One minute Erik was alone and the next he was on the ground, on his back, with five people spread out on the ground next to him. He jumped up, shaking off the white guy that had landed half on Erik’s own legs and took a step back, his hands finding their way to his gun. He glanced around at the clearing that he was in, at the absolute emptiness of the area that his orders had dictated that he camp in for a month for recon.
The guy that had been half on Erik’s legs quickly woke up, his eyes opening to show Erik the bright green pupils. The green eyes that looked on him like a predator searching for prey before the guy closed them briefly, reopening them, and getting up, at the same time as the other four started to wake up.
“What the fuck just happened.”
Erik remembered the last minute before all of these white men showed up, remembered hearing something falling. He looked up into the sky, half expecting to see more parachuting guys in the sky or a plane or something and coming up with nothing. He hadn’t seen any parachutes on the ground with the guys or anywhere around them though.
“The fuck did you guys come from?”
The guy with the green eyes let out a noise that sounded almost like a growl and three of the others hurriedly stood up, drawing a piece of wood and pointing it at the guy that had landed on Erik’s legs. The fourth was… a mixture of beast and human, with sideburns that weren’t at all attractive, bloody skin and wild, crazed eyes. The beast man definitely let out a growl before charging Erik’s guy, who dodged, looking to Erik as he did.
“Get out of here. Unless…” the guy trailed off, keeping space between the other four men as light shot across the clearing. The guy stared at Erik, his eyes trailing down his body and spotting on his gun. “I’d welcome the help. I’m Harry.”
Harry raced away then, gesturing with his hands and making light speed out of them. One of the other guys ran towards Erik, gripping that piece of wood tightly and muttered words under his breath, light speeding out from the wood and racing straight towards him. It was a red light and Erik did not like the looks of it, dodging out of the way of it and pulled his gun out.
He could see Harry skipping out of the way of the beast guy, keeping quiet as he did, before Erik turned back to his own fight. Another speeding light hit him right in the side and pain flared all the way through his body, lighting up his nerves. Erik yelled out angrily, his knees shaking with pain and thundered forward, raising his gun and pulling the trigger.
The guy facing him screamed and fell, blood spurting out of the gunshot wound.
“Feel free to kill them!” Harry shouted out from the opposite end of the clearing that Erik had picked.
Erik grinned, probably not a polite grin, not one that he could show at a dinner table, and took in the sight of the other guy, looking around for the last man. Pain blasted into his back and his body howled with it, pain riding through him and not stopping. He fell, screaming with the hot, burning pain and clutched his head for what felt like forever until it stopped. It was too much but he had to get up, had to get justice for his father. He wasn’t going to die right here, not when he had unfinished business.
“Take Greyback. I’ll finish these two,” Harry remarked, standing over him and holding out a hand. “I put up a hasty anti-apparition ward so he’s not gone too far.”
Erik stared up at the white guy who had upended his day and took his hand, letting Harry pull him up. His hand was warmer than usual for human temperature and Erik hadn’t yet noticed what Harry was wearing but he did now, a set of armor that looked like… He didn’t know what kind of scales they were on the armor but it looked sturdy, perhaps enough to stop a bullet. Thick boots covered Harry’s feet and black pants lined his legs, the outfit of someone undercover.
Harry’s green eyes glowed brightly, narrowing at whatever expression was on Erik’s face. Erik stared at the scar on Harry’s forehead, the raised skin that was shaped like a lightning bolt, branching out over his forehead. Harry’s black hair was in no way brushed or combed over, falling to his shoulders, wild strands flying everywhere as Harry moved.
“The fuck is an anti-apparition ward.”
Harry froze and a howl broke out into the silence, coming from the forest right behind them. “We’ll talk later. If you’re still up for a fight, that is.”
“Hell yeah, I’m up for it, whitey.”
Harry raised an eyebrow and then let out a snort. “Don’t let him touch you.”
Erik nodded and then took off at a run, following the howling. “Name’s Erik!”
Harry watched as Erik took off and then turned around himself, keeping half of his attention on his ward. The ward he had cast right before the others had woke up covered fifty miles in each direction so the two remaining Death Eaters and Greyback couldn’t have gone far.
He ran, feeling the elder wand hum in his pocket and his holly wand warm in his hands. It was late evening, the sun having gone down an hour or two ago since it was winter time, a chill in the air and moisture in the air.
“Carrow! I know you’re here!”
Harry ran, ducking into the forest that spread out around the clearing that they had fell into, and cast an awareness spell, one that would tell him if there were people about. He looked for Dolohov too, keeping his eyes open and then sighed, wanting this over with. He conjured a witch light and stopped running about a mile into the forest, taking a deep breath.
His mind flashed back to walking into the Forbidden Forest to surrender to Voldemort but he shook it off.
Carrow was the first Death Eater to find him, casting a killing curse his way. Harry took several steps to the left, charging on two legs and wanting to be on four. On four was easier and the wolf within him agreed. On four, he could howl, he could tear and rip and claw into his enemy. On two, he just had to rely on speed and his magic.
Harry snorted at his wolf’s thoughts on staying human and engaged Carrow in a fight, casting the killing curse towards the man. Carrow dodged out of the way, jumping over a bush and casting a hex back his way. Harry cast a shield just in time and then ran, putting on a burst of speed to tackle the Death Eater. The man spit insults and curses up at him as Harry muttered the spell that would tie him up.
Harry looked down on Carrow as he stood back up a minute later, tuning out the man’s curses and looking around. He hadn’t taken a minute to scan the surrounding area since he had woken up on that guy’s legs but… He had the feeling that he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Harry snorted at the thought and reached out with his magic, feeling the anti-apparition ward he had cast the minute he had woken up.
He kept it there and then stared down at Carrow again, unsure what to do with him. He had chased this last group of escaped Death Eaters for a month, only to finally end up in an abandoned warehouse in New York, where they had been chanting and saying things that sounded vaguely ominous. And then… he fell. His wolf had not liked that and his heart had raced so much that Harry thought he was dying.
He had fallen… only to end up on some guy’s legs, his fingers just a tiny bit away from turning into claws right then and there.
“I’m not going back to that prison!”
Carrow rolled over and shot up and Harry drew his wand and muttered two words, the sickly green light shooting straight at Carrow. Harry watched as the curse hit Carrow right on his back, as he was hopping away, and watched as Carrow froze and then keeled over. The guy hit the dirt floor with a loud thump and Harry ran over towards the body, kneeling down to search him.
He didn’t expect to find anything on Carrow’s body and wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t. Harry and his team of aurors had been able to pick up Carrow’s trail pretty quickly and the Death Eaters hadn’t spent a lot of time resting in places. The trail of bodies that they had left behind had made it very easy to follow them. Carrow had escaped from Azkaban with Dolohov and Greyback and had gone on a murder spree right afterward. Kingsley had issued an order to track them down and had not said whether or not to bring them back alive so Harry didn’t particularly care. This hadn’t been the first time that he had killed someone and it probably wouldn’t be the last.
The scream drew his attention quickly and made his heart try to rocket out of his chest. Harry made sure there was nothing magical on Carrow’s body and took off running to find the guy that he had fallen on. Harry’s impression of the guy had been that he was a soldier, maybe a black ops man, with the two, maybe three guns on him. The black outfit had added to the look, sturdy, thick combat boots lending a stealthy appearance to it.
Harry ran back the way he had come, inhaling deeply to try to catch a scent, any scent that would tell him where Erik had gone to. His heart beat fast, trying to gallop out of his chest and his wolf butted against his mind. Harry shook his head, not wanting to shift and change now, not when he didn’t know what he was running into, be it a trap or…
Harry filtered the scents that came with the breeze around him, slowing to a stop before running even faster than before. The iron scent of blood filled the air around him and he ran, quickly circling around trees and downed branches before coming on Greyback’s scent. The rogue werewolf smelled wild and nothing like a human, no human smells radiated from Greyback.
Greyback had been the one to bite him, the one to make him a werewolf but he had no qualms about killing him. The trail of blood led him to Erik and Harry quickly came to a stop before the unconscious man, his eyes widening. Erik was on the rainforest floor, a large chunk of his left shoulder torn out. Bits of skin and muscle were sprayed underneath Erik and Harry wrinkled his nose, reaching up to pinch his nose shut. Blood pooled underneath him and Harry sucked in a tight breath, seeing Erik’s right arm crooked at an awkward angle.
“It was fun, killing the muggle. Greyback and I were a good team. Not that you should say that to his face.”
Harry near let out a growl, wishing that he had been on four legs and had wolf vocal cords instead of human. Wolves growled better than humans and howled better.
Dolohov walked out of the undergrowth north of him and Harry palmed his wand, whispered two words. Dolohov froze and then fell over onto the rainforest floor, eyes going sightless in death. Harry stayed where he was, staring at Dolohov’s body for a minute before kneeling down to look over Erik.
The man was still breathing, shallow and shaky but still alive. And… as Harry took another deep breath… A little hint of wildness crept into Erik’s scent and Harry sighed, knowing what that meant by now. Harry had been stuck in bed for two days after the bite and Erik would probably be no different. Harry scowled and then dug into his pocket, making sure that the tent that he had borrowed from the auror’s office, a tent similar to the one that Hermione had when they had gone on the run, was still in there.
Greyback was still around here somewhere and Harry was not going to let him run off and further infect anyone else, but he still needed to deal with Erik. He didn’t even know anything about the guy other than his name, his possible career and the fact that he carried multiple weapons on his person. Though… as he looked around at the small underbrush around them, as he scented the air, he caught sight of another trail of blood. This one was not Erik’s and was not Dolohov’s.
Harry grinned and began to look for a clearing, glancing up to the moon in the sky. He flicked his wand, whispered another spell and watched as Erik rose up into the air, not jostled at all as magic carried him. Harry walked through the rainforest, with Erik floating at his side, jumping over a small creek and came upon a small clearing, empty of trees and undergrowth.
He stopped, set out the box of fabric in the center of the clearing and touched it. The tent rose up, pitching itself. It took less than five minutes for a tent to appear and Harry stepped over to the tent door, opened it and gestured with his wand for Erik to float in, minding his head. He closed the tent door after them and strode in, heading for the one bed.
The tent had a kitchen, a bathroom, a small bedroom with a king sized bed, an office and a potion’s room. His broom lay propped up against the wall next to the door, idle, with quidditch goggles strapped to the top of it.
Harry moved Erik over to the bed, stripping the bed of sheets first and putting down towels over the mattress, before lowering the other man down onto it. He studied the man before getting to work, summoning more towels and slowly stripping the man of his torn clothes until he was just in his underwear. Erik’s left shoulder was still bleeding, the chunk of torn flesh jagged and raw.
Erik’s skin was much darker than his own skin and there was scarring all along his chest and arms. Scarring that looked to have been self inflicted. The small bumps did not look like they were the result of bullet holes. Erik let out a small groan as Harry continued to look, drawing him out of his thoughts and he cast a spell to clean the wound in Erik’s shoulder.
Blood and dirt vanished even as the jagged flesh started to slowly but surely knit itself together. Harry pointed his wand at Erik’s right arm, taking in the awkward angle of it, and whispered another spell, one to mend the broken bone. A loud crack filled the air and Erik groaned again, this time loudly, as his right arm mended.
Now there wasn’t much to do except wait out the change. Harry was unconscious for two days while his body changed, while the wolf made itself at home within him. Erik… He wasn’t too sure how long Erik would take, given that he was muggle. There was no magic to help ease the change nor could Harry use any potions with Erik. But he would wait it out with him. Harry sighed, pulled Erik’s shoes off, glanced at him for a minute or two before walking over to the tent door.
He pulled the tent fabric open, looked out around the rainforest that surrounded them. It looked like he had landed in Central America, perhaps somewhere in Brazil but he wasn’t quite sure of that. It was a warm and humid night and he could hear all sorts of wildlife in the rainforest. With his enhanced eyesight, he could see a creek a mile away and hear the loud caws of several species of birds.
The quiet padded footsteps of a jaguar drew his attention to the east, seeing the big cat stalk its prey. The cat walked along the forest floor and peered over to him, meeting his eyes and scented the air. Harry stared right into the cat’s eyes and then watched as it turned away, loping back through the rainforest.
Later Erik would not remember anything of the next few days other than sweating gallons of water and burning pain lighting his nerves up. It was the worst pain that he had ever felt, worse than the pain of finding his father’s body with wounds that looked like panther claws. It felt like he was burning up, his stomach turning up in knots and retching.
He remembered a voice, Harry’s voice, talking to him as he helped him up to drink water. Remembered being so thirsty that he drank all of the water in the cup and then puking it back up ten minutes later. Remembered Harry coaxing him into eating crackers, the only food he could eat without puking them up several minutes later. He didn’t remember being so weak that Harry had had to help him use the bathroom, slipping an arm around his waist and walking him outside. In hindsight, he was grateful that he couldn’t, or at least didn’t want to, remember.
“The fuck… happened?”
Erik blinked once, twice, as the bright dawn sun shone into his eyes, wincing as every sound assaulted his ears. Running water, trees swaying in the slight breeze above them, monkeys calling to other monkeys, birds screaming in affront. Erik hurriedly reached up to his ears with exhausted arms and looked around him, seeing a tent roof above him and Harry sitting at his side on what looked like a camping chair.
His eyes were blinded by the sun even through the tent roof between him and the sky. The thumping of something around Harry drew his attention, seeing the man’s green eyes narrow. Thump… thump… thump.
“How are you feeling?”
“How… How am I feeling? What...” Erik trailed off into a coughing fit, tried to sit up to ease his ribs.
Harry watched him as he reached over to pour some water from a pitcher into a cup, handed it over. “Your sight and hearing… Are they better?”
Erik glared at the guy even as he looked around to search for his weapons.
“They’re back in the tent,” Harry offered, shrugging a little. “Your weapons, that is. It’s quite a supply.”
“What the fuck happened to me?”
Harry sighed, caught his eyes with his. Something about Harry drew Erik in, made him listen to him and not just disregard him easily. Harry’s shoulders were loose and open, his eyes light with worry and yet… there was something in the other man’s eyes that looked like there was a predator hiding within him. “You were bit.”
Erik blinked, rolled his eyes. “Wouldn’t take a genius to see that. By what? And when?”
Harry stared at him, looking at him intently, searching his face for something. Erik wasn’t sure whether or not he found it though but Harry answered bluntly, making Erik’s heart stop for a moment.
“Werewolf. You were attacked by a werewolf.”
Erik stared at Harry and then he attempted to stand up, swinging his legs off the bed and putting his weight on them. His body swayed and his heart raced within his chest as sweat dripped down his neck and forehead. It was cool in the tent so his body wasn’t reacting to the heat or humidity in the air outside.
“No, fuck you. Werewolves aren’t real, white boy.”
Erik swayed in place as he stood, watching as Harry stood too, his arms loose at his sides. Harry was standing there like he had not one care in the world but at least… Erik had to give him points for not reaching out to help him. Erik wouldn’t have appreciated any help right now as his skin felt like it was on fire, felt like he was stretching entirely different muscles than he was used to.
“Regardless of what you think, you were bitten by one,” Harry remarked idly, gesturing at his left shoulder. “Or had a chunk torn out of your shoulder by one anyway.”
Erik stiffened, his fingers curling into fists and wanting a rifle in his grasp. Both of his shoulders felt fine as he lifted them up a little, shrugging. His whole body felt better than usual despite the unusual exhaustion.
“The fuck are you talking about? I feel fine.”
“That’s because your body heals faster now, or well, I helped it along this time,” Harry said, pointedly looking at his shoulder and right arm. “Your metabolism is faster. Your hearing, sight and reflexes are much better.”
Erik looked at Harry, still hearing the thump, thump, thump. “You’re crazy.”
“I might be. It’s possible.”
Erik raised an eyebrow.
Harry grinned, his green eyes sparking with what might have been mischief.
Erik continued to stare at him and then muttered words under his breath, words that Harry was pretty sure were not in english. And they hadn’t been in any language that he recognized.
“Fine. You’re not holding me prisoner here.”
Harry shook his head, gesturing to the rainforest around them. “No. Go right ahead. Suit yourself.”
He summoned Erik’s guns and pack, waited just a minute for the supplies to land on the floor between them. “Why were you in Brazil?”
“I’m not in Brazil,” Erik muttered, his eyes going wide as he looked down at the weapons and pack on the dirt floor underneath him.
“Undercover op then. Understood. Let me just pack up and I’ll join you.”
Erik blinked and glared at him, body tensing up.
“Hell no. I work alone.”
“Not now you don’t,” Harry retorted, waving his hand and watching as the tent collapsed into itself without a sound. Harry watched as Erik reached into his pack and drew out some fresh clothes, still black in color, and pulled them onto himself. “You’re going to need help. Most new werewolves do.”
Erik ended up looking just like he had when Harry had first met him, a special ops soldier with combat boots, a tac vest on and guns strapped to various places. Erik flipped him off and started walking off to the north, his steps quiet and very purposeful.
Harry sighed again and tucked his tent within his bag, made sure everything was cleaned up and started off at a slow run. It didn’t take more than ten minutes to join up with Erik again, meeting his eyes.
Erik scowled at him and stopped. “Fuck off.”
Erik glared at him, his feet sliding in the wet ground under them. A creek was about ten feet away and the water banks were filled with water, as well as animals grouping about drinking.
“ Fuck off.”
Erik’s eyes flashed and Harry took a step to the side just as Erik charged at him, his eyes darkening. Erik stumbled, losing his balance and swayed briefly before yelling and charged at Harry again, placing his hands on Harry’s chest and pushing. Harry didn’t move even as Erik struggled to push him away.
“Why the fuck aren’t you moving!” Erik yelled, his eyes wide and his breathing shallow and unsteady. At Erik’s words, birds flew up and out of trees, squawking in surprise at the noise.
“You can hear my heartbeat, can’t you?”
Harry backed up a step, letting Erik think he was pushing him up against a tree, and reached down to grab his hands. The sun shone down on them through a gap in the tree branches above them, warming Harry up unnecessarily. “Erik.”
“What?! I hear everything and anything and it’s… Fuck!”
“ Breathe ,” Harry murmured, catching his eyes and holding them. “Just breathe, Erik.”
Erik stared at the man in front of him, at the color of Harry’s skin and into his green eyes. Harry wasn’t even breathing hard at all, his chest rising and falling at a normal pace. Erik looked down at Harry’s hands as they held his, white skin against black. Harry wasn’t even straining to hold him in place. “What do you mean I can hear your heartbeat?”
“That thump that you’re most likely hearing…” Harry paused, looked at him intently with narrowed eyes. “That’s my heartbeat. That’s how good your hearing has gotten.”
“What the fuck.”
“You were bitten by a werewolf,” Harry continued, sighing and turning away to look beyond Erik for a moment. “It’s my fault really but what’s done is done.”
Erik continued to stare at him and pulled his arms back. Harry dropped his and turned back to look at him, frowning in thought.
“You said when we met… You said something about an anti-apparition ward.”
“You have somewhere where we can talk?” Harry asked, meeting his eyes easily without flinching. “It’s gonna be a long story.”
Erik raised an eyebrow, looking at one of Harry’s pockets. “Don’t you have a tent in one of those?”
Harry nodded. “Yeah. Don’t you have an op that you need to be doing?”
“It’s undercover. Take down of a drug cartel headquarters. Did you kill the man who… bit me?” Erik questioned.
“No. How about after I explain things, I help you take down the cartel and then we go hunt a rogue werewolf? You can take all the credit for the takedown. I don’t care.”
“Lead the way then.”
Erik stared at Harry and then sucked in a tight breath, inhaling deeply. Sounds dimmed and he turned around, searching the terrain around them. He had gotten sidetracked with the arrival of Harry but he spotted a few landmarks and took off at a run, his heart racing.
Harry followed alongside him, easily keeping up, his arms at his sides. The guy had no weapon on him that Erik could see but he remembered the deadly… light that the guy, Greyback, had shot at him a few days ago. Harry had had a short twig of a stick in his hands as he had asked for help and Erik’s eyes narrowed in thought.
He could hear Harry’s heartbeat as they ran and hear everything else, from the squawking of birds to the splashing of water to animals fighting. He just kept breathing steadily, focusing on what was in front of him. They ran on south for twenty minutes and Erik didn’t even get tired. He normally wouldn’t have but he supposed he might have at least started to feel the exertion. Now he wasn’t feeling anything other than pissed off at the guy running next to him.
Harry didn’t spare him another glance during their run but he did see him look around at the land that they passed. The sun continued to rise up in the sky as they ran, continuing its travels too and Erik’s stomach started to growl earlier than it usually did by the time they stopped.
They stopped on top of a hill that overlooked the cartel and Erik slowly came to a stop, sitting down in the dirt and taking out his binoculars to take a look. He heard Harry sit down next to him, on his belly, quiet as a mouse. They were surrounded by bushes and boulders and a large trunk of a tree, its branches hiding them.
There were several parked cars down below and three buildings that didn’t look like anything fancy. Men were patrolling around the perimeter, rifles in hand. They were wearing dark clothes, a mix of armor but Erik knew they weren’t mercenaries. They were members of the drug cartel that he had been assigned to take out.
“You an American special ops guy?”
“Navy SEAL. What’s it to you?”
Harry shrugged his shoulders and peered down at the cartel beneath them, his eyes narrowing. “I’m a wizard in addition to being a werewolf.”
Erik blinked, raised an eyebrow. “That like the Maximoff girl?”
“The who now?”
Erik turned to look at Harry, who met his eyes easily. “The Scarlet Witch, they’re calling her. Joined the Avengers seven months ago.”
Harry just stared at him, his eyes narrowed. “Avengers?”
“Have you been living under a rock, white boy? The Avengers?”
“Uh… not so much, no. Try living in a different universe,” Harry retorted, turning to look down at the cartel again. “What I’m trying to say here is that if I wanted to, I could just pop down there and blow everything up with a few words. The man you went after, the rogue werewolf, is also a wizard. The men I was fighting were wizards. There were no Avengers in my world.”
Erik’s eyes narrowed as he met Harry’s eyes, seeing no physical evidence of falsehood. Harry’s heartbeat wasn’t racing, just pounding on steadily. His shoulders were curled inward but that was due to their tight space just as well. “Different universe.”
Harry shrugged, his eyes narrowing a little. “I think so anyway. We’re in South America and I was just in London a few days ago. Though… I could have just traveled between countries… Might need to go to Europe to double check.”
“You’re a nerd then.”
Erik watched as Harry blinked, his shoulders curling inward.
“Uh… I don’t love to read though if we’re arguing specifics. Why are you taking down a drug cartel anyway? Is this an undercover mission or something?”
“Why the fuck do you care?”
Harry stared at him and then turned away, looking down at the men, vehicles and weapons below. “I didn’t have anyone around who looked after me in the first month of my new… status. My godfather’s husband was dead by then so…”
“I don’t need a goddamn babysitter.”
“You’re not human anymore, Erik. I won’t have another homicidal werewolf on my hands, thank you.”
“I’m gunning for those men down there. Have anything to say about that?” Erik retorted, his heart racing and the hair on the back of his arms and neck standing up. “Besides, you don’t know anything about me. You’re just another one of those white men who have no fucks to give.”
“I care, alright? A little too much if you had asked my friends back in my world. Hermione said I had a people saving thing. I lost my godfather, his husband, a house elf who I befriended back in my second year, my owl, and the world which I saved! If you want to know why I’m sticking you with, it’s because you’re the first and only person in this world that I know! It’s not because you’re all sunshine and rainbows! Hell, I know I’m not sunshine and rainbows either!”
Erik scowled and turned away, pulling out a scope and looking through it. He could feel Harry’s gaze on him and tried to ignore it, zeroing in on the multiple men down there and one in particular. “That’s the man I’m after.”
“Do I want to know?”
“You need to know. He’s into human trafficking. The bastard escaped US custody in Iraq.”
“Where are you from anyways?”
Erik stared at Harry, his eyes narrowing at the man’s change of subject. “Oakland.”
“California. Do you have family?”
The man that Erik was after, or more precisely, the American government was after, yelled out something in butchered Spanish and Erik heard every word of it. His skin prickled as sounds rolled over him and he heard men shouting through open windows. The urge to go down there and lure the man outside and take him down grew. He could almost feel the dirt underneath his pads and---
Erik let out a yelp as he looked down at his hand, seeing… golden fur roll up his skin. Or grow over it or something. It was a small patch of fur but it was fur nonetheless, maybe less than an inch. “What the fuck!!!”
“That’s… new.” Harry’s hand hovered over his, holding it in his own palm, and Erik glared at him. Harry’s warmth invaded his own skin and he almost sighed into the warmth, wanting to roll over and soak it in. Erik shook his head to try to get rid of the alien thoughts and focused on Harry, watching as the man examined Erik’s hand.
“I’ve never seen golden fur before,” Harry muttered, meeting Erik’s eyes briefly before giving him his hand back. “Though to be fair, I’ve only seen Remus’ grey fur, Greyback’s brown fur, and then my own black fur.”
“How do I get rid of it?”
Harry raised an eyebrow at him. “Deep breaths. Think about things you can only do if you’re human, like drive a car or operate dangerous machinery. Fly a broomstick, kill a dark wizard. Stuff like that. Though I totally could have killed Voldemort as a wolf but that’s not the point.”
Erik stared at him and Harry stared back, his green eyes darkening.
“Kill a dark wizard? Broomstick?”
“I don’t drive,” Harry retorted, glaring at him. “And I love flying.”
Erik blinked and then finally sighed, taking a deep breath. He took one last look at Harry before he propped his head on his left hand, the one that still had human skin on it and not… fur and thought about driving. Thought about driving, imagined his hands on the wheel of a car. Memories of being driven from foster home to foster home flashed through his mind and he shook his head, trying to banish the memories from his mind and mostly succeeding.
He has too much anger in him. We can’t keep him. We don’t want a black kid in our home.
Son, your dad is dead. Knife wound by the looks of it.
No! He had panther claws in him!
There are no panthers in Oakland, Erik. You’re lying.
“Erik, wherever your mind’s going…” Harry’s voice interrupted his thoughts, the other man’s tone sounding strange, softer but weird. A touch to his cheek drew his attention out of his memories, out of his baba’s stories of Wakanda and Harry caught his eyes. Erik jolted away from the touch, his heart skipping a beat and then jump starting at a faster pace, and Harry blinked before withdrawing his hand. “What’s wrong?”
“Who the fuck is Remus?”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Why do you care?”
“Are you gonna leave me alone or what?”
Erik scowled before he let out a deep exhale. He had to admit that maybe, just maybe, having Harry around was helping. Granted the man might have been the cause of everything that had happened in the past few days but he was owning up to it. And his advice was helpful. The fur on his hand had disappeared after all. “I’m not giving up here.”
“No one said you had to.”
“So who the fuck is Remus?”
Harry frowned at him before he shrugged. “Remus Lupin. Husband to my godfather. Remus was the only werewolf that I knew, other than the one that was trying to kill me and then ended up biting me. They’re both dead.”
“You only knew one werewolf.”
“Yeah and he wasn’t… very talkative when we were in the same building as each other. What I know of being a werewolf, I’ve seen from him and from what I’ve learned so far.”
“Fuck, I can’t believe I’m taking this seriously.”
“You saw that fur,” Harry argued, gesturing towards his hand. “Anyways, you have a plan for that?”
Erik watched as Harry pointed at the man that was on the US government’s wanted list. “You want in?”
“I already said I’d help you. What do you need from me?”
Erik peered down at the camp below them, consciously taking a deep breath. “I need a diversion.”
“Consider it done. Quiet or loud?”
“Wait ten minutes and then do your thing.”
Harry nodded at him, peered down at the camp below them and then crawled backward, disappearing a second later behind bushes. Erik watched him go, inhaling deeply to catch a peculiar scent. The man smelled wild, a vague hint of dog to him, and Erik… wondered if he smelled like Harry did now. He scowled, remembered the patch of fur on his hand, and peered down at the camp, watching as the men below went about patrolling.
It was a lot to think about, what Harry had told him. Erik… wasn’t human anymore. A… werewolf. He snorted at the thought, thinking of the various comics he had read when he was younger. Though… he didn’t know what to think of the golden fur. He had never seen any wolf, fictional or otherwise, that had that color of fur.
He wondered if changing… species meant that he wouldn’t be welcome in the Wakandan afterlife. His dad hadn’t said much of that or any other spiritual side of his homeland but he had mentioned the Black Panther, the hero of Wakanda, and the Heart Shaped Herb, which gave the Black Panther their powers. Erik wondered if he was now as strong as King T’Chaka or whoever was the Black Panther now.
A big explosion drew him out of his thoughts and to the big mushrooming cloud to the north. Men yelled and shouted curses before drawing their rifles from their shoulders and going to check out the explosion. Vehicles rumbled and engines turned on as the mercenaries drove and Erik’s man ventured out of the building. He grinned, made sure his knife was easily accessible, and crept through the trees and down the hill.
Harry dodged another mercenary as the other man ran out of the way of falling embers. The explosion he had set to go off was… bigger than he had thought it would be but he got the feeling that Erik wouldn’t care. Men were yelling and shouting and shooting at random things that they thought were enemies but no one saw Harry as he crept out into the middle of the camp. Smoke filled the air and he slowed his breathing as he ran.
The few that did see him pointed their rifles at him, slowly in his opinion, and pulled the trigger. Harry quickly stepped out of their way, flicked his fingers and thought of the blasting spell, watching as the men were thrown out of his way. Men cursed at him and ran off towards him and he could smell Erik somewhere amongst the madness.
Erik smelled wild, more wild than he had throughout the past few hours, and not like a wolf. To Harry’s nose, Erik smelled like a well fueled fire, a fire akin to anger, a bitter scent that Harry didn’t know the cause of. Aside from the language that Erik had cursed at Harry with and that Erik was from Oakland and was a Navy SEAL, Harry didn’t know a thing about him or his past.
A yell drew him out of his idle wonderings and he ran right into a running mercenary. The wolf within him growled and he threw out his arms as the other man jolted. Sweat dripped down his forehead and the sun blinded him as he grabbed the man’s shoulders and yanked. The merc yelled out and landed on the dirt behind him with a loud thunk, the sound of a gun being loaded filling the air.
Harry let out a quiet growl, more wolf than human sounding, and turned, kicking out in that instant and connecting with flesh. The man fell back to the ground with a wet thump and Harry walked off, looking around for Erik. The bitter scent of Erik’s anger led him to behind the bigger building, where Erik was looming over a kneeling man.
Harry stared at the scene as he slowed, leaning against the back of the building as he watched Erik draw a knife from his belt. Erik’s eyes were narrowed and his breathing was shallow, the grip on the knife white knuckled. His fingers were curled on his other hand, curled as if mimicking claws. What bare skin Harry could see on Erik was trembling, rippling as if he was…
Harry met Erik’s eyes after a minute and it was almost like Erik was daring him to comment, daring him to say something. Harry crossed his arms and waited, peering at the man kneeling before Erik.
Erik’s arm moved in a flash and Harry rocked back on the heels of his feet as the body fell over backward. And Erik moved, clothes ripping and fur rippling over skin. A low, raw noise left Erik’s throat as he started to shift and Harry moved away from the building and closed the distance between them.
Erik groaned and collapsed to the dirt, legs askew and fur crawling over his skin. Golden fur with… little black circles spread out over it. Harry met Erik’s eyes, smelled the raw desperation coming from him and helped him remove his clothes, or at least the clothes that were left. He kept his hands from touching Erik, knew that the man’s skin was hyper-sensitive now as he hurriedly drew Erik’s shirt and jeans off, unlaced the man’s boots and put them aside.
Sounds were coming from Erik’s throat as he shifted, strangled noises that sounded like Erik was dying. Erik stared at him, his eyes wild and frantic as he grasped at his skin and dug in. Harry flinched and reached out, keeping his touch feather-light, and laid his fingers over Erik’s, meeting his eyes.
“Erik, let go. You’re already shifting. Let go.”
“Don’t-- Don’t touch me!”
Harry withdrew his hand but remained where he was sitting, holding Erik’s gaze. “It’ll only make it worse. Let this shape go.”
Erik stared at him, blinked once as his eyes flashed and then bowed over. He groaned out even as his vocal cords changed too, shifting to an animal’s vocal cords. Golden fur with black circles spread out over every inch of him and the bones in Erik’s body shifted too, rippling under his skin and Harry paled in sympathy. He knew what it was like to shift shape, to let the animal out for the first, terrifying time.
Only this time… Erik wasn’t turning into a wolf.
The golden fur and black circles… Harry watched as human Erik turned into leopard Erik. Erik growled out as he shifted, each excruciating minute was filled with bones shifting and growing and organs shifting and fur growing. Claws grew where fingers were and a tail sprouted and finally…
A leopard lay there in front of Harry, panting loudly. There wasn’t an inch of human skin left. Harry blinked at the sight and looked the big cat over, seeing the claws flex and withdraw back into the leopard’s paws. The big cat’s body was sleek, not an ounce of unneeded fat on him. Harry had idly noticed Erik’s body as he was shifting, noting his well defined muscles and the scarring, and even leopard Erik looked handsome.
The leopard’s head was on his paws and as five minutes passed, it slowly turned to look at Harry. The cat had Erik’s brown eyes, wide as he looked at Harry. The big cat tilted its head and narrowed its eyes, as if to say, really? What the fuck kind of bullshit is this?
“Yeah, I know. You up for a hunt, Erik?”
The leopard let out a low growl deep in his throat, attempted to stand up. Erik’s legs were wobbly, shaky as he tried to stand up on four legs, four long, sturdy looking legs and as he almost made it up, he fell back down to the ground. Harry grinned a little and leopard Erik peered up at him, his eyes narrowing.
“I didn’t know, alright? I’ve only ever heard of werewolves, Erik,” Harry muttered, shrugging at the thought. “I guess you’re a werecat. That’s why you smell weird to my nose. Cats and dogs. Huh. Maybe this world has new rules or something. But you’re… beautiful, if that helps.”
Leopard Erik’s eyes narrowed even more and his ears twitched as he caught a sound on the wind. Harry rolled his eyes at him.
“Kind of odd though. Leopards are native to Africa and Asia,” Harry remarked, keeping his hands to himself even though he really wanted to reach out and stroke Erik’s fur. “What say we go hunt a rogue werewolf now? Give you a taste of a hunt on four legs.”
Leopard Erik snarled and dipped his head in a nod before giving standing up another try.
Harry peered over at the pile of Erik’s clothes and started to strip himself. Once done, he piled his clothes and Erik’s weapons and clothes and put them into his pack, knowing that it would be invisible to everyone else but him. “The guy we’re after is Fenrir Greyback and he’s killed plenty of people and a few of my own friends. We can pick up his trail around where I fell on you.”
Leopard Erik hissed and finally stood on shaky legs, the sunlight making his fur even more golden. Harry took a minute to stare at Erik, his heart thumping in his chest at the big cat in front of him, then bent over and let the wolf out.
Wolf stared at the strange cat in front of him, at the fur the color of the sun. He took a deep breath and smelled anger, a bitter scent that made him wrinkle his nose and yelp. The big cat returned his stare, his brown eyes narrowed. Wolf stood up and shook out his fur coat, lowering his tail, and took a step towards the cat, digging his claws into the dirt underneath him.
The scent of fire and blood filled the air as he continued to scent the air, the explosion that the wizard had caused still leaving tracks. The man that he shared a body with looked out through wolf’s eyes but stayed quiet, leaving the approach of the big cat to him.
The cat growled but wolf continued to move forward, wagging his tail a little bit. The cat just stood there, its eyes narrowed as wolf stopped right in front of him. Wolf stared right into the leopard’s eyes and slowly lowered his muzzle, touching his cold nose to the leopard’s warm one. Wolf whined quietly, scenting the leopard’s fur and hearing the big cat’s heartbeat.
The cat stayed quiet as wolf scented him, continued to stay quiet as Wolf moved his nose to scent his fur. The cat didn’t smell like pack but perhaps the strange animal would become pack in time, if the thoughts of the man were any indication. The cat smelled wild and there was another, bitter scent that Wolf couldn’t decipher.
The cat hissed, peering around its surroundings and then roared, loud and angry. Wolf growled back and danced in to nip at the cat’s ankles, quickly jumping back when the cat yowled. Wolf huffed out a breath and then began to run, heading in the direction of their prey. The big cat roared again, this time sounding more annoyed, before falling into step with Wolf, running on silent paws.
Wolf yipped playfully, falling into an easy run, watching the big cat beside him. The cat was a little shaky in the first few minutes, tripping over every tree root or rock, and then began to grow into his new body. Graceful movements took over from awkward paw placements and the cat met his eyes.
Wolf threw his head up to the sky and howled as he was running, howling his joy at being free again. Birds flew from trees as they were startled into taking flight. Prey animals ran from them, scared of being stalked, only for Wolf and Cat to pass right by and ignore them.
Cat inhaled deeply as he ran, watching the wolf beside him. The wolf was smaller than Cat, less sleek, a lot more fur and loud. Howling filled the air as they ran through the forest around them. Wolf’s eyes were less predatory than Cat’s were, less full of anger and more… justice.
The human that shared his body was full of anger and Cat was too, for the man that had taken away their father, that had left N’Jobu with claws in his chest. A hiss left his throat at the memory in their shared mind and he charged ahead of the wolf, his tail sweeping from side to side.
He could hear birds taking flight, the hooves of prey falling onto the ground and further away, the sounds of humans walking and talking. Wolf continued running behind him, loping along idly like there was no other pressing prey to be caught other than their target.
They ran throughout the day, with Cat looking up into the sky as they ran to check on the sun. Cat’s stomach growled again an hour later and he began to look for prey, spotting a deer drinking from the creek a short distance away. The deer was vivid in his sight and the wolf was running beside him again, the dog’s eyes narrowed. The wolf let out a low growl and slunk down, looking awkward to Cat, who hunched down to stalk.
Cat bent down even more to fit under a thin tree branch, peered up at the tree beside him and jumped. He sunk his claws further and deeper into the tree and climbed up, pausing a moment to look down at the wolf. The wolf met his eyes, a hint of amusement in them, and then slunk towards their prey, keeping hidden and quiet.
Cat huffed out a breath and kept climbing, gouging deep slashes into the tree and padded onto a thick branch. He peered down at the ground again, found the deer, and centered himself so that he was right over his prey. He could hear the wolf and looked around for his… hunting companion and found him, north of Cat’s location and blocking off the deer’s escape that way.
Cat kneaded his claws into the bark and then jumped, landing on top of the deer and bit into the deer’s neck even as it bucked underneath him.
Wolf licked his teeth and mouth free of blood, rumbled low in pleasure and peered over at the big cat. He yipped quietly as the sun started to fall in the sky and the cat looked over to him, blood in his fur and dribbling from his mouth. Wolf raised one of his paws to the north, already able to smell the trail of the one whom they were tracking.
The big cat raised his head, his brown eyes flashing, and took a step towards wolf. Wolf growled and leapt into the creek water in front of them to clean off, submerging himself quickly before jumping out and taking off. He could hear the cat jumping into the water once before padding out and loping over to join Wolf.
Greyback froze as he heard a loud roar and then sighed in relief as he realized that roaring would be normal here, in the rainforests of South America. Jaguars lived here after all. It wasn’t out of the norm for there to be roaring.
The man he was talking to stopped and turned, his eyes widening only a little before he asked Greyback another question.
“What do you mean?”
Greyback growled again, this time louder and through wolf vocal cords. Potter had taken his wand before escorting him out of Azkaban but Dolohov had gotten new wands for them. However, that muggle… had shot his replacement wand right out of his hand. Greyback snorted out in glee as that memory flashed through his mind. Ripping a chunk out of that muggle’s flesh had been very enjoyable and doubly enjoyable as wolf.
Perhaps he ought to form his own pack here. That muggle could be the first after all. He was a wizard werewolf who could create his own army and it didn’t look like there were any wizards here. He was the only one. He grinned toothily and thanked the man before heading back to the cabin he was squatting in.
It was getting dark, the sun had disappeared an hour ago but he could still see very clearly. He paused at the porch, glanced to the empty acre of land to the east and spotted golden fur. Greyback snorted and then walked over to the door, knowing that whatever jaguar was near him would smell him and run away.
The howl that ripped through the air made him freeze as he took one step into the cabin. Wolves weren’t native to South America. The only wolf in South America was him and… Potter. He growled again and headed into his cabin, closing the door behind him. Damn the man for surviving all through their accidental journey here. Potter was the only one who stood a chance of finding him and stopping him.
The wolf reared in his mind and his left hand turned into a paw. Fur sprouted over his hand and he flexed the claws, reaching to the wall closest to him and trailing his paw over the already peeling wallpaper.
He could hear how strangled it sounded and his fangs shot out deeper. Fur crawled over his neck and throat but he stayed on two legs as he walked over to the back door. Another howl filled the air, coming from beyond the front door, and Greyback kicked the back door open and ran out only to get blindsided.
A leopard ambushed him, knocking over and taking a bite out of his shoulder. Greyback yelled out and reached out blindly with his clawed hand. The big cat leapt out of his way, gracefully dancing out of the way of each of his movements.
Potter as a wolf charged from the other direction and ripped into his leg. Greyback howled and jolted up, standing and running limply into the forest in front of him. The leopard and wolf charged him as one, not even giving him a chance. The last thing he saw was the leopard’s brown eyes and the wolf’s green as they met over his body.
When Harry woke up the next morning, he was lying up against a thick tree trunk, back to two legs. The sun was rising in the sky and warming them up, casting light on the blood trail that ended at Harry’s feet. The blood trail that stopped before him led back out of the forest and Harry was of no doubt that it was Greyback’s. Harry’s pack had followed him here and was at his back. He had probably summoned it when he had first been lucid enough to do it, in the wee hours of this morning.
The warm body next to him was Erik’s. The man was back to two legs too and curled up tightly. Erik had been beautiful as a leopard and lethal. Harry had watched in awe as leopard Erik had jumped and scaled that tree to take down that deer for an afternoon snack. The wolf inside him rumbled in agreement and then slunk back down to nap, having thoroughly enjoyed their hunt together.
He slowly turned over to open up his pack, searching for clothes and pulling them on. He pulled out Erik’s clothes and weapons and stacked them right next to the other man before laying a hand on Erik’s shoulder.
“Erik. Hey, Erik.”
He remembered watching as leopard Erik took a chunk out of Greyback’s shoulder, like Greyback had done to Erik. He didn’t know if Erik would remember anything of his night shift though. He hadn’t remembered what he had done during the first moon after being bitten but perhaps Erik would be different. Certainly Harry had been truthful when he had been confronted with Erik not turning into a wolf.
There were no other werewolves that turned into cats. They all turned into wolves. Maybe he would have to find and meet this Maximoff girl. Maybe she would know.
Harry blinked and turned back to Erik, watching as he jolted awake himself. Erik was breathing heavily, his eyes wide and frantic, his fingers clenching into fists. “Here. Your clothes. You want to go get some tea or coffee?”
Erik blinked up at him, his brown eyes narrowing. “What.”
“It’s morning?” Harry tried, raising an eyebrow. “People usually… you know… break their fasts.”
Erik just stared at him.
“Coffee? You a morning person?”
“You usually talk like that, white boy?”
Harry rolled his eyes and stood up as Erik sat up and stretched. Erik also was sporting an erection and Harry sucked in a breath at the sight, readily familiar with being horny the morning after a shift. Erik glared at him, his eyes narrowed, and Harry turned away, grinning a little.
“I’m not 500 years old,” Harry retorted, shrugging. “I’m hungry for something that isn’t deer and I’m not meaning sex.”
He tried not to watch as Erik got dressed, throwing on his jeans and strapping his knife and one or two guns to his belt.
“You know the area?” Harry asked, as he started walking, heading to the sounds of the town north of them. “Because I don’t.”
“Yeah, I do. It’s called recon. Come on.”
“I know what recon is, cat boy. I just didn’t have the time to do it,” Harry argued as they walked into the town.
Harry spared a glance at Erik as the man led him to a coffee shop, seeing his eyes widen.
“You turn into a leopard. Besides, turnabout is fair play.”
Erik stared at him before scowling and stalking off to the counter to order. Harry snorted and followed, glancing up to the tv in the corner, watching as it played news. The volume wasn’t on that high but Harry could hear every word and didn’t recognize any of it.
Something about Avengers and a conference in Vienna?
“What or who are the Avengers?” Harry asked, catching up to Erik and giving his own order. He caught the moment that Erik’s shoulders stiffened, turned to watch as the news reporter mentioned something about world leaders sending their own representatives to Vienna.
“It’s none of your business.”
“Typical English. Ordering tea,” Erik muttered as he stepped away from the counter.
“I like tea. What’s the matter with that?”
Harry stared at Erik, watching as Erik met his eyes.
Erik glared at him and Harry just crossed his arms.
“It’s something to do with somewhere in Africa, isn’t it? You turned into a leopard for a reason.”
Erik scowled and started to pace, walking in the corner of the shop and glaring at anyone who looked at him funny. Harry sighed and waited him out, going to get both their drink orders when they were called. He handed the coffee to Erik, who didn’t even stop pacing, and held his tea within both of his hands, enjoying the warmth.
“My father was a prince,” Erik finally said quietly.
Harry blinked and took a sip of his tea, breathing a sigh of pleasure at the taste.
“I thought you were born in Oakland, California.”
Erik scowled and sipped his coffee, his shoulders uncurling from their tense stance.
“Long story?” Harry questioned, raising an eyebrow.
Erik met his eyes but stayed quiet, his eyes narrowed in thought.
“Would it help if we went to that conference in Vienna?”
Erik stiffened. “That bastard of a king killed my father.”
Harry blinked again and stepped in front of Erik to avoid another customer. “How about we talk outside?”
Erik nodded and led the way out, dumping his mostly full cup of coffee on the way. Harry raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment as they ventured back to the cabin that Greyback had squatted in. Erik stopped on the porch and leaned against the railing, his body tense and stiff.
“My father was Prince N’Jobu of Wakanda and he was a War Dog...”
Harry stood next to Erik as the other man talked in a low voice. Talked of how his father had seen the suffering of his people and decided to help them with the things that being a Prince of Wakanda had taught him. Of how Wakanda had the means to help outsiders and black people in America but they chose not to. Of the Black Panther, the protector of Wakanda.
Of how his father had fallen in love with a woman from Oakland and had Erik. Erik talked of how he had found his daddy dead with panther claws in his chest when he was seven. Of how he had moved from foster home to foster home and had been deemed not good enough for anyone until he was 18 and kicked out.
Of joining the military and excelling at every single thing, killing more than most of his buddies in his unit. Of gaining the name Killmonger and scarring himself for each kill. None of the self inflicted scars had disappeared since Erik had been bitten, which he took glee in.
“Do you know if your… cousin knows of your existence?” Harry finally asked, several minutes and a few moments of silence later. “Or if your uncle knows?”
Erik slowly shook his head.
“Do you really want to kill King T’Chaka? I’m pretty sure that’s not the way to get answers,” Harry commented, leaning over the railing and watching as a truck full of police officers drove by. They had probably found the remains of Greyback’s body or perhaps the remains of the other Death Eaters. “Putting aside the fact that I can talk to dead people.”
Erik blinked and turned to face him, raising an eyebow. “What.”
“Oh… I didn’t mention that, did I. Let’s put that aside for now. Do you know where Wakanda is?”
“Oh, you’re not getting away from what you said that easily. What the fuck do you mean you can talk to dead people?”
Harry sighed and met Erik’s eyes. “I’m Master of the Deathly Hallows. Erik, it’s not healthy to talk to dead people the way I can. And just for the record, I can’t resurrect people.”
“But you can talk to dead people.”
“I can. Doesn’t mean I will or want to.”
Erik stared at him and then turned away. “You’re explaining that later.”
Harry grinned and then pondered what Erik had talked about. “You didn’t say if going to Vienna would be a good thing. You do want to get answers, don’t you?”
“You think anyone would recognize you?”
Erik shook his head, glancing to him. “You can get us there?”
“Yeah. I have the money. And I know no one would recognize me.”
Erik peered out onto the road that led into the town, his body curling in around himself, flexing his arms and legs. “Alright, whitey. You finally make sense for once.”
Harry snorted and elbowed Erik’s side. “We’re going to Vienna then, cat boy. And who says I haven’t made sense?”
Erik scowled at Harry’s name for him, his hand going to the knife at his belt.
Harry peered down at Erik’s hand and then reconsidered his plan. “It’s probably best if we take private transportation. I don’t want to be stuck in a metal can with hundreds of other people.”
“What happened to you liking flying?”
“Another kind of flying. Broomstick flying.”
Erik rolled his eyes and Harry smiled, holding out his hand.
Erik stared at him and then sighed, reaching out his own and laying it in Harry’s palm. The sun rose around them as they heard another siren of a police car fill the air, heading to Greyback’s body. “It’s a deal.”