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 Lupin woke to the realization of three things: one, he was shirtless, which wasn’t unusual after a full moon. Two, he was curled up around a bundle of blankets that was warm and squirming, and three….whew! Whatever was in said bundle desperately needed airing out.
His eyes shot open as a baby’s angry squall rent the air.
“Harry?” He gasped, and frantically unwrapped the infant, who was furious. “Alright, alright, shh…just a minute.” He soothed, rummaging around and managing to come up with a spare baby bag. His throat burned with unshed tears even as he went through the motions of diaper changing and warming a bottle. Lily had stocked both his and Sirius’ houses with extra diapers and baby supplies, ‘just in case’, as she said. “Stop laughing, Lils, you were right – as always.” He murmured, hearing her snicker in the back of his mind.
Glancing away from the now quiet child in an effort to gain control over his emotions, he noticed an envelope lying close by, partially covered by the blanket Harry had been tucked in.
Frowning, he picked it up. It was from Dumbledore, telling the Dursleys’–whom Remus now remembered were relatives of Lily’s (despite the fact that she and her sister mutually denied the other’s existence) who Harry was, how he had come to them, and requesting that they take care of him. He would check back with them when the boy turned eleven to start the boy’s magical education.
Remus growled angrily. How dare Dumbledore! He knew of the mutual resentment between the two sisters. Why would he knowingly send Lily’s child to live with people who hated everything that he was?
All thoughts of taking Harry back and explaining the situation to Dumbledore had vanished. His eyes narrowed in determination. “Well, Harry my lad, looks like it’s just you and me now.” He murmured, smiling down at the baby, who stared back at him with wide green eyes. Fragments of the night before were slowly filtering back into his rapidly clearing brain. “I guess this is one time I can actually be thankful for some of my baser instincts. Enough about that though. Let’s get this house cleaned and baby-proof, and then I should set about making some plans…”
Those plans had been extensive, and yet ridiculously simple. The first plan was to visit Albus Dumbledore, for Remus had easily recognized the familiar flowery script of the letter to the Dursleys. Why would the Headmaster leave a toddler—any child—on the doorstep in the middle of the night in cold, windy November? There had not been a heating charm or any kind of temporary sleeping spell on Harry to ensure that he would stay warm and quiet until the Dursleys discovered him. And why leave Harry with Petunia in the first place? Yes, she was technically Lily’s sister, but that was by marriage, not blood, and it was a tenuous link that both women only acknowledged under extreme duress. Surely Andromeda Tonks, Remus himself, or even Narcissa Malfoy would have been a better choice, even temporarily. Andi and Narcissa were sisters, originally of the Black family, and thus were cousins to Sirius Black on one side, and James himself on the other, which made them technically family.
Those were only a few of the questions Remus had for the old wizard. He had left early, leaving Harry under a light static sleeping spell and monitoring charms, which were Lily’s equivalent of a Muggle baby monitor. The static spell ensured that he would remain peacefully in the healing sleep that his little body needed to recover from the trauma of being left out in the cold on a damp November night. The monitor charm was in the form of a watch, much like a Wizarding family clock, and revealed Harry’s physical states – sleeping peacefully, fussy, hungry, wet diaper, etc. Even with the precautions and his own formidable wards, Remus had been reluctant to leave, but it couldn’t be helped.
Dumbledore had been delighted to see him, twinkle in full force. The werewolf had gotten straight to the point, as any Marauder would– asking about Harry, if he was safe, if he could at least visit.
“I’m sorry my boy, so sorry.” The old wizard said somberly. “But after Sirius’ betrayal, and the subsequent attacks on Frank and Alice, I made the decision to hide the young Mister Potter in a place where most in the wizarding world would not bother – or care – to look. He is safe, and with family. The wards I have placed around his home, along with the blood protection that Lily herself enacted with her sacrifice, will deter any with ill intent towards him, as well as repeal any Dark Creatures of any sort.”
Remus gritted his teeth. Petunia Dursley was not Harry’s family! She abhorred everything about the wizarding world! Placing a potentially strong young wizard like Harry in her care was a cruel disaster waiting to happen. Remus had no doubt that she would have done her best to poison Harry against his parents and magic, in her lifelong campaign to be considered normal. He was also doing his best to ignore the subtle slur and hint against him personally—yes, he was a werewolf, and therefore automatically classified as a Dark Creature, but that didn’t mean that Dumbledore, as powerful as he was, couldn’t modify the wards to let Remus through if he had actually wanted to. The full moon was only a few days out of the month, after all, and he had more than proved his trustworthiness over and over again.
“But sir-“ he tried anyway, knowing he was fighting a losing battle.
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed, losing a bit of their twinkle. “Enough, Remus. He is safe.” He peered shrewdly at the werewolf over the top of his half-moon glasses. “Voldemort is gone, yet times will remain turbulent for werewolves and other Ministry defined Dark creatures, regardless of which side they chose to fight on or not. Perhaps it would be prudent for you to do some travelling. See the world. Deal with your own grief and losses.” He said gently.
Remus felt the Confundus charm bounce off of his shields, and dropped his head, presumably yielding to the gentle hint, but really to hide his anger, knowing that the wolf would show in the flash of gold in his eyes. “Yes. Perhaps that would be best. I do have friends in Italy that I have not seen in a long time…” He murmured, and sighed heavily. “Thank you, Albus. If you don’t mind, I will take my leave and go make my preparations.”
“Go and be safe, Mister Lupin. You are the last of an era, one that sacrificed too much. Go, and find your peace.”
Remus inclined his head slightly, unable to respond, and quickly left.
It took half an hour after he had returned home and taken care of Harry to soothe the wolf, which was furious at Dumbledore and his subtle barbs and manipulations.
“Easy, Moony.” he murmured. Despite his inherent fear of the wolf, he had found that the beast eventually responded to his voice and logic. In the lonely nights spent spying on the Were packs, he had started having one sided conversations, mostly to alleviate the boredom and loneliness. It was strange, but there were moments where he had the sense that someone was trying to respond to him, connect on a mental level. He had shied away from the tentative, faint contact though, and strengthened his mental shields, afraid that someone had discovered his true goals. That person had never tried again though, so he had brushed it off as a figment of his over active imagination.
“I saw it, felt it, heard it too. He used to hide his disdain much better when we were in school. However, I – we – are not harmed by one man’s dislike. He is not Pack. He is of no consequence right now…”
The wolf subsided, grumbling. Remus gently picked up a still slumbering Harry, burying his nose in the toddler’s hair and breathing deeply, letting the familiar scents of contented baby mixed with Lily’s hint of lavender and James’s mixture of forest and wind take over his senses and calming both him and Moony further. Pack. Home. Safe.
He moved to the rocking chair in the corner and carefully sat down, closing his eyes with a heavy sigh. Lily had also insisted on replicating her favorite objects – the rocking chair, Harry’s crib, and the changing table were only a start – at both Sirius’ and Remus’ houses, so when they came to visit or when one of the men had to baby sit, Harry wouldn’t be uncomfortable.
Frowning, he recalled the underlying emotions emanating from his former Headmaster – remorse, regret, frustration, anger, resentment, dislike… That had hurt far more than he wanted to admit. The Headmaster was one of the first adults that Remus had come to trust, since it was Dumbledore who had allowed Remus to attend Hogwarts in the first place; something that the older wizard had no problems holding over the younger man’s head as needed.
Shaking his head, he decided that he didn’t want to over analyze anymore. The important thing was that Dumbledore still believed that Harry was with the Dursleys, and now assumed that Remus would be out of the country for some time.
Harry whined and squirmed in his sleep, and Remus shushed him, smiling as the boy snuggled deeper into the crook of his neck, soft breaths ruffling the hair at his nape. The wolf was also content, and slumbering lightly. Remus had a sudden vision of a tawny gold male, curled protectively around a small pile of black fur that twitched and shivered in his sleep. The wolf pup whimpered and moved his head, revealing a jagged white lightning bolt shaped patch of fur on his forehead – exactly where Harry’s was. The adult wolf raised his head, opening gold-brown eyes to meet his gaze.
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. However, when the pair is compatible, as you and I are, we will be able to change at will. That is, now that we are no longer…in conflict, fighting against each other and ourselves.
Remus couldn’t actually send him a sardonic look, but the wolf felt the emotion along their link.
To survive the Change without injury, Remus Lupin, you need to be willing to relinquish control, mind and body, to me. Even I, a Lunar Alpha, could not break through the sheer tenacity and iron will of a stubborn teenage wizard.
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. Not just wolves choose to bond with witches and wizards, although we are the most…insistent about it. 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 with 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 cobra is not dead, Remus. He is no longer on this plane, although I can sense the residue of 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 nearly 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.