More Than Familiar
Disclaimer: Not mine. Anything that's recognizable belongs to JKR and those she has blessed with millions of Dollars, Pounds, Euros, Rupees, Rubles, Lira, Marks, Pesos, Yen (well, you get the idea) from her efforts.
A/N: I was starting to read a perfectly good harem fic when this rabid little bunny came jumping in and wouldn't leave well enough alone. What was really frustrating is that the idea had absolutely nothing in common with what I was reading (think apples and freight trains). Thanks must be given to Herman Tumbleweed for all his help in making this readable and canoncansodoff for ideas to help develop it further.
Harry Potter was on a mission. Ever since finally returning to Grimmauld Place, after another few weeks with the relatives from hell, he had buried himself in the Black Family Library studying the old, dark tomes trying to find a way to rid the world of the bastard that was overshadowing his life. Well, one of the bastards, anyway. Tom "I-Cum-While-Casting-Crucio" Riddle, the self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort, had just cost him another link to his family. And Harry was pissed. He no longer cared what it took to rid the world of that... that thing. Light, grey, or dark magic: the now 16 year old wizard was going to avenge Sirius, his mum, his dad, and all the others that son of a bitch took from their families, no matter what it took. Well, within reason, anyway.
Slamming closed the book in front of him, the raven-haired young man sighed deeply. He'd already spent a week searching through the dusty books and had found nothing he could use, or at least nothing he would be willing to. Some things are just too dark and/or disgusting to even consider. Leaning back and closing his eyes, he rolled his head around, trying to relax the tension in his neck muscles.
A loudthump in front of him causedHarry's eyes to snap open and track to the source of the noise. He saw Hedwig, his snowy owl familiar, perched across the table from him on a particularly dusty and ratty old tome. With a raised eyebrow and a soft chuckle, he addressed his dearest friend. "What's that you've got there, girl? Are you trying to help me with my research?" A series of quiet whistles and barks came from the bird which her master somehow knew meant, "Of course I am, you goof. I want this done as badly as you do." With another soft bark, Hedwig flew to Harry's shoulder, nipped lightly at his ear, then returned to the book across the table, her meaning clear.
"Okay Hedwig," Harry slowly shook his head as he responded to the now even more excited owl. "I can take a hint. You're so smart, it's kinda scary sometimes, you know? Sometimes I almost think you're human." Getting up and walking around the table, he stopped and stroked his avian friend for a few moments before picking up the slim volume. His expression went from relaxed to thoroughly confused in a heartbeat as he took in the faded title of the obviously centuries old book. The now completely befuddled young wizard turned to his companion, "Animajicks Moste Darke? I dunno, Hed…." A sharp series of clicks and barks indicated her response of, "Shut up, sit down, and read it. Now!"
"Alright, alright. I'll read it. Sheeshe." Harry returned to his chair and opened the book. "You know, you're getting as bad as Hermione." With a sharp whistle, Hedwig hopped up to settle on his shoulder and nestled in as if to supervise his studies, or to read with him; he wasn't sure which.
Despite his initial misgivings, Harry soon found himself engrossed in the book, his struggles with the archaic language aside. "Who knew there were so many ways to fuck with an Animagus or a magical creature?" He thought. "And all this stuff that requires an animal sacrifice? Shit, there's even a way to forcibly bind a phoenix. I wonder if the old bastard knows this one and used it on Fawkes? I really can't see him as being Light enough to have one. Maybe at one time he was, but now? Hey, what's this?" Harry sat up suddenly, nearly toppling Hedwig from where she was dozing on his shoulder. He read the next chapter title out loud: "Locking the Beast: How to Prevent the Return to Human Form."
At this, Hedwig hopped to the table and turned to face her human, chattering away madly. "I know, Hed, I know, keep reading," he sighed. This didn't mollify the agitated raptor at all. She jumped to the boy's forearm and nipped at his fingers, then to the book and back again, all the while chattering away.
Harry returned to the book with part of his mind still on the actions of his friend. As he read the chapter, a horrible thought came to mind. "No. It can't be. I know she's smart and seems to understand what I say, but..." Stopping his musings, Harry looked up and locked eyes with his familiar. "Hedwig," he started, then hesitated, thinking "I must be out of my fucking mind." "Hedwig, do you understand everything I say?" Hedwig stood still and slowly nodded her head.
Harry gulped and swallowed a couple of times in shock. "H-Hedwig, c-can we try a couple of ex-experiments?" Another deliberate nod. "O-Okay, girl, uh, let's, er, try something to see if you really do understand me." A nod. "Yeah, uh, how about you, um, jeeze, Hedwig, the only things I can come up with are… are sorta demeaning. Is that okay?" Hedwig again nodded and added a gentle woof as if to say, "I trust you, Harry."
"Okay. Let's see if you really do understand me. Can, er, could you fly up to the third bookshelf from the right, land on it, then, um, go to the window, er, damn, Hed, I'm sorry, then just fly back and, uh, land on my head?"
No sooner had he finished, than Hedwig was following his instructions exactly. After doing a little owl dance on his head, which made his terminally messy hair even worse, Hedwig fluttered down to the book on the table and gently placed one claw on the right-hand page as if to turn it, locking her amber eyes with Harry's deep green ones.
The awe-struck teen absently ran a hand through his well mussed hair and silently reached for the book, turned the page, and resumed his study. After finishing the chapter, Harry, running a hand once again through his messy hair, returned his gaze to Hedwig, and asked, "Did this happen to you?" Again, the now familiar nod. "And you want me to try the reversal?" Nod. Harry furrowed his brows, deep in thought. "Hedwig, do you know what's in this book?" Nod. "Why do I get the feeling that you've read this book before?" Nod. "Be-before you were...?" Nod.
Harry cocked his head sideways as he came to a sudden realization. "That's why nearly every time I've ever been in here, even last year, you were here, too. You were hoping to find a way to get me to see this book once you realized it was here." Nod. Click of her beak. He looked at his friend again, "Why didn't you bring this sooner, last summer even." She answered with a long chatter of her various sounds, the meaning of which he was unsure this time. He slowly shook his head, deciding it wasn't that important right now.
Harry closed his eyes as he tried to come to grips with the new drama that Fate had dropped in his lap. "Shit, Shit, Shit!" His mind chanted. Then he asked himself,"Why does this sorta shit always happen to me?"
His conscience answered, "But I have to do something. If this is true, I can't leave her this way. She's always been there for me; always been my friend. I love her as much as, if not more than, most of my human friends."
His mind retorted with, "But what if I'm wrong? Or if I screw it up? Or if I'm just LOSING MY FUCKING MIND!" Harry took a deep breath to calm his nerves, then stood and started pacing the room, still deep in his swirling thoughts.
Hedwig kept her golden eyes on her companion while he wrestled with his latest dilemma. The familiar knew her wizard, and knew it would be hard for him. But her heart also knew that he'd do the right thing. That's why she had tried so hard to reveal herself to him. That's why Hedwig had bound herself to him as his familiar the summer his relatives had made his room into a cage, and why her love for him kept growing all this time. The beautiful owl knew that he loved her, too, but didn't know how that would translate to her human self. Hedwig also didn't know what would happen with the familiar bond if she were restored to human form. It was a risk the owl was willing to take when the familiar bond was formed with him, but now she was afraid. For both of them.
Harry finally stopped pacing and turned back to his companion whom he was now having difficulty thinking of as his owl. "I don't know if I can do this, Hedwig. I think I need some help." Hedwig shook her head negatively. "Maybe Dumble...." Hedwig shook her head again and let off a string of woofs, clicks, whistles, and chatters that clearly indicated how poorly she thought about that idea. "Okay, okay, you're right. Bad idea. How about Hermione?" Hedwig again shook her head.
"Well, if I had any doubts before, after this conversation, they're gone. The way you've been responding to everything I've said has proven it to me. Where's that damned book. Let's see again how to change you back." As he returned to his chair and sat down with the book, he looked over at Hedwig and said with a cheeky grin, "Well, are you going to join me, love? I suspect that you'll understand it better than I will and hopefully we'll be able to find a way for you to explain it to me."
Two days later, they were ready. After more research and painstakingly copying runes on the floor of the attic, all that was left to do was for Hedwig and Harry to stand in the newly drawn ritual circle while he performed the blood sharing as he said a long incantation.
Harry was really quite nervous about the whole thing. Over the last two days, he and Hedwig had improved upon their unique form of communication and he had learned quite a bit about his long-time friend. Mainly that she was smart, scary smart. Even in her owl form (he refused to think of her as just an owl any longer, as he had realized she wasn't) she understood everything they needed to do better than he did. She was somehow able to show him the few mistakes he'd made in the rune-scheme surrounding the circle and to help him correct them.
"Of course," he thought, "being able to get a, ahem, bird's-eye view certainly helped. Merlin, I hope I don't fuck this up. She's been such an important part of my life, but now she seems even more important. I already couldn't have handled losing her, but now, with her becoming human again... it would be devastating. Especially if it's because I did something wrong. I loved her as my owl, but now... it's so much more. I wonder..."
He was interrupted from his thoughts by a quiet click in his ear and the feeling of soft feathers against his cheek. The young man watched as Hedwig hopped off of his shoulder, glided to the centre of the circle and gave him a look that clearly said, "It's time."
"You're right, Hedwig, it is time; let's do it," Harry said resignedly. He sat on the floor next to her and slowly stroked her feathers in the way he'd learned she liked the best. Despite his seeming acceptance, he still felt he needed to say, "You know, love, that this may not work. In fact, it may be... fatal. Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want me to do this."
In response, Hedwig jumped on to Harry's lap and nuzzled her face into his chest, all the while making the gentle chattering sounds that she'd learned relaxed him the most. She knew in her heart that Harry could and would do this. She also knew that she wanted, no, needed him to do this. No one else but her Harry. She wasn't entirely sure why that was, but suspected it had to do with their familiar bond.
The nervous wizard gently placed his friend in the centre of the circle and stood up, firmly holding his wand. "Okay, Hedwig, this your last chance to come to your senses...." She interrupted him with a sharp woof which quite obviously meant, "Knock that shit off, and get on with it!"
Laughing nervously, Harry softly told her, "Okay, but Hedwig; if this doesn't work, remember that I love you. You've been my closest friend, and at times my only friend." A lone tear escaped one eye, as the powerful young man checked their positions in the circle, pointed his wand at his closest friend, and began the ritual that would change both of their lives.
"Ermmgh," Harry groaned as he came back to consciousness. "How'd I get hit by the Knight Bus when I haven't left the house in almost two weeks? Fuck, I hurt."
He suddenly became alert as soft hands stroked his face and a gentle, lilting voice whispered in his ear, "Oh, my Harry, you're alright. I was so worried. But you did it, just as I knew you would. Thank you, my Harry. Thank you."
He realized his head was cradled in a soft lap and as he sat up he was drawn into a hug by a slender young woman. After a few moments, he drew back to see a lovely delicate face surrounded by long white-blonde hair. But it was the eyes that fascinated him. The deep hazel eyes that locked onto his in such a familiar way told him everything he needed to know. "Hedwig?" he asked. She smiled, gave him a single nod of her head, and then kissed him.
The often overly moral wizard hesitated for only a moment before becoming totally consumed by the kiss. It wasn't anything like he'd ever expected a kiss to be, and certainly not like the one with Cho had been. It was more than a meeting of a boy and a girl, or even a man and a woman; it was more like a sharing of hearts and souls. After a few minutes, they pulled apart, panting heavily. "Sorry," they both began, and then laughed
The now fully human owl Animagus placed a slim hand over Harry's mouth. "Please, Harry, let me go first," her hand falling down to lie softly against his chest. "Thank you for what you did for me. I'll never be able to repay you. I've been locked in that form for so many years, that I nearly lost count." As he started to reply, she again shushed him with her soft hand on his mouth. "Please, let me finish. But first, could you transfigure something for us to sit on? And maybe something to drink?"
Harry picked his wand up from the floor next to him and with a few swishes and flicks transfigured a comfortable loveseat and a low coffee table from some of the rubbish on the floor, and then summoned some butterbeer. When he finished, he held out his hand and helped his former familiar to her feet. He took a long look, amazed at her beautiful human form. "Makes sense, really,"he thought. "She was beautiful as an owl, why wouldn't she be equally as attractive as a human?"
The human Hedwig was slightly above average height, with a slender, delicate build which seemed to hide an underlying strength, and appeared to be about seventeen. Her hair was waist-length and reminded him of the feathers she'd had as an owl. Fair skin with an almost china doll quality and soft facial features,again reminded him of who she was when he met her in Diagon Alley. Hedwig smiled, and removed her somewhat worn Hogwarts robes trimmed in Ravenclaw colours to show a rather dated Muggle blouse and skirt, revealing modest, but firm up-thrusting breasts and an arse to die for. Not to mention her long, firm legs. With a shy smile, Hedwig led him to the loveseat, sat him down, and then sat close to him as if afraid to let him go.
"I guess you're pleasantly surprised at my appearance?" She giggled, as he nodded and blushed slightly. A hint of a Scottish brogue was noticeable in her voice. "I had hoped so, but there are some things I need to tell you and I hope you'll be as happy about them as I am. While you were unconscious because of some odd magical backlash from the ritual – don't worry, it was only half an hour or so – I had time to think and analyze some things. First of all, I seem to still have my magic and all of my abilities." Suddenly there was a snowy owl next to Harry, but a moment later, the young woman had returned. "Next, I was looking at Animajicks Moste Darke again and found a variation of the ritual which restored me that can help you achieve your form without going through all of the nonsense that's taught about it. We can do it sometime in the next few days, if you wish. The only reason it's considered dark is the bloodletting part, which, as you know, is minimal. In fact, the only differences are a couple of minor changes in the rune scheme, a slightly altered incantation, and that the caster must be an Animagus." Harry tried to respond, but couldn't as he was so astounded at how familiar his friend was.
"Now, for the more serious part. I, uh," she lowered her eyes, "I can still feel our familiar bond. I… I'm not certain why, but it's still there. For myself, I find it to be a good thing. It's very comforting to me and it feels as strong as ever. But I worry about how you'll feel about it. Also, just so you know, I'm very attracted to you and have been for a long time." She snickered a bit, "Hey, I may have looked like a bird, but I've always been all woman. I've watched you grow and become a wonderful, handsome man and I've learned to love you very much in that time. That's why I allowed the familiar bond to form. I never thought I'd be able to return and that the bond was the only way I'd be able to have you. I guess it was silly."
Harry sat staring off into space for a few moments before turning back to Hedwig. She appeared disheartened and was looking down when his attention returned to her, so he placed a finger under her chin and carefully raised her eyes to his. "I do feel it, but even without it, I think I would still be drawn to you. Right now, being here with you, feels just like it always has. You've always comforted me and given me a swift kick... well, peck actually, in the arse when I needed one." He paused while they both chuckled over the image of her pecking him in the arse.
"I'll confess," he continued "that there were times that I wished that you were human. You've always given me as much of yourself as you could and you're doing the same thing now. I loved you when you were an owl; not because you were my pet, or my familiar, but for what you did for me and how you made me feel. I see no reason why I would feel any different now. And as for your appearance," he added, grinning cheekily, "you were... are a beautiful owl. Why should it surprise me to find that you're still just as beautiful as a woman?"
"You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that, Harry," she growled as she launched herself into Harry's lap and locked her lips to his. She pulled away for a moment and added seductively, "Now either make this couch bigger or transfigure it into a bed because your arse is mine."
During the ensuing long snog, she encouraged his hands into places he'd never touched on a woman before. When it became clear to him she wanted more, he resisted in his overly moral way. However, with even more relentless kissing, caressing, and stroking on her part, he was soon convinced that, in this case, morality was overrated.
After two hours and three orgasms for Harry (eight for Hedwig), they were lying intertwined on the king-sized bed that Harry had (barely) transfigured for them. Their previous experience in stroking and comforting each other, along with the familiar bond, apparently, transferred to instinctively knowing just how and where to touch and stroke for pleasure. This had made their shared first time incredible for both of them.
They were discussing the near future and decided to keep her true identity secret. Hedwig was going to remain in her owl form most of the time while still here at Grimmauld Place, as well as when they returned to Hogwarts. They didn't want anyone to know that the curse had been lifted from her yet, after she explained who had locked her in that form, and why.
"There is one person that I think we should tell, however," the beautiful witch offered.
"Really?" Harry asked, surprised.
"Well, as I've been your familiar for so long, I know who your true friends really are and how you feel about them. I think you should tell Hermione everything."
"Yes, Harry, everything. And tell her that I'm quite willing to share."
Harry's brain essentially locked up as he processed what she had said and the full import of it filtered through the sex induced haze. "Are you serious?" He cried. "She doesn't feel that way about me, and that wouldn't be fair to either of you."
She snorted, "My Harry, I know you grew up largely unloved, at least until you met Hermione. I'll leave this be for now, but would it really amaze you if I told you that Hermione is one hundred and ten percent, over the moon in love with you?"
Harry's mouth opened and closed repeatedly in confusion until Hedwig found a much better use for it.
After cuddling and touching for a while longer, the new lovers prepared to rejoin the hidden world of Grimmauld Place. It had been nice lying together in the afterglow of their lovemaking, but they both recognized the difficulties that would result from bringing Hedwig back to humanity. After they had dressed, Harry restored the transfigured furniture to its original state.
Nervously, Harry took his old, yet new, friend's hands in his own. "Hedwig," he began, and then looked stricken before he continued, "Gah, I'm sorry, love. I'm still calling you that. I... I never thought to ask what your name really is. I'm such an arse."
"You are not an arse, my Harry," Hedwig reassured him and kissed him softly. "You've always known me as Hedwig; a name that you gave me. A name that I will always want you to call me. But if you must know, I was born Nyta Scandia and I was a seventh year Ravenclaw in the class of 1972. However, we must get back downstairs before the old man's minions decide that you've been hiding long enough."
"Nyta, er, Hedwig," Harry corrected himself at the girl's glare, "if you were cursed that long ago, why is it that you… you're still so…so…" the green-eyed wizard stammered.
"Pretty?" Nyta/Hedwig snickered.
"No, no, er I mean, yeah you're beautiful, but… argh! I mean, how are you still so young? I figure that you should be about forty-one or so, but... but… y-you sure don't look it." Harry blushed as he fought his way though his thoughts.
Still giggling a bit at Harry's embarrassment, Nyta considered his question. "Forty-two, actually; my birthday was in May. I'm really not certain, my Harry. I need to do some more research, but I… think… that it, well…. I know that the curse was originally meant to be a punishment; forcing someone who'd used their Animagus abilities for evil, for lack of a better word, to live out the rest of their lives as an animal. I don't know why I haven't aged. I'm well past the maximum age of a Snowy Owl, and, as you've so tactfully pointed out," she teased, "my human form hasn't aged at all." She pulled him firmly against her body and breathed gently in his ear, enjoying the feeling of his body's reaction, "That's something I noticed that you enjoy as much as I do." She pulled back slightly, adding, "But I have no idea why. I should have died several years ago."
Harry shuddered from the feeling of her soft breath in his ear and her warm body pressed against him as his face reached Weasley red. Taking pity on her clueless mate, the still young former Ravenclaw stepped back, changed into her owl form, and flew up to alight on Harry's shoulder. Hedwig rubbed her head against the young man's until he got the hint and resignedly left the attic to return to the others.
The next few days were a mixture of joy and frustration for the couple. Joy in their new relationship and the peace and contentment that it brought them. Frustration in that they had to keep it hidden and couldn't spend time together in the way they really wanted to; secrets are not easily kept in a houseful of Weasleys. The Weasleys had shown up out of the blue with no explanation the day after she had been returned to normal.
The days were similar to what their days had been before, except for Ron constantly pestering him to play chess and Ginny just trying to hang all over him. If Hedwig seemed to be around Harry a bit more often, nobody seemed to notice as his familiar had always been very protective of her Master. She did seem to be more protective lately, but it was attributed to Harry's emotional state since Sirius' death. His feathered companion always seemed to provide the comfort he needed.
The nights were when they were able to be themselves. Harry would turn in for the night early (as he now owned Grimmauld Place, he had taken the master suite for himself), claiming he wanted to read quietly before bed, which Ron found disgusting. Hedwig would have already entered his room through the window. After Harry made judicious use of locking and silencing charms, she'd change back to Nyta.
They spent their time getting to know all about each others' lives and making slow, passionate love until the wee hours of the morning. There was little they didn't tell each other, such was the trust they'd already built with each other over the previous five years. If the familiar bond was still affecting them, they didn't care. There was a depth of feeling and comfort between them that was seldom seen except in couples who were married for many years. The only person who could come as close to sharing those kinds of things with Harry was Hermione.
Nyta admitted to him that she felt almost as strongly about the bushy-haired witch, which probably explained why Hedwig always felt drawn to her when Hermione had something to send to Harry. "I can't really explain it," Nyta admitted one night, cuddling tightly with her wizard. "It sometimes felt as if I had some sort of lesser bond with her. Not a true familiar bond, but somehow similar."
"Is that why you're so insistent that we tell her?" Harry asked.
"Yes, my Harry. She is as much a part of you as I am," his love explained. "You could no more be complete without her than you could without me, or I without you or her. And neither of us could be happy without both of us being complete."
The next night, as they lay in post-coital bliss, Nyta brought up a new subject. "My Harry, aren't the Weasleys taking their trip this weekend?" The entire Weasley family had been invited to visit the Delacours' home in France. Bill and Fleur had gotten close in the year since the Tri-Wizard tournament and the families thought it a good idea to get to know each other, hence the upcoming week-long trip.
"Yeah, I think they're leaving tomorrow afternoon. Why?"
"Oh, I can think of a couple of reasons," she said slyly, her hands starting to wander.
Harry groaned. "You do realize we'll still have the Order of the Roasted Chicken in our hair. Damn woman, you're insatiable. Are you still thinking of christening the library?"
"Hm?" she asked absently, teasing his nipples. "No, well, yes, but that's not why I was asking. I thought, that... well... maybe we could try that modified ritual. You know, try and find your form?" Nyta added quietly, "That is, if you still want to. Well, okay, that was one reason," she admitted, cupping his manhood in her hand, "though not the most important one."
"If you want an answer," Harry moaned, "you gotta stop a sec." Nyta grinned, fighting off his attempts to still her hands as he tried to continue, "I'd really like to, but... I'm worried about the Dark aspects of the ritual... oooh, yeah, um, I, ah," With a snarl, Harry flipped his white-haired tormentor onto her back and pinned her with his body, his lips millimetres from hers. "Talk or play, wench," he growled, "I can't do both."
"Such a choice," she stopped and pretended to think. "Play." Her lips rose to his, punctuating her choice.
An hour later found them cuddled together enjoying the glow once again. And once again the persistent witch brought up the subject of the "dark" Animagus ritual. "My Harry, you've wanted to be an Animagus for so long. Why the hesitation now?" Nyta was confused.
The satiated young man answered carefully, if a bit sleepily, "It's considered a dark ritual, Hed. What if I don't have a form? We don't know what will happen then. I wouldn't want to leave you alone if the worst happened."
"All wizards and witches have a form, silly. It's just that most witches and wizards are not capable of doing it the regular way. There's nothing really dark about it, other than the blood-letting, which is the same blood sharing you did for me." She paused briefly to calm herself from Harry's infuriating nobility. "Blood Magic is only truly dark when the blood is taken involuntarily. Like you did for me, I'll be doing it of my own free will." Her voice softened, "I'll be doing it out of love. Like you did for me."
Faced with such logic, Harry gave the best, the only, answer he could, "Whenever you're ready, my love."