|SIYE Time:18:35 on 23rd May 2017|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 71018; Chapter Total: 924
The Joy of Madness
Saturday after their exercising with Tonks and breakfast, Harry and Ginny assembled the others and made their way to Professor McGonagall’s office on the first floor. Hermione kept a running commentary the whole way there on the various difficulties associated with becoming an Animagus, to the point that when they arrived at their teacher’s office, nearly all of them breathed a sigh of relief that Hermione had to fall silent.
“Enter!” McGonagall’s voice commanded. Harry pushed the door open and they filed into the room. They found Professor McGonagall sitting at her desk, and Sirius standing next to the desk, looking rather smug with himself.
“Hi, Padfoot,” Harry said.
“Morning,” he said with a tip of an imaginary hat.
Professor McGonagall gave her wand a lazy wave and six chairs dropped onto the floor of her office. “Sit,” she said. They sat. The Scottish woman eyed them all appraisingly before she spoke next. “The art,” she began in a voice that was almost reverent, “of Transfiguration is one of the most complex magics there is. That being said, there is none more difficult than that of the magic involved in becoming an Animagus.”
Ginny gave a nod, her breath held in anticipation. McGonagall cast a stern gaze over them once more.
“It is rightly deserved all of the legal hoops that the Ministry has put in place as a preventive measure. To think lightly of becoming an Animagus is to think lightly of your own mortality. One simple mistake could leave you permanently transfigured, disfigured even. You must be precise and careful with each and every step. As long as you follow my instructions and exercise caution, you will succeed with no harm done. Do I make this clear?”
“Yes, professor,” the six of them replied with excitement. They were about to begin.
McGonagall flicked her wand, and pamphlets lifted themselves off the desk and floated to each of them. “You will read through these before our next meeting, they contain information on all of the procedure involved in becoming an Animagus. You six, however, will not be registered unless the Headmaster deems it necessary. You shan’t share any of this information, and you shan’t blab about learning Animagus magic. This endeavor is to be kept secret so as to maintain an element of surprise. You are learning this so that in a situation where you find yourself needing to escape, you will be able to transform and slip away undetected.”
“Yes, professor,” they said again.
McGonagall leaned forward in her chair. “To become an Animagus takes months. Mr. Black and his friends managed it over the course of two and a half years without any aid, therefore I believe you six will be fully capable of achieving a full transformation before the end of this school year. Once you have all of the magic in your minds and you know what to do, it will not be that hard. The difficult part is discovering the form and learning the magic.” McGonagall’s gaze flicked, and Ginny turned to see Hermione with her hand raised. McGonagall nodded to her.
“How do we know what to transform into?” Hermione asked.
“There is a spell,” McGonagall answered, “that coupled with a particular potion will reveal your Animagus form to you. Every person has the potential to become an Animagus, however very few have the required strength to do so. Your forms will be linked to key pieces of your personality and strengths.”
“How did you get a cat?” Ron asked her. McGonagall gave him a patient, albeit small, smile.
“I believe it was due to my own stubbornness and personal pride,” she replied. “Cats are very regal creatures, you know.”
Ron nodded slowly. Ginny caught the teacher’s eye. “Can you become any animal?” Ginny asked.
McGonagall tilted her head to the side. “A person’s Animagus form is usually very specific, however, I’ve heard of people with the possibility of more than one form, though there’s only one legend speaking of a wizard with the power to transform into more than one animal.”
“No, I meant is there a limit on the kind of animal a person might have?” Ginny rephrased. “Could you become a magical creature?”
McGonagall nodded in understand. “Given the required magical power, yes you could, theoretically. Godric Gryffindor was rumored to be able to transform into a hippogriff.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows. “Was Gryffindor an Animagus? I didn’t know.”
“There are strong suggestions to it in records, however, as I said, his form was never made certain.”
“You said there was a legend about a wizard who could become more than one creature,” Harry said. “Who was it?”
“Ambrosius Merlin,” McGonagall answered. “He was said to be able to transform into both a phoenix and a large monitor lizard.”
“A lizard?” Ron repeated.
“Yes, though at the time of Merlin, the specific species was actually unknown so they assumed it was a magical creature of some kind, however, it was simply a komodo dragon.”
“A dragon?” said Harry. “Simply a dragon?”
“No, a komodo dragon,” Hermione corrected him. “It’s not an actual dragon.”
“Merlin could turn into a komodo dragon?” Harry posed.
“According to myth,” Professor McGonagall said. “It’s possible that it was his only form, or that he turned into a phoenix, or that he had the ability for both. It was also said of his wife that she had more than one Animagus form, however, the likelihood that she was an Animagus at all is low.” The professor folded her hands together and eyed them. “The potion you will need to brew to discover your Animagus form will take quite some time to be completed, so we will start on it in a moment, but first I want to go over the theory of the magic behind all of this. The potion and spell go hand in hand to reveal your Animagus form, and both are rather complex.”
Ginny leaned forward in her chair, intent on listening.
“The first spell you will learn is called Cerritulium Fungos Animaliam, which will reveal your Animagus form to you.”
“Wait, fungos is the Latin word for mushrooms, isn’t it?” Neville interjected. McGonagall nodded.
“It is indeed.”
“Why is it in the title?” asked Neville.
“Because mushrooms are a key ingredient in the potion to go with the spell.”
McGonagall waited a moment, as if to see if he had anything else to say, before going on. “You must learn the spell in order to perform it upon yourself once you’ve taken the potion, so we will go over it before beginning to brew the potion.”
“What’s the potion called?” Harry asked.
“Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida,” McGonagall answered. Sirius sniggered, and she gave him a look. He sobered, and looked down at his feet.
“Professor,” Hermione started.
“Isn’t…” she hesitated. “Isn’t Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida a hallucinogenic potion?”
Ginny looked at Hermione, then at McGonagall. Suddenly, the inclusion of the word ‘mushrooms’ made more sense.
Professor McGonagall inclined her head. “It is, in fact.”
“What are we brewing a drug for?” Harry asked.
“The potion’s original use was for Animagus transformation, Mr. Potter, and the common use of it these days is a treatment of schizophrenia. Whether or not it can be used as a drug is not the point.”
Harry was slightly humbled by this, and fell silent.
Lots of potions are addictive, you know, Ginny thought.
Well, yeah, but this is an actual hallucination-producing-thing.
Overdosing on Pepper-up Potions cause hallucinations.
Pepper-up Potions, they can cause hallucinations if you take too much of it.
I stand corrected.
Harry elbowed her in the ribs, causing McGonagall to break off and frown at them. She shook her head and continued. “Cerritulium Fungos Animalium takes quite a while to learn, so I’ve written down a list of titles for you to study it between now and our next meeting. The theory of it is that the spell searches your magical core to find your inner animal, then presents it to you through the hallucination caused by Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida.”
“Inner animal?” Ron questioned.
“Spirit animal,” Luna said, speaking for the first time since entering the office. Professor McGongall nodded to her.
“The Native America cultures had similar thoughts on the subject,” the Transfiguration teacher said. “The original use of this spell and potion to find an Animagus form was by an African medicine man, and it was quite by accident according to legend. However, an almost identical potion and spell are found in the mythos of the Cherokee tribe, and even in an Aboriginal tribe in south-eastern Australia. I assume that it was linked to the discovery of a spirit guide or spirit animal, and native wizards thought it a useful way to become that animal.”
Professor McGonagall adjusted herself in her chair and leaned back. “To get deeper into the theory of this spell, you must understand what your magical core is.”
“It’s the power we hold in ourselves,” Ron said.
“Yes,” answered McGonagall, “but also no. Your magical core is your essence within magic.”
“Within magic?” Harry queried.
“Within magic, yes. This theory of where magic comes from is an elective for N.E.W.T. level students, however, you’ll get a brief version of it now. The accepted idea in this era is that magic is a layer of energy throughout our world, going in and through everything, a power that encompasses all living things. Your magical core is the same energy that is concentrated within your body, tied to your soul. The magical core then fuels your aura, which interacts with magic outside of your body and gives you the ability to use magic.”
Harry glanced at Ginny out of the corner of his eye. She shushed him mentally.
“The magical core is in turn fueled by the energy your body absorbs from the outside, meaning that your power increases with thicker layers of energy, which is why historic magical places such as Stonehenge leave lasting effects on even Muggles.”
“And your spirit guide is the part of your soul that maintains your magical core,” Luna said.
McGonagall frowned at her. “There is no real spirit guide, Ms. Lovegood. Inner animals are merely the animal with which your magical core is most identifies with.”
Luna merely shrugged, her same dreamy smile upon her face. McGonagall raised one eyebrow for a moment, then seemed to push it aside and went on. “Well, the point is that a witch or wizard’s magical core is what enables them to use magic, controlling it with their aura, and is fueled by magic. Magic is an energy just like electricity, however significantly stronger, and is a part of all living things. Anything that grew has magic in it, even if that thing no longer grows.”
“Like your desk?” Neville asked.
“Yes, like the desk,” Professor McGonagall said, “or those chairs, or the cotton in your clothes. Albeit very little, they have a magical signature.”
Who knew so much theory went into turning into a cat, Harry thought. Ginny shushed him again.
“The way this all relates is that within each magical core, theorized is that there is a spirit animal of sorts, that is the shape and embodiment of your magical core.”
“The spirit guide,” Luna mused.
McGonagall did not immediately reply. “The theories that go into Animagus magic are vast and extensive; most of it dating back to when magic was gifted upon us by deities that controlled the weather and determined harvests. They include the idea of a spirit guide, however, that is implausible."
"You determined the existence of an animal in our souls," Luna said. "The animal that is the image of our magical core."
"Yes, however, that does not denote it the power that is alluded to in the myths of spirit guides."
Luna fell silent, and Ginny thought that it was more out of acceptance of her inability to change the professor's mind than surrender. Professor McGonagall turned her gaze again, sweeping it over them before leaving it on Harry.
"The spell, Cerritulium Fungos Animalium, is, as I said earlier, a very complex one. After taking the potion, the spell must be completed within three minutes or else it will not be able to gain control of the hallucination. The incantation is repeated three times slowly, while moving the wand tip over your heart in a counter-clockwise infinity sign." The professor raised her own wand, demonstrating the motion. "After the third repetition, you take the wand tip and press it to your chest hard enough to make it hurt slightly. At that point, the hallucinations will have begun and the spell completed."
"What is the incantation?" Harry asked.
McGonagall cleared her throat. "Witiri Uyoga Tengeneza Wanyama."
They blinked, staring at her silently. Sirius nodded slowly, looking down at his feet with a resigned smile.
"What is it?" Ginny said.
McGonagall began again, speaking very slowly to sound it out phonetically. "We-tyr-ee, oo-yoh-gah, ten-geh-nez-uh, wahn-ee-ahm-ah."
Sirius grinned at them. "Took me over an hour to just pronounce it correctly."
McGonagall cleared her throat. "I've written it down, both phonetically and normally, and you should practice saying it between now and the next meeting. Now, stand, we will be transferring to the Potions room to begin brewing Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida."
As she rose, they did too, and the eight, six students and two professors, left the office and walked to the stairs leading past the basements and to the dungeons. They found the Potions classroom, empty, desks cleared and bared, but for one at the very front of the classroom where a single, large cauldron sat upon a burner beside a wooden crate.
Professor McGonagall made her way to it, and they filed out in front of the desk as she stood in front. "Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida is a complicated potion, and it will take quite a while to begin. The final stage, however, is convenient for us."
"After it's brewed, it has to ferment," Sirius said. He was leaning on the desk, propped up on elbows with his chin in his hand. Ginny wrinkled a nose.
"And we have to drink it?" she asked.
"Yes," McGonagall said. "It does not have too a horrible taste."
"Yeuch," Sirius said. Their teacher gave him a piercing glare for a moment, before turning to the crate. She tapped it with her wand, and the nails in the lid released so that she was able to open it. She withdrew from it a mushroom, bearing a thin, long stalk and a fat cap. Sirius fell silent.
Professor McGonagall turned to them, holding aloft the mushroom. "Can you tell me what this is, Mr. Longbottom?"
"Erm, it's a mushroom."
"Yes, it is. Could you tell me any more?"
Neville reddened. "No, I'm afraid I couldn't."
"Very well, that's alright. This is a kind of mushroom referred to as a psychedelic mushroom, it's the ingredient in Uyoga Isiyo ya Kawaida that gives it its hallucinogenic properties. This particular mushroom is commonly called Delirium, though its proper name is Vesania Gaudium. It grows only on high mountains that are within a warm climate, making rather rare these days. Due to its potency and rarity, Vesania Gaudium is a Class A restricted substance, so be grateful that Professor Dumbledore managed to acquire them.”
“We’re supposed to drink a fermented potion made from magic ‘shrooms?” Harry said.
“You are,” McGonagall answered. “Though you needn’t worry, the potion, while highly hallucinogenic, causes no harm to the body.”
Harry met Ginny’s gaze from the corner of his eye. I’m slightly worried.
Ginny took his hand and squeezed it. They wouldn’t give it to us if it would hurt us.
Well, yeah, but we actually have to drink magic mushroom stew!
Do you want to be an Animagus or not?
Yes, I do!
Then drink your mushrooms.
Harry snorted, causing the others to look at him. Harry shook his head quickly, then looked down at his feet.
“Right then,” Professor McGonagall said. “We shall begin.”
She flicked her wand, and a potion kit appeared on the table. “I will instruct you, and you will prepare the potion.”
“I thought this was Transfiguration,” Ron mumbled as they stepped closer.
“This is Animagus preparation,” McGonagall corrected him. “Be grateful you have the opportunity.”
Ron was mollified and they were able to begin. Professor McGonagall had them fill the cauldron with water first, then into it went sprigs of mint and lavender, juniper berries, and lemon grass. The water was brought to a boil, and after it had bubbled for five minutes she had them turn the heat down and add in more ingredients; crushed snake fangs, asphodel heads, powdered bark of off an acacia tree. The perfumed steam at first smelled pleasant, until they had to add the mushrooms, at which point the scent was muddled and made bitter. Then came the blood of a goat and a snake skin that had been ground to powder, and Ginny felt nauseated by the mere thought of having to drink what was in that cauldron. No amount of lavender and lemon grass would fix the smell coming from the cauldron, especially after they had to add in more blood, this time from a lion.
It took over an hour before they had completed the potion and it was ready to be fermented. By the time they were finished, the cauldron smelled like African poppies and the goat’s blood, which was the most pungent thing Ginny had ever encountered.
“I am not looking forward to drinking that,” Neville said as Hermione put a lid on the cauldron.
“You shouldn’t,” Sirius told him. McGonagall gave him a scolding look before tapping the cauldron with her wand.
“It is sealed, and in a month will be ready to drink,” she told them. “For now, that is all. Take these papers, and between now and our next meeting, read at least one of the titles and the pamphlet I gave you at the beginning.” The professor conjured a stack of papers, and they each took one. “Have a good day.” With that, Professor McGonagall swept from the Potions room, leaving them with Sirius.
“That potion is going to be the most disgusting thing you’ve ever tasted,” he said. “And you’re all going to get high as balls.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Ginny commented dryly.
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