Harry paced the length of the smallest room of Number 4 Privet Drive.
Since he had returned from school almost a month ago, his emotions had been all over the place. He was angry all the time but he had an unbearable sadness tearing at his heart.
The battle that took place at the Ministry of Magic in June had taken what little Harry had. He had lost Sirius to the Veil of Death, the cackling of Bellatrix still rang in his ears, her insane giggling reigniting the ever-present anger as he punched his wall.
It wasn't fair!
And he was sure no one knew or noticed, but he knew what that vacant look meant. It had been an accident when he had been trying to escape through the Department of Mysteries. He had meant for the spell to stun his opponent, to give him enough time to escape. But he misjudged and sent the man into a wall of unidentifiable substances.
He stared in horror as the man screamed as the substances burned through his skin, unable to look away as the Death Eater reached out to him for help.
Green eyes, paralyzed in fear, could do nothing but watch the light leave the man's eyes, the hand that had been outreached, falling limp to the ground.
Stumbling backwards, Harry emptied the contents of his stomach, refusing to look at the body any more.
He needed to get out of here, he had to find the others!
Shaking himself out of his memories, he threw himself onto his bed, mulling over how, after all of that, Dumbledore had still sent him back to the Dursley's, the one place in the world he hated above all others. He wanted to leave just to spite those who still treated him like a child. But when the urge came, he reminded himself that Sirius would have died for nothing if he left and was captured by Voldemort.
To release some of the pent up agitation, he'd pace, sometimes for hours, when he wasn't allowed to leave his room.
Turning to his side, Harry moved his eyes to his window seeing the last rays of the sun dipping below the houses of Privet Drive. His thoughts drifted to Remus and how he would be, facing his first full moon without his best friend.
All he could hope was that he wasn't alone. He remembered Remus transitioning alone, the wolf wasn't kind to him. He let his old professor occupy his thoughts, wondering whether he should send him a letter tomorrow to see how he was or if that would be deemed inappropriate.
Harry let out a gasp at the sudden pain that shot through his leg, sitting up to clutch it. Another painful sensation shot through his body, this time from his back.
He fell off his bed at the next bout of pain, this time it was everywhere! It was like nothing he had ever experienced before. It was like every bone in his body was breaking.
He cried out at the excruciating pain again as he both felt and heard his back break.
What was happening to him?!
Panic raced through his mind as his last coherent thought was how similar this was to the night he saw Remus transform all those years ago.
Golden eyes stared back at him from his window and nothing mattered anymore except getting out of this room. His instincts took over and he broke the window, running under the moon, trying to find his pack. He spent two hours at the park in pain as his bones kept breaking and snapping, reforming. But when he finally rose, he had never felt better and took off running, howling under the moon.
Petunia heard the screams and by the time she got to the door and opened it, there was a shattering noise and her nephew was gone. Racing to the broken window, she saw no sign of Harry and immediately feared the worst. She didn't know what had happened so she did the only thing she could, set a letter with the bloody owl. With the letter sent, she gathered her family, Vernon packing them into the car and taking off. If it was supporters of the man who killed her sister, they weren't safe and needed to get as far away as possible.
Hedwig knew who to go to as she watched her owner transform. With the letter firmly in her claws, she took off to find Remus Lupin. While he wouldn't be much help tonight, he would be able to find Harry and explain what was happening to him.
Harry woke up surrounded by forest he rarely saw in Surrey; the closest place like this was Chantry Wood. He was also very naked and for the first time since Sirius died, he felt liberated. He felt like a weight had been lifted from him, like a part of himself he had never realized was missing was finally complete. It left him conflicted and confused because after so long consumed by anger and sorrow, this feeling felt like a betrayal.
Casting a wandless disillusion spell over himself – the only spell he had mastered wandless – Harry prayed that he could make it back to the Dursley's before anyone noticed he was gone.
Remus was quicker to get to him and in his post-wolf haze – nothing mattered but getting his pup – he didn't alert anyone to where he was going.
Harry gets back to Number 4 when Remus is already there. It is an awkward reunion with Remus pulling him into a death grip, ignoring his naked state for the moment. When his heart finally calms, he pulls away to study Harry, noting the lake of wounds but obvious dirt and muck. Despite having the house to themselves, Remus pulls him upstairs to where he remembered his room was from last year.
Harry tells Remus what happened, about feeling so liberated and just running and hunting. Remus listens and while what Harry says does sound similar to Remus' experience, it doesn't completely match because of one glaring error: Harry was never bitten. He described his mood swings and anger the past few weeks since the battle and Remus came to the conclusion that he was a different type of werewolf, a familiar wolf whose curse had to be triggered. But that left out who his father was because neither James nor Lily had this curse and he had been there when Lily had given birth to him.
This created a conundrum because it violated everything he knew about his mother. Lily wouldn't have cheated on his dad but how did he have this curse then? He looked like James!
There were no answers to be had as the only one who knew was dead, taking the secret to the grave. Remus coached Harry and with a vow from Petunia, who returned after Hedwig delivered her a letter stating it was safe to come home, took Harry to his home for the rest of the summer where they could get a handle on his wolf side and learn to control his emotions, most importantly, his anger. If he had trouble with his temper last year, it was nothing to what he felt now. He thought he was done with this rage after his transformation but it seemed that was a one-time thing; he was angry all the time, he felt like his blood was boiling, his magic simmering at the surface just waiting to be let out.
They only had a month and in that time, they hadn't been able to come up with any solutions as they only had one full moon to observe Harry's behavior. They had discovered a vital piece of information though: he didn't have to turn on a full moon.
Remus had tried to quell his rising anxiety but neither of them knew how this was going to go. In light of all the unknowns, Harry insisted Remus chain him in a separate room so they couldn't hurt each other or escape. It was with a heavy heart he agreed. There was just no telling how their wolves would react to each other.
Harry sat waiting for hours for the pain to come but nothing happened. He winced, hearing the whimpers of the wolf a few rooms over. It sounded like he was attacking his body in the absence of stimulus and companions. Clenching his hands over his ears, Harry tried to drown out the sounds, wishing for the night to end, the endless suffering of Remus to end.
Scratching, whimpering, howling, yipping, growling…they went on for hours and hours, leaving Harry sleep deprived and shaking with tears dried to his face.
Morning came and with it, silence. It felt infinite yet finite as footsteps stopped in front of his door. Harry barely lifted his head to stare at Remus, he didn't want to see the bruises and blood that he knew would cover his body, images of his former professor flashing through his mind when he first saw him post-transformation.
He could hear the hesitation and concern in the older man's voice and he wanted to sob, he didn't deserve it. How could he be worried about him when he had just gone through all that pain while Harry just sat here?
Remus winced as he moved closer, new wounds pulling. He inspected Harry and found nothing out of place from when he chained him the night before, almost like he hadn't transformed.
Waving his hand, the chains opened, releasing Harry who weakly pushed himself to his feet. Remus wrapped his arm around the younger's shoulder, pulling him close. Harry unconsciously nuzzled into the safety the older wolf provided, seeking the stability he provided to his chaotic emotions.
If only that was the end of their problems. Over the next few days, as the moon began to wane, Remus noticed that the boy's emotions were becoming increasingly unstable as he became agitated and restless. Since July, he had been researching werewolves around the world, trying to figure out what Harry was but nothing matched. The whole mythology of a werewolf was that they changed on a full moon! But, disregarding the first full moon, Harry wasn't forced to transform. Which led him to conclude that Harry's wolf nature may be more similar to an animagus than a werewolf.
With that in mind, they spent the remaining few weeks they had until the start of the term trying to perfect his transformation. While Remus may have concluded the transformation was more similar to that of an animagus, it did not change the fact that Harry was experiencing the same symptoms as any other werewolf and they seemed to worsen the longer he went without transforming.
They both knew he couldn't go to Hogwarts without having mastered his transformation and his emotions. He would be an easy target and they were looking to hide this development for as long as possible. If the truth came out, it would cause turmoil and discord with the insinuations and the classification of being a dark creature, most of whom have sided with Voldemort. So they kept it between the two of them.
It's with less than three days to the start of term when Harry is able to suffer through the excruciating pain and fully transform.
Remus stares in awe at the wolf in front of him, placing up placating hands in a universal sign of meaning no harm when the dark-haired wolf began to growl at him. He felt a bead of sweat run down his brow, holding his breath as he was circled and examined at every angle. He released his breath, chest heaving when a rough tongue licked at his exposed hand.
Deeming the man not a danger to him, a scent screaming ALPHA, the wolf pawed at the door, whining to be let out.
Already having his perimeter warded for both his transformations and for the Order, Remus let the wolf out, watching as it darted out into the open world, howling at its freedom. With only a glance back, the dark-haired lycan disappeared faster than his eyes could follow into the surrounding woods.
It was hours later, when the sun was dipping below the horizon and dusk approaching, when Remus saw a familiar figure approach the clearing. Standing up to greet him, a change of clothes in hand, honey eyes examined the boy for injuries, a painful wince taking over when he saw the blood.
Harry took the clothes thankfully, trying not to let his embarrassment at being nude take over. Tugging on beaten up pants and buttoning up the borrowed flannel, he moved his dirt covered hand through his even messier than normal hair. Now it really did resemble a bird's nest with both leaves and twigs knotted into the slightly curled hair.
"Better?" Remus asked when Harry was fully dressed.
There was a brief moment of silence as Harry reflected on his feelings before he nodded, he did feel better – more balanced.
"And the blood?" he motioned to the blood spotting his smooth face.
Harry sheepishly chuckled, "I think," he paused as he thought back to the last few hours, "I think I ate a squirrel." His nose scrunched up as his lips pulled back in a disgusted grimace.
His stomach did an odd twist at the thought but nothing else as Remus only let out a chuckle of his own before confessing, "A squirrel is not the oddest things the wolf has ever eaten. You'll get used to it."
So while he wasn't forced to transform every full moon, his emotions would become more variable and animal-like the longer he went without transforming. It was a different feeling, to control his transformation. He remembered a majority of it yet at the same time, it was like he wasn't in complete control of his body. His wolf seemed to have a mind of its own, something Remus confirmed all werewolves and animagus have. And while Remus was confident that his bite wouldn't turn anyone, Harry was scared for a different reason. His instinct was to kill and protect so he was still a threat. He remembered when he first transformed and how close he had been to ripping Remus apart but after confirming that he was pack, the wolf patrolled the perimeter of the house, looking for threats.
This highlighted the need to find a safe place for him to change at Hogwarts. The Forbidden Forest was his best option but Remus wasn't too confident as there were many dangerous creatures and there was the added security around the school; someone was bound to notice a strange wolf every full moon.
They got through these challenges though and as the months went by, he became more and more in-sync with his wolf nature. He started noticing his advanced senses. But there was also a missing part, a part that felt like it was calling out for something or someone. When he was with Remus over the holidays, it quieted but it was still there. Remus said it must be the wolf calling out for his pack, his father's pack.
Harry ignored it, creating his own pack and he did well to fill the void…until two years later, when he lost his sole pack mate in the final battle. He was devastated, emotions out of control, and shifted to his wolf which he remained as for days. The only comfort he could find was in Teddy, his little godson.
The calling came back and it felt stronger this time, like there was a beacon calling out to him. So he took Teddy and ran. Andromeda needed time to grieve as at the moment, every time she looked at Teddy, she broke down crying. When she was ready and healthy, he would return Teddy to her.
He wasn't sure where to start his search but his instincts were pulling him west, farther west than Ireland. He flew into New York and it was a pull from both his wolf and his magic that took him south. It was indescribable, like a base instinct ingrained into his DNA that guided him.