All Hallow’s Eve, 1981.
“Goodbye and good luck…Harry Potter.” Albus Dumbledore said softly, stepping back from the baby basket. His companion, Minerva McGonagall, made sure the note was tucked securely under the blanket where the infant couldn’t reach, and stepped back as well with a faint sob. With a soft pop! they vanished into thin air, secure in the belief that the child’s relatives would find him in the morning and take him in…
Unless someone else found him first. The huge wolf waited until the humans were gone before slinking out of the shadows. Ears pricked and all senses on alert, it padded cautiously over to the bundle of blankets and nudged it with its nose. Annoyed at being roused, Harry grumbled a protest and snuggled deeper into his blankets, shivering slightly as a cool breeze washed over him.
The wolf’s ears pricked as the familiar scent washed over his acute senses. This was the pack’s pup! He growled softly, not at all liking that it was out of the safety of the den.
It took a couple of minutes, but he finally managed to carefully wrap his jaw around the basket’s handle and lift it, although it wobbled terribly. Harry slept on. The wolf took a few steps, getting a feel for how the basket would move, senses on alert for any unknown dangers. Satisfied that there were no other potential threats to stop him, he melted back into the shadows with his precious bundle.
Back at the pup’s den, he was met with fire and devastation. Frantic with worry, the wolf still had the presence of mind to set his charge safely out of the way before leaping in among the ruins. Blood, fear, and death hit his senses like a blow, staggering him back. Vigorously shaking his head to clear his nose of the clogging smells, he nearly tripped over the body of his pack mate. Whining under his breath, he warily moved around it and returned outside. If the male was dead, then so was his mate, for she would’ve fought with every breath in her body to protect her child.
Picking up his young remaining pack mate one more, he settled into a long, mile-eating lope, covering ground with ease. As long as there were no other complications he could make it to the safe den by dawn. The pup was quiet, very little fuss or movement coming from him even as he was prodded and scratched by passing limbs and bushes. Although somewhat concerned at the lack of response, there was nothing he could do about it right now. There wasn’t much time, and he had to reach their destination by dawn. Fuzzy with exhaustion, he only had enough energy to set his bundle down in a nest of blankets, curling protectively around it and nuzzling and licking in an effort to comfort both the pup and himself. The metallic taste of blood hit his senses, and for a moment he concentrated his efforts on his young companion’s forehead, until the baby settled. With one last whine at the loss of his pack-mates, he found sleep.
Remus’ eyes shot open, and he yelped as he jumped up, startling Harry in the process. Startled rudely awake, the baby responded with a squall, protesting such treatment. The next few minutes were spent appeasing him. A bottle, clean diaper, and an especially loud and content burp later, and a now wide awake Harry was in his walker, pocking and prodding the various bright balls, and gadgets, and warbling in delight as they changed in shape and color with each touch.
Remus’s stomach rumbled loudly, reminding him that he had not eaten since early that morning. A storm had rumbled in, inspiring his rainy day meal of hot soup and bread. Full and sleepy once again, he settled on his couch after renewing the monitoring charms on Harry. He thought about getting up to grab a book, but was too comfortable and relaxed to make the effort. Letting his mind drift, but resolutely not thinking about the wolf or that voice in his head, he had almost succumbed to sleep completely when it spoke again.
Remus. You can’t ignore me forever.
His eyes shot open again, as it snapped, Be STILL! You’ll scare Harry. I am not going to harm you. I merely want to talk. You are quite the strong and stubborn young man, you know, it continued huffily. It took this long to break the walls and chains you set around me so I could actually speak to you.
Remus didn’t dare to move. “Who are you?” he breathed, eying his wand on the coffee table nearby.
Relax. The voice sighed. You haven’t figured it out yet? I’m you. The wolf. Moony.
“What?” This time he managed a hissed whisper instead of yelping like a pup. “You can’t be! Werewolves can’t…talk to their wolf half!”
Moony huffed again, his voice now filled with amusement. The tawny wolf in the back of Remus’ mind panted as well, his tongue lolling in a canine grin.
Of course we can. Most wizards are too terrified to even begin to listen though.
“Oh.” Seven years of being confronted with the various ‘impossible’ situations that James and Sirius had inevitably dragged him into made his reaction a bit more pragmatic than most would have been. The ever present scholarly side was also taking over, as he calmed slightly and curiosity won over. “How can you talk? You’re – pardon – “
– Just an animal? Moony finished wryly. Yes…and no. We are bonded, two halves of a whole. You are a strong, powerful wizard, and I don’t just mean magically. I am the spirit of a Luna Alpha. We were compatible, which is why you survived the Change, even at four years old. Selina is a harsh mistress, but she protects her children as much as she can.
“I don’t understand.”
Moony sighed heavily, his voice somber. One day I will share the full story of our ancestors, but simply put, Lunar wolves are Children of the Moon. We were once shapeshifters, shamans, warriors and guardians. We were able to change at will, not unlike what you wizards refer to as Animagi.
But times changed. A new sect of man arrived, one that could not believe, and therefore did not see. We were massacred, hunted and slaughtered. So we retreated to our sanctuaries, and became part of mists and legends. Once, we joined with our animals spirits joyfully, for to do so meant a bond unlike any other. Wizards with enhanced senses, instincts, and understanding of Mother Earth. Animals, with compassion and human intelligence and the conscious capacity to love. Our shamans gathered under a full moon to pray and appeal to the Goddess Seline, that we might retain this ability once again. But no appeal granted is without sacrifice, and for that we were tied to the turnings of the moon, so that our powers and abilities wane and grow as the moon treks across the sky. In this way, we are forever reminded of our blessing, that we are Her children, the Children of the Moon.
But I digress.
Children, especially magical children, often show signs of their potential and affinity at a young age. Like attracts like. Whatever their animal guardian is usually seeks them out, so that they may bond and grow together. You, Remus Lupin, were an extremely strong magical child. I was already close when the Betrayer found you. I was not in time to spare you completely.
“What?” Remus whispered.
You showed an affinity for Beast Speaking before you could walk. Your parents indulged you, often taking you for walks in the woods near your home. Your mother was a Healer, your father a hunter and trapper. The Betrayer found you, and struck.
Moony closed his gold-brown eyes for a long moment. Traditionally, the Change occurs through a ritual of blood, magic, and intent. Both parties must willing accept the bond, and all that comes with it. I…forced it on you in order to save your life. I cannot say that I regret the intent behind my actions, only the method in which they were implemented. You were far too young, and the trauma too much, for you to begin to understand that the horrible monster from your nightmares was not the same as the one you were bonded with. I…am so very deeply sorry for what our bond has caused you, Remus.
The wizard lost his breath at the emotions assaulting him and instinctively reacted, reaching out to soothe and comfort.
“Moony. Moony. It’s okay. I…forgive you. You did what you had to, and I am grateful to you. Easy does it…We’re both fine. We survived. We’re here now…” He didn’t know how long he talked, or whether it was out loud or in his head, all of his attention focused on reducing that storm of emotions. When it was finally quiet in his head once more, he let out a slow breath, giving them both a few moments, before changing the subject.
“What happened on Halloween?” He said quietly. “ I woke up and Harry was here! How did you seize control, if I wasn’t listening to you yet?”
Moony growled low. “One of the reasons, Remus Lupin, why we are so compatible is because of your instincts, not mine. We remained at this house, near Godric’s Hollow, instead of your shack by Hogwarts because you suspected that something might happen to James and Lily. You didn’t tell anyone – not even Sirius – that you were back from spying on the feral packs. So when the moon went blood red, you knew, even through the Change. I was able to appeal to that worry and those instincts, and take control.
I – we – arrived to the Potter’s house too late, but I smelled Sirius, Dumbledore, and Hagrid—with Harry. I followed.
“But the Dursleys live in Surrey!” Remus sputtered. “How did you—“
Harry is our Pack, by blood, magic, and intent. The Moon Goddess herself has recognized it. Pack members can gather where one is already, no matter the distance between them. It is a gift. Moony said quietly. That, and I can use your magic to Apparate. We are one, Remus – or nearly. Again, like having an Animagus form as a sentient being in your mind. Magic is done through intent and ability. A wand is merely a focus point, although it has become a crutch for too many.
“Bloody hell.” Remus breathed, closing his eyes as the full weight and implications of the entire night sunk in. It was too much to take in, so he decided to focus on the present. “So, what now?”
Now, we make plans. The viper is not dead, Remus. He is no longer on this plane, because I can sense his magic still, but he still has anchors that will lead him back. Moony said bluntly. However, we cannot hunt what we cannot see, so it is of no consequence right now. The first step, then, is to confirm that James and Lily are truly dead. They… the wolf trailed off. They were Pack, more so than Harry, and the links are still strong. Look.
Remus felt a light tugging in his mind, and followed it until he stood in a forest clearing. Golden, sparkling paths darted away from him in different directions. Some were bright and strong, others faded. Two were dark and went off into the mist to disappear.
The paths represent your Pack bonds. Moony said quietly. The two that are completely dark are those of your parents.
Remus swallowed hard.
The thin footpath is to Harry. It will broaden and strengthen as he grows and matures. I don’t know where the other footpath goes to. These four, however…he leaned down and sniffed at the paths before them. Two were faded, dull, nearly completely dark. The third was dark as well, misty, and had been reduced to a footpath, riddled with holes and rough spots, and nearly completely obscured by brambles and brush. The fourth was still bright, but the path itself was eroded, as if chunks were missing.
“Sirius.” Remus said.
Yes. Moony agreed. As the trust between you erodes, so does the bond.
Not wanting to face that at the moment, or what the related significance of the third dark path meant, he looked at the other two. “James and Lily?” he frowned. “But…they’re dead. Why would the bond still be alive?”
I don’t know.
“Unless….do you think that they could’ve survived, like Harry did?’ Remus breathed, eyes wide.
I don’t know, Remus. Moony repeated gently. We will find out tomorrow. That is more than enough for tonight. It is past time to sleep, for both of you.
Remus felt the wave of exhaustion hit his body with the words. He barely had the energy to go through the motions of checking on Harry and changing them both into sleep wear, before he collapsed on the couch again, near Harry now asleep in his play pen.