Prologue

It was raining. Her fur was matted to her back and she could barely bring herself to open her eyes. She felt so heavy... she couldn't bring herself to fight when the darkness pulled her back into unconsciousness.

She was cold. The rain had stopped, but she was soaked. Her eyes were cluster with dirt and there was something heavy trapping her tail. She was... lying in mud? No... a puddle? There were little ripples every time she managed to wheeze out a breath.

She needed to move. She needed to...

She couldn't change back. She was stuck.

She tried again, her magic sluggish and reluctant to respond. It didn't work, and this time she could feel the strain. Something was stopping her transforming back, something that ripped and tore at her magic itself.

...She still needed to move.

The third time she woke she felt worse, her muscles ached and her head felt like something was trying to claw its way out of it. Her magic barely reacted at all to her prodding, what was left of it. How had she ended up with magical exhaustion?

Her legs were kitten-weak, and everything was so much larger as she managed to pull herself upright. Her attempts to slide forward were stopped by... oh yes her back leg was still trapped.

For a second she sat there, panting heavily. It was... it was too much. She was trapped. She was trapped again and she had just escaped-

She was trapped. She needed to be free-

She was. Her leg was raw and scraped bloody but she was free. Free to stand in the mud of a muggle construction site and freeze, but... free. Slowly her ears shifted forwards and she let her head slump down as she just... breathed.

It didn't matter that she was trapped in her animagus form, possibly forever. It didn't matter that her magic was all but exhausted and she couldn't even manage a tickling charm. It didn't matter that she was lost in some muggle building site.

She was free. And she was going to stay that way.

Her legs steadying more with each step, she headed off to explore.