Title: Venom, Tears and Potions
Author: Knife Hand
Feedback: Constructive feedback appreciated, flames unappreciated
Spoilers: Nothing Specific, general for first few books.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione, or Luna, or Ginny, or Cho, or... I would buy them all but I am broke.
Summary: Events during Second Year have far reaching consequences that no one could have foreseen.
Harry walked back and forth in the space between the rows of beds in the hospital wing, trying to adjust to his new centre of gravity, slightly further to his back, and trying not to knock over anything with his wings, having learnt slowly how to hold his wings behind his back in a folded position. Hermione was watching from one of the beds, squatting on the bed in a very cat like posture. Her long, flexible and almost hairless tail was protruding out of a hole cut into her pants and swishing back and forth behind her.
The door opened to reveal the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall. At the sound of the door opening, Harry spun to face the newcomers and, misjudging the weight of his wings, spun into a bed causing Hermione to chuckle.
"Trying out for the Ballet, Mister Potter?" McGonagall asked.
"Your pirouette needs work." Hermione interjected with a toothy grin.
"What can we do for you, Professors?" Harry asked, ignoring Hermione's dig.
"We are here to discuss a few items regarding your summer vacation." Dumbledore said.
"Of course." Hermione said, bounding off the bed and joining Harry who had recovered from his mishap.
"Firstly, living arrangements. The Gryffindor Dorms have been sealed until the start of the new year." McGonagall said. "So we have arranged for you to have a dorm on the second floor. I will show it to you shortly. Secondly, Madam Price has agreed to come in for two hours twice a week to allow you access to the Library."
"Oh thank god." Harry said, then saw Hermione's glare. "Madam Price deserves a break after some of the antics that happened in the Library this year."
McGonagall simply raised a single eyebrow at Harry's rapid back-pedalling.
"Indeed." McGonagall said. "Professor Flitwick is still trying to figure out how the Weasley Twins managed to get the entire History section to wage war on the Transfiguration section. Don't fret, Miss Granger. Madam Price has agreed to let you borrow a 'reasonable' number of books at a time. Thirdly, Madam Pomfrey and Professor Hooch have come up with an exercise program for each of you to both get you in peak condition and test the extent of your new abilities."
After checking with Madam Pomfrey that Harry was cleared to leave, Professor McGonagall led them to their summer dorm. It was like a small apartment, with a living/dining room, a kitchenette, quite a nice bathroom and two bedrooms. Harry spent about an hour in the bathroom, with the door open, just staring at his new reflection, in particular his semi-luminescent eyes and his charcoal grey hair. After an hour he decide he liked the new look, and not having to wear glasses anymore was also a definite advantage.
The summer holidays quickly fell into a routine. Up early for a run around the lake, followed by breakfast, then summer homework till ten. Ten to eleven was testing of their new abilities, followed by lunch. One to three was their exercise program and then the rest of the afternoon was free time. It was not unusual to find Harry and Hermione studying or reading on the couch in their summer dorm's living room, with Harry sitting at one end of the couch with Hermione curled up with her head on his lap. Hermione had several embarrassing conversations with Professor McGonagall, who was helping her come to terms with the feline instincts based on the Professor's experience with being a Cat Animagus, before they had both concluded that this particular habit was based more on the feline instinct than any other reason.
Harry for his part, without the influence of Ron or the punishments for doing better than his cousin in school, had spent a lot more time doing his summer homework and generally reading than he had ever done before and, to his great surprise, he found that he actually enjoyed it. With this revelation, Harry changed his electives, keeping Care of Magical Creatures for obvious reasons, but taking Ancient Runes and Arithmancy instead of Divination. Harry even convinced Hermione to drop Muggle Studies and Divination when he pointed out that she could still do the OWLS for them if she chose.
The Physical testing had also yielded some interesting results. Once she had fully adjusted to her new physique, in particular her tail, Hermione was both exceedingly agile when moving and very stable while stationary, making it difficult to get her off balance once her feet were planted while at the same time being able to bend in seemingly impossible ways to avoid spells fired at her. The muscles in her arms and legs had become more efficient, providing an increase in both speed and strength, but while her new strength was at the upper end of human female norms along the lines of a professional swimmer or boxer, she could do bursts of speed that far exceeded the fastest sprinters but they left her drained. She could also run on all fours if needed. They also discovered that her fingernails could grow rapidly into claws and then retract back to normal nails.
Harry's abilities were quite different. With two different influences, Harry had received some abilities from each but had missed out on others. As they had originally discovered, Harry had not inherited the Basilisk's killing gaze, but he did not get the Phoenix's healing tears either. They discovered that his skeleton had become hollow like a birds, but had become tougher than normal bone at the same time, in order to assist with flight. He had also received the Phoenix's ability to carry heavy loads even in flight thanks to denser muscle fibres that greatly increased muscle power without much increase in weigh. The heaviest that he seemed to be able to lift being Hermione in the one attempt she had allowed where he had giving her a hug and then lifted off. Needless to say he had gotten a slap over the head and a stern talking for that one. These denser muscles also gave him a strength boost without decreasing his famous Seeker reaction time. On the Basilisk side, his skin was now slightly resistant to spellfire. A lot of simple hexes and jinxes, such as the tripping jinx and the stinging hex now did not affect him and some more powerful spells, like Stupefy, had a diminished effect. The more powerful the spell the less his resistance to it, but it would give him an edge in a wand fight.
Flight was, in Harry's estimation, the coolest of the changes, despite his disappointment the first time he tried riding a broom after the change. His wings completely changed the handling of a broom due to the different weight distribution and turbulence they created and the broom flight was a disaster. Without a broom was a completely different matter. Downside was that Harry could not fly as fast as a broom, except in a steep dive, but on the upside he was much more agile than a broom, able to do a 180 literally on a Knut as well as perform manoeuvres that he never would have considered on a broom. With some practice he was even able to glide for long distances using thermal currents. He was as much a natural at winged flight as he had been on a broom. Several times Hedwig came and flew with him.
The one major incident during the summer was a week after it started. They had just finished having a breakfast of toast and condiments when Hermione began washing up the dishes. Suddenly a small creature with large eyes and floppy ears appeared in the room and pushed Hermione out of the way.
"Why you do? Mindy do. Mindy job." The little creature said.
"It's fine. I can do it myself." Hermione replied.
"No. Mindy do." Mindy replied. "Mindy not bad Elf."
A second of the small creatures appeared, this one looked older. The second Elf was called Joseph, and he was the head House Elf at Hogwarts. Having had experience with previous Muggleborns who wanted to free House Elves, Joseph then proceeded to explain the situation in regards to House Elves.
Originally they had been a sub-species of Wood Elves and had drawn magic from the woodlands where they lived and in return they tended to the forest. Then a great plague had swept through the woodlands, killing most of the Wood Elves, but the ancestors of the House Elves survived, but were unable to draw magic from the woods any longer. A slow death awaited all of them, until one benevolent Wizard found a way to allow the House Elves to draw magic directly from a Witch or Wizard, and in return the House Elves would tend to the Witch or Wizards house as they once tended the woods and forests.
As the summer was coming to a close, Professor McGonagall took Harry and Hermione to Diagon Alley to get their school supplies, both of them under a glamour to make them look normal. After ten minutes under the glamour, Harry was both very uncomfortable and annoyed.
"I am not wearing this bloody glamour all year. The others will just have to deal with it." Harry whispered to both McGonagall and Hermione.
The shopping went smoothly. They quickly got their books, potion supplies, etching kits for Ancient Runes and Hermione got a Half Kneazle called Crookshanks. In fact the only thing they did not get was new robes, with McGonagall arranging for Madam Malkin to personally attend Hogwarts to fit them while sworn to secrecy.
The instant they got back McGonagall dropped the glamours, much to Harry and Hermione's relief. Hermione luxuriated in a full body stretch, while Harry snapped his wings out to full extension. After a second Hermione got a mischievous grin, then tapped Harry on the forehead.
"Tag. You're it." She declared and then took off down the hallway.
Harry looked stunned for a second before taking after her. McGonagall shook her head with a smile as she watched the two disappear. Hermione managed to keep her momentum rounding the first corner by angling away from the turn and with a slight jump, she pushed off the side wall of the fist corridor with one foot launching herself around the corner and bouncing off the new corridor's wall with the other foot and then back onto the ground. Harry chased after her, but while the corridor was too narrow to use his full wingspan, he was able to expand his wings enough to provide some lift, like when he glided, to lighten his weight and make him faster. It was some fine control as the tips of the wings were only centimetres from the walls.
Madam Malkin was almost to the point of literally tearing her hair out. Miss Granger was quite easy, a simple case of finding a method of incorporating her tail and putting enough give into the clothes to allow Hermione's new range of motion. The nightmare was Mister Potter. The trick was fashioning both the shirts and the robes to allow free motion of his body and wings, but the robes need to be able to conceal the wings underneath when they are folded up. Once she figured out how to make these unique requirements work, she was able to set up the pattern for all the shirts and cloaks.
Once the patterns were all set up, Madam Malkin was able to get her entire staff working on the making all the required clothes, which included an entire new wardrobe for Harry. The two special items that they had requested Madam Malkin did personally.
Harry looked over at Hermione with a smile.
"You ready?" He asked.
"I can't believe I let you talk me into this." Hermione replied.
The pair were waiting just outside the main Castle doors waiting for the students returning for the new year. They were wearing the special items that Harry had ordered from Madam Malkin. Mindy the House Elf had helped acquire the other items.
They stood, one on either side of the door, as all the returning students dismounted the carriages, stared at them as they passed and entered the Great Hall for the opening feast. Once all the returning students were inside, Harry and Hermione entered after them and took up guard by the door where the First Year. McGonagall shook her head in amusement as she passed them to retrieve the First Years.
For once, the ceiling of the Great Hall was not the most amazing and first thing the First Years noticed when they entered the Great Hall. This time the first thing they noticed was a grinning Harry Potter and a stoic faced Hermione Granger.
Both were dressed in the thigh length white robes similar to the Ancient Greek style with bronze breastplates, shin guards and crested helmets. Harry was standing there with a long spear and his wings extended while Hermione was armed with a bow and had a quiver of arrows at her waist.
"Welcome to Hogwarts." Hermione said, her cat fangs flashing.