Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and
situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but
not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and
Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark
infringement is intended. Any characters or situations that are unknown in the
HP series are the author's intellectual property and should not be used without
Author's Note: This fic is written for Full Sail Nate's Challenge on Portkey involving Harry in an Animagus transformation gone wrong. The genre is action/adventure/romance with H/Hr as the pairing. Warning: there will be humor as well... All Animagus background information used here is simply the humble author's own invention. Enjoy and Please Review!
Harry and his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, were seated at a front table in the Transfiguration room listening intently to Professor McGonagall's lecture regarding Animagus transformations and the basic mechanics behind the shape changing ability. Several other students from their year were also scattered about the room. Only those who passed the Transfiguration OWL with an Exceed Expectations grade or higher was permitted to take this very specialized Transfiguration course, which meant Malfoy and his Slytherin cronies were definitely out of this class.
The Professor was stressing a certain portion of the preparations for the initial change of form and Harry bent to his notebook to copy down what his Head of House was saying.
"The most important aspect of the preparation to complete the transformation is a clear and precise image of what you will be changing into and what that change will mean in terms of your senses and perceptions." She paused to draw a few arcane symbols on the chalkboard before continuing. "What the creature is depends upon your innate magic and how the particular animal resonates to your inner self-image."
McGonagall strode forward to brazier and tapped it twice with her wand. A thick stream of smoke exuded from the item and roiled in the air just above it until it formed into a shape of a bird. She traced a circle around the figure and it became sharper and darker until a representation of a raven hovered above the brazier.
"The Raven, for example, is one of the most intelligent of birds. This form offers versatility, non-magical flight and very good perceptions. Also, the natural distribution of this animal will allow a mage to be unremarked upon if observed." She passed her wand tip through the raven's image and it broke apart into a smoky plume that grew a bit larger and then reformed into a Gray Wolf.
"A canine form offers a very superior sense of smell, excellent hearing and greater level of stamina in terms of movement. Wolves, for example have been tracked ranging as far as 700 kilometers. A drawback to this form is its impulse to find others of its kind and to live in a pack structure. Mages who favor canine forms have reported that they find it very difficult to control this particular attribute while in their animal form. Other canids also do well as - " McGonagall was interrupted by a question from Ernie Macmillan.
"What about magical creatures or animals, Professor? Is it possibly to change into, say, a dragon?" Other students muttered excitedly at that thought and mentioned other magical beasts like griffins and unicorns. Harry glanced over at Ron, who seemed taken with the idea. A skeptical sound from Hermione, who sat on Harry's right, made clear her disdain for the question.
McGonagall pursed her lips and answered tartly. "While the possibility exists to change into a magical beast such as a griffin or unicorn, Mr. Macmillan, a dragon is not physically possible. When transforming into a creature larger than a man-sized creature, something must increase the mass of the wizard in the form. While reducing mass does not require a great deal of magic energy to complete and maintain, increasing one's body mass does. The larger the form the greater the drain upon the wizard's magic."
The professor returned to the chalkboard to write down several formulae involving the energy needed to theoretically change into a dragon. As the students realized the magnitude of the difference, there were some disappointed groans and whispers. McGonagall returned to the brazier and advanced to her next creature, which was a Leopard.
"The Leopard in the Big Cat family is a distinct possibility for a transformation, given its similarity in size and mass to a human. A leopard is able to hunt in near complete darkness, thanks to its amazing eyesight. This attribute, in conjunction with a superb sense of smell and a remarkable ability to detect movement would be an excellent form." She waved the final form away and returned to her desk to pick-up a stack of graded parchments to return them to the students.
Harry was pleasantly surprised at his grade, which was an Exceeds Expectations, given he had done the essay without any assistance from Hermione. Ron was less happy with his Acceptable and Hermione had received an Outstanding of course.
"Now for the last part of the class time, I want you to practice the meditation exercise described in Chapter 7 of your text book. Also, I expect 12 inches on your comparison of your personality profile and animal forms that would correspond to you from Chapter 6 for the next class."
The professor returned to her desk as the students flipped the pages of their textbooks to the correct page. The meditation exercise consisted of a special thaumaturgic diagram that was to assist the teens in determining if they could complete an animagus transformation and what animal they might become.
With a sigh, Harry cleared his thoughts and concentrated on the diagram. It was hard to focus on the task at hand as Ron kept fidgeting periodically beside him. Hermione, in contrast, remained motionless. Frustrated, Harry nudged Ron and whispered, "Knock it off, would you?" Ron looked disgusted for a moment, and then returned to his own textbook as Harry glared at him.
The room faded away as Harry succeeded in focusing on the textbook graphic and his meditative focus until the diagram began to change, the ink seemed to run together and pool in different spots, slowly forming a picture as he concentrated. Finally! It's working…maybe I'll see what animal I could be. Harry thought.
His peripheral vision faded in a gray haze as the changing diagram grew brighter and larger, the form becoming more distinct as something vaguely catlike. Excited at his progress, Harry pressed on to see more. The cat form began to show color, a blend of tawny brown and cream hues as the image grew larger.
A Lion? Harry wondered, awestruck. Talk about being a true Gryffindor!
The background began to change subtly as he watched the blurred image come to life and begin to stalk toward him, bleeding into green and browns all around. Strange trees with broad leaves broke the bright sunlight into bands of light and darkness that stretched across the ground and vegetation between him and the approaching cat. Harry noticed that the shadows threw dappled color that seemed to stay on the fur as it passed through them.
Suddenly Harry was surrounded by lush plant growth that obscured his view of his animagus image. He turned left and right, but there was no path through anywhere he could see and the image had also disappeared. The humid warmth and lush plant growth reminded Harry of a tropical habitat he had once visited at the zoo. His glasses were fogging a bit as he forced his way through the jungle-like growth, seeking a path out.
The young wizard had maybe traveled a few meters when the soft distant sounds of the jungle suddenly ceased ominously. Harry froze, listening, but could not hear anything. This exercise had become more than a little scary to his mind and he looked around for his trigger object, a broomstick naturally, that would pull him from the visualization exercise.
What he found instead were a pair of large amber feline eyes perched above his head just an arm length's distance away.
Horrified, Harry watched the eyes slowly dilated as the massive dappled feline head, followed by a powerful body began to lunge toward him. Primordial panic swept through his frame and Harry spun to escape, but a sudden snarl and searing pain racing through his frame had him screaming out loud from fear and agony from the sharp claws slashing into his back.
The jungle surroundings disappeared with a swirling rush as Harry's vision went dark and the pain continued to ricochet through him, spreading to every extremity. Lights returned in a swelling rush and caused him to flinch from agonizing intensity and keep his eyelids tightly shut. The stone floor was hard and cold beneath him. He must have fallen from his chair during his trance.
McGonagall's commanding voice directed the rest of the students to proceed to their next class. She must have used a Sonorus spell from the volume, Harry thought. He opened his eyes a bit and made out the shape of three people hovering over him, but before he could speak, a new wave of agony swept over him and rendered him unconscious.