Hermione was just finishing unpacking her trunk, and was working through what she needed to do: shelving her books; sorting her clothes, putting the clean ones away and putting the dirty ones, that the magic of Hogwarts haven't cleaned yet, in the hamper; and setting her photos of her parents and other nick nacks in their proper places.

The drive home had been filled with Hermione asking her parents how their year had been. Now that they were home she was expecting to be called downstairs for what she jokingly thought of as her interrogation. It had become a sort of tradition; on her first evening home from Hogwarts, Her parents would pick up a take-away* that broke all their rules about healthy eating and sugary drinks. Then, over the distractingly enticing dinner they would talk about what had happened while she was away at school.

It wasn't long before she heard her mum call for her. Hermione made her way to the dining room to find her parents at the table, ready with pizza and fried chicken, all steaming hot waiting for her. Hermione sat and served herself, savouring the unhealthy food that was a rare treat at home. In fact, now that she thought about it, it had been almost a year since she had last eaten pizza. It wasn't in the Hogwarts meal rotation that tended to favor classic British food, and she hadn't left Hogwarts at all this year.

"So, Kitten", her father then winced at his phrasing. He had used the old nickname on reflex and immediately regretted it, worried how his daughter would take it. Hermione, however, was laughing at his reaction to his own perceived faux pas*. After getting herself under control she grinned back at him, "it's ok dad, you can still call me kitten. You have been doing it for as long as I can remember…I'd miss it if you stopped."

"Ok, then...kitten", he seemed decidedly uncomfortable with using the nickname now, "in the letters we received from you and McGonagall, who says she's your Head of House, we were expecting to see cat ears and a tail, but I don't, so did they find a cure...or did your teachers hide them for you?"

Hermione finished chewing her bite of pizza; the toppings were a favorite she shared with her mum, which were ham, mushrooms, pineapple and prawns. "They are hidden, but it was Harry who found a way to hide them. Not one of the teachers. He gave me this hair band today, the spells on it give me somewhere to put the ears. There is also a similar item for my tail." She hesitated a second, then, checking that the curtains were closed and seeing that it was safe as they were alone, Hermione removed the hair band, revealing the brown and blond tabby cat ears for her parents to see.

Hermione sat there, waiting to hear what her parents would say. They sat in silence for what was probably only about thirty seconds, but they were the longest seconds of her life. Waiting for them to pass judgment on her. Would they think her a freak? Would they disown the monster she had become? Would they insist that she stop coming home from school at Christmas and Easter? Just do their job until they could kick her out once she finished school?

The anxiety-driven thoughts were driven from her head just as quickly when her mum spoke up finally, "Your ears look lovely dear", with just those five words, Hermione relaxed immensely, feeling a tension she hadn't known she carried slip away, "Is your tail the same colour?"

Hermione's head bounced up and down, "Yes, I would show you, but taking the bag off my tail is difficult in this skirt", it would also have been embarrassing, the high waist meant that the only way her tail could go was down. This was fine most of the time, but if she got happy or angry her tail tended to shoot up, and that was the last thing she wanted while in a skirt.

"Did you say bag, Honey?" Her mother seemed a bit confused. Hermione slipped into her lecture mode as she explained to her parents about the three bags and how two of them were concealed in the hair band and how each of the bags had an undetectable expansion charm on them, that created extradimensional space inside the bags. Her parents caught on quickly and soon the whole family were having fun making Doctor who references.

"So, Hermione, you mentioned a few other changes in your letters. I think me and your mum need to hear them all", the joking was over and they were back to the main topic. "Well...you know about the ears and tail. The ears give me better hearing. It's not magic, it's just that the ears are so big compared to normal ears. My taste in food changed a little, I like fish, chicken, milk and cheese more now", her parents nodded along; the cheese part was new to them but Hermione had already mentioned in her letters about how her taste in food had changed. Mr Granger had already added a few tins* of different types of fish to the shopping when he picked up the groceries a few days ago. "I also understand cats better. I just seem to know what they are trying to tell me", Hermione hesitated for a second, thinking about something else, before saying, "that's it."

Her parents looked at each other, silently debating whether to push. One of the letters they had gotten from Hermione's Head of House had mentioned their daughter was now taking a potion once a month to manage some other aspect of her transformation. Her mother, who had a suspicion about it just what was about, suggested waiting when her husband spoke up, "Hermione we know there's more. Your Professor mentioned a potion you now need to take. Now tell us everything", he usually wasn't this harsh, but he was concerned for his daughter and to help her, he needed to know what was the problem.

Hermione sat in her seat fidgeting nervously. It wasn't that she was keeping it from her parents, just that she didn't want to talk about such things with her dad. It had been bad enough when Harry had asked about the potion, but she could tell Harry to drop it and he would listen. She knew that he was still worried about her, but he had relaxed a lot when she promised him it was nothing dangerous.

And it really wasn't, but how do you tell your new twelve-year-old boyfriend that the potion you are taking is to stop you from losing control and jumping him every month?

She definitely wasn't ready to have that conversation with Harry and she didn't think Harry was ready for it either. And Hermione really wasn't ready to talk to her dad about it, "Um…dad, it's...", Hermione was trying to work out a way to phrase things when her mother came to her rescue, "Hermione honey, is this a mother-daughter discussion?" Hermione blushed, nodded and suddenly found a bit of lint in her lap very interesting, so interesting that she missed that her father was just as suddenly interested in one of the pictures on the wall. Her mother smiled at two of them; they were so alike at times.

The discussion moved on swiftly; the talk about the potion postponed until later, when the two Granger women could talk alone. They asked about Hermione's classes and how she thought she had done on her end of year tests. The two of them had found it odd that the Headmaster had canceled the end of year tests; they knew that some of them were rather important, the magical equivalent of O and A levels, so surely they couldn't just be canceled? Hermione thought that the people sitting their O. and their N.E. would have to do them over the summer., but agreed it sounded like a lot of hassle.

The dinner continued for a while longer; the three of them just enjoying being back together as a family, if only for the summer holidays.

- ϟϟϟ -

Hermione had just finished getting ready for bed and was about to go brush her teeth (she may have skipped the odd day here and there while she was at Hogwarts but she knew that she wouldn't get away with that at home) when her mum came in to her room, surprisingly carrying two large bowls of what looked to be chocolate caramel-swirl ice-cream. "Got time for a girly chat?" Hermione eyed the bowls of her own personal ice-cream nirvana suspiciously, her mother didn't usually indulge in such unhealthy treats, "I think I could maybe find some time".

The two of them sat cross-legged on Hermione's bed, each holding a bowl but the older of the two still holding on to the spoons, "So...fun questions first. It's boyfriend Harry now, not best friend Harry. what's the story there?" Her mum asked, grinning as she handed over Hermione's spoon. A smile came over Hermione's face as she remembered that happy moment, "it was in the hospital wing after Christmas. Ron and I had had a falling out over his legendary lack of tact. So at that point, it was only Harry coming to see me regularly. Lav and Pav popped in occasionally but Harry was there every day right up until curfew. Classes had started back up and Harry was helping me keep on top of everything, since I was unable to make it to classes."

Hermione stopped talking for a bit to sample the ice-cream and gave a slight moan of pleasure. "Then Madam Pomfrey asked me to make a decision on something. She asked if I wanted to keep the cat eyes or change them back to normal. I chose to change them back; dad always said my eyes are like grandad's so I wanted to keep them. Anyway, to change them back I needed to take a potion every morning for six days. That was fine as I was already taking a lot of potions, so what was one more? Only...this one had a noticeable side effect.

While my eyes were changing my vision was blurry. I could see well enough to know if someone was there, or to walk to the bathroom and back, but I couldn't read, which you know would've been a problem for me. I was a little upset about that particular thing, and then Harry turns up about an hour later. It was a Saturday. And, he was with some of my favorite books. I told him that I couldn't read them because my eyes where being fixed, and that he may as well take them away. He looked at me for a few seconds and I couldn't see the look on his face, but I just know he had that smirk of his on his face, then he just sat down in the chair next to me and pulled out my copy of 'The Hobbit' and started reading it out loud to me."

Hermione paused to take another mouthful of ice-cream and her mother jumped in, "So let me get this straight; you were stuck without your books for a week and Harry just started reading them to you", Hermione nodded slowly, her mouth still full of ice-cream,"Oh god, the poor boy is doomed. Only you would find love through reading, kitten." Hermione giggled, then continued on after swallowing her bite, "well after about five hours in that chair I realized Harry had to be uncomfortable...so", she paused for a second wondering how her mother would take it, "I-I moved him up onto the bed with me." Seeing her mother beginning to smirk, she powered on with her tale;

"Before you say anything , the beds are adult-sized so the two of us fit quite comfortably. He came back every day to keep reading the books to me. Unlike some of the others I showed my muggle books, he was completely fine with them. I guess it was cause he grew up a muggle like me. We were two-thirds of the way through 'Return of the King' before I was able to see normally again, but Harry hates to leave a job unfinished, and he kept reading to me till he finished.

Over the six days, I wasn't used to things being a bit different from my accident. Apparently, the cat hair I used in the potion came from an adult cat, well, Kneazle. Which is a type of magical cat which is why I couldn't be changed back all the way. The Kneazle magic, portion magic and my magic all got mixed up in a knot and won't come undone", She took a deep breath, "And I am so glad it was a girl cat, that could have lead to problems I don't even want to think about." Her mother's face went a little green as she thought of the possibilities. At this point, Hermione began blushing profusely, "But anyway...as the cat was an adult, it...well...I guess you could say I'm more 'interested' in boys than I normally should be..." Hermione was burning so hot by now that she was surprised she hadn't melted the ice-cream in her lap.

"So Harry was next to me, and after a few days, it just felt natural to snuggle up next to him. And too easy to dismiss it as a cat thing to cuddle up to something warm. One thing just sort of led to the next, and before I left the hospital wing we were a couple-" Her mother abruptly interrupted Hermione and asked cautiously, "and just what exactly did it lead to?" Her tone was conspiratorial, like two girlfriends gossiping. She didn't want Hermione to close her off, but inside she was of course a worrying mum. Just how far had her thirteen-year-old daughter gone with her boyfriend?

"Well, let's just say Harry is a good kisser. A really good kisser..." Mrs Granger relaxed immensely; while she still felt her daughter was a bit young, it sounded as though they had kept their clothes on at the very least. But there was more, "But, that kiss is what lead to Madam Pomfrey putting me on the potion dad asked about." That sparked her mother's interest, she had been intending to ask about that after hearing about Harry, but it seemed that they had reached the topic naturally.

"She felt that it was out of character for me to be kissing Harry quite so quickly and did some checking she hadn't thought about till then." Hermione was now in a constant state of embarrassment, her blush reaching shades her mother hadn't seen since she had talked to her about being prepared for her monthly 'visitor'. "It turns out I now go into heat like a cat and because the cat was an adult I have been thrown in at the deep end. The potion tones down the feelings I would have without it and lets me act more normally."

Emma didn't know what to say; her daughter was embarrassed and obviously dealing with some real issues. She'd gone from being a budding teen girl less than six months from her first monthly visit to having to deal with a full-blown sex drive practically overnight. She set the two half-finished bowls of ice-cream on Hermione's writing desk and crawled over to her daughter, pulling her into a hug. "It's Ok honey, we can cope with this. It's going to be fine. aAnyway, you love Harry anyway, right?" Hermione nodded numbly in her mother's arms and started crying, the last of the tension she had been holding for weeks finally finding an outlet.

They stayed like that for a while; the two replaying a scene as old as humanity, a Mother comforting her daughter on the cusp of leaving behind her childhood. After that, the two sat there talking for a good hour and a half, the Mother asking questions and doing the groundwork to help her Daughter cope with the new challenges that were waiting for her.

- ϟϟϟ -

Author's notes

take-away* British term for takeout

Faux pas - an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation.

tins - Brits say tins instead of cans