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Chapter 19 : Family Ties - Part 2
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Everyone else sat down and Hermione stood in the middle of the room. She smiled at her friends for a moment before she let her eyes slide closed and summoned up her happiest memories. When she had one in her mind Hermione lifted her wand and opened her eyes.
“Expecto Patronum!” She cried and she flicked her wand.
White light poured from the end of her wand and Hermione watched it begin to take form, expecting to see the familiar little otter that her Patronus made. But that’s not what Hermione saw. She remembered the time Tonks had told her that her patronus had changed form into a werewolf because she had fallen in love with Remus.
Hermione didn’t know if it was because she seemed to have fallen in love with Sirius or because she had a new wand here or maybe because she’d been shot twenty years into the past, but her patronus had changed shape. Everyone in the room gasped as Hermione’s Patronus took shape and Hermione stood baffled as the massive form of her new Patronus flew around the room.
Because her patronus wasn’t a cute little otter anymore. Now Hermione’s patronus was a dragon.
Closing her eyes again, Hermione let the magic go and watched the dragon disappear, slowly sinking down to perch on the coffee table in her shock.
“That was amazing Hermione.” Lily cheered happily.
“What’s wrong ‘Mione?” Sirius asked her softly from his couch.
“Erm…. My Patronus has changed.” Hermione said softly “It used to be an otter.”
“Well you said yourself that sometimes they change Hermione, emotional upheaval is one of the most common causes and you’ve been through a massive ordeal recently.” Mrs Potter said kindly.
“I suppose….” Hermione murmured “So what might this mean for what I might turn into as an Animagus?”
“I don’t know.” Seemed to be the consensus on that one.
“You could always try it and find out?” Lily suggested.
“Well I suppose, but now I feel like I should do it outside in case I turn into a dragon or something.”
“Even if you do turn into a dragon I think you have enough room in here Hermione. But maybe we should move some of the furniture just in case.” Mr Potter said.
Hermione chuckled when he pulled out his wand and waved it, causing the coffee table she sat on to tip her off onto her feet and then causing the couches James, Sirius, Remus, Peter and Lily were sitting on all to spring into the air and float over against the far wall.
“Um… I don’t know how to do this. The practical part…” Hermione said.
“You should be able to get it Hermione. You’re good at non-verbal magic and you can already do a different form of wandless magic. This seems like the same thing, only instead of trying to push the magic out from yourself you need to focus it inwards.”
“But I need something to focus on. Like, when you turn into a dog you know you’re turning into a dog so you can picture a dog and become one. I don’t know what I’m going to turn into and I don’t really want to turn into a dragon so I don’t particularly want to focus on that.”
“You said your old patronus was an otter right?” Peter said, Hermione nodded “So picture yourself turning into an otter or something else you’d like to turn into. It doesn’t always work. I didn’t want to turn into a rat, I pictured a lion the first few times I tried it but eventually it worked and I turned into a rat.”
Hermione thought about that for a moment. The Peter from the future was sneaky like a rat. And Sirius had been loyal and James proud. Hermione wondered if maybe the animal form you took as an Animagus was an animal that represented traits you shared with that animal. Hermione thought about her traits. She was intelligent, adaptable, gentle, courageous and in this time had developed a certain cunning through her cleverness.
“Ok I’m going to try” Hermione said softly before she let her eyes slide closed. She focused on the traits she felt she possessed and the idea of being an animal that had those traits too. She could feel her fingers twitching as the magic inside her flared to life and sought to escape her body but Hermione held onto it even as she focused on animals and traits and she gasped when her whole body began to tingle.
It wasn’t the type of tingle she felt when Sirius kissed her. This tingle was like the type of tingle you got when your foot went to sleep, that kind that felt uncomfortable and made you feel like you were itchy but Hermione let it take over her whole body as she clenched her eyes closed tightly and focused on animals and traits and that tingle.
And suddenly Hermione felt like her body had begun to shrink. Her skin tingled even more until it felt like she was itchy all over. Hermione gasped as she felt her body shoot through the air towards the ground like she was falling even though her feet stayed beneath her. The feeling of falling had her throwing out her hands like she would catch herself. Her eyes flew open when she realised her hands were touching the ground though she hadn’t fallen or bent over.
And when Hermione tried to open her mouth to ask her friends if it had worked the sound that came out was a strangled yelp.
Suddenly Hermione realised her nose looked different and as she went cross eyed to look at it she spotted a red and white furry snout with a little black nose twitching at the end of it and long white whiskers poking out on either side of her snout. Hermione spun trying to catch a glimpse of what she had become and she heard herself make a strange yipping sound as she saw dainty tapered front and back legs covered in reddish brown fur and Hermione stopped in her tracks when she caught sight of her tail.
She had a tail! A great big long bushy red tail with a black ring just before the white tip.
And just like that Hermione knew what her Animagus form was. She was a red fox.
“Did you ever see a fox with a tail that bushy?” Mr Potter boomed as he leapt to his feet, dragging his wife up too and began to dance with her happily. The Marauders all cheered.
“Well done Hermione!” Lily shouted happily as she clapped and cheered. Hermione grinned, or tried to as a fox, and took off around the room. All three Marauders who were Animagi laughed at her as Hermione tripped over her own front paws because she suddenly needed to learn how to make four legs work together rather than two.
“It takes a while to get used to, but think of it like trying to run on your hands and knees and you’ll get it.” James told Hermione as she got to her feet and shook herself.
Focusing on what he’d said Hermione tried again and this time she trotted a few steps with ease like she’d been running on four paws her whole life.
“She’s a natural” Sirius declared happily. Hermione yipped at him as she trotted over to the couch and jumped up onto Sirius’s lap.
Instead of sitting, Hermione poked him with her nose. Sirius laughed at her and Hermione tried again, whining in her throat as she tried to speak without thinking before tapping him with one of her front paws.
“What do you want?” Sirius asked her, confused. Hermione whined and pawed him again before jumping off him and then back on again.
“I think she wants you to transform too” Mrs Potter said slowly. Hermione sat down and nodded for a moment before she had an idea. It hadn’t been that hard and everything she had read had been about precautions and danger of being an Animagus and Sirius’s way of describing how to do it had been more beneficial than all the books she’d read on it.
Bounding off Sirius and over the couches Hermione climbed over Peter and James, stopping when she stood on Lily’s lap before pawing at her and poking her the same way she had to Sirius.
“Hermione what? Are you trying to suggest I transform too? Because I don’t know how. I’ve never read anything on it.” Lily said.
Hermione whined at her and tried again. She was actually stuck like this at the moment but she didn’t mind. It was fun running around as a fox.
Sirius caught on first when Hermione kept doing it over and over again.
“She’s trying to tell you that it’s not actually that hard. It takes a lot of concentration, but all the books tell you it’s harder than it really is. I think she’s trying to tell you to try it like she did.” Hermione bounded off Lily and back to Sirius, licking his cheek.
He laughed at her as he caught hold of her.
“Mostly the books went on about all the other stuff like how it’s dangerous if you run around like that and are mistaken for an animal. Like Hermione as a fox would be in danger in case a hunter saw her and thought she was a real fox.” James said slowly.
“But they never really summed up the transformation the way Sirius did before. Really you just focus on becoming an animal while calling on your magic the way you would to do a spell, except you lock it inside yourself and transform yourself instead of something else.”
“I can’t just try it. I don’t know anything about it” Lily protested.
“Don’t you want to be and Animagus like the rest of us?” James asked her, smiling at her sweetly.
“Well it would be fun….” Lily said.
“So try it. If it doesn’t work you can always read about it and keep practising, and if you get stuck halfway or something we can fix you.” James encouraged her.
Hermione yipped at her even as Sirius began trying to catch hold of her tail which she kept twitching out of his reach.
“You really think I could just get up and try it like Hermione did?” Lily asked them all.
“Lily, you and Hermione are the two smartest people in our year. Of course you can do it. Even Sirius managed it.” James assured her.
“Yeah but Sirius is the best in the year at Transfiguration.” Lily argued.
“And until Hermione came along you were second at it. Even me and Peter managed it. You can do it.”
“Just try it Evans” Sirius said “Concentrate on becoming an animal. Picture yourself as one and summon up all you magic but lock it inside and focus on being an animal. GOT IT!” he cried gleefully as he managed to catch hold of Hermione’s tail and proceeded to brush the bushy thing against his face.
Everyone laughed at him while Hermione spun around and caught his hand in her teeth. She didn’t bite down, just showed him she could’ve if she wanted.
“Feisty one aren’t you little Foxy Loxy?” Sirius grinned at her, still trailing the fluffy tip of her tail against his cheek.
Lily took a deep breath and got to her feet. Copying Hermione, Lily stood in the middle of the room and scrunched her eyes up tight. Hermione watched from Sirius’s lap as Lily clenched her fists and heard the redhead whimper. Hermione suspected she must feel that itchy tingle because seconds later hair sprouted all over Lily even as her legs and arms shortened.
The next moment Lily Evans stood before them and Hermione gaped in shock. Not only had Lily managed it without any background research, but she had turned into something Hermione was not expecting. Hermione had thought that Lily would turn into a doe, creating the perfect counterpart to James being a stag. But Lily was a long way from being a doe. Her body was low to the ground and she had four short legs with wickedly sharp claws at the end of them her red tinged black and white hair was what gave her away as not being a regular animal.
“Why am I not really surprised that Evans turned into one of the angriest, scariest, fiercest animals known to nature?” Sirius laughed.
“She’s a flipping Wolverine!” Peter exclaimed.
Lily froze as she realised it had worked. Hermione didn’t though, she wiggled out of Sirius’s grip and bounded over to Lily. Hermione was taller as a fox, but Lily’s stocky wolverine body was built for toughness and power.
“I can’t believe they both did it in one day.” Peter grumbled. “It took us years!
“Yeah but they had great teachers while we had to wade through all the bollocks to work out how to do it on our own.” Sirius countered.
A sudden thought occurred to Hermione. Now five out of the six of them could become animals at will. Remus unwillingly became a werewolf every full moon, but what if he could be an Animagus as well as a werewolf? Then they could all turn into animals at will and Hermione immediately realised how such a thing would be an incredible advantage in the future.
She’d already altered it today by having Lily become an Animagus. Why couldn’t she alter it further and have Remus join them in this? Being a werewolf sucked for him, but maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he were an Animagus as well. She remembered studying the differences in DADA in third year, and even if Remus only managed to turn into the werewolf at will, maybe it would make the full moon easier on him if he could retain his consciousness as a human in a different form of shapeshifting.
Surely it could work. His body was already used to turning into an animal. Every full moon he became a massive rabid wolf who could run like a human and had big shoulders and human-like forelegs.
Trotting slowly towards him Hermione leapt onto his lap and poked him with her nose before patting at him with her paws like she had to Lily.
“Hermione I can’t do it too. I’m a werewolf” Remus told her, baffled by her behaviour.
“She must be stuck like that or she would explain what she wants. I can see a wicked gleam in her eyes like she gets at school when she’s got an idea.” James said from next to her.
“If you want to transform back just do what you did to turn into a fox ‘Mione. Only do it in reverse, summon your magic and focus on being human again.” Sirius told her from across the room.
Hermione jumped onto the floor and sat down before she tried. The same tingles took over her and Hermione gasped as she transformed back.
“Wow. That was amazing!” Hermione smiled when she realised she was human again.
“You did really well Hermione.” Remus told her “What were you trying to tell me?”
“Well, I was thinking. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. You should become an Animagus too.”
“But I’m already a werewolf.” Remus said.
“Yes, and every month your body goes from human to animal. You should be better at this than all of us. I just thought maybe it might make your transformations less painful at the full moon if you could willingly turn into a wolf, since I assume that if you were an Animagus and a werewolf you would always turn into a wolf. Like, if you transform like we do and are already shaped as a wolf instead of a human maybe it won’t hurt so much because you’re body won’t have to transform as much.”
“Hey that’s not a bad idea” Charlus said thoughtfully.
“I think that part of the reason it hurts you so much is because you fight the change.” Hermione told him “You hate what you are and when the moon is full you fight to stay in control.”
“How do you know so much about this?” Remus asked her softly.
“I knew a werewolf before I came here” Hermione said vaguely. “The point is, if you embrace the change instead of fighting it, maybe it won’t hurt as much. And if you’re an Animagus, the moon won’t have to do all the work to transform you. You’d already do most of it and the only real change the moon would make would be to give you the werewolf shoulders and ability to run like a human. So that might still hurt a little, but nowhere near as much because you won’t have to grow claws since you’ll already have them.”
“You really think that would work?” Sirius asked her doubtfully.
“It can’t hurt to try it.” Hermione said.
“If it will make it hurt less than I’ll try anything” Remus muttered.
“Really Remus? What if there are complications? What if you lose control of yourself like you do at the full moon?” Dorea pointed out the flaws in their plan.
“We could try it in the tree house. If he’s already locked up it won’t matter if he loses control, but it’s not the full moon so he should retain who he is.” James said.
“Then let’s go to the tree house.” Hermione said eagerly. “Someone lead the way, I vote we get their via paws!” Hermione grinned happily before shutting her eyes and focusing on becoming a fox again.
“Gets easier every time doesn’t it?” Sirius told her with a grin before he too transformed into a giant black dog.
Hermione yipped happily as she bounced around with Sirius and Lily as animals. Lily was still mastering walking since being a wolverine made her waddle as she walked. Hermione and Sirius raced around her in circles and Hermione had to work on her dexterity when Sirius started trying to catch her tail is his mouth.
James and Peter copied them, transforming into their animal forms as well, where James proceeded to trot over to Lily and nudge her with his hoof, toppling Lily over and earning himself a growl. Hermione noticed Remus watching the five of them his eyes clouding over with emotion as he gulped at the lump Hermione imagined forming in his throat.
“Mum….” Remus said softly as he looked at the Stag, Dog, Rat, Wolverine and Fox his best friends had transformed into “I have the most amazing family anyone could ever ask for.”
“Oh Remus honey, you have no idea how much we all love you.” Dorea Potter told the sandy haired werewolf as she wrapped her arms around his waist and they all began to walk towards the door to head for the treehouse.
Hermione smiled as they all transformed back into humans. But even as she did she watched the way Remus cringed slightly as he stepped inside the cage in this amazing tree house. Charlus looked grim as he bolted the lock and everyone moved back to the edges of the room just in case this plan backfired and Remus lost control.
“Remus….” Hermione murmured “I’m no expert or anything…. But you have to want this. You’re already tensing up because the pain you experience in that cage is clouding your mind. Relax. Sit down in there and relax. Don’t think about the werewolf at all. Just think of hanging out with all of us. You need to embrace the transformation and up until now you’ve feared and hated it.”
Remus looked at her for a long time, golden eyes searching her face for answers as to how she knew all these things.
“No one’s ever watched me transform before” Remus murmured. “What if trying this brings out the werewolf without the moon and I get stuck like that until the next full moon?”
“It won’t happen Remus. If anything like that were going to happen, the whole transformation just wouldn’t work” Sirius assured him.
“Now close your eyes Remus.” James murmured to his friend “Take deep breaths, and think about yourself becoming an animal. But when you think about an animal, think about a cute, calm, friendly one, like a squirrel. Focus your magic inside yourself. Don’t let it out.”
“It’s ok Remus. This time there won’t be any pain. This time your clothes will transform with you and when you open your eyes you’ll still be you. You’ll still know us and know how much we all love you.” Hermione whispered.
“You can do it Remus” Lily whispered softly.
Hermione held her breath for a moment as Remus quivered.
“Don’t tense at the tingling Remus, that means it’s working. It won’t hurt any more than the tingle. Think of the cute little squirrel. Be the squirrel!” Hermione told him making Sirius snort from beside her.
Everyone gasped when it happened.
Hermione had watched Remus transform into the real werewolf with no control in her third year and it had been a slow, painful looking process. But this time as Remus transformed it happened so fast that one second he was a human and the next he looked like a very large, very furry wolf. A blonde one.
“It worked” James breathed.
Until Hermione heard an awful sound. From within the cage the wolf growled menacingly.
“Oh no” Dorea buried her face in her hands and turned to huddle against her husband’s chest. Charlus looked away too, clearly expecting Remus to turn savage as he lost control. Lily and the Marauders all buried their faces in their hands too.
But then the growling stopped and Hermione peered in at the wolf, who happened to be watching her. His yellow wolf eyes were fixed on Hermione and as Hermione stared at him she slowly stepped closer to the cage.
Because it had worked. It had really worked. Remus’s soul glimmered in his eyes and when Hermione came close and pressed her face against the bars she watched a tear leak out of Remus’s eye.
“That didn’t hurt, did it?” Hermione smiled at him. Remus shook his wolfish head.
Smiling gently Hermione pulled back the bolts that held Remus in his cage and pushed the door open.
“Hermione what are you doing?” Charlus gasped when he realised what she was doing.
“Hermione no! If he bites you, you’ll be a werewolf too!” Sirius screeched.
But Hermione wasn’t listening because as soon as she opened the cage the giant wolf inside it leapt up on its hind legs and Hermione caught Remus against her, stepping into him as he wrapped his front legs around her shoulders and rubbed his head against the side of hers.
Hermione smiled as she hugged Remus back in wolf form and stroked her hand down his back when he whimpered softly. She knew that if he were human he would be crying, like he’d begun to when she looked in at him through the bars.
“It’s all ok. It worked just fine.” Hermione murmured and she smiled when she felt Remus transform back. He didn’t say a word, but when he squeezed her tightly and buried his face against her shoulder and sniffled softly, his body shaking hers as he sobbed silently, Hermione just held him tighter. She understood.
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