The tall turrets of Hogwarts School could be seen from the Hogsmeade platform as the train pulled into the station. As soon as the train doors opened, Harry ran ahead through the thinning crowds, ignoring his dad's warnings to stay close. He knew that no one would recognize him while he was in his dog form.
He loved being a dog and the freedom it gave him. He was aware that his impulses while in dog form were a bit primitive but he couldn't help the strong desires that overwhelmed him. Sometimes he would completely forget himself and chase a rabbit or eat a bug. He wished his dad would just indulge him every once in a while and play fetch with him. But instead, he could always count on Severus to lecture him on decorum the minute he turned back into human form.
He continued weaving through people, completely ignoring his dad's yelling until he found himself stopped short by a leash and collar!
"Slow down," Severus hissed out at the unruly beast as he tugged on the dog's magical leash. "I'll not have you getting yourself killed before we even get to school!"
Harry turned around and growled at his dad. When Severus gave his leash another tug, he snapped at his dad's hand.
"Ouch! You little shit!" Severus hissed, dropping the leash to grab his injured hand.
Harry took off running, never looking back. He ran right through Hogsmeade, darting around carriages and thestrals, upsetting the beasts as he weaved through their legs. Somewhere along the way he managed to vanish away the leash and collar. His "dog thinking" took control, and all other thoughts flew out the window.
By the time he ran through the gates of Hogwarts he was winded, causing him to slow down enough to catch a whiff of something different. He changed course and started running towards a bush. He ran under the bush, frightening a black jack rabbit from its home. The rabbit darted towards the Forbidden Forest, giving way to a great game of chase!
He was almost to the edge of the forest when a bolt of lightening almost hit his paw and he heard his dad's menacing voice.
"Harry James Potter, you stop this instant or so help me...!" Severus huffed out in exasperation as he finally caught up with his son.
Harry came to his senses and morphed back into human form. His dad approached him with a menacing look on his face.
Harry put his hands out in front of him as he stepped back, "Now just hold on a minute, dad," Harry pleaded, "it's not really even my fault you know!"
"NOT YOUR FAULT?" Severus yelled as he grabbed hold of Harry's shirt collar and yanked him forward. "Do you realize how scared I was when you went running through the carriages? Do you even realize that you were almost killed at least three times by thestrals as you weaved your way through the streets?"
Harry pushed back away from his dad, yanking his collar free. "I told you, I can't help it!" He fixed his collar as he turned his back and started walking up to the castle. "I can't help that I think like a dog and just want to be free!"
Severus followed his son, his irritation growing as they walked towards the castle. He had thought he was going to have a heart attack when he'd seen a thestral rear up and almost come back down on his son! Blasted boy was so impulsive!
"We are not even back at Hogwarts for two minutes and you already almost get yourself killed!"
"I did not!" Harry yelled, stopping to pull a twig out of his hair.
"Yes, you most certainly did! If you think that I will let you run around in dog form, doing as you please, you've got another thing coming!" Severus swept past his son, muttering under his breath, "Leave it to Black to cause all this trouble, even after he's gone."
Harry ran to catch up. "Don't talk about Sirius! It's not his fault."
Severus knew he shouldn't have said anything about the beloved mutt. He stopped short, causing Harry to run into his back. The boy fell backwards onto the ground. Severus reached down to help him back up. He gripped his son's arm, pulling him onto his feet.
He held onto his arm as he said, "Please ... let's just try to finish out this school year without anymore near deaths. I don't think my heart can take it." He put his hand up to his heart.
That was when Harry saw the bite mark that he had given his dad. He suddenly felt bad for having caused so much anxiety.
"Um, I'm sorry I bit you," Harry said as he felt his face redden with shame. I mean, who the hell bites their own dad!
Severus looked at his hand, forgetting that it had even happened. "Perhaps a round of rabies Muggle shots is needed?"
"I don't have rabies!" Harry replied, smiling as he said it. "Maybe I caught something from you! I better go see Madame Pomfrey and have her check for mange."
They both laughed at that ... until Harry remembered something.
"Hey, you put an effing collar on me ... and a leash!"
"Yes," Severus darkly replied, "next time I shall endeavor to hang on tighter."
"Ha, very funny," Harry grumbled as he kicked at the bridge. "You better be kidding about there being a next time."
"Do I ever?"
Harry couldn't tell if his dad was serious. Then an idea occurred to him, "I wonder what Mrs. Weasley's going to say when I tell her that you put a leash on me?"
Harry laughed when his dad seemed to choke on his reply.
"Perhaps we should keep this story to ourselves." Severus' tone was suddenly much more placating.
Harry snickered, knowing that his dad would rather face Voldemort than Mrs. Weasley when she pitched a fit. "I don't think so, dad."
"Perhaps I could throw a stick for you to fetch the next time you are in canine form?"
Harry laughed out loud. "Wow! I had no idea that the mention of Mrs. Weasley would give me so much power. Should have thought of this sooner."
His dad raised an eyebrow at him.