By: The Magicians Wish
Disclaimer: Don't own anything that's got to do with
Summary: On his sixteenth birthday, Harry (surprise, surprise) comes into his inheritance and has turned into some type of human/cat creature. How will he get through his sixth year with all of these ridiculous new instincts warring with his human ones? And what's this bullcrap about him wanting to have a mate? Will his friends ever accept them, or will Harry lose everyone on both sides?
"Crookshanks, was that you just now?"
"Was that what just now?"
"I could've sworn I heard Crookshanks meow."
"Hmm, I didn't hear anything. You're probably just imagining things 'Mione."
"I think I'd know if I heard something Ronald," Hermione sniffed. "It's more likely that you didn't hear anything because of all that crust and grime in your ears."
"Oye! You said you were going to lay off about my ears!"
Harry sighed to himself and rolled his eyes. Trust Ron and Hermione to get into an argument for something as trivial as whether they misheard something or not.
'Okay, so apparently I still can't speak in bloody English. Let's try something different.' Harry poked his head a little farther out of the compartment door. The Hogwarts Express was almost full to the brim with students this year, the threat of Voldemort causing parents to enroll their children into the currently safest place in the Wizarding World. He picked out Ron's towering form and Hermione's bushy brown hair in the midst of the crowd, his enhanced sight making it that much easier, and chucked a bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans at the back of Ron's head.
"Bloody fuck! What was that?"
'Bulls-eyed!' Harry mentally cheered when the snack treat connected with Ron's cranium.
His two best friends turned around to search for the candy throwing culprit. Harry waved his hand frantically to get their attention. The two pushed through the crowd once they caught Harry's eye, and seconds later he hurriedly ushered them inside, slamming the door shut behind him.
Hermione stumbled a bit over her shoes while still cradling Crookshanks, but quickly recovered her self. Ron had no such luck, as his lanky limbs tangled around one another and caused him to collapse onto one of the benches.
"Harry!" Hermione said, indignantly. "What on earth is the matter with you?"
"Yeah, and what's with the get up you've got on there?" Ron said, gesturing at the large sorcerers' hat on Harry's head and the white collar with the big red bow and golden bell in the middle wrapped around his neck.
Harry sighed again and was about to speak again when he remembered his linguistic predicament. He held up a finger for his friends to 'wait a moment' and fished out a notepad and pen from his pocket and scribbled down his answer. He ripped off the top sheaf of paper and handed it to a very bewildered looking Ron.
"I'm in big trouble guys," Ron read the paper slowly. He looked back up at Harry, both his and Hermione's eyebrows furrowing in concern. "What do ya mean mate? Did something happen at the Dursley's?"
'Yeah, something happened all right,' he thought sadly, but he wasn't going to get into that. Right now he needed to deal with the problem at hand. He shook his head in reply to Ron's query, and scribbled something else down on his notepad, this time handing it to Hermione.
"Just watch okay," she read, "and please promise not to freak out. Why would we freak out?"
"You'll see," Harry wrote on his note pad, holding it up for both of them to see. "Observe."
Harry drew in a deep breath, then took off his hat. He couldn't help wincing at his friends twin gasps of surprise, regardless of it being expected. On top of his head were two black and fluffy pointed cat ears, each of them twitching and turning of their own accord at every sound made. He pulled the long fluffy black tail he had stuffed down his pant leg to show his now gaping friends as well. He was glad to have done so, as it really hurt whenever he sat down on it.
Hermione, being the more sensible one of his friends, was the first to snap out of her stupor. "Harry...how – what?" Okay, she mostly snapped out of it.
Harry's ears drooped sadly as he wrote down, "I know, I'm a freak of nature, aren't I?"
"No, no, no!" Hermione said hastily. "I mean, when did this happen?" She read through his reply. "On your birthday eh? Why didn't you tell us afterward?"
"The Dursley's put bars on my window again and locked me in my room for most of the summer, plus I left Hedwig at Hogwarts," Harry wrote. "They really didn't take well to my new...appearance."
"Those bastards!" Ron finally said. "I don't believe it, I thought Moody and Lupin told them to leave you alone? Wasn't anyone watching Privet Drive?"
Harry shrugged, unsure of how to appease his friend's ire. He had seen a couple of shadows now and then behind a hedge or a tree, and he thought he'd spotted Mundungus Fletcher at some point. But Harry had already figured out that the Order, or Dumbledore for that matter, didn't consider being beaten and starved the same as being in danger. Which Harry sort of understood. He was living with the Dursley's so that he would be safe from Voldemort and his minions, and, Harry secretly thought, because no one else wanted to be stuck with a living target like him.
Hermione circled Harry, examining him with a critical eye. Sixteen years old and Harry was at least a head shorter then Hermione. He didn't even want to get started with Ron! The red head was easily one of the tallest boys in school, compared to him Harry looked like an Oompah Loompah.
She took his small hand in hers and brought it up to eye level. His nails were smooth and sharp at the tips, and when she put a little pressure on his palm they extended slightly. After a few moments of looking him over like a frog she was about to dissect, she pointed out something that he had hoped she wouldn't notice for at least a while longer.
"Hmm. What's that collar for?"
Figuring it would take him all of the paper he had on his notepad to explain, Harry unlatched the back of his collar and took the whole thing off. He saw his friends eyes widen at the sight of his pale skin glowing like a dim lumos spell, and his pupils lengthen into thin slits.
"Jesus Harry," Ron said, voice distant and eyes dreamy, "You're..."
'...A weirdo, a cat monster, a mistake of nature...I could go on for days!' but before his friend could actually finish his own sentence, Harry placed the collar back on and his face and eyes went relatively back to normal.
Hermione, who's eyes had also taken on a dreamy quality, shook her head and said eloquently, "Erm...what?"
Harry quickly scribbled down his explanation. That two weeks ago the Dursley's had dropped him off at Mrs. Figgs house because they had won a all expenses paid trip to Majorca. The eccentric old Squib knew about as much of his condition as the three of them. She was the one who had given him this adjustable collar that was used to hide the appearance of her more exotic cats, though it apparently had no affect on his ears and tail. "I doubt anything will work aside from a Polyjuice Potion," she had said, "but who knows, maybe you'll find something at Hogwarts." She'd tried to get in contact with Dumbledore, but he nor anyone else was answering, and if someone did they only had time for a couple of word answers:
"Is the Potter boy all right?"
"He's fine...but –"
"Right. Good day Arabella!"
"The Order was rather busy this summer," Hermione murmured.
"It was crazy in Grimmauld Place, mate. Everyone was running in and out every five minutes, I barely got to see mum and dad at all!"
"That's because of all the Death Eater activity. It's not as if anyone from the Ministry is going to do anything about it," she said darkly.
"Oh, you know I didn't mean your dad Ronald. I'm talking about those incompetent blind fools who wont except the truth until You-Know-Who stands directly in front of them and starts doing the Macarena!"
"Hey, Harry, what's the matter with your voice?" Ron asked, finally realizing that he hadn't spoken the entire time. "What, cat got your ton –"
"Ron!" Hermione barked. She turned to Harry expectantly. "Well, Harry?"
"Meow meow, meow, meow" Harry said instead of: "I have no idea, I've been meowing since my transformation", also revealing his elongated and pointy set of canines.
Hermione and Ron blinked simultaneously. "I...guess you weren't imagining things after all, 'Mione."
Harry plopped down in his seat and put his head in his hands. He was cold and tired and hungry and his body hurt and all he wanted to do was find a nice little sunny spot in the corner and curl up with a saucer of milk and a ball of yarn and...
'What the...? Oh hell, I'm even beginning to think like a cat!' The stresses of the summer and probably every thing else horrible that had happened to him recently started to come crashing down on him. 'Things couldn't possibly get any worse.'
"Don't worry mate, we'll talk to Dumbledore as soon as we get back to Hogwarts. I'm sure he'll know what...ever you are..."
Harry's bottom lip trembled. Oh yeah, things just got worse.
Hermione slid in the seat next to him and patted his back comfortingly. "Oh Harry, don't listen to Ron, you know very well that half the things that come out of his mouth is pure stupidity," she said, shooting a glare at her boyfriend.
Ron merely laughed nervously, properly abashed.
"Meow, meow!" Harry wailed. "He's right though! I'm a freak!" He quickly dissolved into tears.
Hermione lead his head onto her shoulder and stroked his hair. "Aww, it's okay Harry, shh, it's going to be okay."
"What's wrong with him? What'd he say?" Ron shouted over his cries, looking frantic.
"I don't know!" Hermione shouted back. "He's probably in shock. You'd be too if you woke up a – a cat creature of some sort..."
"Merowwww!" Harry sobbed even harder.
"Oh Harry, I didn't mean it like that! There's nothing wrong with being a...cat. So long as you're yourself we don't care what you look like."
One of Harry's pointed ears perked up. "Meow?" he said hopefully.
"Erm, yes," Hermione said, pretty sure she understood at least that mew. "Merlin Harry, you're freezing! Ron, give him one of your cloaks."
"But, 'Mione, it's nearly a hundred degrees outside! He can't be that cold."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Well, from where I'm sitting he is that cold. So if you please..."
Ron grumbled, but fished out one of his frayed and patched cloaks nonetheless. Hermione wrapped Harry's slightly shivering form with the cloak, then continued to stroke his hair. Her fingers trailed up a little to stroke behind his ears, eliciting contented purrs that emanated from deep within Harry's throat.
"Awwww, isn't he adorable Ron?" Hermione cooed.
This time Ron rolled his eyes and muttered something along the lines of "Women" but Hermione ignored him in favor of stroking the now sleeping cat boy behind his ears.
The train arrived in Hogsmead station without a hitch. Hermione woke Harry up and, after Harry put his hat back on and adjusted his collar properly, the three trudged off the train.
A/N: Heh, hoped you liked what I have so far. Peace and Chicken Grease!