It was after the evening meal and Heero was bored. He'd wanted to see Wufei
but he had tons of homework so he had to cancel... only to discover that they
had worked so much to have a legitimate excuse to be together that he'd finished
in a third of the time he thought he'd need. In result, he was now with nothing
to do and his boyfriend was probably off doing something else...
The Slytherin common room was dank and dark as always when Heero walked out of his dorm room. The few candles barely illuminated the room-but enough to see a small group clustered around a guy in a corner. He was obviously gloating about something, and Heero paused in the shadows, to assess the situation and gather as much information as possible.
Avery's voice rose a little over the crowd to make sure that other people would hear. "Well, I'm not saying that it was a prank worthy of a Malfoy-- But Chang has to be one of the hardest people to fool in this school..." he bragged, giving said Malfoy --sitting in another corner with his own court-- a smug look.
Heero froze. ... Chang? Which Chang? Cho, Meiran.. or his Wufei? Meiran wasn't that hard to fool as an average, but anything bearing the seal of Slytherin would have her go stiff with suspicion... No one wanted to play pranks on Cho; she was sexy and friendly...
That meant HIS Chang. But why did Avery resent him so damn much? He already picked on him during classes...
"How'd you do it anyway? I mean, everyone knows that going in the Forbidden Forest is like instant expulsion ... if you're not killed."
... Forbidden Forest?
Avery answered in a smug and oily voice. "It was almost ridiculously easy ... I've been watching him a while--he's had this coming for a while. And I knew that it was useless trying to get him to do something like this-- Ravenclaws are almost as bad as Gryffindors at breaking rules." There, the bastard laughed. "Then Yuy managed to make friends with him."
Heero stiffened up. He had dared to use him to trick Wufei into doing something so stupid and dangerous?
"Dunno how he managed it, but he got Chang used to it, so when he got my note--"
An awed first year gaped at him. "So he's going to the Forbidden Forest?"
"He's there now. I saw him head that way myself," the bastard snickered.
From his corner, Draco Malfoy snorted disdainfully and gave him a superior smirk. "Friends? You're blind, Avery. I happen to have a very good idea of why he trusted Yuy's word so easily."
Heero was seeing red.
Avery glared, annoyed at being snubbed. "Well, if you're so smart, why don't you tell us?"
"If he's smart he'll keep his mouth shut," Heero stated as he walked out of the shadows.
As Avery turned to face him, Heero smiled at him urbanely, and then kneed him in the crotch hard. The other teen gulped for air and collapsed.
"Why use a spell when a minimal physical exertion can do it for you, right?" he commented. He was seething, but managed to control it to look calm and unruffled. He couldn't look weak or overly concerned now. "You are going to ruin what I've worked for so long, Avery. I hope your pitiful attempt at a prank was worth what I'll do to you."
"Right," Malfoy commented, smirking. "I'd start packing Yuy--if Chang is still able to speak when he's found he'll tell them that it was your note which sent him into the forest." The white-blond Slytherin got up gracefully and glided off to gloat, well satisfied.
Heero gave Malfoy a warning glare --that the other teenager ignored-- then kicked Avery in the stomach, watching him vomit on the floor with disinterest. "You aren't even worth a spell."
The other students decided that the show was over and went back either to homework or to gossiping -- pardon, assessing the shifts in power.
Heero walked out of the common room calmly, then as soon as he was sure that no one could see him, began to run like hell. Wufei may be in danger! Why didn't he realize that Heero wasn't stupid enough to propose this?!
'... oh, wait. Because we're running out of places to meet where we won't risk an interruption by Snape or Filch.'
The halls were nearly empty after the evening meal, and he only had to avoid a few prefects and a Quidditch team coming back from practice. He managed to get out of the castle, using a secret passage that was only secret for the staff and the first year-- it was already night outside so the castle would be closing its doors soon and he didn't want people to go after him.
A lone Gryffindor girl was coming towards the castle from the Quidditch fields, carrying her broom disconsolately. Heero swore and looked around for a place to hide, but there wasn't any. And where was Wufei supposed to be? He'd never have the time to run the entire length of the edge of the forest...
"What are you doing?" the girl asked, waving her broom at Heero. "You shouldn't be outside the castle at this time--"
He stared at her for a second, recognizing Meiran with surprise. But he didn't have time to chat with her, and she was still waving her broom under his nose-- wait. "Good idea, thank you!!" he exclaimed as he grabbed the broom.
Tearing it out of her hand easily, the Slytherin jumped on it and kicked off the ground, dashing away.
"Come back here! I'm telling McGonagall on you!" she yelled, but he wouldn't have listened even if he still had been close enough.
Heero arrived to the north edge of the Forest and slowed down. He looked through the trees, flying low-- weirdly, there was a lot of light, so he could see fairly well, but it was in his favor so he didn't question it.
There was a thin tendril of smoke drifting up through the trees--but that was well inside the forest. Heero's eyes narrowed. He couldn't see Wufei anywhere. He wondered what the smoke was about, but that may have been Hagrid doing something weird again.
... though he had the most awful feeling of foreboding...
A howl echoed through the forest. Heero froze and stopped the broom, shivering all over--he'd just realized that he could see so well because the moon was full.
He zipped through the top of the highest trees toward the smoke, as fast as he could push the broom.
Wufei was kneeling in the middle of a ring of magical fire, in a clearing--his clothes were torn and blackened with soot. He was pale from the effort of keeping the flames both up and far enough away that he didn't get burnt... but any time his focus wavered the thing in the shadows came a bit closer.
"WUFEI!!!" the Slytherin screamed, plunging toward the ground. At the last second, he straightened the broom and stopped, scraping the grass slightly.
Incredulous, Wufei took a second to react.
Wufei threw his arms around Heero's waist. The flames fell as he lost his concentration, and the thing lurking in the shadows growled and raced towards them. Heero had to whip his wand out and cast a fireball at the beast jumping at them, unbalancing the broom. Wufei managed to angle it up, reaching around the other teenager's body, aiming for above tree level. The beast yelped and fell back just as they shot upwards, and its howls of rage followed them out of the forest. As he helped Wufei steer the broom, Heero couldn't help but feel grateful that Meiran had such good quality gear. The sound the beast made still gave him shivers.
Wufei leaned against Heero's back, completely exhausted. His hands, looped around Heero's waist, were burnt, but he didn't notice.
Heero landed them close to the castle, in a patch of light. Wufei stumbled, falling as the broom landed. His boyfriend jumped off the broom and knelt at Wufei's side. His eyes widened even more when he noticed his shaking.
"Wufei! Oh, gods, are you okay?" he asked, caressing his hair with a trembling hand.
"I think so," the black-haired teen managed to answer. His voice was raspy from the smoke he had inhaled.
Heero pulled him into a tight embrace. "Oh gods..."
"I think I sprained my ankle running--I can't stand," Wufei commended dazedly.
"I'm going to KILL Avery," Heero growled back, venom in his voice.
"The fucktard thought it would be funny to send you a note in my name," he snarled. No, no, it wasn't the time to let his vengeful side take control, he reminded himself firmly. He had to take care of Wufei. "...Come on, we need to get you to the infirmary."
The Ravenclaw stared at his boyfriend, unmoving.
"You mean the entire time I was out there almost getting killed you were here?!"
Heero gave him a wounded look. "I didn't know, ok?"
"The only reason I went into the forest was that I thought you were in danger--I can get to the infirmary myself," he said with irritation as he tried to get up without his help.
"... Let me help you..." the Slytherin pleaded as he reached out toward him.
Wufei put his hand out to Heero, resigned, and let the boy help him up. He was grateful for the arm Heero pulled around his own shoulders to keep him on his feet. He was limping badly on one foot--and his other was dragging badly.
"Maybe the broom--"
"... You think you can ride?" he asked dubiously. The Ravenclaw nodded, so Heero reached for the broom, ordering it up firmly.
Shakily, Wufei sat on the broom, pulling back his sleeves to hold it properly. Heero saw the state of Wufei's hands and gasped. They were burned all over! He grabbed a wrist to look at his palm better, too startled to care that he was making his boyfriend wince.
"... What happened to your hands?" he demanded, hissing in sympathy.
"I ... It was getting harder to keep the fire going--" Wufei muttered. Now that he was thinking about them, they were starting to hurt. "I didn't even notice--I was more worried about my ankle. And I lost my other sneaker."
"What happened to your ankle?" Heero asked, and then sighed. "Come on, I'm carrying you."
"Whatever happened, I'm not letting you make it worse. And you can't hold on to the broom with your hands."
The Ravenclaw supposed that there was no alternative. When Heero reached out hesitantly, he put his arm over his shoulders. He hissed as the Slytherin brushed a previously undiscovered injury while picking him up. Heero shifted him worriedly, then kicked the broom in a bush and left for the infirmary. The black-haired student leaned against him, shutting his eyes-- this had all been too long and intense --
Soon, they were at the infirmary, and Heero was kicking the doors open.
The witch turned toward them, voice stern. "There are people trying to sleep--oh my--over here, quickly."
Heero hurried to the bed she was pointing at and put him down very carefully.
"What happened?" she asked, already looking the injured teenager over.
"... I don't know, I-- there was a fire-- and some beast... Wufei?" He nudged him when he didn't answer. "Wufei, where are you hurt?" he asked again, and turned to Pomfrey. "He says his ankle hurts, and his hands are burned, and he jumped when I touched his back..."
Wufei finally managed to answer. "My hands and my ankle--I fell a couple of times."
"What were you doing?" she asked, sounding mildly irritated.
"Don't you think that you should treat him first?" the Slytherin asked, not feeling up to answering that just now.
"We have to get him out of his cloak first--that might help us ascertain his injuries," she commented as she set down bottles and jars. "You--Heero Yuy? You can help me."
Heero nodded and undid the cloak's clasp, caressing Wufei's hair discretely as he removed it. Wufei let him, unmoving --it was something of a relief to have people taking care of him. The cloak was obviously unsalvageable. It was torn in places and burnt rather badly, and the clothes underneath weren't in a much better state, but they had managed to protect Wufei from most things--all the scratches and burns were on his hands and the places where the cloak was torn.
Heero helped Wufei out of the uniform carefully, trying not to get in the way of the nurse who was already putting salve on his hands. Wufei's legs were the most concern though--one leg of his trousers was thick with blood and stuck fast to his skin and Heero wasn't sure how to remove that.
"Don't touch that--if it's dried you may open the wound again," Pomfrey ordered calmly. She tapped it with her wand and the cloth dissolved into nothing. Heero wondered when he'd get to learn this spell. It would be damn useful.
"I want you to--very gently mind you-- wipe the blood away, so we can see exactly where he is hurt," she said as she gave Heero a cloth and a basin. "How are you feeling? Not going to pass out?" she asked Wufei.
He shook his head. "I'm okay," he assured her. He was looking a little ill though.
Heero was cleaning the blood away as softly as a caress. There was a lot of it, and he was worried. He grew even more worried as Wufei leaned into him, resting his forehead on his shoulder. It wasn't like him to do that in front of someone else.
Having finished applying ointment to the burns, Madam Pomfrey put a bandage over them. "That salve should have your hands healed by tomorrow--the bandage is just to make sure you don't aggravate them while you sleep," she explained as she turned to the leg, greatly concerned by the extent of the injury.
By now, the Slytherin was patting dry what looked like a series of holes. She drew in a sharp intake of breath that made both students look at her.
"Yuy, I think I better handle this. But bring me the book on that shelf there--the brown one." The nurse put her hand on Wufei's shoulder and pushed him back against the pillow. "Just lie back--you've lost a lot of blood, you'll want to rest as much as possible."
Heero frowned and nodded, obeying quickly. He wanted to be as close to Wufei as possible.
When he turned back to them and had his first look of the scene from a distance, Heero was struck by how pale Wufei was, and how his skin was glistening with sweat. He was going to KILL Avery.
Pomfrey took the book and flipped through it to a page labeled 'Magical Beasts: Their Bites and the Treatment Thereof'. "Where was he?" she asked as she read through the volume.
Heero winced. "... The Forbidden Forest," he admitted in a whisper. There wasn't a choice if he wanted Wufei to be treated right.
"Naturally," she responded, pursing her lips.
"It wasn't his fault! Someone played a stupid... prank on him!" he protested, but she wasn't listening anymore.
"We can deal with that later--this is a bit more serious that a punishment for being out of bounds."
".. More serious?"
She paid him no mind. "Yuy, could you take this note-- "Heero's eyes turned to the bedside table where one was writing itself and folding itself neatly, "to Dumbledore, Snape--and I suppose we'll need to inform his Head of House as well. Ravenclaw right?"
"That's Professor Flitwick," Heero nodded as he took the note, his brain running at full speed to understand how exactly it could be serious enough that a punishment forgoing to the Forbidden Forest would be irrelevant.
Softly, Wufei whispered, "Is Heero going to be in trouble?"
"Of course not, pet," she answered absently, looking his wounds over once again. "Now drink the potion beside you."
Heero gave Wufei's wound a worried look. What the hell was this about?
"I thought I told you to go?" Pomfrey reminded him in a stern voice. "Be quick, please."
He sighed and gave Wufei a tender look before leaving.
When the door closed after him, Wufei sipped the potion obediently, and found himself asleep before he'd even realized that it was a sleeping potion.
*Slytherin Dungeon--Snape's rooms*
Professor Snape was marking student's essays--he was on the Gryffindor side of the class and there were a lot of very sarcastic comments being made, so he was in one of his better moods-- when one of his students, fifth year Heero Yuy barged in, out of breath. He looked up, annoyed.
"Yuy? What is the meaning of this--"
"Professor!" the boy exclaimed unnecessarily as he reached out to give him a note, panting. "Madam Pomfrey needs you..."
Snape opened it and went immediately from annoyed to grim. "I see. Have you already been to Dumbledore?"
"Not yet, sir," he answered, trying not to panic, "I figured Madam Pomfrey needed you first." He hadn't realized right away that calling for Snape proved that it was very serious. He desperately wanted to ask, but the way his Head of House was muttering uncomplimentary things under his breath--
"No time for an owl--" he heard Snape mutter, and that was enough prompting.
"... sir-- what's so wrong that she can't deal with it alone?" he asked, keeping his voice low for fear of ending up pleading.
"Let me think," Snape cut him off. "In the meantime, pick up that trunk there--the small one."
There was no discussing with that tone of voice, so he went to fetch the trunk, still thinking well enough to do it carefully. He wouldn't get answers.
His teacher was pulling books off a shelf, still muttering to himself. "Luckily I was prepared for this and kept all the ingredients together ... "He dropped the books into the bag and tapped the trunk to make it float, then threw a look at his student. "Fetch Dumbledore," he ordered, giving Heero the note back, still open. "Tell him to hurry."
He set off towards the infirmary with all his gear, and then paused. "Yuy, when you've told Dumbledore come back here. I'll want a medium sized cauldron, 3 small vials, a testube and a--do you know what a syringe is?"
"Yes, sir. I'll remember," he answered dutifully, and ran off to find Dumbledore. Snape continued to the infirmary, his black robes billowing after him in his haste.
On the way to Dumbledore's office, Heero decided to glance at the note-- it couldn't hurt really, he wanted answers and it was open already, and the reaction of his head of House had scared him.
Pupil found in forest with what is almost certainly a lycanthrope bite.
Ravenclaw, Chang Wufei. Please come to the infirmary as quickly as possible.
The Slytherin stumbled. The beast had been a werewolf?!
An old but strong hand landed on his shoulder, keeping him up. "You should watch your feet, my boy," Dumbledore smiled down at him.
Heero looked up, eyes wide. "... p-professor..." he stammered as he gave him the note. His hands were shaking.
The twinkle in Dumbledore's eye disappeared as he read it. "I'll go immediately. You have told professor Snape?"
Heero nodded dutifully. "Yes sir. He asked me to fetch things for him--then I am to get Professor Flitwick."
"Good," the wizard nodded, patting his shoulder soothingly. "Carry on."
As if that had been a signal, Heero dashed off toward to the dungeons. Refusing to think just yet, he spent his brainpower remembering and gathering everything Snape had asked for, then ran out again. He crossed paths with a few of his housemates, but didn't stop to even glance at them.
On the way to the Ravenclaw tower, he ran into the Head Girl, and before she could launch into a sermon about the rules, asked her to go fetch Professor Flitwick. His tone must have been urgent enough, because she didn't protest.
When he arrived at the Infirmary, Snape was waiting by the door. "There you are," he commented as he took the cauldron and the other things quickly, sweeping back inside the infirmary.
Heero stepped forward as if to follow him, and his teacher eyed him coldly. "What do you think you're doing?"
"I want to see Wufei, sir," he answered, glaring back. He didn't want him to notice that at this moment he could very easily cry.
"I'm afraid that's completely out of the question," the teacher answered. "Besides which," he added in a strangely sympathetic voice, "he's sleeping now."
Heero clenched his fists hard and lowered his head, forcing himself to ask the desperate question that had plagued him since he had read the note.
"... you can help, right, sir? It's not too late--" he stuttered, not even trying to hide his shaking anymore.
There was a moment of silence, then... "Perhaps you'd better go back to the common room and rest, Yuy. You look rather worn out."
"...That's a no, isn't it," the student stated, shoulders slumping.
He couldn't lose it in front of Snape. He couldn't. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "... sir."
The Potions Master nodded to Heero, dismissing him, and shut the door to the Infirmary firmly.
Heero punched the wall, hard enough that he could pretend that the tears pooling on his eyelashes were from the pain.
He was going to kill Avery. Now.
He stalked back toward the dormitories, wand out.
[The Astronomy Tower] [Chapter 6]