Thirteen year old Harry Potter was in danger – probably the most he had been in all year – and that was saying something, considering that his first, eleventh, and twelfth years of life had all concluded with someone trying to kill him.
As a toddler, just over a year old, the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort had murdered Harry’s parents, and almost succeeded in killing Harry too, only to have the curse backfire somehow, leaving Voldemort as less than a wraith. He would retain enough of an anchor in the world somehow to use the years of relative peace and prosperity to regain his strength and hone his madness and obsession.
Eventually, Professor Quirrell, Harry’s first year Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher (ironically enough) would stumble across the wraith and be possessed by it, allowing Voldemort to live off of him like a leech, and picking up where he had left of in his attempts to murder Harry.
Harry, at eleven years old, would again face down his parent’s murderer, although this time with help from his best friends, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley.
Last year, Harry’s second at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Voldemort was much more creative and subtle – although less choosy in his targeted victims. This time he refocused his goal to eliminating Muggle-born students, using a giant basilisk which he commanded via a sixteen year old version of himself trapped in a diary. It was all very complicated and convoluted, but Harry prevailed once again, escaping with his life.
Now, well into his third year at Hogwarts, Harry was once more staring into the face of possible death. Literally.
This time however, although it was in the form of his Defense professor again, Professor Lupin was decidedly not possessed by Voldemort. He did happen to be a werewolf though, and had mentioned that he had been Harry’s father’s best friend, although that wasn’t really relevant at the moment because it was a full moon and there was no hint of the gentle, soft spoken man in the hard gold eyes of the tawny wolf snarling at him and Hermione.
It had tracked them into the Forbidden Forest, following the fake wolf howl that Hermione had done to save their lives – well, their lives from three hours earlier. Harry had a mild headache still from trying to understand it, so he just put it up to magic when Hermione had pulled the Time-Turner from under her shirt and thrown it over his head.
Unlike the first confrontation with the werewolf, Buckbeak the hippogriff was nowhere to be seen, so they were on their own.
“Professor?” Hermione stepped out from behind Harry, cautiously meeting the wolf’s gaze. “Professor Lupin?”
“Hermione.” Harry warned in a low tone, grabbing her by the arm to stop her. “Let me try. He – Remus knows me. Maybe Moony will too.” He stepped forward and directly in front of her before she could protest, drawing a rumbling snarl from the wolf.
“Easy, Moony.” he said calmly. “C’mon, you know me. I’m your cub, remember? You and Remus used to visit nearly every day. You gave me a stuffed rabbit that I used to carry everywhere, even over that dog plushie that Sirius – Padfoot- gave me.” He felt a slight probing at his mind, and absently followed the link, even as he kept talking. “I used to call you ‘ Mooey’, cuz I couldn’t pronounce my ‘n’s. You were so thrilled and smug, because I said it before Padfoot.” He stopped in surprise. How did he know all that? He had been a year old when his parents were killed, and his best memories were more of emotions, rather than tangible pictures.
The tugging on his mind stopped, and information flooded his brain. Images flashed by, too fast to see, but all immersed with scents: peppermint and sage and pine and fresh air, mixed with the sweet scent of baby powder and lavender. These were Moony’s emotions- and memories. Harry had never realized that memories and emotions and could have scent, but for a wolf, he supposed it would make sense.
“Moony?” he murmured.
The wolf relaxed and laid down in front of him, deliberately putting himself in a submissive position. Pup. It’s been a very long time.
Harry’s eyes widened as the rich, deep voice sounded in his head. “Did you just…”
*You are Pack, and therefore bonded. There is much that is unknown about werewolves because of fear and ignorance. Most dismiss us as heartless, mindless stupid beasts. I – we – have been away, as well, and that weakens the bond. I have also been deeply hampered by that poisonous potion Remus insists on drinking from that snake that he trusts. The wolf cocked his head. I can see that there are blocks in your mind, young one. Would you like me to remove them?
“Harry.” Hermione whispered frantically, tugging on his sleeve. “Harry, the Dementors are coming!”
He swore as he felt the familiar burning cold creep nearer. “Moony, run! Get out of here – find a place to hide! Hermione, we’ve got to go!” He exclaimed, grabbing her by the hand and pulling her away.
Wait, young ones. I will go with you.
“No! You can’t! I don’t know how the Dementors will affect you.” Harry snapped. “If you can keep your mind, then help Padfoot. Find the rat. Wormtail. You know these woods far better than we do. Just remember, we need him alive!” He let Hermione tug him away, and they ran deeper into the forest.
“Well, that just took a strange turn.” Hermione called as they fought their way through the trees.
“So much for your ‘we can’t be seen’ mandate!”
“Shut it! Now is not the time!”
“Did you just make a time joke?”
It was a sign that they had run from danger one too many times, Hermione thought wildly, when they could joke and snark at each other as they ran.
They found the pond where earlier!Harry and Sirius, Harry’s godfather, were already collapsed by the water’s edge. The Dementors had found them too and were circling ever lower, intent on their prey.
“Right there.” Harry said, pointing to a break in the woods nearby. “That’s where I saw my dad.”
“Harry…” Hermione replied sadly, transfixed by the scene before them. The Dementors had completely engulfed the two bodies, shielding them from sight. “No one’s coming.” She choked back a sob as the wraith like beings retreated, revealing Sirius and Harry once more. A white orb drifted out of Sirius’s mouth, hovering just above his body. “He’s dead…”
Harry burst into action, running a few steps forward and drawing his wand. “Expecto Patronum!” He cried, putting every single happy thought and emotion he could muster behind the spell. Silver light streamed out of his wand, quickly forming into the shape of a stag, which immediately charged into the horde of Dementors, forcing them back from the bodies of his earlier self and Sirius.
He watched for a moment, slightly in awe, before heading back into the trees to go back to where Hermione was waiting a few yards away.
He stared as a figure stepped out of the shadows.