Alexander Harris pressed down on his trunk to close it all the way and locked it before it could explode parcels, cloaks, shoes, and other things he’d bring back to Hogwarts. He let out a relieved sigh and sat on his bed beside his oversized trunk.
His room was a chaotic mess; with books, essays, and untidy heaps of clothing all over the floor while his broom sitting in the corner had become a coat hanger. There was more mess than there was floor, like a bomb had hit his room not too long ago.
He ran a hand through his hair and looked out his window at all the tenants walking outside into the field. His eyes wandered to the sky where the moon barely shined behind the clouds; it was almost time. He pushed himself off his head, nabbed his green and silver scarf and coat, and then bounded down the stairs. When he reached the last step, he heard the cries and howls of the people outside. The moonlight beamed through the windows . . .
The wolves have come out . . .
Alex opened the door and saw that his yard was filled with giant wolves. They were still whimpering in pain with their heads down and their tails between their legs, some had recovered faster than others and shook off the pain before running off toward the trees. Alex’s eyes wandered to the side and found, in his opinion, the strangest sight. A human woman with short hair pulled back into a ponytail and stood with power and confidence; a stance of someone in her element.
He started to walk over to her. The woman’s long and huge scars down her arm and back becoming harder to ignore as he grew closer. One of the large wolves that stood nearly eight feet came over as well and nudged the woman with its head. She had lost her footing and narrowed her eyes at the wolf with a smile and playfully pushed the wolf’s head. The wolf had gold eyes, brownish red fur, and many small spots on its face and legs. Its eyes wandered to Alex and its ears twitched, gaining the woman’s attention and followed the wolf’s gaze.
“Hey, mom,” Alex greeted her then looked to the wolf, “Hey, dad. See you forgot to shave,” he smiled.
Alex, from what he could identify, saw that his dad narrowed his eyes at him and lowered himself with his gaze on his fifteen-year-old son. The boy took two steps back with his brows furrowed together, then looked to his scarred mother.
“What is he doing?”
“You know what he’s going to do,” she shrugged.
Mr. Wisenburg pounced and pinned Alexander down with one paw so large it was as big as the boy’s torso. Alex struggled to push the giant paw off his chest until his father sat on him and yawned.
Alex groaned. “Dad, you’re fat!” he complained and flailed his arms around. “Mom, help! He’s heavy and his fur is getting in my mouth!”
“You deserved it,” his mom answered and fixed her short ponytail. “He’ll get off when you say ‘uncle’,” she reminded him.
“Not this time,” he sighed, his breathing shallow with a large wolf sitting on him. “I’ll be here all night until he gives in.”
Mr. and Mrs. Wisenberg looked at one another. Their kid had always been stubborn. It was something the boy was going to inherit from both his parents anyway. It was completely unavoidable.
“Alright,” she sighed and lay down beside her son and husband. “Just so you know, he’s still shedding until next month. So you’ll be coughing up hairballs tomorrow morning.”
Mr. Wisenberg swat his tail against her face, scrunching her nose and scratching it with her palm.
“I merely speak the truth.”
He smacked his tail at her head again.
Alexander chuckled and tried to push his dad off again, but the large wolf merely adjusted himself and wagged his tail; brushing his son playfully and aggressively. The boy sighed. “I finished packing,” he said.
“Good. You packed up enough socks?”
“Enough to sell them to other students,” Alexander chuckled.
“All your uniform pieces?”
“Yes,” he rolled his eyes.
“And you’ve done all your homework—?”
Mr. Wisenberg tapped his tail, again, into her face and huffed at her. The large wolf stood up and curled into a ball just two feet from them. “Yes, and I WIN!” he cheered and bumped his fists into the air as he quickly sat up. The wolf rolled his eyes at the boy and closed his eyes. Alexander merely smiled and looked to his mother, her eyes watched him with the same stone-faced look she often had when she was serious.
And when she wasn’t serious.
Well . . . that was just her face. It would change ever so slightly when she emoted her feelings. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to make big reactions, it was just rare to see her anything but professional with the tenants that come to live in their house. Whenever it was just he and dad, she’d have a calm and soothing smile that looked almost foreign on her. But it was something that Alexander accepted from her.
Just as he accepted how often he was exposed to werewolves more than humans. It was odd, but it wasn’t a terrible way of living.
“I did all my homework. Promise,” Alexander nodded.
“I trust you,” she answered with a very slight smile and pat his head. “Now go to bed. We have to wake up early.”
“Alright,” the boy answered and stood up. “Night, dad,” he called.
The wolf twitched awake and looked to his kid walking back inside the house.
Alexander shut the door behind him after seeing his mom go over to his dad and leaned against like he was a giant pillow. He pulled his scarf off and pat remaining clumps of fur sticking onto it as he made way to his room, only to give up on removing bits of individual hairs off and went to sleep.
The next morning, Alex had passed by some of the tenants that had changed back into their human form retreating to their room with a plate of food they piled on high, leaving a lingering scent of bacon and pancakes behind. He made it downstairs, where his mom was hard at work at the stove and his dad rocking back and forth with his eyes closed at the kitchen island. The man had a plate of barely touched eggs and toast, and a fork handled limply between his index finger and thumb.
Alex had inherited the shocking number of freckles from his father, as well as red hair disguised as brown in dim lighting. The man opened his eyes and sleepily looked over at his son and gave an exhausted smile. “Morning, kid.”
“Morning,” the boy greeted back.
His mom looked over her shoulder. “What do you feel like having today?”
“Bacon and pancakes. Rob’s dish smelled amazing when he passed by me in the hall.”
“Stripped pork fat and sugar bread it is,” she commented.
“It’s too early to make your lame jokes, Ela,” Mr. Wisenberg chuckled and rubbed his face against his palm. “Too sleepy. Can’t make fun of you.”
“Ha ha,” Mrs. Wisenberg mocked.
Alexander smiled and took a seat at the kitchen island as well. His father looked like a man in his late-fifties instead of his mid-forties with dark bags under his eyes. He pursed his lips while his dad started eating again. The boy rest his head against his hand and looked over at his mom making breakfast; the sun gently shined through the windows while the sizzling sound of bacon cooking on the frying pan and pancakes in another. The aroma was so intoxicating, Alex sighed.
It was just a normal morning for them . . .
“Your father sends his love,” his mother told him.
“I know,” he rolled his eyes with a slight smile and hugged her smaller frame.
They had arrived at the Hogwarts Express, his trunk and owl already being tossed into the train with everyone else’s belongings and other families hugging their kids goodbye on the same platform. The room was filled with chattering voices and smoke, loud and blinding.
“God, you’re getting so tall. What happened to my kid that played hide-and-seek in his tree house?” she lightly smiled and let go of her 6’4 child.
“Well there’s this thing called ‘puberty.’ It happens to teenagers all the time. Growth spurt and all that fancy biological crap,” he answered with a playfully cocky smirk.
Mrs. Wisenberg smacked his arm with narrowed eyes, he merely laughed at that. “I don’t want to get another letter from your professors that you fell asleep in their class again,” she added with her finger pointed at him.
“The classes are boring and I was passing them anyway,” Alexander defended.
“I know they’re boring. Don’t do it anyways.”
“I’ll try,” he groaned.
Mrs. Wisenberg pursed her lips again and pulled her boy in for another hug. “Write us back if you plan to come back for the holidays. We’ll miss you . . .”
“I’ll miss you guys too,” he answered and released her again. “Tell Juno I said ‘hi’ if she comes back soon,” the boy added and waved his mom goodbye. The woman nodded and waved back as he hopped onto the train.
Inside, other Hogwarts students ran down the corridor looking for any of their friends that already claimed a compartment and first years shyly looking around for any empty rooms to sit in.
Alexander passed by room to room until he found another redheaded kid by himself. He let out a low chuckle, slipped his shoe off, and slid the door open before throwing his shoe at the boy. The boy groaned and furrowed his brows at Alex.
“Hey, Valerii,” he smiled widely.
Valerii pursed his lips and decided against tackling Alex and beating him with his own shoe. Maybe because he didn’t want to stoop to Alex’s childish level, maybe because one should treat a friend they haven't seen all summer with some kindness. But that look Val gave, boy did he want to. Instead, Val straightened himself out and greeted his friend in his slight Russian accent, “Hey Alex, still a shoe throwing asshole I see.”
“Only when your attention is elsewhere,” Alex shrugged and sat across from Valerii.
Within no time, the train started to move and Kings Cross was far behind them within minutes. And time to faze back into his second life . . .