Author: phoenixdown7 PM
H/D. An Eighth Year fic in which Draco transforms and Harry finally comes back from the dead. It's time to move on. EWE.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Draco M. & Harry P. - Chapters: 23 - Words: 155,461 - Reviews: 337 - Favs: 255 - Follows: 464 - Updated: 02-27-13 - Published: 10-11-11 - id: 7457307
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters and settings therein. I do not intend to make any profit off of this fanfiction.
Summary: An Eighth Year fic in which Draco transforms and Harry finally comes back from the dead. It's time to move on. EWE.
Chapter 13: Well, it's no surprise
Draco couldn't even remember having fallen asleep when he awoke the next morning, but then he tried not to think about the previous day entirely. He stared up at the ceiling and waited for the others to leave, before getting up and taking a shower in the mercifully empty bathroom. He dried his hair and stared at his reflection in the mirror, the scar on his chest standing out in stark relief against his skin. He smiled humorlessly at it. It was the saddest metaphor he had ever seen. He brushed his palm across it as if he could wipe it away, but of course it remained. He would never be able to get rid of it. Potter's unwanted gift.
Potter, Weasley, and Granger were waiting for him in the common room. He did his best to appear normal, but he barely looked at Potter. Potter didn't comment on it, which almost made it worse. Draco followed them out and ate with them in the Great Hall. He could feel Granger's concerned gaze every once and a while, but he ignored it. He could feel other students about the Hall watching him behind suspicious glares, but he ignored them too.
The Weaslette dropped by as she was wont to do, her long, red hair nearly dipping into Potter's breakfast as she leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. Draco ignored her as well.
Once he'd ingested as much as he could possibly stand, he made to leave, but Granger stood up too, gathering her things. "Wait for me."
Draco nodded reluctantly. They both had Arithmancy together while Potter and Weasley enjoyed a free period.
Granger wished her boyfriend and Potter goodbye, and followed Draco into the Entrance Hall, walking quietly beside him as they made their way to the fourth floor Arithmancy classroom. He was grateful for her silence, but he knew it wouldn't last, so he wasn't surprised when she finally spoke.
He glanced down at her and met her concerned gaze. Then he looked away morosely, too drained to evade the issue. "You were wrong about Potter."
She stared at him searchingly for a moment, before softly replying, "Oh."
Draco remained silent, barely noticing where they were going as they navigated past other students.
"Draco…" she began. "Harry doesn't –"
"Don't," Draco interrupted, trying to keep the sadness and frustration out of his voice. He glanced back at her briefly. "Just…don't."
She stared at him, and looked as though she might argue, but then she seemed to deflate and she nodded meekly. "All right."
They fell back into silence and entered the classroom, taking a seat beside each other. The room filled up and Professor Vector began to lecture, but Draco could barely pay attention. He stared out the window most of the time, watching the rain drops streak down the glass.
When it was over, he didn't notice, and Granger tapped him on the shoulder. She looked like she might say something but then seemed to think better of it. She gathered her things, and he stood and followed her out.
"I'm going to check in with Ron and then study in the library," she commented as they walked through the hall. "I still have to work on the calculations for the Runic Talisman Chart."
Draco nodded, absently staring out at the lake through the windows they passed.
"Would you like to join me?" Granger questioned softly.
Draco glanced back at her then shook his head. "No. Thanks, Granger, but studying is the last thing I'd fancy doing."
"Ok," she replied, her brows knit.
They reached the Entrance Hall and Draco stopped, staring at the large front doors. He glanced back at Granger who was watching him curiously. He needed some air. "I'll see you later."
Before she could reply, he made his way over to the double doors and pushed, letting a blast of cold, wet air hit his face. He absently waved his wand for a drying and warming charm then trudged out into the grounds. The lake matched his mood, steel gray and unsettled as the wind picked up and the rain fell in icy sheets. He sat in his favorite spot, beneath the large oak and tried to forget what had happened the last time he'd been there. He tried to forget everything, tried to stop feeling anything. He used to be so good at that. He'd always been able to compartmentalize his emotions. It's what gave him such an affinity for Occlumency. But now he was barely successful at either, and it hurt.
Fat raindrops pattered loudly on the branches and leaves of the oak, which barely protected Draco from the storm. He sat there for a long time, long enough for the sky to darken and for his drying and warming charm to wear off, leaving him wet and cold to the bone. He barely noticed, which was certainly pitiful, he knew. Nothing was worse than being maudlin out in the cold and rain because his straight, happily attached friend couldn't return his feelings. He knew how ridiculous he was being and yet, he couldn't quite muster the energy to move.
Draco stiffened, caught unawares. He could hear Potter shift from one foot to another behind him, and then he finally sat down beside him. Draco looked away uncomfortably. He didn't particularly want to be near him at the moment.
Potter sighed. "What are you doing out here? You're soaking wet."
Draco glared out at the lake, but he suddenly felt warm and dry, most likely Potter's charm work. Draco shivered involuntarily at the change in temperature as the heat soaked into his bones, but he remained silent.
Draco frowned and defensively turned the question back on him. "What are you doing out here?"
"I…Hermione's worried," Potter replied roughly. "She told me where to find you."
"She should have come out here herself then," Draco muttered.
Potter sighed and shifted, the dried leaves in the grass crackling beneath him. "I never meant to…" he paused heavily. "I never wanted this."
Draco grimaced. "Neither did I. I never wanted any of it, and yet here I am."
Potter was silent for a moment, and Draco grew uncomfortable. He wished Potter would just leave. He was tired of all the awkward fumbling conversation where they danced around the truth without actually voicing it. He just wanted to be left alone. He was the one left at a disadvantage in this situation. He was the one exposed and vulnerable, and he hated it.
Draco scowled and stood up, walking until he reached the lake edge. He didn't even know if Potter would be able to hear him through the pounding rain, but he almost didn't care. "I don't want your pity. It has nothing to do with you."
Potter stepped up beside him, frowning. "It's not pity. I just…I messed up…I should have, I don't know." He shook his head. "I don't want this to…"
He trailed off again and Draco glared at him impatiently.
Potter pushed his fingers through his hair, obviously frustrated with himself. "Can't we just go back to the way things were?"
Draco looked away to stare moodily out at the lake as the sky grew darker and the rain stopped. The waves glistened orange as the setting sun peaked just below the clouds. He felt absolutely wretched. "I don't know."
Potter let out a shaky breath and went silent, staring out at the lake as well. Draco couldn't help glancing at him, finding his expression uncharacteristically troubled.
"I don't want it to be like this," Potter repeated stubbornly, helplessly.
Draco let out a breath, and stared at him with increasing bemusement. "I don't understand you."
Potter blinked, clearly nonplussed. "What do you mean?"
"Why are you fighting so hard for this?"
Potter looked at him as if he couldn't quite believe what Draco had asked. "We're friends. I like talking to you."
"But you have Weasley and Granger and the Weasle – Weasley's sister," Draco muttered. "What does it matter to you if we speak to each other less or go our separate ways?"
"Because…you're different from them," Potter insisted. "Ron's funny, but he doesn't have your dark sense of humor, and Hermione's smart, but she doesn't have your wit, and Ginny's…well…she's not you."
Draco's eyes widened, and Potter grimaced. "That came out wrong."
"Of course," Draco agreed, but his traitorous heart was fluttering again. He stared back out at the lake that had grown calm and dark under the evening sky. He remembered why he'd come out here in the first place and the morose, bitter feelings resurfaced. "Don't worry, I understood what you meant."
He could feel Potter watching him, but he didn't glance back. Potter sighed again, for what must have been the third time in as many minutes. "My point is…however unlikely it seems, I like being around you. I don't want to lose that."
Draco rubbed the bridge of his nose agitatedly. He couldn't understand Potter at all, but he didn't want to end their friendship either. Even if it was painful, he couldn't stomach the thought of avoiding him indefinitely. For obvious reasons, he wanted to be around him, too. He'd just assumed that Potter would rather not spend time with him after everything that had happened. It would have been a normal reaction to avoid the inevitable awkwardness. Of course, Potter was anything but normal, and Draco had apparently become a complete sap.
"You're insane," Draco muttered feebly.
"You wouldn't be the first to think so," Potter replied bracingly.
Draco stared out at the lake and bit his lip. They both fell into an uneasy silence, and he could feel Potter furtively glancing over at him every few seconds.
"What time is it?" Draco asked eventually, losing his stubborn will to resist.
Potter knit his brows in bemusement, but he complied, casting a tempus on his wrist. "Nearly seven."
Draco stiffened and dread filled him. He hadn't realized it had gotten so late. "The Animagus lesson."
"We won't be late if we head there now," Potter reassured, misconstruing the reason for Draco's anxiety, after looking slightly panicked himself.
Draco swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. Potter's mouth twitched up at the corners, and he appeared uncommonly relieved. Despite his mounting trepidation about the lesson, Draco's poor mood lifted. He didn't want to avoid Potter anymore.
They walked back into the castle together, making it up to the seventh floor corridor just in time. The other Eighth Years were already gathered around McGonagall as she paced in front of the door. He and Potter joined Granger and Weasley near the back.
"Where have you two been?" Weasley questioned, eyeing Draco suspiciously. "You weren't trying to avoid revealing your Patronus to the class were you, Malfoy?"
"Hardly. I decided to take a stroll around the lake and Potter joined me," Draco lied, before Potter could even open his mouth.
Granger eyed them both perceptively but all she said was, "I'm glad you weren't late."
From his spot near the front of the group, Finnigan noticed Draco and sent him a dark look, before leaning over toward Smith and smirking. Draco glared at him, although inside he was petrified. He didn't want Finnigan and his ilk to see his Patronus and come to the wrong, or rather, the right conclusions, but the event seemed inescapable.
The door finally appeared in the wall and McGonagall stepped through it, beckoning them all to follow. When Draco passed through the threshold, he surveyed the room just as his predecessors had. It was just as cavernous as before, but this time the walls were lined with large mirrors, making the room look even bigger. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, casting the space in bright off-white light.
"Will we be dancing?" Abbott questioned Longbottom as they walked just behind Draco. "It looks like a ballet studio."
Draco had no idea what that was, so he didn't comment.
Longbottom seemed to be just as ignorant. "Er…ballet?"
"A muggle dance form," Granger explained, glancing back at him. "Ballerinas practice their moves in rooms that look just like this. So they can see what they will look like to the audience when they perform."
McGonagall stopped in the middle of the room, her reflection duplicated infinitely in every mirror. Draco began to sweat as the class gathered in front of her, but his eyes caught upon the reflection of Su Li, who looked particularly pale as she stood just ahead of him. Turpin stood next to her, watching her friend with no small amount of concern.
"I trust you have all managed to complete your assignments. Please turn in your essays," McGonagall stated crisply with a flick of her wand, and the moment Draco shakily opened his book bag, his essay floated out and into her hand.
When every parchment had been delivered this way, she riffled through them, eyeing them briefly. Her gaze caught upon one and then she looked up at Draco, her brows rising slightly. Draco tensed, but she didn't comment, and went back to glancing through the parchments. Some students glanced back at Draco curiously, including Finnigan, and Weasley looked about ready to jump out of his skin with the intrigue of it all. Draco ignored them all, doing his best to appear aloof. Potter shifted uncomfortably beside him and Draco's stomach began to churn. When McGonagall was finished, one of her thin eyebrows rose. "Ms. Li, I haven't received your essay."
Li stiffened, but Turpin put a hand on her shoulder and answered for her. "I'm sorry, Professor. Su hasn't been able to create a corporeal Patronus yet."
Draco's eyes widened, and most of the class burst out into shocked gasps and murmurs. He couldn't believe she hadn't managed the Charm. She had been ahead of Draco from the start and probably had help from all of the other Eighth Years. A part of him was glad that she had failed, as she had been the one to snitch on his poor showing to their House mates, but a larger part of him could sympathize. After all, he was just as embarrassed by his own results, albeit for different reasons.
"Silence, if you please," McGonagall commanded disapprovingly, and the students settled down. Her gaze turned back toward Li, her lips pursed. "Very well. Your assignments will be pushed back until you can master the Charm. Sometimes, one just needs enough time to get it right. It is a very difficult piece of magic."
Li nodded, her voice conspicuously wobbly. "Thank you, Professor."
McGonagall regarded the class at large once more. "As we have quite a full schedule for this lesson, I ask those who hadn't yet learned the Charm until last week to please demonstrate your Patronuses after this lesson, in the absence of your peers, so that your classmates may leave in a timely manner."
Draco stared at her, hardly believing what he'd heard, as the room filled with disappointed groans and murmurs. Finnigan appeared particularly upset, and he scowled at Draco's reflection. Draco glared back at him.
"Wait," Weasley broke in agitatedly to Granger. "Does that mean we won't get to see Malfoy's Patronus?"
Mentally thanking Merlin for this fortunate turn of events, Draco relaxed and smirked at Weasley. "Too bad, Weasel."
Weasley groaned. "It's like a conspiracy!"
Granger patted his back consolingly, but she spared a smile for Draco, before glancing just past him. Draco turned to find Potter looking highly relieved. Apparently, he had been dreading Draco revealing his Patronus to the masses just as much as Draco had. Potter caught his eye and grinned, but Draco frowned and looked away. It suddenly felt as if he'd been hit by a stunner to the gut. He could feel Potter staring at him, but then McGonagall spoke.
"This lesson we will be focusing on advanced human transfiguration," McGonagall stated. "Before now, you have been working on inanimate objects and animals with limited forays into transforming the human body, but if you wish to learn how to transform yourself into an animal, you must first learn how to correctly transfigure your body in a complete and coordinated manner. Animagus transfiguration is both highly difficult and highly dangerous precisely because the transfiguration required is complete inside and out. The human body is infinitely more complicated than a chair and appreciably more complicated than a rat. So we will be starting small, but with goals more advanced than simply transforming one single body part or one article of clothing."
The Eighth Years murmured excitedly, and she continued. "We shall begin by transfiguring ourselves into the opposite gender."
The room fell into a shocked silence and Draco almost choked on his own spit.
"What?" Weasley uttered, and some students chuckled appreciably.
McGonagall's smile was dry. "I realize this exercise might prove uncomfortable for some, but it is essential training. Changing from one sex to another does not require drastic transfiguration, but it is just difficult enough to provide important practice in concentration and competent spell work. It also includes transforming a variety of materials from cloth to hair to flesh, all of which you will have to master if you are to become a successful Animagus. And it will accustom you to the variety of sensations you will experience while transfiguring your own body.
"Although, in the process, please make sure you do not get stuck."
Weasley yelped pitifully, his face unnaturally pale. Draco noticed his hands hovering protectively over his bits. Granger frowned at Weasley's antics and Draco rolled his eyes. Gullible twit.
"That was a joke, Mr. Weasley," McGonagall informed him reassuringly. "Just a bit of transfiguration humor. Don't worry, I will not allow you to get stuck as a girl. I happen to know how to transfigure anything back to its proper place, size, and proportion."
The entire class laughed with the exception of Weasley and Granger, who was doing an admirable job of hiding her amusement behind her hand. Potter chuckled, although he looked as though he was trying to hold back for his best mate's benefit.
"That's what he's worried about!" Smith japed, and everyone laughed harder, including Draco, despite himself. McGonagall's lips twitched and Weasley's ears reddened considerably.
"Shut it, Zacharias," he muttered moodily, but Granger leaned over and whispered something to him, and his expression notably brightened. Draco didn't even want to know.
"I think that is quite enough," McGonagall stated and the laughter died. "I trust we are all of age, and mature enough to get through this lesson without further incident."
They all shifted uncomfortably, properly chided.
"Now, pay attention as I demonstrate the technique," she continued briskly. "First I shall focus on the body itself and work my way outward. This is best practice for any form of transfiguration if you are going about it in stages as we are. The incantation is Contrasexus."
She waved her wand three times, before resting the tip over her sternum. They all stared in rapt attention as her body began to change, starting at her chest and moving outward. Her chest flattened and her shoulders widened, followed by a slight narrowing of her hips. Her jaw line lost its soft edges and her brow bulged slightly. She had always been a tall woman, but now she grew several inches. Her robes were too loose to see any of the other changes, but Draco had to assume they were there, and he couldn't help shivering uncomfortably a bit at that idea.
She, or he as it may be, pulled her wand away and surveyed them all. Some of the Eighth Years clapped appreciatively and she allowed a smile.
"Blimey," Weasley uttered.
"As you can see," she began, and Draco stiffened at the new low tenor of her voice. "I have transformed my body, but not everything on the surface. My hair has remained the same length and my clothing is the same cut. The next step is tailoring these accessories to fit your new shape. I believe you have all learned a bit of this in previous Transfiguration lessons. Transforming your hair should not be difficult."
She waved her wand and her long hair fell out of its carefully controlled bun before shortening drastically.
"The incantation for growing facial hair is Inserobarbus," she instructed, before waving her wand in front of her face. A medium length beard grew in its wake, and some of the Eighth Years chuckled in amusement. It was an odd sight. She effectively looked like a middle-aged wizard in witch's robes, which were no longer long enough to properly cover her ankles and wrists.
"The incantation for tailoring is Sartorius," she continued, before flicking her wand over her robes and changing their size and shape. The cloth lengthened to her hands and feet, then she added a muggle tie and vest. "You may have more clothing to transfigure, depending upon what you are wearing and how masculine or feminine you would like to appear. I will leave that up to you, although it would be best if you at least attempt to appear as stereotypical of your new gender as possible for the purposes of this exercise."
Some of the students shifted and shared uneasy looks. Draco couldn't help glancing at Potter's reflection in the mirror. Even he appeared mildly apprehensive.
"It is most important that you imagine how you would like to appear and focus on that image. That will give you the most accurate results. Although, ultimately, you will end up looking like yourself and no one else. This spell is designed to change your gender only. You will have the rest of the lesson to transform and perfect your form, before showing the finished results to your peers for critique," McGonagall instructed in her unnervingly deep voice. "Then you can all revert back to your original gender."
With that, she waved her wand, placed the tip against her sternum, and transformed back into a witch. "You may begin."
"She's mad," Weasley commented as the room filled with anxious chatter.
"Hardly," Granger disagreed. "This is a relevant exercise that will prepare us for the more complicated transformations we'll have to complete to become Animagi. I don't see what you're so worried about."
"Of course you don't," Weasley muttered. "You've got nothing to lose!"
Granger's eyes narrowed. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Er…" Weasley stuttered, clearly realizing that he had effectively stuck his foot in his mouth. "Nothing. It's just…well, you're a girl."
Granger's expression darkened dangerously, and she huffed, "Well, not for long."
She turned on her heal and marched off toward the back of the room.
Weasley gaped at her. "Wait…I didn't mean anything by it! I love girls! Obviously. Hermione?"
He trailed after her like a kicked puppy and Draco rolled his eyes. He glanced at Potter who shook his head at Weasley's retreating figure and smiled exasperatedly.
"I don't think he'll ever learn."
"That's because he's an idiot," Draco stated dryly.
"Not all the time," Potter disagreed. "He gets good marks and he's quite good at chess."
"Well," Draco observed. "You can see the good that's done him."
Weasley and Granger were bickering at the back of the room now, his hands flying everywhere as she testily planted her hands on her hips.
"Don't dawdle," McGonagall stated above the din as everyone chatted amongst themselves. "You only have an hour and a half to complete your transformation."
Potter sighed. "I reckon we should get on with it."
"Scared of losing your bezoars and bits?" Draco questioned wryly.
"More than you could ever know," Potter admitted grimly.
Draco stared at him and had to laugh. Potter cracked a smile. "You heard McGonagall, Potter. She'll make sure everything is put back in its place."
"It's the proportions I'm most worried about," Potter quipped.
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Who knows, maybe she'll make a mistake and give you more than you have."
Potter chuckled. "That wouldn't be a mistake then."
"No, I suppose not," Draco agreed, trying not to imagine Potter with enhanced…assets. Merlin knew how little Potter would appreciate that. He pushed the morose thought away, and made his way over to an open spot in front of a mirror. Potter followed, and stood beside him.
Draco glanced at Potter's reflection. "I bet I'll make a better looking witch than you."
"I don't doubt it," Potter grinned. "You're so delicate."
Draco scowled. "I'm not delicate. I'm refined."
Potter rolled his eyes. "You're stalling."
"So are you," Draco accused, but he stared back at his reflection and raised his wand. He tried to imagine himself as a girl and focused on that image. Then he waved his wand three times and placed the tip on his sternum. He could see Potter doing the same beside him. "Contrasexus."
It was a strange sensation, not quite painful but uncomfortable all the same. He could feel his slacks grow tight around his waist as his hips widened, and he could swear his jaw line softened somewhat, but then the transformation stopped. He shifted a bit, the tightness of his trousers constraining his still intact crotch.
Potter glanced at his reflection and chuckled. "You're missing a few bits, or maybe you're not missing enough."
"Yes, thank you, Potter. I wouldn't have been able to deduce that on my own." Draco sneered, looking up and down at Potter's reflection. He smirked. "You look like a wizard in drag."
Potter looked down at himself. He'd only managed to grow two respectably sized breasts before the transformation stopped. It looked awful on his broad-shouldered frame. Draco frowned. It was all too obvious where Potter's focus had been.
"I don't know. I'm quite fond of them," he quipped, poking one experimentally.
Draco raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment. Potter had to be the straightest wizard he knew. Unfortunately. Draco sighed and looked back at himself in the mirror. He attempted the spell again, and tried to focus on the things that needed changing.
This time, his shoulders narrowed and his chest developed, his button up shirt straining uncomfortably. Then his jaw line softened further, and his brow receded somewhat, with the effect of making his eyes look slightly bigger. His entire body shrank a few inches, leaving him that much shorter. Reluctantly, he concentrated further and experienced the highly uncomfortable sensation of the bits between his legs shrinking to nothingness and transforming into something else. Then the transformation finally stopped. He shifted uneasily, his clothing ill fitting now as his sleeves and trousers nearly covered his hands and feet, but the area around his waist and chest remained too tight.
Potter gasped beside him.
Draco glanced at him in the mirror with a slight smirk. He looked a lot like a girl now. He was shorter, but still around Draco's height and his clothes were just as ill-fitting, if not more so because they had been baggy to start with. He was still skinny but all of his edges were more rounded somehow, starting with his jaw and following the new curves of his body. He wasn't wholly unattractive as a girl, Draco had to admit, but his image wasn't helped by his messy mop of hair and the fact that he looked slightly ill.
"Finally lost the packet, have you?" Draco stiffened at the sound of his own voice, it was unnervingly high now. He scowled. He sounded like Pansy.
Potter nodded. When Potter spoke, Draco irritably noticed that Potter's new voice wasn't nearly as high as his. "It's the odd sucking sensation I could have done without."
Draco shifted again, the space between his legs unnervingly empty. "I could have done without losing my bits entirely."
Suddenly, someone cried out near the back of the room, and Draco and Potter turned around to see Weasley doubled over, his body only halfway through changing gender. Granger appeared to have already completed her transformation into an oddly dashing wizard, even her hair was cropped close and her clothing modified to fit. She was on her knees beside Weasley, looking worried albeit exasperated. Soon, the entire class, in various stages of transformation, were staring wide-eyed at the scene as McGonagall bustled over.
"What seems to be the problem, Mr. Weasley?" she questioned.
Weasley attempted to sit up and for the first time, Draco could see his chest. His breasts were huge. So large, in fact, that it was difficult for him to fully lift up from the floor. Luckily, his robes covered most of it, because Draco was certain his shirt couldn't have survived. Granger shook her head long-sufferingly and McGonagall appeared quite appalled.
"Mr. Weasley," McGonagall stated sternly. "I daresay you focused a bit too hard on one part of the female anatomy and not enough on the rest."
The entire class broke out into gales of laughter, and Draco couldn't help joining in. Even Potter was barely holding back, his usual chuckle transformed into a giggle by his soprano voice.
Weasley looked absolutely pitiful, his ears turning pink in his embarrassment.
McGonagall sighed and waved her wand. Weasley's bulbous appendages subsequently shrunk until he was flat-chested again, and he gingerly stood up, rubbing his hand across his chest. "Start over, Mr. Weasley. And see this doesn't happen again."
Weasley nodded contritely. "Yes, Professor."
She nodded stiffly and turned toward the rest of them. "Get back to work. There are only twenty minutes left in the lesson, and ten before you will have to show your final transformation."
The Eighth Years dispersed and Draco shared an amused look with Potter before they turned back toward the mirror. Even though he knew what to expect, Draco was still a bit shocked to see his petite, feminine form staring back at him. But his hair was still short and his clothing ill fitting, and after all this trouble, he supposed he should complete the overall look.
He worked at lengthening his hair first, until it was a long, golden cascade down to his waist, and then he started on his clothing. He debated styles, but eventually concluded he should try to appear as feminine as possible. He'd seen what Pansy had worn often enough, and decided to use her style as an example. He took off his school robe and shortened his loose trousers into a pleated skirt that reached just above mid-thigh. He noticed his legs were a bit hirsute so he shaved them with the spell he used on his face every morning. He inspected his smooth legs when he was done, satisfied with the results. Then he lengthened his black socks until they almost reached mid-thigh, still leaving a space between them and the bottom of his skirt. His shirt came next. He kept it button-up with the tie, but he shortened the sleeves so that his arms were bare. He also gave a little more room in the chest, and it was suddenly a lot easier to breathe. He shrunk his black leather shoes so that they fit his smaller feet and added slightly more heel to the back.
When he was finished, he stared at his reflection from top to bottom. He supposed it was acceptable. He could tell a beautiful witch as well as the next wizard, but they had never quite been his cup of tea. Maybe Potter would know better. He glanced over at Potter, who was studiously working on his clothing. He didn't look half bad. His ever-messy hair now tumbled over his shoulders in waves and his clothing fit his smaller, feminine form better, but he had definitely opted for Granger's style, which included trousers and the same long-sleeved button-up shirt. Potter stepped back and stared at himself thoughtfully, biting his lip.
"It's a bit conservative," Draco observed, his high voice still sounding alien to his ears.
"Yeah," Potter agreed, before glancing back at him, and then staring.
Draco shifted uncomfortably as Potter continued to stare without blinking. "What? Do I have something on my face?"
"Er…" Potter uttered eloquently.
Draco looked down at himself, beginning to feel self conscious. "Is it the outfit? I thought I remembered what Pansy used to wear, but it might be a bit much."
He looked back up to see Potter obligingly giving him the once over, his face conspicuously flushed.
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Are you all right, Potter?"
"What?" Potter questioned vaguely, then his gaze snapped up to Draco's. "Oh! Yeah…er…yeah."
He hastily looked away, appearing highly disoriented, as if he had just been hit in the head by a bludger.
"You sure?" Draco questioned suspiciously. He stepped forward and pressed his hand against Potter's forehead. Potter jumped, and Draco pulled his hand back. "You're a bit warm."
"It's nothing!" Potter denied a bit desperately, and he took a few steps back.
Draco stared at him, incapable of understanding his odd behavior. "Alright."
"Time's up!" McGonagall called out over the din. "Please gather over here for your critique."
Potter seemed all too happy to go join the others, his wider hips swaying awkwardly as he walked. Nonplussed, Draco picked up his robes and followed Potter at a more sedate pace. Granger and Weasley soon caught up with him, the latter now fully transformed into a witch, no doubt with Granger's help.
"You look quite good as a girl, Malfoy," Granger told him, in her oddly deep voice.
Draco had to look up at her as she was now almost a head taller than him. Everything about her was masculine now, from her pronounced jaw line to her broad shoulders and short, slicked back hair, but she was still unmistakably herself.
"I look good no matter what gender I am," Draco drawled haughtily, pushing some hair out of his face and flipping it back over his shoulder in a manner Pansy had been particularly fond of.
"You've certainly gotten the prissy, arrogant school girl act down," Weasley muttered as they joined the group in front of McGonagall, his new voice offensively shrill.
Draco stepped up beside Potter, who tensed a bit, but Draco eyed Weasley disdainfully. He looked a lot like the Weaslette, if she were slightly taller and ugly. "And you still look like you were born in a den."
Granger sent him a disapproving look and Weasley scowled, but he didn't get a chance to retort, before McGonagall commandeered their attention.
"If you will please step forward when I call your name, I can evaluate you. Once you've done so, you can leave. Except for, of course, those who have yet to demonstrate their Patronuses."
She called on Hannah Abbott first and went alphabetically from there. Abbott made a stringy and homely wizard with a long face and chin-length blond hair. She timidly stepped forward and turned around for the class. Everyone clapped politely, and she blushed in a disconcertingly effeminate manner before returning to her spot beside Longbottom.
This turned out to be somewhat of a trend. Boot, Bones, Brown, Corner, Goldstein, and Granger followed to the same fanfare. Finnigan made a particularly horrendous sight as his hair was still short and his clothing had somehow changed color to a deep puce. McGonagall raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment, only writing something down on her parchment. Longbottom followed Finch-Fletchley and Li. He wasn't terrible looking for a witch, but he was still quite tall and pudgy in the midsection. MacMillan didn't fare quite as well. His shoulders were still a bit too wide.
When Draco was called, he stepped forward with as much confidence as he could muster, swinging his hips for good measure and flipping his long hair back over his shoulder carelessly. Basically, he just copied every movement Pansy had ever made when she had been trying to intimidate the other girls in Slytherin. Once he turned around, however, only Longbottom, Granger, and Potter clapped for him, while the rest of the crowd filled with scattered muttering. Draco held his head high, but he felt ridiculous. McGonagall jotted something down in her notes, before nodding in approval, and he made his way back to his spot between Granger and Potter, who was very deliberately not looking at him. Draco raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment. He didn't know what was going through Potter's head, but it seemed as though Draco's feminine form made him highly uncomfortable. He was tense and flushed whenever Draco got near him. It was almost as if he…
Draco's eyes widened and his heart beat sped up.
Potter was attracted to him…or her, rather. Draco's lifting mood sank. No, it was no different from before. It was her body Potter was getting hot and bothered over, not Draco himself. This didn't mean anything, and Potter was probably mortified by it, which explained his active avoidance. It would all go away once Draco changed back.
Heart aching, Draco stood in his increasingly awkward body and distantly watched the rest of the students, including Potter, have their turn. When it was over, McGonagall waved her wand over each of them and transformed them back to their natural state. Most let out an exaggerated sigh and laughed with relief. Draco was grateful to be back in his proper body, but he couldn't drudge up the will to feel nearly as pleased about it.
Weasley grinned down at his crotch, before putting his arm around Granger's shoulders. She shook her head exasperatedly, but didn't comment. Draco could feel Potter's eyes on him, and he glanced back, but the moment he did, Potter's eyes widened and he looked away. Draco stared at him, but Potter never looked back, a troubled frown tugging at his mouth. Draco meant to question him, but McGonagall interrupted.
"On average, you all did well. Good job," she commended. "You will each receive your individual marks in good time. Please read chapter three in your text books for next lesson. Ms. Li, Mr. Malfoy, and Ms. Turpin, please stay, the rest of you are dismissed."
The class began to move toward the exit and Granger said goodbye to Draco, before following Weasley out. Draco tried to catch Potter's eye with a muttered, "See you later, Potter." But Potter only nodded distractedly and made his escape. Draco watched him go warily. Maybe he had been wrong about Potter's reaction from the start. It seemed as though Potter was uncomfortable around him, but he didn't know why. Potter disappeared through the door, and soon the room was empty but for Draco, McGonagall, Turpin, and Li.
"Ms. Turpin, if you would begin," McGonagall stated into the silence.
Turpin nodded shakily and pointed her wand forward, incanting the Charm. A small, glowing owl fluttered out and landed on her shoulder.
McGonagall nodded approvingly. "Have you determined the particular species of owl?"
"Yes," she replied softly. "It's called a Little Owl or Athene Noctua in Latin."
"Very good," McGonagall commended. "You are certainly on your way. Mr. Malfoy? If you please."
Draco nodded, and swallowed around the lump in his throat. He couldn't help glancing over at Li and Turpin anxiously, but he reasoned that he shouldn't worry about them. They hadn't seen Potter's Patronus since last week, after all, and at that point he had told everyone it looked like a dog. Surely, they wouldn't notice its similarities to his. He took in a breath and raised his wand, closing his eyes. He was troubled, so it was harder to find any happiness to borrow, but he bit his lip and remembered Potter's advice. He already knew he could do it, so he would. He incanted the Charm, and opened his eyes. The accursed wolf was staring back at him.
He could feel Turpin glancing between him and the wolf curiously, but he ignored her. His Patronus quickly grew tired of him and stood up to wander, sniffing about, as McGonagall watched it and made notes.
"It's a wolf?" McGonagall finally questioned.
"Yes," Draco replied. "Possibly a Yukon. The largest."
"Hm," she murmured, staring at him for a moment. He did his best not to fidget under her calculating gaze. "Very good. You and Ms. Turpin are dismissed. I will discuss matters further with Ms. Li."
Draco avoided glancing at Li or Turpin and made his way out as quickly as he could, but Turpin caught up to him just as he entered the empty, torch lit hall.
"You have the same Patronus as Harry, don't you?"
Draco stopped and stiffened anxiously, before he shook his head in denial, and started walking again at a brisk pace. "No, you're mistaken."
"I remember," Turpin insisted, infernally following him. "They look the same."
Draco ignored her, picking up his pace in hopes that she would take the hint and leave him alone. She fell behind.
"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."
Draco stopped and stared ahead for a long time, moonlight shining in through the windows and leaving strange, glowing patterns on the stone floor, then he turned around and stared at her incredulously. "Why?"
"You don't want anyone to know, right?" she rejoined, her dark brown eyes watching him carefully.
Draco wearily rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Why would you do that for me?"
"Because…" she began, glancing away for a moment, before staring back at him. "Even though you were my enemy, I feel sorry for you."
Draco stared at her painfully earnest expression, a frown tugging at his lips, his heart in his throat. She pitied him, it was written all over her face. Digging his nails into his scarred palm, he turned around and walked away.
Mercifully, she didn't follow him.
AN: Thank you so much for reading and all of your wonderful comments.
If you can believe it, this fic had been initially conceived around the premise of Draco gender-swapping. As you can see, the fic evolved into something far more serious, but I kept a bit of it in as a tribute to the crack it had once been in my head.