Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter universe.
A/N: This story is an AU that starts at the beginning of year five. No spoilers for HBP or DH.
Summary:Harry Potter is sick and tired of how everyone is treating him. He desperately needs a change, but realises that drastic measures are required if that is ever to happen. And what can be more drastic than changing oneself into a girl? But what Harry doesn't realise is that otherworldly powers are at work, and soon Harry's simple plan of telling everyone to get off his back is turned into something far more complex with far more far-reaching consequences than he could have ever dreamed possible.
Let The Guilty Pay
Harry stirred his potion, frowning deeply at the deep blue, almost iridescent colour of it. It was supposed to be a pale silvery green, and his efforts were nothing near that colour. Deepening his frown, Harry did his best to hide his smirk. Part one of his plan was in place. Now all he needed was a distraction, and by the looks of it, good old Neville was about to oblige him by exploding his cauldron again. Taking note of the state of his fellow Gryffindor's potion, Harry quickly looked down at his own attempt, mentally counting down the seconds. It was close to show time!
Harry Potter was a man with a mission
Unlike popular belief, Harry Potter was not stupid. Added to that, he was far more Slytherin than anyone gave him credit for. Not that Harry was particularly sorry about that. It left him more room to do things his way.
Then again, it wasn't his fault if the people around him thought him to be a rash, idiotic Gryffindor who couldn't use either the brain or the eyes the powers that be had given him. They didn't think he would find it odd that Hagrid went and picked up that stone thing while Harry was with him? Dear Salazar, could the man have acted more mysteriously?
And what about third year? Did they really think that he wouldn't find Hermione's behaviour strange, or want to investigate how come she was forever popping up and disappearing at odd moments? Harry mentally rolled his eyes and suppressed a snort.
He had played along, of course, acting as clueless as Ron, all the while keeping his eyes open and searching through the library for magical items that might explain what was going on. He had found out too. And it had only taken him a month. Harry grinned at the memory. What no one knew was that Harry had made good use of the Time-Turner as well. 'Borrowing' it from Hermione every night - once he had figured out how to get past the charm put on the staircase leading to the girl's dorms, which had only taken him two weeks - giving him a few extra hours to study and practise spells and potions. He had become quite the wizard too, if you asked him. Too bad that Hermione had given the Time-Turner back to McGonagall when the school year ended. Harry wouldn't have minded keeping things going for a few more years.
But his patience at all the deceptions were starting to wear thin. Not to mention that he was getting heartily sick of how the wizarding world seemed to love hating him. He hadn't asked for the life he had been given. He hadn't asked to be someone special. He had kept his tongue, however, doing his best to act as Harry Potter, the epitome of all things Gryffindor. But enough was enough!
The last straw was Dolores Umbridge. Harry hated her with a passion, and if it was the last thing he did he would get that bitch but good! How dare she give him detentions for speaking the truth? How dare she sprout that Ministry approved nonsense? And how dare she try and scar him for life with that bloody quill of hers? He already had two scars thanks to the Dark Lord, he was not about to allow some small-minded drone to give him a third!
The problem was that Harry Potter was a timid boy who would never draw attention to himself. He would go out of his way to try to keep the peace, even if it meant suffering pains and humiliations in private, never complaining, hiding behind a mantel of martyrdom.
Unfortunately, it was too late to change the behaviour of Harry Potter. It was too ingrained into people's mind what type of person Harry Potter, the saviour, the Boy Who Lived, was. It didn't matter that that picture was false. It was what people thought to be true, so, naturally, it was true.
So, if Harry Potter couldn't change his behaviour, then maybe what was needed was for Harry Potter to 'change'. Hence why he was pretending to frown down at his potion, while he silently was counting down, waiting for Neville's latest disaster.
And there it was. A soft hissing was the only warning, and then Neville's cauldron exploded upward and outward as if it was trying to re-enact Mount Vesuvius latest eruption. Harry didn't have to fake the cry of pain as the scalding hot potion cascaded down over him even though he had a shield up to ensure that the failed Potion wouldn't affect him. Somehow, he had forgotten to factor in the heat of the 'shower'.
Ah well, the prize he paid for working next to Longbottom. Doubling over, Harry 'accidentally' upturned his own cauldron, drenching himself in that potion as well. At least it wasn't scalding hot. Harry might do what was needed, but he was by no means a masochist, thank you very much!
Curled up on the floor, partially hidden under his desk, the black haired teen made sure to keep his face concealed from view. Knowing that he didn't have much time, Harry swiftly pulled out the bottle he had had hidden inside his sleeve, kept in place by a nifty sticking charm. Removing the lid with a flick of his thumb, Harry upped the vial and hastily gulped the content down before hiding the small bottle in a pocket, praying to every deity that he knew that, for once, Snape wouldn't spot what he was up to.
For a moment everyone froze. Then Snape came down on them, resembling a dragon about to breathe fire on its unfortunate victims. Sneering in disgust, the professor cast a look into what remained in the so unexpectedly emptied cauldrons before giving the two hapless boys a severe dressing down, where dunderheaded imbeciles were the kindest word out of his mouth.
Around them, their fellow Gryffindors were wringing their hands, cringing at the degrading remarks, and scowling darkly at the amount of points removed. On the other side of the classroom the Slytherins were snickering, enjoying the show that they for once had had no hand in creating.
Harry did his best to look properly chastened, scrambling to get back on his feet not wanting to give Snape any more ammunition than he already had. Allowing his head to hang down, hunching his shoulders, and wearing his best hangdog expression Harry allowed the abuse to stream off him like water off a duck, silently counting down the minutes, worrying that he had somehow gotten something wrong.
Three minutes into Snape's lecture the pain hit, and Harry did nothing to keep the scream inside, slumping to the floor once more since it was impossible for him to remain on his feet, welcoming the encroaching darkness with eagerness. The book had warned him that it would hurt, but bloody hell! No one had said anything about it hurting worse than Voldemort's Cruciatus Curse!
Severus Snape broke off his tirade mid word, staring down at an unconscious Potter with an almost stupid expression on his face. Only his many years as a Death Eater and a spy allowed him to keep control of his facial muscles.
The boy should not be laying on the floor in a dead slump. He was not supposed to be screaming bloody murder, and he was most definitely not supposed to change into looking like a girl! Bloody hell, but what had the walking disaster known as Longbottom created this time?!
"All of you, clear out! Granger, Mr. Malfoy, I leave it to your responsibility to make sure that everyone is out of here in four minutes, or you will all serve detention with me for a week! Is that understood? Mr. Malfoy, see if you can find uncontaminated samples of these two fools' potions. Bottle some up if you do. Mr. Zabini, help him. The rest of you, what are you waiting for? Or are you that eager to help me pickle rat brains, and bat livers?" Severus barked, watching with well-hidden amusement as everyone jumped into action.
Looking out over the room, Severus noted with approval that just about everyone was grabbing their things, clearing out of his classroom with surprising speed. Looking back down at Potter the Potions master suppressed a sigh. Plastering on a sneer he conjured a stretcher and levitated the brat onto it before starting his trek to the hospital wing. Albus would find a way to pin this on him, he just knew he would. Was it his fault that neither boy could follow a simple recipe?
His internal grumblings were cut off when he entered the infirmary and Poppy came down on him like a ton of bricks, already putting the blame for the latest disaster at his feet. Just as she had always done. No matter if it was the Marauders or his Potions students, every time something happened it were always his fault. Not once had she ever bothered to listen to the actual facts. Not once had Pomfrey even considered that the fault might not be his.
Scowling darkly as his already riled up temper grew hotter, Severus marched over to one of the beds and dumped the Potter brat onto it. "He was drenched in two failed potions. I was attempting to discern what had happened when he started screaming and then he passed out." Severus sneered and stepped away from the bed, allowing the nurse free access to her patient.
Keeping his disapproving sneer on, Snape waited with almost baited breath to hear the verdict. If what he thought had happened had happened, then he should be in for some entertainment. Potter was sure to freak out, and Draco should be able to come up with new and entertaining ways to torment the Boy Who Lived To Be Turned Into A Girl.
"Severus? I was informed there had been an accident?" Albus Dumbledore stated more than asked as he glided into the hospital wing, breaking his Potions master out of his delightful thoughts.
Severus sneered. "There was not accident, Headmaster, only incredible incompetence. Why you insist on having me try teaching dunderheads the delicate art of Potions is beyond me. My time would be much better utilised if I was allowed to focus only on those who actually has a talent for the art, instead of wasting it on the likes of Potter and Longbottom."
"Now, now, Severus, you know very well that Ministry's view on that matter," Dumbledore said soothingly, not wanting to start another argument on that subject with his prickly professor.
Severus snorted but refrained from commenting.
"What happened?" Albus asked, needing to hear how badly Harry had been hurt, and how long it would be before he was back on his feet.
"Longbottom is what happened. He blew up his potion. Drenching Potter in the process. Who upended his own cauldron, drenching himself in his own, failed, brew. I had Mr. Malfoy bottle any uncontaminated samples he could find, I will analyze them tonight to see what exactly those two imbeciles managed to create."
"And you are sure…?" Albus asked delicately, glancing over at Snape over his glasses.
Severus snorted. "No, Albus, none of my snakes had anything to do with this latest disaster."
"Hmmm. Then we can only hope that you will be able to find out what they did, and how to counter the effects," Albus mused, not entirely believing Snape's assurance of his Slytherins innocence, causing the man to scowl at him angrily.
Before he could say anything, however, Pomfrey came over to stand in front of them, a deep frown on her face.
"Poppy?" Albus asked hopefully.
"There is nothing wrong with Potter. There were some slight burns from being hit with a scalding potion, but I have already dealt with them. Other than that, there are no lingering affects on the child's health."
"Poppy?" Albus asked once more, sensing that there was something else, something she wasn't comfortable with.
"As I said, there is nothing wrong per se with the child," Poppy hedged, not sure what to say.
"Poppy?" Albus asked, somewhat helplessly, he hated it when he was kept in the dark.
Pomfrey sighed in defeat. She knew there was no way she could keep this secret, still, she did not want to be the one to drop this little bombshell. "As I said, there is nothing wrong with Potter, he is a perfectly healthy, fifteen years old… girl."
The nurse's words were met with a deafening silence.
Severus bit back a snicker of unholy glee. Just wait until the rest of the school heard about this! His sneer was morphed into a smirk with distinct smug overtones as the unflappable Albus Dumbledore stood there utterly flabbergast. His mouth were opening and closing, but no words emitted from his throat.
Feeling his control starting to slip, Severus pushed away from the wall he had been leaning on and made a beeline for the doors. "Unless you need me for something, I will be returning to the catastrophe that this morning was my classroom," he said, his voice heavily laced with disdain.
"Yes, yes. I trust you will try your utmost to find out what Harry was dosed with, and what can be done to counter it," Albus said weakly, finally finding his vocal cords once more.
Severus snorted but didn't bother to comment, too intent on making his escape before someone got the brilliant idea of making him into the brat's babysitter. She was going to need one if she was to survive Hogwarts in her new form.
Turning his full attention to the mediwitch, Albus said, almost pleadingly, "Are you sure there isn't some mistake?"
"Albus Dumbledore, I am very well capable of telling the difference between a boy and a girl!" Poppy snapped, swelling up with righteous indignation.
"Yes, yes, of course. Do forgive me, my dear. But if Harry has indeed been turned into a girl… then we will be faced with a lot of difficulties. His life will be in even more danger than it is now," Albus said with a faint smile, reaching into his robe for a handkerchief that he used to dab at his suddenly damp forehead.
Poppy merely snorted, not placated in the least.
"Is he awake?" Dumbledore eventually asked, his mind already trying to figure out what to do with the boy now.
"She was dozing when I left her. The transformation took a lot out of her. I suppose she will be up for a brief visit, if you give me your word that you will pull yourself together and not upset her!" Poppy said smartly, giving Dumbledore a dark look.
Finally beginning to recover from his shock Albus twinkled at the irate nurse, giving her a cheerful smile. "I do believe I know how to behave in a hospital wing, Poppy. I promise not to upset the young lady."
"See that you don't," Poppy snapped, moving aside so that the Headmaster had a free path to the occupied bed.
"Harry? How are you feeling, my boy? Er, I mean, my girl?" Albus greeted the small figure resting in the hospital bed. He had thought he was prepared for the changes he was to see, but the reality was nothing like what he had imagined. A petit, heart shaped face looked up at him, framed by a cascade of jet-black hair that had grown considerably in length. Her frame was slim, but well developed, and there was no doubts whatsoever to what gender the figure in the bed belonged.
"I'm fine, sir," Harry murmured, looking down at his hands. "I'm a bit confused as to what happened," he lied, "but I'm feeling fine. I just ache a bit I guess."
"I'm glad to hear that, Harry. Well, I suppose we need to find you another name to call you by until Severus has found a way to turn you back to your true self." Albus chuckled a bit uncomfortably. He'd had no troubles 'encouraging' Harry on his 'adventures', but this slip of a girl looked as if a strong wind would bowl her over. How was he supposed to fight, and win, against Voldemort looking like this?
"I suppose," Harry murmured, still not looking at the aged wizard. He kept his face blank, but on the inside he was sneering. He had been turned into a girl due to a Potions 'accident' and the Headmaster was worried about what to call him!?
"How about Harriet?" Albus asked, trying to figure out what to do with the Boy Who Lived now.
"Absolutely not!" Harry protested vehemently. No way in hell would he answer to that!
"Why not? It is a perfectly good name, and it would make sense calling you that since your parents named you Harry," Albus reasoned cheerfully, feeling much more in balance now that he knew what to call the boy, er, girl.
"I much prefer the name Kelly, and since my eyes are green, it would make much more sense to call me that, rather than Harriet," Harry stated firmly, raising his chin stubbornly.
Albus watched her for a few moments. It was clear that Harry still possessed his stubborn streak. It was also clear that she was not about to budge on this matter, and Albus decided to gracefully give in. "Very well, Kelly it is," he allowed.
Turning slightly so he could address the nurse Albus asked her, "How long before Miss Potter can leave?"
"I suppose she could leave now; there is nothing medically wrong with her. I would feel better, however, if she didn't do any magic today," Poppy hedged, not feeling fully comfortable with allowing Potter to leave, but knowing the student well enough to know that she hated it in the hospital wing and would do everything within her power to sneak away at first opportunity. "If you give me your word, Miss Potter, that you will come and see me immediately if you start to feel anything different, then I will allow you to leave with the Headmaster."
"I promise, Madam Pomfrey," Kelly said with a happy smile.
Poppy harrumphed, but did not stop the teen from sliding out of bed.
Kelly was so pleased at being released so quickly that she chose to ignore the nurse's reaction.
Albus chuckled, leading the way out of the infirmary. "I will take you to your new room. Understandably, I cannot allow you to remain in the boys' dorm. That would cause too many awkward situations. For the same reasons I can't place you in the girls' dorm either. No, I think it would be best if I placed you in the old Head Girl apartment. It is only a few portraits down from the Gryffindor Tower, and it should give you some privacy, not to mention peace and quiet, while the rest of the school get used to the new you," Dumbledore stated cheerfully, sweeping down the corridors.
Kelly made a face at his back, but refrained from saying anything. The Headmaster made it sound as if she had contracted a disease or something equally unpleasant for Merlin's' sake!
"Ah, here we are. The password is 'Gryffindor rules'. I will ask the house-elves to move your things here. You have my permission to eat your meals in here when the rest of the school becomes too much, but I must ask you not to abuse this privilege," Dumbledore said, looking at Kelly over his glasses.
"I promise, sir. Um, Professor? What about my clothes?" Kelly asked a bit timidly as she was about to step over the threshold.
"Yes, they do no longer fit, do they?" Albus mused, giving his student a once over, having to fight down a blush as he did so. Merlin, but the girl was attractive. Jet-black hair cascaded down her shoulders, reaching her waist. Her skin was alabaster pale, and her mouth was a deep, blood red that only enhanced her paleness and the vibrancy of her eyes. As a boy, Harry had never been tall, or particularly muscular, and as a girl he was petite, frail looking and 'blooming' in all the right places. Dressed properly, she was going to be a heartbreaker, and Albus couldn't help but feel a sense of unease. Harry had no idea how to deal with persistent boys, and his adjustment to acting according to his new looks would not be easy. Maybe he could have Minerva give her a few pointers? Nodding to himself in decision, only too happy to transfer that task to his Deputy's capable shoulders, Albus smiled gently at Kelly and said, "I will arrange for Minerva to take you shopping this very afternoon."
"Thank you, sir," Kelly nodded, stepping fully inside her new rooms, taking her first, true look at her new home.
"I shall leave you to settle in, shall I? Don't hesitate to call on me if you have any troubles."
"I will, sir, thank you."
Dumbledore nodded and made his escape, heading for McGonagall's classroom. He was sure Minerva would know what to do with their 'new' student, leaving him free to consider other matters.
"I take it our resident celebrity is resting comfortably in the hospital wing?" Draco asked with a drawl when Severus stepped into his classroom.
"Indeed he is," Severus nodded, taking in the amount of damage done to his domain. "Or should I say… she is?" he added with a smirk.
"She?" Draco echoed. "So Potter actually did turn himself into a girl? How in Salazar's name did he manage to do that?" Draco asked incredulous, sharing a glance with Blaise. Both boys lit up in delight at the prospect of new material to torment Potter and his friends with.
"I have no notion whatsoever. I trust you managed to save me a sample?"
"Yes, although Weasley took umbrage to you asking us to do it and tried to interfere. It was only Blaise's quick thinking that saved us a small sample of uncontaminated potion. The idiot was about to start cursing us, trampling all over the place with those big feet of his, not caring where he stepped. Blaise petrified him, and while he argued with Granger, I collected the samples you asked for. Here they are," Draco said, pulling four bottles from his pocket, handing them over to the Potions master. They were neatly labelled, and spelled to be unbreakable.
"Good thinking, Blaise, fifty points to Slytherin. Since you have missed the beginning of the Defence lesson, not that that toad teaches anything of value anyway, why don't you help me clean this mess up, earning extra points and credits?" Severus asked, putting the bottles away safely.
The two teens shared a glance, shrugged, and put down their bags again. Spelling the classroom clean beat reading boring Defence theory any day. Especially since the theory covered mostly useless spells that held no value in real life.