Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, I just write for fun!


Chapter 30:

Two weeks had passed since they'd returned to Hogwarts; Rebecca was walking down the corridor she glanced to the yellow armband she wore with a sigh. She may not have participated in Luna's treatment, but she didn't do anything to stop it either. At the time she had thought if they were focusing on her, then they would leave Rebecca alone.

She never expected the blonde to come to her aid, let alone offer her friendship or forgiveness, yet that was exactly what Luna had done that first night in Ravenclaw tower.

-Flashback-

Rebecca finished putting her things away in the dorm room with a sigh before she looked across the room to Luna's bed where the quirky girl was sat reading the quibbler – upside down.
"L – Luna…" Rebecca said quietly, glad no-one else was in the room. The blonde looked up with a small smile.
"Yes?" She answered.

Rebecca walked over to her bed and indicated with her hand to the edge of the bed.
"Rebecca, we're friends – you don't have to ask to sit there to talk to me." Luna said quietly, her eyes holding nothing but sincerity.
"Y – you might not w – want to be m – my friend I – in a minute." Rebecca said quietly, forcing the words out the lump in her throat as she perched on the edge of the bed and looked to the floor.

The bed shifted as Luna moved on her bed to come and sit next to Rebecca with her arm about her shoulders.
"Rebecca I promise, no matter what you say I'll be your friend." Hearing the sincerity in Luna's voice Rebecca couldn't hold her peace any longer.

She spoke quietly, each word almost being forced from her lips.
"I – I'm sorry, I didn't help you I – in the past. It's just w – when they t – tormented you t – they left me b – be. Sometimes, for a c couple of days." She sniffed as her sight went blurry with the tears gathering.

"It was a w – way to get them t – to leave m –me be. I didn't want to be the 'r – r – wretched riddle' anymooore!" She finished with a near wail, expecting Luna to push her away, to make her leave; she wouldn't be surprised if Luna's friends all turned on her now. It was nothing less than she deserved.

Her circling thoughts were interrupted as a pair of pale, slender arms wrapped about her and she felt herself being pulled into a caring embrace.
"Shh, it's alright. You did what you could to cope. I don't blame you." Luna's quiet voice whispered to her. One of Luna's hands left Rebecca's shoulders, and soon she felt her head being gently lifted so she had nowhere to look but Luna's honest gaze.
"I forgive you. Even though there's nothing to forgive. You are not alone now, I said before I'd like to be your friend – nothing about that's changed. Unless you've been infected by a wrackspurt." Luna finished with a wink, causing Rebecca to giggle.

Smiling Luna conjured a handkerchief for her. "Now how about you clean yourself up?" Smiling, even though a few tears still fell Rebecca nodded, taking the handkerchief and wiping her eyes before blowing her nose.
"T thanks" Rebecca said quietly, surprised she still had her friend.

-End Flashback-

"Well if it isn't Wretched Riddle," A voice snarked out pulling the little claw from her memories.
Looking up she saw herself face to face with Cho Chang, deciding that she wasn't worth the trouble Rebecca turned to avoid the Chinese girl.

"Oh no. You didn't deliver that last piece of homework I told you too. You know what happens now." Rebecca looked about shaking, hoping for someone else to come before she realised they were alone in the corridor, except for one other claw, Marietta Edgecombe who was playing lookout.
"P – Please leave me alone. I told you I wasn't doing others work a – anymore." She tried to back away from the taller girl, once more hating her small stature making her a target.

Cho's hand suddenly lashed forwards grabbing a handful of her hair pulling a scream of pain from her as she felt Cho's other hand backhanding across her face, splitting her lip open.
"And I told you it doesn't work like that!" Cho said angrily, a glint in her eye that Rebecca had come to fear. "I tell you what the essay I need is – you do it. If you don't…" Soon Cho was dragging her by her hair, ignoring the futile attempts to knock her off before Rebecca was spun around, a hard slap across her cheek throwing her to the ground in a closet.

"Maybe I'll let you out in time for dinner." Cho said cruelly before slamming the door. Rebecca tried not to let her panic get to her as she lit her wand with a Lumos before curling up on the floor, trying not to cry. She hated small confined spaces, they reminded her too much of the tiny room Greengrass used to take her to for her regular 'purging'
Her attempts at not letting the fear get to her soon failed as tear streamed from her eyes as she cried.

She knew no one would hear her cries, She had screamed herself hoarse the first few times before Cho had told her that the door was always silenced after. She wished she knew the locking charm Cho used, as none of the unlocking ones Rebecca knew would work. She didn't know how long she spent curled up on the floor before she heard the door rattling.
She quickly tried to wipe away the evidence she'd been crying before the door was ripped from its anchor's slamming into the wall opposite, there stood in the doorway was Harry.

-o.O.O.o-

Harry looked about the breakfast hall as Hermione sat next to him, piling her plate high with sardines and toast.
He shook his head with a smile, there were some things that she did since being turned into a half cat that he still couldn't wrap his head around. More so now she was no longer hiding herself. Before she would never have had the confidence to have that much fish with her breakfast.

It was as he was looking around he noticed Luna had a slight frown on her face, catching her eye he waved her over.
Draco who was sat with her, naturally joined her. Harry waited until they were sat opposite him before he spoke.

"Okay Luna, what's wrong?" Harry asked.
Looking around once more Luna spoke. "It's Rebecca. She came down to breakfast before me but…" Harry nodded seeing her point before pulling a piece of parchment from his bag and putting his wand to it.
"I solemnly swear I am up to no good." He intoned and before long the Marauders map filled the page. He quickly scanned the map before he spotted Rebecca's name in a broom closet along a little used corridor, Cho and Marietta's names just leaving it. He waited until they came into the hall before getting up.

"Come on. If what I think has happened…" He said quietly pointing to Rebecca's name.
"They wouldn't." Luna said quietly, her voice full of such rage that Draco edged closer to her, putting his arm about her shoulder to try keep her level headed as they got up.
Walking past the end of the Ravenclaw table where the Chinese girl was sat Hermione growled quietly.

"She's got Rebecca's scent over her." Harry nodded once as they left the hall. Glad the work they were doing with her to understand some of the things Hermione's 'new' senses were telling her. Although she'd had her cat form for two years, she'd never actively tried to use her abilities fully until Harry suggested it. Since then she'd learned to differentiate between different scents, how strong they were, and who or what they belonged to.
Her reflexes were the best they'd ever been, her agility and speed making her a dangerous opponent when duelling.

On top of that was her hand to hand training. They had the room provide instruction and guidance in various combat styles, only Harry could keep up with her – just. Had she had this training before, there was no way the three Slytherin's could have cornered her and tortured her.

They made their way up to the corridor and were stood outside the closet when Luna tried the door. When it wouldn't budge she drew her wand and tried all the unlocking charms she knew before sighing and turning to Harry Luna spoke.
"It's locked with the same charm Cho used to use against me. I don't know the counter-charm." Harry nodded.

"Okay step back." He said quietly drawing his wand. Luna and Draco wisely did as he asked while he felt Hermione's furred hand taking his own free hand. He gave it a gentle squeeze as he closed his eyes and focused his magic. Opening them he pointed his wand to the door, pushing as much power into the spell as he could.
"Accio door!" he said sternly, as he did, the door rattled before tearing free of its home and slamming into the wall.

As soon as the door was free Harry looked into the closet to see a terrified Rebecca on the floor, a bright red handprint on her cheek and bleeding lip.
Before he could utter a single word it was as if Rebecca had apparated into his arms, sobbing.
"Shh it's alright, we've got you." He said quietly as Hermione gently started rubbing the upset girls back.

It was to this scene that Cho walked around the corner, obviously coming to release Rebecca. She wasn't prepared to see four people with her.
"Desuango!" Cho screamed out her wand flashing and impacting Rebecca, turning to run just as the spell left her wand.

Harry didn't even have time to react as Cho fired her spell, he had already been moving to shield Rebecca before the spell hit, too late it seemed. Unfortunately for Cho, what would have worked on an ordinary group of fourth years to scatter and confuse allowing her to get away didn't work with these.

Harry watched as Luna and Draco sent a brace of stunners down the corridor, Hermione running after, before taking a leap, twisting in the air to land on the wall, and pushing off to land on the ground in front of Cho facing her. Harry knew that there was no way Hermione of two years ago would have even tried that manoeuvre.

Cho slid to a halt, raising her wand to hex Hermione when one of the stunners impacted her back and she dropped to the floor.
Harry looked down to Rebecca to see her two front teeth slowly elongating, panic rising in her eyes.

"Shh, it's ok, we just need to go to Madam Pomfrey – she'll know what to do ok?" Harry said quietly, turning Rebecca away from her attackers.
He looked back to see Hermione glaring down at the dark haired girl on the floor.
"Hermione, come on, she's not worth it." Harry called, catching her attention.
Hermione looked up to him, her eyes shining with contained anger as she walked up to them, stepping the other side of Rebecca.

Harry could tell by the swishing of her tail just how angry Hermione was, and thankful that her ire was not aimed at him as they took Rebecca to the hospital wing, incidentally leaving Cho to Draco and Luna.

-o.O.O.o-

That evening Daphne walked down the corridor lost in thought, Hermione had caught her unawares with her talk on the train after the talk about Rebecca.
She looked out the window to see the two people on her mind walking about the Black Lake, hand in hand.

Daphne smiled as she saw Hermione lean her head against Harry's shoulder, tail curling up to wrap around his waist.
"You don't make these decisions easy to make do you?" Daphne said to the empty corridor, or so she thought.
"What decisions that?" Luna's airy voice came to her from behind. Daphne whirled around drawing in a gasp in shock.
"Merlin, Luna don't do that!" She said, slipping her wand back in its wrist holster having drawn it in her shock.

"Sorry," Luna apologised with a whimsical smile. "What's the decision that's got you so confused?" Luna asked, her slightly protubent eyes locking with Daphne's.
Sighing Daphne explained her dilemma to her, when she'd finished, Luna leaned against the window ledge looking out with a small smile.

"It seems to me that you've already decided – I mean you've always watched them. I think your only problem is you're scared, scared of what it may mean." Daphne sighed, nodding her head a little.
"You're right, but still…" She trailed off gazing out the window to the setting sun.
She felt Luna's hand on her arm.
"Wait until the tasks over to talk to them. I won't say anything to anyone, I promise." Luna said with a tiny smile about her lips.
Daphne nodded, a small smile about her own lips as she pulled the little blonde into a hug.

"How's Rebecca?" Daphne asked out of the blue.
"Oh – she's okay, a little shook up, but she'll be okay. I'm going to stay with her the next few days; apparently it's the mornings when Cho usually goes after her. I don't think the threat of suspension will work against her."

Daphne nodded, she knew what girls like Cho were like, having spent 3 ¼ years in a dorm full of vindictive snakes.
"I'll keep an eye out as well." She said quietly. Luna smiled.
"So, are you going to be okay now?" Luna asked quietly.
Daphne nodded. "Yes, thank you." She said quietly, smiling. "We better go, it's nearly curfew." Luna nodded turning to skip away as Daphne watched after her before turning to make her own way back to the Gryffindor Common Room that was now also her common room.

-o.O.O.o-

A few days later Hermione awoke to a beautiful scent around her. she cracked her eye open to see her bed was covered with rose petals, and that there was a big vase on her nightstand holding what must be a mix of at least fifty red and white roses, propped up against the vase was an envelope with a simple yet beautiful cat drawn on it.

Sitting up letting the bed covers drop to her waist she looked about the dorm room, seeing Daphne sat up looking at her, blue eyes wide with surprise.
"How?" the blonde asked quietly as Hermione's muzzle pulled back with her smile.
"That's Harry for you." The catgirl said quietly as she reached for the envelope, pulling the simple card from it.

On the front was a wizarding photograph, one that she wasn't aware had been taken. She was curled up on Harry's lap asleep, head against his chest – he had his one arm about her steadying her as his other was gently running through her hair. The look he was giving her in the photograph was undeniable – if anyone doubted he loved her then his deep emerald gaze would soon disabuse them of their doubt.
She turned the card around to read.

My Mia,

Each day that I hold you in my arms is a blessing, I cannot tell you in words how much you mean to me, you are my everything.
Please would you do me the honour of spending the whole day with me?

Happy Valentine's day,
I love you
Your Harry

Hermione felt her eyes well up with a couple of tears that soon escaped her, sliding gently down her face. Daphne had moved to sit on the edge of her bed, smiling at the obvious happiness radiating from the catgirl.
"I take it your little seeker has managed to surprise you again?" She said quietly.
Hermione looked over to the ex-Slytherin and nodded before she spoke.
"Yes, but I have no idea what to wear. He wants to spend the day but he didn't say anything else."
Daphne smiled as she answered her.
"I think he's left a clue you know." She said pointing back to the card. Hermione turned it back around to look at the picture before realising just what she was wearing in the picture.

It was her tight light pink tank top, the one with two well-placed Hello Kitty's on the front, along with a white cotton mini-skirt. Smiling she nodded, knowing that those two pieces were Harry's favourite clothes on her, and that when worn together he always seemed a little more affectionate. Especially with how tight the top was.
Smiling Hermione leaned back into the pillows against the headrest letting a happy 'mew' escape her.

Chuckling Daphne spoke up.
"Come on you – go get in the shower and I'll help make you even prettier for your man." She finished pointing to the few cosmetics Hermione had bought with Lavender's help. Hermione chuckled and got up, snagging the robe on the end of her bed, throwing it on as she made her way to the shower.

-o.O.O.o-

Harry was smiling as he made his way to the kitchens; he'd received permission from both his Godfather and the Headmaster to leave the school grounds. Over long conversations he'd come to find that the Forest of Dean was one of Hermione's favourite places so he was going to take her there for the day. Even the weather seemed to be giving him a break, as it was a warm sunny day.
He got to the Kitchen's and immediately sought out one of the potter elves.

"What can Tipsy do for you?" The little being asked looking up at Harry.
"Well, could you put together a little picnic basket please, one with all of Hermione's favourites please?"
"Tipsy can do that!" The little elf said excitedly before running off into the kitchen. Harry waited patiently by the door for Tipsy to return, planning out what to do next.

"Here you go!" Tipsy's excited voice reached his ears making him jump a little lost in his thoughts as he was.
"Thank you" He said with a smile taking the basket.
"Tipsy also added big big blanket and cushions." The small house elf said making Harry smile.
"Thank you Tipsy I hadn't even thought of that." Harry replied gratefully before heading out the kitchen and up to the Ancient Runes classroom.

Going in he saw Professor Babbling just finishing applying some runes to a stone tablet, moving quietly he sat down at one of the desks pulling out a shrunken book from his pocket, he was soon lost in the tale of a young king laying siege to a town of one of its allies who had turned traitor to both her and him. Going so far as to kidnap his son.

"…Mr Potter?" Professor Babbling's voice came to him pulling him from the book. Taking note of the page number he shrunk and pocketed the book.
"Sorry Professor?" He asked realising he'd been asked a question but hadn't heard it.
Smiling Professor Babbling spoke again. "Don't worry, I too get lost in the timeless tales of adventure and quests. I said is there anything I can do for you Mr Potter?"

Harry nodded. "Have you got any of the one-time use Muggle Repelling ward stones? I'm taking Hermione out on a date, and I don't want to risk anyone coming around if I'm doing any magic or her for that matter." The professor nodded before speaking.
"Mr Potter I have got those but I am afraid I cannot let you ha-"
"It's quite alright Professor." Headmaster Flitwick's voice came from the door, Harry turned to see him walking in with a small length of rope.

"Mr Potter here has had an exemption to the Underage Restriction and so has Miss Black." He said coming up to the front of the room before turning to Harry.
"I thought you would want this as soon as possible, to activate it, simply tap it twice with your wand – it will take you to the heart of the forest, near a small lake." Harry thanked the headmaster as he pocketed the portkey, turning to take the ward stone from the professor.

"Remember Mr Potter you will need to charge it when you get there, once done you will have total privacy both muggle and magical for 200 metres." The professor told him handing him the Privacy Ward stone instead of a simple Muggle Repelling stone. Thanking the professor Harry took the stone and put it into the basket. Checking his watch for the time he smiled.
"I've got to go and catch Hermione before she gets to breakfast." He said rushing out the room to the professors chuckles.

He was right he did need to catch Hermione but he needed something else first, he ran up to the 7th floor corridor to the tapestry of Barnebus the Barmy, quickly looking both ends of the corridor to make sure he wasn't seen he darted behind it and up to his and Hermione's little den, he moved quickly grabbing a couple of Hermione's silk robes and wraps, along with one of her bikinis that she only ever kept up here, finally he grabbed the brushes for her fur, including the griffin hair brush before darting back out and briskly making his way to the common room.

He gave the portrait the password and stepped in, looking about he saw Hermione wasn't around, spotting Daphne sat in the corner he went up to her.
"I haven't missed Hermione coming down have I?" He asked worriedly just as Hermione rounded the top of the stairs.
Smiling Daphne shook her head and pointed behind him, when he turned, he felt his breath stop for a moment.

Hermione's eye's had just a tiny hint of blue around about them, and the edges of her ears with a fine golden outline, her pink tank and cotton skirt fitting her like a second skin, as her fur shined with the evidence of a really good brushing. Her hair framed her face in delicate curls.
"Wow." Harry said quietly as he moved to the foot of the stairs once she got to the last few, he pulled her into his arms.
"You're beautiful Mia" he whispered close to her ear.
"Spend the day with me?" He asked pulling back to look entreatingly into her golden eyes.

Smiling she nodded. "Okay." Harry felt the smile on his face as he leaned down to put a small kiss on the top of her short muzzle.
"Happy Valentine's day" He said quietly. Hermione smiled as she turned in his arms to snuggle against his side as they walked; only stopping for Harry to pick up a basket before making their way out the common room.
"Have Fun!" Daphne called to them, Hermione's ear twitched back as she swished her tail in a wave as they left.

It didn't take long for Harry to guide them out of the castle and down to the main gates.
"Harry?" Hermione asked as they stepped out without setting off any alarm.
Turning to her he whipped out his wand and conjured a blindfold.
"Trust me?" He asked her with a lopsided grin.
Hermione nodded turning so he could tie the blindfold on for her. Once it was secure he pulled the portkey out before pulling Hermione close so that her chest was against his.
"Hold tight." He whispered making Hermione take a firm grasp of his top before he activated the portkey.

As soon as they landed with a little stumble Harry spoke.
"Keep the blindfold on for a couple of moments." He said before moving away, humming a little to let Hermione know he was still there as he set out the picnic by a large tree, while he activated and placed the ward stone near the water's edge, guaranteeing them a private area of the lake as well.

He drew Hermione closer to the blanket, making sure she didn't fall, before helping her to the ground, sitting with his back against the tree he pulled her sideways onto his lap before gently removing the blindfold, letting her see where they were.
She blinked a few times, letting her eyes focus in the bright sunlight even though they were under shade before looking around. Harry knew when she realised where they were as she whispered his name with a catch in her voice. Turning her head she locked her lips onto his as she pulled herself closer to him.

-o.O.O.o-

Later Hermione was leaning against Harry her back to his front as they chatted; having slowly worked their way through the basket, now sat watching the sunset. They had spent a moderate amount of time swimming in the lake, and simply being content in each other's company.
After swimming and drying Harry had gotten dressed before sitting back down, using the tree as a backrest before she had joined him.

Hermione hadn't bothered to get dressed again, knowing that the ward stone would assure their privacy she wanted the comfort of not having to worry about her fur, and that she wouldn't feel the cold.
That isn't to say she didn't want a brush down after their swim, she loved the feel of the bristles gliding through her fur, especially the third brush.

That had led to a couple of interesting moments as mid-brushing her back she had rolled over so that he was mere millimetres from her breasts.
They hadn't spoken for 30 minutes, keeping themselves occupied in other ways.

Sighing as the sun set as Harry's hands gently stroked the fur on her midriff, her hands were folded over on his arms as she snuggled against him breaking the silence.

"We better head back." She whispered, looking up to him with a smile.
Harry looked down and nodded, leaning forwards to place a small kiss against her head before letting her go.

Quickly she pulled on her top and her skirt up while Harry waved his wand, packing away the remnants of their picnic.
Once he'd finished he turned to watch as she went down to the water's edge, crouching down to pull up the ward stone Harry had put there.

"You alright there Mia?" Harry called as she took a while.
Looking back to him she smiled as she called back.
"Yes I'm just draining the stone safely; Professor Babbling might be able to re-use it." Harry smiled and nodded, waiting for her to return with the stone before holding out the portkey.
"Here you go." He said quietly as she held onto the end, smiling Hermione took hold of it as he activated it, depositing them in front of the school gates.

They were making their way up the path when they heard a scream, dropping the basket Harry's wand whipped out into his hand as he ran, the voice they'd heard had been Rebecca's. Hermione was keeping pace with him as they tore round the edge of the castle wall and into the clearing in front of the black lake.

There curled up on the floor under a two story window was Rebecca. She was cradling her arm which was obviously broken from the angle it was bent between the wrist and elbow.
Hermione ran up to the girl, casting a wide area numbing charm on the arm before following up with an immobilisation charm.

Harry was constantly scanning the area looking out for any hidden assailants.
Hermione helped Rebecca carefully to her feet, wrapping an arm about the shorter girl before helping her towards the castle and Hospital wing, Harry in tow.

Silently he swore he would find out who had hurt Rebecca and…enlighten…them as to why it was a bad idea.


A/N 1: Liked it? Hated it? Let me know.
Constructive criticism welcome
Flames will be ignored.

A/N 2: Sorry about the poor quality and length between updates, with ill health flaring up again I haven't been able to focus on my writing very well.

My thanks to you all for your patience.