Harry Potter: Neko's Mate @vancemcgill
A Brand New Year

Chapter 23
A Brand New Year

Author's Note: Threw in the chapter title at the last minute. There was literally nothing else I could come up with.

Friday, January 1st, 1993 – Early morning

When Harry woke up on the first day of the New Year, he half-expected to find Hermione doing something amazing to his naughty bits. But she wasn't with him on the sofa, nor was she anywhere in the Common Room. Harry panicked only momentarily, before he calmed himself and decided he needed to search around the Private Quarters. As he sat up, he realized he was still half-naked, after last night's wonderful intimate experience with Hermione – who had been able to experience it as herself, and not the Neko. He put his pyjama bottoms on, then stood from the couch.

It didn't take him very long to find Hermione. As he neared the bathroom, he could hear running water from the shower.

"Hermione?" Harry called, "Are you alright, love?"

"I'm fine, Harry," Hermione said, "Just taking a shower."

"Are you sure?" Harry asked, "Because the last time I found you in the shower..."

"Yes, Harry," Hermione said, "I'm simply taking a shower. I'll be out soon. Unless you want to join me?"

As he thought of a reply, he heard a faint pop coming from the Common Room.

"I really want to," Harry said, "But I think Sasha arrived with the morning post. Maybe another time?"

"Alright," Hermione said, "I'll be out in a little while."

"'Kay," Harry said.

He turned and headed back to the Common Room. Sasha was waiting for him.

"Good morning, sir," she said, when she saw him, "You have two letters, as well as a memo from Miss Tonks, and the new edition of the Daily Prophet."

"I don't think Hermione subscribed to the Daily Prophet," Harry said, "And I know I haven't. But I suppose I should..."

"Complimentary edition, sir," Sasha said, "Madam McGonagall is giving one to everyone inside the castle. She's going to speak about the Prophet's news in the Great Hall to the students who remained for Christmas Break."

"Does she expect Hermione and I down there?" Harry asked.

"No, sir," Sasha said, "But she might visit you soon. She suggests you train your Metamorph talents with Miss Tonks, since my Mistress will be very busy today."

"Thank you, Sasha," Harry said, "Could you get Hermione and I a sample platter of the common breakfast dishes?"

"Yes, sir," Sasha said, "I will return momentarily, sir."

Sasha vanished. Harry walked back over to the sofa and sat down. He picked up the memo, which was a small strip of parchment, and also a scroll, which was a letter. He let the Daily Prophet lay on the table for now. Sasha returned and placed a large tray on the empty section of the coffee table. The tray had two plates of food, glasses of orange juice and milk, and utensils

"Thank you, Sasha," Harry said, "Has my owl, Hedwig, returned from her trip?"

"Yes, sir," Sasha said, "She brought one of those two letters with her. She's safe and sleeping in the Owlery."

Harry thanked Sasha again, and she vanished. Harry picked up Dora's memo, and began to read it.

Wotcher, Harry!

Professor McGonagall met with me late last night. She said that she'd be very busy today. So she wants you to visit my Private Quarters to continue your Metamorph lessons. So come around nine-o-clock this morning. Password to the Griffin at my door is "Nemo". Hermione is welcome to come along if she wishes. See you soon!

Dora

Harry grinned as he finished. He hadn't had an opportunity for a 'bonus' lesson with just Dora yet, so he was looking forward to it. He knew Hermione also looked forward to watching him train.

He moved onto the first letter which was from Keeper Ragnok. In the letter, Ragnok informed him that Madam Amelia Bones collected a copy of his parents' Will. Ragnok also told him that his parents' and grandparents' portraits were not in the Family Vault, but it was possible that they were in Potter Manor. Harry hoped so. He hoped that his parents' portraits had not been destroyed when Voldemort attacked his house in Godric's Hollow.

Harry then opened the second letter and began to read it. He found it was from Padma and Parvati's father, Pacha Patil. He was mildly surprised to find that Padma would be moving into the Private Quarters on Sunday evening. He wondered if Mr. Patil had written to Professor McGonagall about it. He decided to speak to her about it when she spoke to him next.

He set down the letters and picked up the latest edition of Daily Prophet. As he unfolded the newspaper, the first thing he saw was the excessively large moving picture of Albus Dumbledore. He looked emotionless, his eyes glancing to the side, instead of at the camera, and his wrists were bound in magic-binding shackles and resting at his midriff. Madam Bones and Auror Moody were on either side of him. On the outer edges of the picture, there were on-lookers with shocked expressions on their faces as they watched him being escorted in shackles.

Above the picture, the large heading in big, bold letters read:

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE ARRESTED! SACKED AS HEADMASTER?
TRIAL ON SATURDAY IN FRONT OF ENTIRE WIZENGAMOT!

Harry glanced down below the large image of Dumbledore, and began to read the article.

– Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet Journalist.

Hours before Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge would host
a New Year's Eve Party in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic,
a shocking scene was witnessed by hundreds of workers and
visitors!

Albus Dumbledore was marched through the Atrium, with
his wrists held together by magic-blocking shackles.
He was being escorted by Madam Amelia Bones, Head of

the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and Alastor
"Mad-Eye" Moody, one of the most famous Aurors in his
Department, and an old friend of the coined Leader of the
Light. Both are assumed to be responsible for arresting the
Headmaster of Hogwarts.

But does Albus Dumbledore still hold the title of the
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
A source inside the Ministry tells this journalist that the
School Governors are scheduled to meet with Minerva
McGonagall, to decide whether the Deputy Headmistress
will be promoted to the Headmistress of the prestigious school.
The source confirms that the decision will be made before
term resumes on Sunday evening.

Little is known at this moment about Albus Dumbledore's
arrest, nor the charges that he has been accused of. It would
appear that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is
keeping that information locked up tight until Dumbledore's
trial, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday in front
of the entire Wizengamot.

Severus Snape, former (?) Potions Master of Hogwarts, and
"former" Death Eater, whom Dumbledore was known to have
placed his "complete trust" in, was also arrested on New
Year's Eve. It is unknown what Snape has been arrested for,
nor if his arrest is connected to Albus Dumbledore's.

Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge refused to comment to this
reporter, until after Albus Dumbledore's trial was all said and
done. It is well- known that Albus Dumbledore is considered
Fudge's "unofficial advisor", as well as a good friend.

Expect a full story of Albus Dumbledore's trial in the Sunday
edition of the Daily Prophet, written by yours truly!

Harry raised his eyebrows as he finished the article. There wasn't a single mention of his name in the article, and he was mildly surprised at that. He knew that would likely change after Dumbledore's trial. Even if Dumbledore was somehow found innocent of the charges, his name would still come up in the trial, and there was no reason why it wouldn't come up in the Daily Prophet articles that followed.

The one thing in the article that surprised Harry was that Snape had been arrested. He had his suspicions about Snape being one of Voldemort's supporters, "former" or not, so he wasn't too surprised about that. But he had heard nothing from anyone about Snape being arrested. Harry eyed the phrase 'former Potions Master', and cheered a little inside. There was a question mark next to 'former', so either that meant the journalist didn't know if Snape hadn't been sacked, or if it was still being decided. Either way, it made Harry feel very good inside to know that may never have to deal with Snape again, especially if Snape was sentenced to Azkaban. The greasy-haired git would never harass him or his friends again.

At that moment, Hermione returned to the Common Room, fully dressed in her school-robe outfit. He couldn't believe he never noticed how attractive she looked in her skirt. He noticed that her tail was sticking out the top of the back of her skirt, waving casually.

"I see you've found a way to suit your new lifestyle with your school outfit," Harry said, smiling.

"Yeah," Hermione said, grinning, "I look like a student still, even with some new additions. It will help me deal with all the worries I have about going out amongst the students and staff again. Ooh, breakfast!"

Harry had almost forgotten breakfast was there. He had been so preoccupied with the letters and Daily Prophet. He took a plate of food and started eating, as Hermione sat down in one of the chairs, and began eating.

"I must ask you why you're wearing so much, however," Harry said, with a smile, "It will just be more I have to remove from you if you go into heat."

"I think my first experience of being 'in heat' is over, Harry," Hermione said.

"Really?" Harry asked, frowning.

"Don't sound so disappointed," Hermione said, rolling her eyes, "We don't need to stop having sex just because I'm not in heat. I told you that already, remember?"

"I remember," Harry said.

"You're still discouraged from your performance last night, aren't you?" Hermione asked, "Oh, Harry. It was very nice. It really did feel like our first time, but without the inevitable discomfort. It's supposed to be awkward and quick. Especially since we're so young. We'll learn together. Alright?"

"I just don't want to disappoint you," Harry said, frowning, "Or leave you unsatisfied."

"I was very satisfied last night," Hermione said, "Because for the first time, I was taking part in it. We were together, not you and the Neko, but you and me. It was the best night of my life up to this point. And you'll never disappoint me, Harry. Ever."

Harry smiled, feeling better. "Thanks."

Hermione smiled and eyed the various pieces of parchment on the table.

"More letters?" she asked.

"Yeah," Harry said, nodding, "The first was a memo from Dora. Professor McGonagall will be busy much of the day – though I think she wants to speak to us sometime today. She won't be able to host another Metamorph lesson today, and I've already missed a couple. So she told Dora to teach me on her own. Dora wrote to me, inviting me to her Quarters at nine this morning. She's invited you along."

Hermione grinned and wagged her tail, happily. "I'll be happy to join you! I've been hoping I'd get to watch your lessons."

Harry smiled. "I also received two letters. The first was from Ragnok. He says that my parents' and grandparents' portraits are not in the Potter Family Vault, but he believes they may be in Potter Manor in Northampton. I hope so. I hope they weren't destroyed in Godric's Hollow."

Hermione frowned, but had no response for him. So he continued.

"Padma and Parvati's father wrote to me again," Harry said, "He announced that Padma will be moving in here on Sunday, and will remain living with me – us – for the remainder of her education."

"Sunday?" Hermione asked, "Wow. I didn't expect it to happen so soon."

"Me either," Harry said. "I'll need to talk to Professor McGonagall about it. As you can see, we also got today's Daily Prophet. Apparently it was complimentary, and for good reason. I've only read the front page article, but learned plenty."

Harry tossed the Daily Prophet over to her, and watched as she looked at the whole front page. Her yellow eyes widened as she read through the article. Harry continued eating as he watched Hermione read.

"Only really new bit of information we didn't know is that Snape was arrested," Hermione said, "And that he might not be the Potions Master anymore. Well, he won't be if he's charged with whatever crimes he was arrested for. I'm sure it has something to do with him brewing those Loyalty Potions that were used on the staff members."

"You're not surprised it mentioned he's a Death Eater?" Harry asked.

"I had my suspicions," Hermione said, shrugging, "I'm sure Snape either turned his back on the Death Eaters and Voldemort -"

"- or made Dumbledore believe he did," Harry said.

"Yes," Hermione said, "Either way, whatever happened, Dumbledore seems to have put his trust into Snape. And whatever Snape was doing for him, it had to be important. Snape is good at brewing Potions, but he's a horrible Professor. Dumbledore would have sacked him years ago, if he didn't need Snape for whatever reason."

"Like brewing illegal Potions," Harry muttered darkly. "So that Dumbledore can use them on people."

"Exactly," Hermione said, grimacing.

"Well, it appears we won't have to deal with Dumbledore or Snape anymore," Harry said, "I'm very much looking forward to the start of term."

"Yes, especially if Professor McGonagall becomes Headmistress," Hermione said, "I wouldn't be surprised if she makes a few changes in Hogwarts, regarding rules."

"Perhaps we can suggest a few," Harry said.

Hermione smiled and nodded. During breakfast, they discussed possible suggestions for new rules and guidelines that McGonagall might accept. After Harry finished his breakfast, he took a shower then dressed into his school robes. He then collected the winter outfit that Rose had bought, in case Dora wanted him to change into his feminine form.

At ten-til nine, Harry and Hermione left their Private Quarters. As they headed toward Dora's Quarters, they saw Professor McGonagall heading in their direction.

"Ah, Mr. Potter, Miss Granger," McGonagall said, "Heading to Miss Tonks' Quarters?"

"Yes, ma'am," Harry said.

"Excellent," McGonagall said, "We can talk inside."

When they reached the griffin in front of Dora's Quarters, Harry gave the password ("Nemo!") and led Hermione and McGonagall inside. Dora was sitting in one of the chairs in the Quarter's Common Room.

"Wotcher, everyone!" Dora said, "Come on in."

"I hope you don't mind me interrupting your planned lesson today, Miss Tonks," McGonagall said, "I'll be very brief, as I am expected on the Grounds shortly to meet the Ministry reps once again."

"I don't mind at all," Dora said, "Actually, I was hoping to speak to you. I wrote to my mother about your request, and I am happy to say she has accepted! She says she is planning to attend Dumbledore's trial tomorrow, but after the trial is done, she can come here tomorrow to meet with you."

"I'll be attending the trial myself," McGonagall said, "So I can find her there afterward. It appears I'm going to be very busy within the next couple of days. I am meeting with the School Governors tomorrow as well to discuss whether or not I'll be Headmistress."

"What's going on?" Harry asked.

"Did you read the Daily Prophet today?" McGonagall asked, "I did give a copy to Sasha to give you. If you have, then I'll assume you read about Severus Snape's arrest?"

"Yes," Harry said, nodding.

"He turned himself over the Ministry's custody yesterday," McGonagall said, "And resigned from his post shortly afterward. During a staff meeting last night, Miss Tonks' mother, Andromeda, was suggested as a possible candidate for the Potions post, so I asked Miss Tonks to contact her mother. It appears she has accepted. Also, if I become Headmistress – which is highly likely – then the Transfiguration Post will be open. I have contacted one of your parents' old friends about him possibly accepting the role, and I am waiting for his reply."

"If that doesn't work out," Dora said, "Perhaps I could substitute, until you find a worthy candidate?"

"I was under the impression you wanted to be an Auror, Miss Tonks," McGonagall said.

"It is an option, but being a Professor was another option," Dora said.

"Well, I'll take it under consideration," McGonagall said, "You were one of the best students in your year in Transfiguration, and you had very good NEWT results. I'll let you know what happens by Sunday."

"Alright," Dora said.

"The reason I asked Dora to host your lessons today, Harry," McGonagall said, "is that I will be very busy myself. Like I told the students during breakfast, I am hosting several representatives from the Ministry today. The Unspeakables, and possibly some Aurors, will soon be here to go into the Chamber of Secrets, and deal with the Basilisk. Aside from that, there is also another operation that the Aurors will be undertaking. I've learned recently there is a dangerous colony of Acromantula in the Forbidden Forest. There is a chance that they could attack the castle."

Hermione gasped, as her ears flattened, and her tail drooped. "How many are in this colony?"

"It is unknown," McGonagall asked. "Aurors, and representatives from the Beasts Division will be here to exterminate the threat from the Forest."

"You mean they'll kill the Acromantulas?" Hermione asked, "Why can't they Stun them and move them elsewhere?"

"I'm sure you know that Acromantulas are a dangerous species," McGonagall said, "If the Ministry reps even attempted to stun one of Acromantula, the rest would attack them. Killing them is the only choice. However, they won't kill the whole colony, only the threat."

"Well, I wish them the best of luck," Harry said, "I assume you spoke to the students who are still here about Dumbledore and Snape?"

"Yes, at breakfast," McGonagall said, "By then, they had read the Daily Prophet, and learned about the arrests, and the 'rumors' that I would soon be Headmistress. I confirmed all of it, and told them there was a good chance I'd be Headmistress before the term begins. As you can imagine, there was a lot of questions and unhappy students."

"I imagine the Slytherins who remained here weren't at all happy about Snape," Harry said.

"That's an understatement," McGonagall said, "They wanted to know why he had been arrested. They were even less happy when I told them I couldn't reveal anything about either Snape nor Dumbledore until after the trials finished. Both Dumbledore and Snape's trials will take place tomorrow."

"How did the staff members take it?" Hermione asked.

"They were all pretty shocked," McGonagall said. "Of course, several of them are angry with both of them, It turned out that several of the Professors were victims of Loyalty Potions keyed to both Dumbledore and Snape."

"Why Snape?" Harry asked.

"Because Dumbledore didn't want any Professors complaining to him about Snape for his – ahem – behavior," McGonagall said.

"So that is why Snape was never fired," Harry said, "He might be good at brewing Potions, but he was a horrible Professor, and he was biased toward the Slytherins."

"Yes," McGonagall said, "I have a bad feeling that anyone who complained about Snape were promptly Obliviated or Compelled to not do anything about him."

She sighed, her nostrils flaring.

"Professor?" Hermione asked, "Er... if you become Headmistress, what are you going to do about certain rules and guidelines around Hogwarts? Bullying, insults, name-calling... I noticed a lack of punishment for all of it."

"That was because of Dumbledore," McGonagall said, with a frown, "That all changes when I become Headmistress. I will be giving a long speech about new rules and guidelines on Sunday evening if I become Headmistress."

Harry decided he wouldn't talk to her about his and Hermione's suggestions for rules and guidelines until he heard her planned speech. Hermione didn't voice the suggestions either, so she must have been thinking the same thing.

"Lastly," McGonagall said, "During the staff meeting, I told the staff about your new lifestyle, Hermione. I told them nothing about why you and Harry are in Private Quarters, but they know you're in those Quarters."

Hermione's ears and tail drooped. "How did they take it?"

"They were rather shocked," McGonagall said, "But none of them had issues with you being a student in their classes."

Hermione's tail wagged, happily. "Good. What will happen about the students and … well... me?"

"Well, unfortunately the students will see you in the Great Hall on Sunday evening before I begin my speech," McGonagall said, "But during my speech, I'll tell them about you, and I promise to be very delicate about it. They won't know anything private about you, but I will tell them that bullying you about your new lifestyle will have repercussions."

"Thank you, ma'am," Hermione said.

"You're very welcome," McGonagall said, "If I may ask, how have you been with your... 'in heat' predicament."

"I think it stopped last night," Hermione said, grinning. "But – um – well, it will take some time to get used to. But it wasn't too bad."

"Good," McGonagall said. "I believe that is all I wished to discuss with you. Do you have any questions?"

"How are Colin and Justin?" Harry asked.

"They woke up yesterday," McGonagall said; smiling when Harry and Hermione grinned at that news, "They'll remain in the Hospital Wing until Sunday evening, then they'll join the students again."

"Good," Harry said, "Perhaps I should visit them."

"I'm not exactly sure that is a good idea, Harry," McGonagall said, "While Mr. Creevey doesn't have any ill will toward you, Mr. Finch-Fletchley believes you are the one who attacked him. The real culprit should be discovered soon, but until that happens -"

"I shouldn't get too close to Justin," Harry said, nodding. "Alright. Um... has Padma Patil's father contacted you?"

"Oh, I knew I had forgotten something," McGonagall said. "Yes, I received a letter from him this morning. He has requested that his daughter – your Betrothed – Padma joins you in your Private Quarters as soon as Sunday evening."

"Yeah," Harry said, "I received the same message."

"Are you okay with that?" McGonagall asked.

"Padma can join us, yes," Harry said, "Er... will a new bedroom be created in the Private Quarters?"

"Up to seven bedrooms can be placed into your Private Quarters," McGonagall said, "So you don't have to worry about that. I will inform Professor Flitwick about Miss Patil's new status, and I will write to Mr. Patil and tell him that his request has been accepted. Any more questions?"

Harry shook his head, and Hermione did too.

"Very well," McGonagall said, "Consider Miss Tonks your host for the rest of your lessons. I'm afraid I will be too busy. However, you should probably expect a pop quiz about everything you're learning in the near future, just so I know how you've done. I'll make it a bonus grade for Transfiguration."

"I look forward to it," Harry said.

McGonagall smiled softly, said farewell to Harry, Hermione and Dora, then left the Quarters.

"Well, if there's going to be a pop quiz, I suppose, we need to get started," Dora said, "I assume you're here, Hermione, to be a spectator?"

"Yes, I am so interested in seeing what happens," Hermione said.

"Well, then sit down, Hermione," Dora said, "And Harry and I can begin."

Hermione kissed Harry on the cheek, then walked over to one of the chairs and sat down.

"I see you brought one of your feminine outfits," Dora said, "Good. Because you'll be in your feminine form for part of our lesson. Are you comfortable enough with Morphing into your feminine form in front of me?"

Harry blushed, but nodded.

"Good," Dora said, "You'll only have to do it once. I just want to see if there's any advice I need to give you about it. We'll begin with a recap of what you've been taught already..."

I decided to end it there, because I'm not sure what I want to do with the lesson. Just know that the lesson will be a background off-scene thing during the events of the next chapter.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Cat-Girls And Metamorphs 4557 0 0 2. Of Nekos 4410 0 0 3. Albus Dumbledore 4490 0 0 4. Miss Potter? 3366 0 0 5. Rose 5091 0 0 6. The Cat's Out Of The Bag 4620 0 0 7. The Truth Will Out 5134 0 0 8. Nymphadora Tonks 5367 0 0 9. The Marauder's Map 4271 0 0 10. The Grangers 6096 0 0 11. Keeper Ragnok 4810 0 0 12. Rose Goes Shopping 4248 0 0 13. Heat 6518 0 0 14. Free At Last! 4452 0 0 15. Amelia Bones 3583 0 0 16. Scars, Letters And Orders 2926 0 0 17. The Investigation: Hagrid and Dumbledore 4458 0 0 18. The Investigation: Harry and Hermione 5305 0 0 19. The Investigation: Myrtle and Snape 3585 0 0 20. Meetings 6612 0 0 21. Happy New Year! 5693 0 0 22. Interlude: Padma and Parvati Patil 1842 0 0 23. A Brand New Year 3588 0 0 24. The Hunt 6782 0 0 25. Sirius Black Vs The Wizengamot 7280 0 0 26. Albus Dumbledore Vs Wizengamot, Part 1 4601 0 0 27. Albus Dumbledore Vs Wizengamot, Part 2 3533 0 0 28. The School Governors 7624 0 0 29. A Sirius Conversation 4560 0 0 30. The Marauders Return To Hogwarts 5000 0 0 31. Harry Meets The Marauders 7318 0 0 32. Appointments And Meetings 5884 0 0 33. Before The Feast 5573 0 0 34. The Start-of-Term Feast, Year 2 6414 0 0 35. Questions, Answers, And More Questions 7274 0 0 36. Classes and Conversations 9187 0 0 37. Arrests And Interrogations 4352 0 0 38. Breaking The Ice, Part 1 3878 0 0 39. Breaking The Ice, Part 2 6889 0 0