*Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and ideas….and the plot bunnies in the corner. Please don't sue, I'm a poor college student that has no life and way too many video games.*
"Ninety percent of the game is half mental."
Of Exclamations and Unknown Locations
Hermione was the first to awake out of the four who lay in the tiny clearing. It really couldn't even be called a clearing, more like a small break in the trees, a tiny grove or meadow. The trees were old in the forest that lay about them, but not ancient. They grew tall and strong as if they never known the bite of metal axes or the flames of man.
Birds of the like she never heard before sang loudly within the branches above her as she pulled herself into a seated position and looked around. Her head ached something fierce as she gazed around the area, light shining through the emerald leaves above casting them in a greenish light. A groan pulled Hermione's attention away from her surroundings and to the prone body to her left. It took her several minutes before she recognized who or more like what was lying next to her.
It was Draco; well it should have been her Slytherin class mate. He was much smaller now, maybe about half of his original height and completely naked. He was lying face down and away from her so she couldn't see his face, but two prominent features made her doubt her first assessment. A long opal white reptilian tail that ended in a wickedly sharp armored point was protruding from his lower spine and two white leathery wings tinted in a pale blue and purple lay limply across his lightly scarred back.
As Draco regained conciseness Hermione turned her attention to the other two members on the forest floor. On the far side of the clearing a very large red wolf was also waking from whatever deep sleep that had trapped all of them. Three long scars crossed its face and muzzle, and another set of claw marks were prominent on its right shoulder. It took her a long moment to realize why it looked so familiar, and then it finally hit her. She had seen a werewolf similar to the one before her, though the other looked more deformed and grotesque, there was no mistaking who the other was. It was Professor Lupin…or Moony since he was in wolf form.
He was fully awake now, being able to shake off the drowsiness that had encased all of them much faster then the others and she had a moment of panic that quickly passed as he pulled himself onto all fours. Moony simply gazed at her and the others in the clearing and then looked around, not a hint of aggression or madness clouded his gaze, and no snarl came from his scarred muzzle. In fact he seemed more curious then anything else, and Hermione made the connection that Remus was more in control then the wolf right now.
She saw Harry just past Draco's other side, supporting additional appendages and also completely naked. Two raven black fluffy ears were perched atop his head and a long black short haired cat tail was coiled around his legs. The nudity of the other two males made her aware of her own lack of clothing, but she couldn't bring herself to care at the moment.
Harry was terribly injured, she could tell even from ten feet away. His left leg was twisted at an odd angle; she could see bone sticking out a little. His back was covered in blood from wounds that were both old and new. Hermione knew without looking that his chest was much the same. As she gazed upon the broken form of her best friend, everything came back at her in a rush, leaving her with a foul mood and a painful headache.
Harry had been captured by Death Eaters nearly a half a year ago. She along with Draco and Remus had staged a rescue. There would have been more people to assist them, if there had been any left. The Dark Wizard had been winning the war, and every person that they trusted enough to bring into the plan was either on a current mission, out of commission, or more often then not…dead.
They found Harry chained, suspended from the ceiling, and completely unresponsive. Draco and Remus had practically dragged Harry out of the torture chamber, but they didn't make it far. Lucius Malfoy had appeared before them, just a dozen meters from freedom, leading a large group of Death Eaters. They had been quickly surrounded. One moment they were casting spells, both offensive and defensive along with completely illegal and the next…well, she woke up here. Where ever here was.
Draco was finally successful in pulling himself up into a seating position, his tail becoming an obstacle that took him several minutes to overcome, and started to make the same observations that Hermione had. After several minutes it seemed like he also came up with the same conclusion. They had no idea what happened, where they were, or even what they were. As he was gazing around the small meadow, the bushy haired Gryffindor saw three more oddities about her past nemesis. His ears were sharply pointed, his canine teeth were extended, and he had two tiny curved horns sticking out of each side of his forehead. She would never admit it out loud, but she found it quite cute, especially with the pout he had on his face.
Her attention was pulled away from Draco when Moony started to make his way over to them. She yet again had a moment of panic, as did her Slytherin class mate, but when the giant werewolf just bent his head and sniffed the still unconscious Harry she relaxed. Draco on the other hand seemed to be having something akin to a panic attack or a mental breakdown…might have been both.
"What the fuck is going on? What happened?"
He was on the verge of hyperventilating and Hermione snapped loudly in his ears to gain his attention. "I don't know, it may have been some strange transportation spell, or we may be trapped in a dimensional pocket. I have no idea, and I won't be able to know for sure without being able to review exactly what happened and at least a week in the Hogwarts Library, which you and I both know was destroyed a year ago," Hermione paused when she realized that not only did she have Draco's rapt attention, but also Moony's. "From what I can tell, it might have been the protection incantation on Harry and the rune of truth reacting with each other when we were attacked."
Harry was not yet seventeen so the blood protection was still in place, keeping Voldemort from harming him. Unfortunately that protection only covered death and not anything in between, which was why he needed to be rescued in the first place. Hermione, during her fifth year at Hogwarts, had become enraptured by runes and had spent almost all of her free time studying them. Several months ago she had created a necklace, which she realized she no longer had, that she called the rune of truth. It was supposed to show the true intent of a person as well as their true selves. Very useful when everyone was of suspicion of being a spy.
As she looked upon the others she thought that her hypothesis could very well be accurate. They found themselves in a different location because of Harry's blood protection wards, and they only way to save them from eminent death would be to whisk them away. And if the powerful wards reacted with her rune of truth, then she believed that they now represented their true selves.
Looking upon Draco she thought it was only fitting that he would be a dragon, it was practically his name sake. Either that or a ferret. Remus of course was a werewolf, no surprise there. Harry on the other hand was not what she would expect from the brave young man she had the pleasure of calling a friend. She would have thought a phoenix or a griffin would be more fitting, but as she gazed upon him, she couldn't help but think that it was just right.
As she shared her theory with the other two she became curious as to her own features…what was her true self? So she asked Draco. "You look, well, sort of," at that point he was just waving his hands around as if that explained everything. When she raised an eyebrow and prompted him to continue, he did his best to explain. "Well, you look very pretty…alright!"
He sounded almost exasperated, as if he could not believe he had said such a thing, and to a mudblood no less. Hermione decided to just let it be for the moment to spare him further embarrassment and instead turned her mind onto something practical, like what they were to do now.