Prongs watched as Moony raced off into the forest, closely followed by Padfoot, before he grunted a question up at Wormtail.
The instant Wormtail replied that he was fine, Prongs was off after the other two, quickly building up speed as he ran for the forest, and leaping over the first clump of bushes that were in his way. It wasn’t difficult to follow Padfoot, since he hadn’t really stopped barking since they’d run off, and Prongs had much better hearing than Jim did, so he just followed the sounds of the barks and tried to see how fast he could go.
Tree branches whipped past as he kept running and jumping through the forest, not even noticing when some of them hit hard enough to bruise, when suddenly, one almost hit him on the head and he skidded to a halt, just about missing another tree.
An angry tirade of chitters and squeaks let him know Wormtail was still hanging on, so he waited until he got his breath back before continuing with the chase. Although he was running a good bit slower than before (although still fast enough that he could hear Wormtail squeaking in alarm a few times), he eventually caught up with the two canines.
As he eased his way into what he thought was just a clearing at first, he realised that there was actually a small lake in the middle. Padfoot, of course, was standing chest-deep in the water, and splashing about, while Moony was being a lot more careful about it, and jumping every so often, or snapping at things in the water.
Prongs walked forward as he watched, making sure he made enough noise to let everyone know he was approaching, before he paused by a tree. He wanted to give Wormtail the chance to get off his antlers before he went into the water, but the rat squeaked at him, and stayed where he was. Shrugging as best he could, Prongs looked up when he heard Padfoot start barking, but then he realised that the big shaggy dog was just trying to get the other two into the water. Looking over at Moony, he saw that the wolf was comfortable with the lake, and was busy splashing about and trying to push Padfoot over.
Padfoot splashed over to where Prongs was standing and barked at him, before shaking himself. Moony soon appeared beside Padfoot, and he shook himself, causing Prongs and Padfoot to get soaked again, while Wormtail hid behind a bit of antler, so he only got a bit damp. Barking, Padfoot turned to try and wrestle Moony down into the water again, so while they were doing that, Prongs stepped into the water and waded out until the water hit his chest.
He soon realised just why Moony had been snapping at things. What felt like hundreds of tiny little things were brushing past his legs, and some were even nibbling at his fur (which felt really weird), so he bent down to have a look and see what they were.
There were loads of little fish in the lake, all swimming round his legs and bumping into him, so he bent down lower to get an even closer look. Suddenly, there was a high-pitched squeak just to the right of his head, which made him jump slightly, and his ears flicker back. Looking over with his right eye, he saw Wormtail hanging from his antler by his tail and trying to clamber back up. He was just about to turn his head and let the rat drop down onto his back, when two very wet canines slammed into the other side of him and knocked him over into the water.
Struggling to get back to his feet, he was only aware of a couple of things. One, fish can really tickle you if there’s enough of them, and two, deer have really shit legs. After about a minute of thrashing about under the water, he felt a muzzle press against his side and start to push, before a second one joined in, although it was slightly more forceful. Eventually, he managed to break the surface, and just breathed for a while, before turning his head to try and glare at Padfoot.
Glaring, however, didn’t seem to work, since he had eyes on opposite sides of his head, and so, one-eyed glares seemed quite... crap, really. Padfoot did have the decency to look somewhat ashamed, though, so that was okay. Moony, on the other hand, just yipped at him, before swimming off after Wormtail who was happily swimming about, and had obviously come to no harm at all in the fall.
Standing up fully, Prongs shook himself, careful to keep his antlers from smacking Padfoot, before nodding at the worried-looking dog. Once he was reassured that his friend was okay, Padfoot took off after Moony, who was currently wondering why there was a rat chittering at him while it sat on his head.
Ignoring the fish that were still trying to nibble at his legs, Prongs walked slowly over to the other three, while flickering his ears to try and get some of the water out of them. Moony looked round sharply at the splashing noise, which sent Wormtail flying back into the lake again, much to the amusement of the other two.
The four of them continued to play in the water for the next while, and Wormtail came up with a new game, which involved him climbing up onto the other three’s backs, and doing running jumps off their heads although Padfoot had to stop Moony from trying to catch him in his mouth. Moony also really liked the game where he tried to shove Prongs over again, but Padfoot managed to stop that from happening as well, which made Jim decide that Sirius was going to get bought at least five butterbeers, the next time there was a Hogsmeade visit.
After a while, Moony swam back over to the edge of the lake and climbed out, before shaking himself dry. He wandered over to a nearby tree, sniffed about at the base of it, and then walked round in a circle a couple of times, before lying down, putting his muzzle on his front paws and going to sleep. Prongs looked over at the other two, and then waded out of the water as well, before going over to check on the wolf.
He looked round to see Padfoot standing behind him, with Wormtail standing on top of the dog’s head, wiping some drops of water off his whiskers, so he moved back to let them have a look. Moony twitched slightly, and then settled down again, whimpering quietly in his sleep.
Suddenly, Wormtail dropped down off Padfoot and scampered over to sit beside Moony, before yawning and stretching himself out. Then he curled up in a little ball, wrapped his tail around him and rested his head on it, and went to sleep himself.
Turning to look at Padfoot, Prongs was aware of how tired he was as well, and it must have been obvious to the dog as well, since he barked once at him. Prongs lifted his head a bit more, and nodded, before the dog just gestured towards the sleeping rat and wolf, huffed at him before and turned away, obviously intending to watch over them while they slept. Prongs didn’t bother arguing, he just lay down close to the other two, and closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep.
Prongs was woken by his ear being tugged at the same time as he got a muzzle in the belly, and he opened his eyes to see Padfoot nudging him. He shook his head to get the dog to stop it, and then stopped when Wormtail squeaked at him. Looking about, he realised that Moony must have run off, so he started getting to his feet. Once Padfoot saw that, he ran after the wolf, while Wormtail wrapped his tail around an antler, and held on tight. He squeaked three times before Prongs even got a chance to ask if he was alright, and then the stag was off.
This was what Jim loved about being Prongs. The speeds he could reach, and the heights he could clear when he had to jump, it just seemed right. Any awkwardness he had while walking just seemed to disappear and he didn’t catch his antlers on anything, he just ran and it was amazing. He almost forgot about stopping, once he realised he was closing in on Padfoot, and reigned himself in until he was keeping pace with the dog, who barked over at him, before speeding up to catch up with Moony.
Snorting, Prongs simply stopped holding himself back, and was soon matching Padfoot for speed again, as they caught up with the wolf, and the three of them just ran for the sake of running. Wormtail was silent as they ran, but Prongs thought he was probably too scared to make any noise.
Moony changed direction suddenly, breaking off to the right and Padfoot swerved to keep up with him, while Prongs took a bit longer to turn, since there was a large clump of trees in his way. He was soon back on track, though, and had almost caught up with the other two when he saw Moony skid to a halt. Padfoot hadn’t noticed this, and slammed into the back of the wolf, which sent the two of them sprawling, Moony jumping up almost immediately to growl at the dog which lay, slightly stunned, at his feet.
Prongs started to slow down, but realised there was no way he was going to stop before he reached the canines, so he sped up again and leapt over them, clearing them easily, and landing in a different small clearing. He managed to stop once he’d landed, and was turning round to go back the way he’d come, when Wormtail managed a very quiet squeak.
Finally paying attention to where they’d landed, Prongs looked around, and jumped back quickly, eyes wide and nostrils flaring when he saw what had Wormtail so quiet.
A centaur was standing in the clearing, looking right at the two of them. He glanced up at the sky, then back at the stag and rat, before turning and walking away, tail swishing as he did so.
Blinking, Prongs walked slowly back over towards where Moony and Padfoot were peering out of the bushes, and shook his head slightly.
Suddenly, Wormtail began to chitter and bounce up and down on top of his head, which made Padfoot sit up, before looking up at the sky as well. Whining, he nudged at Moony, trying to get the wolf to get up, but there was a very interesting bug crawling in front of Moony, and he was busy watching it. Suddenly, he put his paw out in front of the bug, and huffed at it when it crawled over his paw.
Padfoot looked up at Prongs, raised an eyebrow, and dropped his jaw in a doggy smile, before nudging at Moony again. He looked up this time, and Padfoot whined at him again, before nudging at his legs and barking quietly. Moony took one last look at the bug, then stood up and shook himself, before yipping at Prongs, and turning to go back towards the shack.
Prongs waited for Padfoot to get to his feet, and then they both went after Moony, flanking him so that they could herd him in the right direction if he got distracted by anything on the way back. They raced the moon, eventually passing the clearing where the lake was, and kept going, until Prongs noticed he was gaining ground on the wolf, and soon overtook him, so he slowed down and noticed that Padfoot was doing exactly the same thing. Wormtail chattered from on top of his head and he could see a small paw pointing towards the direction of the shack, and Prongs realised just how close they were to the edge of the forest, maybe a hundred yards at the very most.
Moony had slowed down a lot now, not even walking fast, and Padfoot went over to see if he was alright. The wolf snarled at him, before dropping his head and whining slightly, and Padfoot moved over so that he could catch Moony if he fell. Prongs stopped and watched as they whined and whimpered at each other, Padfoot constantly trying to keep Moony moving closer to the edge of the forest, when suddenly, the wolf shuddered all over, and slumped against the large black dog. Prongs stepped forward at that, but Padfoot looked up sharply, barked twice, and watched as Moony pushed away from him again.