Chapter 1: The First Steps
Trigger Warnings: This fic will contain depictions and descriptions of abuse, dysphoria and transphobia.
Author's Note: This fic begins in Prisoner of Azkaban, a few weeks after Harry takes the Knight Bus to Diagon Alley.
Harry grinned to himself as he idly strolled through Diagon Alley, eagerly taking in the sights. Every time he came into the Alley, he saw something new and wonderful. His feet took him on the familiar path towards Quality Quidditch Supplies, to stare longingly at the beautiful Firebolt on display.
As approached the store there was a shout and a bang. Harry barely had time to dive out of the way as a giant cauldron rolling dangerously down the road, chased by a red-faced man in bright orange robes. Picking himself up and shaking his head, Harry brushed the dust from his robes. As he looked up, his breath caught in his throat.
He stood before a window display, containing a beautiful collection of jewellery. They reflected the light in a way that was almost hypnotising. Without conscious thought, he found himself approaching the door and entering the store.
Instead of the expected sound of a bell or chimes, soft flute music played as he stepped inside. He looked around, feeling dazed as he took in the rainbow of metal and jewels surrounding him. He was startled from his reverie by a friendly voice.
"What can I help you with, dearie?"
His gaze snapped around to see an older woman smiling at her. Her face was creased with lines that hinted at a lifetime of laughter. A beautiful set of opal earrings dangled from her ears with a matching necklace sitting atop her simple robes. She beckoned Harry closer, and his eyes caught on the simple gold band adorning her wrist. Licking his strangely dry lips, he approached her.
"Are we looking for anything in particular today, sweetheart?" the witch – who he supposed was the shopkeeper – asked warmly. Swallowing, Harry shook his head mutely. "Well, why don't you have a look around. If you see anything you like, feel free to try it on. I'll be around if you need me." With that she turned and floated away through the displays.
Blinking, Harry shook himself. With a small smile after the strangely cheerful lady, he looked around, slowly making his way through the rows of jewellery. There was ring with stones that continuously shifting colour in a hypnotising rainbow. There was a silver necklace fashioned after a snake biting its own tail, whose eyes followed Harry. He hurried past. He admired a set of earrings depicting the sun. Looking closer, he saw they each had several small planets orbiting them.
Turning, his eyes locked onto a glint of gold, and he knew he needed it. There sat a beautiful necklace of gold chain, upon which sat a golden Snitch. It was smaller than the real thing, with wings that looked terribly fragile. He reached out gently with a finger to stroke one, marvelling at the feathery metal.
"Would you like to try it on, dear?"
Harry jumped, whirling to face the shopkeeper. Her smile seemed even wider, and her eyes danced with a hint of mischief. Swallowing again, he stammered, "N-no, that's okay. I'm just looking."
The lady gave a considering hum. "Are you sure? It seems rather appropriate for you. You are the youngest Seeker in a century, after all." She laughed at the surprised expression on Harry's face. "Yes, I know who you are, dearie. Now come, try it on at least once." Stepping forward, she lifted the necklace from the display and looked at him expectantly.
Feeling rather off balance, Harry nodded slowly. "Okay." As she held the necklace out to him, he blushed. "I can't- I don't know how to…"
With an understanding smile, the lady stepped behind him, placing the chain gently around his neck. The Snitch settled against his throat as he felt the clasp close behind him.
"It looks lovely on you," the witch said warmly. "Here." She turned him to face a nearby mirror. He stared at his reflection, at the delicate golden ball resting against his throat. At the way the thin chain made his neck look different in a way he couldn't describe, but made his face feel warm.
"Now you just need…" The shopkeeper bustled away for a moment, swiftly returning with a golden bracelet. "This will match perfectly," she said confidently, taking his hand and slipping the band on his wrist. "Enchanted to fit any wrist, and only come off when you want," she added proudly.
Harry raised his hand, feeling the strange weight on his wrist. The gold glinted in the mirror. 'It does match,' he thought dazedly. Shaking himself once more, he looked at the beaming witch. "Um, how much do these cost?" he asked nervously.
"Seven galleons," she replied. Harry paused, looking down in thought. That seemed very expensive, as much as a wand. Glancing back to the mirror, his found his fingers tracing the delicate wings on the Snitch. Finally, he decided he could splurge just a little. 'Especially after my restraint with the Firebolt.'
He fished through his pockets for the money, counting the coins out before handing them over. She took them with a smile, before pulling out her wand. "I need to remove the Anti-Theft Alarm charm," she said, taking his hand and tapping the bracelet. "You don't need everyone in the Alley staring at you now, dear," she added as she touched the necklace carefully. "You're all good now. Do you need anything else?"
Harry shook his head, giving her a small smile and wave as he made his way from the store. As he made returned to the Alley, he felt a warm sensation that he couldn't put a name to. Shaking himself, he made his way along the Alley.
Looking around, he noticed an older wizard staring at him, with a strange expression. Then his eye caught a pair of girls whispering to each other, as one pointed at him. Suddenly, the shopkeeper's words repeated in his mind – "Everyone in the Alley staring at you…"
He felt his heart suddenly beating fast, and his face felt uncomfortably hot. He sped up, beginning to jog, and then run. His world narrowed and his breathing sounded incredibly loud in his ears. He darted through the Alley into the Leaky Cauldron, barely dodging the other patrons, and slammed the door to his room.
He sank to the floor, gasping for breath. Once his pulse stopped hammering in his ears, he pulled the bracelet off, and threw it into his trunk. After several minutes of fumbling, he freed the necklace's clasp, and it joined the bracelet. He shoved them under his robes, before collapsing on his bed, wondering at the fear and shame churning inside him.
Harry deliberately put the jewellery from his mind, and avoided the store for the remainder of his holiday. On the last day before they were to return to Hogwarts, he was relieved to see his friends, Ron and Hermione. They looked good after their respective holidays abroad.
He happily chatted with them about their holidays, and his time spent in the Alley. He didn't mention the jewellery store, telling himself it just wasn't important. Once they had caught up, he accompanied them as they finished their shopping. At the Magical Menagerie, Ron got a tonic for Scabbers, his old and sick looking rat, and Hermione got what could arguably be described as a cat.
When they returned to the Leaky Cauldron, they joined the rest of the Weasley family, talking about the upcoming year at Hogwarts and Sirius Black. Later that night, Harry overheard the Weasley parents arguing whether to tell him that Black was after him in particular.
The next morning was a mad rush, as the Weasleys, plus Harry and Hermione piled into the Ministry loaned cars and made their way to King's Cross Station. Once they entered platform nine and three-quarters, Mr Weasley pulled Harry aside to warn him about Black – he was rather surprised that Harry already knew.
On the train, Harry and his friends found a compartment with a sleeping Professor Lupin, most likely their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Quietly, he told Ron and Hermione about the threat of Black to him specifically, to their horror.
Hours later, the train slowed to a stop early, before all the lights went out. As they scrambled for their bearings, they were joined by Neville and Ginny. Finally, Professor Lupin awoke, lighting the cabin up with a literal handful of flames. When he moved towards the door, it opened, revealing a cloaked figure.
As the figure breathed in a harsh, rattling breath, Harry felt all warmth leave his body. An itching sense of wrongness crawled across and under his skin. His eyes rolled up in his head, and he distantly heard screaming.
When he awoke, the train was once more lit and moving. After checking he was alright, Professor Lupin handed him chocolate and left. Harry's friends filled him in on how Professor Lupin had driven away the Dementor.
Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Harry was pulled aside by Professor McGonagall for a check-up by Madam Pomfrey due to fainting, to his annoyance. Hermione was also pulled aside for a talk about her subjects. Once free, they joined the feast, where Dumbledore warned about the dangers of the Dementors. Afterwards, the Gryffindors made their way to the common room, and Harry fell quickly to sleep.
The first class was Divination, which quickly turned out to be terrible. Professor Trelawney was full of dramatic portents and ominous pronouncements. Harry felt ridiculous as they drank tea, and attempted to read signs in the dregs.
"Well," Ron said as he looked into Harry's teacup. "I think this thing is a face? It looks sort of broken though, so that means…" Looking through his textbook, he continued, "Uh, your falsehoods will unravel. Whatever that means?"
He turned the cup. "This way it sort of looks like a butterfly, of all things. Which is... a period of many changes. Blimey. And there's a thing here –" he turned the cup again, "- it looks like an animal. Yeah, if that was its head… it looks like a hippo… no, a sheep…"
Harry snorted with laughter, drawing Professor Trelawney's attention. The Professor gave several dark omens, culminating with the Grim, an omen of death. Hermione seemed incredibly unimpressed, offering scathing commentary, to the Professor's displeasure.
A dark cloud followed Harry until their next class, Transfiguration, where Professor McGonagall informed them that Professor Trelawney regularly predicted the death of a student, and all were perfectly healthy.
After lunch, they had Care of Magical Creatures, where a newly minted Professor Hagrid showed them hippogriffs. After Harry approached and rode Buckbeak, Malfoy insulted the proud creature and received a slash across his arm in return.
He didn't return to class for several days, until Potions, where he was greeted by the Slytherins as a champion. Snape forced Harry and Ron to help Malfoy with his potion, due to his injured arm. Throughout the class, Malfoy needled Harry, implying he should want revenge against Black. Snape singled out Neville for his abysmal potion, threatening to test it on his pet toad, Trevor, with likely fatal results. He was only saved by Hermione's whispered instructions, though it cost Gryffindor points from the vindictive Potions Master.
During their next class, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Professor Lupin led them to the staff room, where Snape belittled Neville. Professor Lupin defended the boy, to which Snape sneered before leaving. The Defence Professor then informed them they would be learning and facing about a Boggart. Once Hermione had explained the creature's ability to shapeshift into the fear of those it faced, Professor Lupin revealed its weakness – laughter.
After teaching them the spell riddikulus to force the Boggart into a humorous form, he ushered Neville forward. The timid boy revealed his greatest fear was Professor Snape, to the class' amusement. Professor Lupin then spent several minutes guiding Neville through the mental image of forcing the Snape-Boggart into a copy of his grandmother's clothes.
As they put their plan into motion, the class laughed uproariously. Harry grinned along, but felt a strange tightness in his chest as the Snape-Boggart looked around, confused. Before he could identify the feeling, Parvati was called forward, the Boggart changed, and the class continued.
Thinking about his worst fear, Harry considered Voldemort, before settling on the Dementor. The memory of horrible feeling of cold and wrongness it evoked caused him to shudder. As his turn approached he failed to think of a way to make a Dementor funny. Ultimately, it did not matter, as Professor Lupin stepped between them. The Boggart became a glowing sphere, before Neville was called forward to banish it permanently. Harry left the class feeling pensive.
Weeks passed and classes fell into a familiar rhythm. Defence was among the most popular subjects, filled with lessons on fascinating Dark creatures. Potions continued to be a chore under Snape's gimlet eye and Harry came to dread Divination with Professor Trelawney.
Quidditch practice resumed, Wood now more obsessed than ever with winning the Quidditch Cup for his final year. Harry greatly enjoyed the chance to fly again. He felt alive on a broom, the wind blowing through his hair. When he practiced with the Snitch, however, his mind kept wandering to the necklace he had bought. It took Oliver threatening him with one of the Weasley twin's Beater bats to restore his focus.
Soon, announcements were posted for the first Hogsmeade weekend. Harry was less than enthused, as his lack of signature from the Dursleys prevented him joining his friends. At Ron's urging, he approached Professor McGonagall after their Transfiguration class, to ask her permission. His Head of House seemed slightly regretful, but denied the request. He returned to the Common Room defeated and collapsed into his bed early.
With a stretch and a yawn, Harry kicked off his blankets and lazily reached for his glasses. Rolling out of bed he plodded to the bathroom. After splashing water on his face he paused at the mirror, taking in his appearance. He looked much the same as always. The only real difference he noticed was how long his hair had grown, now reaching passed his ears. He couldn't help but grin at that. 'Aunt Petunia would throw a fit,' he thought with glee. He had never been allowed to grow his hair out at all, and now his minor act of rebellion felt rewarded.
Returning to his trunk, he pulled out a clean set of robes. A flash of light glinted from beneath his clothes as something shifted into view. His eyes instinctively snapped to the reflection, resting on the gold bracelet. He'd almost forgotten it. Hesitantly, he reached down and pulled it out. A thin chain was tangled around it, and as he lifted the band, the small Snitch necklace came too.
His vision blurred at the edges, and he realised he was holding his breath. Forcing air into his lungs, he shook his head and put the jewellery on his bed, and quickly changing into his robes. He paused, looking at his recent purchases and biting at his lip in a moment of indecision. After a long moment, he drew in a deep breath, steeled his Gryffindor courage and picked them up. 'I bought them; I might as well wear them.' He slipped a band of gold around his wrist, enjoying the way the morning light reflected off it as he turned it. Then he slipped a necklace around his neck, taking a second to settle the Snitch shaped charm over his robes.
Harry felt a strange thrill run through him as he looked down at them, then felt incredibly silly. 'It's just some simple jewellery, why am I nervous? People wear stuff like this all the time, it's fine.' Shaking his head at how ridiculous he was being, he wandered over to poke Ron awake.
"Five mo' minutes," came the slurred reply. When further prodding simply made Ron hide under his pillow, Harry rolled his eyes and headed for the door.
"If you're not up in ten, I'm sending Hermione up after you." He grinned at Ron's muffled moan of horror – the last time he'd done that, it had ended with a cursing, dripping wet Weasley chasing a laughing Hermione around the Common Room.
Harry glanced around as he reached the Common Room, frowning at the absence of his bushy haired friend. 'That's weird,' he thought. 'Usually she'd be awake by this time.' He settled on the arm of one of the red couches to wait. He was glad that it was the weekend now, and he could spend the day with his friends. It would help to distract from the disappointment of Professor McGonagall refusing to sign his Hogsmeade form.
Looking up from his thoughts, he spotted Neville passing by. He called out to him, "Hey Neville, how're you doing?"
Jerking around to look at him, the round faced boy said, "Oh hi, Harry. I'm alright. How have you been?"
Harry gave a shrug. "I'm fine."
Neville nodded agreeably, and then hesitated. "So, umm… that's a nice necklace you're wearing. Does it mean anything special?"
Harry glanced down at the small golden ball, nervously touching it. His face grew hot for some reason. "Ah, no. No, it doesn't mean anything. I just felt like it, is all."
"Oh, okay," Neville said cautiously. "Well it looks good on you, anyway."
Harry smiled at him, wondering at the sudden burst of warmth he felt. "Thanks, Neville."
With a final nod and small smile, Neville continued out of the Common Room. Harry looked back over to the girls' stairs, just as Parvati and Lavender descending them. Hopping up, he gave them a wave and hurried over. "Uh, hey Parvati, Lavender, is Hermione still up there?"
The girls gave him a smile, Lavender nodding helpfully. "Yeah, she was still in bed when we were getting ready," she said brightly.
Harry frowned at that. Even on weekends, Hermione rarely slept in. After a moment of hesitation, Harry nodded to himself. "Alright, thank you. I'm going to check on her."
He started up the stairs briskly, oblivious to the sudden shocked expressions on the girls' faces. Keeping his eye out for the door labelled for Third Years, he reached the top of the tower. Knocking on it firmly, he called, "Hermione, are you okay in there?"
He waited, and after several seconds was rewarded by the faint sounds of sheets. He turned away from the door, just in case. A moment later the door opened.
"Harry!?" He jerked at the incredulity – and volume – of Hermione's voice. "What are you doing here!?"
He turned back towards her without thinking, catching a glimpse of her dressing gown, before hurriedly turning away again. "I just wanted to check you were alright. You're usually up way earlier than this, is all."
There was a long silence, before Hermione finally said, "Harry. You can't be up here."
Harry winced and started quickly down the stairs. "Sorry, sorry! I didn't know that was a rule."
"Wait, that's not-" Hermione cut off, and Harry heard the sound of the door closing behind him. He hurried back into the Common Room, where he spotted Ron sitting on the same couch Harry had used earlier. Ron looked at him curiously as he approached. "What's the matter?"
Harry shook his head and sighed, slumping down next to him. "I didn't know there was a rule about us going up there." He nodded towards the stairs to the Girls' Dormitory, where a ruffled looking Hermione had appeared, wearing a determined expression. "Hope she's not too upset about it."
The two of them stood as Hermione approached, looking in rather a state. Her hair was bushier than normal and her robes looked slightly crushed. Harry winced, realising she had rushed through getting ready because of him. Before he could say anything she asked, "How did you do that?"
Harry shared a confused glance with Ron. "Um, how did I do what?"
Hermione huffed as if he was being particularly thick, putting her hands on her hips. "How did you get up the stairs, Harry? They should have activated by the third step at least."
Harry was feeling more and more confused by the second. "I don't know what you're on about Hermione. I just walked up them."
She huffed again. "That's impossible, Harry. They're charmed to prevent any boys going up them."
Harry shared another confused look with Ron. "Then how did I get up there?"
"That's what I just asked you!" she exclaimed, throwing up her hands in irritation.
"Maybe the enchantment wore off," Ron offered tentatively, before cringing at the glare Hermione gave him.
"It's been there since the Founders, Ronald! It wouldn't just wear off!"
Ron stood with a stubborn expression. "Well why don't we just see," he said, and marched over to the Girls' stairs. Pausing to make sure Hermione was watching, he began climbing the stairs. He reached the sixth step before the stairs melted together into a smooth ramp and a loud, wailing alarm filled the air. Harry winced as Ron went ass over teakettle to the bottom of the stairs. He and Hermione hurried over to help him up, even as others in the room chuckled.
As they dusted Ron off, Harry glanced at Hermione. "So if the enchantment's still working, why didn't it affect me?"
Hermione stared into the distance with a thoughtful look on her face. "He shouldn't... but what if... maybe..." She shook her head and turned to them. "Harry, try the stairs again."
Harry looked at the current slide, then at Ron, before shrugging and placing his foot against the slope. After a moment, the klaxon fell silent and the slide morphed back into a step before them. Looking back to Hermione in confusion, Harry withdrew his foot. "So what does this mean?"
Hermione chewed at her lip, looking torn. "Let's sit down," she said eventually, leading them over to the couches. When Harry and Ron were seated, looking confused and slightly impatient, she sighed. "Alright Harry, please just listen and let me finish. I just remembered something I learned about once before coming to Hogwarts. There was a newspaper article, about someone who was born a man, but was living as a woman. The story intrigued me, since I'd never heard of such a thing before, so I went to the library to learn more. I discovered that it was not simply a once of thing, there are lots of people like that. The actual term for it is transgender. People who are transgender typically experience a sense of their body being wrong, known as dysphoria. It is frequently described as feeling like 'being born in the wrong body', or feeling like parts of themselves are missing."
Harry suddenly found it oddly hard to breathe, as something long buried in his mind had just clicked. Distantly, he heard his friends talking. "Wait, are you saying you think Harry's a tran-whatever-the-hell?"
"Transgender, Ron. I don't know. I think it's more likely than the Founders' magic making a mistake and identifying Harry as girl. "
"But then why has Harry never said anything about those sorts of feelings, huh?"
"Because I wasn't allowed to," said a voice, sounding incredibly loud to Harry's ears. It took him a moment to realise it had been his own.
Ron and Hermione turned to Harry, who stared resolutely down at his clenched fists. He found the words pouring out of him, as if a dam had broken. "I never knew there was a word for it. I always thought I was just a freak. The Dursleys hated me talking about it, or doing anything that seemed like it, so I just stopped."
"Oh, Harry!" Hermione threw her arms around him, as Ron's face took on a mixture of horror and confusion.
"So you're saying you think you're one of these transgenders?" Ron asked incredulously, before hurriedly adding, "Not that I think that makes you a freak or anything!"
Harry let out a sigh as Hermione released him and pulled back, though she took his hands into hers. "I don't know. It sounds kind of like what I've felt, but I don't know if that's actually what I am."
"The books I read said that people who think they are transgender should try experimenting with expressing their gender," Hermione said, running her thumb over the back of Harry's hand. "Trying things associated with the gender you feel like. And if they feel right, if they make the dysphoria feel less, then it's probably right and you're probably transgender."
"So he should try on a bunch of makeup and dresses and stuff and see if he likes it?" Ron asked slightly incredulously, looking between his two friends.
"If Harry wants to," Hermione replied simply. "Harry can try dresses and makeup and even jewellery, if that's what Harry feels like." She moved her hand to touch the bracelet Harry was wearing, and looked up at Snitch necklace. Harry pulled his hands back, covering the accessories self-consciously.
"Even if we say I am transgender," Harry said carefully, "what does it matter? I don't want to just throw on a dress and makeup. I'd look stupid and wrong."
"The Muggle world has ways of helping transgender people look like the gender they feel they are," Hermione answered gently. "There's medication they can take and surgeries they can have. And surely there's something we can do with magic that would be even better than what they can offer. Healing magic works miracles by Muggle standards."
Despite her reassuring tone, Harry was even more nervous. "That sounds like a lot of things to do for something we're still not sure about, Hermione."
She nodded and said, "Let's start by trying easy, temporary stuff first. For example, how does this feel? Harry Potter is a girl. She is my friend and I want her to be happy."
Harry's breathing hitched and tears appeared in his eyes. That had felt so incredibly right. He turned away quickly, swiping at them irritably.
"Blimey," breathed Ron, watching wide-eyed. "You really are a transgender aren't you?"
Harry took several steadying breaths, nodding slowly. "I think so. I- I'm a girl," she said, with a shaky smile at her friends. "Oh Merlin, I'm a girl." Hermione squeezed her hand, and she laughed softly. "It feels nice to be able to finally say it."
"Alright," said Ron, his shocked look fading into determination, "what should we do about it?"
Without thinking, Holly looked at Hermione, who squeezed her hand. "I think we should go see Professor McGonagall."
The trio arrived at the Great Hall in record time, having barely refrained from running through the halls. A glance at the Staff table revealed Professor McGonagall mid-conversation with Flitwick. Harry was torn between immediately marching up to speak with her, and fleeing the Hall entirely. At Hermione's prompting, they instead sat down to quickly eat breakfast. Harry found her gaze drifting, constantly checking to make sure Professor McGonagall was still there.
"Do you really think she can help?" she asked, practically vibrating with nervous energy.
Wiping her mouth on a napkin, Hermione replied, "She's the best place to start. She's our Head of House, and Transfiguration could have some spell that does what we need. And even if she can't do anything directly, she can help find someone who can."
"'Sides," Ron added, through half a mouthful, "someone'll probably tell her about the stairs this morning, and she'll want to know about it."
"Assuming she doesn't already," Hermione said, while pointedly looking away from Ron.
When Professor McGonagall began moving from the Hall, Harry shot to her feet and quickly moved to intercept her, with Ron and Hermione following close behind. The Head of Gryffindor House raised an eyebrow as she turned to meet them.
"Could I talk to you a moment, please Professor?"
She gave a small sigh. "I already told you I can't sign your form Mr Potter."
Harry swallowed and shook her head. "Actually, we'd like to talk about something else... privately, please." She glanced around at the nearby tables, causing several people to look away quickly. She shuddered at the thought of having this conversation in public.
Professor McGonagall gave her a searching look, glancing over Hermione and Ron as well, before nodding. "Very well. Come along then." The trio followed her to her office, Harry becoming more nervous with each step. She jerked in surprise when Ron placed a steadying hand on her shoulder.
"Easy, Harry. It'll be alright." She took a deep breath and nodded, even as Hermione took her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.
When they arrived at Professor McGonagall's office, she ushered them in, following behind. The door automatically closed behind her. She moved behind her desk, swishing her wand to produce additional chairs for the trio.
"Now, what did you wish to speak to me about?"
Harry opened her mouth, but no words came out. She threw a helpless glance at Hermione, who nodded understandingly and turned to the Professor.
"This morning, I was woken up by Harry knocking on my dormitory door."
Professor McGonagall stared at her blankly for a moment, before frowning. "I see. If the enchantment on the stairwell has failed, that is indeed concerning. We can have a look to see if we can restore-"
"I'm sorry, Professor," Hermione said. Professor McGonagall looked thoroughly shocked at being interrupted by Hermione Granger of all people. "But we already tested with Ron, and the enchantment did work when he tried them."
"And it hurt like buggery when I hit the ground too," Ron complained quietly to Harry, making her hide a smile.
Professor McGonagall's lips pressed thin as she listened to Hermione, before looking at Ron and then Harry. She rested her arms on the table, folded her hands and raised an expectant eyebrow. "I assume you know something I do not?"
Hermione flushed slightly at the subtle rebuke. "I remembered something I read about from before I came to Hogwarts. There are people who are called transgender. They are born with the body of the opposite gender to what they truly are. It was described as being an intensely uncomfortable feeling towards one's own body."
After a moment, Professor McGonagall's other eyebrow joined the first. "And what, besides the staircase, makes you believe Potter is… transgender?" Professor McGonagall asked.
Harry took a deep breath, wrapping her arms around herself protectively. "Everything feels wrong." She winced at the quaver in her voice. "It hurts every time someone calls me 'Sir' or 'Mister' or 'Boy'. I look at girls and I'm so jealous. I want to be able to look like them and act like them and dress like them without being laughed at or yelled at or-" She cut herself off and looked away, taking several deep breaths. "I just want to feel comfortable being me."
She waited, shrinking back in her seat at the Transfiguration Professor's scrutiny. It grew tenser as the silence drew on, and Professor McGonagall continued to stare at her. Finally, the Professor asked, "Were there any suggestions in the Muggle literature for helping such people?" Harry let out a near-sobbing sigh of relief. Professor McGonagall smiled gently at her. "We will do everything we can to help you, Harry."
"The literature advises that transgender people be allowed to express their correct gender in what they wear and how they are treated. It also had information on Muggle medical treatments to change hormones, giving them the correct puberty. There are also surgeries available, to change the things hormones can't. We were hoping that you would know of a Transfiguration that could have the same effects, or better, for Harry."
Professor McGonagall looked away in thought. "I can't think of any magics that can do something quite like that. Not truly. Human Transfigurations such as that are only performed by qualified Mediwizards to repair significant damage. You must understand, permanent Transfigurations are immensely rare. All things seek to return to their original state."
"So there's nothing you can do," Harry said heavily, fighting back a sudden wave of tears.
"None of that now," Professor McGonagall said, conjuring a handkerchief and passing it to her. "I do not currently know any spell that will help, but I can certainly investigate to see if such a spell exists. And even if one does not, there is no reason it cannot be created."
Harry wiped her eyes, nodding, even as the feeling of disappointment continued to pool in her stomach. Professor McGonagall stood then, gesturing for the trio to do so as well. "Now, I believe, it would be good to consult with Madam Pomfrey. As a fully qualified Mediwitch, she may know more about such matters."
Harry blinked at her uncomprehendingly for a few seconds, before jumping to her feet, a dizzying rush of excitement and nervousness rushing through her.
Professor McGonagall led them briskly to the Hospital Wing. Harry tried to use the walk to calm herself down. 'Just relax. You don't know that she'll be able to do anything. Stop getting your hopes up.' She suddenly realised that Hermione was still holding her hand, occasionally giving it a reassuringly squeeze. She gave a tentative smile to her bushy haired friend, and steadied her breathing. 'I have the best friends in the world,' she mused, turning her smile towards Ron. He was humming as he walked along beside her. 'They're so much better than I deserve.'
Professor McGonagall clearing her throat brought her out of her thoughts, and she realised they had arrived. She reclaimed her hand from Hermione's grasp and pushed open the doors, squashing down the sudden urge to turn and run and pretend this never happened.
As the trio plus teacher entered the Wing, Madam Pomfrey bustled over. "What have you done to yourself this time, Mr Potter?"
Harry flinched. "I'm not hurt, Madam Pomfrey," she murmured. The matron paused in confusion then looked to Professor McGonagall, who nodded.
"We are here for a consultation, Poppy, if you aren't busy right now," she said. Madam Pomfrey nodded, swiping her wand to send some potion vials on the nearby counter sailing into the cupboard.
"No, I'm not busy at all. Please come into my office." She led them into her office, which was surprisingly large. As well as a desk and bookshelves, there were several beds, some closets and even an armchair by the fire. She created chairs for them with a quick swipe of her wand. Once they were all settled, she looked to Professor McGonagall expectantly.
The Transfiguration Professor seemed to consider her words before speaking. "Miss Granger here was just telling me about something most fascinating, which she learnt about in the Muggle world. It seems certain people can be born as – what was the term? Transgender? Ah, yes, that was it. People born transgender, who while their bodies are one gender, have the minds of the other. And despite lacking magic, they've found ways to treat them, using their medicines to give them bodies that match their mental gender."
Madam Pomfrey looked both confused and curious. "That does sound rather interesting Minerva, but I must ask what this is about?"
Professor McGonagall smiled. "Well, as it just so happens, this morning, Potter here was able to walk to the top of the Gryffindor girls' dormitory stairs without the anti-male enchantment activating."
Madam Pomfrey looked between Professor McGonagall and Harry blankly before it dawned on her. "Oh!" she gasped. "You are transgender then, Mist- Miss Potter?"
Harry felt a blush on her cheeks as she nodded. "Yes, Madam Pomfrey. I'm a girl," she replied quietly, unable to keep a small smile from her face.
Hermione leaned forward. "We were hoping you knew some spell or potion that would allow Harry to have the correct body for her gender."
Harry held her breath as Madam Pomfrey looked thoughtful. She felt her heart plummet as the matron shook her head. "I'm sorry, but I don't know of any magic that can do that. The closest possibilities would be Human Transfiguration, or perhaps some variation of the Polyjuice Potion, but neither of those would be a permanent solution."
Harry slumped in her seat and looked away, resisting the urge to cry. She gave a wan smile as Ron put his arm around her.
"Don't give up hope yet, Miss Potter," Professor McGonagall said firmly. "Miss Granger, you mentioned Muggle methods of helping transgender people."
Hermione nodded. "Yes, it involves the use of medications to supress certain hormones, and replace them with others. This allows the body to undergo the correct puberty for that persons gender. And then there are surgeries to alter the parts that hormones can't change."
A look of deep thought was on Madam Pomfrey's face. "It is possible we could replicate those medications with potions. I will need more detailed information on the process, but I believe it is possible."
Hermione beamed, looking between Madam Pomfrey and Harry. "I'll write to my parents and get them to find books detailing the process. They're dentists so they should be able to find it more easily than most Muggles."
"Excellent," proclaimed Professor McGonagall, standing with a satisfied expression. "I will also investigate potential means of allowing permanent human Transfiguration for this. Between myself and the Headmaster, I'm sure we will be able to find some way to achieve it." She turned to the trio of students. "Now, these will take some time, Miss Potter, but we will make sure we find something to help you. Even if we find nothing, we can help you acquire the Muggle methods."
Harry looked between Professor McGonagall to Madam Pomfrey, and was unable to stop her tears of gratitude. "Thank you," she whispered.
Professor McGonagall conjured another handkerchief for her, while Hermione grasped her hand again. "Don't forget," her bushy haired friend added. "You can experiment with your gender expression, while we wait for these things. It is okay for Harry to try wearing more feminine things isn't it Professor?" she asked.
Professor McGonagall nodded. "I will make sure the other Professors are informed about all this. If you would like, Miss Potter, we can provide you some spare sets of female uniforms."
Harry looked at her with wide eyes. "Uh, I don't know. People might think I'm weird, wearing girl's robes while I look like this," she said with a gesture to herself.
"You will find," Professor McGonagall said, "that rules about the gender of clothes matter somewhat less in the magical world than the Muggle. I will have them ready for you and you can wear them or not as you choose." Before Harry could respond, she continued. "I will see that the rest of the faculty are informed before classes resume, and that they will address you properly. I must ask you to promise me, Miss Potter, that you will not attempt to perform human Transfiguration upon yourself. It is NEWT level spellwork and can cause permanent damage if done incorrectly."
Harry nodded regretfully. "I promise Professor." Hermione and Ron echoed her, as the Transfiguration Professor turned her eye to them.
"If you can achieve at least an E on your Transfiguration OWL, you will be able to study human Transfiguration. I hope I will see you in those classes. Have a good day, Miss Potter, Miss Granger, Mr Weasly." She turned to Madam Pomfrey. "Thank you for your time Poppy," she said, before turning and leaving the office.
"Well," Madam Pomfrey said briskly, "Miss Granger, I would appreciate you providing me those books when they arrive. Miss Potter, let me know if this transgender business affects your health. Until then, do try to stay out of here, hmm?"
Harry nodded sheepishly, as Hermione laughed and a grinning Ron ruffled her hair.
"Well, go on. Enjoy your day," she said as she ushered them out of her Hospital Wing. As they walked away, Harry found that she couldn't stop smiling.
First of all, thank you for reading my fic. This one is very important to me. I'm drawing on aspects of my personal experiences for this. This is just my personal experience, and should not be taken as applying to all trans people.
I'd like to note that since this is set in 1993, Hermione's information and terminology may be considered outdated. Anything I have her say will be generally correct, but please do further research because transgender terminology has progressed in the last 24 years.
Due to how unknown the idea of being transgender is in the magical world there are going to be characters that say things or act in ways that are offensive and harmful to trans people, even without intending to be. Obviously, this is not reflective of my views and should not be seen as behaviour to emulate.
For example, Professor McGonagall is going to out Harry to the faculty, and they will out her to the other students. Never do this to a trans person in real life. Always privately check if it's okay to disclose someone's trans status before doing so, or you could legitimately put their life in danger.
Edit: Updated some of the writing for this chapter, to make it flow a bit better
Edit 2: This chapter honestly felt rather quick, so I've added some stuff to flesh it out a bit.