“I want to become an animagus!” Was the first thing the Doctor told River when she plopped down next to her in the library that morning. River was already so used to these outbursts from her friend that she merely raised an eyebrow at the blonde, leaving the parchment she was reading on the table so she could focus on the Doctor.
“First of all, hello.” She said. “Secondly, there’s no way in hell you would be able to stay a month without chatting like you do, you even told me this.”
“I know!” The Doctor whined. “But I want to try again.”
“Why?” River raised an eyebrow at her.
“I like the idea of us being animal pals together.” She beamed at River and the Slytherin girl rolled her eyes.
“You could just become a furry, it’s probably easier.” She said, picking up her parchment and quill again.
“Oh c’mon River! You know how to do it, help me out!” The Doctor whined again, grabbing her arm so she would focus on her again.
“I will, if you tell me the real reason why you want to become an animagus.” The Slytherin girl said, staring at her friend again. The Doctor sighed and nodded.
“I want to see which form I would be in case someone’s patronus it’s actually me.” She whispered softly, looking a bit vulnerable.
“Do you really believe in that myth?” River asked. The Doctor didn’t look like someone who believed in unfounded things, she looked more like the type to believe scientific facts and throughout investigated magic lore. Not myths. And definitely not myths about soul mates.
They had not talked about their infamous kiss in the prefect’s bathroom. Honestly, River tried to be away from the Doctor for a while but she wasn’t able to. The Doctor was the first true friend she made at Hogwarts even after all those years and she didn’t want to screw that up. She enjoyed their talks and jokes, and how the Doctor always blushed at her innuendos and flirts. The Doctor was the first person at Hogwarts that she didn’t want to push away but rather she wanted to hold on for as long as the girl would have her. The kiss complicated things a lot. So River was basically ignoring the fact that it ever happened. She put in on the fact that they had been wet and mostly naked so it was probably hormones, nothing more. As much as she told this to herself over and over, she still caught herself thinking about it in her bed in the middle of the night. She thought about the Doctor’s lips moving against hers, her warm body pressed against her naked one and the Doctor hands on her waist and hair. Sometimes River caught herself staring fondly at the blonde as she blabbed about something and had to physically shake her head at the cheesy feelings it provoked in her.
“Nothing proved me otherwise so far.” She shrugged, looking deceivably innocent. River squinted at her.
“Are you ever going to tell me your patronus?” She asked crossing her arms.
“I’ll show you mine when you show me yours.” She winked and River rolled her eyes. “Are you going to help me?
“Do I have any choice?” She asked in an annoyed tone of voice but her smile deceived the purpose.
“Nope!” The Doctor said smiling back at her.
“I feel like I need to warn you about how difficult, dangerous and slow the process is.” River said seriously. “Just because I did it once doesn’t mean I’m an expert at it, are you sure?”
The Doctor smiled softly at her and grabbed her hand on top of the table. “I’m sure. I want to do this with you and only you. I trust you with my life, River.”
River blushed but cleared her throat awkwardly right after. “You’re not the most patient person in the world.”
“It will be worth the wait.” And somehow River was sure she wasn’t talking about becoming an Animagus.
The process was slow and terrible. The Doctor placed the mandrake leaf in her mouth a day after she came to River which meant she had to stay mostly silent for a whole month. It was torture for her although she still could communicate via writing. But River missed her voice so much! She missed her accent and her babbling about scientific and magical facts. She missed their little chats and the Doctor’s input in some subject during class. River didn’t know she was going to miss her voice so much but she did, immensely and apparently she wasn’t the only one.
River was lounging in the Slytherin common room, reading on all the steps of the Animagus potion, process and incantation again when she was approached by no one other than Missy, the self-proclaimed Queen of the Slytherin House. If anyone at Hogwarts was intimidated and feared by River, it didn’t even came close to what they felt about Missy. She was short, shorter than River, and had striking blue eyes and beautiful brown hair that was always pulled up in a high ponytail. She was the typically sarcastic mean girl that was also quite smart and brilliant. And she also was known as the Doctor’s best friend, if one could believe that such a bubbly hufflepuff could be friends with that sullen slytherin. But the Doctor was friends with River as well so it wasn’t that farfetched. Missy usually didn’t acknowledge that she was the Doctor’s best friend but everyone knew that she was, at least until River popped up in the Doctor’s life.
“Song!” She called out, causing River to turn around on the couch to see who was calling her. “What did you do with that idiot?”
River, of course, knew about whom she was talking about but it never hurt to play dumb when it convened her. “Which idiot?”
“You know who.” She said making her way around the couch so she could stare daggers at the blonde menace in front of her. Missy admitted that she was a rather jealous friend but she didn’t dislike River per see, she just pretended she did. She was cautious about the blonde breaking her best friend’s heart and she didn’t like how much time they spent together but that was about it. She thought River was acceptable, considering. She was a fellow Slytherin so she was smart, cunning, ambitious and all the other house traits. Missy couldn’t deny that the girl was beautiful and that her airhead friend had excellent taste in women. “Don’t play dumb, it’s not a good look on you.”
“Oh, Missy.” River said in a condescending tone. “You’re always a charmer.” She huffed and got up from the couch so she could look at Missy from above. “I didn’t do anything to her.”
“Then why is she so quiet?” Missy also crossed her arms, looking defiantly at River’s face. “That one can’t stay silent to save her life, trust me I know.”
River hesitated for a moment in telling her the truth. She knew the girl was the Doctor’s best friend but being an animagus was dangerous if you were unregistered and River didn’t trust Missy that much. Yeah, she was the Doctor’s best friend but she also could be a little back stabbing if it meant she would come up on top, even at her friend’s expense. Or so she heard. “I think she is trying a new Buddhist technique.” She lied easily.
Missy raised an eyebrow, not knowing if she should believe River or not. It wasn’t that hard to believe in the lie, since the Doctor was notorious for trying new things and changing hobbies and ideas in a heartbeat. In the end Missy shrugged. “Since she started hanging out with you she seems more into this mudblood stuff.” River clenched her fingers hard at the derogatory word. Missy was a pureblood, just like the Doctor, but differently from her friend the Slytherin despised muggles with every fiber of her being. River being a muggleborn was usually frowned upon by the brunette. Whenever Missy made a discriminatory remark the Doctor always stood up for what she believed in, defended her point of view and why she thought Missy was completely wrong, even going as fighting her friend if she didn’t understand why she was so mad at the remark. The Doctor always tried to stick some good sense into her and River actually noticed a change for the better in the last few months, but she wasn’t quite there yet. “You two have been spending an awful lot of time together…” She said, yanking River out of her thoughts.
River raised an eyebrow of her own. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Missy smirked, that evil little smile of hers. “Oh, nothing. Just that you are quite joined at the hip lately.”
“Are you jealous, Missy?” River teased, with an evil smirk of her own.
The girl huffed. “Of you? Please! I know that weird idiot since she was born. We’re no match for each other, I would always win.” She smiled, still looking malicious, but again that was Missy’s usual expression. “Take care, River.” She said, seemingly innocent as she walked away swinging her hips. “The Doctor is known for being a heartbreaker, she is usually too brilliant to fall in love with someone ordinary.” With that she was gone and River dropped her body to the couch with a sigh, feeling all fight leave her body. No matter how cruel Missy’s words were, she knew she was right. River didn’t stand a chance.
The month dragged slowly and steadily, like the time was slurring on purpose. River had all the ingredients at hand, but the process could take a lot more time until they had a lightning storm. River wasn’t that fond of meteorology but as the last week of the month came, she became obsessed in checking the weather to see if a lightning storm was brewing. Luckily they were in Scotland where rain was a normalcy. As the months passed River could see the Doctor becoming more and more apathic and she was incredibly concerned. For her, it was a blessing staying one month mostly silent but for the Doctor it was torture. But when River saw the Doctor on the last day, she was beaming and River realized how much she missed and loved that smile. Love, River’s heart skipped a beat on the word. River wasn’t used to loving. She loved her parents of course but that was about it. She never understood the concept of fraternal and romantic love. So thinking about loving something attached to the Doctor was new and completely terrifying.
“You look pensive.” A deep voice said beside her, causing her to startle slightly. As River looked at whoever had interrupted her thoughts, she came face to face with Jack’s mirthful blue eyes and his charming smile. Jack Harkness was the only person River considered a good acquaintance before she had met the Doctor. The Gryffindor loved sex and flirting as much as she did so they had hit it off quite from the start. They had a casual relationship for a while, nothing serious where they just met to have fun, no strings attached. River realized she hadn’t talked to him since that night in the Astronomy Tower when she met the Doctor.
“Jack. Hi.” She said, trying not to appear too awkward. Jack smiled easily at her and sat beside her on the bench she had been pondering. “Wanna talk?”
“Not particularly.” She shrugged. “Sorry I’ve been ignoring you lately.”
He was still smiling. “No offense taken, I know how love can be all consuming sometimes.”
If River had a drink right now she would have spat it. Jack didn’t acknowledge the surprised expression on her face. “When you disappeared and appeared with the cute little hufflepuff blonde, I figured our deal was off. No hard feelings. You two are cute together, honestly.”
“We aren’t together.” She whispered frantically. Jack didn’t look impressed.
“Really? Doesn’t look like it. The whole school knows you’re a couple.”
“But you should be.” He said with finality. “Look, maybe you don’t want to hear this from someone you used to sleep with but I’m kinda your only friend besides her.” River had never seen Jack looking serious before in the time she knew him but he was now. “You two look at each other like the other hung the moon, it’s clear for everyone that some kind of feeling exists and its mutual.” Then he smirked and all the serious aura drained off of him. “Think about it, ok?’ He said getting up. “If you two ever want to have a threesome, you know who to call.” With a little saucy wink he was gone, sauntering away like he hadn’t just turned River world from the inside out.
At the end of the day River and the Doctor met at the Astronomy Tower where the mandrake leave would finally be taken out of the Doctor’s mouth since the full moon was in full bloom in the sky and not a single cloud was in sight, fortunately. The Doctor would never be able to start over if the night was cloudy. As the Doctor spat the leaf in the moon, struck vial she exhaled in relief. “That was the worse month of my life.” She said and River felt herself sighing at the sound of her voice. She had missed that Yorkshire accent terribly. The Doctor kept blabbing away even as River pulled a hair from her head and added the silver spoon of dew that had not seen sunlight or been touched by human feet for seven days and the chrysalis of a Death's-head Hawk Moth to the vial.
“The mixture must be put in a quiet, dark place and cannot be in any way disturbed, understand?” River asked, interrupting the Doctor’s incessant yapping as she handed over the vial to her. Their hands touched briefly and River felt a current of electricity going through her body, ccausing her to shiver.
“I understand, River.” She said with the softest of smiles. “Thank you for doing all of this for me.”
“It’s not over yet.” She remembered. “You still have to wait for an electrical storm, whenever that might be. And during this waiting period you must, at sunrise and sundown without fail, chant the incantation Amato Animo Animato Animagus with the tip of your wand placed over your heart. When, at last, there is a lightning storm, you ought to move immediately to a large and secure place, recite the incantation one final time, and then drink the potion. If you forget any of this, it won’t work or it’ll work partially and you’ll be forever marred.” She warned.
“I can’t wait to be just like you.” The Doctor whispered, still smiling at her. River then realized that the Doctor did look at her like she hung the moon, just like Jack had said.
“You don’t want to be like me, trust me.” River whispered back, looking down at her hands.
The Doctor placed her unoccupied hand under River’s chin and raised it softly. “River, you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met. You should know this.” The Slytherin blushed, despite herself. “You’re smart, cunning, sly, stunningly gorgeous, funny and much more. I’m only gaining if I’m even a little bit like you.” She smiled.
“You should go and wait for that lightning storm.” Was the only thing that River managed to say and she tried not to wince at the Doctor’s disappointed face.
“Okay.” She dropped her hand from River’s face and took hold of one of hers for a second, squeezing it before she left River alone with her roaring thoughts.
It was another month and a half later when Hogwarts was plagued with an lightning storm. River ran to find the Doctor as soon as she heard the first thunder and dragged her and the vial to the Astronomy Tower. There, the Doctor recited the incantation for the last time and drank the potion. Nothing happened for a second before she dropped to her knees and groaned in pain.
“It’s working!” River said excitedly as she cradled her friend’s head in her lap.
“It’s awful!” The Doctor groaned, holding her tummy as fire seemed to lick at her every limb.
“I know, but it gets better afterwards with a little practice.” River reassured her.
The Doctor wasn’t able to say anything else before she was turning into her Animagus form, causing River to gasp.
“You’re beautiful.” She gasped out, reaching to stroke her newly transformed friend. Then she snorted. “And somehow that is not surprising at all.”