Chapter 7 - Becoming Remus, Again.
Lupin was furious, another wolf, another shape-shifter had surprised him as he enjoyed the warm meat of his fresh kill. He saw red as he began to circle the interloper, looking for an advantage. He caught a whiff of something human just to his right and in less than a blink was tearing and shredding the human robes.
"Great," Bella thought, "so much for Sister Bellanca, oh well, she was too good to last anyway."
Remus turned his attention back to Bella. She flattened her body on the ground and rolled onto her side, tilting her head back to expose her throat.
The werewolf's anger and aggressiveness washed away in an instant. He walked over to the passive bitch and lightly clamped his teeth around her windpipe.
"Mine!" he said with that simple gesture.
He sat back and she rolled over onto her stomach looking up at him.
"He does make a gorgeous specimen as a wolf."She thought. "But Sirius wanted me to help him, and I don't think he meant for me to keep Remus as a pet."
Lupin went back to the boar's carcass, tore off a tender chunk of liver, and brought it to Bella, placing it on the ground in front of her.
"How lovely," she thought, genuinely touched by his generous gift. In her present form she found the raw liver delicious. Together they ran through the forest nipping at the heels of unicorns and avoiding the territories of acromantulae and centaurs. Remus felt a joy he hadn't felt since his early days at Hogwarts, running with the marauders on nights when the moon was full.
Bellies full the two wolves curled around each other to settle in for a nice nap before morning.
When morning came Remus found himself being cuddled by cold naked flesh. Human flesh. His animal self wanted to run or attack, but his human intellect prevailed. He got up carefully, took a few steps back and began the slow, painful process of returning to his human form -especially difficult since he'd abandoned it three weeks before.
After an age he stood naked in the morning sun looking down at a pale, equally naked woman's body. At first he thought he had killed her in the night but then his wolf senses told him she was resting, not injured and certainly not dead.
He got down on his hands and knees and studied the pale woman.
Impossibly light skin, coal black hair so dark it seemed to absorb all light. Strong sharp nails, not claws but not the dainty, brittle things found on most human women. He took a deep breath and realized where he'd caught that scent before, years ago.
He should let the wolf take him again, kill the vampire before she had a chance to enthrall him, make him her slave.
But she could have done that last night. She could have stayed in her human vampire form and simply summoned him to be her slave and do her bidding. Instead she chose to be his companion, his bitch in the night.
She made a small mewing sound as a shaft of sunlight touched her alabaster skin. Remus gently lifted and carried her deeper into the thicket so that she could sleep comfortably. He made a bed of broad leaves and grasses and laid her still-curled form upon it. She looked like a sleeping cat, very contented. Then he went to find one or two of his caches.
When the marauders roamed these woods aquarter of a century ago they created little caches of food and clothing so that, should Remus wake and be alone, he could make himself presentable before returning to the castle.
"Thank the laughing god for preservation charms," he said as he pulled on the wizard's robe and cloak. He carried another set of clothing to make the vampiress more presentable when she woke at sunset. He returned to the thicket and was amazed to see her sitting cross-legged on the mattress of leaves and grass completely unconcerned by her lack of clothing.
He handed her the robe and cloak, which she took gratefully.
"I would transfigure these into something more, um, amenable if I had my-"
Remus handed her the wand he'd found among her shredded and bloodied clothing.
"Oh," she said, "thank you."
"You're quite welcome."
She cast the transfiguration spell making the formless robe and cloak into something breathtaking.
The school robes became an emerald green, low cut gown with a lace bodice, the cloak a matching green cape.
"Beautiful my lady Vampiress," Remus said with a slight bow.
"Very gallant my lord Were," she returned the bow with a formal curtsey, "may I ask why I'm still alive?"
"Because my lady, you did not seek to enslave me, knowing what I am and what I can be compelled to do by those of your kind."
"May I ask, milady, why I am being allowed my own mind, you must know that I would find comfort in oblivion."
"Because milord Remus, our mutual good friend Sirius has given me a commission, I am to take care of you."
"You knew Sirius" the werewolf asked, incredulously, "funny he didn't mention any vampire friends."
"We were very circumspect."
"The clothing you wore, are you really aDaughter of Vesta?"
"It was the best way I could think of to get into Hogwarts, the best way to get close to you."
Remus nodded, "would you like for me to leave your vestments where they can be found? It would appear that you were mauled by a large wolf."
"No, then they'd come looking for the werewolf that did it. Let's go back so I can just vanish the evidence."
As they neared the edge of the forest they heard voices. Hagrid was speaking.
"Never seen nuthin' like it. Her clothes were torn up and bloodied but it twas boar's blood, not human."
"Do you think she was kidnapped and someone wants us to think she's been killed?" McGonagall asked.
"Possible, I'd have to leave it up to the aurors to work tha one out."
"She's a very capable Daughter of Vesta; Ican't see her being taken easily." Minerva thought aloud.
"Aint no evidence of a human struggle here, an no human footprints or claw marks in the dirt or grass. No human blood here neither."
Remus looked to Bella for guidance. She shook her head and directed him to follow her back into the forest. When they were asafe distance away she said "better to let them think I was taken against my will, I'll contact a friend in London who can provide cover for us."
"Yes Remus, time for you to rejoin the living."
"Oh this is prime real estate miss," the smarmy realtor practically oozed, "practically inside the Hogsmeade city limits, twenty bedrooms all the amenities."
Pansy stopped him with a gesture, "Why don't we both just stop pretending that we don't know this was, until recently, abrothel and a meeting place for dark witches and wizards?
"We both know the only reason a house like this would have so many tiny bedrooms is that they were rented, along with their occupants, by the hour.
"I know that the family that owned this"estate" is in desperate need of cash. Here's my offer. You get the seller to cut the asking price in half and I'll increase your commission by half, bring it to below a third, which, to be honest, is a more realistic asking price then I'll double your commission. Please remind the buyers that we're talking cash here. The Americans have a wonderful saying. "Money talks, bullshit walks." I assure you I'm talking here."
Millicent walked around the property - thirty hectares, complete with stalls for horses from a bygone era. Along the ground floor on the side of the house facing the cobblestone Hogsmeade Road were a row of twelve carriage houses, each with a door leading into the parlor.
"Perfect," Pansy said as the realtor left to make a firecall, "Millie!"
"Did you get that auror, the one who helped us with Alison?"
"Yeah, she said she'd be here in about an hour."
"Good thing," Pansy said to no one in particular, "we're gonna need some backup."
"Who else?" Millicent asked.
"We need someone honest and half crazy."
"Oh, that's good," saying that Pansy started a fire in the kitchen hearth then threw in a handful of floo powder, "Xeno Lovegood's!"
Luna answered, "Oh hello Pansy, what do you want."
"Can you come through . . . please?" the dark haired girl asked.
Luna looked intrigued, shrugged and said she'd be just a moment.
Luna stepped through with the grace of a dancer; Neville Longbottom, however, fell to one knee but kept the sword point up, eyes wary.
Pansy sighed, "I solemnly swear that I mean no harm to anyone in this room on my magic and my life."
The brilliant blue aura that flared for amoment convinced Neville and Luna of Pansy's sincerity.
"I need a house and I can get this one cheap but it's got to be a cash sale," Pansy explained, "I'm buying from a pretty shady family. . ."
Neville snorted, then looked abashed as Pansy continued.
". . . so I wanted another couple of wands here in case the seller decides to get greedy."
"Why do you need a house, Parkinson?"
"Because my family's home and all their holdings were confiscated, Longbottom, I am in fact, homeless at this time."
"Why do you need such a big place?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." She looked up at him and asked straight out, "will you help me here or not?"
"Well, since you asked so nicely. . ."
"Were going to set up here, in the parlor,"Millicent interjected, "we'll need a table and chairs for everyone.
"Not everyone," Neville said, "I'll be over here." As he said this he stood by the wall nearest the sideboard and disillusioned himself.
"Nice one, Neville!" Millicent said, obviously impressed by the display of wandless magic.
Neville faded into view, smiling. "Thanks Millicent."
"There's definitely more to you than meets the eye, Long, um, Neville." Pansy observed.
"Oh yes, he's quite talented!" Luna said, making Neville blush a deep crimson.
Pansy raised an eyebrow and wondered if the blonde Ravenclaw shared. . .
The fireplace flared to life and the auror from Knockturn Alley stepped through.
"Thank you for coming, officer, um," Pansy stammered; having just realized she didn't know the woman's name.
"Webber, Miss Parkinson, Margaret Webber." The auror looked around and nodded approvingly. "Good choice, no dark corners or corridors, and I see you have some backup, how have you been Neville?"
"Fine Maggie, it's great to see you again!"
"Maggie?" Pansy asked, raising the other eyebrow.
"Yes, Maggie, I mean, Auror Webber is an old friend of the family, a distant cousin actually. She's been tutoring me on auror studies so I can apply for the Academy next spring."
The auror smiled and looked sideways at the other girls in the room. "He's so cute. Neville is worried that he won't be accepted into the program. After all he did on the castle grounds, defying Riddle to his face, pulling the sword out of that old hat and chopping off the bloody great snake's head he's actually worried."
Neville and the girls heard the realtor and the seller talking in the next room.
Maggie winked and said, "Ready Neville?"
"Born ready, Maggie."
And both mages faded from view. Only their outlines betrayed their movement as they moved to the wall. When they were motionless they were virtually invisible.
The realtor entered along with Carraticus Crabbe, the late Vincent Crabbe's grandfather. He didn't bother with any greetings.
"Ya bring the money?" he demanded.
Pansy didn't respond to the bad manners, she just nodded. "I have two thousand Galleons, and the rest can be drawn with acashier's check from any Gringott's location."
"That'll have ta do," he said, then shouted"BOYS!"
Two men who looked quite a lot like younger versions of the elder Crabbe apparated in, they, along with the old man and the realtor leveled their wands at the three girls in the room.
"Give over the money now and we might let you live after!" the old man sneered.
"After what?" Pansy asked, calmly.
"After we fuck your brains out you stupid little bint, what else are the three of you good for."
The disembodied voice of Auror Webber answered, "Oh I'd say they're good for fifteen to twenty years each, stupefy!"
Two jets of red light took out the Crabbe brothers. Millicent, true to form cold cocked the realtor with a combination one-two punch. The elder Crabbe dropped his wand and raised his hands.
Neville and Maggie faded into view.
"Yew gonna' arrest me?"
"Nah, then the ministry would just confiscate all your properties." Maggie said with a feral smile.
"Whot you want then?"
"I propose you sell this property to the young lady as arranged, with one slight adjustment, you sign over ownership for the price of the down-payment."
"That's robbery that is!"
Millicent stood over the old man cracking her knuckles dangerously, "What do you think you call what you were goin' ta do to us?"
"Fifty-eight," Auror Webber said.
"You now have fifty-eight minutes to get out of the U.K. before I arrest you and confiscate all your holdings, oops, now you have fifty-seven."
"An if I refuse t' sign?"
"Then the count goes from minutes to seconds."
"Where do I sign?" the old man said.
"Right here," Pansy handed him the blood quill, "and any attempt to vary the deal, or curse the residence will result in you loosing your magic to the last generation of Crabbes."
The old man glared at her.
"You see, you old goat, I knew your worthless grandson and he used to brag about how you treated your business partners."
"You little. . ."
"Shut up you old fart, and sign."
Crabbe senior signed his properties away and disapparated with a loud "crack!"
Pansy was thrilled; she looked at the bill of sale in utter disbelief. "Auror Webber, I could kiss you!"
"Um, I don't exactly swing that way, tell you what, give my cousin here a smooch and we'll call it even!"
Neville was tackled and kissed thoroughly by Pansy and Millicent, who, wonder of wonders, was one terrific kisser!
Luna helped him stand and stood in front of him so it wouldn't be too evident how much the Slytherin girls got his attention.
"Thank you for making Neville ready for me, ladies, I'm going to take him home now and give him some relief."
They disappeared with a double "pop!"
Auror Webber looked at the three men on the parlor floor and sighed, "Do you two have any idea how much paperwork you're having me do here?"
The MDLE officer smiled and said, "No worries, I'm up for promotion soon and this'll look good on my record."
She placed a small round disk on each of the unconscious men and counted down "three, two, one and now!"
The portkeys activated removing any trace that the felons had been there to begin with.
"I want you to know that I think it's brilliant, what you two are trying to do here." Maggie said, "Remember to call me first if you need anything, okay?"
"Thank you, Maggie, thank you for everything."
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