With a crop of dark, shaggy hair and bright blue eyes, he stands at about five feet and ten inches, usually with an impish sort of grin on his face. A native of the Loch Ness area, his Scottish brogue is a defining feature. Most days, he can be found wearing leather boots and trousers with a button-down shirt -- suspenders optional. He never goes anywhere without a small, leather pouch on his belt, which holds a few vials of his asthma potion, just in case.
April, 1918 Snowdonia, Wales
"Where're we goin' Da?"
Seven years old and scrawnier than a stork on stilts, he still had difficulty keeping up with the broad steps of the man beside him, and if it hadn't been for the hand holding fast to his, Wesley might have fallen behind. His father, dark haired like his boy and sharp eyed, was scanning the trees for signs -- birds, howls, trees snapped in half.
"There," Wallace Winsday murmured, and Wesley crouched down to look at the strange crackling burn etched into the enormous tree. Blue eyes widened with excitement, and he grinned suddenly, ear to ear.
"Da!" He whispered. "Are you taking me to see them?"
"Don't make a sound," his father smiled secretively, and held on tightly to Wesley's arm before apparating away, leave just the echo of a pop in their wake. They appeared, with little Wesley breathless, on the edge of a cliff side overlooking an enormous valley with a loch shimmering in the distance. Mist rose from the mountains and the dragonologist and his son watched as it billowed gently down from the peak closest to them.
"Look carefully," Wallace pointed, still quiet, as if just the echo of his voice might be irritating to the trees. "Into the mist -- can you see?" And Wesley squinted, and strained and looked and looked and finally there was something that maybe appeared....
He gasped. "That's..."
A creature, magnificent and terrifying, lifted out of the fog and let out a plume of flame, wings beating, lime belly gleaming and slashing its tail for balance. And while Wesley was hundreds and hundreds of feet away, he couldn't imagine anything more incredible in the whole world.
"A Common Welsh Green," the dragonologist nodded, smiling. "What do you think?"
Welsey could barely think at all, he was so enthralled, but he wrapped his thin little arms around his father's leg and squeezed it tight in a hug.
July, 1925 Orkney Islands
He'd never known anything but this life -- the traveling, the camping, the rare stops in villages along their unplanned route. They traveled with a group of men employed by the Ministry to track and control dragon populations in Scotland and northern Wales and England. His mother Brigit had vanished when he was quite young, and Da never mentioned her nor where she had gone; Wesley assumed her to be dead and he simply didn't ask. It didn't matter much, for it was always he and his Da, and the men he knew as Uncle George, Uncle Ross, Uncle Peter....
Going home from Hogwarts for the summer holidays meant a tent (albeit one of the large, wizarding variety and three months of trekking over wilderness and through mountains, tracking dragons and sometimes herding them to the less populated areas. Wesley being only fourteen stayed in camp, but when Da came back sooty and exhausted, there would be sandwiches waiting and a boiling kettle for tea, and he'd hear all about the shenanigans and close calls of the day. And while he understood that what his father did was dangerous, the danger never really occurred to him.
He saw the black drape now over the conjured stretcher and it wasn't sinking in, the human-shaped lumps beneath were an illusion, detached from reality and he stared, mesmerized as Uncle Ross (or was it Uncle Orville?) explained quietly what had happened. Scottish dragons were known for their tempers, so it wasn't unprecedented, and everyone knew how Wallace Winsday could be....
Stupid, but brave. Very, very brave.
In the end, it was decided that this was no life for the dragonologist's son, out in the wild without a father. And so the Uncles sent him to live in a boy's home, at least for the summer, and then he returned to Hogwarts for a brand new cycle.
And he hated it. But mostly, he hated that his father had been so very brave.
________ February 1929 Hogsmeade, Valentine's Day
She was pretty, he'd give her that. Red hair, all soft curls and softer lips and she looked like a duchess in that pretty green dress she'd put on for the occasion. "Blair Briarlocke?" His friends laughed, for they'd seen how Wesley lapped up the attentions of less wholesome young ladies, even if nothing ever came of it. His friends were only jealous, after all. They didn't have the same sort of constancy in their lives, someone there who cared for him and was always there, no matter the weather. He'd fallen in love with that feeling, fallen in love.... It was foolish, he knew it, but it had been nice for two years, so why not make it fifty?
He was down on one knee and he'd pulled out the ring and he was telling her he loved her and wouldn't she please say yes? And of course, she did, and then they were engaged.
She was perfect, and once more, he had his forever.
________ September, 1931 16 Ashwinder Lane, Hogsmeade
"Darling, you ought to say something. You're gaping as wide as a fish."
He didn't doubt it, not with the news she'd just laid on him, and his twenty-year old self felt as if a heart attack were imminent. Monsters, curses, rivals in the artifact acquisition community -- he'd faced them all down by now and yet nothing (nothing!) seemed as terrifying as this.
"I... ah... bloody..."
"Wesley, your tongue. Honestly, they say babies can hear you speaking from the outside. I'd rather not have such language around--"
Baby. Baby baby baby. Baby. She kept saying that word and he was beginning to think he'd stepped into an alternative reality. Baby meant she was.... she was....
"Bl-- I mean, oh. I mean, wow. I mean... great."
"No, no that's.... great. Amazing..." He was beginning to smile. Beam. Laugh.
She was pregnant, and he was going to be a father, and this all was really forever.
________ April, 1931 St. Mungo's Hospital
She was small.
Too small, and she fit in the palm of his hand, barely even breathing, not moving. Alive, but....
He refused to cry, refused to let the aching show, not even to this tiny infant he called his daughter, his little.... Ava, they'd decided to call it, if it was a girl. And it was. She was.
"Mam's upstairs," he murmured gently, and the tremor in his voice was quickly stamped away. "Something happened, and they're trying to fix her...." A glance to the door; they'd whisked her away, she'd been unconscious.... and they had left a solitary healer to explain that there was nothing that they could do except let him hold her, because she was too early for life to fully take hold.
He didn't even know what to do with her, except hug her to his chest while the little heartbeat slowed and the breaths became invisible. He rocked a little, like he'd seen mothers do in the park, and once he kissed the baby's forehead, just because she ought to know what that was like.
She slipped away in his arms, and when it was all over, he just handed the body back to the healer and walked out to go and find his wife.
But she was already gone.
At the joint funeral the next week, he watched two caskets -- one larger, one smaller -- lower into a single grave. He stayed long enough to throw the customary handful of dirt into the hole, and then he left.
And then he cried, finally, because it had become all too clear that forever was a long way off.
________ May 1933 A bar near Galway, Ireland
"She's a bird wit' legs, tha' one," Fox commented, spat-covered shoes finding a resting place on the table and taking a gander at some of the girls at the bar counter. "Blonde, and would ye look at them--"
"C'mon, some of us are concentrating Foxworthy," Swan flicked a cigarette butt in the redheaded man's lap, her perfectly polished nails clicking on the table through a piece of old parchment. "Drool over your birds somewhere else."
"You quit poking holes in a three-hundred year old document," Wesley muttered, but it was all good natured. "And pass the whiskey."
"Next round's on you, Hound," Swan replied, plunking the bottle in front of their historian. "You also owe me six cigarettes and seven butterbeers." A wry little grin. "But who's counting?"
Wesley only grinned.
"So where is this thing we're lookin' fer, then?" Fox yawned. "And will explosives be necessary? I'm not hiring the bloke we got last time."
"No, no. It's an easy one," Wesley said. "Cliffs of Moher. We'll find it by next week if we don't get blown off the cliffs. I have a good idea of where the cave is. Few mile radius."
"Better than last time," Swan observed. "Twenty square miles until we got that goddamn spear..."
"I had a better map this time. The sixteen-hundreds are considerably more cartographically inclined as opposed to the seven-hundreds."
"I'm tired o' this," Fox yawned dramatically. "I'm goin' to go see if one of them fine dames needs an escort."
"I'd knock loudly before entering the room tonight," muttered Swan, and Wesley snorted, then lost himself in work again.
________ August, 1935 New Mexican desert
Swan's strong voice rang out and Wesley ducked instinctively as a storm of red streaks whizzed over his head. "Damn..." Sending a streak of blue in the direction of their attackers, he slipped behind a boulder and took cover beside Fox. "How the bloody hell did they know we'd be--" A shower of dirt came down as a spell hit the boulder with explosive force. "--here?!"
"Dunno," the Irishman shot back, and reached around to send a stunning curse out. "But there's seven o' them an' three o' us and in case ye hadn' caugh' on, they've cast anti-apparation spells."
Rival hunters were ruthless towards each other; some more so than others. And he'd been on both sides of justice, the aggressor as often as the defendant. It just tended to be less pleasant when you were on the receiving end.
"Either way, we need to get out of here," Wesley growled. Their brooms were within reach.... "Accio broom!"
The first was blasted by an Incendio mid-summon; he swore. Fine. He'd get them himself. "Cover me," he told Fox, and he launched himself out from behind the boulder.
Two things happened at once; and after that he knew very little. One curse, directly over the right side of his chest, and a Stupefy from the side, and when he hit the ground he found in the last few moments of consciousness that he couldn't seem to draw a breath.
December, 1935 St. Mungo's Hospital
Asthma, they called it, and there was no way to cure the constant wheeze, or so they said. It was the curse that did it -- only so much they could have done, he was lucky to be alive. Any further left and it would have stopped his heart.
Lucky. He laughed bitterly (and then coughed). Who counted themselves lucky to have lain prone and severely asthmatic in a bed at the same hospital where his wife and daughter....?
The bitter cold air only made his lungs constrict further, and he found it difficult to swallow the potion dose they'd given him, potions he would rely on for the rest of his life. For what life? They'd stripped him of his escape... what would he do now except exist? He couldn't return to the field. Not now, not ever.
In the end, he spent Christmas alone, in the hollowed-out shell of a trinket shop registered to one Blair Avalon Briarlocke.
And then he moved in. Boxes from years of travels accumulated. He put the contents on the empty shop shelves. And before long, Briarlocke Antiquities was opening for business.
It wasn't a life quite yet, but it was close enough.
Summary of his life since 1935: After a few years, he met his current wife, Angel Dumont, who he married in April of 1939. That same year, he took a teaching position at Hogwarts and the Winsdays welcomed their first child -- a daughter named Noelle. Right around the time of Noelle's birth, Wesley began to have difficulties with the curse that had given him such terrible asthma and after it became worse with every passing month the healers at St. Mungo's determined that the curse was beginning to spread, killing Wesley slowly.
The Winsdays looked for a cure but found nothing, while Wesley's wealth deteriorated to the point where he was unable to teach. From 1944-45, they went on a last ditch effort to figure out a cure with former coworker and family friend Juniper Steele and her family. Finally, they were able to extract the curse entirely, though permanent damage has been done. Fortunately, it's manageable and he'll be able to return to work, hopefully at Hogwarts once more.