Hermione had always wanted a cat, something large and fluffy that she could name Calcifer or Grogramon or Hera. Something epic and rather undomestic-like. She preferred the red and brown and lion-imitating ones, but she wouldn't have turned away black. Hermione didn't believe in luck, at least not the sort that came with cats.
There were even a few times when she had pondered what it would be like, sitting on a windowsill for the better part of a day, her biggest worry being if she could catch the mice that were raiding the pantry or not. In the end Hermione had decided that she was clearly happier as a human, and that sunshine was only as lovely as it was when one was literate and could spend the day curled up with a book under its glow.
Evidently fate hadn't agreed with her on this last, since she was currently more cat than girl, and doing justice to neither if she did say so herself. The urge to have someone pass their fingers beneath the ruff of her neck was near to unbearable, just as the feeling that she needed opposable thumbs was.
The worst part about the whole situation is the feeling Hermione's stuck with--worse than the half-desire to clean her paws with her tongue--that this is her own fault, and that perhaps she shouldn't trust herself as much as she's learned to this past year and a half. That perhaps when things are supposed to be done in a year or two years or even three years time, she should wait for professors to guide her through them. That was never necessary at her old school, but her old school wasn't Hogwarts and hadn't come with the risk of acquiring whiskers.
Hermione has just rolled up into herself, mewling a bit, when Madam Pomfrey comes back, and scratches at just the right spot. Hermione purrs. She stops when she realizes what she's done, embarrassed and unable to even say, "thank you." Madam Pomfrey makes it unnecessary. She says, "Believe me, I've seen worse."
This makes Hermione turn her eyes slightly upward to where they can meet the medi-witch's. "I messed up."
"The smart ones always do," she says, and rubs at Hermione's neck some more. "How will you ever learn if you don't?"
Hermione wonders if Madam Pomfrey knows what they've done, or at least guesses. "You don't think. . ."
"I think you're exhausted, and you'll feel better able to judge what you should and shouldn't do in the morning." She stands. "I'll be back with another dose in a few hours time. Get some rest."
Hermione settles in, and thinks that if there's sunlight in the morning, she just might take the chance to sit on a windowsill for a while.