The Sugar Quill
Author: Alphie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Mirrored  Chapter: Chapter two
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Friday, February 14 - 5:00 pm

Friday, February 14 - 5:00 pm

 

Liam stood in line, trying to remain calm and collected.  He could feel sweat starting to bead up on his face in spite of the fact that there was no place in England that seemed properly warm to him.   He hoped it wouldn’t give him away.  He’d never done anything illegal before—well, at least nothing that had broken international law, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  And if Oliver could get away with a stunt like this, then so could he! 

 

His grip tightened on the passport in his hand.  He had paid a pretty penny for it, but if this worked then it would be worth it.  He didn’t want to spend another minute in England.  He desperately wanted to see his family…and hope that maybe, just maybe there was a cure waiting for him.  His mother said she would visit an aboriginal witch to see if they had any suggestion.  There were no werewolves in Australia.  This meant one of two things to Liam.  There could be a cure that is being kept secret, or that there is no cure and Australia had just been fortunate to never have a werewolf cross its borders. 

 

Or maybe, they all get … hunted ….  

 

The line was advancing forward; it was very nearly Liam’s turn.  He took in a deep breath and readied himself for the lies he needed to tell.  Just lie doggo.   At this point, he didn’t care how many laws he had to break.  He had done everything the Ministry had asked of him, gone like a circus animal through every stupid hoop they had held up for him.  And since none of it was any sodding use it was only fair for them to let him go home to his rellies.  That blasted family they had assigned him to was of no help to him.  And now that stodgy old drip thought he could be of help.  Liam laughed at the idea.  As if an old man could ever know what I’m going through. 

 

He had reached the front of the line.  The official asked for his passport.  Liam handed it over as nonchalantly as he could. 

 

“Where are you Portkeying to today?”

 

Australia.  I’m going home.”  Liam smiled at the man, hoping that would untie the knots in his stomach. 

 

“This is a new passport?”

 

“Yes, it is.”  The knots twisted hard.

 

“This has been issued since you arrived here in England?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“What happened to your original passport?”

 

“I lost it.” 

 

“I don’t see the Ministry’s notes on that.  All this says is that it’s new.”

 

“They told me it was all in order,” he said.  Think!  THINK!!

 

The man turned to the other, more severe looking official standing behind him.  “Take at look at this, will you?  This man lost his passport and the Ministry assigned him a new one without notating the original pass number.  Have you ever known this to happen?”

 

The second official said, quite sternly, “No.  Never.”

 

Liam glanced down the corridor for a quick way out.  He might need to make a run for it, for the second official was now examining the passport very closely.  His eyes darted from the pass to Liam’s face, all the while frowning. 

 

The official met Liam’s eyes and said, “Come with me, sir.”

 

“What’s the matter?” Liam asked, trying to sound surprised.

 

“We need to resolve this passport matter, sir; please come with me.” 

 

“If there is a problem, I think you should tell me now.” 

 

“I’m sorry, sir, but I think it would be best if we discussed this in private.” 

 

The man clamped a hand around Liam’s upper arm and began to pull him towards a back room.  Panic rose in Liam’s chest.  His new-found danger instinct flared and he yanked his arm away from the official, darting off in the opposite direction.

 

“Stop him!” the man yelled from behind.

 

Speed was something Liam had had even before he was bitten.  Now, with the extra strength the wolf gave him, he was very nearly impossible to catch.  He would have managed to get away had the official not closed the gate at the end of the corridor.  It slammed shut just as Liam reached it.  His body crashed into the silver bars and he fell backwards onto the floor.  The sound of footsteps fast approaching alerted Liam that guards were coming up behind him.  He quickly got back on his feet and pulled at the bars holding him captive only to screech in pain upon contact.

 

He looked down at his red, slightly burnt hands.  Silver…Bugger!

 

Patrificus Totalus!” the guard shouted behind him.  His body went rigid, as if he had been bound in several places, and he fell over.  His head hit the solid ground with a thud and the world went black.

 

Saturday, February 15 – 11:00 am

 

 

His head ached as he reached consciousness.  He blinked his eyes, trying to focus but finding the room much too dark to do so.  There were sounds all around him – unfamiliar sounds.  And smells…

 

Where am I?

 

He was lying on the ground in a heap.   The pervasive chill that seemed to inhabit this entire country made his body stiff, but he pushed himself up anyway.  He felt like he did after the transformation – aches in places he didn’t even know could ache.  But the full moon had been days ago.  This pain came from being injured and left to heal without proper medication or treatment.

 

His nose was assaulted by a sharp, musky scent.  He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up, as his eyes adjusted to the dark and he got his first look at the room.  Glancing around, he could tell that he was in some sort of jail cell.  There were two yobbos in the cell with him, staring at him through the darkness with cold, blank eyes.  He immediately felt a shiver pass through him due to their presence.  Through the bars, he could see a few other cells, but it was too dark to see if they held any prisoners.  Liam slowly rose to his feet and walked to the gated wall to get a better look around.

 

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” warned one of his cellmates.

 

“Wouldn’t what?”

 

“Touch the bars.”

 

They were silver…just as the other bars had been.

 

“What is this place?” Liam asked.

 

“The Lupus Claustrum,” said the voice.

 

“Lupus what?”

 

“It’s a prison for werewolves who aren’t good little pups!” the second voice said mockingly. 

 

Liam took a step away from the two men.  “So then, you are---everyone here…is a…”

 

“Werewolf.  Yeah,” the first man said.  “What’s the matter?  You got a problem saying werewolf?” the man snarled at Liam.

 

Liam bit back a retort with effort.   He sensed keenly that these men could do him an injury, and concluded that it would be quite unlikely that anyone might intervene on his behalf. 

 

“We don’t get many new pups in here on days like this,” said the second man.  “The moon wasn’t full last night.”

 

“Yeah, what did you do to land yourself in here?” asked the first man.

 

“Nothing.  I just tried to go home.”

 

“Without proper documentation,” said a new but familiar voice out in the darkness of the hall. 

 

Liam squinted, trying to find the face that accompanied the voice.  It was that old man the ghost assigned him too!  That Remus Lupin drip.  And there was a gruff looking guard with him.   

 

“Why are you here?” Liam asked.

 

“You’re under my direction, Liam.  When you make mistakes, I am notified about them.  Sorry I couldn’t get here sooner, but the next time you chose to break the law, take the date into consideration.”  Liam looked at him, bewildered.  “Valentine’s Day.  It wasn’t on my agenda to spend the evening in a jail with you.”  Lupin stepped up to the bars, but didn’t touch them.  “Not exactly what Mr. Williams had in mind, I think.”

 

“Yeah, I thought with a touch of color it could be quite livable.” Liam said sarcastically.

 

“I’m here to help you, Liam.  It would behoove you to behave yourself and not make jokes.”

 

“I don’t need your help!” Liam snarled. 

 

“Fine then.  Stay here.  Just be advised that they don’t serve wolfsbane here.  Enjoy your next full moon without its aid.”  Lupin turned to go.

 

Liam had only been through three full moons, and with all of them he had taken the potion the Crowdens had given him.  Even though the potion didn’t make the transformation less painful, supposedly it did dull the need to hunt.  And besides, his companions in his cell looked bruised and bloodied and quite dangerous.  Going without the potion in this place was not something Liam wanted to experience – ever!

 

“Hold on,” he called to Lupin, who stopped and turned to look at him.  “Can you get me out of here?”

 

“It’s possible.  But you will have to agree to abide by all laws and the restrictions placed on your movements.  This means that you will not attempt to travel illegally.   And you’ll have to be more closely supervised.”

 

“I’m not moving in with you, old man.  I don’t fancy men!”

 

“Good, because I don’t want you in my home.  My wife and I don’t need the company.” 

 

Liam was quiet for a moment.  Cheese and kisses?  He probably bit her and won’t let her out of his sight!  “So what do I have to do?”

 

“I pulled in a few favors and was able to get the Ministry to let you go.  However, I gave them my word that you would behave.  So if you step out of line again, you will have more to worry about than life in prison, for I will deal with you myself.  Now, there is a regular meeting for new wolves at the Registry once a week.  You will attend them.  You will also report to a designated supplier for your potion prior to the full moon.  You will also stay in a supervised apartment until the time for the trial arrives.  And lastly, you will testify against your attacker.”

 

“Supervised apartment? Like how supervised? ” 

 

“There are guards at the entrance.  And don’t plan on Apparating in and out.  You’re license has been suspended.”

 

Liam rolled his eyes and let out a sigh of displeasure. “You’re full of it.”

 

“Or,” Lupin added, “you’re more than welcome to stay here.”

 

“One jail is just as good as another, to my mind,” said Liam.

 

“As you wish,” said Lupin, turning to leave. 

 

“Wait!” Liam said, as the others behinds the bars began to laugh darkly. “You win, old man.”

 

“I thought you would agree.”

 

The guard opened the door and allowed Liam to exit.  Lupin thanked the guard and led Liam up some stone steps and into the front room to the fireplace.  Remus gave Liam Floo directions, stepped into the fire, and vanished in a burst of flames.  Displeased with being ordered around, Liam made some choice comments about the situation once he was alone.  He calmed down and stepped into the Floo.

 

He was whisked away past several fireplaces until he came to the one Lupin described.  They were in the lobby of a very dingy apartment building.

 

“This is your new home, Liam,” Lupin said gesturing around the room.  “You have apartment 204 B.  The witch at the front desk will have your key.”

 

“This place is a bit iffy, isn’t it!” said Liam in disgust.

 

“You do have a permanent room booked at the fine accommodations we just left.  Not very many places will allow a werewolf with a criminal record to stay with them.”

 

“Hang on, mate, criminal record?” Liam protested.

 

“Did I or did I not just bail you out of prison?”

 

Liam only sighed in frustration.  “Well then, why did you tell them I’m a werewolf?”

 

“I had no choice but to tell them.”

 

“Oh, that’s just marvelous!  Why don’t I just wear a little sign that says ‘Caution! Dangerous Beast’ on my chest?”

 

“That is, in effect, what the Ministry would like all of us to wear.  Every time a wolf breaks the regulations, they bring the Ministry that much closer to requiring exactly such a sign.  Liam, the hard fact is that no matter how hard you try to keep your condition a secret, people will find out about it eventually.  And it’s also a fact that nearly everyone that finds out about you will be terrified of you.  I advise you to get used to the idea as soon as possible.”

 

“Why don’t you just tell me in plain English that my life is ruined!”

 

“I never said that.  Your life is altered and will be difficult, and that is completely unfair and undeserved.  But that can be said of a host of incurable diseases.  People manage to have fulfilling lives despite those things.  Your life will be hard, but it isn’t ruined.”

 

“Yeah…whatever.”  Liam headed towards the oversized witch at the front desk, grumbling as he went. 

 

//
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