A/N: WARNING: slightly AU due to the fact Teddy inherited his lycanthropy and Metamorphmagus powers can now heal cuts.

"There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them."

~ Andre Gide

Monster

You're running though the woods, the hour just before dawn, darkness spreading her thick cloak around you. Trees and branches catch on your legs as you tear through the brambles, slicing your fair skin, leaving ragged cuts behind. The full moon setting in the distance illuminates the forest around you, sending shadows stretching across your path, but it's not enough – you're still stumbling, clinging to the tree trunks for balance, and you're feet are still snagging on the hidden roots and vines. The dawn is approaching, fast, and you feel your time is running out.

You're running – but you can't find him. You're running – but you know he doesn't want to be found.

"Dominique," Victoire whispered, her hands shaking you softly.

Your eyes opened; groggy and unfocused. "Victoire?" you asked, your voice thick with sleep and confusion. Your eyes slowly adjust to the darkness, blinking away the sleep only to see your sister peering down at your, her face wrought with distress and fatigue. "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

It had been a first, Victoire coming to you for help. Usually you were the one crawling back to her, heartbroken over the string of boys all using you for your name and Veela-inspired beauty. Never the other way round.

But it was only fitting that way; you were Dominique – you were everything your sister wasn't. You drank and smoked and slept with the boys who would never remember your name, desperate to have someone to take his place in your heart; she was intelligent and perfect and brought light into every room she was in, stealing hearts wherever she went. You were dirty and tainted and broken; she was pristine and pure and whole.

She knew all your darkest secrets; except one. She didn't know you were in love with her boyfriend, Teddy Lupin. She didn't know why you went to those parties, drunk yourself into a stupor and let yourself be molested by the men who wanted nothing but your body.

You knew you didn't have a chance with him. He was smitten with your sister – it was totally and completely clear he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. You only heard him the other day, talking to your uncle Harry about a ring he'd seen in a shop in town.

Never mind it broke your heart. Never mind it felt like you'd never escape the absolute hopelessness that had threatened to consume you. Never mind the drinking binge you'd taken yourself on in an effort to forget.

As long as she was happy. Because she deserved it. Or at least you thought she had.

Victoire chewed her lip daintily, her gorgeous features tight with concern as she lowered herself onto my bed. "It's Teddy," she blurted, the words tumbling out of her mouth. "We-we had a fight and I-I told him to leave –"

Confusion laced your tone as you cut across, ignoring the sliver of hope bubbling in your chest. "Why?"

She blushed delicately, her fine cheekbones blossoming red. "I-I couldn't take it anymore," she confided, her broken voice barely above a whisper. "His…condition…I just couldn't live like that –"

"What?" You were awake now, bolted upright in your bed, your eyes narrowed at the blonde beauty sitting angelically on your bed. "You did what?" you repeated, trying to comprehend.

Victoire's voice acquired a cutting edge as she said, "Don't you dare judge me, Dominique. Not when you are what you are."

The memory breaks off when a sharp pain laces through your leg as a particularly sharp branch slices through your skin, drawing out the hot blood to flow. You'd left your home to search for him soon after, not bothering to continue arguing when she'd let slip he hadn't taken the Wolfsbane Potion before taking off into the forest near Shell Cottage.

Your breathing is laboured as you continue to stagger through the forest, fingers clawing at the tree trunks, trying to find your way through the early morning darkness. Your voice is harsh and strained – dying, as you shout his name into the darkness.

You break out of the thick forest into a small clearing. Your movements are hasty and frantic as you scan the area, deciding on your next move. Fear and adrenaline thrum through you as your thoughts whirl and twist inside your head; death, pain and heartbreak, all playing their part.

But you soon realize there is no next move. He's already there.

He's lying, curled up at the edge of the clearing, tail wrapped around himself. His fur covered eyes are closed and his huge body is covered in scratches, leaving patches of his thick grey fur clotted with a dark mix of blood, mud and leaves. His ribs expand and fall as he takes long, deep breaths, whimpering in pain with each desperate gulp of air. Your heart breaks clean in two as you watch him suffer through the aftermath of his transformation.

You move closer, with careful, precise movements as not to startle the beast that had taken over his body; you couldn't tear your eyes away from the monster he'd become. But, for all the grace in the world could prepared you for the loud crack! that seemed to thunder through the forest, as your foot stepped on a stray stick. Adrenaline mixed in with pure fear and panic flooded you as you stopped in the clearing, squeezing your eyes shut.

You heard the growl before you opened your eyes. The wolf is stalking itself way towards you, in a low crouch, teeth bared for the full effect of it's menacing growl. As it drew closer, you could see the it's eyes were wracked with a double conscience, fighting for control over the enormous body. You could feel your heart racing in your chest, fear rooting you to the spot – you couldn't run, couldn't scream, it would only break the spell and the wolf would take back control. It had grown light without you even realizing it and suddenly the break of dawn is upon you, the first rays of the sun's golden light bathing the clearing and pure relief floods you.

The wolf stops it's pacing and turns its gaze on the weak sunbeams that were filtering through the leaves. It let out a mourning howl, breaking the complete silence that had encased you both. Then it's body begins to shudder, fur rippling, as it surrendered to the dawn.

Your hand flies to your mouth, and grief rips through your body as you watch him suffer. His pain is yours as you watch him shift and change, transform, his body pulsating and changing. You want to scream, you want to run; but you find yourself rooted to the spot, unable to move a muscle. You want to look away, but as soon as his eyes meet yours, you find you can't look away. His screams and groans of pain tear at your heart like daggers, leaving it behind, bloody and raw.

And then his transformation is complete and he's lying naked and shivering before you. You dive at him, hands already grasping at the drawstrings of your cotton sack, searching for the blanket you'd brought to cover his naked form. You land hazardously at his side trying to ignore the bleeding cuts and bruises. His hair, you see, is away from its usual electric blue to a lank greasy black, reflecting his complete exhaustion. You watch as he uses the last vestiges of his strength on his Metamorphmagus power, to heal his cuts and bruises, before covering his with the soft navy blanket you'd stuffed in on your way out.

"Teddy," you breathe, relief flooding you.

He smiles, his face exhausted. "I should have known you'd come."

"I always will," you say, your voice soft. "I love you."

It isn't a confession – he already knows. You'd kissed him once at the Burrow, after he'd broken up with Victoire for the first time; flung your legs around his waist like a common Knockturn Ally whore. He'd returned the kiss for a moment, hands lacing through your tangled hair and running down your thighs, in a moment of pure abandon, eliciting more of a sensation in those bare minutes than any boy ever had.

But he broke away just as soon as it had started, whispering apologies of unfaithfulness before running back to her.

He flinches at your words, cringing away from you. "Don't," he breathes, pain lacing his voice. Hope tingles in your chest, only to choke on the anguish. "Please don't."

Tears well up in your eyes and you suck in a breath, your despair causing a throbbing ache in your chest. "I can't," you whisper. "I've tried – Merlin knows I've tried; for you, for Victoire –" You break off, cringing at the now hated name. Your sister who left him; abandoned him, when she realized what it meant to love a werewolf. All the full moons where she'd have to leave the house because of the danger of what he was; in the long term, the fear of what he might pass on to their children, what he might do to them in one slip of self-control.

You shake your head, trying to loose the thoughts that would only make your loose your control, unleashing the monster which is hidden in your Veela blood.

"It's not your fault," you whisper, your voice cracking slightly as you veer away from the previous topic, as you watch his eyes crinkle in pain. "You're not a monster."

Liar. The thought cuts through your head, unbidden, before adding, but you can hardly talk.

When he doesn't answer, you plough on, voice desperate. "You have all that Wolfsbane, Teddy; I've seen it in your drawers, I know –"

For the first time, his eyes cut to yours. "No," he says, a finality in his tone, you struggle to comprehend. "I don't deserve it."

You can hardly believe what you're hearing. "You don't -?" you repeat, breaking off in disbelief. You shake your head, your long blonde hair falling from behind your ears, obscuring your view. "You can't honestly believe that –"

"I'm a monster, Dominique," he says, his inner torment lacing his hard voice. "I'm hardly human." He paused, for a split second, before meeting his eyes with yours. They were the one thing he never changed about himself, his chocolate brown eyes. But the torture and grief mirrored in their once warm depths shocks you, and you cringe slightly at the sight. "Your sister figured that out pretty quickly," he adds as an afterthought. "And she rightly left."

Shock waves ripple through your body as you hear him speak, the self-loathing clear in his voice. Anger bubbles in your chest, but you're determined to keep it in check. "My sister," you say, your voice low and furious, "is a selfish cow. Do not bring her into any logical argument –"

"But she's right," he implores, cutting you off. His eyes grow soft under your watchful gaze and pity blossoms in your chest, as further suffering lifts to the surface. However, the fleeting connection is cut short when his eyes close, and all you can hear is his soft, exhausted breathing. Your anger fades into the background and you fall from your crouched position onto your knees. You lean in stretching your arms so they wrap tightly around him.

"You're not a monster," you repeat, voice low in his ear. "Not in my eyes."

He doesn't return your hug, but he doesn't turn away either. "I didn't want this, I didn't have a choice," he whispers, his pain lacing his voice. "You don't understand what it's like to be a monster; a half-breed. To have this curse as your only inheritance."

"But I do," you say, caught up in the moment before realizing your admission. You'd only ever told one person outside your immediate family of what you could do; your former best friend, Skylar Parkinson.

"Being part Veela is not all it's cracked up to be," you murmured, as Skylar complained once more about your unnatural beauty. The music from the band thrummed through you and the alcohol you'd downed tingled in your blood.

She scoffed, her voice derisive. "Shut up, Weasley," she snapped. "Like you don't jump for joy every time you look in the mirror."

Skylar took a long drag of the cigarette before handing it back to you. You give her a small smile before taking a inhaling a long breath of the poisonous smoke. It burned its path down your throat, giving your body the nicotine it craved and giving back the small buzz in the back of your head.

"Not when I'm angry," you said, trying to prove your argument. Confidence bubbled. "I'll show you."

And you had. And she'd screamed, her face contorted in horror as you transformed before her eyes, into the hideous monster inside you; the half-breed you were. The curse that felt itself only shine out through you; neither of your siblings were charged with this burden.

It was yours, and yours alone.

His voice cuts through your thoughts. "What?" he asks, puzzled.

You untangle your arms from his neck and lift yourself to your feet, taking a deep breath. You close your eyes. "Just watch," you murmur, focusing on the anger you always felt.

Your sister's innocent face as she tried to argue justice into what she'd done. Skylar's horrified tone when you told her what you were; confessed your secret to the one person you thought would understand. You could feel your face stretching painfully into cruel beak, you face shifting and re-shaping into that of a bird. All those boys, and their uninterested faces as they peeled themselves off of your soiled sheets. Rose's disappointed face as you downed your next shot. Your hands grow hot and the fire inside you becomes tangible as it springs to your palms and tingles down to your wrists. You in the mirror, hair mussed, the nameless face behind you grasping your thigh, his lips ravishing your neck as you felt nothing but disgust and shame. Teddy's enchanted smile as he flirted with Victoire, over and over again, unwitting of your blind, hopeless devotion. The pain laces through your back and you hear the fabric of your shirt tear, as the scaly black wings stretched out behind you.

This was you – the real Veela inside, disguised by the stunning beauty of flawless skin and luxurious silver blonde hair. Your sustained anger thrummed through you, fueling the fire in your hands and you fluttered your thick, scaly wings experimentally. It was only then you remembered the presence of Teddy, who was staring at you through slitted lids. The power and anger you felt bubbling inside you rises under his scrutinizing gaze, and you could felt the energy pooling in your hands, the heat increasing tenfold.

Your control is slipping as the anger builds, seething and churning inside you. You hand lashes out on it's own accord, a scorching fireball erupting from your fingertips. It smolders into the dirt of the clearing but plays it's intended role; the anger that was threatening to consume you escapes with the fireball, leaving you weak and tired. Your wings contract, your temperature drops and your face shifts painfully back into its former beauty. You knees are shaking and you can't support yourself any longer; you collapse to your knees, head hanging with exhaustion, your breathing ragged.

Shuffling noises are all you hear before you are pulled into a hard, muscular chest. His arms wrap themselves around you, their warmth enveloping you as you breathe heavily.

"See?" you ask, your voice faint with exhaustion. A small smile graces your lips, which he returns; the first sign of happiness you'd seen. "That's why I love you; I'm just like you. A monster. Just like you."

And then he presses his lips against yours and you forget your monster – because no true monster could ever feel like this.