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Killian Dracel

The Animal Within

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Killian Dracel

Post One of Five || 1094

 

Killian was still in a fuzz. The letter he’d received from the Ministry of Magic was more wrinkled than he’d intended, but he couldn’t help but read it at night before bed, and again in the morning before he started classes. This letter was one of the most important things in his life, and he couldn’t believe that the Ministry of Magic saw potential in him. Him! A little half-blood wizard who had been so close to never having a magical education. The possibility of changing into an animal excited him beyond words. He’d dreamt about it for years now, and desired something to set him apart above all else. 

 

He carried the official letter everywhere he went. Showed it to his girlfriend every chance he got. Generally, he didn’t shut up about it and felt like he was on cloud 9. That feeling wasn’t going to vanish anytime soon, though he had mastered the Vanishing Spell in Transfiguration class. 

 

All this success was owed to one man, he felt. Himself. Okay, that wasn’t true. It was all due to Professor Knaggs who believed in him when others thought he had nothing to offer the world. Others had given up on him, called him entitled and so on, but he had earned every scrap of respect he had. Professor Knaggs saw his potential. Even Professor Bourdelle had given him an opportunity early on to prove himself a capable young man with a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to apply it. From a Research Assistant to the History of Magic Professor to the Teaching Assistant of the Transfiguration Professor, he had a lot to offer, and the wizarding world was going to be taken by storm once he was off Hogwarts’ leash.

 

It was Saturday, and the sun was shining on this glorious day. There were no classes for him to attend, and though he ought to be Patrolling and correcting any wrong doing in the castle, he couldn’t focus on that. He’d turn in his badge if he thought it would make a difference, but even Everly wasn’t there anymore to take it over for him. His best mate surely would’ve appreciated the chance to telf off some first years. That left… ew. Maggie Sinclair, and there was no way he was going to relinquish his badge to her, so she could turn around and bite his hand off.

 

No. The badge was safer with him, even when he was distracted. 

 

He was in his PJs still (pants and a t-shirt) when he went down to the common room, stifling a yawn. “Hey Dam,” he said, noticing her on the chair by the fireplace. He kissed the crown of her head, and yawned again. “I’m going to head to the owlery and I’ll meet you at the library?”

 

Yes, she had been roped into helping him research, and delve even deeper into the knowledge he required to become an animal at will. The Hogwarts library had the texts in the restricted section, and like a boss, he had permission to go in there and soak in the knowledge. But first, he had other business to take care of, and even though he was still in his PJs, it was good enough to be seen in public. He put his shoes on.

 

What about breakfast?! Damaris called after him. 

 

Oh. Right. Breakfast. Suppose he needed sustenance for a long day in the library. “Fine. Great Hall, then library,” he said impatiently. “See you after.”

 

After what? She shouted after him again, but he had already exited the common room.

 

---------

 

Killian had arrived in the Owlery in the West Tower on the grounds. The place was utterly disgusting, filled with owl droppings. He pulled out his wand, and did everyone the favor of Scourgifying the place so no one else would have to, with or without magic. Fortunately for him, he didn’t need to spend a minute longer in there than he had to, because there was nothing he could do about the smell, other than placing the bubblehead charm upon himself. 

 

He found his falcon, Brutus, and summoned him over. “Hey, boy,” he said, peering at the creature with admiration. “I hope I’ll be able to fly just like you.” Brutus made a sound, which he suspected was one of approval. Smart, smart bird. “Take this to Professor Knaggs,” he instructed, placing the scroll in the bird’s clutches. “And be nice to him. No biting. I don’t want you coming back to me transfigured into a pigeon.”

 

To Professor Knaggs,

 

I’m sad to see you’re not at Hogwarts this year. I doubt this new Professor can hold a candle to your teaching methods. I won’t even bother approaching him to be a teaching assistant. He looks like a tool, if you know what I mean.

 

Anyway, I hope this letter finds you well. I just wanted to write and say thank you for all your coaching and feedback. It paid off. My application to the Ministry of Magic to become an animagus has finally been approved! After all the dealings with the werewolves, I was beginning to worry that my hard work had been buried under stacks of irrelevant paperwork. But… I did it! I actually did it. 

 

I know that this would not have been possible without you, and I just wanted to thank you for taking the chance on me, and imparting your experience and wisdom. You have been a great mentor, and I hope that you will continue to be my mentor going forward. I hope when we meet next, I will be able to share with you my animagus form. 

 

Admittedly, I am scared. As much as I hoped I would receive this honor, I am terrified of failing. There would be nothing more embarrassing. I can’t go through that humiliation. So, I am going to work harder than ever to make sure I don’t fail. Everything else be damned.

 

Killian

 

Sending his bird off, he went to eat breakfast, and eventually ended up in the library still wearing his PJs, because they were comfortable. There was a stack of books on the table in front of them, several opened to pages with various animals on them. Others with the intricate details of how one would take on the animagus form. 

 

“I wonder if you’re even supposed to be reading these,” he said to Damaris. “I had to promise not to teach anyone else how to become an animagus without express permission from the Ministry, which would likely never happen.”

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Damaris Denton

Ever since Killian had received his owl from the ministry, he had seemed distracted. Then again, maybe it was just that he had redirected his focus into completing this new goal. Killian had been ambitious and determined the entire time that she'd known him, but getting his acceptance back from the ministry had lit a fire under him. It made sense--it wasn't every day that the ministry granted approval for something like becoming an animagus.

 

She wasn't sure where he'd gone to after breakfast (part of her thought that he might have snuck back to the common room to re-read the acceptance letter from the ministry for the 900th time). Instead of following him, she instead went straight to the library like they'd planned, gathering up a stack of books for research. Since the year before, she'd actually become fairly accustomed to the library and had a few ideas of where to go to get some books that might help Killian as he started working on his goal of becoming an animagus. 

 

As she laid out each of them, she peered down at the intricate diagrams, furrowing her brow as she took in the minute details. It was amazing to think that magic could lead someone to literally become another species. It was the type of advanced transfiguration that she could really only theorize about. She'd scraped by with a decent mark on her OWL, but she definitely couldn't do something as complicated as change species.

 

When Killian rejoined her, she raised an eyebrow at his remark. "Transfiguration has always been my worst subject--do you really think I could pick up how to be an animagus just from reading those letters?" Killian had helped her so much through the years, and while she wasn't at the top of her year, she had definitely markedly improved from her first year when it seemed like every spell she tried went horribly and hilariously wrong. "You're amazing at so many things Kill, but there's no way you could teach me how to be an animagus, especially by accident." 

 

She looked back down at the books. "So....how do you start this? What did the ministry say you're supposed to do? Do you just pick one and then turn into it?" 

 

WC: 380 

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Killian Dracel

Post Two of Five || 314

 

There his girlfriend went, putting herself down in front of him. He leaned over to kiss her temple. “Dam, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. You’re a talented witch, and if you were to apply yourself to something like this,” he said, gesturing to the Animagus texts, “then I know you would see it through to the end.” 

 

The end, to which he still had no idea. He knew it was a lengthy process, that there would be setbacks here and there and challenges gallore. Thinking about it often made him queasy, but he was confident in his ability to see it through to the end. “You could do it if you wanted to, I’m sure.” But, he knew his girlfriend. Her drive had limits, and doing this was beyond them, especially when she would rather be in the dueling chamber. 

 

“I know you’d rather be anywhere but here,” he said, not entirely insensitive to her needs. She often dragged him away from his texts on darker magic to take him to the dueling chamber and show him a new spell she had learned. Which, he could have shown her himself, if the dueling chamber was his focus. 

 

It wasn’t.

 

Even as he said the words, and gave her the opportunity to leave just then, he flipped open one of the books titled: The Animal Within. The first few chapters appeared to have a fair bit of information he already knew. Finally, he arrived at a chapter with information he hadn’t read about before. “Hey, check this out,” he said. “Supposedly, I have to…. Oh.


Killian wrinkled his nose. “How would it look if I retracted my application?” he asked his girlfriend from the corner of his mouth. “A whole month? I have to… ‘hold the leaf of a mandrake in my mouth for an entire month’,” he winced.

Edited by Killian Dracel

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Damaris Denton

 

Damaris smiled when Killian planted a kiss on her forehead. “I know, I know,” she murmured. She knew that she was definitely more talented and adept at magic than she’d been when she started Hogwarts. But even still, Transfiguration had remained a challenging subject. Sure, she probably could become an animagus if she put the effort into it, but she was certain that it would have taken her significantly more effort than it would take Killian to be able to achieve his goal.

 

She smiled softly when he said that he knew that she would have rather been anywhere else. “I don’t mind helping,” she murmured, looking down at the pages that were set out in front of them. “Besides, if there is anyone that’s going to make sure that they have the opportunity to see you half-transformed into a duck or something, it’s going to be me.” She snickered at the thought.

 

What he said next, however, gave her pause.

 

“Retract your application?” she asked, eyes wide. How could he even possibly think of doing such a thing? “When you are practically sleeping with that letter under your pillow every single night?”

 

And then, he explained the source of his hesitation.

 

She wrinkled her nose at the thought of Killian keeping a mandrake leaf in his mouth for an entire month. It was yet another example of why he was more suited to this process of becoming an animagus than she was, because there was no way that she would have even vaguely entertained the idea of doing the same. It was going to give him terrible breath for sure.

 

“Well, um…” Damaris paused as she flicked through the book in front of her, wondering if there was a mention of a method that did not include giving yourself mandrake breath. “It’s just a month, right? It’s not like it’s for the rest of your life or anything. And if I have to put up with your breath being awful, I guess I can put up with it.” It still sounded super gross, but she didn’t want him to give up when he was so close to being able to achieve his goals.

 

WC: 364

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Killian Dracel

Post Three of Five || 472

 

Killian’s cheeks colored, because his girlfriend seemed to know all there was to know about him, like how he rarely went anywhere without his letter, and that he practically slept with it under his pillow--okay, it was on his nightstand, but close enough, right? Still, curse her for pointing out the obvious. He was hardly serious about giving up on being an animagus now. “It’s just going to suck when I want to kiss you,” he said, cracking a toothy smile at her. It seemed to him, that the hardest part of this whole process wasn’t applying himself magically, it was how those around him would be affected. Was he about to sacrifice closeness with his girlfriend for his vanity? Did it mean that much to him to put this before her? Well, now he was starting to feel bad about it.

 

Despite everything he was saying, he was still very much reading the texts laid out before him. Most of which he had already read previously in his initial research. Such information also came up in his initial chats with Professor Knaggs, whom he was sorely missing at that moment. “Most of this is gibberish,” he mumbled, slouching. “Knaggs would be able to make sense of all this.” 

 

Of course, he knew that Damaris had a distaste for the man, but it was Professor Knaggs’ influence that had put Killian on this path to something great and coveted. 

 

He flipped through page after page, frowning, as this process seemed more and more challenging than he initially thought. “A month with a leaf. An incantation every single day. And a dance in the light of a... full moon. Okay, not a real dance, but…” Hmm. That full moon business. He wasn’t sure he wanted to chance being outside at night during a full moon with a very real werewolf infestation in the castle. “Cross that bridge when I come to it,” he mumbled and ran his hand through his short blond strands. 

 

It was about two hours later when he finally arrived on the chapter dealing with meditation and the discovery of his animal. “Hey, hey! Read this.” He didn’t know why he needed his girlfriend to read it. Maybe it was so he could have some validation regarding what he was actually reading. “It says here that I need to meditate and discover my animal.” As he continued, he learned that it wouldn’t be so easy. It meant facing his inner demons, so to speak, to find the animal that would stand with him. 

 

“No dreamless sleep potions,” he read out loud, “but incense may be used to help induce a meditative state.”

 

He glanced around the library, finding there was nothing around to help induce a meditative state. “I wonder if I could get away with meditating in the library.”

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Damaris Denton

She couldn’t help but grin when Killian’s cheeks turned slightly red, if only for a moment. “Yeah,” she smiled back, “but, you have to make sacrifices to get what you really want.” He had come too far to be able to turn back now. Even though she didn’t like the idea of kissing him when he had mandrake breath, but she was hardly going to ask him to give up on his goal.

 

She pulled a face involuntarily when he mentioned that he would have to dance in the light of a full moon. She let out a shaky breath. “Are you sure you’d have to do that?” Maybe they would come across something that wouldn’t potentially, directly put him in the path of a werewolf. There had to be another option.

 

She made a face when he mentioned meditation. Meditation sounded like an utter bore. Then again, it wasn’t her that was working on completing animagus training. Maybe Killian was the type of person that would enjoy it. “That sounds....” the first word that came to mind was boring, but she didn’t want to say that. “Not like something I would have predicted would be part of animagus training. I kind of thought you’d just...turn into it.”

 

She shrugged sheepishly, idly turning the pages. “Wait, I think I have an idea about how you could meditate, but Miss Turner might not like it.”

 

She started to move their books off to the side, and dusted off the table with a wave of her wand. “A perfect meditation spot. There’s probably enough space for you to lie down and really...meditate.” Frankly, she would just fall asleep, but that was her. 

 

“Unless you want to....sit on the floor.” She winced at the idea. “Personally, I wouldn’t. There’s probably like six centuries worth of dirt on the floor.”

 

WC: 306

Edited by Damaris Denton
fixing word count

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Killian Dracel

Post Four of Five || 316

 

Killian reviewed his textbook one more time as it appeared meditating was his only hope of moving forward. If he didn’t, then he would be stuck in this place, reviewing texts, and failing to complete the training, all because he didn’t know what he was supposed to be transforming into. To not know sounded like a disaster in the making, so, he took what the texts said seriously. “Sacrifices,” he mused out loud, and glanced at his girlfriend. “That’s a pretty big sacrifice.” Forgoing a kiss for the sake of the mandrake leaf was a big ask, especially since he loved to kiss her.

 

He wasn’t sure he had it in him.

 

“Looks like meditating is the only way I’m going to get this done.” And the library was as quiet a place to accomplish that, especially with the librarian ready to shush anyone who spoke too loudly. He wondered how she would feel about the incense he was about to light. “I’m going to grab some incense from…” Where would he even get some of that in Hogwarts? “Divination.” Ah yes, the upper most classroom, high in its perch, which was usually filled with smoke from pyromancy exercises. “Be right back!”

 

Killian left his girl there to guard the textbooks. He was gone for about twenty minutes before he returned, because the task of stealing the incense was a difficult one with the Professors lurking about. He held them up victoriously in front of Damaris and gestured for her to take them, light them and spread them out. He prayed to himself as he climbed up onto the table that this wasn’t all for nothing. He wished for success.

 

The scent surrounded him suddenly and he exhaled shakily, closing his eyes, listening to Damaris move about. “Seems silly to have you sitting there doing nothing while I lay here… doing nothing,” he mumbled, clearly unfocused.

Edited by Killian Dracel

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Damaris Denton

Post 2,000 ❤️

 

Her lips curved into a playful grin. "Well you want to become an animagus, right? Sacrifices," she said with a certain amount of finality. Killian was one of the most ambitious and determined people that she'd ever met in her entire life. A true Slytherin, no doubt about that. There was no way that she was going to let him fall off track over something as silly as not wanting to keep a mandrake leaf in his mouth for an entire month. Sure, it sounded gross. But from where she stood, it was a very small price to pay to achieve his goal.

 

"Duh," Damaris replied. She hadn't even heard of animagi before she arrived at Hogwarts six years ago and she may have been terrible at transfiguration, but that didn't mean that she couldn't follow the instructions. 

 

But when Killian announced that he was leaving for a bit, Damaris blinked at him. "Where the hell are you going? You're not just making that up so you can try and get out of training, are you?" She didn't really think that he would, but there was definitely part of her that wondered if despite Killian's ambition and determination that he was secretly looking for a way out of his work.

 

"You better be actually going to the Divination classroom," she called after him, grumbling to herself as she was left to watch the textbooks. Her gaze flicked over to a diagram of a woman turning into a swan, leading her to get lost in thought about what it would be like to complete the transformation herself. 

 

But given her luck, her form wouldn't be a swan, it would be something like a beetle to punish her for every year that she'd spent trying to fail Transfiguration class on purpose.

 

When Killian returned, she dusted off the desk again, before raising an eyebrow at him. "You're not doing nothing, you know, you're focusing. You're going to need a lot of focus if you're going to be able to change species." 

 

WC: 339

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Killian Dracel

 

Post Five of Five || 1214

 

“Focusing, right,” Killian mumbled as Damaris started to light the incense. Truth it told, it was only a matter of time before the Librarian caught a wiff of what they were up to, and it probably would have been a far smarter thing to go somewhere else and attempt this meditation that was required of him. The lake, or the lawn. Heck, even an unused classroom where there was less of a chance of being barged in on--wait. Nevermind. Peeves was always lurking about the classrooms when the Professors were done for the day.

 

He lay flat on the table, and looked up at the ceiling beams above, idly wishing they were enchanted like the Great Hall was. This was just one of many thoughts that kept him from focusing. 

 

Several times, Killian inhaled, and exhaled, sure that this time he would really focus. Instead, he made comments to Damaris. “We could still kiss, I’m sure,” he said abruptly. 

 

Shut up and focus,” Damaris hissed. 

 

When he felt her hand in his, either fingers interlaced and he took yet another deep, calming breath. The scent in the room filled his nostrils and he felt himself calming. His eyes fell closed, and he continued to breathe deeply, and slowly drifted towards the first animal on his mind. A bird.

 

He was flying, high in the air. It was riveting, and he was filled with excitement. “I’m… flying,” he said to Damaris in a voice that suggested lack of awareness for his current surroundings. 

 

Once in a true meditative state, the first animal you see will be the animal you become. This is your totem, your guide, and the animal you identify most with. Do not be discouraged if the animal that chooses you isn’t what you imagined. You can build up expectations in your head to be a mighty lion, swift cheetah, or swooping eagle, but the reality is, these animals might not be the ones to identify with you the most. It is usually at this point in one’s training where they decide not to embrace their animal. It is a shame, really, because one’s animal can reveal much about what makes a person tick…


 

Recalling the words from the textbook on meditating, Killian looked around. The wind was in his hair, and he was definitely off the ground, but there were no animals around him. No birds. No eagles. And the ground was rushing up to meet him.

 

His body jolted suddenly on the table, and his hand squeezed Damaris’s, but he did not wake. 

 

This was a familiar sight. He had fallen out of that window once before… before Hogwarts. Killian pushed himself off the grass, and looked around the estate, expecting to see his adopted mums there, rushing to fix his broken leg. His leg wasn’t broken now, and his parents were nowhere to be seen.

 

He could hear their voices, though…

 

You have to go easy on him, Darcie,” Lian had said. “He’s only eleven years old. Saffron just dumped him on our doorstep. That poor kid is going to be messed up for a long time because of that. You can’t just expect him to act like a pureblood all of a sudden. He doesn’t know what that even means.”

 

He is a Dracel, Lian. He should behave like one,” Darcie replied.

 

He is a Williams, too. You can’t ask him to forget where he comes from.

 

He’d heard these words before, after eavesdropping on the private conversation between the two women, but now they sounded all around him. An echo of the past that had chased him for years now. 

 

He is a boy of two worlds…

 

Like back then, Killian ran now. He no longer believed that he was of ‘two worlds’. He was of one world. The magical world. Every tie he had to the muggle world had been severed. He was sure of it, but there were times when he woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare that related to his past; to his murdered mother and father, and he knew he was living a lie. 

 

He looked up at the sky, and still, there wasn't a bird in sight, dashing his hopes and dreams. Of becoming a flying animagus. 

 

Killian kept running and within seconds, he was outside his old muggle house. It was odd because the two houses were certainly not seconds away from each other. This house had a lot of memories inside it. Most were good. He’d had a good childhood, and Darcie could say what she wanted about his real parents, but there was no denying he was loved. This was the house where his father died, and later, his mother.

 

He swallowed thickly before gathering up the courage to venture inside. The scent of Febreze lingered in the air. His mother had always had a bottle on hand, which he later discovered was his squib mother’s attempt to disguise the fact that she was brewing potions in the basement. The woman who shunned him for his magic had done so out of simple jealousy. 

 

This belongs to you, she had said as she pushed Killian to Darcie’s feet the day he had received his Hogwarts letter. And she had left him there.

 

He’s a boy of two worlds… echoed around him again. He headed to the fireplace, and picked up one of the many photos there. They weren’t magical photos, as his father was nothing more than a muggle. He struggled not to feel emotion in that moment, and picked up the picture of Benjamin, Saffron and himself as a boy. Father, mother and son.

 

He missed the days when his father would play ball with him in the backyard, or take him to the park. Or the extra special family vacations where they did some amazing things together, like in this picture he currently held. He remembered the day clearly. His father had taken him fishing…

 

The picture in his hand turned to smoke and vanished. The house around him disappeared and the ground under him had become unsteady, rocking him back and forth. He could hear running water… and suddenly he realized he was standing in a row boat, trying not to tip it over. His arms windmilled to keep balance. 

 

It was all for nothing, for he fell into the river, just like he had those many years ago. He saw movement in the water… something swimming towards him, and it was moving fast. He had no chance of getting back onto the boat before it was upon him.

 

He is a boy of two worlds…

 

Moments later, Killian’s eyes opened, and he was back in the library at Hogwarts. He felt a tightness in his chest for just a moment, before something spectral rose out of it and hovered in the air. He imagined this is what a patronus would look like (but really, it wasn’t even close). It formed a shape, and he looked upon it, already knowing what it was.

 

He exhaled as a river otter danced in the air above him. He reached out to touch, but it vanished just as quickly as it had appeared. Shakily, he sat up and glanced at Damaris.

 

This was a lot to process.

Edited by Killian Dracel

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