Harry Potter and the Tails of Change

Disclaimer : I do not own any of the Harry Potter characters, nor do I own any of the settings that JKR created in Harry's world. Any resemblance to anyone; living, dead, or imagined, is purely coincidental, and not intended on my part.

A/N: This is a work of fiction, and I have altered reality from how JKR wrote things. First off, Nymphadora Tonks is a 6th year when Harry is in his first. Second, this story starts off in the summer between Harry's third and fourth years, so he has met Sirius, and knows he's innocent. Third, I'm having Harry be just a wee bit more intelligent, and have something more of a backbone by this time in his life. This story may include relations between two consenting females, so if that doesn't float your boat, you have been warned here, and can take appropriate action.

Chapter 1: Holidays, Homework, and Happy Birthday

Harry struggled awake, fighting with the thin sheets that covered his lumpy bed. Finally freeing himself, he checked the time, the old, much abused digital clock showed the time to be eight am. He then checked the window, looking to see if any owls were winging their way toward him, bearing packages from his friends from school.

Seeing none he decided it was best to attempt to do his homework, having hidden his trunk and school supplies earlier in the summer. He arranged his supplies on the top of his trunk, knowing that this would be the best workspace he currently could use.

Smiling, knowing that his relatives were away this week, Harry stretched his lanky frame out on his bed and began reading the chapters relevant to the essay he was attempting. "Animagi and how to recognize them." Professor McGonagall had assigned him this as an extra credit report, letting him also 'borrow' the books that related to finding out if you could become an Animagi, and what your form might be.

Harry was quite intrigued by the possibility that he might be an Animagus, and what his form could be. His father, his godfather, and the person who ultimately betrayed the trust he was shown, all had become Animagi in their fifth year, all to help their mutual friend with his 'furry little problem'.

Studying the book, Harry came across the potion that was required to help the Wizard or Witch to find not only if they could become an Animagus, but what their shape would be. He also knew that he could brew the potion, safely, here at his relative's house, while they were away. It didn't require many esoteric ingredients, nor did it have an exceedingly long brewing time.

He checked through his potion supplies and took out each ingredient he had, finding that, for once, he was completely prepared to do this thing. Taking his time to prepare the ingredients properly, Harry set about carefully brewing the potion, adding the ingredients at the right time and stirring in the correct fashion. "Add the essence of violets and stir three times clockwise for every four times counterclockwise for three minutes," read the second to last step in the instructions. Harry made sure to stir correctly, watching the cauldron's contents turn an odd sickly green, which is what the textbook said it would look like.

Harry then read the last instruction, which was to bring the heat under the cauldron to full intensity, with a timer built in to slowly reduce the heat over half an hour, each reduction would cause a shift in the color of the potion. Watching over the potion, Harry seemed to bounce on his toes in excitement. He was going to take a big step in being the next generation of Marauders if he could pull this off successfully.

After the potion had cooled off, Harry carefully poured it into one of the many glass phials that were stored in his trunk. He then contemplated the liquid, which was now a strange russet red, then with a salute to the memory of his father and a thought for his godfather, who was somewhere safe until Harry or someone else came across Pettigrew and turned him over to the DMLE for trial. He then quaffed the potion in a swift gulp, grimacing slightly at the taste before the potion took effect.

Harry had taken the textbook at face value when it said to imbibe the potion 'somewhere safe and comfortable,' and was curled up on his bed.

{Harry saw what appeared to be a dark, black, ancient forest, older and more rooted in mysticism than the Forbidden Forest. He was in a clearing, surrounded by shrubbery and large trees, the sensation of being watched coming over him as he scanned the circumference of the clearing. He sat down in the middle, next to a small circle of stones that looked like a fire pit.}

{He then relaxed, broadcasting his intentions non-verbally, letting the beings of this forest know that he meant no harm unless harm was attempted upon him. He then noticed a pair of luminescent green eyes peering at him from the opposite side of the clearing.}

{Trying to decipher what sort of creature it was just based on where the eyes were was slightly frustrating, so Harry quietly spoke, "Hello there. My name's Harry, I came here in search of my animagus form. If you are my form, could you please come there I can see you?"}

{Harry got a feeling that his words amused the being watching him. Then the being let out a chortling yap before entering the clearing. He was startled to see that it was a fox, though slightly larger and more muscular than an ordinary fox. When it came close he noticed that it had twinned tails. "Are you kitsune?" he asked boldly. The fox nodded its head, then curled up in Harry's lap, a sense of belonging filling the young wizard as he daringly pet the representation of his form, trying to remember what he had read about kitsune in school.}

{There was another rustle of the bushes as another being came out of the darkness. This one was more of a surprise than the first. What appeared before Harry appeared at first to be a wolf, but built more along the lines of a panther. Taking in the 'wolf' more carefully, Harry noticed more and more things that made him think the animal was a blending of feline and lupine.}

{Harry looked between the two beings, "Are you saying that I have two forms?" The Wolf/Cat nodded, then a sort of communication was broadcast by the kitsune in his lap. -Yes, little one. We are both your Animagus forms. A lot of Wizards don't brew the potion as exactly as you did and only discover their first form. -Harry blinked at that, and then smiled, "I can't wait to tell Sirius about this."}

{Both animals grinned at Harry's enthusiasm, then slowly began to 'pour' themselves into his body and fade from existence as he began to wake up from the potion.}

Harry shook his head as he raised himself from his bed, a huge grin on his face as he searched for a quill and parchment.

Dearest Padfoot!

You wouldn't believe what I just discovered! Professor McGonagall assigned me an essay on Animagi and how to recognize them. She also let me borrow any books I felt might help me understand the process which it took to become an animagus.

Well, I decided to take a page out of your and dad's handbook and found the book you used when you decided to help Moony.

Yes, that's right, Godfather, the next generation of Marauders is really here. I brewed the potion, following all the steps correctly. I then found out something amazing.

Apparently wizards who can be Animagi can have two forms, but most don't brew the potion correctly and only discover the easier animal to become!

I'll conclude this letter by saying that I think you'll be surprised to learn what my forms are, and hope that you're keeping yourself out of trouble until we catch that blasted Rat.

~Your Godson,

Harry Potter

P.S.: I'll talk to Moony about what nickname I should use.

He then read over the parchment and smiled, wondering what Sirius' expression would be when he read this. He then folded the letter up and traced a rune that Hermione had found for him onto the parchment, causing it to seal itself together until the intended recipient was alone. He then looked up and saw that Hedwig, his Snowy Owl, had returned from her latest hunt and was also bearing the latest care package from the Weasley family. "Hello, girl, you have a good hunt?" A positive sounding hoot made him smile, "Would you mind terribly if I sent you out with a note to Padfoot?" A negative sounding hoot this time made Harry smile even more. He then carefully tied the parchment to

Hedwig's leg and said, "You don't have to wait for a response, girl, just make sure he's alone when you find him, all right?" One last doleful, yet positive hoot answered him before the Snowy Owl flew off into the gathering dusk.

Harry's stomach then rumbled, reminding him that he hadn't eaten since breakfast. He got up and, rummaging through his trunk, came out with the box of food Mrs. Weasley had sent him, smiling, thinking of the kind, matronly woman who was more or less a surrogate mother for him.

Taking out a sandwich, Harry wondered what his friends were up to. He snickered at the thought of what Hermione would say if she knew he was attempting to become an Animagus; "Harry! That's too dangerous to do on your own! It's monitored for a reason, you know! I read that very bad things could happen if a Wizard tried to do this without proper supervision! You're too young to try anyway! You haven't had training with Advanced Transfiguration yet, and that's where human transfiguration is covered!" She'd then proceed to take the potion herself and see if she could become an Animagus herself, so she could watch over Harry.

Ron, on the other hand, would most likely utter something along the lines of; "Blimey, Harry, you figure you can do it? Wicked! D'you think I could, you know, try to do it too?"

Chewing on the corn-beef sandwich, Harry then grinned at the thought of telling Ginny, his mind picturing the petite red head, he knew she'd be intrigued and would do her best to attempt to become an Animagus herself, despite being a year under him in school.

Harry then perused the book more, reading on how to practice becoming the animal that was your Animagus form. "Take things in tiny steps at first, say with fingers and toes before moving to hands and feet. Once you are comfortable with the progress of that part of the transformation, begin on the next part of the body. Always leave the head for last, as this change requires the wizard to keep his mind while in the animal's shape."

Reading the descriptions of what could go wrong if the transformation was rushed, Harry silently vowed to take each step carefully and with due care. He then started concentrating on the first joint of the fingers on his right hand, envisioning them becoming the first joint of a fox' paw. He blinked when he seemed to get it after just a few tries.

Emboldened by this success, Harry tried to change the next joints, picturing in his mind the shift from human to fox. Half an hour later, Harry was able to change his entire right hand to a fox's paw and back almost instantaneously.

Harry then ate a bit more of his care package, this time picking out a piece of the treacle tart that was Mrs. Weasley's specialty. He smiled at the thought of the possibility that he could finish his mastery of the fox form before the start of the new school year. "I wonder what mischief I can manage while no one is aware of the fact I can become a fox. Perhaps I can even prank the Twins!"

He then heard a low curse from outside as someone caught their toes on one of the loose stones in the yard. This was one of his many ways of telling that he had people watching over him to keep him safe. "Sounded sort of like that Trainee Auror, Tonks. I know she just graduated this past term and was under the guidance of Moody."

Harry smiled at the memory of meeting the paranoid senior Auror. Dumbledore had introduced Harry to the man who would be taking up the position of Professor for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry had been given this honor because Albus had wanted Harry to have extra training for the time when Voldemort regained his own body.

Moody, also known as 'Mad Eye' was now sequestered at Hogwarts after an unsuccessful attempt by a Death Eater to overcome the man and take his place at the school. Thankfully the Death Eater in question, one Bartemious Crouch Jr decided to attempt his attack when both Dumbledore and Flitwick were visiting Moody.

The grizzled retired Auror had been heard to comment, "Bloody sniveling traitor, couldn't even do the honorable thing and die in Azkaban. Your father will go down with you for this one, you wretched whelp!"

Harry smiled as he remembered Sirius' response to his retelling of the tale, "Oooh, just a bit vindictive, weren't you, godfather? Though, I can't say I blame you, as Senior was the bloke who tossed your arse in Azkaban without as much as a pretense to a trial."

He then peeked out of the window and gazed down at the yard, trying to discern just where his 'watch' was at the moment. He smiled as he noticed the shrubbery at the corner of the house rustling as someone tried to slide past it unsuccessfully. He then whispered down, "Wotcher, Tonks." He was rewarded for his efforts with a string of very educational curse words, describing something physically and anatomically impossible happening between a fruit, a lump hammer, and several various people who were trying to teach the young woman how to be stealthy.

Tonks, recovering from the start that Harry had given her, smiled to herself. "Blighter knows he's being watched. Doesn't seem too fussed over it either. I wonder why."

Harry made his way down to the back garden in time to meet Tonks and be able to talk to her, despite appearing as if he was talking to himself. He got out the tools he'd need to take care of the garden, as well as give him some cover for what he was actually doing. When he felt Tonks' presence near him he murmured, just loud enough for her to hear him, "I know you're there, Tonks, and I know why you're here too. My Godfather, your Uncle, informed me that I'd likely have watchers since he escaped, and is still 'a deranged mass murderer'. He also told me that Dumbledore would stack the watchers with those he could trust to watch over me and not just be a Ministry puppet."

The young witch smiled to herself, remembering, vaguely, her Uncle Siri. She knew her mum felt that he wasn't guilty, and had some damn good reasons to back up her feelings. She also knew that Minister Fudge was a raving idiot who didn't want his nice cushy world to be disturbed. She whispered to Harry, "You be careful sending anything to dear Uncle Siri. Fudge would love to get a hold of him before you could find proof of his innocence."

The young wizard nodded, then smiled, "I know you, Remus, and Fletcher are watching me, as well as Mrs. Figg. I also know Fletcher should be replaced, as he's usually sleeping off his last overindulgence."

Tonks cursed to herself, "Blimey, Harry, you're taking this better than I thought you would."

Harry smiled as he weeded the garden, "I've found a way to put this exile to my advantage, and figure that while I'm stuck here, I might as well not brood about the unfairness of things. Plus the fact that my 'Family' is on vacation for the next three weeks isn't hurting."

The young witch blinked at this news, "And how're you surviving, without having to get food, Harry?"

The young wizard chuckled, "Mrs. Weasley sends Care Packages every Sunday at Midnight." He then gathers all the weeds, standing up and putting the pile of rubbish in a bin, "Plus Hermione sends a few things now and again."

Tonks nods to herself, "Well, if you ever feel the need to talk, let me know, why don'tcha? I can keep you company while Fletcher's snoozing, just to add a bit of extra security."

Harry smiled, "I'd like that. Perhaps I can pick your brain a bit for the essays I need to finish for school as well."

The young witch laughed, softly, "I'd like that, Harry. Well, better get back to patrolling, wouldn't want some git to ambush us as we talk."

With a low chuckle, Harry sighs, "Aye, and I've got to keep up the appearance that I'm following my Aunt's directions." He then moves to another part of the garden and begins weeding.

Gathering all the weeds, Harry deposited them in the composter that his Aunt had purchased, simply for the fact that one of the neighbors had commented on the 'waste' of throwing away the weeds, and how a properly composted always grew better than one that wasn't.

~~ Please R&R ~~