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Maya Castelo

I’ve been running through the jungle, I’ve been crying with the wolves

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Maya Castelo



Ah, this was was not good, Wylan thought - much more blithely than his immediate circumstances warranted. The artery under his jaw jackhammered, loud and heavy enough that it made the rest of his thin frame quiver with the panicked rhythm of it. From the chase. Tut-tut, get it right Wylan, he chastised himself, a small and breathless smile on his tingling lips, the forced levity barely keeping at the bay the weight of his plight. It’s you being chased. By an Auror. By her. Who’s the big bad wolf now?


Still me, Wylan answered himself, snickering. 


Tingling. His mouth felt flush. He wiped a hand that was dangerously close to trembling and looked at his fingers.




Wylan calmly swore; he should have known that would be the case, his mouth still tasted of blood. There was no way now that she’d believe it wasn’t him. Maybe, though— Wylan hiccuped on the thought and rested his head back against the rock - Not quite between a rock and a hard place, though, not yet! - his pulse pounding with adrenaline. They were playing the world’s most dangerous game of Tig, zested with Hide-and-Go-Seek, and he couldn’t hear her, and his senses were too shot after the night’s events to sniff her out. 


The night’s events... He didn’t remember those, and that opened the chasm of fear a little wider beneath him, but the metallic taste in his mouth told at least some of the bloody story... He looked down at his ragged appearance - Shredded, he chocked on another laugh; God, he was going mad, wasn’t he? Shredded, he was, in all the wrong ways - and considered shucking the scraps off. Maybe he could throw her off by running through the woods starkers. Wylan grinned, sharp. She had to be somewhere close.


Ah, Rayya, he closed his eyes and bit into his lip. He wanted to call out to her, to ask, if there was any chance at acquittal, but the words stuck in his aching throat.

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Rayya Borage-Brown

The wolf ran ahead on human feet, she could hear it, smell it, taste the rankness in the air as it got desperate...tired...sloppy...


No, not it! She knew what she stalked on paper-quiet feet and she knew that he knew it too. 


Out from the carnage of wrecked lives Rayy moved swiftly, feet flying over the uneven ground, her breathing muffled under silencing spells, her body hidden by magic - he might be able to sense her but he wouldn’t see her until she allowed him to. Wylan was going to find that the woman haunting his every step was not the same woman who had shared stolen chips and bad tea with him. No, the woman dogging his every move had been born in a crucible of fire and pain and endless horror. She had no mercy for those who broke the law and tried to run.


The Angel of Mercy was gone! Wylan had seen to that as soon as he had left innocent people dead or wishing they were.


Instinctively, Rayy moved from chasing to lying in wait. There was no other path he could take now. She knew this area perfectly, every nook and cranny. She saw his eyes close, could almost hear his thoughts in that last moment before judgement and retribution came falling on his head. She silently noted everything about him, from his disheveled appearance, to the still-wet blood that would condemn him, to the swollen, bitten lip and finally, to the tremor of weakness running through his body. She studied the shaking heaving of burnt-out lungs, the throbbing pulse in his neck. She studied all of it, silently, dispassionately and in the split second before he opened his eyes and pushed off to run some more, she dropped her disillusionment charm.


She stood in the middle of the constricted space, bathed in the fiery glow of the rising sun. The breeze making her hair come alive in a halo of shimmering gold. The brilliance of the light making it harder for him to see her clearly. Her own features were schooled in the grim mask she had learned to wear in Turkey and there was no promise of anything but justice in her face.


She stood before him, arms at her side, a grim, silent Angel of Justice.

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Maya Castelo

He could hear her after all, just her feet. It was almost a blessing, the slow torture of her footfalls, deliberate and decisive. Had she done it on purpose - hidden everything but the sound of her passage, the fall of a hammer? Wylan's ears perked up - or would have, had they, pointed, still belonged to a scraggly pale grey wolf.


With a red maw.


Ah, yes. That.


Wylan didn't try to run, there was nowhere to go where she wouldn't have a clear shot at him. His muscles screamed, but the question was up in the air if it was from the desire to move and the futility of doing so, or from the aftermath of her reversion. Everything felt on fire, even as he was utterly exhausted. And, suddenly, he could see her.




Wylan didn't know if he said the name in his head or out loud, in the dregs of a ragged whisper, but he did grin, even with his gums outlined in blood. He covered his mouth, remembering his good manners, thought the situation wasn't the least bit funny. He pulled himself up higher against the rock and tilted his head. Rayya was a vision, with the sun rising behind her, the embodiment of auror, with her hard and merciless expression. It was the look of someone who would do what had to be done, but also that of someone who was... betrayed? His hand dropped away from his lips and he squinted at her, the presence too bright and powerful.


The words scratched at his throat: It wasn't me. The wrong blood; every time he wanted to push them out, however, it was like he forgot how to do it. Not words so little, she deserved something better or nothing at all. She was his doom and they both knew it. What were words, in the face of that?


"Wrong place," he rasped, finding scapegoat words. "Wrong time?"  

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Rayya Borage-Brown

The glare of over-bright sunlight flared momentarily higher, bathing her entire body in its orangey-gold glow - making it truly look as if she had appeared from the heavens. A cloud came and shut off the immediate light. It left her standing there, human and somewhat diminished though nowhere near as diminished as the werewolf masquerading as human. No glimmer of disgust or revulsion crossed her schooled expression, though inside where it couldn’t be perceived, her stomach lurched at the macabre, bloody grin Wylan gave her. An ordinary person would have felt a cold chill crawl down their back, turning their blood to ice but what was one lone werewolf compared to a dozen Inferi?




And yet...


She heard the faintest murmur of her name and her own reply came out just as faint although it was weighted down with bitter regret and sadness, “Wylan.”


A lurch of lungs saw air fill them to capacity but the exhalation merely gave her next whisper a more forceful edge as though the very air she exhaled carried the words out of her throat without her meaning them to escape. “I trusted you...”


Overwhelming sorrow crossed her face as the cloud overhead thickened, went from white to grey to black and a soft, gentle patter of drizzle ghosted down over them both. Wet drops hanging on her eyelids before they slowly dropped. It mirrored her mood and the sadness of her words perfectly.


But the moment was brief, only but an interlude, a small acknowledgement of everything they had between them and a bitter-sweet rememberance of a far livelier dance they had shared. The sun flared through the cloud again, chasing it away as if it hadn’t been there. The light catching on the drops still gracing her eyelids, turning them to diamond drops, scintillating bright as they fell.


Rayy shook her head slowly, negating his pathetic excuse for his actions. How could he even voice them? When they both knew them to be pointless lies? The case that contained wolfsbane potion hadn’t been there when she’d returned to her cottage.  


He had no excuse!


“Will you at least come quietly, Wylan?”

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Maya Castelo

The answer was buried somewhere in the weight of her statement: I trusted you. Past tense. He'd done... something; the details eluded him to the point that it was pointless to even attempt to chase them down, no matter how much he'd wanted to. His own desires were very much unimportant in the monolithic face of Rayya's judgment.


Deep, deep down, Wylan was sure he knew his crime (But didn't you think, a minute ago--?), even if all blood tasted indiscriminate under the light of mad full moon. He liked to think that even as a wolf he was an intelligent creature - certainly more discerning than his packmates. And look at where fancying yourself a connoisseur had got you. God, he wished he could remember! He was a man of detail, he sought them out and used them to his whims. He was grey and that had made it so easy to collect all the little bits and pieces of peoples' lives. He went unnoticed - until he wanted for it to be otherwise.


Now there was ____.


He could admit to himself their absence made him fearful, for who was he without his memory?


Still guilty! He sounded, Wylan thought, much too chipper given the circumstances. 


An age passed and the layers of Rayya's emotions deepened, and Wylan found it impossible to resist - he had to grin at Rayya's stony expression, though he felt the corners of his mouth tremble or twitch (or was that simply the drying blood cracking and flaking?). He made a show of looking around himself, before finally rolling his head on the column of his neck and shrugging helplessly. He had nowhere to go. Nowhere to run where she couldn't - wouldn't - hunt him down and catch him.


Was he really - ?


Did he really - ?


"Do you have to ask?"


Even against the will of his frantic mind, scrambling in the murk to find something to cling to, some fact, of certain guilt or otherwise - even as somewhere deep inside he wanted to beg to give him just a bit more time, that there had to be a mistake, to let him explain, Wylan felt his body move to rise and hold his hands out towards her.

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Rayya Borage-Brown

Rayy sagged imperceptibly before taking a single solitary step towards him. Years of training went into these moments and, as she stepped forward another step and raised her wand, she knew that nothing in those lessons was adequate preparation for the moment you had to arrest a friend. 


More steps followed.


”I wish I didn’t.”


The words were bitter and heavy.


Another slow, careful step towards him, stopping a yard beyond his reach.


A final, smooth lifting of her wand, a softly muttered incantation, “Incarcerous!”


Thin ropes flew towards his wrists.


She crossed the remaining distance between them to complete the arrest, “Wylan....”



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