Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling messed up, so the fans are taking over.
Summary: Summary was here. Then Summary moved to chapter 12 to avoid the bugs.
Small Snippet to Torture Reader Until Reader Reads (and Reviews .:Hint:. .:Hint:.): She wrenched her arm from his grasp. "I'm fine."—Harry frowned. "No, you're not."—She waved her wand, healing the gash. "Yes, I am. I just need to get to—" She once again tried to slip away, but he forced her back against the wall, holding her in place with his own body.—"Will you forget about detention for two seconds?" Harry yelled, causing her to stiffen. Guilt washed over him. He sighed, closing his eyes and letting his head fall to her shoulder. "I'm sorry for yelling. Please stop running away from me. I just . . . I miss you."
Today was the day. Harry had dreaded this day. Why did it have to come so soon? He hadn't even been given a chance to make up with her yet. Why did it have to be her birthday already? Harry still couldn't speak to her. He though if he only had a little more time to sort things out, he'd be able to come up with some believable excuse for his behaviour. Instead his feelings for her had only increased in the two weeks since they'd stopped talking.
He'd run out of time, and he had no excuse, nothing to explain his actions. And now, he had to speak to her. It was her birthday. He couldn't just ignore that. She'd be crushed. Luckily he'd already picked out her present weeks ago. Maybe she'd forgive him once she saw the necklace?
Hermione wasn't a material girl. She valued friendship, and he'd ruined that. Damn hormones. They were the only reason he could think of for what he had done. It was his hormones that had forced him to press Hermione into a bed. It was his hormones that had forced him to nearly kiss her. Right?
She'd understand, right?
Maybe, she'd even feel a bit flattered? Any girl would like to know she was wanted, right?
Urgh. Who was he kidding? She'd flay him alive if he let her get close enough. She'd been following him around, trying to get him alone to talk. Yeah, right. Talk. Sure. Lecture him was more like it, tell him it would never work out, say they were only friends. Then she'd pretend everything was okay, even though she'd be cringing inside every time she saw him.
If only the necklace he'd bought her really was a time-turner. Maybe he could go back and prevent himself from seeking her that night? So what if he saw himself? It would be better than this silence between him and Hermione. Looking around to make sure he was alone, he clasped the glittering necklace around his neck. Taking the miniature hourglass between his fingers, he tipped it upside down and waited.
Harry sighed again. There was no escaping this day. Removing the necklace, he placed it back in the box the jeweller had given him. He hoped she'd like it. Otherwise, he was probably screwed.
Today was going to be tricky avoiding her anyway. Quidditch hadn't started yet, so Harry was free after classes. She was sure to corner him after supper. She wouldn't let him get away on her birthday. Nope. That night he'd find himself the owner of a sore cheek, to be sure. Well, he deserved it, he supposed. Might as well just get it over with.
Harry's steps echoed through the halls on his way to breakfast. Sitting right next to Hermione, he braced himself for the hostility sure to come his way.
But nothing happened.
Finding this very odd after all she'd gone through to get him to talk to her, he looked up to find she was completely ignoring him.
"Hermione?" Harry waved his hand in front of her face, but she didn't even blink. Was he dead or something? "Hermione, would you at least look at me?"
"Look, I'm sorry for what happened the other day. Things got a little out of hand. But everything's fine now. It won't happen again. Okay?"
Harry huffed at her lack of response. "Come on! Can't you even look at me long enough for me to wish you happy birthday?"
Suddenly her head turned to face him, catching him off guard. She raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to continue. "Er—um—happy birthday," Harry muttered, looking away.
She'd already crossed half the hall by the time he realized he was speaking to thin air.
"Hermione!" he shouted, jogging to catch up to her.
"Harry, now is not the best time. All right?"
"I don't need this right now. It's not fair. Why do you get to decide when you can talk to me again, hm?"
"You've been ignoring me for the past two weeks, even though I've tried to take time for us to talk. I think it's my turn to do the ignoring. Don't you?"
"It's my turn to be selfish. It's my birthday, and I don't want anything to ruin it. Got it?"
Harry stared, open mouthed, at her narrowed eyes, nothing but deadly, determined slits. "All right. If that's what you want." Suddenly his chest ached. Why was this affecting him so much. Things would work out eventually. Besides, he'd needed more time anyway, right?
So why did it hurt so much?
He handed her the box containing her necklace. "Happy birthday." He glanced back at her as he walked away, noting her surprised expression. She'd forgive him soon, right?
Harry flopped onto his bed. Another tiring lesson with McGonagall and no progress. Was his animal just too powerful for him to control? He'd had three more lessons with her since his first, but nothing had changed. He should have at least been able to change part of his body by that point. Even his professor was getting worried.
He wondered if it was because his creature was magical. After all, he'd never heard of an Animagus transforming into a magical creature before. Great. It was just another unusual occurrence to add to the list of odd things he'd acquired over the years.
What was even stranger than his magical form, though, were his heightened senses. Not only were his six senses sharper, but his appetite had increase along with a few other primal needs. He always wanted to sleep now, and he couldn't keep his eyes from roaming over the female population of Hogwarts.
Why did this have to happen now of all times? He finally knew what had caused his need for Hermione. He'd been feeling it more acutely than before. And not just for Hermione but for girls in general. Hermione was just the one he felt the most comfortable with and relied on for help. It was all because he couldn't control his Animagus form. The worst part was McGonagall's warning. If he was unable to take control soon, he'd lose his mind and his body to the animal inside.
He supposed there were good aspects to the whole situation, though. His magical ability had continued to increase along with his agility, helping him with his other lessons. He was able to block most of Dumbledore's mental attacks now and was able to use nonverbal spells with ease.
He and Nevar were now using their swords—without wands—to spar. He was able to avoid her attacks, but he always became too aggressive. She had to resort to stunning him several times—as only once had become ineffective—to calm him down.
He wondered what she was going to teach him next. Nevar had told him to bring his Pensieve to his next lesson. He had no clue what it was for, but he didn't like the idea of diving into his memories, let alone having someone he barely knew go with him.
Harry turned over, sighing. Everything was so hectic. The chaos had been a good distraction for the most part, but the quiet at night, alone in his bed, allowed his mind to wander back to a certain brunette.
Now that he knew what had happened, he needed to explain, but she still wasn't talking to him. His heart ached. Was this what it had felt like for her in their third year? Worse, probably, since Ron had stayed by his side then. He couldn't let this go on. He needed to get her alone and force her to listen.
He set his resolve. He would definitely make her understand. He had to.
One month! It was already Halloween for crying out loud! How much longer could she avoid him? She'd even gone so far as to land herself in detention for a week to evade him!
They made no sense at all.
Well, he wasn't going to let her get away this time! It was the last day of her detention, and he was going to wait for her to finish all night until she came out.
Slowly, he rose from his seat in the Great Hall to trail after her. No one would notice him leaving. They were all too wrapped up in their dinners and ghostly entertainment.
He crept through the halls, making sure to keep his distance. He didn't want her to realize his presence and run. Unfortunately, he didn't have his map with him and was force to resort to looking around corners before continuing.
Hurried footsteps met his ears along with a muffled noise. Finding this odd, he hesitantly stuck his head around the corner. His eyes widened at the site. Hermione was pressed against the wall by five girls. What did they want with her? Hermione's mouth moved, but no sound came forth. A Silencing Charm. Great.
Harry wanted to move to aid her, but something held him back. He wanted to know what these witches were planning. What did they want with Hermione?
"So, I see you and Potter have finally parted ways. He must have finally figured out that you just aren't good enough for his—ahem—needs. Sad isn't it?" one girl laughed. Harry believed her name was Romilda Vane. "I suppose that hair of yours put him off? I see you haven't let it down from that knot since I heard Gregory Goyle set it on fire. I can't imagine it being any worse than before, but it must be."
Suddenly, Romilda tore Hermione's hair band away. Soft, loose curls cascaded down. Gone were the frizzy locks she'd had before. Romilda sneered, not liking this at all. "So how did you manage that little miracle, Mudblood?" Hermione's eyes were lit with cold fury. Romilda smiled. "I see the Slytherins' little pet name for you still has the same effect it always had. Do you feel ashamed of your blood?" Romilda leaned in closer. "You should. No matter how much crap you put in your hair or how pretty you try to become, you'll still be a dirty little Mudblood."
"Perhaps we should show her?" asked another girl with unconcealed excitement.
Romilda's smile widened into an evil smirk. "That sounds like an excellent idea." Suddenly, her face sobered. "Perhaps, after this, you'll remember to stay far away from Harry Potter. He's mine"—a few girls coughed—"right. Ours. Got it?"
Before Harry could do anything to stop her, Romilda's wand slashed across Hermione's arm, cutting into it. Blood ran down her arm . . . and dripped to the floor as mud. Harry'd seen enough. Stalking around the corner, he sent the five girls sprawling away from Hermione with a burst of magic.
"Ha-Harry!" Romilda squeaked. "W-we were just chatting about you with Hermione here." She giggled nervously, eyes darting to Hermione's wound.
"I know very well what you were talking about," he spat. "I should report all of you to the headmaster!" Harry found satisfaction as all colour drained from their faces.
"There's no need for that! Really. We were just playing!"
"Well then you can continue to 'just play' in detention."
"No! Please, Harry! Please don't report us!" Romilda batted her eyes sweetly. She stepped toward him, brushing her body against his. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she whispered, "I'm sure we can come to an . . . arrangement."
Harry stepped away, throwing her arms to the side. "You make me sick." He looked around, taking note of the other girls names. "Stay away from me and stay away from Hermione."
His shout of fury startled the witches. Soon, they were hurrying around a corner and out of sight. He turned to Hermione, still held against the wall by some unseen force. He stepped in front of her, his eyes scanning her body. She looked gorgeous, even with her tousled robes and bloody arm. Her eyes were vibrant, full of defiance. Her hair had grown back completely now, and shone in neat waves down her front.
He released her from her hold and silence but placed his arms on either side of her to keep her from running. "How long has this been going on?"
She turned away, silent as ever.
"Hermione, answer me!" he hissed, forcing her to look at him with one hand.
"Fine! Always! Ever since we became friends. Different girls, different times, all with the same emotion driving them. They're just jealous wenches."
"Why didn't you ever tell me about this?" He demanded.
"And if I had? You would have pushed me away. Turned tail and run. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to feed your hero complex."
He narrowed his eyes. "Hermione, we need to talk." Her eyes turned away, and she grew silent once more. "Fine, I'll talk and you listen."
"I have detention. I'm late enough as it is." She tried to duck past him, but he grabbed her arm, making her flinch.
Harry cringed. "I'm sorry." He slipped his hand down her arm to avoid the wound. "You should see Madam Pomfrey about that," he said softly, inspecting her cut.
She wrenched her arm from his grasp. "I'm fine."
Harry frowned. "No, you're not."
She waved her wand, healing the gash. "Yes, I am. I just need to get to—" She once again tried to slip away, but he forced her back against the wall, holding her in place with his own body.
"Will you forget about detention for two seconds?" Harry yelled, causing her to stiffen. Guilt washed over him. He sighed, closing his eyes and letting his head fall to her shoulder. "I'm sorry for yelling. Please stop running away from me. I just . . . I miss you."
Both were quiet. It seemed like hours had passed, his words echoing in their minds the whole time. Finally, she relaxed against him. "I miss you too," she whispered.
He looked up, tracing a finger along her cheek. "Look, there are some important things I need to tell you. I know you need to go to detention right now, but can we talk afterward?"
She stayed silent, staring into his eyes, thinking over his words. Quietly, she answered, "All right."
His relief shone through, bringing a soft smile to her face. "Thank you."
By the time Hermione exited the Trophy room, Harry's butt had grown numb from sitting on the cold, stone floor for hours. He heard her stifle a laugh and looked up.
"I can't believe you've been sitting here waiting for me this whole time. Don't you have lessons with Dumbledore or something?"
"No, those are on Wednesdays. Thursdays are for Quidditch practice, and since we haven't started yet . . ."
"There's no practice." She nodded, smiling.
Harry pulled her into a side classroom, casting a quick Silencio. He turned around to find her fiddling with a chain around her neck. "You're wearing the necklace I gave you."
She smiled nervously. "Yes. I love it. Thank you." She scuffed her feet on the ground. "So what was it you needed to talk to me about?"
Harry eyed her suspiciously. She had to know. It wasn't exactly a small deal. "The thing that caused this rift between us."
Her features darkened. "Must we?"
"Yes." Harry braced himself against the professor's desk. "I'm sorry for what happened. I didn't understand it at the time, but I do now."
Her eyebrows raised. "What's not to understand, Harry? You're a teenage boy. It's only natural for you to have needs."
"No, it's not that. I mean, yes, you're right, but there's more to it than that," he said, blushing.
Her eyebrows rose further into her scalp. "Like?"
"Well, McGonagall explained it as my Animagus form taking over my mind and body."
Enlightenment surged into Hermione's eyes. "Of course! Why didn't I see it before! Oh, Harry! I'm so sorry! I didn't really understand. I mean, you nearly kissed me, but you seemed completely out of it when it happened. Then you left so suddenly and avoided me for so long, I thought you were disgusted by me or something. Then I was so sure you were going to ignore me on my birthday, but you didn't. I was so confused. It didn't make any sense!" Hermione rambled. "But it makes perfect sense now! Obviously you'd just started your Animagus training, and you hadn't mastered it yet, so of course you'd be riled up! Especially if your form is powerful, which I'm sure it is. I mean, you are you, after all. So now that you've mastered your control, things won't be awkward between us. It was just a misunderstanding! Oh, Harry!" She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tightly.
"Yes." She nuzzled further into his chest.
"I should"—he gulped—"warn you that I haven't exactly mastered my form yet."
Slowly, she pulled away. "What?"
"Actually, I can't even transform my hand back into my human one let alone my whole body."
Shock plastered Hermione's face. "But it's been nearly two months!"
"Harry. If you don't master your control soon, you could—"
"Lose my mind. I know."
The silence that followed was deafening.
"W-Well, maybe I can help you?"
"I don't know."
"That's comforting. Ow!" Hermione had smacked him across the back of his head.
"So what form do you take, anyway?"
"McGonagall called it an Opalescent Lammasu."
"WHAT? Really? But that creature is—"
"Magical. I know."
Hermione stared, open mouthed. "Wow. No wonder you're having trouble." Hermione bit her lip in thought. "Can I see it?"
"Once I can transform at will, yeah."
"Would you take me for a ride some time?" she asked tentatively.
Harry was surprised by this. "I thought you hated flying?"
"I do. Well, I hate heights anyway."
"But you want me to take you for a ride?" he asked sceptically.
His eyebrows rose as he shook his head. "You make no sense, Hermione."
"It's because it's you." Her eyes connected with his. "I trust you."
Harry looked away. "I trust you too, you know," he murmured. He could feel his face heating with embarrassment. He was not used to being so mushy. That was supposed to be a girl thing. But right now, he didn't care so long as he got Hermione back. "So . . . do you forgive me for losing control and being a complete prick afterward?"
He saw her smile from the corner of his eye. Her hand rested on his cheek and turned his face toward her. "Of course." Her grin was infectious. She wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him close. Finally, he could embrace her again. He'd missed her comforting touch beyond reason. Finally. He felt happy again.
Her sigh woke him from his reverie. "We really need to get back, Harry. It's late." She left his arms and headed for the door. He immediately felt the warmth drain from his body.
They walked together in silence. As they entered the common room, Hermione gave him one last hug before departing for the girls dorms. Then, she was gone.
A/N: Don't get too attached to this chapter. I wrote myself into a corner and plan to write myself out of it, meaning you should expect a re-post in the future. I rushed this chapter, and it just didn't do what I needed.