Chapter: Changes 02/10
Author: Beren (aka Didi)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post OOTP and therefore has SPOLIERS. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in book five do not read this story.
Summary: Harry defeated Voldemort: his act of heroism is famous throughout the wizarding world. He’s trying to finish his final year at Hogwarts in peace, but something peculiar is happening to him, something he never would have expected. It's all rather embarrassing and making his life very complicated.
Author's Notes: This fic has Veela!Draco and lots of other things that appear to have become fandom clichés, which was part of the point in writing it :). I've had great fun with this fic, trying to explore ideas in a slightly different way than I have seen before. It may have Veela!Draco, but it is all from Harry POV in case you were wondering. I will be posting in two blocks, the first five parts now (05Jan05) and the second five parts next week. Thanks go to Soph for the beta.
Chapter 2 Changes
The first indication that something was strange came when Harry managed to bang his head on a low beam as he headed to the bathroom during his normal morning routine. Some of the taller boys were always walking into it, but up until the moment he hit his head he had never had any trouble; after all he had always been short. In his half asleep state he put it down to Hogwarts rearranging itself again and went about what he always did.
After cleaning his teeth, washing his face and careful consideration in the mirror he decided he needed to shave. His facial hair was still sparse, but with very dark hair and pale skin the need still arose quite often. There were charms that could be used to take care of the problem, but Harry was more comfortable with the Muggle method. When he reached for his razor he had to stretch to the shelf and he heard something rip. That woke him up completely and he looked down at himself for the first time; his wrists were sticking out the end of his pyjama sleeves as if he was wearing a pair two sizes too small as were his ankles, and the cotton felt tight in several places.
It took him less than a minute to make it back to the dorm at which point he slammed the door loudly. Neville had been the only other boy awake, but the other three all sat up at the loud noise. Four pairs of eyes looked directly at Harry and he glared back.
"Who's idea of a joke is this?" he asked pointedly and indicated his attire.
Seamus laughed immediately, losing the frown he had affected at being woken up.
"Did the house elves mix up your PJs with the second years, Harry?" the Irish Gryffindor asked lightly.
"They were perfectly all right when I went to bed," Harry said pointedly. "Would whoever shrank them please just undo the charm, I've ripped them already and I'd rather they didn't fall apart."
Seamus' laughter had cut through the anger that had caused him to storm up the stairs, but he was not really in the mood for games this morning. His four dorm mates all looked at each other and no one stepped forward.
"Wasn't me," Seamus promised when everyone looked at him and the others nodded in agreement.
"If it wasn't one of you, who could have done it?" Harry asked, believing his friends, but at a loss to explain his current state of dress.
The others all shrugged and Harry wandered across the room with a frown on his face. Surely someone couldn't have entered the dorm without any one seeing, and time coded charms were more difficult than people usually used for a lark.
"Um, Harry," Ron said thoughtfully as he passed his friend's bed and Harry stopped, "are you sure it's the pyjamas that have shrunk?"
Harry looked at his friend blankly for a moment and then down at himself, the question took him completely off guard.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
Ron climbed out of bed and moved to stand next to him, at which point Harry blinked in surprise. His normal eye line on Ron was about chin level, but now he was clearly looking at the bottom of his friend's nose.
"Mate," Ron said with a puzzled little frown, "you've grown."
For a moment Harry just stared stupidly at his best friend.
"No way," he said eventually.
He moved to the side of his bed quickly and stood next to one of the posts; he'd been measuring himself against it for years hoping that one day he would grow, but this was just crazy.
"I cannot have grown two inches over night," Harry protested as he looked at the evidence.
Seamus and Dean both climbed out of bed to walk across the room and Neville wandered over as well.
"Bloody hell, Harry," Seamus said as he stood next to him, "you're almost as tall as me now."
Harry sat down and grimaced at the ripping sound that the move created. Careful to keep his back away from his friends, just in case his top decided to disintegrate, he tried to figure out what to do. This could not be normal and he had a sneaking suspicion it was likely to be something to do with the latest addition to his anatomy.
"You should go and see Madame Pomfrey," Ron said seriously, "have her check you out. I've heard of wizards growing half an inch or so, but never two in one night."
"Gran said my dad did that," Neville offered supportively, "grew out of all his clothes in one day."
That caused Harry to realise something.
"Oh hell," he said pointedly, "my uniform isn't going to fit."
"No worries," Seamus said instantly, "you can borrow my spare set until you can fix yours. I think you're about my size now."
Once again Harry was incredibly glad that he had such good friends.
Harry shot through the Great Hall to where his friends were sitting and took a seat hoping no one would notice the changes in him.
"You okay, Harry?" Hermione asked giving him a curious glance as he hunched down.
"Fine," he replied loudly enough so that anyone listening could hear, "needed a headache cure, that's all."
Then he gave Hermione a look and tried to convey that he'd explain as soon as he could. Of course nothing ever went quite the way Harry hoped and this was just the same; his dorm mates were carefully avoiding drawing attention to him, but that didn't stop the rest of the table.
"Harry," Ginny said from where she was sitting opposite him, "you've grown."
Every eye of those within hearing distance turned to him and although those who knew sent sympathy his way, the rest of them were eyeing him curiously. Lavender frowned at him thoughtfully.
"You do look," the girl paused and scrutinised him a little longer, "bigger, Harry."
"Umm," was about the most sensible thing that Harry could find to say; this was rather embarrassing.
For years he had been begging his body to forget that it had been neglected for eleven years of his life and every summer holiday, and catch up with his friends in stature, but that didn't mean he had wanted to start the process over night. It was a known fact that wizards and witches occasionally went through changes in a more rapid fashion than Muggles; their magic helping along the growing process if it so felt like it, but even Poppy had raised an eyebrow when she had measured him earlier.
"Harry had a growth spurt," Ron stepped in as Harry glanced at him desperately. "He grew out of all his clothes last night so he's a bit embarrassed, now drop it."
When Ron used the particular tone he had chosen just then, most people took note and did not push him; Lavender, however, was oblivious.
"You grew, really?" she asked in a rather excited manner. "You mean you're not shorter than most of the girls anymore?"
Heat travelled up Harry's neck and into his face, he knew he had to be blushing bright red by now. Where Lavender went Parvati always followed and whether she recognised the danger of a spontaneously combusting Weasley or not, she joined her friend.
"If you grew out of your clothes it must have been a lot," the inquisitive young woman said brightly; "how much?"
There was really nothing for it now, the entire seventh year and most of the sixth had their eyes firmly on him and were waiting for an answer.
"Two inches," he mumbled and reached for some breakfast even though he had suddenly lost his appetite.
"You look broader too," Lavender observed as if Harry was a specimen in one of Snape's jars.
He was painfully reminded that he was wearing a borrowed uniform and transfigured shoes and that everything he owned that hadn't been passed down from Dudley was now too small. Poppy had been very calm and professional about the examination she had given him, but she had insisted on measuring him all over. He was not just taller; he was wider across the shoulders, the chest and the hips; and his feet were bigger as well: his whole skeleton had decided to change. Poppy had told him that he was much more the size his father had been at his age now.
"Lavender," Ron said firmly, "if you'd rather eat your breakfast than wear it you should shut up now."
If it hadn't been for the fact that Poppy had given him strict instructions to make sure he ate breakfast, Harry would have bolted at that point. There was only so much mortification one person should ever have to take and he had found his limit. He thanked every deity he could think of for a best friend like Ron as Lavender huffed and went back to her cereal. It was going to be a long day; he could tell.
His prognosis at breakfast had been correct; it had been a long and difficult day. So many people had noticed the changes in him and Snape, for a start, had taken delight in ridiculing him as a late developer. Hence he was quite glad to have part of the evening to himself for a little private training in the Room of Requirement.
The Room of Requirement really was incredible in Harry's opinion as he walked into it after excusing himself from his friends in the common room. He was used to seeing it change thanks to the various uses the DA had put it to, but he had not been expecting how radical the change was for his current requirements.
The ceiling was three stories away, the logistics of which he did not try to work out, and on one side was a climbing wall, while on the other was a set of platforms with ladders going gradually higher and in the centre of the room was a big open space. Even if Harry didn't know what he needed it seemed that the room did.
"Thanks," he muttered a little self consciously, not sure who he was talking to, but needing to show his gratitude.
Walking to the middle of the room he looked around nervously, which was ridiculous because he was alone, and then he stripped off his shirt. As if his body was ahead of his brain his wing nubs twitched in anticipation. Painfully aware that he had no idea what he was doing Harry dropped the shirt on the floor and tried to relax.
Concentrating on the slight stirring he could feel under his shoulder blades he made an attempt to understand what was going on. They were magic wings so logically it was similar to any other spell: all he had to do was figure out the key element and he'd be away. Pushing everything else out of his mind he focused on his wings and tried somehow to push. After a minute or so he realised nothing was going to happen.
"What I need is a clue," he grumbled to himself.
From the corner of his eye he saw a flash near the ceiling and it was heading straight for him; he reacted before he thought. Suddenly he was leaning backwards slightly and he was surrounded by soft leathery wings. The missile bounced harmlessly off the protection and Harry stood very still, a little stunned by the incident.
After a second or so of complete inactivity he couldn't help himself, he began to laugh. The room really did seem to know him better than he knew himself.
"Thank you, whoever you are," Harry said eventually and looked around the room, "I get the idea."
His wings felt strange unfurled, causing a heavy sensation between his shoulders, although nowhere near as heavy as it should have been given their size, but strangely he did not feel off balance. His stance had altered automatically to cope with the extra weight and the wings mostly seemed to support themselves.
Harry could feel them almost like another limb, but not quite. Experimentally he tried to move the right wing like he would his hand, but it didn't quite work. The wing tip he was trying to move dipped, but it did not move in the way he had intended and it felt almost lethargic.
Going back over the release of his wings in his mind Harry attempted to analyse the incident. It had happened so quickly that it was quite difficult, but he thought carefully and he decided to try again. This time he thought about moving the wing and rather than seeing it as just a limb he considered it as something between a limb and how he would treat his broomstick. Almost instantly the wing changed shape and furled upwards in exactly the way he had wanted.
Smiling Harry gave a small victory salute and tried the same thing with the other side. It worked beautifully, but not so well when he tried both.
"Well I guess it'll be a while before I'm flying," he commented to himself cheerfully.
It was clearly not going to be a matter of just wanting his wings to work, but Harry knew he was headed in the right direction. With more confidence than that with which he had walked into the room he set about practicing simple moves and analysing the feelings they sent back to his brain. Hermione would have been proud of his technique.
Harry was dreaming of flying; soaring into the air, free as a bird without any of the awkwardness of his practice sessions. In his mind his body and his instincts worked in prefect harmony and he could fly as if he had been born to it. He felt such joy, revelling in the freedom, and it was with great annoyance that something impinged on his dream.
"Harry," he heard his name and at first chose to ignore it; he didn't want to give up flying. "Harry," the sound was more urgent this time and it broke his mood; he hovered in his dream, knowing that something was calling to him. "Harry, wake up, now!"
Harry's eyes snapped open as Ron's hissed words made it to the conscious part of his brain, and he blinked up to find his best friend's face floating in a gap in his bed curtains with a sliver of light coming in through Ron's red hair. For some reason his friend appeared to be holding the curtains closed just under his chin.
"Ron?" Harry asked sleepily. "What's up?"
Ron's eyes ran down the bed in reply and Harry followed his friend's gaze; it was then and only then that he realised he was not wrapped in soft, warm, blankets; he was wrapped in soft, warm wing.
"Oh, bugger," he said pointedly.
"My thoughts exactly," Ron replied as Harry sat up.
Closing his eyes Harry felt for his wings and retracted the one that was wrapped around him. When or how he had decided to push the covers to the end of the bed and sleep using his wings as shelter instead, Harry had no idea, but in the process he had wrecked another pyjama top. He looked up at Ron gratefully.
"Thanks," he said earnestly.
"No problem, Mate," Ron replied, letting the curtains go and swiftly handing Harry a T-shirt through the gap, "but you might like to think about a sealing charm on the curtains if this is going to happen again. You're lucky it was me."
Harry nodded, his friend was right and he made a mental note to ask Hermione what charm might be best. Moving quickly he slipped his ruined top over his head without bothering to unbutton it and pulled on the T-shirt. His life seemed to be becoming more complicated by the day. The whole Seraphim situation was becoming silly and he briefly wondered if it wouldn't be easier just to stand up in the Great Hall, make an announcement and get it over with.
Morning was not Harry's favourite time of day just at the moment since he seemed to wake up to various surprises. In a little over a week he had had the growth spurt and two wing incidents; so much so that he slept without a top so he wouldn't ruin another pyjama shirt before he had the whole thing under control. Two mornings after he had practiced in the Room of Requirement the night before he woke up wrapped in wing rather than blanket, and he hoped he would have it figured out soon because it could be rather chilly without his pyjama top on. He'd considered just sleeping wrapped in his wings anyway since that way he was warm and comfortable, but had decided it was too big a risk; the spell he had on the curtains was strong, but would not stop anyone really determined.
As he opened his eyes slowly for a new week he was quietly optimistic: his pyjamas did not feel as if they had shrunk so his rapid growth spurt had not made another appearance and his wings were tucked away right where they were supposed to be.
Sitting up slowly he blinked myopically at the light streaming through the gap at the very top of his curtains, which was the only hole in the shield around his bed, and ran his fingers through his hair. That was the moment his morning began to go downhill; something sharp touched his scalp.
Breaking the sealing charm on the curtains by reaching from the inside to his bedside table outside, Harry grabbed his glasses, shoved them on his nose and stared at his hands.
He bit his nails; he knew it was a bad habit, but it was something he had yet to grow out of, only now, his stubby, brittle nails were no more. Where last night there had been chewed stubs there were now long, elegant talons that tapered into sharp points about a quarter of an inch after the end of his fingers. Harry first thought was that if anyone saw them he would never live it down.
With a small groan of resignation he set about rectifying the situation. Using the only tool he had to hand he moved to bite the nails back down to a manageable length. There was only one snag; it was like trying to chew steel. It took him twenty seconds to realise that his teeth were not even making a dent in the thumbnail he was trying to remove at which point Harry began to panic.
He had never dressed quite so fast, which was a feat, considering that he also had talon like nails to deal with as well. Running down the stairs with his hands in his pockets nearly killed him when he tripped at the bottom, but he was not about to let anyone catch sight of the latest addition to his fingers, and after righting himself he hightailed it to Poppy's domain.
"Good morning, Mr Potter," the healer said professionally as he stumbled into the Hospital wing as she was patching up a sorry-looking Hufflepuff first year.
Almost as if she could read his mind, the woman took one look at him, nodded her head and pointed to her office.
"If you would like to take a seat in there," Poppy said calmly, "I'll be with you shortly."
As he followed the instructions Harry tried to calm down, but this whole business was pushing him to his limits; he never knew what was going to happen next. He spent his entire time waiting for the other shoe to drop. When Poppy finally came in and closed the door he was fidgeting in his seat.
"Now," she said pleasantly, "how may I be of assistance?"
Harry put his hands on the table and spread his fingers.
"Do you have anything to get rid of these?" he asked bluntly.
Poppy leaned over her desk and looked at his talon's thoughtfully.
"I assume they are impervious to normal methods of removal," she observed calmly.
"Hard as steel," Harry replied openly.
Poppy picked up one of his hands and gently touched the nail on his index finger.
"Sharp as well, I see," she said before placing his limb back on the desk. "Never fear, Harry, the Diffindo Ungula charm should do the trick. It is a derivative of the Diffindo charm designed for use on magical creatures; when kept in captivity, several require their hooves and claws trimming and it is much safer than the basic charm. I have had occasion to use it when Professor Snape took it upon himself to teach the first years how to brew a nail growing potion."
With a smile she drew her wand and Harry was very glad of the healer's dry sense of humour; it made him feel a little better.
"You cast it like this," Poppy told him and then proceeded to demonstrate.
It took him a good half an hour, but he had just enough time to make it to breakfast once he had learnt the charm and all his nails had been reduced to a manageable length. Once again he found himself very grateful to be friends with a healer like Madame Pomfrey.
Life was absolutely determined that Harry should not be normal, at least that was what he had decided by the time it came to Friday November the twelfth. So far his Seraphim heritage had given him wings; three growth spurts so that he was now five inches taller than he had been and, although still slim, broader as well; nails that could gouge through anything softer than stone and which he had to trim every morning with a charm; and a craving for ice mice that just would not go away. Even Poppy couldn't explain the craving for sweets.
It was during Quidditch practice that Harry noticed something else was not quite right with him; or rather it was as it ended after he descended to the ground having been chasing the Snitch all over the sky while Ron had the rest of the team running complicated strategies. Everything was very loud, or at least it was for the first few moments when he met up with the rest of the players, almost as if everyone was shouting. He winced when Ron did actually yell at Ginny who was chasing down one of the bludgers, because it was so loud that it hurt.
"You alright, Harry?" Ron asked as he turned and caught the tail end of the grimace.
Much to Harry's pleasure, by the time his friend had finished the sentence his voice seemed to be back to a normal level.
"Yeah," he replied quickly, not wanting to worry Ron, "I think my ears must have got cold while I was flying; it was a bit weird for a moment."
His friend moved closer as the rest of the team headed towards the changing room.
"You sure," Ron asked quietly; "it's not something to do with your changes?"
Harry did take a moment to consider this, but he shook his head.
"Nah," he replied, almost sure of his conclusion, "those seem to be permanent and this went away."
He didn't realise he was completely wrong until they had washed, changed, made it back to the common room and he was on his way to the library to find a book for his Transfiguration homework. About half way there his footsteps suddenly became rather louder than he expected and he could hear some people talking. When he rounded two corners and made it to the library he found a couple of Ravenclaws chatting outside the door in what should have been hushed voices, but by then it was like they were talking loudly. Changing his mind, he headed straight for the hospital wing; Poppy was probably ready to give him a bed permanently.
"Your hearing is definitely more sensitive," the healer said slowly as she examined the results of the spell she had just cast on Harry, "and I believe your eyesight is changing as well. I can adjust your glasses for you and place a spell on them so they will alter with your eyesight a certain amount; however, I suggest you come in for daily check-ups until whatever changes are taking place stop. As for the hearing, I have some ear plugs which will lessen the effect, but I suggest you only wear them for sleeping; you'll need to learn to cope with the extra sensitivity at other times. It doesn't hurt does it?"
Harry shook his head.
"Only when someone shouts close by me," he replied honestly, "but I think I can cope with that."
Poppy smiled at him.
"Good," she said warmly. "If you have any problems, Harry, I want you to come straight to me. These changes must be hard on you, but they will eventually stop, and even if I am far too old to be saying so, you are becoming quite the dashing young man."
Harry felt himself go red, but couldn't help the embarrassed smile that played at the corners of his mouth. He had never really been the epitome of a hero, no matter what role life had thrown him into, but even he had to admit that he was beginning to look more the part.
"Thank you, Poppy," he said gratefully, "I think I'd be lost without you."
"That's all right, Young Man," Poppy replied with a twitch of her eyebrows, "though I do say so myself, so would the majority of the school. I have absolutely no idea how the staff, let alone the pupils manage to find so many dangerous things and walk straight into them."
That drew a full fledged grin from Harry; over the time he had been a constant resident in the hospital wing he had seen several members of staff visiting Poppy's care and it had been rather eye opening.
The common room was full of people all going about their own business and Harry sat by the fire with his nose in a book, pretending that he was taking no notice of any of them. However, with his hearing as sensitive as it was; it was difficult not to notice that several of the conversations were about him. Even though he was not an attention seeker it was hard not to realise that the changes he had been going through recently had not gone unnoticed. If he had been the densest Gryffindor known to man it would still have been obvious.
"I know," Lavender was saying to Parvati, "I had no idea a boy could change so much in a month."
"It's like he's been for one of those wizard's makeovers," the other girl replied with a note of adoration in her voice, which disturbed Harry somewhat, "only he doesn't even have to try. Did you see him after the last Quidditch match; covered in mud thanks to Malfoy and still gorgeous."
"Malfoy wasn't half bad either. Could you imagine the pair of them..." Harry flicked his attention to another conversation before he could blush too deeply.
"How on earth did he grow his nails so fast?" Ginny was whispering to May, one of the other girls in her year. "Three weeks ago they were bitten to the quick, and now they're long and hard."
"I'd give anything to know what potion he's using," her friend agreed equally as quietly. "Do you think he's finally coming round to the idea of being a superstar?"
"I don't know," her companion replied and she sounded a little confused. "It sure looks like he's taken an interest in his appearance, but he's still Harry and he seems embarrassed that everyone is looking at him."
"Which makes him twice as hot," was May's response and then the pair dissolved into giggles.
Harry moved his attention away and sank down further into his seat trying to hide his face with his book. Maybe if he kept his features distant no one would notice quite how furiously he was going red.
"... you'll be honest won't you, Hermione," his focus caught the end of something Ron was saying where his best friend and Hermione were snuggled up on the other side of the room.
"Of course, Ron," the young woman returned in a loving tone that made Harry smile even though he wasn't supposed to be listening and 'Potions for the Auror' should in no way have caused such a fond expression on his face.
"All the girls are thinking it right?" Ron replied quietly. "It's not just the rest of us getting inferiority complexes. Harry has gone from the cute and innocent saviour of the world to the sexiest thing on legs in just over four weeks?"
His best friend's tone sounded resigned and a little unsure. Hermione greeted the enquiry with a small laugh and a gentle sigh.
"I wouldn't have put it like that," the head girl replied lightly, "but if you mean everyone's looking at him in a different light, then yes. And Ron, I hate to break it to you, but it's not just the girls."
"I know that," Ron's voice was full of laughter, which surprised Harry, "bloody hell, if I wasn't in love with you I might give him a second glance."
Harry dropped his book.
That was most definitely something he had not expected to hear. The wizarding world was no where near as hung up about sexuality as the Muggle world, but there were some constants in Harry life that did not need tearing down and one was that his best friend was firmly heterosexual.
Several pairs of eyes had turned to look at him as the heavy book crashed onto the floor, but as he sheepishly picked it up only two gazes remained in his direction. Harry looked up to meet the eyes of his friends and Hermione raised an eyebrow at him.
"I think Harry heard you," she observed to Ron, keeping her voice low and Harry knew he was being watched for a reaction.
Quite aware that he had been caught Harry closed the tome he was holding and unfolded himself from the armchair. It still surprised him when he kept going up from where he thought his eye level should be. He was used to being shorter than all his male friends and several of his female friends as well: the fact that he had shot up five inches in the last month was still something with which he was coming to terms. He walked over to his friends slowly trying to look innocent.
"How did you hear us from all the way over there, Mate?" Ron asked in his usual blunt but friendly manner.
"My hearing's improved," Harry admitted quietly with a small shrug having chosen to keep that new fact quiet until he was used to the whole idea, "along with just about everything else. These glasses aren't real anymore either; Madame Pomfrey changed them for window glass this morning. I'm going to start dropping hints about getting my eyes fixed and then get rid of them for good."
He was going through so many changes that he sometimes felt that he was no longer living in his own body.
"So does this mean if you go for a little walk by the Quidditch pitch when the Slytherins are practicing, you'll be able to hear their strategy discussions?" Ron asked thoughtfully.
Hermione hit him, and Harry laughed; right about then that was just what he had needed.
End of Chapter 2
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