Happy Halloween! Unbeta'd, quick drabble jotted down in a random spare moment.
He had grown up on the stories of how evil he must be.
It wasn't told to him that way outright; he couldn't help what he was, after all. But it was always there, under the surface, in the darting glances and nervous fingers.
Evil smelled like fear, like sweat, like acrid bittersweet tears, the ones he let fall at night when he was locked inside and the Mother beyond cried with him.
He accepted that he must be evil; that he was the bad guy in the stories read at school. He was the big, bad, wolf that made children huddle in fear and squeal with pretend terror, giggling as little red riding hood asked Grandma her many questions.
The wizarding children would glance at him, then, and there behind their eyes he saw them brand him evil, and he accepted it. He was what he was, and had always known it.
They did not attempt to physically bully him. The only one who had tried in St. Catterpole's school for Young Wizard's, a red-headed boy his own age, had suffered a broken arm as his only reward. He would accept no one who tried to dominate him. His very inner self bristled with rage at the attempt, and only the thought of his caretakers stayed his teeth from sinking into flesh.
Biting was never, ever allowed. Biting was evil. So was scratching, and asking about the Moon, and trying to escape the locked room.
And he always tried to escape the locked room. He hated the silver bars on the window, inside the walls, when he tore the wood away with fang and claw and singed his fur against the shining metal. How he howled to be caged. How he raged, and bled, and cried.
And over the years, he began to wonder why he obeyed the caretakers if he was evil. Why obey when they locked him in the silver room, when they told him not to bite, not to scratch and howl and speak of his inner self.
An evil man, Fenrir Greyback, bit you when you were very, very little, and that is why you are the way you are. If you bite someone, even just a little, you might curse someone else too. That's why we have to lock you up when the Moon is full, understand? We're protecting you. We're protecting everyone. Just like your parents tried to protect you when you-know-who came.
He didn't remember his parents, or Greyback, or this false notion of protecting him. He couldn't understand how locking him away from his true Mother could ever be the Right Thing. Thus, he must be evil, because the thought of enlightening the other children to their inner selves seemed a wonderful idea. The Mother often sang to him, told him how everyone would finally understand him if they too could hear her, if they too could place paws to the ground and raise muzzles to the night and sing the song of moonlight.
He made the mistake, then, of saying as much. Smelled the fear leaking from the caretakers skin, liquid sweat he longed to taste and see if it melted sweetly on his tongue. He felt the prick of his nails as he made a fist; sharp needles in place of blunted stones.
They locked him in the silver room that day. He heard their hushed whispers through the walls, the pacing footsteps, the bursting flame of the floo.
A new scent, older, smelling of ink and bird and fire. Calm words.
He must be protected, even from himself. We need him. Our world needs him. Do what you have to do.
He did not like the sound of those words, or the scent of that man. He walked to the barred window and looked outside, to the sunlit grass and the long shadows of approaching dusk. The Mother was rising tonight; shedding the false light of the sun and blooming like a flower among the lesser stars. She called to him already.
She told him to come to Her. She told him to hurry.
With sharp nails he reached through the bars and clicked open the window latch he had unlocked from the outside days previous. He took from the window sill the caretakers spare wand, carelessly left in the drawer of a bedside table.
He thought of the spell and focused with all his might. He had never done magic before; but the Moon had. Her song was magic; he had heard that song all his life, in one form or the Other.
The bars vanished.
And then, so did he.
When She rose, gleaming pale white, he embraced the pain with joy. Howled out his manic pleasure as muscle rippled and skin tore and blood boiled. How She flayed him with her song, how he bathed in it and let it mold him into Her desired shape. The Other side inside of him.
Black fur and amber eyes, white scarred face and gleaming pale fangs. He howled; with complete abandon and no consideration of stealth.
He was free. He was alive. He was Hers.
She let him bask for a long moment, pleased. Then She made her evil request.
And he, Her evil servant, obeyed. He could not help what he was, after all, what he was made to be. He had never had a choice.
The child he took sleeping in his bed, wards easily surpassed as they were never meant to keep out the dark creatures that had not roamed these woods in a decade. Soft freckled skin he split delicately with fang, screaming mouth he held closed with humanoid black paws. Red hair tickled his nose as he licked the bite closed, holding the now unconscious child with reverence. Now, the child would understand. Awakened, he would hear the Mother's song. Changed, he would also run through the night, and obey the requests made to him.
Then, cursed gift given, it was time to feed. Any sibling would do. Any one of them would taste just as sweet, a gift of blood and magic for the Mother who guided him.
The Mother who loved him, no matter what he was, and that unconditional love he returned with all the love left in him.
Even the evil in the world loved something.
Panting with hunger, he clicked down the wooden hallway, eyes gleaming, the monster in every children's story.
As dawn broke, he ran again. He ran through wood and over meadow, free. He howled his victory to the wind, smelled the animals quivering at his passing with fear. But he was no longer hungry. He was sated in every way that mattered.
Mother gave him power for every drop of blood he had swallowed down his throat, every chunk of meat in his gullet. He was swollen now with that moon magic; he felt changed anew.
And when the Moon finally dipped below the horizon and the Sun rose to rip the wolf self from him, it did not wholly succeed. In a passing creek, it's watery surface a mirrored reflection, he observed his new self with a fanged smile.
Eyes so green, skin so pale, black hair a mane of tangled fur. Sharpened tooth and nails. Like a costume of his inner self he had shrugged on overnight, boy pretending to be wolf.
Only it was real. It was him. He howled a boy howl to the dawn sky, heard the birds flap their wings and still their own songs in response.
He smiled his new smile. Then he began to walk deeper into the forest.
He did not plan to return for a long, long time.
Trick, or Treat? :K