and now let's get on with it!
It was difficult at this point to discern how they had gotten into this situation (noddwyd: which, as the storyteller, leads me to wonder if that isn't how the creators of the multiverse sometimes feel. Harry: Shut up and let us have our fun. noddwyd: fine, be that way.). They had successfully covinced Ginny's future or rather 'present' self to come back in time to be with them along with Neville somehow, all despite Hermione's continual insistence that it was highly dangerous and probably impossible anyway, and now after they'd had some rest and recreation Harry had remembered something he'd always wanted to try which Dudley guarded from him jealously. Video Games. Of course Hermione rolled her eyes at this but Harry reminded her that he had had a poor excuse for a childhood and wanted the universe to 'cough it up', so to speak. The rest, being purebloods were at a loss, although Ginny and Ron had some half baked notions of what playstations were that they had picked up from their father.
Harry and Hermione were trying to explain to the pureblood people in the room how electronics and complex computer programs like these games worked and what they were like. Luna was interested in the technical aspects of it explained by Hermione but also offered the opinion that it was an awful lot like the magical abilities of an amuigh worm to act as a window into an alternate universe, which made Hermione's right eye begin to twitch. Ron and Ginny began to want to try this out for themselves but Harry was worried that, as Hermione pointed out, electronics weren't likely to work here in the Room of Requirement, perhaps the most magical place in the entire castle. That's when she showed up.
Suddenly appearing in the room with them, or rather, the pocket universe the room was providing them with, was a beautiful, tall woman with fierce peircing green eyes and long black hair. "I wish you wouldn't keep calling me 'the room of requirement' it sounds as if I'm a slave. I only let you stay here because I like you and you hold the fate of this world and my own fate in your hands, Potter!"
They were all six of them stunned speechless for a moment. (I'll give you three guesses who starts asking questions first, and the first two don't count.)
"Who...What are you!" Hermione almost screeched.
"Manners girl, you stand before the living consiousness of this castle which has protected you and nurtured you for the past six years!"
"You're Hogwarts!" asked Ron stupidly, getting a puzzled look on his face. "How come you don't look older?"
The woman began to slowly turn red.
"I am not old!" she shouted. "I'm only 1101 years young!" Hermione's eye began to twitch again. (author's note: If this were anime, they all would have just fell backwards at that last remark, just so you know...)
"Erm..." began Harry.
"Harry dear, you wanted to play video games, right?" He nodded, still in shock from her sudden appearance and declaration of who she was and how old she was by association. "Well, dearest, if you want I can make a magical version of these 'electronics' as you call them, and you can play whatever you like. I always keep up with the latest releases of, well, everything." she paused to smirk and giggle maniacally. "Oh, by the way, my name is Noxedemea, but you can just call me Nox", she said with a wink. "The reason I haven't appeared to you before is because I've been away for the past fifty years on holiday in an alternate universe, but that's neither here nor there, so..."
At this point Hermione passed out. Luckily Nox caught her with a handy couch which just happened to appear beneath her. Harry rushed to check on her, but Nox assured him she would be fine with some rest and a chance to process the information. "I apologize, I just can't help but love the feeling of shattering preformed misconceptions people have about everything in the multiverse, especially things they really put weight in. Like for instance people think muggles have no magic at all when in fact they do have some forms of it, and one of them are these video games you're wanting to play Harry. Theyr'e not aware of it themselves even, but they can open windows for the soul into alternate realities, and when Hermione wakes up I will take you to whatever of those worlds you wish to go to. Did you have anything in particular in mind?
"Can't you..." Harry trailed off remembering how the room always seemed to know what he was thinking before now. The smile slid into a serious look on her face. "Yes I can read your mind Harry but I'd rather communicate this way instead now that I'm back. I've had the room on auto pilot for too long."
"Oh, I see. Well, no, I didn't think I'd really like any of the ones Dudley had, as they were all about aliens blowing up and people kicking the snot out of each other. So really I have no idea which ones I would like and which ones I wouldn't."
Ron suddenly spoke up. "You sure you wouldn't like to get into a boxing match with malfoy in a place where there wouldn't be any conseqences for it?"
The thought struck Harry like a ton of bricks, and he suddenly remembered a commercial he had seen once.
"Brilliant idea, Ron. Though," he said turing to Ginny and Luna, "I'm not sure everyone would enjoy that."
"Oh, I'll go" said Ginny, "I'd never pass up the chance to knock some death eaters flat." Ron smirked and looked towards Luna. "How about it?"
She smiled. "I will go as well, new experiences are not to be passed up so lightly, Ronald." 'Ronald' smiled. "That's what I love about you," he said.
"You're not leaving me behind if that's what you think!" said Hermione who had just gotten up. "You okay, Hermione?" asked Harry. "Yes, and I'm sorry about before," she said to Nox. "I understand. It's my fault as well," she said with a chuckle.
"Alright," said Nox, "I hope you know you're all about to become zooanthropes, for we go now to listen to the bloody roar of primal instinct." And with that everything faded to white and the group found themselves in another world.
Unfortunately they were surrounded on all sides by men with guns pointed right at them. One spoke into a radio held in his hand. static "Sir, intruders in the containment room." static "Captain, if they're Zoe's then wax 'em."
Placing the communicator in his belt he raised his weapon at them. "Alright folks, who are you and how did you get in here. Are you Zooanthropes?" Harry looked fearfully over at Nox. "Well, are we?" Nox snorted. "Sure are. We are, in fact, screwed. We're going to have to fight our way out of this. I warn you. Transforming is painful at first. Just focus on your inner animal. And with that, she transformed, although not into any of the half beast half man forms Harry remembered seeing on the tv, but rather into a half-crocodile. The soldiers backed away, the captain grabbing his communicator frantically. "Sir, Nox is in the building, send backup immediately!" Then to his men, "Open fire!" Harry ducked pulling the others with him. Nox was amazing, using her massive tail to swipe the soldiers feet out from under them. and her jaws to catch an unlucky one that escaped her tail and ripped him in half. Harry felt a bit sick, but then a monster erupted in his bloodstream and begged to be released...to rip...to tear these people to pieces and devour them, and to protect his herd. Heeding Nox's advice, as it was the only thing that could keep him alive at this point since he had noticed before he didn't have his magic in this world, he let the monster take over, and felt unimaginable pain, worse than any curse he may have endured before. Ron beside him was also undergoing the transformation. He noticed vaguely a firey mane and gold fur forming along with claws and teeth.
His own transformation turned out quite different. He had white fur, and his sense of smell and sound changed drastically. His eyesight changed, becoming sharper but less colorful at the same time. He also had claws and very sharp teeth, plus a somewhat shaggy tail. He and Ron leaped into the fight, slashing and biting left and right. Nox laughed, a rough, deep sound comming from her enlarged throat as the last soldier died. "Pitiful, don't you think? Don't worry, you'll get a real challenge soon enough." She changed back to normal, as did Ron and Harry, the blood lust fading. Harry spit blood and flesh out of his mouth, and gagged. "That was more satisfying than it should have been." Nox laughed again. "I'm surprised you are a dog, and an albino at that. It appears your friend Ron is the natural born leader and strategist, not you. Lions almost always indicate that." "And what do crocodile's indicate?" asked Harry, not a little upset that he had gotten the group into this without thinking. Somehow he never thought it would be so...real. She snorted again. "A very cold hearted and maniacal sense of humor," she said, and turned to walk away. The others were speechless. "What have we become!" demanded Hermione. "It felt like something monstrous trying to take control of me!" Nox looked at her sadly. "It is the primal instinct. I feel that no one should have the right to judge beings with physical bodies, particularly men, until they have been made to feel that terrifying power and see what it can do. Zooanthropes have a hard existense in society because of these instincts. They are often difficult to resist. You're friend Lupin suffers the same thing every day." Hermione gasped. "Yes, the forces of nature are very powerful. But they are not the most powerful force in the universe. Which is how he is able to control them as you will be able to over time." "It was scary.." Neville said, in a shaky voice. "Yes, fear is also a primal instinct, but you will master it in time Mr. Longbottom."
Ginny seemed exhilirated but also a little spooked and Luna seemed just as serene as ever, as if she'd known this fact of life all along. "Oh, one more thing, although I'm sure you've already figured this out, Luna my dear, the changes we undergo in each new world we enter will be permenant back in the 'real' world. I hope none of you are averse to learning to live with your inner animal, cause once they're awakened they don't go dormant again."