This story is in response to the challenge on Paladeus' forum. The challenge is listed below, but you can also find it in the forums on his author profile page. After each category, I've listed what I'm keeping and changing from the challenge.
Challenge 2: "Fuzzy Wuzzy Protector"(Either story or summer fic)
Year: 2, or 3 for story-long fic, any summer for summer fic depending on what the story needs for your purposes. (Year 4 story fic, beginning in the summer after Harry's 3rd year)
Ship(s): Harry/Hermione (H/Hr) or Harry/Hermione/Luna (H/Hr/L) – Author's choice. Must maintain Hermione in it if a story fic. (Harry/Hermione/Luna)
Secondary Ships possible: Neville/Luna (N/L) if H/Hr/L is not selected, Neville/Ginny (N/G) – All others are Author's choice (Other ships are undecided at this point)
Rating limit: None – Author's Choice (Rated T)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Erotic, Erotic Comedy, Horror, Mythology/Folklore, Romance – Author's Choice, any combination, including forgotten. No slash/yaoi/crack-fics (Adventure/Romance)
Setting: Hermione/Luna's home design and such of your own choice.
Beginning: Harry reads in his transfiguration books about Animagus forms. In his ignorance of what exactly is entailed in becoming one, believes it is simply a matter of choosing what you want to look like and will himself into that form, which also leads to his being the first multi-animagus. After transforming into a creature of his own creation gains whatever magical abilities (at will, though nothing god-like, of course) that creature has. (This holds true for any form his takes, but his first MUST be a fox-like creature with a tail twice as large as he is and very bushy, though soft (though it's size could be due to more than one tail if so desired). Large eyes, green as his own, preferably white fur that seems to highlight silver/pale blue as he moves; color is your own choice, however.) He goes to Hermione's home to get help to transform back. Spends rest of summer there (Or Luna's home if this is a summer fic, or they can go between homes if both, whatever).
After a week, of which she doesn't realize it is him and believes him to be a very smart and magical creature, he defends her at a park near her home, growing larger to intimidate and to chase off some dogs (or whatever you want, so long as it won't get her/them into trouble). After that, he learns to change his form, allowing himself to change back to Harry as you wish or whatever you want. Even after turning back to human, Harry still has a tendency to purr when happy or content, which Hermione seems to unconciously pick up on and pet him whenever the opportunity arises (she may recognize that he purrs, but doesn't catch that she pets him until after a little while, or she likes it if she does, whatever you want.)
(You may continue this story as you wish, or end it with the summer ending (but Harry and Hermione/Luna MUST get together early on if it is a summer story only, or at your own pace if you will continue it, preferably before 4th year.)
This is a plot that will follow in one of my own stories based on a challenge by Witowsmp in chapter 1 of "Dumbledore Answers Harry" (A H/Hr story in which Dumbledore tells Harry everything after the first year – Good story,) after year two and going into year three.
(I'm going to try and untilize all the above plot points, but we'll see)
Antagonist(bad guy): You choose. Not needed if Summer story only (though you could have a riled up Ron wanting to know why Harry chose to stay with "The Know-It-All" or some such.) (Ron as a side antagonist, but Voldemort and his band of merry men will be the main antagonists)
Flow of Time: As you wish.
Author's story from here: Once Harry arrives at Hermione's, take it however you want based on the previous rules. They MUST be together early if it stays a Summer story, at your own pace, but please before 4th year, if longer. If you would like ideas for continuing the story, I can offer a few, though most of my own ideas, will be used in the challenge listed above.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, which should be obvious by the fact that Ron somehow not only survived Deathly Hallows, but ended up with Hermione.
Harry gasped in pain as he sat upright in his bed clutching the scar on his forehead. He looked around, expecting to find himself in the decaying room he had seen Wormtail in. It took Harry a few moments to realize that he was not in the strange mansion he had seen, but in his room in Number Four Privet Drive. He took a few shuddering breaths, his body covered in a cold sweat. The dream had been frighteningly real, and his scar felt like someone was trying to drive a nail into his head. He waited a few moments for the pain to recede before he drew a calming breath. The dream had been terrifying in it's intensity, so much so that Harry was almost positive it wasn't a normal nightmare. The question was, who was the old man who'd been killed? Harry had recognized the traitorous Wormtail, and the voice from the chair. It had after all, haunted his dreams for years, now often accompanied by Professor Quirrell or a giant basilisk. The old man however was unknown.
Harry sighed in frustration. His scar had been prickling ever since he'd arrived back at the Dursley's for the summer. This was the first time it had hurt as badly as it had which gave credence to Harry's belief that what he experienced was not a normal dream. His frustration however, was due to the fact that before he'd dreamt of moldy mansions and the killing curse, he has been having a wonderful dream.
It was a dream he'd had a couple of times since coming back from Hogwarts for the summer. A dream where he was once again riding on Buckbeak, the hippogryph he and Hermione had helped save right before the summer. In his dream, he and Buckbeak were soaring over the grounds of Hogwarts again, and while Harry loved flying, what made the dream truly wonderful was the feeling of the slender arms wrapped around his waist, and the body pressed against his back. A body which he knew full well belonged to his best friend Hermione Granger. Of course, in his dreams Hermione wasn't screaming in fright like she had when they'd really ridden Buckbeak, but gasping and laughing in joy as they soared through the sky.
Harry smiled as he thought back to the way Hermione had clung to him when Buckbeak had taken to the air. The feeling had been indescribable at the time, but Harry was certain he'd be able to use the memory of it to cast a truly awe-inspiring Patronus if the need arose. Even now the memory was making him feel a bit dazed, as if he hadn't just had a dream where he'd watched an old muggle being killed by the same curse that had taken his parents.
That sobering thought brought his good mood crashing to the ground. He knew there was no way he'd be able to fall back asleep with the images running through his head. It was more then a dream, but if it had really happened, then what could he do? No one knew where Wormtail had escaped to, and the old muggle he'd seen in the dream was already dead. Sighing, he decided to write a letter to his godfather, Sirius Black.
He grabbed his glasses from the nightstand and slowly rolled out of bed, making sure to move his feet as quietly as possible across the floor to his desk. The Dursley's where normally very heavy sleepers (in the fact that they were hard to awaken, and the fact that his uncle and cousin each weighed about as much as a small car) but he didn't even want to consider what kind of punishments they would come up with for him if he did wake them up. Harry sat down at the desk and pulled out piece of parchment and his quill and ink. He stared at it for a moment, wondering what exactly he should write. Hey Sirius, I had a scary dream and can't get back to sleep. That would go over really well. Sighing to himself, he dipped the quill in ink and began writing.
How is everything? Are you alright? So far the Dursley's have been... well not as awful. Seems they're scared that my godfather might pay them a visit if I'm upset. Silly huh?
Something a little strange happened tonight. I had a nightmare featuring our least favorite rat, and my scar hurt so much it woke me up. I don't know if it means anything, but I thought I'd let you know.
Hope you're doing well, and tell Beaky I said hi!
Harry looked over the letter, and decided it was good enough. It was vague enough that only someone who knew the details would really understand it. He rolled the parchment up and walked over to his dresser where he kept Hedwig's cage.
"Hey girl, will you take this to Sirius for me?" He asked the snow-white owl, stroking her side gently. Hedwig made a clicking sound that he took for a affirmative, and he tied the letter to her leg. He stepped back, and with a flap of her wings Hedwig flew out the window and into the night sky. Harry watched her until she was just a speck in the distance before turning back to his bed.
He contemplated trying to go back to sleep, but finally gave it up as a bad job. He'd be up in a couple hours anyways. He stood for a few moments, trying to find something productive to do. Thinking about the letter he'd sent to Sirius had him thinking about the package he'd received from his godfather not too long after arriving at the Dursley's. He began digging through his trunk, before he pulled out a box that contained a book and a vial full of a gray liquid. The book had the title "Animagi: Theory & Practice" embossed on it's black cover. Harry had been excited when a rather large tropical bird had delivered the package, but hadn't gotten to read very much of it due to his chores and summer homework.
Sticking out of the pages was the note Sirius had sent with the package, currently being used as a bookmark. He'd once again thanked Harry for helping him, and had suggested Harry might find the information in the book interesting, and that the potion was one of the materials the book would require if he decided to, as Sirius put it, "continue the legacy".
Harry flipped to where he had placed the note and began reading the book. The book had warned in the very beginning that becoming an Animagus was not simple, and that there were serious consequences if the process was not performed perfectly. Some people would severely damage their magical cores, possibly removing their magic altogether. Others, had become stuck in partially transformed states (the author even theorized that perhaps it was a botched Animagus ritual that led to the creation of the first werewolves), while others had fully transformed but lost their humanity, sometimes turning on their friends and family in their primal instincts. The list went on, but Harry got the idea. This was a serious undertaking, and he had to be sure he had it done right.
According to the book, there were three essential stages to becoming and Animagus. The first step would be brewing the potion that would be required for the ritual. This was supposedly one of the hardest parts as the potion was horribly complicated, needing ingredients added within seconds of one another, and the potion took weeks to brew properly. The book further warned that this was the stage that most mistakes were made, as the potion had to be brought to precise temperatures at certain times on certain days, and even one misstep could cause the whole concoction to be ruined. Harry was relieved that Sirius had already either made or purchased the potion, as he knew he was no potions master himself, something he knew his potions teacher would gleefully agree to. Or maybe not, if he knew he was agreeing with Harry.
The next stage basically involved meditation. The wizard or witch attempting to become an Animagus would have to try and connect to both the nature around him, and his own magical core. The difficult part of this was that you had to connect to both at the same time. You had to feel the energy both around you and within you, and use yourself almost as a bridge connecting the two together. Once this was done (and too Harry's frustration, the book simply said that he would know when he had accomplished the feat), it was time to move on to the actual ritual that would grant him his Animagus form.
The ritual was what Harry was currently reading. He hadn't quite finished the meditation part yet, but he'd made some headway considering the limited time he was able to go outside without having to do yard work. He could feel his own magical core, and on occasion he could sense the vibrant energy of nature around him. He was certain that with just a little more time, he'd be able to connect the two.
The ritual for the most part was fairly simple. He'd use some of the potion to draw a series of symbols on his chest, and then drink the rest. Then he'd focus on both his magical core and nature at the same time, focusing the combined energies through his wand. The book said that if done correctly, his wand would expel a image similar to a patronus, that would show him his animal form. The image would merge with him, and afterwords he should have the ability to transform at will between the two forms. He would feel the bond with his animal form through his magic, and would be able to follow that bond into the form. The transformation was supposed to be painless, as his magical core would literally flow through it, rather then fight it like a werewolf's transformation would. Harry read through the ritual again, making sure to memorize the exact placement and order of the symbols. Once he felt like he knew it well enough, he flipped back to the chapters on meditation.
It had the same basic information he'd gone over before. There was deep breathing techniques and thought processes that were supposed to help him clear his mind, but they never worked for him. Sure, the deep breathing would keep him calm, but his mind was always caught on one thing or another, and he knew his nightmare tonight was just going to add to the list of things his mind would touch upon when he was trying to clear it.
He read through it until his alarm went off. Slipping the note back into the book, he turned off the alarm and stuffed the book back into his trunk. He stretched and threw on some clothes, ready to start the day.
Life continued on as normal on Privet Drive for the next few days. The Dursleys ignored Harry for the most part, and Harry felt that was just fine. He spent the time finishing up his summer homework, and continuing his meditation.
It was on the fourth day that Hedwig returned from wherever Sirius was hiding, a letter attached to her leg. Harry found her perched on the edge of his bed as he came back from the meager lunch his Aunt had given him, even worse then before due to Dudley's diet. Hedwig hooted in greeting.
"Hey girl! Glad to see you're back." Harry said as he gently stroked her wing. Hedwig gave what he could only assume was a pleased hoot before holding out her leg. Harry untied the letter and set in on his bed, deciding to fill Hedwig's bowl with owl treats and getting her some water before he'd read it. Hedwig once again gave a pleased, almost amused sort of noise, as though she was congratulating herself on how well she'd trained her wizard.
Once Hedwig was taken care of, Harry quickly opened the letter from his godfater.
Glad to hear things are okay over there. I'm worried about this nightmare though. You've said before that your scar only hurt when Voldemort was near right? I doubt he was anywhere near Privet Drive, so I'm at a loss as to what it could mean. If you haven't yet, you should probably owl Dumbledore and let him know. If anyone's going to know what to make of this, he will.
Beaky and I are fine, though I wish I could let him fly more often. But a hippogriff would just attract too much attention where we're at right now. We're staying safe, and that's all that matters. On that note, I want you to promise me you'll stay safe too pup. Don't do anything I wouldn't do (actually, scratch that. Don't do anything Moony wouldn't do. He's a much better role-model in this case). If anything weird happens, or your scar starts hurting again, let me know. If need be, I'll start making my way back up towards Surrey.
Harry smiled at the thought of Sirius trying to tell him to be careful. It was definitely an image that fit Lupin better than his godfather. He found himself frowning however at his next task. In made sense that he should have sent a letter to Dumbledore to let him know about his scar, but it seemed so... personal. Sure, Harry liked the headmaster well enough, but he was just that, the headmaster. If it had happened at school then of course he'd have told Dumbledore, but during the summer it just didn't seem right to try and bring this to his attention. But Sirius was right, no one knew more about magic then Dumbledore, and he was his best bet for getting any kind of answer about his scar.
He sat down and quickly wrote a letter detailing his dream and the fact that his scar had hurt. He made sure to write that it hadn't happened since that night, but that he was curious as to what the headmaster thought might have caused it. He read it once to make sure it sounded okay.
Hello sir, I hope you're enjoying the summer holidays. I wasn't sure if I should bring this up to you or not, but an acquaintance of both of ours said that you would be the best person to help. Four nights ago I had a dream involving our friends Peter and Riddle. The strange thing was that it made my scar hurt again, so bad that it woke me up. Nothing has happened since, but I'm sure it wasn't a normal dream. Sorry to bother you with this, but as I said you're the only one who I think would even begin to understand what is going on. If you think it's nothing, then sorry to bother you, and I'll look forward to seeing you at the feast on September first!
Deciding the letter was as good as it was going to get he sealed it up, before turning and looking at an expectant Hedwig.
"Hey girl, I know you just got back, but do you think you could take this to Professor Dumbledore?" He asked. Hedwig gave him a look that he interpreted to mean Like that little flight would wear me out, before sticking her leg out. Harry tied the letter to her, and with a flap of her wings she was gone. Harry sat at his desk for a few moments, wondering just what Dumbledore would be able to come up with, before heading back downstairs to finish the yard work his uncle had left for him.
Later that day Harry found himself sitting next to the flowerbed on the side of the house. He'd finished all his chores for the day, and had decided he'd spend some time trying to focus on "connecting" his magical core to nature. He'd spent the last twenty minutes or so with his eyes closed, attempting to focus.
It was hard for him to focus however, as every time he tried his mind was immediately filled with images of the nightmare he'd had last night, or his dream of Hermione. The latter was really starting to confuse him. He'd never spent as much time thinking about his bushy haired friend before this summer. The way images of her would pop into his head throughout the day was starting to become a little disconcerting. Not that he minded thinking about one of his best friends, but the fact that the images that would pop into his mind weren't always just friendly. The Hermione that was appearing in his mind always seemed to have a flushed look on her face, and he always seemed to focus on her lips, or the pleasant feeling of her body pressed against his back.
Harry of course knew that one of his best friends was a girl, but that fact had never seemed important until the day they'd gone back in time to save his godfather and Buckbeak the hippogriff. Now his mind couldn't seem to stop recognizing the fact that she was in fact... a girl.
This line of thought inevitably made him remember the night they had saved Sirius from the dementors. As his mind started replaying the events of that night, certain things started coming into focus. The smell of the forest they had hid in near Hagrid's hut after they'd saved Buckbeak. The colors of the setting sun, and the feel of the wind in his face as they flew on the hippogriff. Each of these feeling seemed to become sharper, more pronounced in his mind. He could almost smell the forest now, mingling with the scent of the flowers and nearby grass. At that moment even with his eyes closed Harry was certain he could count every flower and every blade of grass, as easily as he could count his fingers or toes. After all, it was all apart of him. And it was with that realization that his eyes flew open, as the flowers around him bent from the small burst of magic he'd released.
He could feel it now, the connection he'd been striving to make. It was like he'd taken a bit of the nature surrounding him into himself. On top of it all though he felt excited. This was the final step he'd been waiting for. Now that he had accomplished this, he'd be able to perform the ritual, and become an animagus! His mind was working quickly, trying to decided when it would be best to do the ritual. He fought off the urge to just run right up to his room and get started. The ritual, while not super complex, could have dire consequences if interrupted. He'd only read over the various warnings about twelve times now.
It would have to be at night after the Dursley's had gone to bed. It would be better if they were away on holiday, but even in the unlikely event that happened, they'd force him to stay with Mrs. Figgs where he wouldn't be able to do any magic whatsoever. After thinking it through, he decided he'd do it the next night. As much as he wanted to do it tonight, he felt it would be better to read through the ritual one more time, and practice drawing the symbols he would need. He did after all, need this to work perfectly.
The next day could not have gone any slower in Harry's opinion. He had stayed up until almost 3:30 that morning re-reading the ritual and practicing the symbols. He'd barely been able to drag himself out of bed when his Uncle hammered on the door, bellowing at him that his Aunt had been kind enough to make him breakfast and he'd best get himself down there if he knew what was good for him. Breakfast itself seemed like it was taking up half the day, though the clocks all (almost smugly in his eyes) reported that only half an hour had actually passed. Then Vernon went off to work, his aunt went off to gossip with some of the neighbors, and Dudley went up to his room to play/get frustrated/break the newest computer game his parent's had gotten him.
Harry spent most of the time staring at anything that told time, trying to will it to go faster. Unfortunately, his temporal wishes were unheeded, as time marched right along at it's own pace. When lunch rolled around Harry was anxious. When it finally came to dinner that evening he was exhausted. Who knew that watching (and threatening and pleading with) time pass could be so tiresome?
After dinner, Harry was sent to his room while the Dursley's watched some television. Harry once again found himself going over the ritual, and concentrating on the bond he'd formed with his magical core. After what felt like an eternity (but was really only an hour) he heard the Dursley's make their way up the stairs and into their bedrooms. His felt jittery with excitement, and had to hold himself back an extra ten minutes before he heard the sound of his uncle's snores. To him, the sound was like a starter's pistol going off.
He quickly pulled his shirt off and tossed it to the floor, pulling the potion out of his trunk and pulling the stopper out. He grabbed his quill, and dipped it into the potion. Slowly he began to inscribe the symbols on his chest. As each symbol was drawn, the potion quickly dried with a flash of magic, ensuring that the symbol was completely formed and wouldn't drip down his chest. When the last one was drawn and dried, Harry took the vial and drank the rest of the potion. He gagged slightly. The potion tasted like a grass flavored Bertie-Bott's jelly bean he'd had, but he forced it down. Once that was accomplished, the symbols on his chest started glowing with a gentle light.
With a shaky hand, Harry picked his wand up off his nightstand. He closed his eyes, and once again felt for the bond between the natural world and his magical core. It responded with all the smells and promises of spring, and Harry began focusing the magic into his wand. It was a little hard to begin with. He wasn't actually casting a spell, so there was no wand movements or incantations to tell his magic what he was trying to accomplish. This would have to be done by sheer will alone.
Soon he began to feel the flow of his magic, steadily filling and flowing through his wand. He opened his eyes and watched as a bright glow focused at the tip. He continued pouring his nature-infused magic into the wand until finally, a small shape burst from the tip, landing on the floor.
Harry looked curiously at the glowing figure as it uncurled itself, revealing a small fox looking back at him with a similar curious expression. I'm a fox? Harry was excited. He'd been afraid he might be something silly like an earthworm, and while he'd hoped he might be something fierce like a lion or some other big cat, he found the prospect of becoming a fox exciting.
The translucent fox regarded him for a few moments, before bunching up and springing towards him, jumping into his chest. The fox passed through his skin, leaving a warm tingling feeling as he passed. When the fox disappeared inside him, he could feel something within him change. There was a flash from the symbols on his chest, and in the light he missed the green flash that came from his scar. The light subsided, and the symbols faded into nothingness as Harry found himself in the darkness of his room.
He let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding and grinned. He'd done it! Everything had worked perfectly, now all he had to do was focus on the bond in his magical core, which would now be bound to the form of a fox. Taking a deep breath to calm his excitement, Harry once again closed his eyes and focused on the image he'd created of his magical core. And there it was! He could feel it, actually feel the difference in his magic. Before he could even really think about it, he pulled on the bond, forcing his magic to filter through and take his animal form.
As soon as the transformation started however, Harry sensed something wrong. The bond he'd made with his animagus form was... broken? No, that wasn't right... it was like it had splintered off, like the magic had been broken against something. Now that he was passing through it he could see that the bond now split off into several directions. At one end he could "see" his form, but it was no longer a fox. It certainly resembled a fox, but it's tail was much too big and it seemed to grow and shrink at various intervals. Harry felt panic start to grip him as his magic whisked him towards the form, forcing his body into the transformation.
Something had gone wrong. He performed the ritual perfectly but something had interfered somehow. What was going to happen? The bond was damaged but obviously still working, his body was already shrinking down, fur covering it as his tail bone grew out and expanded. His body quickly changed, until where Harry Potter once stood now there was a small fox-like creature. It's fur was black, except for a small white lightning bold shaped patch at the top of it's head, right below what looked like a small horn. It's tail was actually as big as the rest of the body, a mass of black fur that stuck out wildly. It twitched once, before opening it's green eyes.
The creature, which was Harry Potter, stood up on shaky paws. He looked around, trying to get his bearings as he viewed the world from a height he hadn't seen since he was a toddler. He blinked as he realized that not only could he see, but he could see in the dark! It was interesting, the way his eyes made use of the small bit of light from the moon coming through his window. He sat down, and yelped as he'd twisted his hind legs and his tail underneath himself. He scrambled for a second to right the situation, getting his legs situated and trying to move the unfamiliar appendage. His tail complied easily enough, curling around him as he sat.
While something had interfered with the ritual, it seemed like it still worked. Sure, his tail was huge, but he didn't really mind. It was soft, and he was sure it'd keep him warm if the weather was cooler. Satisfied for the moment, he decided he'd transform back and get some rest. There'd be plenty of time in the next few days to practice moving in his new form, but for now he was knacked. He closed his eyes, and willed himself back to his human form.
Only nothing changed. He opened his eyes and found himself still close to the ground, with his tail still curled around his paws. He tried to curse in frustration, but all that came out was something that sounded like "mew". Harry's eyes widened at that. That didn't sound anything like a fox. He tried to talk again and once again it came out as a "mew". He closed his eyes and tried once again to change back into his human form, but the change didn't happen. He couldn't even feel the bond with his magical core anymore! As a matter of fact, he couldn't even feel his magical core! There was magic inside him, but whatever it was belonged to the creature who's form he'd assumed, not to Harry Potter. The magic that this creature possessed was much more chaotic then his own, it felt like a storm inside him. And his magic, was nowhere to be found.
To an outside observer, the "mew" sound that the creature made next sounded frustrated. It got across the general sentiment that Harry was feeling, which was simply:
What do I do now?
Author's Notes: So heres the first chapter. I had to rewrite a couple parts a few times before I was satisfied, and even now it seems a little rushed to me. I'm already halfway through the second chapter, but it's giving me a bit of a tough time as well.
Next chapter will reveal exactly what Harry's animagus form is, as well as start his summer at the Granger's.
Please review and let me know what you think!