Where Darkness Began: Two:

It was cold. Really cold. A terrible wet cold, on top of the chill. It slicked snow already on the ground into ice, and made even the snowmen with cheery scarves look like cruel monsters of winter's army.

The snow kept falling from the dark night sky, but either the way it fell or soaked up wet and icy from the ground the winter snow leaked abysmally through Freak's crappy and holed trainers. Only Dudley got winter boots. Freak didn't have boots. Or coats. Or warm blankets. Or even beds. Only special boys like Dudley got them.

Freak huffed out a tired sigh, watching the breath steam in the cold night air. He hadn't meant to take so long getting the garbage from the garage to the front curb, but it had been so heavy, and hard to pull. He'd honestly tried to be quick, but Uncle Vernon had locked him out. Again. Freak knew from past experience no amount of banging on the door, or wailing would get him entrance. He'd have to trudge through the slippery ice-topped snow to the small shed in the back garden, and just wait the night out.

Pulling himself to his feet, and resigned to the likelihood of soaking his toes, Freak made his way around the house with bowed head and rounded shoulders. He stopped to try the back door, but it too was locked tight. The kitchen light was still on, and that just told him his Aunt and Uncle had knowingly locked him out. Again.

Freak let loose another long-suffering sigh Tiredly, he turned and continued his difficult trudge through the dark yard back to the small wooden shed where Aunt Petunia kept her gardening supplies. He huddled arms tightly around his cold body, and winced some more at the feeling of cold snow on what used to be warm toes. Making his way to the back of the shed and the sliding doors that kept it closed, Freak's heart sunk as he spotted the new shiny brass lock gleaming on the handle. Cold fingers tested it, hoping it was open, knowing even before he reached out it was a silly foolish hope, more like a miracle if it was unlocked.

It wasn't.

With a despairing moan, Freak sank down, back against the shed doors, despair robbing the strength of tired legs. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were trying to kill him. They had deliberately left him out in the cold, with no place to find shelter. They wanted him dead. A single tear escaped his tired eyes, and a soft sob tore at his throat. "Freak don't wanna die." He cried softly.

But it was so cold, and he was so tired. He huddled down, knees tight to cold body, his oversized sweater and threadbare pants getting soaked by the still falling snow. Head tucked low to breastbone, Freak tried to sniff away tears. But he was soooo very cold. Why couldn't Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon love Freak even a smidgen as much as they did Dudders? Why did they have to hate him so much? Sobs ripped through him. Lonely, heart-wrenching sobs full of heartbreak.

Freak had no idea how long he'd been outside, nor any awareness of the passing of time since huddling at the small shed's exterior. The storm of his tears had passed, leaving him still cold, stuffed-up and achy. It was darker now, the kitchen lights were turned off and shadows no longer had to fight for dominion. Only the full glowing moon above cast any radiance on the world below.

Freak distantly noticed when the cold stopped biting him. It was right about the time he started to feel very sleepy. Just so tired, that if he let his eyes close, they'd stay closed forever, and he's sleep perfectly. It was still, he knew, very cold, and he was, he understood, very wet. But, he didn't notice anything else in the cold winter night.

So, tired, wet, and near death from hypothermia, it was completely understandable that a small four year old boy might miss the something like the big bad wolf that snuck into the yard, fresh on the trail of prey. The big bad grey brindled wolf, that literally flowed through the snow like a duck on a river. The big bad drooling wolf that saw the tiny dark-haired boy curled up like an offering, and it's jaws opened with eager anticipation.

And then the wolf took a whiff. And sneezed hard.

THIS Freak, sleepy and near death as he was, did notice. And looking up to see the big bad brindled wolf with dripping maw just mere inches from his face - well, that got the heart pumping and blood flowing again. With good common sense of any prey, he screamed, and scrambled for his feet.

The lock on the shed didn't open, despite his desperate wrench on it. The shed's shelter wasn't to be his miracle then, but surprisingly another miracle did suddenly happen. For certainly, a big bad wolf would see a frozen child as a meal, but instead, the giant wolf's reactions and actions became both puzzling and incredible.

The wolf sniffed up against the boy, chuffing against the sodden back of the small child, just above the waist. Freak spun around, eyes wide and scared. Amber eyes seemed to study him for a moment, and then the head darted down. Teeth snagged on the overlarge sweater he wore, tugging the boy up to his feet, and fair near dragging him to follow the wolf into the thick cedar bush at the very back of Aunt Petunia's garden. Freak tried to fight free, but he was cold, near frozen solid, and the wolf certainly had the upper hand.

Freak thought he was dinner. As in, the main course. "Don't hurt me. Don't!" He pleaded with tears. The wolf huffed, but kept on tugging him into the shrubbery. "Freak too skinny. Skin and bones… oh, no… doggies like bones!" He near wailed.

The wolf gave one more savage pull, tearing the sweater, but tossing the boy down to a bare patch of earth, shielded from winter by weight of the plant above. There, under the cover of quality shrubbery, the wolf curled up into a protective ball around the boy, and tucked it's cold nose under the boy's shirt and got a big whiff of (too thin) belly. Freak supposed it was that really skinny belly that was the reason he wasn't being eaten. The big bad wolf would want a fat little pig, after all.

In short order, his toes started to thaw out, covered by the living coat of the wolf. And then his hands. And then his nose. And soon enough, Freak fell asleep.

And thus is how Harry James Potter ("Freak") survived that cold night in 1984 when his Uncle and Aunt locked him out. It was also the ignominious beginning of how Lord Voldemort was defeated before the second rise could even begin.

'- - -'

Jasper Lockwood was Bannon Lockwood's second son, and took strongly after Bannon Lockwood's mistress. As such, that Jasper was his son was a fact Bannon tried not to recall, at least not most of the time. Oh, Bannon was happy to present his eldest son, Frederick. Delighted to show off his baby girl, Victoria, but he was inclined to forget the middle bastard child, especially after he had been bitten by a werewolf at the tender age of eight.

It meant, despite the glad-handing Albus Dumbledore was wont to do to those of Gryffindor tendencies, that in the long established Slytherin-based household of Lockwood which Jasper had been born into, Jasper wouldn't be receiving concessions or placement for him at Hogwarts. It also meant, that Jasper would never own a home, or hold a good job. Or at least, not a home or job in the wizarding world, and Bannon Lockwood honestly did believe the world began and ended with the wizarding world.

The thing was, unlike his elder half-brother and younger half-sister, Jasper had to get his education through a hedge wizarding day-school. He wrote his exams at the Ministry at sixteen and eight months, and on the moment that the big hand struck to the hour when he turned seventeen, Jasper left the Lockwood home and never looked back. It was just as well, seeing as Bannon also forgot to give his middle child an allowance on a regular basis. Jasper was never quite sure if his father forgot him because he was the 'bastard' son or forgot him because he was a werewolf. Jasper often prayed it was that his father was ashamed by the events that happened to his child, and so horrified by the outcome, that he repressed all memory of the horror, which meant forgetting the child, which in turn meant repressing one's duty to the child. Because otherwise, it was an ugly case of cruel neglect.

Either way, he was 17 when he escaped the magical world and made his way in the muggle.

By the tender age of 21, Jasper found and married an imminently beautiful and sweet girl, of squib descent, by the name of Allison Black. Allison was the granddaughter of Marius Black, and therefore, estranged kin to the old Black family. He and his wife found work in the muggle world. Fact was, he was a part-time construction worker by day, while attending college by afternoon and nights when he met Ally. And with his wiry physical strength that served him well, Jasper had been able to hold the same job with the same construction firm while attending school. It took 5 years, but he was now a construction manager for a well established firm, and Ally, bless her giving heart, was a full-on nurse at the local hospital.

The graduation gift that Ally had received from her family, in particular the gift from her very awesome grandfather, Marius, had been enough for a downpayment on their first house.

So, the first thing he and Ally had done with their more stable income was buy a home in a quiet little neighborhood that had an easy commute for them both.

Privet Drive looked like a bunch of clones, but that was perfect for a couple trying to avoid the magical world. There was nothing about Privet Drive that truly stood out, and as clone-like and repetitious as the outsides of their homes were, inside, with Allie's vision of a home, and Jasper's construction skills, there would be a wealth of differences from their neighbors. And, so, Ally and Jasper chose to make #6 Privet Drive their home.

It wasn't all sunshine and buttercups. After all, Jasper was a werewolf. They had fortified a portion of the basement to serve as his "full moon den.", Jasper applying everything he had to make it very tight, sound-proof, and yet comfortable for both he and the wolf. He'd also built a secondary exit so that after the moon, he left the basement den by a door and iron-gate into the backyard. This way, he wouldn't break into the house proper and attack Ally, Merlin forbid.

In retrospect, a retrospect only taken the night after the full-moon when he had apparently escaped his den, putting in that exterior exit from this one room was clearly a huge mistake. Sure, the wolf didn't have an opposable thumb, but it had still managed to take out the iron gates that was supposed to keep it securely contained. Jasper was pretty sure it was his magic that did that. Dammit.

"I don't know I can live with myself."Jasper found himself moaning into coffee, his body shaking and tired from the strain of transformation. "Oh, Merlin… I'm a ruddy child-killing monster."

Ally scoffed, returning to the small kitchen with a small vial of potion in her hand. "Well. Seeing there has been no emergency vehicles at their house, you are not, Jasper. Now stop with that nonsense." She lay the potion in front of his empty breakfast plate.

"I am." He swore, "You don't understand, I probably bit that puir wee lad. And, what if there's no call out because they can't find the lad's wee body." His throat tightened awfully, and his stomach flipped. "Oh Merlin, what if I ATE him? I think I'll be sick."

She huffed, eyes rolling at his Scottish accent's dustup. "Not on my kitchen floor. You didn't eat him, Jasper."

"Ach, I might have done, Ally! Or bit him, and turned him which is the damn same thing. God above, y'know that the Muggles da'nae take the curse well. Most die from it. And wee bairns? They die from it all the time." He moaned, rolling the potion vial apathetically with his thumb from side to side.

"That potion works far better if you actually drink it." His wife asserted, somewhat snarky in tone. Her eyes spoke differently, gentle empathy to his overwhelming dismay shining through. "Look, drink your potion, get some rest. I'll go over and check on the boy."

Miserably sad puppy-dog brown eyes looked at her. She smiled tolerantly, almost seeing an imaginary tail swishing back and forth in hope. "But, mind you, you'll owe me flowers for this. For love of Merlin, if you MUST escape the house when gone 'were', could you kindly avoid the Dursley's yard? She's a ruddy nightmare of a muggle! And that's saying something, given I'm just a squib!"

"You nae anything else but perfect in every way." He assured her. "I'll take my potion. I'll even shower and clean up, tuck myself for in bed for a kip; I'll be a good abiding little werewolf - just, please Ally-love, check on the boy. The skinny one, not the orca."

And thus it was that Allison Lockwood nee Black, of THOSE Blacks, found herself primly knocking on the door of Privet Drive at eleven in the morning. Her pea coat was neat and tidy, buttons all in good repair. Her smart flannel cap kept the snow off and her ears warm, while stylishly complementing the coat - something she was inordinately proud of. Her very shiny boots were both stylish and sensible, polished to utter smart perfection. It was, as she often described it to her very indulgent and loving mother, her Sunday best look fit for the Bishop, not that she and Jasper were terribly church abiding. Being raised from magical stock, Merlin was far more revered than Christ. Either way, her Sunday best was something Petunia Dursley scarcely deserved.

The orca opened the door a moment after she'd rung the bell. His rotund reddened face smeared with chocolate (and honestly, who gave a child sweets at this time in the morning?)

"Who're you?" He asked, belligerent as only a four year old could.

"I'm your neighbor, Mrs. Lockwood." Ally found herself pasting a sweet smile insincerely on her face. "Is your Mummy home?"

The orca blinked at her. 'Fancy that,' Ally marveled. 'Orca's can blink!' She gave herself a mental shake, 'Oh honestly, he's the size of, not an actual Orca. Get your brain in the game, Allison Dorea Lockwood!'

"MUMMY!" The Orca bellowed.

His mother, in complete contrast to the monstrous size of child, was as thin as a rake, long-necked like a giraffe, but cursed with horridly sour expression. "Duddikins! What has Mummy told you. You don't open the door, dearheart. You don't ever open the door unless Mummy tells you that you may." She hustled down and pulled her child back into the bowels of the house. "Go on with you, back to the kitchen. If you can wait quietly, Mummy will cut you another slice of cake."

'Oh dear Circe and Morrigan, feeding the great big beast another slice of cake? Was the woman insane?' Ally watched all this with morbid fascination. Finally, when Mrs. Dursley had ushered her not-so-little sea-creature into the kitchen, she returned to the door, very cooly addressing her visitor. "May I help you?"

"I'm Mrs. Lockwood, from two houses down. Do you have a moment, Mrs. Dursley?" Ally asked politely. She had learned at her Nana's feet how to be an imperious snotty pureblood, should need arise. Point was, need should never arise, her Nana had assured her. Seeing as Grandpapa Marius eschewed the 'backstabbing morons of the magical inbred world,' with the sole exception being his sweet baby sister Dorea, and her own Mum had been a muggle, Ally honestly never believed she'd set foot in magical London at any point in her life.

But Petunia? Well. She'd bring out the snot in any kind soul.

"I really haven't the time for any door-to-door nonsense." Mrs. Dursley bit out. "And a young childless woman like you likely has nothing else to bring to my doorstep."

Right. Well then, pureblood sophisticate it was. "Indeed." Ally let her smile go very cold. "Then allow me to be brief. I question why you are allowed to care for one child, much less two, seeing as you left a young four year old locked out of the house last night. My Jasper found the boy, we kept him warm and safe, before returning him in the morning. Jasper noted you unlatched the door at 6 am. Most reprehensible, Mrs. Dursley, for it tells me you KNEW the child was outside."

Petunia Dursley sucked a breath in, her face going stark white. "How dare…"

"The lad has a touch of frost-bite." Ally continued. "I note you've not left the house at all this morning, and wanted to confirm YOU gave him appropriate treatment, and didn't just shove him into a cupboard somewhere."

Petunia clutched at her chest, swaying.

"Madam?" Oh, honestly, the woman was too young to have a heart-attack. She couldn't be thirty years as yet.

Yet, much to Ally Lockwood's surprise, Mrs. Petunia Dursley did indeed have a minor heart-attack. Which was how Mrs. Lockwood found herself inside the Dursley house calling for an ambulance. The ambulance came, and went, and while Ally fended off the whaling whale (and she did not think that at all funny at the time), she could not find hide or hair of the other lad.

"Where is your brother?" She demanded of the whale.

"I don't have one." The boy said mulishly. "I want my cake!"

"There is another boy living here." She snarled back, not caring that she was fair near yelling at a four-year old (orca). "Where is he?"

"If I tell you, will you give me cake?" The whale bargained.

Honestly, a four year old bargaining for cake? What was the world coming to? This was grounds enough to swear off having children. She only hoped Jasper wouldn't be too disappointed. "You may have a reward, yes, if you tell me truthfully."

He pointed a pudgy finger at the cupboard under the stairs. "Freak is kept there when Mummsy doesn't need him."

Ally's breath caught. Oh dear Merlin - she had been completely facetious in her cupboard comment. Dear Lord and Lady, they hadn't… trembling fingers lifted the lock on the door, and she opened it to find dozing on thin pile of blankets, threadbare, dirty and frayed, was the tiny boy who had been cuddled by her werewolf husband all through the cold winter night. His color was a bit flushed, but Ally strongly suspected that if the boy had a good bath, fresh meal, and some proper care, he'd be fine.

It was of course, at this moment, that Mr. Dursley, and the local constabulary arrived. And from there, it snowballed into one fine mess of catastrophic events.

Jasper woke from his potion induced nap an hour past lunch. Sleepy eyed, and sloppily dressed, but very grateful to have the day off, he shambled down into his kitchen, one hand reaching under his t-shirt to scratch at his belly as he plopped down into his usual chair, and reached with the free hand into the fruit bowl for a banana.

Then he heard a giggle.

Peeling his sleepy eyes to the fullest open, and firing up dazed mental neurons, he found the same little lad as the night before sitting plum on his Ally's lap, eating scrambled eggs and apple slices. He rubbed his eyes. Looked again, and rubbed a third time.

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Jasper. Stop that." Ally growled.

There were times he honestly wondered who was the werewolf in this relationship. This was apparently going to be one of those times.

"Harry, this brute of a man is my husband, Jasper."

Harry, with big green eyes, stared solemnly from under a shaggy mop of dark hair at his face, committing it to memory. He nodded after a long moment of pursed lips and deep consideration. "Doggy!" He declared."You were the doggy last night!"

Jasper's jaw fell somewhere to the floor. Ally stiffened too. "What doggy, sweetie?" She asked shakily.

"The big grey and brown doggy." Harry twisted to look up at her, his hair shifting as he did to showcase a spectacular scar on the boy's forehead. "I thought it was gonna eat me." He told her confidentially. "But it sniffed me, and then pulled me to hide under the big green bush, and then kept me warm." The child explained, looking at Ally gravely. " He was very nice doggy." This he twisted his wee body to gift a sweet smile to Jasper.

"He can be." Ally agreed faintly. She didn't add how Jasper was sweet 99% of the time, just not the 1% that was the full moon. Oh dear.

"Did I… did… were there…" Jasper choked out a jumbled question.

"Well, Harry had a bad spot of a day." Ally demurred. "This dear lad's Auntie and Uncle had no appreciation for the wonders of a wee man like him. I found him buried in the cupboard under the stairs, Jasper. Apparently, that's where, and I quote this not to be repeated ever, 'freaks' are kept. I had to carefully explain to Mr. Dursley and his son that little boys are not ever freaks, and whether or not they like cupboards, they are to have a proper room and a well-constructed bed."

Jasper's eyes darkened, and Ally gave her husband a stern glare. He was not, under any circumstances, to let his inner wolf out for a snarl. She had a lovely oak rolling pin, and she had a deft hand in using it.

"So, while Mrs. Dursley recovers from her misfortunate coronary, and Mr. Dursley gets things sorted out that include a proper room and properly fitted clothes for all seasons for Harry, I offered to let this young man be our guest." Ally blithely continued. "We've already had a bath, and gotten some warmer clothes on, and now finished a bite of lunch."

"Bubble bath, I suppose?" Jasper sighed. His wife favored this wretched fruity smelling bubble bath. It made his nose itch fiercely when she indulged.

"It smelled like strawberries!" Harry cheered. "I like the smell of strawberries!"

Oh, the ruddy joy. She had an accomplice now.

"Strawberries are very nice." Ally sanguinely agreed. "We had a bit of strawberry jam on toast, and Harry quite liked that, too."

The lad nodded, and again the hair moved. Jasper squinted. It looked almost like a lightening bolt - how odd was that. Why, he'd only heard of one lad… Jasper froze. "Ally, love, let me see Harry's forehead?" He requested quietly, dread pooling in his gut.

Her hand brushed the wee boy's head, and there in all it's glory was the scar. "Oh, ruddy hell." Jasper sighed.

"Jasper! Language! That happened when his parents died in a car accident - he doesn't have aught else but a few bruises on him." Ally told him.

"Does Harry have any toys to play with?" Jasper gave his wife a most pleading look. They didn't have kids. Hadn't talked about having kids, really, so had never developed the covert code system of speaking glances that held entire and terribly involved conversations. Her parents were amazing at the system of silent conversation, and her grandparents had it made to artform..

"Harry is about to venture forth and watch his first ever cartoon." His wife assured him. "But not until he's finished his eggs."

Jasper pouted. "Which cartoon… that's not fair, love, you know I love the cartoons."

"You've watched the Jungle Book a million times, Jasper" His wife told him in exasperation, "You can let Harry watch while we have a chat, and then you can join him."

The pout was worthy a toddler, but so it went just as it usually did with toddlers - ignored utterly. All in all, in scarcely a half hour, Ally had Harry curled up on a very nice sofa (to the wee lad's dismay - freaks weren't supposed to get up on the furniture. Ally assured him that if Jasper was allowed on the furniture, then Harry was allowed too. And that Harry was not, nor was he ever, a freak, thank you very much, Mrs. Dursley.), bundled up in a soft wool blanket, Ally's old ratty stuffed rabbit in the crook of his arm, and gazing rapturously at Baloo as he danced across the large screen tv.

Jasper was less entranced, seeing as he was now upstairs in the bedroom he shared with his lovely wife, pacing back and forth liked a caged wolf. "That's Harry Potter." He muttered. "That lad, the one I nearly ate, is Harry ruddy Potter."

Ally serenely sat on the bed and paired socks from the laundry. "I fail to see the cause for drama. It took me an hour to get the lad's first name out of Dursley. Indeed, had not Constable Parker been there, I doubt I'd have had much success. Even that small orca that lives there calls Harry 'freak'. And let me tell you, that boy will be dead of heart disease long before he's twenty-five if they don't stop spoiling him. He's seriously in danger of losing the definition 'small' to his orca'ness!"

"But - Harry freaking Potter!" Jasper ranted again.

"I'll not hear that word, Jasper Lockwood. You mind me! There will be no more use of the word freak around that boy, or my rolling pin and I will be having a serious conversation with you." His wife glared.

"He's the Boy-Who-Lived!" Her husband prattled on.

""Well, obviously, he lived. I'm tell you, whatever may have happened last night, you did not bite him, or try to bite him." She eyed a dress sock heel rather critically. The heel was completely out of the poor sock. "Honestly, what do you do to your socks, Jasper? Gnaw on them?" She tossed the pair into a bin beside the bed.

Jasper closed his eyes and pinched his nose. "Luv, I know that your Da and Grand-Da did not speak much of the magical world, or your illustrious extended family, and well other than ensuring you learned potions and herbology… you've not got a clue on current events, but, you do know about the Dark Lord, right?"

"Lord Voldie-thingamabob." Ally nodded. "Of course."

"That lad downstairs is the very same lad who defeated Lord Thingamabob at fifteen months old, mere minutes after the Lord Thingamabob killed his parents. As Dark Lords went, this one was a bit overly fond of the killing curse."

Ally blinked. She put down the socks she was examining, and stared at her husband. They'd been married five years now, and normally, while they acknowledged they did have magical relatives, they were pretty removed (with the exception of one night per month) from magic. Jasper was a wizard, yes, but he eschewed that life given the prejudice the wizarding world held against werewolves. "A baby killed the Dark Lord? What? Were his nappies radioactive or something?" She blinked. "Honestly? A baby?" She shook her head in complete askance, her mouth twisted in disgust. "Well, he wasn't much of a Dark Lord then, was he?"

"Oh, he was." Jasper rolled his eyes. "That's why that lad is so celebrated in the magical world as the Boy Who Lived. And now, you're telling me, he lived only to be placed with the worst sort of non magicals alive and has been treated far worse that a Black could treat a house-elf."

Ally pursed her lips. "I don't like the aspersions on my family, Jasper. They are your in-laws, not your outlaws. But, yes."

"Fucking fantastic." Her husband threw up his hands. "If anyone finds out I got out and nearly attacked the Boy-Who-Lived, I'll be kissed for certain."

"I've never threatened to withhold sexual favors just because you escaped." His wife said with exasperation. "You'll definitely be kissed, because you didn't eat the lad."

He threw himself on the bed, making the laundry basket bounce, and buried his face in a pillow, shoulders heaving with laughter.

"This is a magical thing, this kiss, you're talking about, isn't it?" She guessed.

He nodded into the pillow.

"A bad magical thing?"

He nodded again, the head bobbing in the pillow.

"You could stop laughing at me at any time, now." She poked at his backside. He still kept snickering into the pillow.

"Right. Well then. I'm going to abandon you in favor of Mr. Boy-Who-Obviously-Lived. He and I are watching Robin Hood next. Then we're going to the park. We are ordering in for dinner." She informed him haughtily. "Tonight, I'll contact Grand-dad. And I'll find out what he has to say about your attitude towards my magical naivete."

If anything, the ridiculous man started laughing harder. Honestly. It was hard being the wife of a werewolf.

'- - -'

It was the third full moon since the first encounter with wee Harry Potter, and Jasper was at his wits end. Firstly, his wife was beside herself when she had to return Harry to his ruddy relatives. How the constabulary could have forgotten the cupboard under the stairs, or the condition of the boy, she had no idea. Jasper reckoned magic was involved.

Suffice it to say, while his wife hadn't been a big fan of witches and wizards prior, she definitely wasn't now. He thanked Merlin daily she hadn't been born a witch. Fate must have been looking out for England, for certain, because Ally had the Black mindset for vengeance that would have made Dark Lords everywhere quake.

As it was, since the boy had been returned, Allison had channeled her inner dark lady, and used every trick genetically ingrained into the Black family for pretentious snobbery to ensure the now recovering Mrs. Dursley knew someone was watching her. Wee Harry was a regular lunch visitor on the weekends, seeing as Allison had blackmailed and goaded Mrs. Dursley into registering the wee tot into primary for week days. He often accompanied the Lockwood family to the movies. Actually, Harry was a bit of a blessing, Jasper found. People always looked at them oddly going to films for children - but the movies for children indulged the child in Jasper muchly, and he liked them far more than the ones that blew things up left right and centre. Muggles were scary with guns. When Harry accompanied them, usually skipping happily while holding Ally's hand, most parents indulged the 'family' with a soft smile as they went to the cinema.

Sadly, it wasn't all sunshine and roses from there on out. Once again, after the passing of a mere twelve weeks, it all went to pot.

He was utterly confounded by those bloody Dursleys and their less than rational thinking process. Once again, wee Harry Potter had been locked outside, after dark. On the full moon. AGAIN. And this time, the overly trusting wee lad hadn't stayed in his own yard, no, of course not. He'd come over to the Lockwood House to find his favorite doggy, opened the bloody gates, and crept down to cuddle with a man-eating, drooling werewolf. It had never occurred to the lad to go knock on the front door and be safely ensconced in the house-proper with Ally.

What was really utterly insane was that his wolf had been delighted - and Jasper the man could vividly remember it. The bloody wolf was prancing from foot to foot when the boy had crept down. It had been beyond ecstatic to snuffle, cuddle and play with the boy. So protective, and… he distinctly recalled hearing the child's stomach rumble - which had sent the wolf out on the cold spring night to track down a rabbit, and bring the dead rabbit back to the boy as an offering.

And bless the boy's little dark head, the child had scratched behind his ears, told him thank you, very much, Mr. Wolf, but that he preferred his food cooked, if that was okay. Mr. Wolf should eat the bunny, then that would be quite fine, and prevent fact it was dead now from being wasteful.

Lord help him. The boy didn't have an ounce of common sense. One did not cuddle up to a werewolf. Or say 'no' to a werewolf. There was no negotiation with a bloody werewolf! And, honestly, his damn werewolf really needed to make up its mind. Either it was an angry insane ravenous beast bent on destruction and chaos, or it was a placid golden retriever rolling over for a belly scratch. This fluttering between the two was ridiculous. He was developing a complex!

"I gather we had an unexpected visitor?" His wife said, leaning on the gate and peering down into his little den. Her naked husband was pressed against the back wall of the den, a wall that bordered onto the house, and was likely the warmest. In his arms, quietly sleeping, lay Harry Potter. Her lips were quirked in that way that told him she was very near laughing.

"I could have hurt him." He whispered, the thought scared him so badly. "This has to stop."

"I don't see it can, short of us moving. Your wolf likes him. Not a howl all night long, Jasper." She said, opening the gate wider and tossing him a pair of trackpants. Soft gray eyes swept around the room, looking for damage. "Is that… fur?" She asked with a frown.

"I tried to feed him a rabbit." He sighed.

Ally blinked, looked at the crumbled bloody mess of fur, and winced. "Oh, Jasper!" She shook her head, lower lip trembling with instantly suppressed tears. "A poor little bunny?"

He rolled his eyes. Of course she'd get all upset over a bloody rabbit. The boy hadn't been, but his wife? "Focus, Ally."

She sniffed back tears. "Give him here. I'll get him a bath and a meal, then we can see about terrorizing his relatives again. You… clean up those remains - I want them buried properly. And with respect, Jasper, do you hear me?" She gave him a glare for good measure, before it faded away suddenly. "Oh, and don't forget, we have dinner tonight with Anton and Mariella."

Jasper sighed. What really sucked the most was since meeting wee Harry that first cold night, his transformations had changed. The pain was easing, more and more with each moon. Oh, it was still uncomfortable, but not the sheer agony it had been pre-Harry. Almost, if he had to liken it to something, his shifts were become more like the animagus transformation. As if the wolf was giving his body some concessions provided that he got to sniff and cuddle up with wee Harry.

But the cost of such ease of shifting was that he couldn't even weasel out of socializing around the full-moon.

Anton, however, could still cancel. He and his wife were both werewolves, and the change was still a struggle for them.

Jasper had met Anton during primary. They'd suffered together, once they had realized each other was a were. And while his father had been more inclined to pretend his son didn't exist, Anton's parents re-shaped their world to support their son.

"They've not called to cancel?" He asked, as the sleepy boy was transferred easily into his wife's arm, and she gave a cursory exam of arms and legs. No bite marks or bloody wounds visible.

"No. But, they've likely just crawled out of their den, too. Give it an hour or so." His wife minded him. She cuddled the little boy close, dropping a soft kiss on his dark head, as she carried him out of the den and into the house.

Jasper followed along after shovelling up the remains of rabbit, burying it in the garden, he could feel Ally's eyes on him from the kitchen, so dutifully paused a minute over the fresh grave, and contemplated his options for breakfast. If she saw it as prayer, more the better. Finished with that chore, he hosed down the bloody mess he'd left behind in his den, and locked the gates closed.

By the time he'd gotten in the house, he was quite ready for his tea, a bite of food and a long shower. Harry was curled up on the sofa in the corner that he favored, watching some educational children's video that Ally had purchased. He was rosy cheeked, sleepy-eyed, and smiling sweetly as he glanced over at Jasper, waving his little hand.

"I don't get it." Jasper muttered. "The wolf adores him."

"So do you." His wife told him. "Even if you want to say you don't, you do. And don't think you can fool me, Jasper Lockwood - I know full well you've been meeting Harry at the fence of his primary and walking him home each day." Her glare spoke volumes.

"Yes, dear." He slumped, busted.

"Drink you tea." His fierce spouse ordered. She was digging through the massive pile of coats hung by the door to the backyard. The facial expressions she made as she critically evaluated each were killing him slowly.

She hefted a dark black mid-length trench, and gave a huff, tossing the apparently offending garment aside. Finally, tea finished, a plate of steak and eggs consumed, and too ruddy tired to mentally leap hurdles, Jasper found himself unable to resist asking. "What on Earth are you doing?"

"I need the perfect coat. Not too heavy, not too light, but distinctly sophisticated." She told him.

He blinked. "Are we going out somewhere today? Luv, I'm really not up to it. I need to get some work done here, and squeeze in a nap, before Anton arrives."

The sour frown she levelled was almost enough to make him take a step backwards. Sitting made that difficult, so he manned up and stayed where he was.

"WE," the love of his life stressed, "Are not going anywhere. Rather, I am marching myself over to the Dursleys to give Petunia another heart-attack. Maybe this one will be fatal."

'- - -'

Anton Spektor was a man very in touch with his inner wolf. It helped that he had grown up a member of a large German pack of werewolves. His parents had regarded his bite as a mere application to a unique club, and rather than ostracize the boy, they had dropped him on the local alpha, and told him they wanted him to spend time with the pack - especially around the full moon. It had worked beautifully to control the wolf pup, and Anton had grown up well-adjusted as a result.

Gregor Spektor, Anton's father, had written a series of books on the process of rearing a werewolf child in the home, and with the assistance of a local pack, and the dramatic effect 'pack' had on a werewolf's overall behavior. He'd theorized that lycanthropy was a social disease. Isolating the werewolf made it aggressive, hostile and more likely to attack with the goal of creating a pack. They were, after all, creatures of dark magic. Giving a werewolf a pack of werewolves had so many benefits. It made the change easier, since there were others around to give comfort, and a hierarchy all wolves fell into.

In the course of Anton's life, his father's research had become German Policy. In Germany, and Romania there were reserves where the afflicted went for the change, or to live if their family's couldn't accept them, there were programs for children that were afflicted to be fostered if their parents could not accept them, and as such the spread of the disease had dropped within German borders by 78%. In fact, the last identified werewolf child had been found twelve years ago.

That heightened and progressive attitude towards werewolves was one of the many reasons that Anton felt so badly for his brother-at-heart, Jasper. First, for his family's lack of support - something Anton never had experienced even once, and second, for the way Britain treated victims of other werewolves. The pain of transformation was shared when in a pack, and somehow was therefore diminished. The agony of the wolf was lost when they had a pack to run with, and the damage to the body lessened when man and wolf could commune and find common ground.

That wasn't to say his wolf was safe to be around. Oh no. He respected that aspect of his wolf, but recognizing it, meant living in a pack, hunting for rabbits or deer on the full moon gave allowance for the predator living under his skin. And in return, the predator co-existed in complete peace with him.

So, as a man very in touch with his inner beast, taking a tour of the den Jasper had built for his wolf was interesting. Very interesting. Because, the clever nose of the wolf was telling the man a great deal. "What or who on earth is providing that delectable smell, Jasper?" He found himself asking, head tilting back as he took a deep breath.

The smack at the back of his head took him by surprise. "What?"

"Don't." Jasper warned him lowly. "Look, we… Well. There's this kid."

"Someone bit a child in your neighborhood? I hope you ripped the asshole to shreds!" Anton growled.

"The kid's not a wolf." Jasper sighed in exasperation. "He's.. oh hell. You can't tell anyone this, but Harry Potter lives a few houses down."

Anton blinked. His jaw opened. It closed. He blinked again. "Potter?" He asked. "I'm scenting Potter in this room with your wolf?"

"We, uh, we like him." Jasper rubbed the back of his neck. "He was here last night. Well, this morning. His relatives keep locking him outside at night. If it weren't for the fact the kid keeps wandering into play with my wolf, and it's downright abusive to lock a small child out at night, it'd be amusing. Because it's letting Ally really channel her inner Dark Lady. She's terrorized Harry's aunt into two heart-attacks already."

Anton snorted. Allison was the sweetest, most gentle soul that he'd ever met. The complete antithesis to everything the legendary Ancient and Noble House of Black had ever produced. The mere idea she had terrorized anyone into near death was amusing to the extreme. She cried when animal rescues put out their charitable drives, for Merlin's sake. But, moving past Ally's affection for muggle-baiting these specific people- "And your wolf has not mauled the boy?"

"He REALLY likes the kid."

Anton breathed again. "Me too. You do realize why, though? There's a delicious darkness around the boy, it's warm, inviting, comforting. It feels like pack."

Jasper stilled. He thought about it, and then immediately banished the thought. Harry was a surprisingly cheerful wee lad, sweet as could be. He was sincerely thankful for everything Ally or Jasper did for him, and was remarkably quiet and cooperative. He wasn't annoying, or pestersome. The boy was fair near an angel. And, if one subscribed to the British Ministry of Magic, he was the Light bearer of House Potter.

But, the truth was, his wolf was more settled in and around the full moon since meeting Harry. And, as the curse was a dark curse, since it transformed even the lightest wizard into a dark creature, it reshaped the wizard's magic as dark, too. No matter what he wanted or tried to avoid, he had to admit he was part of the darker side of magic. But, just as he was, so too were many other creatures and aspects of magic that were not evil, just dark.

Was a Potter, one of the most preeminent houses of Light, actually a dark wizard?

Anton prowled more. "I would really like to meet this boy."

"You're not biting him." His brother-in-heart said baldly.

The startled look in Anton's eyes spoke volumes, and Jasper relaxed. "Of course not! But… Mariella wants to move. She's got a job offer here in England with a PR firm. Leaving the pack would be dreadful, but this is a good opportunity with flexible hours, so…" He shrugged, "But perhaps… perhaps we could move here. She could hop the train into London."

Jasper frowned. "But the laws of the Ministry prohibit you from working here."

"In the magical world. You do not work in the magical world, but you work." Anton waved a hand. "I don't need a fixed address for what I do. I just need a phone line and a computer. Honestly, Jasper, let me meet the boy. Perhaps he is enough to fulfill the need for pack."

Jasper reluctantly agreed, reluctant not that he did not trust his best friend, but reluctant because his inner wolf was convinced Harry was his. HIS. Well, his and Ally's, because even the wolf knew not to get between a bitch and her pup. He sighed, wanting nothing more than to keep Harry safe, the little boy already had a challenging life.