I write this letter with hope but no real expectation of a response. If nothing else, composing this letter has helped me to refine and more perfectly understand my own thoughts.
It was a terrible idea. Hermione knew that and made sure that she didn't forget it. At each stage of the process, she reminded herself of all the things that could go wrong and what the consequences would be. 1) Her friends could find out: they'd shun her and she's be social pariah once more. 2) Dumbledore could find out: she'd be expelled from Hogwarts for sure. 3) The Ministry could find out: a lengthy sentence in Azkaban, somewhere upwards of five years depending on what the exact charge was. 4) You-Know-Who could find out: probably something incredibly long and nasty involving Death Eaters and her ultimate death. 5),
Hermione paused in her internal recitation. No, the first four pretty much covered it. There were probably other things that could happen, but those were the significant ones.
Of all the Masters of Transfiguration alive today, you are the only expert in Controlled Self-Transfiguration. It is for this reason that I write you.
The idea had taken more than a month to implement and as she worked on it she had carefully thought out all the repercussions that were going to find her eventually, chew her up and spit her out. It's a sad fact that being smart does not keep you from having dumb ideas, it doesn't even stop you from acting on those ideas. No, it just allows you to know ahead of time exactly how bad the idea is.
While the idea was bad, it was just too tempting to let go of. In it's own way, it was perfect.
It is common knowledge that every portion of a body contains a map of the entire body. Polyjuice and related potions were first developed based on this understanding. However, no wizard has successfully managed to identify the map itself. Muggle scientists took nearly a millennium longer to realize that such a map exists, but in recent years they have managed to identify what is believed to be an encoded description.
The encryption has not yet been broken, however several traits have been hypothesized. I find several of these theories to be of interest. It is generally believed that all living creatures beyond a certain point of development have a code that is the same length of markers, however only a portion of these markers are actually ordered in such a way as to encode significant information, leaving the remaining markers as random noise.
The idea was certainly her own, and she could hardly blame anyone else for her deciding to carry the idea out, there were two turning points in her life that led up to where she was now.
The first involved her two best friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.
Harry had alternated between being depressed and being angry for most of their sixth year. In an effort to break his friend out of that this funk, Ron had suggested that the three of them work together to become animagi just as Harry's father and godfather, both now dead, had done.
The suggestion was agreed upon and carried out, and while it was only partially successful in it's original goal, it did mean that the students didn't have to deal with an angry and sulking boy as much since the owls around the school now had to deal with an angry and sulking kestrel. Ron and Hermione had found themselves rather thankful that their own animals, horse and squirrel respectively, were land-based and thus couldn't have accompanied Harry even had they wished to. And it had given Hermione what turned out to be an extremely interesting topic to research.
It is my contention that wizards or witches performing self-transfiguration such as the animagi transformations are actually modifying the codes within their body so as to use some of the unused sections of code to create a duplicate description of how their body should appear but in this case the rather than describing a human the description contains all the attributes and characteristics of an animal. There must then be some trick that allows an animagi wizard to tell his body which description it should be looking at.
In contrast to the animagi transformations, I contend that most other self-transfigurations are not alternate sections of code but additional sections of code set up next to and continuing from the code that describes the original body. From what little I have heard of your own experiments I imagine that the meaningful code that describes your body and capabilities is significantly longer than most beings'.
The second turning point involved two of Hermione's professors, Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore.
The struggle against the Dark Lord was increasingly intense and both of these professors, or more to the point, both of these Masters of Transfiguration, were busy working on defensive and offensive plans. Thus when an excited Hermione, loaded down with books and scrolls covered in notes, approached each of them in turn with a request for their supervision on a very exciting research project they had each suppressed a shudder and gently refused.
While she understood their stated reasons, Hermione was somewhat miffed none the less. Here she had had a very interesting thought about repetitive human transfigurations and neither of the two transfiguration masters she knew would help her develop the idea.
I clearly see two possible results from further study in this area.
The first is a cure for lycanthropy. As you know, animagi cannot be infected by werewolves. While werewolves will still attack an animagi if the animagi is in human form, the animagi need not fear catching lycanthropy. It seems to me that werewolves must contain within them the descriptions of the wolves they become and while it's not possible for an animagi to become a werewolf, I see no reason why a werewolf cannot become an animagi wolf, thereby gaining control over his own transformations.
The second goal of further study would be to further understand how the encryption works and how additional descriptions are added such as in your own transfigurations so that such transfigurations are made more simple, elegant, concise, and with fewer possibilities of unintended results.
It was at this point that the very bad idea first presented itself to her.
There was another master of transfiguration in Britain, and it happened that one of his particular areas of interest was permanent human transfiguration and modification.
The fact that he was evil, had tried to kill her best friend every year for six years running, and was so scary that people didn't like to even say his name aloud indicated that he would be a difficult person to approach in regards to advising on a research project.
Difficult, of course, means much the same thing as challenging, and one of the common characteristics of Gryffindore students is they never back down from a challenge.
I have studied a great deal and I have many ideas for further research into human transfiguration, but I am not a Transfiguration Master. What I most need now is an advisor who can point me in the right direction, oversee my progress, and double check my results. Until I have such a supervisor I feel that it would be both dangerous and pointless to continue.
It took a month to figure out how to implement the very bad idea.
Eventually she had also purchased a quantity of high quality vellum and the best and most elegant Dictoquill that was available. She didn't want to insult a powerful dark arts practitioner by using less than the best to correspond with him, but even more importantly, she didn't want to use anything that would hint at her real identity - not her usual paper, not her usual ink, and certainly not her own handwriting. She had also arranged for a Post Coop Box, useful for sending and receiving mail anonymously.
She rented the P.C. Box and signed her letter with the same name of Icarus, for surely she was trying to fly to the sun with wings of wax and it was only time before she came crashing down. When she had first realized that she would need a nom de plum for this idea to work, she had thought of the story of Icarus who, given wings to fly to safety, had chosen instead to fly to the sun. He had died for it. It was a stupid idea and he had known it, and yet sometimes making the attempt was more important than reaching the goal. Some successes were only measured in how long you lasted before falling.
It was a terrible idea. It was going to get in her into so much trouble, she knew, but oh, if it worked for even a little while, it would be worth it.
With great respect,
I name myself,
Wearing gloves, Hermione slipped the letter into the envelope and melted a wax seal over it before carefully pressing the insignia she had purchased from a muggle store. The imagine was of a man with wings falling. It was intended to be Icarus but could just as easily be a fallen angel.
She had previously addressed the envelope. Now she just needed to get it to the Owlery before anyone else saw it. Not looking at either the address or the insignia, she picked up the letter in one gloved hand and used a few quick spells to neaten her desk, leaving behind no evidence that anything had been written.
It would be in it's recipients hands before nightfall. Only time would tell what would happen then.
To Lord Voldemort, The Dark Lord