Many thanks to SuNoYo for taking this one on and correcting my grammar, my spellings, and helping make me more of a Brit sounding person than I already am. ^-^
This tale was born due to a LEGO Harry Potter game. Uma-kun is player one – Harry Potter - which he always polyjuices into Filius Flitwick. I am player two – Ron Weasley – which I always polyjuice into Severus Snape. Poohka-chan had us change Hermione into Minerva McGonagall, and idea for this story was born. I promised to write it, and now a year – almost two – later, here it is. This one if for those two who helped to inspire it.
A Different Trio
Severus looked at the gingerbread house sitting on one of the many small tables in Albus' office. Just a few moments ago, Filius and Minerva had found their classroom windows in the replica of Hogwarts. He had looked through the windows with them and noticed that even tiny desks were included. He had searched the entire structure but could find no indication that his classroom was there. Giving up on finding the impossible, he gave the gingerbread men and women who were decorated to look like the staff, faculty, and students one last look, and settled into his seat.
Pulling a collection jar out of his waistcoat pocket, he started methodically screwing off and on the lid as Albus discussed the state of the school. The tables near his, Filius' and Minerva's chairs blocked the Headmaster's view of him from the waist down and Severus was fairly certain that the man had no clue that this fiddling was typical of him. He shot a quick glance at Pomona's empty seat, slipped his bottle away, and pulled out a quill.
"Severus, do pay attention."
Raising an eyebrow, Severus indicated the empty chair. "I am writing notes down so that our missing member will know what is said."
He watched as the blue eyes widened slightly before the man nodded.
"Thank you for that forethought, Severus."
Albus then gestured with his wand, and Severus noticed a cup of tea and a plate with his gingerbread man on it settled on the table next to him. A quick glance ascertained that both Minerva and Filius had their own gingerbread man and tea as well.
"Eat up. The elves worked very hard on them so don't leave a crumb on the plate."
Severus stared at the miniature him staring up from the plate. It had black hair, eyes, and was covered from neck to toe in black robes all created with icing. He could see his hands underneath white cuffs. A peek at Albus showed that the Headmaster was watching them intently as if to be sure that they ate their gingerbread.
Filius said what was on Severus' mind in a soft voice. "It just doesn't seem right, eating yourself."
Albus just beamed so Severus decapitated his gingerbread man, starting with the part that stood out most as himself on the biscuit, and not so coincidentally the piece with the least amount of icing. The sweetness of the gingerbread hit his tongue and he was glad that he had a stomach soother in his pocket. As the biscuit melted on his tongue – a habit he had picked up as a child to make them last longer – he automatically started determining the different ingredients used to make it. Flour, butter, molasses, sugar, egg, salt, vanilla, and the leavening agent. It tasted like bicarbonate of soda. Then there was the spices: ginger, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon. Moving the dissolved biscuit through his mouth, he tried to determine the other flavours that were present.
Not quite able to pick them out, Severus swallowed that bite and looked back down at the beheaded gingerbread man. 'I am supposed to eat all of this? I don't think I can. There is too much icing on the body.' A quick glance showed that Albus was still watching them as he continued the meeting. Breaking the arms and legs off his man, Severus glared at the left arm. There was no way he was going to eat that arm knowing what was on his left arm. Pulling the specimen bottle out of his pocket, he quickly unscrewed the lid and slid the left arm into it, tightening the lid and slipping it back into his pocket before Albus could notice. 'It can join my Sweets from Albus specimen collection.'
Putting the right arm into his mouth, Severus proceeded to attempt to identify the strange ingredients. Focusing completely inward, he jotted down the ingredients and their proportions that he could identify. That was one of the blessings and the curse of being a super-taster: being able to discern even the smallest trace of an ingredient. The ability was very useful for potions brewing and experimentation though, since along with more taste-buds, his sense of smell was also increased and finely tuned due to so much practice with both cooking and potions ingredients.
As he reached the last bit of his gingerbread man, Severus couldn't handle another bite. The sugar was too much, the ginger was overwhelming and the other mysterious ingredients he had now identified as ones that were used in potions, not cooking. Watching Albus, he pulled back out his specimen bottle and added the left leg as well as all the crumbs to it. 'Why is there a potion in the gingerbread men? Who put it in there, what is it supposed to do?'
A quick look showed him that both Filius and Minerva had finished their biscuit. Staring at Albus, all the little things that seemed just slightly off stood out: running this meeting even though it was Pomona's scheduled day to work in her greenhouse, the disorganized pattern to the meeting, and half a dozen other small missing idiosyncrasies that made up Albus, ones most people never noticed, but stood out to Severus. Wrapping his fingers around his wand, he felt a tingling sensation fill him as before his eyes Minerva and Filius changed.
Fighting the closing of his eyes, he watched his two friends changing into Miss Granger and Mr Potter. He knew then who he had become even as his robes hung loose about his shoulders. Albus quickly changed Filius' clothes into Potter's school uniform and then did the same to Minerva's.
"Headmaster, what's happening?"
Even though Severus knew Minerva had asked the question he felt the urge to call her Hermione. Glancing over at Harry – no Filius – he could see the same question on his face. Tightening his fingers about his wand, he tried to decide what to do as Dumbledore – Albus – pointed his wand at him. Trusting that it would be just a Transfiguration spell similar to the one that he had cast upon the other two, he waited prepared to dodge or shield if he needed to.
The spell washed over him but nothing happened.
Biting back a smirk – Weasley would never smirk – Severus watched as Albus looked at his wand and then back to the large robes that were still hanging off Severus' new frame. When Albus raised his wand once again, obviously about to try again, Severus raised his hand, much like he had seen Weasley do. "It won't work. My outfit is designed not to be affected by spells."
"Ah, that explains it." Albus transfigured parchment into another set of Gryffindor robes and a uniform. "Take these and go change, then I will explain what is happening."
Moving carefully, Severus collected the clothes and shoes from the Headmaster and walked through the door Albus had indicated. Closing it behind him, he quickly checked for any spying spells and found nothing. Crossing over to the mirror, he stared at the face looking back at him. Red hair, blue eyes, freckles and the gangly teenage look. He had watched himself walk, and realized that whatever the potion was that made him look like Weasley made him act like the boy as well. The names he wanted to call people, the way he walked, and held his wand, were all being changed by the potion. Frowning at the shape in the glass, he tried to figure out why this had happened, why Albus did this without telling him. That anomaly disturbed him. Tucking those emotions behind the Weasley teenage mentality, he studied himself closely to make sure that the transformation had been complete, especially since he hadn't eaten the entire gingerbread man.
Satisfied that he looked enough like Weasley to fool the majority of the school population, he sighed, this form did not look right in his robes. He carefully shed them and then removed the rest of his outer clothes before resizing his socks and trousers. Tapping his boots with his wand, he transfigured them into the uniform shoes and resized them to his new feet size. He scanned the newly transfigured uniform for any negative spells out of habit before donning them. Picking up the Gryffindor robe, he made a face at the badge and then modified them so that he could store his materials that were in his teaching robe into it, but still look like the student issued robes.
Once that was done, he set about moving potion vials, ingredient collection bags, quills and other miscellany that had ended up tucked here and there. Picking up his waistcoat, he moved the last few things into his trouser pockets, especially the bottle with the gingerbread pieces. Straightening his tie, he then transfigured the shoes Albus had made into a school satchel and put his clothes into it. Taking a settling breath, he headed out to see what was happening.
Moving across the room, he tried not to think about how he walked. He knew he could not walk with his smooth gait, but with the gangly motions of a teen who had yet to learn his legs. If he didn't think about it, then the potion would take over and make him act like Weasley.
"Ah, now that Severus is back, I can explain what is happening."
As Albus beamed at them, Severus added that to the differences chart that had started forming in his mind. Albus never just explained anything, he hinted at, talk around and always wanted you to figure out what was occurring on your own, or at least the best you could.
"You have been changed into Miss Granger and the Misters Weasley and Potter so that you may cover up their absences. I fear I had to send them on a mission that requires the utmost secrecy and could not be put off any longer. It is unknown how long they are going to be gone, so you will remain in those forms until they return. I have three substitutes ready to cover your classes indefinitely."
"What about Head of House duties?"
Severus could see the struggle on Minerva's face as she asked her question, but a glance at Filius' face told him just how much control the potion truly had. The question was in his eyes as was the clear frustration of not being able to ask it. Pausing a moment, he realized that Weasley had no desire to ask that question. It seemed as if the boy was a go with the flow person, or … frowning slightly, he realized that it was more that Weasley – as he was going to call the chaotic thoughts outside his Occlumency shields - didn't have enough information and was still processing what had occurred to get to the question.
"Other professors will handle those duties while you are indisposed."
Albus beamed at them once again, and Severus found himself missing the twinkle that was normally in those blue eyes. One more thing in his Albus mental chart, and one that held a lot of weight. Albus loved to have a twinkle in his eyes when he pulled one over his professors, and beaming was not a normal look for the man. He let himself nod with Minerva and Filius even as he was thinking the changes through.
"Now that that is settled, you three need to head off to Gryffindor Tower. It's almost curfew time."
They walked out of the office as Albus watched them go, still beaming after them. A glance at the portraits that were taking a special interest in them convinced Severus that they were not going to discuss this here, or anywhere that a portrait or ghost could find them.
"Come on guys, let's get back to the Tower. I'm tired." Severus mentally shuddered at the phrasing and the ease it took to say those words. Swinging his transformed school satchel back and forth, he struck off down the hall, with the other two following him.
Once they made it to Gryffindor Tower, Severus shooed them up the stairs and into the boy's dorm. "On my bed, we can shut the curtains, spell them and then talk."
The two clambered up without protest, and Severus spelled the curtains shut before casting a muffling spell on them. "That is not Albus."
Filius and Minerva stared at him, Filius spoke first. "You can call him that name. I can't get it to pass my lips. I can call him Dumbledore, but not..." he frowned for a moment and then continued, "Albus Dumbledore. I have to use both names to call him by his given name."
"I just want to call him Professor Dumbledore, not anything else. Ron -" Minerva stopped her eyes widening. "That is not the name I wanted to say, I wasn't even thinking it, S...S...Se... Professor Snape."
Twisting his lip up into what his companions would know as a forgiving quirk, he looked at Filius. "And you, can you call me by my real name?"
"Of course I can, Ro -" Filius froze staring at Severus.
"Try again, this time concentrate, Harry." Minerva shook her head and growled under her breath. "Professor Flitwick."
"S … Snape." A look of disgust crossed over Filius' face. "It is the closest I can get. How about you, Ro – Snape, can you call us by our names?"
"Minerva and Filius." He nodded to them as he said their names.
Minerva sighed. "I want to correct you and tell you to call them … us... by our proper titles. I am just barely able to restrain it at all. Why do you think that Professor Dumbledore is not himself?"
"He didn't twinkle, he didn't warn us or even let us write substitute plans. There are small things that stand out that only now fall into place. He has been acting off for the last week." Severus leaned against the headboard as he answered them. He could see the question about why he was able to call them by name on their faces, and their confusion over the entire situation – which he also felt. He considered telling them about the remains of the gingerbread, but decided against it, he wasn't sure how prone Granger or Potter was about telling Albus what they knew. With that thought he hoped that they wouldn't mention this conversation any time soon.
Minerva nodded slowly, her brow drawn up in a picture perfect rendition of Granger's thoughtful look. "You are right, he has been acting weird."
A large smile curled her lips. "As long as we don't say names, this works."
Filius smiled and then frowned just as quickly. "But pronouns will only get us so far."
"We are going to have to use their names when we are in public, but I think pronouns will work while we are here, at least for each other. Everywhere else we can use their titles or names, dependent on what we are capable of saying." Minerva rattled off far faster than she normally spoke.
Severus nodded and then stretched a bit. Morning was coming early, as were classes. His eyes widened. "Classes. We are going to have to attend classes and do the work."
Two sets of eyes met his, disbelieving looks reflected in them.
Minerva stared up at the canopy above her head that was just starting to be brightened by the rising sun. Thoughts were rushing about her mind, thoughts that were not her own. The desire to get up, to find a book to research what has happened and to study for her OWLs were each attempting to frantically get her attention. 'OWLs... As if I need to study for those. The only one that I might have difficulty in is the Potions test.'
Reaching for her wand, she tightened her grip on the handle trying to find the connection that was always there between her and it the day that the wand had chosen her. It was there faintly, but it felt as if the wand was confused by who was holding it. Pushing the Granger thoughts and feelings out of her mind as much as she could, Minerva focused on herself. The wand hummed happily for a moment and then settled contently in her grasp.
As she relaxed her focus, she felt the Granger personality take back over, pushing her back into the small corner she occupied in her own mind. 'Mind power... I wonder if that is why Severus is able to work around whatever this is so easily? Is it because he has practice controlling what is in his mind?'
Looking back up at the canopy, she wondered just what task the three friends could be out doing. Voldemort had been defeated last year when Potter had been portkeyed off of school grounds. Albus and Severus had gone as soon as Severus was summoned. Albus had left her clear instructions to watch every official of the tournament and any professor that her instincts warned her about. Out of sheer habit she distrusted the Defence Professor, it didn't matter that it was Moody. It had surprised her when Hagrid agreed with her and had no qualms locking the man up right along with Karkaroff. Moody had tried to fight them off dropping his flask outside of the front door when Hagrid scooped the man off the ground and dumped him into the soon to be barred room. When Albus and Severus returned with an injured Potter and Diggory, Moody had changed in to Crouch junior. 'Neither one of them would say what happened when they arrived at the graveyard, but Voldemort is gone. Even Albus says he isn't coming back.' The real Moody was found and the fake one was put right where he was supposed to be.
Tapping her wand in her empty hand, she gave into the need to get up and start her day. Whatever those three were off doing, she could not help nor even find out lying here.
Her steps took her down to the common room and the sight that greeted her eyes surprised her - or rather, surprised Granger. Minerva knew that Severus was one of those people who barely slept a wink, just a few hours seemed to be all that the Potions Master ever needed.
Filius was also up, watching Ro - Severus pace back and forth before the fireplace. The red-head's stride was Weasley's but the fact that he was walking was all Severus.
"We need to study and finish our essays today," Minerva snapped her mouth shut as the words came out.
"We know, Hermione." Filius' eyes widened and darted to Ron. Shaking his head, he glared at the fire place, the sulking frown falling easily across his brow.
Severus looked between the two and knew that he had to do something to help them. There had to be a way to develop a partial, or even a full antidote.
Sighing he settled onto the red chair. "We'll finish them. I just hope that we don't do them wrong."
Filius' expression became resigned. "That might be difficult."
Three gazes meshed, each of them knowing that the problem wasn't knowing enough for the essays, but the other way around. Especially in their personal subjects.
During class time, Severus let Weasley take over. If the boy was unnaturally quiet, then he knew that only Hagrid would notice. Minerva and Filius were swamped by the potion and acted just like Granger and Potter. Sitting behind his Occlumency shields he could see the struggle in Granger's eyes as she tried to be herself.
The trio split up as Minerva went to classes that only Granger had. Filius went to see if Potter's owl would know the difference, and that left him to his own devises for at least an hour. Curling up on Weasley's bed, Severus pulled out the parchment with the ingredient list. It was time to start working on an antidote. Once he had those two in control of their minds, they would find out what was happening.
It was not until dinner that Severus found out what the other two of this unlikely trio had been up to. A quick swish of his wand had his muffling spell surrounding them at the table.
"I went to ... Professor McGonagall's office" Minerva's face filled with distaste before she continued, "it was locked tight, nothing I could do would open the door."
Filius nodded, his now green eyes filled with sympathy. "Flitwick's," a resigned expression filled his face, "was locked against me. Ron, you have to try Snape's. Maybe you can get in."
Severus compressed his lips tightly together as he felt his and Weasley's temper try to escape. His words eventually hissed out. "Did a portrait see you? Did another professor – one of the substitutes?"
"It wouldn't matter if they did, we are known to be curious and nosy about everything." Minerva gave a slight grin at Severus' expression on Weasley's face.
"We are also known to get into trouble." Filius continued for her and grinned at the calculating look that entered the blue eyes. The colour didn't change the intensity of that look.
"Remember that something is wrong with the Headmaster." Severus waited until they both nodded and then rested his elbows on the edge of the table, his fork hovering over the tempting plate before him. "I think we can use their track record of troublemaking to our advantage. I will stop by the office after dinner and we will see if I can get in."
Giving into the demands of the teenage body, Severus started eating. Letting Weasley have control, he ignored the messy way the boy shoved food into his mouth. At least it was better than first year.
The three of them escaped the Great Hall and the watchful eye of the fake Dumbledore as soon as they finished eating. It wasn't long before the trio was standing before Severus' office door.
Resting a hand on the stone next to the door, Severus read the wards that were surrounding his space. His magic was covered by someone else's. The signature was attempting to feel like Albus', but there was something that was off, not quite right. There was a dark thread sliding between the lemon colours of the Headmaster's. Narrowing his eyes, he jiggled the door handle.
It didn't open. Not that he expected it to, but it was still annoying. A growl of disgust escaped as he turned from his office to face the other two.
"You weren't brewing anything were you?" asked Filius
Severus quirked one side of his lips up and then cast a glance at the door. "When the foundations of the castle rocks, you will know it exploded. Until then, we can hope that Dumbledore vanished it before locking the room up tight."
"Rocks the castle's foundations? Ron you have to tell him!" So great was Filius' agitation that he didn't even bother to correct the name he called Severus.
"It won't do much more than shake the place, so I think I will leave it. A reminder that he should check everything, and that locking doors is not polite." Severus walked away from his office, leaving the other two to trail behind him.
"If you are sure it won't hurt the school or the students..." Minerva's voice came from his left side.
A decidedly Weasley look covered Severus' face as he answered. "My brewing area is well warded, not even a book on the shelf near it will be hurt, but the explosion will be felt all the way to the top of the towers."
"Good." A grin crossed over Filius face as he tried to image the Headmaster's rude awakening.