Chapter: 3 of 35 - To Be or Not to Be Furry
Pairings: Asher/Anita/Jean-Claude, Anita/Nathaniel, Harry/Nathaniel/Draco, Harry/Draco, Anita/Micah
Rating: R/15 or NC17/18
Summary: Harry Potter could find trouble in paradise and when Draco sends him to St Louis for a holiday it's not paradise and there's lots of trouble. With dark magic, vampires, lycanthropes and more, who else could sort it out but Anita Blake?
Chapter listing: click here for other parts, publishing schedule and A/N
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Laurell K. Hamilton, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, Orbit books, Time Warner Book group, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post Harry Potter and the OotP and post Incubus Dreams and therefore has SPOILERS for all previous books. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in or before HP book five or AB book twelve do not read this story.
Chapter 3 To Be or Not to Be Furry
Harry opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling. Blinking a few times he realised that he felt a lot better than last time he had woken up. His memories were fuzzy, but he did remember spilling lots of information he shouldn't have to the rather attractive woman who had introduced herself as Anita. The memories of the attack were not so nicely fluffed around the edges, however, and the image of the severed heads would not leave his mind. Trying to focus on anything else he carefully looked around the room: he was alone.
Sitting up he felt perfectly healthy, in fact he felt better than he had since the final battle, which was a little disturbing, especially since he was covered in bandages. Surprisingly his glasses were on his bedside table and he reached over to pick them up. The room in focus did not do much to settle his mind and he realised that he was going to have to fix the mess he had made. Getting home or to a Wizarding institution on this side of the Atlantic seemed to be a good idea, and then he could let the authorities sort it out. He hoped they would not blame him for talking when drugged.
Pulling out the IV in the back of his hand he reached over to find the catch on the metal side on the bed. Once he had lowered this he climbed slowly out of the bed, testing his muscles as he went just in case the new found health was an illusion. The first thing he noticed was that the floor was bloody cold under his bare feet and the draft around his rear end didn't help much to bolster his confidence either. If only he had had his wand he could have transfigured the hospital gown into something wearable, but he was not sure where his wand had ended up. He hoped he would find it again because he was rather attached to it.
When he reached the door he discovered his first problem; it was locked. Now if he had been anything but a Gryffindor he might have gone back to the bed and sat down to wait for someone to open it, but Gryffindors never gave up without giving their all. Wandless magic was not something many wizards could master, and most of those who had were over the age of 100, but seeing as he had no choice Harry decided that the least he could do was try. It had worked randomly for him in the past, so it was not completely hopeless.
Holding out his wand hand he tried to remember the nuances of the spell, and then he whispered 'Alohorama' while moving his fingers as if they were the wand. To his surprise the door actually popped open. Then problem number two reared its head as he came face to face with a man in uniform who reached immediately for his gun. On instinct more than anything else Harry held up his hand and muttered the words of the all too familiar stupefy hex. A red light lanced out of his fingers and the policeman fell over. Harry was quite shocked.
It took him a few seconds to realise that standing there staring at the fallen man was not a good idea, and then he bent down to drag the police officer inside the room. It was surprisingly easy, but Harry chose not to dwell on that at that moment. It occurred to him that borrowing the uniform might have made for a good disguise, but the man was much bigger than he was and it would have looked ridiculous.
Checking the corridor quickly he crept out of the room and started on his way to what he hoped would be a way out. He couldn't exactly go through the front door in a gown, but there had to be another way to exit the building and he hoped he could find some clothes on the way. He was headed towards some stairs when he heard a familiar voice coming from one of the offices.
"It's a wand," were the words that caught his attention. "Like nothing I have ever seen before, but it's a wand."
Totally unable to resist his curiosity Harry crept towards the partially open door.
"I can feel the latent magic in it," Anita was saying as Harry peered through the gap.
Harry came to the sudden realisation that Anita was not as Muggle as he had assumed she was because of her reaction to him, which brought up a whole load of questions he couldn't answer. He could see that some of his things were spread out on the desk and if they had found his wand they had bypassed some of the anti-Muggle charms on the bag. Draco had given him the travelling bag and it had a steal-me-not charm on it so most people would unconsciously bring it back to him, along with three compartments with strong anti-Muggle charms to prevent the magical items he was carrying being found by non-wizards. That any of these had been broken was worrying.
"I thought wands were made of crystal or covered in feathers and the like," a male voice put in.
"A wand is a focusing tool," Anita replied in a clinical tone, "everything else is more for flavouring the magic than anything other purpose. I've never felt anything like this wand before."
"So the boy might actually be a wizard, then?" a different male voice.
"Isn't that just another way of saying witch?" the first male voice asked.
Harry moved slightly closer to the door.
"The kid seemed to think a witch was female," Anita replied, and Harry watched as the woman ran her hand over the wand on the table. "It's possible that whatever tradition he's from, witches are women and wizards are men."
"So he's just a witch by another name?" the first voice again.
"Not like I've ever met before, Dolph," Anita said in an analytical tone. "He talked about a spell to turn into a wolf as if it was perfectly normal. You all heard him, and at least three of us know that messing with animal transformations if you aren't a lycanthrope is bad news. It's the kind of thing that requires human sacrifice."
Harry had no idea why he was moving closer and closer to the office, it was as if he was being drawn, and it wasn't all to do with his wand. Part of him wanted to enter the room and make himself known, and he had no idea why. It was quite difficult not to just open the door.
"I thought they did things in pretty much the same way we do in Europe," Anita said slowly, "but if Harry is typical..."
Suddenly the door was yanked back and Harry came face to face with the black haired man he had glared down earlier. Possibly he had come too close. Instinct again stepped in as he shied backwards away from the man's grasping hand.
"Accio wand," he said quickly as all the paranoia learned in war came back to him.
His wand flew off the desk and into his waiting palm, at which point he instantly took up a duelling stance. If these people were of his world he did not want to take any chances.
"Holy shit," was Anita's response to the wand flying through the air.
Harry backed off, eyes flicking between the four people in the office. All, apart from the black haired man who had opened the door, appeared startled.
"Don't move," Harry said in what he hoped was a commanding manner.
"Or what?" the big burly man with very short hair asked as if he thought the whole idea was a joke. The voice was that earlier identified as Dolph.
Harry did not have to want to exchange threats so he flicked his wand at the desk and said 'Diffindo'. Even he was quite surprised when the piece of furniture split in half; he'd actually meant to make a small cut on the wood's surface.
"Definitely not like any witch I've ever met," was Anita's succinct opinion.
He actually had no intention of hurting anyone unless he had to, but Harry did not think a levitation charm would have had the same psychological effect. Even the black haired man was not looking so confident now.
"Kid, we just want to help you," Dolph said, both his hands out in a gesture of trust.
If Harry had not been so well trained he might have focused on the big man and missed the movement from the taller of the other two men. As it was he turned, moved his wand and cast a fully body bind, followed by magic ropes just in case. His would be attacker went down with a thump.
"Do not make me hurt you," Harry said, continually backing away. "I'll just be leaving."
Anita was staring at him now and the most peculiar sensation was running up and down his spine. It was the draw again; part of him wanted to go to her and he had no idea why. There was something about the third man in the room as well, but Harry did not know what. It was almost like something inside him was trying to get out. As if this realisation started something, pain stabbed into his chest.
Feeling faint at the sudden agony he staggered backwards into the opposite wall. He tried desperately to keep his wand trained on the others, but the pain made him curl in on himself, slowly beginning to slide down the wall. Now it felt as if something was scratching inside his skin, trying to peel it away. When he heard movement he managed to bring his head and his wand back up and the three opposite him froze again, but it was a losing battle. Without being able to stop it his wand slipped out of his hand, rolling across the floor and he fell onto all fours, a moan escaping his mouth.
"What's happening to him," Dolph asked, and Harry rather wanted to know as well.
"Looks like first shift," the other man said.
"But full moon isn't for sixteen hours," Dolph said, sounding rather confused.
Harry smelt metal and he heard the scrape of metal on leather, but could do nothing to find out what it was.
"Has he done anything the way we expected yet?" Anita asked in a somewhat sarcastic tone.
All Harry cared about was the pain, and praying that it would go away. His skin felt like it was being flayed from his body and when he tried to beg the universe to let him be all that came out of his mouth was a strange mewing sound.
"Harry?" a familiar voice made it into his haze of pain.
He looked up to see Draco standing in the corridor, wand in hand, and it occurred to the logical part of his mind that he had to have been sleeping much longer than he had thought. Talking to his friend was impossible, in fact much of anything was impossible as he fought through the agony. He flicked his eyes to Anita and company and the part of his brain that was not consumed by pain noted that there were two guns aimed at him.
"What the hell is going on here?" Draco demanded and all but marched down the corridor.
Harry mewed, unable to hold his head up any longer. His glasses fell off his nose, but that was the least of his worries. It was like razors were slicing his skin all over his body.
"First shift," he heard the unidentified short man say.
"First shift what?" was Draco's instant reply.
"He was infected by a wereleopard," Anita explained, and she sounded tense and excited at the same time.
"A were-what?" Draco was having as much trouble with the concept as Harry had, but then he didn't really care as the pain exploded through every cell and he put his head back and roared.
Being boiled in oil would probably have been preferable as he felt his whole physical structure change in minute detail for what seemed like forever, and then as suddenly as it had begun the agony was gone. He huffed his confusion and lifted his head off his paws, at which point his mind caught up with the fact that he was no longer human. The Animagus transformation was scary the first time because of the strangeness of being an animal, but this was doubly so since he had definitely not done this deliberately.
For a while he lay on the floor completely still and stared up at the people with guns. It was as if they were all standing on the edge of a precipice and he had the nasty feeling that whatever he did next would save them or push them all over. The guns were still trained on him as if he might do something terrible at any moment, but he felt no urge to attack. Anita seemed the key, he didn't know why, but he was sure it was true and without moving most of his massive cat body he cocked his head on one side and mewed at her.
It was not easy to convey confusion when one was a cat and had never been one before, but Harry did his best, and Anita frowned.
"He's in control," this from the short, dark-haired man, and he sounded surprised.
Harry sniffed the air and realised that maybe 'man' was not the right description; he smelt human male, but he also smelt cat as he studied the short individual. Anita did not appear quite so convinced, but she did shift so that she was no longer holding her gun in both hands.
"Harry," she held out her hand to him, and he climbed to his feet before he really thought about it.
Rubbing his head against her hand he felt a rumbling start in the back of his throat and then he proceeded to rub his whole body against her legs in one movement. Something about her spoke to him and it calmed him considerably. Turning around he padded over to Draco and proceeded to rub himself against his friend as well, pushing the underside of his chin over Draco's trouser clad knee for some reason he did not quite understand. When Draco reached down and rubbed the top of his head the rumbling started again in his throat.
"Well he's a hell of a lot calmer than I would have expected," Anita said as Harry sat down and looked up at her.
His eyes flicked to his wand, but now that Draco was here it did not seem so important. However, as Anita moved to pick it up he let out a warning growl that caused both her and the unidentified man to look surprised. The gun that had been lowered almost moved into firing position again, but Harry flicked his eyes between the wand and Anita. She seemed to get the message.
"Have it your way," was her succinct opinion.
When Harry nudged him, Draco moved to pick up the wand instead and his friend also retrieved his glasses from the shreds of the gown and bandages he had been wearing.
"Would someone please explain what the hell is going on," the Slytherin said pointedly. "Last time I checked the only were on the books was a wolf and they only change at full moon. Why is my best friend a bloody great black cat?"
"There are all sorts of lycanthropes," Anita said in what Harry had decided was her explaining voice, "and they don't only change at full moon. We weren't expecting Harry's first change until tonight, but it seems he lives to surprise us."
"He lives to surprise us all," Draco muttered under his breath.
"I assume you're Draco Malfoy," Anita did not sound impressed, but she was holstering her gun.
Draco for his part didn't look impressed either but also put his wand away, keeping Harry's in his hand.
"That would be I," the Slytherin said shortly. "Now would someone mind explaining how Harry ended up infected by a wereleopard? I know he's good at finding trouble, but this is fast even for him."
"Mr Potter was involved in some sort of ceremony," Dolph said in a professional sounding voice. "We are unaware of the details of how he came to be in such a position, but he was found covered in the blood of a wereleopard and a vampire. We believe that whoever conducted the ceremony expected him to die, but, as you can see he didn't, although he has yet to tell us what happened."
The Slytherin looked down at Harry with a most put out expression on his face.
"How do you do it, you Gryffindor moron?" Draco asked cuttingly. "Did you try and play the hero? One Dark Bastard not good enough of a tally."
Harry growled in the back of his throat; this had been none of his fault. Being knocked on the back of the head and dragged off to who knew where was not something he could have predicted.
"Mr Malfoy, are you a wizard like your friend, or are you," Dolph looked at Anita, "what'd he call it, a Muggle?"
Draco looked so affronted that Harry would have laughed if he could, what actually came out was a strange sort of huffing noise. This seemed to amuse the man that smelled of cat, who appeared to be recovering from his surprise.
"Of course I'm a wizard," the Slytherin said as if he had been mortally wounded by the question. "You think I'd be standing here quite so calmly if I was a Muggle?"
"Then speaking of vampires," Anita stepped in, "would you be so kind as to free that one on the floor from whatever Harry did to him."
That seemed to confuse Draco somewhat.
"Can't you do it?" the Slytherin asked with a frown.
"I'm an animator, Mr Malfoy," Anita said pointedly, "raising the dead is a snap, but I have never seen magic the way your friend used it. Now if you would be so kind, and then maybe I can convince Jean-Claude not to press charges."
Harry stood up and walked over to the aforementioned Jean-Claude and sniffed at the paralysed individual. It now seemed quite obvious that the man was not human; he smelt dead, sort of. Looking a little annoyed, Draco cast the counter spell and the ropes vanished and the vampire moved. Surprisingly Jean-Claude looked at Harry in a very thoughtful manner as he sat up, rather than with any irritation, which was what Harry had been expecting.
It was as he padded back over to Draco that Harry decided he really wanted to be in on the conversation that was bound to follow. Being a cat rather limited his speaking skills so he decided that being human would be far better. Having made his choice he concentrated, braced himself for any pain that may occur and mentally forced himself back into his natural shape. It still hurt like hell, but felt remarkably natural the second time. Two things occurred to him the moment he did: firstly he was naked; and secondly it was drafty in the hallway.
Colouring as human sensibilities made themselves known once more he stepped behind Draco and tried desperately to regain some dignity. Surprisingly it was Jean-Claude who slipped off his thigh length jacket and helped Harry into it. Both Anita and the man Harry suspected was a fellow lycanthrope were looking at him as if he might grow another head at any moment.
"Are you feeling alright?" the man asked in a somewhat bemused tone.
Harry did a short mental check and then nodded. He was having trouble with what his instincts were telling him and what instructions his brain was giving out. His instincts wanted to trust these people, his brain was far more Slytherin and wary.
"You should be unconscious on the floor," Anita said, almost as if him standing up was an affront to her sense of rightness. "Lycanthropes cannot shift so quickly, at least not new ones; it wipes them out. What am I saying? You shouldn't have shifted until the full moon anyway."
She threw up her hands into the air in exasperation, and all Harry could do was shrug. It wasn't as if it was his fault that the rules the universe had set up never seemed to apply to him.
"Um," he said as he remembered how he had come to be where he was, "there's a police officer in my room that could do with reviving."
"What did you do to Officer McCoy?" Dolph sounded annoyed now and Harry had to stop himself growling at the man.
It seemed that the cat instincts were still there even if the form was not.
"I used the stupefy hex," he said honestly, "the counter spell will wake him up as right as rain."
The way Anita was looking at him was very calculating.
"So you can do all your tricks without the wand as well?" she asked rather challengingly.
"Ah," Harry could feel Draco's eyes on his as well, "not before today."
"Now that everyone is calm, maybe we should take this back into Harry's room," the short man seemed to a sensible type.
End of Chapter 3
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