I own neither Harry Potter nor Yu Yu Hakusho.

Good Things Comes to Those Who Wait

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

"Harry, staring is rude."

Murmured Hermione distractedly.

Ron snorted.

"Like you aren't."

"We all are." Said Neville somewhat hesitantly.

They were. They really were.

Kurama was smiling. The most honest, sincere smile they had seen yet. It warmed his whole countenance.

He hadn't smiled like that with them, ever. Though kind, there had always been a certain polite coldness to him. They couldn't help but be a bit jealous of the two strangers talking excitedly in Japanese to their classmate.

They looked so… out of place in the middle of Hogsmeade, what with their muggle clothes and their general auras. They looked like punks. Young adult ones, but still delinquents. And Kurama was smiling happily at them.

Perfect student, intelligent Kurama.

Somehow the only thing Hermione could think at that moment was 'no way they met at school'.

They couldn't understand a word spoken. From the tone alone they could guess there was a lot of teasing involved. At some point, orange-haired punk threw a punch at black-haired punk. The shorter one deftly dodged without looking, with a grin on his face and tripped the taller one with discreet foot left in his way.

Kurama's eyes danced in amusement.

The four Hogwarts students' attention was torn from the scene when they heard someone cry out Kurama's name happily. They didn't have the time to figure out where it came from when a blue blur jumped into their older friend's arms happily.

It was a girl with long cyan hair in a ponytail, apparently intent on strangling Kurama with the force of her hug. When she was finished she pulled back with a wide smile, dark pink eyes twinkling in joy as she smoothed her now messy appearance, tucking her pink scarf back inside her leather jacket.

Kurama turned to Harry and his friends.

"Ah, these are the friends I planned to meet today. I'm sorry, I won't be keeping you four company."

"Huh, it's fine. It's nice to meet them."

The pretty blue-haired girl gave Harry a grin and sauntered over, gripping his hand in a remarkably firm handshake despite her dainty frame.

"Hi there! I'm Botan. This guy here..." She pointed at the tall red-head who was picking himself up from the floor "...is Kazuma. And this is Yusuke." She said, waving at the man with warm brown eyes and slicked-back hair. "They don't speak English though, so sorry about that. We'll be stealing Kurama for a while if that's alright with you?"

"Of course."

Answered Hermione, looking a bit overwhelmed.

"Great! You can join us later though! We'll be at the largest pub anyway."

"Botan, you realize I am not supposed to drink? The teachers will most likely be there."

Mentioned Kurama with an amused smile.

"They won't know. We'll hide you behind Kuwabara, nobody will see you that way."

"Will you take the punishment in my place if I get caught?"

"Don't be ridiculous, who would ever punish a delicate girl like me? And with how well you hold your alcohol anyhow, the chance of people noticing you have been drinking are slim to none. You won't be getting drunk unless you stupidly take Yusuke up on his challenge like last time."

Kurama rolled his eyes but his smile didn't waver. He didn't even blush or look embarrassed at the mention of him losing a drinking contest.

Harry was maybe staring even harder now.

He wasn't alone. Fred, George, Lee and Éléonore had just passed by them and obviously heard this, because the way the boys squinted at Kurama spoke of mischief.

The four Japanese friends left in the direction of the Three Broomstick and the young man named Yusuke threw an arm around Kurama in an obvious show of friendship.

Not even the twins dared that with him.

"These are his friends?" Said Harry, befuddled. "I didn't picture them like that."

None of them had.

"Oh well, we'll just join them later." Said Ron. "For now, let's just buy the gillyweed."

Hermione frowned slightly.

"Maybe we could stop at a bookshop too. They may have specialized books for underwater excursions…"

Well, Harry knew this trip to Hogsmeade wasn't supposed to be for leisure. It still depressed him a little that he would have to work even during the weekend.

This trip to Hogsmeade ended up being very… informative.

For one Harry discovered Ludo Bagman wasn't above losing his goblin followers in the crowd to stalk him until he could speak to Harry alone. All to help him cheat! And not Cedric, so it wasn't even a question of helping the Hogwarts' champions.

When they finally finished their shopping and reached the Three Broomsticks, Harry described the whole conversation to his friends. Hermione gave a sniff of disdain.

"This man is never in the office. Would it kill him to work seriously at least once in his life? With how he's been seen placing bets during the Quidditch World Cup it's obvious he has put his money on you, Harry."

Which would have been flattering, if he hadn't looked so unsure about Harry winning, to the point of trying to help him cheat.

Harry also learned from him that Crouch hadn't been seen for weeks now and nobody had any idea where he was. Only Percy seemed to think the man was ill at this point. The whole thing stank to high heaven. And Bertha Jorkins – who had vanished in Albania – was still missing.

Was Harry the only one thinking that this deserved more attention? Two Ministry workers disappearing in the span of a few months, surely it was something to be concerned about?

Apparently not.

The wizarding world seemed more concerned with the competition going on at Hogwarts and the participants' love life.

And Kurama.

They had seated themselves at a table near the Japanese group of friends, giving Kurama a smile as they did, but hadn't dared intrude and interrupt the conversation in Japanese between them.

Kurama was indeed against a wall in a corner, his taller red-headed friend on the other side of him, like a shield against the rest of the pub. He was sipping on what looked like Firewhiskey – though the cup he held looked like those meant for Butterbeer – while listening attentively to some story the girl named Botan was telling him.

From the way Yusuke was intensely glaring at any stranger coming too close to them and Kazuma seemed to make himself even larger to hide Kurama, Harry gathered they must have been approached by curious onlookers already.

For once, he'd have liked to be wrong.

But when they left the pub to return to Hogwarts and passed by Rita Skeeter and her photograph in the street murmuring about how 'it was a shame we couldn't understand Japanese, I would have loved more information on Dumbledore's cousin...' Harry could guess she had confronted or at least tried to spy on Kurama in the pub.

Hermione's eyes followed the journalist.

"This woman… I have never seen such a horrible woman in my life before!"

Harry privately thought she might even have his aunt beaten.

"I'll find a way to get back at her for Hagrid, just you wait…"

Ron choked when he heard Hermione say that and shot Harry a stunned and worried look.

Harry really thought Skeeter ought to be the one worrying though.

The day ended on a good note though.

They missed the talk Dumbledore had with Hagrid, but when they went to meet him before dinner, the giant of a man had resolved to return to work and stop hiding.

And if his eyes had been red from crying and there was something that looked suspiciously like snot in his beard, well, they didn't mention it.

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

"Excellent Potter! Nice seeing a student take Defence Against the Dark Arts seriously! You all, remember that's how you defend against this jinx, I want to see some real progress in this class!"

Harry blushed furiously when the class turned to him at Mad-Eye's compliment.

"How about becoming an Auror Potter? You'd fit right in I bet."

Harry could only picture himself with an eyepatch and a missing hand, his face horribly scarred.

Aren't I paranoid enough as it is?

"Huh… I'll think about it…"

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

In the end, the second task was entirely anti-climatic.

Of course, Harry's stress level was through the roof, especially when he was told he had to take Ron back from the bottom of the lake. It had taken most of Kurama's patience with the boy to convince him Albus would never let either Ron or Hermione get hurt. The fox couldn't even blame him, seeing as Albus had shown before that his perception of what should be safe for students was… remarkably similar to that of a kitsune yōkai parent throwing its kit to danger under loose supervision.

Still, he knew Albus had a good relationship with the creatures living in the lake, the Headmaster had told him as much. The giant squid was known to protect the students that went into the lake, the selkie colony had a friendly relationship with Hogwarts' population since its foundation and the only real threat were Grindylows, small water creatures classified as dark creatures by wizards, except the ones in the lake were all tamed by the selkies inhabiting it. Any harm they would seek to bring to the contestants would be kept in check by their masters and only to a level teenagers could deal with.

It took explaining all that to Harry during breakfast a few times at that, for the boy to relax somewhat.

"Kurama… Third-floor corridor… Fluffy! Only an Alohomora away!"

Yes, Kurama only had relative success with that.

The moment Harry was about to leave to join the other contestants – looking a bit green – Kurama seized the younger's shoulders and forced him to look him in the eyes.

"Don't fear for the other hostages, concentrate on Ron. The selkies would not let children drown you know that, while the effect of the gillyweed is limited in time. When you get back you won't be able to breathe above water, so push Ron to the shore and wait for the effect to disappear. Take care not to linger underwater for too long, if Voldemort has something planned it will target you and it will be harder to help you if you are at the bottom of the lake. So stay calm, get Ron and come back as fast as you can, don't concentrate on anything else. Are we clear?"

Harry gave a shaky nod, his green eyes hesitant and his jaw tense, betraying his nervousness. Kurama smiled a little.

"You will be perfectly fine. You have some spells you can use underwater and the gillyweed will make you faster and much more agile than you would otherwise be. I doubt the others are as well prepared as you are. You faced Voldemort and a basilisk before didn't you? this is nothing compared to that. So breathe and remember if anything happens the teachers will be there to help. They won't be far at all."

Harry took a deep breath, closed his eyes, exhaled and finally gave a timid smile.

"Thanks." His voice was maybe a bit high, but Kurama wouldn't point it out. "I'll do my best."

"I know. Here, drink that."

Kurama gave Harry a flask of a drink he had previously prepared in the kitchen the night before. It was nothing too powerful but it would help.

"Huh… What is it?"

"Something for the nerves, I prepared it yesterday."

Harry smiled widely this time and drank it without hesitation. The moment he finished the flask he let out a powerful sigh.

"Okay. I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

Kurama wasn't ready to let go of his wariness of the boy again, but even he had to admit it felt natural to ruffle his hair playfully before he left. The contrast between both feelings was… a bit unsettling. He shook his head irritably.

Botan, Yusuke and Kazuma had only managed to come for Adult's Day and had long since gone back to Japan and Reikai. Kurama would be alone with his thoughts for now.

He joined the rest of the students that were walking down to the lake and quickly found the twins and Lee.

"Hey there Fox! Coming to watch the show with us?"

"I am, Ron and Hermione are indisposed."

Fred and George snorted. The families of the 'hostages' had been warned of the type of trial this was supposed to be, they knew perfectly well what Kurama meant by indisposed.

"Join us in the stands okay? Éléonore and Agathe are going to join us. They'll be cheering for Fleur though."

Said Fred with a grin and a slap to Kurama's back. This was a novelty, something the three of them had only started doing after that weekend at Hogsmeade. Kurama guessed they must have witnessed Yusuke do the same.

He gave a small nod and followed them with a small smile.

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

The whole thing was dull.

From where Rita Skeeter stood, hidden under the shadow of the stands, she could not help sighing in disappointment.

No wounds that were bigger than small scratches.

No death, obviously.

No scandal.

Fleur Delacour didn't manage to get her little sister and had a bout of hysteria on the shore before the selkies simply brought the child out of the water themselves.

The winner, strangely enough, was the youngest one of the lot. Harry Potter outdid himself on that task. Not that he did anything spectacular, of course, but the ease and efficiency with which he approached the task made it seem easy.

And the thing with 'easy' is that it generally is synonymous with 'boring'. What was Rita supposed to write about something so uneventful?

Her article about the half-giant had been well received. So well in fact that parents were still clamouring for Hogwart's Board of Governors to force Dumbledore to fire Rubeus Hagrid. It was glorious.

In the meanwhile, though she hadn't managed to contact any of Dumbledore's old friends, none that had been willing to talk, she still had a nice photo of a girl throwing herself into Kurama Minamino's arms and what she heard of his conversation with Fleur. She also had gotten access to the Dumbledore's family registry in the Ministry, with the mention of a dead sister no one had ever heard of (a squib?). Between that and the old rumours surrounding Dumbledore's love-life (or the absence thereof) and old friendship with Grindelwald, she had enough to write quite the appetizing article, supported by enough circumstantial evidence that it couldn't be proven false out of hand.

So she spent the entirety of the task writing the draft for it while keeping an eye on what was happening near the lake.

This is how she heard some boys' voices above her head that caught her interest.

"You remember that head Kurama received?"

A quick glance let Rita catch sight of robes with accents of red and gold. Minamino's housemates then… People who lived with him and were more likely to know things about the red-head than students of other houses.

"Yeah? I didn't really get the time to see though."

"Me neither, but you know that night Harry and Kurama fought after Harry had a nightmare? Well, Kurama left in a rush after throwing a photo album on his bed right. That's what Seamus told me anyway. And it had opened when he had thrown it, so he and Dean got a good look at some of the photos in there. There were a few of a woman that looked a lot like that head, some with a smaller Kurama on it."

"For real? You think that's his mum?"

"That's what Dean thought anyway. And they were muggle photos. Isn't Kurama's family muggle? It would make sense wouldn't it?"

"Why would his biggest fear be his mother's decapitated head though? That's so weird."

"I know right?"

"Maybe he saw her die?" Said a third voice, a girl's this time. "I mean, he never receives any mail, so maybe his family is actually dead?"

"Huh."

Rita Skeeter perked up considerably hearing that. It seemed Kurama Minamino was a never-ending well of mysteries and scandals.

She could not wait to unravel his past until nothing was hidden to her eyes anymore.

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

Hermione watched the set of potions in front of them. All were ready aside from two which would have to simmer almost until the end of the school year. Around seven months of preparation indeed.

They could however use the spells as soon as they were absolutely confident that they had memorized and could pronounce them perfectly.

She looked at the three boys in front of her.

Kurama was checking the vials against the light of the window one by one, just to be sure the consistency and homogeneity of the mixtures were as described in their copy of the thesis. From his small approving humming, this was a success.

Ron was looking at some of the vials with a grimace, which was no wonder since one looked like tar and another like a particularly disgusting soup of greens, the sort that tended to put children off greens entirely at school.

Harry looked like he didn't even dare touch the vials for fear of breaking them. He was that eager.

"Well, we will be spending months repeating the spells until we master them, so you better be ready."

Kurama nodded his eyes on yet another vial.

"For real?" Whined Ron. "The thesis clearly said that you can use the spells as soon as you remember them! We could at least use them before the potion is ready…"

"What Ron said. If we go back home without having used the spells we will have to wait for the end of the summer vacation since we can't use magic outside of school remember?"

"Yes." Hermione had to be patient and explain. "The potions will be ready right before we leave for the summer, but what if we mess up the last two somehow? We would have to remake them and they have to simmer for almost three months! We would have to wait for the next school year anyway and the spells will lose efficiency over time. Better to hold off until we are sure that the last two potions are perfect before casting the spells. After that, we only have to take the potions in the correct order at regular intervals. Which we can do at home without a problem. The last potion should be taken in early September if all goes well, which is good because we will have access to Hogwart's infirmary if anything goes wrong."

"Hermione is right." Murmured Kurama thoughtfully, eyeing the two cauldrons still simmering with lids on them. "We can't afford to rush these things, we could end up with permanent animal characteristics from a messed up potion or spell. Better that the spells be second nature to us and the potions be perfect."

"Does this mean this is on hold for now then?"

"Of course not!" Exclaimed Hermione. "What did I say? Training! Especially you Kurama!"

"Me?"

The older boy blinked, bewildered.

"You still have an accent, even if it is light. It could mess up your pronunciation of the spells. I also noticed how hard it is for you to actually throw the spells."

"Oh, that. Yes, my magic is always stubborn in answering my call. Did you notice that Hermione? Good eyes."

She blushed from the praise. All the while she worried.

"It won't cause problems, will it? The spells are meant to allow you to enter a trance to figure out which animal you will transform into, basically, they will influence our minds. A messed up spell could have terrible consequences…"

"My pronunciation could. You are right, I should repeat the spells without my wand until I am sure I won't make mistakes. As for my uncooperative magic, this should not be a problem. You must have noticed I never actually suffer rebounds? It simply doesn't answer me. And as long as it doesn't answer, the spell can't be messed up. I will simply have to concentrate and force the magic out."

"I hope this won't be a problem for when you actually transform…"

"Well, it could…"

Harry and Ron shot Kurama an alarmed look.

"But mostly in the sense that I probably won't be able to transform wandlessly like Professor McGonagall."

Hermione let out a sigh of relief. She suspected the fact that his magic had been sealed for so long must have had consequences, much like a muscle in a cast that you don't use for months. It would explain why someone as intelligent as Kurama was having so much trouble throwing spells when he understood the theory and practised formulating the words to perfection every time he learned a new spell.

"Good. That's good. So either it works, or it doesn't, no messed up results. That's actually a relief."

"Were you worried about me Hermione?"

Green eyes twinkled in a way that was definitely amused.

"Of course I was! Didn't I say if we mess up a single step we would end up in the infirmary! Or worse!"

Worse being either definitive physical animal characteristics or having no outward problems but believing you have to lick yourself clean every day and running away from showers for the rest of your life. She didn't need that sort of pressure on her shoulders, thank you very much!

She suddenly had an image of Kurama with fox ears on his head, pouncing on all four through the snow to catch mice.

She snorted, put her hands above her mouth, before dissolving into hysterical giggles.

With the twin look of suspicion Harry and Ron sent her, they almost looked like brothers.

"What is it? Mione?"

"Yeah. Spill it."

"Just… You know… You remember that time with the failed Polyjuice potion?"

"Yeah…?"

"I thought we agreed to never speak about that? I mean, it's nice you're over it but… Are you over it?"

"Yes?" She squeaked when she suddenly tried to picture herself with actual cat ears trying to scratch her ear with her foot. "I mean, no? But this… this could happen to us, permanently if we mess up. What animal do you think you will be?"

"A fox."

Answered Kurama without a second of thought. Hermione had to agree it would fit him. The twins already called him that and it was the first image she had of him too…

"A dog? Maybe? Like Snuffles. I hope so anyway."

"You could take after your dad though. He was a stag right?"

Hermione hoped not, because if the whole point of turning into animagus was to be able to escape Voldemort's eyes, then a stag was pretty conspicuous.

"I think Hermione will be a cat. I mean, what with the Polyjuice mess back then."

She shot Ron a dirty look.

"I think I'd love to be some sort of bird." Finally said Ron. "It would be so cool right? To be able to fly without a broom!"

"What does this have to do with you laughing Mione?" Finally asked Harry.

"Well, picture Kurama with fox ears and tail. Or Harry having to rub antlers against trees for the rest of his life, or Ron having to resist the urge to jump out windows!"

Harry's eyes immediately went to Kurama, or rather to the top of Kurama's head, and he started snickering.

"Kurama just… might get… more popular though! That's… Merlin that would be so unfair!"

From the long-suffering sigh Kurama let out, he thought it was pretty unfair too. Ron though was ready to tease right back.

"Or picture Hermione having to deal with hairballs again."

She could get angry. This had been an unpleasant experience. But then she pictured herself spewing a hairball into Malfoy's potion in class and suddenly the whole thing was a lot more amusing.

Her giggles almost transformed into cackles right there. From the smiles on her two best friends' faces, she could guess they were trying not to laugh too.

Kurama gave them all an indulgent smile.

"We are done for today. We all have our list of spells. We shouldn't train where everybody could hear us. Let's meet twice every week in this room okay?"

The trio nodded eagerly.

The feeling of impatience and happiness didn't leave them for the rest of the day.

o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o.*.o

AN: Sorry for this slightly shorter chapter. I had the rest written, but then I had no way to cut the chapter properly and do a smooth transition with the next one.

On another note, I had some ideas for what animals the trio should be, but I'd love to hear your thoughts because it's not fixed yet!