosen One in his arms again. The suggestion that anyone, even his soon to be mate could control him sent a shiver of fury through his bones. No one controlled him, even his service to the Dark Lord was only at his whim.

 

“Whatever rebellious nature has ruled him before, he will learn to respect and obey me. In the end he'll be a docile little creature just like you,” Fenrir taunted him, smirking when he saw the blond glance away awkwardly. “Oh, you'd make a good werewolf's bitch,” he goaded him, revelling in the scandalised look on that pale, pointed face. “You like the idea of that, don't you? A werewolf's pallet would be better than being here, under the Dark Lord's thumb, eh?” He bared his long, strong white teeth in a derisive grin. He’d forgotten how delicious it was to tease young wizards like these.

 

The blond ran.

 

*                      *                      *

 

Thick waves of unbearable, throbbing agony were what greeted Harry’s senses first as he awoke. He hadn’t even opened his eyes but already his body ached as if recovering from being pounded by the meaty, unforgiving fists of giants. It made him groan aloud, his dry throat rasping slightly with the sound. And yet the spiteful, blinding sharp pain was gone. As if the lacerating wire-like bonds had never been.

With another groan, Harry forced his limbs to stretch slightly and felt each of his fingers and toes, both legs and arms still fully in tact. In tact and no longer strung up like a puppet’s limbs. When at last he opened his eyes, he was surprised to not only find his glasses on his face, but also to see the great expanse of rich wooden beams above and inhale the smell of warm dry straw. A barn?

 

“Awake at last I see,” a low, gruff voice said. His eyes widened. He knew that voice. His head snapped to the side, his neck creaking in negation at the fast movement. He was in a barn alright. Rays of pale light streamed through the cracks in the wood and the open doors he was laid near. He was on a bed of straw with a cloak of fur cast over him like a blanket. Just beyond the threshold, out of reach of the flammable hay a fire was burning with the mouth-watering smell of food drifting from the puffs of smoke. And there kneeling by the fire, watching him with shadowed blue eyes was Fenrir Greyback.

 

Harry bolted upright where he lay. A hiss of pain broke through his clenched teeth. Oh yes, his wounds had miraculously healed, but his body was still recovering from his ordeal. How long had he been in Voldemort’s grasp? The weak trembling in his limbs and unbearable hunger pangs in his belly told him a long time.

 

“Fenrir Greyback,” he breathed, staring at the werewolf in horror. How had he got here? Why was he Greyback’s prisoner now? The last he had remembered Voldemort had threatened to cut off his fingers, toes, his ears, his cock and now…

 

“Well done boy,” Greyback smirked, turning his attention back to the food cooking in the pan. Harry's stomach rumbled. This was almost worse torture than the Cruciatus. He was so hungry, more than he had ever been at Privet Drive. Greyback didn’t say anything to his rumbling innards, however.

 

“Where am I?” he demanded, trying to clear the hoarse exhaustion from his voice. “Where’s…He?” he would have to remember that name was taboo. “What the hell do you–?”

 

“Intend to do with you?” Fenrir cut across him, his smirk widening. “Whatever I want. I wondered how much you'd remember when you woke up at last. It's less than I'd thought.”

 

Harry stared at him for a moment, dumbfounded. Then he remembered. “You asked Him to give me to you,” he said, watching those eyes smoulder with a dark, heated emotion he had never seen before and couldn't indentify. “And he said yes?!”

 

“I didn’t ask him, boy, I told him,” Greyback replied gruffly, “The asking was a mere courtesy, I would have had you, permission or not. You're mine.” He punctuated his words by piercing the food in the pan over the fire with a long-pronged fork and shifted the sausages, bacon and two eggs over onto the plate that lay waiting near his feet. He must've been able to feel Harry watching that food, Harry thought. The smell of food had lulled his brain into sleepy longing but it was only a few moments later that he realised what the wolf had just said.

 

“Yours?” he demanded heatedly.

 

Those teeth were still exposed in a grin as the wolf picked up the plate and stood slowly. Harry hadn't realised just how huge the werewolf was before now. He was tall, head and shoulders above him and the broad muscles of his suntanned arms and chest were clearly visible as he stood there with only loose, grey trousers on that were hanging off his hips.

 

Harry swallowed nervously despite himself. He wasn't a coward, he wasn't afraid but he'd have to be a fool not to realise how intimidating Greyback was. He could rip his throat out with a single movement.

 

“Mine,” Greyback confirmed coming to stand over him, his icy eyes locked on his with ravenous heat. Harry could not help but shudder inwardly. “You forgot a lot of things about last night, boy. Lucky I took precautions and laid a mark on you that would remind you.” He dropped to his haunches before Harry then, still towering over him and set the plate heavy with food aside to run a finger over the angry pink scar that marked the boy's throat.

 

Sharp bursts of dizzying pleasure erupted from that place and spiralled through his body, shaking it with spasms of pleasure – the kind he had never even dreamed of. He couldn't help but give a throaty groan. Before the sounds had even died on his lips he grasped the fur covering him and shot backwards, as far into the firm bed of hay as he could go to escape Greyback. The wolf remained in a half-kneeling position, still seemingly amused by Harry's confusion.

 

“What did you do to me?!” Harry half-gasped, half-snarled, his fingers curling so tightly into the fur that his knuckles turned white. “What was that?!”

 

“That is a claiming mark, boy, my claiming mark telling the world that I have initiated courtship with you. That you're mine. That you'll be my mate soon enough and they're to keep their paws off of you." His voice was low and rumbling still, and honest, Harry could tell. He felt the colour drain from his own face. He still maintained Hermione was the best in their year, but he’d done well enough in Defence Against the Dark Arts to know what that meant. Especially on the topic of werewolves, thanks to Snape’s hatred of Remus…

 

Harry stared at him for a moment, teetering on panic. “I… You’re lying!” he growled and without a wand he threw his arm up, sending his fist flying for Greyback’s face. The wolf caught his wrist easily in a mighty grip. Harry snarled. Those icy eyes glazed over with pensiveness as lethal fangs greeted him with a smile broader than before.

 

A spiral of almost electric heat bolted from the place their skin touched to spread like wildfire through his body. He could not help but gasp at the unadulterated strength of it. Managing to turn the gasp into a hiss, however, he wrenched his arm back, cheeks suffused with colour at that all too personal heat that still rippled through him. But that smirk was still there. It made Harry grind his teeth furiously.

 

“I know you felt it, that undeniable heat when we touched? It’s friction, from two forces crashing together, like opposite ends of a magnet,” Greyback explained slowly. “We’re bound together now, a werewolf’s betrothal if you will…”

 

Harry swayed slightly, that rasping bark of a voice had become so…hypnotising with those most recent words. Or perhaps it was just the onset of starvation making him wobble.

 

Seeming to realise he had all of Harry’s attention now; Greyback released his grip on his arm, and pushed the plate of food towards Harry. “Eat your food, I’m not used to cooked meat but delicate little humans like you need it as I understand.” He watched as Harry considered it for a moment. Eventually, Harry pulled the plate towards him. His stomach grumbled treacherously.

 

“You think I don’t know what this is?” Harry accused.

 

“I hope so,” Greyback sneered, “even a muggle-raised simpleton knows food when he sees it surely?”

 

“It’s poison!”

 

“You’re far too useful to poison–”

 

“And why mark me anyway? Why me? Just for the hell of it? I’m hardly that desirable!” Harry snapped, disbelieving everything about this situation, it was a trick of Voldemort’s, a trap – it must be!

 

Greyback grunted in irritation then, reaching forward and catching his throat firmly in his grasp, holding but not throttling or squeezing. The coarse digits roughly stroked Harry’s throat and the forefinger caressed his chin, both while the thumb rubbed his collarbone thoughtfully. What is he doing? He frowned at the pleasantness of that hand around his vulnerable neck and glared even more virally at the wolf.

 

He was a tad different to how he had been last Harry saw him, freshly escaped from Azkaban and partly submerged in the shadows of the Astronomy Tower that night Dumbledore had died. The once matted hair and whiskers were tamed somewhat. His hair was still silver and long down past his shoulders but it was clean, and that wayward facial hair was trimmed neatly to his face. Despite his vastly improved appearance though, Harry was more disgusted than ever.

 

This beast, this murderer of the innocent – the werewolf who had turned Remus – had decided to ruin his, Harry’s life now as well? This thing was touching him, staring at him in a way so primal and sexual it made Harry’s stomach clench. And he’s done something to me – marked me so that my bloody body enjoys all of it, even if it makes me feel sick!

 

Wrenching his head to the side he struggled to escape that grasp, but Greyback’s grip held strong and the long nails, no claws at his throat and chin scraped warningly as they continued to caress his flesh. Flesh that tingled with treacherous pleasantness.

 

“That bite mark on your neck means you’re my pack now – it means I’m your alpha, and it will tell you to obey. You will try to resist but the part of me inside you that wants me will fight to make you listen. Strong-willed as you are, you may even be able to resist that nature’s urging, but you will not be able to lie to me, nor I you.”

 

The wolf pulled Harry up slightly so that his face was a few mere hairsbreadths from his own, his humid breath fogging up Harry’s glasses. “Look at me boy, you know I’m not lying, you can feel it in your bones. You’re mine. When I bit you, I woke a part of you that would have slept on without me, the lycanthrope recessive gene.”

 

It was true. Harry could feel it. He knew this was the truth the same way he’d known that the man and woman looking back at him in the Mirror of Erised, all those years ago were his mother and father. Harry’s eyes widened. “Lycan, as in–?”

 

“As in werewolf. As in it has been part of your bloodstream since birth and I smelt it in the copious amounts of blood painting the Dark Lord’s floor yesterday,” Greyback growled softly, his coarse fingers still petting his chin and throat mesmerizingly. “As soon as I smelt it I knew I had to have you. Such a rare treasure.”

 

Harry’s hands flew up to Greyback’s wrist, locking onto the meaty hand and scraping, tugging, clawing for freedom like a panicked animal. “And what the hell makes that so bloody appealing?”

 

Greyback leant in even closer, inhaling him deeply as if his bare flesh were emitting the finest perfume beneath the furs. “You can take more damage than a normal wizard, surely you noticed? Your core magic is temperamental but stronger. As one of the only humans with the recessive gene you’re the only one that can give me pure, live werewolf cubs. And powerful offspring at that if the magic strumming your veins like a flippin’ guitar is anything to go by.” He leant in even more and sniffed deeper. “Oh yeah, I can smell the power, the possibilities, the desire, the innocence. The perfect mate. I can’t wait to breed you.”

 

At first he was simply stunned, reeling from shock at that statement, at the unveiling of such shocking truths. Then fury and fear and fire all rose in Harry all at once. "I’m not some werewolf bitch you can control, instincts or no,” he snapped, glaring up at him vehemently. “I didn’t kneel to Voldemort and I won’t kneel to you.” He scoffed aloud, glowering darkly.

 

‘Breeding’? I’ll rip the thing out of me before I ever give birth to anything with any part of you in it. I’m a bloody man! Not a brood-mare or whatever the dog alternative is.” The sentence felt strange to his tongue, given that he had only just realised he had the ability to do such a thing but he had always been quick at adapting and he brushed the peculiarity aside. He could feel that Greyback wasn’t lying.

 

The smirk finally faded from that face and the werewolf stood slowly, towering over Harry. “You’ve got a nasty temper, boy,” he murmured, voice coarse and rasping. “You suit me perfectly.” With another unintelligible grunt he pushed the steaming food towards Harry a little more firmly. “I don’t eat this rubbish. Eat, there’s little enough of you as it is.”

 

Harry simply stared at the plate, his stomach groaning desperately at the sight and smell of it.

 

“I told you, you’re too useful to me to kill – and besides, poison is hardly my style,” Greyback flashed his white teeth before stomping back over to the fire and sitting down beside it, the firelight flickering, dancing across his features. Harry watched him tentatively, before pulling the plate towards him. He was too starving to care about pride and besides; he’d need his energy to escape…

 

 

A thick mist had rolled in and settled over the wilderness surrounding the barn as the night waned and dawn broke feebly on the horizon. Harry had laid down at some point in the fur and straw but had not slept a wink. He'd been waiting, watching and it seemed at last Greyback had dozed off beside the dead, still lightly smoking fire. He was breathing lightly and hadn't moved at all for some time. And he's not watching me, Harry thought as he sat up slowly. He had felt those icy eyes on him all night, devouring him and if it had finally stopped, it could only be because Greyback had fallen into slumber.

 

Thanks to all the practice sneaking around in his school days, he slid slowly, silently to his feet. His limbs shook weakly, still not completely recovered from his torture at Voldemort's hands but he did not so much as allow the fur or straw that had been his bed to stir a sound.

 

The tips of his toes carried him across the threshold of the barn and then over the grass away from the campsite the wolf had evidently made for them. Made for me, his mind corrected. Because he's initiated werewolf courtship with me, because he wants me as his mate. He remembered his lessons on werewolves well, had learned enough about their mating habits to know that the pursued would be able to sense the suitor's intentions and if they were dishonest. Greyback was a brute and a murderer, a foul beast but he hadn't lied.

 

He was what Greyback had said, a human with the lycanthrope recessive gene. Greyback wanted him because he was the wolf's only chance of having – Harry shuddered – live werewolf young. But he also knew that would mean any other unmated werewolf he came across would be after his arse. That was why Greyback had marked him, to warn off others. Marked me like his favourite tree he likes to piss up, he thought wretchedly, just as he reached the line of trees that formed the border of the forest surrounding them.

 

He didn't care if Greyback had essentially rescued him from Voldemort, he wasn't going to have his life decided for him, have every shred of pride and masculinity stripped away to fulfil Greyback's whims. Did that fool really think he was going to spread his legs and make nice little werewolf cubs with him? I'm not a fawning werewolf bitch who'll bend for him, he thought furiously. I'm not his and I will never let him take me!

 

Snap!

 

Harry froze. In his mental tirade he had slipped up, had laid a toe down just a fraction too hard and a twig had cracked underfoot. He inhaled deeply, holding his breath and listened. Greyback's sleeping breaths had halted. Harry swallowed hard. He ran. He bolted into the forest, careless of his nudity and weaved frantically between the trees, his heart hammering like a hummingbird's in his chest. He gasped for air as he flew, the undergrowth and hanging branches reaching out and snagging at his vulnerable flesh. The fog was thick. His sight only reached a few feet ahead but he couldn't stop. He couldn't let Greyback catch him.

 

Suddenly, a snarl ripped through the air somewhere to his left, his only warning before a huge silver beast burst through the veil of fog and slammed into him, pinning him hard to the ground. Harry grunted as the wind was knocked out of him. Two huge front paws rested on his shoulders while the creature's back legs straddled his own. He winced.

 

Greyback towered over him, and unlike a werewolf whose blood was tainted by wolf's bane, he was meatier, stronger and more wolf-like in appearance than werewolves like Remus, who clung to their humanity so hard it tainted their appearance. This could have easily been a normal wolf, only bigger, it's eyes piercing blue, it's fangs sharp and crisp white. It was more ferocious than anything Harry had ever seen.

 

“Let me go!” Harry gasped, but as he struggled the beast only pressed harder on his shoulders until he stilled again. Harry glared up at him. “I'll never be what you want! I'll never lay back and accept you or your plans for me! You can rape me and chase me but I'll never stop fighting you or fighting to escape and I'll never allow anything of yours to grow in my body!” His voice was shaking with breathlessness, fear and anger alike, but he didn't care.

 

At that moment, the wolf merged grotesquely back into the large man that had watched him from the fireside. He was naked and as strong as he'd been in wolf form, pinning him down to the unforgiving ground with powerful arms as he stared down at him. That silvery hair hung over those huge shoulders in a haphazard curtain and Harry winced inwardly at the thought that his limp prick was tightly sandwiched beneath the man's body.

 

Greyback growled deeply, warningly as he leant in, his face scant inches from Harry's. “You’re mine, so behave your dainty little self or I’ll offer you up to those who’d do worse than ‘rape’ you…”

 

He meant the remaining death eaters, Voldemort

 

“There’s nothing worse than being stuck with you,” Harry glared, spitting in the wolf’s face. A snarl broke through his bravado then, however. He was shaken like a rag doll before those talons unhooked from one shoulder. A large fist collided hard with his cheek, sending his head flying to the side. Blood drooled from his broken lip as he righted his dislodged spectacles.

 

“I’ve faced nastier, stronger brutes than you,” he growled to the misty forest, his face still throbbing with agony. “You act as if you’re doing me a favour in raping me? I remember you! You offered to kill Dumbledore in Malfoy’s stead! You only saved me from Voldemort to use me as some sort of...breeding entity. What if I don't bloody want to have children, much less carry them? For a werewolf no less? What if I don't fancy sleeping with a man? Especially one reputed to eat children? You'll probably eat your children even if you did have any!"

 

Suddenly, those two meaty arms slammed into the floor either side of him and that massive weight was on his chest. His body tensed in apprehension of the pain but he did not fear pain. He feared rape, loathed, dreaded the reactions that were drug out of him, but he was more than accustomed to pain, had been for some time…

 

“You bully people to get what you want, you threaten them, but I don’t care. If it's a choice between being your whore and His prisoner I'd choose him over you any day! So hand me back to him because I'll kill whatever spawn you put in me the second your back is turned!”

 

A sharp growl filled the forest now and Harry could not help but flinch as Greyback leant in, their noses almost touching. “I can smell the innocence on you, boy, you haven't killed so much as a gnat. There's no way in hell you'd kill your own child–”

 

“It'd live a life of murder and bloodshed and pain if it lived,” Harry hissed, “I call that a mercy killing.”

 

Just then, Greyback's hand shot down to his flat belly, pressing firmly, almost painfully there. “And I call that the sound of a jumped up bitch who needs to learn a bit more of their new world before they make such rash judgements. You wouldn't kill a child if it was sired by Grindelwald himself.” He leant back on his haunches, still pinning Harry to the floor with one hand on his wrists while the other ghosted over the large red mark that showed where he had struck Harry a moment ago.

 

“I don't think you realise exactly what this situation entails,” he growled huskily, his eyes surveying Harry's naked torso hungrily. “This isn’t about prisoners or rape or murder and even werewolves don't eat their young, shock you though that might.”

 

Harry merely glared up at him, obstinately silent as the wolf went on. “I’m pursuing you the traditional way, seducing you, winning you – others aren’t so…traditional. They’d take you, willing or not–”

 

“As if you care if I’m willing,” Harry spat, wincing when Greyback applied more pressure to his wrists to silence him. The other hand trailed down slowly as that gaze held his, the backs of those knuckles caressing the skin over Harry’s heart warningly. It hammered even more fiercely in his chest. He held his breath.

 

“You’re bare as the day you were born beneath me and I haven’t dispatched with your virginity yet have I?” Greyback growled impatiently. “I found you shelter. I healed your wounds. I filled the hole in your belly and you insult me by insinuating I don’t give a shit?”

 

“Please,” Harry snarled, “don’t make it sound like you’re the saint here. You marked me for your own ends. If I hadn’t been a…a recessive lycanthrope or whatever you’d have happily stood by and watched me bleed to death at Voldemort’s feet. You saved me because it suited you to. Yet you wonder why I’m hesitant in trusting you?”

 

Greyback leant back then, loosening his hold on Harry but not releasing him entirely. “You don’t have to trust me or want me, that’s what the courting period is for. You will trust me and want me, very much and by the time you bind yourself to me as my mate fully, it will be willingly. Be grateful, others might not consider your consent as something important.”

 

Harry snorted disbelievingly and turned his head to the side, refusing to allow the werewolf the satisfaction of meeting his gaze. Especially since the bite on his neck, the connection it forged created a knowledge in Harry that once again, Greyback was telling the truth.

 

“I’ll never willingly bind myself to a murderer or become something I’m not by getting pregnant – much less with a murderer’s children,” Harry assured him bluntly. “Even if you worship my backside for the rest of eternity it won’t change what you are. How many people have you killed?”

 

“A fair few,” Greyback answered in a ‘deal with it’ tone. He smirked. “You’re making this easier to take by painting your image of the blood-thirsty, cold-blooded monster I see,” he replied casually, amused.

 

“I don’t need to paint anything – even if you deny luring children into the woods and devouring them alive as the rumours say, you’ve still killed people – dozens, maybe hundreds!”

 

Greyback growled lowly. “You’re only just out of boyhood, don’t speak of things you don’t understand. That was war. There are always casualties… Men killed far more werewolves than I killed humans.” With that, he stood, releasing Harry and leaving him to flush awkwardly upon catching sight of him naked in all his glory. Harry scrambled to his feet, determinedly keeping his gaze averted. His cheeks burned.

 

“You’ll be waiting an eternity for me to be willing,” Harry swore, looking around then at the forest that was almost completely swallowed in thick, white furls of fog. He knew what Greyback had planned for him, what he intended and yet Harry still felt unbelievably overwhelmed by the unknown.

 

There was no way in hell the most wanted magical beast in the country was content to sit back and seduce him into compliance. There was more than that in store. He shivered slightly, covering himself awkwardly in realising he was naked in more than one way and facing an abyss of anonymous madness. At least he’d known what to expect from Voldemort.

 

 

~To Be Continued...