Bella and Remus patrol the Parkinson House and establish their relationship, for now. The Sons of the Serpent establish their hierarchy.
Pansy led Remus and Bella in their guises as Brother David and Sister Bellanca into her room. She didn’t close the door because she wanted her children to know she wasn’t hiding anything from them, but she needed some adult advice.
“I think this new sect, the “Sons of the Serpent” is trying to recruit us, or neutralize us; whichever is easiest for them.”
Bella had heard of them. In her bi-weekly visits to London’s Sanguinaria she had heard more and more mention of them. They were blanketing the magical community with leaflets deploring the current state of wizarding Britain and calling for a return to the “good old ways.”
Pure blood pap if she’d ever heard it – and she had. As a young adult she’d actually bought into it. She could see a kindred spirit in Pansy, who had also been a child of the pureblood elite.
Pureblood, halfblood, muggleblood. None of that mattered to Bella, by now she’d had all of them and they all tasted the same. As long as she got her twice-weekly requirement she was sanguine about the source.
“I’m trying not to panic the sprogs, but I am worried. We’ve warded the house and extended the detection wards to well beyond the chicken farm, but I don’t want to build a fence around the property – I don’t want the kids thinking we’re caging them in.”
Remus and Bella shared a look that Pansy almost missed – like the silent communication between two bonded mates.
“We can defend the house and grounds,” Sister Bellanca offered. “We can even divide the watch between us.”
“The good sister is something of an insomniac,” Brother David said by way of an explanation, “she can watch by night and I can take over during the day.
Pansy nodded. She knew that Druids and Daughters of Vesta were peaceful by nature but could be called upon to fight if necessary.
The druid held up three fingers, then raised his eyebrows.
The vestal virgin half smiled and nodded her agreement.
“What is it Brother David?” Pansy asked.
“The Law of Three.” Bellanca said after a few moments.
“What you wish for me and mine comes back three times for thee and thine.” Pansy recited, “Isn’t that just a, um, I don’t know, a cliché?”
“Not when it’s tied to blood wards around your property.”
Pansy’s grin was practically predatory. She bared both her arms and asked, “How much do you need?”
“To be effective we’d need a drop from everyone who calls Parkinson House home.”
“When do we start?”
Theo Nott entered the master bedroom of his grand mum’s London apartment and saw a very curvaceous, dark beauty in his bed. She’d kicked her shoes off and was sitting against the headboard reading a book with her knees drawn up giving him a nice view of white panties under an impossibly short skirt. The book wasn’t big enough to hide unbelievably huge boobs.
Theo’s mouth started to water and his trousers were becoming too tight.
“I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure.” Nott said trying to sound smooth but coming off Leisure Suit Larry smarmy.
“And you won’t, you wanker, unless you swing my way.” The distinctively male voice of Blaise Zabini answered. He lowered the book, “Soul Majiks Most Darke” with a smirk.
“Merlin’s Balls Zabini, what the fuck are you playing at!” The dark lord wannabee screamed. “An where the fuck did you get those?” he insisted, pointing at Blaise’s boobs.
He shrugged and said, “From a mutual friend of ours. Look we need to talk; who’s here?”
“You and me, Avery, Goyle was here but I haven’t seen him in a week.”
“You won’t see him; he’s shacked up with Parkinson and her cow of a slag girlfriend.”
“He’s doin’ Parkinson? Whot’s he got that I ain’t?”
“I don’t know that he’s doing Parkinson, but I’m pretty sure he’s in tight with Bulstrode.”
“Oh man, I hope she’s on the potion. The babies would be bloody huge!”
“Whatever,” Zabini didn’t need the mental picture of those two behemoths “doin’ it.”
“Just you me and Avery then.”
“You gonna change back anytime soon?”
“I dunno, maybe I want to get in touch with my feminine side, why?”
“Maybe you could put on a robe or something?”
“Making you uncomfortable, am I, Nott?”
He blushed and nodded.
The setting sun was just above tree top level when Bella led Remus and Odin back into the forest. Alison had been watching little Odin and was curious – had she seen what she thought she had seen the evening before?
She put on her wellies and tromped out to the feed barn – it was her week to feed the chickens. She took the pail and filled it with feed and then kalumped around to the troughs as hungry chickens followed behind hoping for spillage. Some kids were clumsier than others.
After the last trough was filled Alison put away the bucket and walked to the edge of the forest.
“Can’t go inta the forest, gotta have three.” She reminded herself. Then she remembered, “They’s already three in there!”
With that unassailable bit of logic she followed the tracks into the woods.
She saw the three wolves again, playing in the same clearing as the evening before. The littlest wolf was rolling around on the ground with the big grey. Alison couldn’t suppress her gleeful laugh.
She stopped as all three wolves suddenly sprang to their feet and looked in her direction, hackles raised, growling menacingly. Alison was transfixed by sheer panic – she didn’t know whether to run or try to scramble up a tree. Only problem was she couldn’t move, frozen in fear. A warm yellow stream coursed down her left leg and pooled in her rubber Wellington.
The three wolves padded slowly in Alison’s direction, stopped, then sniffed the air.
“Don’t see me, don’t see me, oh God please don’t let them see me!”
The cub wasn’t cute anymore, he was terrifying, and he was nothing compared to the grey wolf all teeth and anger.
Then an amazing thing happened, the white wolf morphed into the shape of a beautiful woman with flowing dark hair. The woman placed a hand each on the two remaining wolves and said.
“Don’t be afraid, Alison, they won’t hurt you – you just frightened them.”
The relief that poured through the little girl was so profound that she hiccoughed and began to cry.
Bella pulled her robe from the low tree branch where she’d stowed it before, along with her wand. She clasped the garment in place with the broach at her shoulder and knelt down to comfort the panic stricken Alison.
“Mama Pansy told you not to go off on your own.”
“I wasn’t on my own, I was with you and then you, you, you’re all werewolves!” Panic began to rear its ugly head again.
“Listen Alison, listen!” Bella waited until she was sure she had the girl’s undivided attention. “Have you ever heard of a werewolf changing on any night but a full moon?”
She shook her head, looking dubious.
“You see the moon?”
Alison looked up and saw the moon in its waning phase, well past full.
“So, if you’re not were-werewolves,” she stuttered, “what?”
“Do you know what an animagus is, dear?”
She shook her head.
“An animagus can choose when to become a special animal.”
Alison’s eyes grew wide, “Then you ‘ent werewolves!”
“We’re wolves when we choose to be, but that doesn’t mean we’re not dangerous. Here, let me introduce you.”
Bella looked into Remus’s amber eyes and said, “This is Allison, she is of the pack, and the pack cares for its own.”
The large wolf shook himself and lowered his hackles. Bella said the same thing to the cub Odin.
“Let them sniff you dear.”
Alison’s eyes grew wide as she realized how large the wolves really were. Standing on all fours the grey wolf came up to her shoulders, and the cub was as tall as her waist.
Remus got down on his belly and scooted close enough for Alison to touch him. Seeing the alpha male’s behavior, Odin followed suit.
Bella unobtrusively as possible performed a cleaning charm on Alison, removing the evidence of her “little accident.”
“Turn around, dear.”
Bella helped Remus and Odin back into their human forms, then handed each his druid’s robes.
“Okay Alison, you can turn back now.”
Alison was so relieved to see “Brother David” and Odin that she hugged them both. Then she and the little boy ran back to the manor.
“I’m glad you were here, my lady vampire.” Remus said, I shudder to think of what would have happened if you hadn’t been.”
“It was you who accepted Alison as part of the pack, I only suggested it.”
“I think we need to get all the sprogs acclimated to our inner wolves, don’t you think?”
“An excellent idea, my lord werewolf.”
Just after sunrise a lone figure entered Parkinson House laden with gifts looking like an underfed Father Christmas. Harry was delighted to see Sister Bellanca again and hugged her.
“Sister, please, come sit by the fire. You’re frozen stiff.”
“Thank you Harry, I did just come in from the cold.”
“Sister Bellanca has been patrolling all night,” Brother David explained, “I was just going to put her to bed.”
This caused several eyebrows to rise.
“To sleep I mean, you understand, right?” he asked feebly.
“Um, sure,” Harry said, “of course.”
The good sister stood tall and faced all the adults in the room.
“I am a Daughter of Vesta, but I am also a woman. I have sworn myself to celibacy, true,” she captured Remus with her gaze, “but I can love.
“There is a deeper bond than even sex, and the good Brother and I share this bond.”
“Brother David” stood by the Daughter of Vesta, “what do you know of Vestal Virgins, Harry?”
“Um, their pious, they keep the fires going, they’re, um, celibate.” Harry offered.
“And they serve the Goddess Vesta for three decades, after which time they are free to leave the order.” Remus explained, while looking Bella in the eye.
“I think when that happens I will be ready for the next step.”
Bella smiled, “Imbolic will mark the end of my service to Vesta. Will you be ready by then?”
Bearded as he was you could see the warm smile on Remus’s face. “I think I will be, my, um Sister Bellanca.”
Everyone in the room exchanged looks as if to say, “Did we just witness a bonding pledge?”
“And Druids, as you know, are anything but celibate.”
Nott and Avery sat at a small table with Zabini, who was wearing a charm on a velvet choker that raised his voice an octave. Avery couldn’t keep his eyes off the enormous breasts across the table from him. Blaise had a book open on the seat of a chair that Nott had pulled up for him.
“Billy. . . Billy!” Theo nearly shouted.
“What?” he sounded annoyed because he was being distracted from his distractions.
“We need to stay focused here.”
“Yeah,” Billy thought, looking back at Blaise’s boobs, “focused.”
“D’you think you can get into and out of Crabb’s old place without being caught?”
Billy shrugged, “Probably. What is it I’m looking for again?
“The key, Billy, remember? The key to the weapon’s storehouse here in London.”
Billy Avery looked back at Blaise and seemed puzzled. “Are you sure I don’t know you from somewhere, darlin’? You look awful bloody familiar.”
Blaise leaned forward on the small table; his large fleshy globes resting on the tabletop close enough to Avery to touch.
Billy Avery leaned forward.
“My eyes are up here, Billy.”
He looked up.
The knife was so sharp and the movements so quick that Billy didn’t even feel the steel severing his carotid arteries along with his throat.
He looked puzzled for a moment, tried to speak and only gurgled.
Blaise held the bloody stiletto up so that it was the last thing that Billy saw in this life. He pitched forward, his face landing in the soft, warm globes he’d been admiring all through dinner. Blaise pressed Billy’s lifeless face into his breasts and kissed the top of his head.
He checked the text once more before intoning “servo is meus animus, servo is meus animus, servo is meus animus.”
The knife glowed a deep, blood red for a moment then faded to grey.
Theodore Nott the Third knew what Zabini had done. He’d been studying the spell for weeks, just waiting for the right victim to fall into his hands. Zabini had done it, he’d completed the ritual. He’d split his soul, making the murder weapon a soul vessel. A horcrux.
Nott was about to scream at the transsexual transvestite but was shocked into silence by two things. One, the cold, calculating, almost bloodless way in which he had killed their schoolmate and two, the physical changes in Zabini. He was paler, more gaunt. And the pupils of his eyes glowed with a slight red tint.
Nott was not as stupid as he sometimes let on. “No Blaise, no problems at all.”
“Good, I’m a little drained for some reason, be a good boy and clean this mess up?”
Nott just nodded.
He knew without a doubt that the focus of power had shifted, he’d just become irrelevant. He needed to ingratiate himself to Blaise or he’d wind up just like Billy.
The king is dead, long live the queen.