A/N: I'm SO SORRY! I know it's been forever, but it's been a combination of looking for colleges, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and writer's block that's been keeping me. Well, now the moment you've all been waiting for is here! So all I can ask is that you read and review...and the next one should come easier b/c it's been planned forever! Well, here goes: (and by the way, i basically chained myself to my desk today to make sure this got done for you guys)
And it's extra long! b/c i couldn't make you go that long only to get a short chapter!
Ginny didn’t talk to Harry, Ron and Hermione for three days after the truth about the Horcruxes came out. And understandably so: she was mad because Harry hadn’t told her even though they were dating. It took a talk with Hermione, Ron offering to clean her room all summer and Harry bringing her roses and a card (the roses, though, were Sirius’ idea).
When she finally did forgive and forget, it was very hard for the rest of the group to keep her and Harry from spending all their time trying to figure out what the final Horcrux was. Only the promise of the Animagus transformation kept them from doing so.
All of them were making tremendous progress on the transformation process. They had all seen what they were going to be but kept it secret from the others. The students only told their respective instructors, Sirius and James.
Ron desperately wanted to know why Sirius found Hermione’s Animagus form hilarious; of course, so did everyone else. He laughed for a good ten minutes about it. The only thing he would say is, “The irony of it all,” and shake his head.
“Please tell me?” asked Ron to Hermione as they enjoyed dinner. After dinner, they were going to make the first attempt to transform. Well, Harry, Ron and Hermione were. Ginny wasn’t quite ready yet, though she, too, knew what she was going to be.
“No, Ron,” Hermione sighed exasperatedly. “We agreed that we were all going to find out when we transformed.”
“But you can tell me,” he pleaded. Hermione ignored him, and Ginny rolled her eyes at her brother.
Meanwhile, Sirius and James were taking bets on whose student would transform first. “I bet Lily,” said James. “And she would be my student, so I would win.”
“What makes you so sure about Lily? Ginny told me that Hermione is called ‘the brightest witch of her age,’” argued Sirius. “I’m betting on Hermione.”
James was quiet for a minute, considering it. “Actually I’m changing my mind. I’m choosing Harry.”
“Why? He only has half of Lily’s genes,” Sirius countered.
“Yes, but the other half is mine. And my best subject is Transfiguration. What can I say? I’m a natural, so it only makes sense that my son is a natural too.”
“Fine, think what you want. I guess I’ll just be three Galleons richer within a week.”
“So we’re betting on time now too?” asked James.
“Why not,” replied Sirius. “Let’s still go with three Galleons to whoever guesses the first person to transform, but two more Galleons to the person who gets the time right. I’ll bet within the next week.”
“I’ll bet in the next two weeks.”
“Not so confident in your students, are you?” Sirius laughed.
"I am, but I’m also right.” Sirius just shook his head and laughed.
That night, the group had another Animagus lesson. In James’ half of the room, Harry raised his hand before he could even begin (yes, James and Sirius made them raise hands before asking questions; it added to their feeling of authority). “Problem Harry?” asked James.
“Actually, I was wondering if we could end a little early tonight?” he asked, Ginny nodding fervently behind him.
“No. You two can’t go off trying to figure out this Horcrux business every waking moment of your lives. This, your Animagus transformation, is supposed to be taking up every waking minute of your life. Plus,” he added in a murmur, “you have to win the bet for me.”
“What did you say?” Harry asked.
“Are we going to try transforming tonight?” asked Lily eagerly, forgetting to raise her hand.
“Not yet,” James replied. “I don’t think you guys are quite ready for that. That, and if something goes wrong, we need more time than just one night to fix it. That’s why we’ll be trying the transformation on Saturday. Not this Saturday, the one after that.” James smiled to himself, silently praising his genius. With that schedule, he’d have to win at least part of the bet.
“Why not this Saturday?” Lily complained.
“Because there’s a Quidditch match this Saturday, and Sirius, Ron, Harry and I all have to be there.”
“What about after the Quidditch match?” Lily was just as stubborn as Harry was. James was starting to see the similarities between their personalities more clearly; he was willing to bet they gave his future self a real headache.
“That doesn’t work either. The four of us will be really tired, and you should be well-rested before trying to transform again.
“Fine,” Lily agreed reluctantly.
What James didn't know was that, in the other room, Sirius was giving his students an entirely different schedule. “...so we'll meet after the Quidditch game next Saturday. With any luck, and I know he can do it, Harry can catch the Snitch before a lot of time passes, so we'll have a lot of time before doing it.”
“Are we actually going to try transforming next week?” asked Hermione (after raising her hand, of course).
“We'll see how it goes,” Sirius said noncommittally, though he had every intention of having them, at least Hermione, attempt a transformation next week. He was positive she would be ready, considering she, unlike Harry, actually practiced instead of worrying about other things. “For tonight, let’s just do the meditations. This time I want you to prepare for the transformation by actually concentrating on being your animal. You should be moving around and using your senses just as if you were the animal. Try to forget about your human body.”
Hermione nodded, a look of extreme concentration on her face, before immediately settling into her meditation. Ron followed suit, but he always had a bit more trouble getting into the meditation.
Sirius was about to sit down and work on his homework when he saw James trying to get his attention from the middle of the room. He looked rather ridiculous, Sirius decided, because he was trying to do so silently so as not to disturb their students. It took all of his effort not to laugh as he approached.
“What?” he whispered. “I have a huge Transfiguration essay to write.”
“When did you tell them we were practicing next? And since when do you do homework on a Saturday?”
“Next Saturday. I thought even you could have figured that one out. And I’m bored and I have nothing else to do.”
“But there’s a Quidditch game next Saturday. We can’t have practice.”
“Sure we can. We can do it…” Sirius trailed off, realizing what James was up to. “Stop trying to fix the bet. You knew I was going to have them practice next Saturday so you decided to make me call it off.”
“Did it work?” James asked hopefully, knowing the answer. Sirius shook his head. “It was worth a try.”
“Well, you get an E for effort.”
“Isn’t the expression ‘getting an O for effort?’”
“Yeah, but you didn’t deserve one.” They both laughed, unwittingly disturbing Hermione’s meditation.
“Would you guys please be quiet?” she said, opening her eyes. Sirius and James turned to apologize but were shocked speechless upon seeing their friend. James just stood, mouth agape, staring. Sirius’ expression was nearly identical.
“What? What is it?” Hermione asked, growing anxious. “Why am I only seeing in black and white?” After she spoke, a drop of blood appeared at the corner of her mouth. “Ow!” she shouted. “What’s wrong with me?”
Sirius concentrated on his need for a hand mirror. The room provided one, and he handed it to Hermione. She just stared at her reflection, open-mouthed in horror. Two of her teeth had been replaced with much larger fangs, which had caused cuts in her human mouth as it was not designed for large incisors. Her eyes had changed too. Instead of their normal brown, they were golden, with no whites, and large pupils. She opened her mouth to speak, but Sirius put a finger to his lips, signaling that she shouldn’t.
Luckily for them, the others were pretty deep in their meditations and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary was happening. “Don’t talk,” James advised in a whisper. “You’ll only cut your mouth more.” Hermione nodded, and the boys were sure that, had she had human eyes, she would have been crying. James nodded to Sirius, her instructor, to take over.
“It looks like you’ve just undergone a partial transformation,” he said. “I guess you were just getting too deep into the meditation. Now, I’m sure you want to know how to fix this.” Hermione nodded fervently. “All right, now I want you to close your eyes and do a sort of reverse meditation.” She complied with his instructions and nervously awaited the next ones.
“In order for this to work, you need to try and relax. I know it’s not easy, but just think of it as the same thing. Before, you were a human trying to concentrate on being an animal. Now, I want you to go into the meditation thinking like an animal and try to concentrate on being a human. In other words, do the same thing you’ve been doing all along, just reverse. Does that make sense?” Hermione nodded, finally relaxing and settling into the meditation.
As she was meditating, Sirius and James discussed the most recent development in their students’ progress. “Did that ever happen when we were learning?” Sirius asked.
“Definitely not,” James said. “I guess that means we either did a really good job, or we really screwed up.”
“Well, I was the instructor so I’m betting on the former,” Sirius joked.
“I’ve had enough bets for the day,” James replied. Turning, he saw that Hermione was out of the meditation again, looking perfectly normal. She was looking at the two of them, and neither knew how much of their conversation she had heard. Hopefully not the part about the bets.
Assuming that she didn’t, because she didn’t say anything, James just moved along to the next subject. “You’re a quick study,” he commented.
“Well, I suppose I learn from the best.”
“Told you I was the best,” Sirius said. James just rolled his eyes.
The next week went by slowly for everyone. James and Sirius were anxious about their bet, which, to the two teenage boys, would be the only accurate measure of their teaching and leadership skills. The group from the future was all wondering at some level or another when they would be going home. Harry and Ginny were trying to solve the mystery surrounding Voldemort and his Horcruxes (with no success). Hermione, Ron and Lily were all worried about the Animagus transformation.
At the moment, it was Friday afternoon, and Harry and Ginny were in the Room of Requirement, working, as always. “Is it weird for you?” Ginny asked after a long period of silence.
Harry looked up from the book he was leafing through, a confused look on his face. “Is what weird?”
“Being here with your parents when they were your age,” she clarified.
“Yeah, but I kind of like it. I like seeing what they were like, and what Sirius and Remus and even Peter was like before Voldemort changed things.”
Another long silence passed as they returned to work. Finally, when Ginny couldn’t concentrate on The Founders’ Legacy any longer, she asked, “Are we really going to kill Voldemort in this time?”
“I don’t think we have a choice,” Harry admitted. “We need to get home, and that seems to be the only way.” Neither of them even stopped to think that anyone back in their time would be looking for them. In fact, Ron and Hermione hadn’t either. They were so used to doing things themselves while the adults either didn’t pay attention or were too oblivious to notice things that the thought never crossed their minds.
“But that would change the future a lot,” Ginny pointed out.
“I know, but maybe it’s for the better.” Ginny could hear the hope in his voice: the hope that he would have his parents alive when he got back. That he could see Sirius again. Not teenage Sirius, but the Sirius that he knew.
“What if you’re a completely different person? What if you and Ron never became friends? Or if you and I never met?” she questioned, starting to tear up. She hated to rain on his parade, so to speak, but it had to be said.
Harry took his time in replying, mulling over the response in his head. When he did speak, he said, “I’ve been doing a lot of reading about time travel, and I think I’ve figured that out. Since we’d change the future before we get there, we’d remember everything as it was, because we wouldn’t be in the changed future, if that makes any sense.”
“In a weird way it does,” said Ginny. “We’d be almost outside of time and we wouldn’t be in the future while it was changing. Is that right?”
“Exactly,” Harry said, glad that she understood the concept so easily. To be honest, it had taken him a few days to figure it out.
“Time travel is so confusing,” Ginny sighed.
“That’s why very few wizards have the patience to study it. Did you know that there are only six wizards at the Ministry who…”
“You’re starting to sound like Hermione,” Ginny laughed, cutting him off.
Harry laughed with her. “We have to stop reading these books.”
“There. That sounds more like you.”
The Quidditch game had gone by quickly. Harry hunted down the Snitch in only twenty minutes, a record for that time period, even though he knew that in the future he would end up breaking his own record. He, along with everyone else, was eager to practice the Animagus transformation.
James had relented and gave them a practice that week. He figured he could at least win half the bet if Harry transformed before Hermione. James didn’t want to admit it to himself, but after Hermione’s display last week, he was a bit worried at his chances at winning the bet.
The Animagus students and instructors had all assembled in the Room of Requirement, which, today, was one big room again. Everyone was ready and relaxed, and James and Sirius had already explained to everyone what to do if they partially transformed as Hermione did last week and how to transform back.
“Now,” began James, “to actually transform you need to take the meditation one step further.”
“Why do you have to do a meditation still?” asked Ron. “You guys just transform.”
“Yes, young grasshopper,” Sirius, who had been learning about martial arts movies from Remus, replied, “but you aren’t quite ready for that yet. It comes with experience.”
“As I was saying,” James continued, a little peeved at being cut off, “you take the meditation a step further.”
“You said that,” Sirius interrupted again.
“I know,” said James irritably. “Now can I please just talk?” Sirius nodded. “Ok, as I was saying, you take the meditation further by actually trying to feel your physical body in the shape of the animal whereas before you tried to forget about your physical body. When you go into the meditation, feel your physical body change into the animal, and remember all the anatomy lessons we did.” The past few weeks they had all spent some time in the extensive Hogwarts library looking up the anatomy of their animal so they could picture it correctly.
“That’s basically it,” said Sirius. “You just need a lot of concentration. So on your mark, get set, go!” The five students all began meditating.
After about twenty minutes, they started exhibiting signs of changes. Hermione was the first, closely followed by Harry. James and Sirius were on the edges of their seats.
It was an awkward process to watch. Hermione’s head slowly began to take on a new shape, lengthening. Her nose elongated to a muzzle. Her legs got shorter and her arms got longer, evening the space. Her body also stretched out, becoming covered in white fur.
While this was happening, Harry was getting smaller. His body and arms shrunk, the arms becoming wings. He was growing feathers, and his feet became talons. He completed the transformation a hair before Hermione, and opened his eyes. They were still a bright emerald green, but looking out from an eagle’s body. He seemed shocked at his own transformation and tried to say something. All that came out was a bird-like noise. Startled, he tried to jump back but moved his wings and lifted off the floor. Equally as startled, he dropped right back down again.
“Ha!” yelled James triumphantly. “I win the bet!”
“Shh,” scolded Sirius. “The others are still concentrating. And you only won half the bet, so you only get one Galleon from me.”
“But you’re still paying me,” James said smugly. Looking around, he saw that Hermione had then completed her transformation for standing in front of him was a large white wolf. “No wonder you found that so ironic,” James commented.
“What do you think Remus’ reaction will be when he sees that?” asked Sirius. James just shrugged.
It seemed that Hermione was having an easier time than Harry adjusting to her new body. She was moving around the room with great ease and grace while not making a sound. Harry watched, interested, from his eagle form. He appreciated the irony of her form just as much as his father and Sirius did, but he knew that it could mean nothing good. What would happen when they finally had to go back to the future.
Forgetting that thought for now (mainly because with his new form it was hard to have such deep thoughts), he decided to try and fly. He tentatively moved his wings and was pleased to discover he could repeat his previous actions of lifting off the floor, and he was soon gliding around the room easily.
He stopped for a minute when he saw Lily beginning to change, interested to see in what she’d become. Lily got bigger. Much bigger. Her arms and legs got longer, forming hooves where her feet and hands used to be. Her body and neck lengthened and got thicker. Her face got longer and more horse-like. A slender white horn appeared on her head. Harry and Hermione, who was now also watching, could not fully appreciate her transformation from their animal forms, but James and Sirius, who could see in color, did. She was pure white, almost blindingly so, with a long white mane and tail. Her hooves were pure silver. She opened her eyes when the transformation was complete, creating a large contrast between her green eyes and all the white. She looked down reproachfully at James.
James looked at Sirius after he had regained speech. “Think she’s mad because we forgot to mention it hurts a little the first time?”
“Maybe,” Sirius laughed. And then, “You forgot to mention it?”
“Well, sort of. I figured if I said anything they would be more hesitant to try it.” James and Sirius remembered full well the pain they had experienced as a result of their first transformation. Their bodies had ached for a few days afterwards. Sirius just shook his head, wondering how James could be so stupid sometimes.
Ron was the next to transform. He became a large golden lion with little problems, although he did have some issues with re-learning how to walk and adjusting to all his new senses, especially his heightened senses.
Though no one had expected Ginny to manage the transformation this early (considering she had started late), she too started to change and actually completed the transformation. She became a tiger and didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to her new form.
James and Sirius felt that their animals truly represented their personalities and were truly in awe at the fact that they all managed the transformation. Not only was it a reflection on the students’ skills, it was a reflection of James’ and Sirius’ as well.
“You know,” remarked Sirius, “we have a higher success rate than the Ministry teachers.”
“Yeah. They only get about one person to complete a transformation every ten years.”
After about ten minutes, all of the new Animagi turned back into their human forms, unable to hold their animal forms any longer. Their return to human life was signaled by the chorus of moaning and groaning at various pains and aches. Nevertheless all of them were extremely excited and proud to have managed the transformation at last.
“Well mate, looks like our work here is done,” Sirius said to James as they exited the Room of Requirement.
“And I’m one Galleon richer.”
A/N: ok, what did you think? how will remus react to hermione's animagus? will Ginny EVER tell Harry sirius is alive? don't forget to review!...and thanks to everyone who contributed to my 200 reviews! that made my day, and here's to hoping this chapter getting up helps make yours! by the way, EVERYONE should check out the two new stories from my awesome friend, Dragonette! They're great!