Hogwarts Strawberries

Chapter 6

*A few days later*

For fear of a bad reaction to the bite, Wufei had been monitored carefully in the infirmary, but now that the full moon was over, the danger seemed to have passed. His cuts and bruises were almost healed, the burns only pinkish marks fast fading on his skin. He would stay at least a week longer, though, but that was mostly because it would take time to take care of the accommodations.
Heero slid in the infirmary dormitory, cautious. It was the first time that he could visit since the night of the full moon. Wufei's family had been there for a long time, preventing him from going inside, but at last they'd left.
He hadn't expected Snape to give him a permission slip to miss a class and visit-- but then the man knew precisely how close they truly were.
Wufei was sleeping, and the Slytherin stared at him for a long time. He was a little pale, but otherwise looked normal. Heero stepped closer hesitantly. Wufei looked so ordinary, he couldn't believe that his boyfriend was now a werewolf, one of those Dark creatures-- no, he was still the same, apart from three nights a month. He was still the same. Like Professor Lupin. The guy was a fairly calm bloke all the time.
Wufei stirred slightly, newly heightened senses telling him that someone was there.
The black-haired boy blinked sleepy eyes at Heero--now that they were open, it was apparent he'd been crying, as they were red-rimmed and puffy.
"Oh, Wufei--" Heero whispered as he went to his side and took his hand. "I'm so sorry." He had to swallow back a sob, hit hard by the horror of the accident.
Wufei clung to Heero, and the Slytherin leaned forward to kiss him, brushing Wufei's lips with his own softly.
The Ravenclaw wiped his eyes discretely, as if hoping to hide the trace of his tears. A bit embarrassed, Heero pretended not to notice. Wufei had a death grip on his's arm, and he winced a little--his boyfriend was stronger than Heero had anticipated--but didn't say anything. Wufei wasn't pulling away from Heero, but he wasn't leaning into the kiss either and Heero wasn't sure of what was wrong exactly.
"You know? They told you?" he asked, miserable.
"... I know," Heero admitted. "I-- looked at the message from Madam Pomfrey to Professor Snape. ... How do you feel?"
Wufei had a humorless laugh. "Like my whole world is going to fall apart. I'm a monster--when the rest of my dorm finds out-- or did you mean how am I feeling?" he asked, trying to calm down. "I--the burns are gone. And I think my ankle is better, but they won't let me out of bed to check."
Heero caressed Wufei's hair gently. "You're not a monster. You have a disease. That doesn't change who you are."
Wufei snorted, or maybe it was an aborted sob. "You know the thing in the forest? That almost killed me? That's what I am."
Heero winced. "Only a few nights a month," he opposed quietly. He hugged Wufei tight, climbing on the bed to lie against him, and Wufei cuddled back desperately. "The rest of the time, you're Wufei. My boyfriend," he finished as he kissed his cheek.
Wufei gave him a hopeful look. "You really think that? I mean--you still want to be ...?"
This time, it was Wufei's lips that Heero kissed. "Why would I be here otherwise? What happened isn't your fault-- if any, it's probably mine. Though in all honesty I'm tempted to say that it's Avery's fault," he added, spitting the name.
Wufei put his arms around Heero, holding him close. "You smell like dust and dried parchment and--Flitwick's classroom?" he asked quietly. Heero nodded, wondering how he could tell.
"He--Professor Flitwick-- came in before to try and find out why I was in the woods."
"... What did you tell him?" the short-haired boy asked.
"I told him what you said--that Avery sent me a note as a prank and I was worried about you being in the Forest."
Heero nodded quietly.
"They're not going to punish me--I'm going to miss Halloween and everything, so..."
Wufei sighed again, and Heero tightened his hold on him in response. But it wasn't enough to make him feel better...
In a cold, detached voice, he announced: "I hear Avery had a regrettable incident involving a suit of armor. And a regrettable incident involving moving stairs and the almost falling headfirst thereof. Oh, and yet another regrettable incident involving a potion. Apparently he couldn't tell a revitalizing potion from a purging potion."
"Jerk," snorted Wufei. "He was in here overnight, during which time he managed to fall into a bedpan."
Heero smirked briefly, amused, but it didn't last. "I wonder if he'll get punished."
"Hmm. He was trying to act like he didn't really think I would go to the forest--moron."
The Slytherin scowled. "Like hell he didn't think you'd go. I heard him boast about how you were going there and how he was so intelligent-- uhm. Did I tell you about that unfortunate incident involving his crotch and my knee?"
Wufei arched an eyebrow, vindicated. "No. Please do."
"Oh, nothing much. He just managed to get his hair caught in my hand and somehow lost his balance on my knee-- which was rising, might I add. By the way, your cousin wants to kill me. It's her broom that I stole and I can't remember in which bush I put it."
Wufei smiled softly. "She was in here this morning. I don't think she wants to kill you anymore. You saved my life."
Heero fidgeted and pretended not to have heard the last sentence. "... Good. Because she attacked me twice already--"
Wufei looked at Heero shyly, and Heero hugged him tight in response, as much because he needed to hug him right now than to hide his blush. They held each other in silence for a few minutes before Wufei's voice rose again.
"I--uh--I didn't tell Flitwick about you, but Dumbledore was listening in and I think he knows.
Heero winced. "Well, Snape does already, obviously... It's weird, he's been... nice," he added, making a face. "I can swear he saw me pour that stuff in Avery's cauldron but he didn't say anything-- just commented when Avery-- uh well, you don't want the details, it was disgusting-- you know how Snape does, finding someone who already feels awful and make them feel worse..."
"Yeah... It's classes now, right?"
Heero nodded. "He gave me a pass," he explained, still surprised about that.
The Slytherin nodded. "I wonder why. It can't be out of the goodness of his heart, can it? That would totally ruin my belief system. Next you'll tell me that Santa Claus is a Muggle."
He wanted to make Wufei laugh--he hated to see him so scared and depressed, he who was usually so strong, calm and confident. But the smile the Ravenclaw managed didn't last. Deciding to try another way to cheer him up, Heero nuzzled Wufei's cheek then kissed his lips gently.
When Wufei started to kiss back, Heero caressed his chest encouragingly. The Ravenclaw sniffled discretely, threading his fingers through Heero's hair as if wanting to make sure he wouldn't just suddenly pull back. But Heero didn't intend to, and kept on exploring Wufei's mouth gently, slowly. For a second, he paused over the canines, which -- was this just an impression?-- felt slightly more prominent and cutting than they had before. But soon he was deepening the kiss, leaning against Wufei more and more.
Finally, Wufei responded, nibbling Heero's lip gently. He pulled the other teen against him, wanting to feel him close, and the Slytherin gladly obliged him by crawling on top of him, resting his weight on his boyfriend in a most comforting way. The kiss broke and Wufei slipped his arms around Heero, nuzzling his neck as Heero nuzzled his hair.
"My parents took it better than you'd expect--my mother said the exact same thing you did. It's a disease, right?" he asked, scared of the answer, but also hopeful.
Heero grinned briefly at him. "Of course. Even your parents think so. Which proof do you need? Hey-- you remember Professor Lupin, right? You were in his classes too? Did it seem to you that he was a monster?" he asked in a soft, serious voice.
Wufei shook his head, lost in thought.
"He was a really honorable and thoughtful man. He never favored any house. Not even his own. He's a Gryff, but he always treated us Slytherin just the same. He was funny too. But never cruel."
"...And one of the best teachers we ever had."
Heero nodded. "So you see, it isn't because he's a werewolf that he was any less of a man," he finished.
Heero was proud that he had managed not to stumble on the word. He could act like he was totally fine with what happened, but the fact was-- he wasn't. He was lost and confused and angry with a lot of people and things-- though not at Wufei-- but Wufei was in a worse state than he was and had more of a right to be shell-shocked about it. So he would have to stutter over the word and hide his head in the sand in private, later.
"But--he lost his job because--"
"He lost his job because people were assholes to him," the Slytherin shot back sharply. "... Were you intending on working with children?" he asked, more softly.
Wufei shook his head. "I wanted to be an Auror ... Kind of ironic now."
Heero winced. "Maybe-- maybe..."
He didn't know what to say.
Wufei sighed, and Heero cuddled him automatically.
"It's lucky my potions marks are good. I might be able to make the lycanthrope potion myself."
"... the Wolfsbane potion?"
Wufei nodded. "That's the one. I ... suppose its not so bad, really. I mean ... it's like a muggle illness. I'll have to take my potion and not bite anyone."
Unable to bear the little note of hopelessness in his voice, Heero hugged him tight, kissing his neck. Wufei made a little needy sound, pressing up against Heero, and kissed back, suddenly hugging him tight, catching him by surprise.
"I'm so glad you're safe--"
Heero's eyes went wide. "W-what? I wasn't--" he stammered, unable to say why his heart felt like it was squeezed. "Wufei..." he whispered, voice thick with emotion.
"I didn't know that. And when I got to the forest and you weren't anywhere in sight--well, I was sure something had happened. I mean, I knew going in so deep was foolish--but I couldn't help thinking, what if you were hurt and just around the next corner and I left you there-- I wish I'd thought of bringing my broom though..."
He fell silent, conscious that he was babbling.
Heero hid his face in his boyfriend's neck. "Gods, Wufei--I'm glad you're alive. I'm glad it wasn't worse. You could have lost your leg or something like that, or..."
Wufei nodded. "I can't believe I fell for such a stupid trick."
"How could you have known?" asked the Slytherin with a snort. "Don't start the "I wish" game. I wish I hadn't been stupid about wanting to do my homework before seeing you. I wish I hadn't waited to owl you about whether or not I would see you that night."
Wufei decided to let Heero convince him. "I suppose--" he admitted softly.
"I wish-- I wish I didn't lose my time kicking Avery when he was down or hesitating before stealing your cousin's broom or going toward the smoke. I wish I'd come earlier. ...I'm so sorry..." he whispered, hugging him hard.
"You didn't know--you came."
"Too late."
"No, I was bitten well before you got there. I still had my wand at that point."
"... Hn." He wasn't sure he believed Wufei; he wouldn't have put it past him to lie to make him feel better.
"I ... I don't think I'd been in the forest more than twenty minutes when ... I think the full moon drew the wolves deeper out of the forest than usual."
Heero nodded tiredly. "I didn't even know that it was the full moon."
"Well, it was. I don't think Avery knew either. Moron. ...Can you tell me about the crotch thing again?" he asked, a weirdly eager note in his voice, behind the pain and tiredness.
Heero chuckled weakly. "Well, I just came behind him. And when he turned to face me, I grabbed his head and kneed him hard. I don't think he's going to have a lot of kids. Can't say anyone'll miss them either."
"I certainly won't," Wufei replied with a small, but amused smile.
There was a moment of silence, during which Wufei played nervously with Heero's collar. "I--you're not here because you feel sorry for me?"
Heero blinked. "I'm here because you're my boyfriend, moron," he stated, kissing his nose.
"Just checking," Wufei answered, nuzzling his cheek. He didn't sound too sincere though, and Heero pulled back, giving him a serious look.
"... What happened to you was awful and I wouldn't wish it on anyone... but I am not here out of pity. Slytherins don't do pity."
"That's true," Wufei answered after a few seconds of thinking, reassured. "They do extended bedside visits though, right? I'm going to be here a while."
Heero kissed his neck again. "I'll come and see you every day after class."
"I--can't go back to my dorm room."
"Not ever?"
The Ravenclaw shook his head silently, not meeting his eyes. "Professor Lupin had his own room so it wasn't an issue but... It isn't safe to let me keep on sharing. And they're going to need a place to keep me during the full moon."
Heero winced. "But people are going to talk..."
"Heero, I was injured in the Forbidden Forest on the night of the full moon. I doubt you'll need to be a Ravenclaw to figure that one out."
"... but..."
Wufei patted his cheek consolingly.
"Oh well," Heero sighed, "I guess it will make visiting you easier."
Wufei blinked, and his boyfriend leered at him halfheartedly.
"I hadn't thought of that."
"... maybe I can stay the night..."
The hold that Wufei had on Heero tightened, and the Slytherin gasped. He had been joking to make him feel better... though in all honesty he wouldn't mind spending the night.
"Heh. You must be desperate for visits."
"The only person besides you who's come to visit was Mei."
The Slytherin winced. Way to go. "...Maybe they didn't get permission," he offered quietly.
Wufei didn't seem to be angsting over it too much, though, and continued. "What took you so long to come by anyway? I was waiting and waiting!"
Heero scowled. "They didn't let me come earlier. Saying you needed to rest and only close family was allowed... I tried to sneak in but Peeves saw me and began to screech--maybe you heard."
"Oh--That was what that was," Wufei answered. His amused smile turned into a yawn, catching Heero by surprise.
"... are you feeling sleepy? Sorry, I stayed a long time..."
"Can't you stay longer? I'll just shut my eyes a bit. I'm not really tired--
Heero kissed his cheek. "I'll stay as long as you want me to stay. You can rest a little."
Wufei smiled, snuggling against Heero. Suddenly he sniffed a little, and his smile grew a little wider. "You brought me chocolates?"
"Oh--yeah. I forgot. Do you want them now?"
Wufei nodded. "And ... do I smell flowers?" he added, poking Heero in the ribs.
Heero winced guiltily. "Flowers, me? As if. Do you think I'm that girly?"
"Well, you smell like flowers," he insisted. He changed the subject, prodding his boyfriend. "So, chocolates?"
Heero was chuckling as he went to get the chocolates. "Open your mouth." He pushed a chocolate past Wufei's lips then kissed him. Wufei gave an appreciative moan, kissing back. As a thank-you, he gave Heero a melted chocolate kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you..."
Heero chuckled, in equal parts embarrassed and amused. "That was purely for my own pleasure. You taste good, but with chocolate you taste divine. ...Of course everything tastes better with chocolate."
"Oh, really? I'll have to test that once I'm out of here ... Um, I think that's Madame Pomfrey," he added with a grimace as his ears caught a slight noise in one of the other rooms.
Heero's eyes widened and he jumped out of the bed, trusting Wufei's senses. Since he himself didn't hear the woman yet, he glanced behind him to check then kissed Wufei fast. The black-haired boy gave a happy, if dazed, sigh.
The Slytherin wiped at his cheek to get the chocolate off.
"So yeah, I'll get you your homework, don't worry," Heero assured his boyfriend detachedly, as if they hadn't been snogging two seconds earlier.
Madam Pomfrey came in and looked at them thoughtfully, then went to them. "I'm sorry, Yuy, but the visiting hour is past. You have to go. You can come back tomorrow if you want. I'm sure Chang will like to be able to do his homework," she added with a gentle smile before ushering him out.
Wufei watched Heero go, with a shy, hopeful smile on his face--this visit was the first time he'd smiled since he was brought back to the infirmary.
Heero sighed and went back to the dungeons, his own smile disappearing. He'd tried to be optimistic around Wufei, but he could say what he wanted, he'd heard too many horror stories about werewolves to be perfectly comfortable. He liked Wufei, sure, but people were going to know what he was soon. Parents would try to have him kicked out of school... Did Heero really want to stand by his side?
He sighed again-- it wasn't as if he wanted to make a career in the Ministry anyway. He didn't need to be politically correct, and he'd never minded ruffling feathers--but when they wouldn't be Draco Malfoy's feathers but Lucius'... what then? He didn't have a lot of friends; in fact he only had Duo, and he didn't want him to be hurt from the backlash. When people would know that he was the werewolf's boyfriend, he'd finally have the peace and quiet he often pleaded for... but he wasn't sure that it was going to be that good finally.
Oh fuck, he wouldn't back off just because of peer pressure. Straightening his back, he stalked toward the dungeons. He hoped he would meet Avery; he needed someone to calm his anger at his own hesitation on.

It was such a fine day that the students could eat outside if they wished. Incidentally, it was also the first day Wufei had been let out of the hospital wing, and he'd joined some of his classmates for lunch on the grass outside. A couple of Gryffindors, Meiran and her friends, had joined the little group as well, determined to make Wufei's first day back as pleasant as possible.
Heero was sitting under a tree with his own lunch, watching Wufei from afar. He was relieved that his boyfriend still had friends in his House--he didn't think he would, but then if Wufei had been a Slytherin, he wouldn't have. But Heero couldn't join them. He didn't want to intrude on Wufei's time with his friends. Besides no one in that group knew him as anything else than a Slytherin and Maxwell's shadow. Their relationship would be common knowledge soon enough, but he didn't want to thrust it in Wufei's friends' face.
Suddenly, a rustle of robes behind him alerted him to someone's presence. Heero looked up, and then got on his feet as he recognized his Head of House.
"Keeping a wary distance, Yuy? Might not be such a bad idea," his professor commented as his black eyes swept over the mixed group to stop on the lycanthrope.
Heero blinked, then shrugged. "I have no desire to associate with Gryffindors, sir, thank you very much."
Snape stared at him in silence, then looked over at the group of students. "They say that werewolves are like icebergs--the greater part of them concealed."
The teenager blinked. "... What do you mean, sir?"
"You may like Chang, but I do not think you should trust him."
Heero clenched his teeth, annoyed by his teacher's cryptic comments. "Apart from a few nights in the months, he's no different from before. Sir. Anyway, I don't trust anyone but myself entirely," he added, in a lower tone.
"Very good, Yuy," the man answered cynically. "But know this: No one is quite sure of the process involved in making a werewolf--how much of the human is retained in the transformation, how much of the beast remains even after the full moon--"
Out of sight, the teenager clenched his fists.
"Although the effects of the lycanthrope virus are only present once a month as you say, it remains present always."
"... So maybe he'll take a habit of biting me in bed," he answered dryly, getting annoyed. "I don't see a problem."
Heero knew that he had a bad tendency to always do the contrary of what people advised him to do, and he hadn't decided yet what to do about Wufei-- but he didn't want anyone to decide for him either.
Snape gave him a cool look. "I'm telling you this for your own good, Yuy. Be careful what you decide," he added in something of an ominous tone as he pulled his cloak more tightly around him and headed away.
"Thank you for your concern, professor."
He sat down again, eyes narrowed. "... But I never trust anyone but myself..." he continued in a whisper, "not him... not you."

[The Forbidden Forest] [Chapter Seven]