Trouble started when Harry broke into Snape's Pensieve.
Predictably, he got caught, a nasty row ensued: with insults and dead roaches flying about the room, and with Harry running away in the end.
Later that night Harry found himself sniffling into Hermione's sweater.
"Why, 'Mione? Why me? Why do I always find out weird shit about my past, or dark secrets that involve my parents? Why can't I ever catch a break?"
"You're the chosen one," she said very sympathetically, but there was this slightest undercurrent of better you than me in her voice.
"I don't want to be the chosen one," Harry said miserably. "It's just too much. I can't handle this! My life is too weird. The scar on my face, Parseltongue, Voldemort is after me, Wormtail, Sirius is still in hiding, and now this... I just want to be normal, you know?"
"I know," Hermione said. "But look, it could be worse..."
"How could it possibly be any worse!!!"
She patted his back. "Are you going to apologize to Snape ?"
"No! Why should I?"
"Because you need the Occlumency lessons," Hermione pointed out ruthlessly. "Remember the connection between Voldemort's mind and yours?"
"See what I mean? My life is a freak show. I want to die."
Several days later, Harry isolated himself from the world, and continued to wallow in self-pity. He refused an offer of reconciliation from Snape, and proceeded to ignore everyone, including Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Ginny and Pomfrey. Simply put, he didn't want to talk to anyone.
Nobody understood him. Nobody understood what it was like to be him, to live his life, the life formed by unknown forces and shaped by terrible dark secrets. And he didn't feel inclined to explain.
He'd made it through the week, somehow, but on Friday afternoon, a large black dog caught up with him on school grounds.
"Hi, Sirius," Harry said listlessly.
"Hey, Harry," Sirius said, reverting to his human form. "Look, I'm sorry to drop in like this, but I have some news that might concern you."
"No, really?" Harry asked, heavy on sarcasm.
"Really. Look, there's no easy way to say this, Harry, but you might have lycanthropy..."
"What!!! Remus never bit me," Harry denied instantly.
"No, but, er, it's sexually transmitted, too," Sirius said very awkwardly. "Look – the chances of that are minimal, but you might want to check yourself out just in case."
"I don't need to. I didn't have sex with Remus," Harry said quickly.
"Well," Sirius said with obvious reluctance, "It's also...er... in some cases... hereditary. In those cases, it emerges on one's sixteenth birthday..."
"So?" Harry asked growing more and more confused.
"Well, you might have gotten it from your mum," Sirius clarified. "She and Remus – er... when your dad and your mum were fighting, and..." Sirius issued a miserable sigh.
Harry blinked. "Mum was a werewolf?"
"No, no," Sirius said quickly. "But she might have been a carrier. Look, the point is, there's no way to know unless you check yourself out."
"I see," Harry said coldly. "Any particular reason you didn't tell me sooner?"
"I didn't know until today," Sirius said contritely. "But Remus and I were talking – and well, he – uh, told me – and... look, just check yourself out, all right?"
"All right," Harry agreed, and a sinking feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
"Yes." Snape's voice delivered the news pitilessly and mercilessly. "You're going to be a werewolf, Potter, there's no denying it."
"Great," Harry said tiredly. "What do I do now?"
"Well, there's always Wolfsbane... or the Shrieking Shack," Snape said, sounding a tiny bit gleeful.
"There's always the silver bullet in the head, too," Harry mused.
Snape nodded seriously. "Shall I transfigure one for you right away?"
"I'll let you know."
Two days later in Dumbledore's office Harry waited for more news of some sort, that were ready to emerge from Poppy's mouth. Ron and Hermione were there too, to provide support.
"Harry, there's no easy way to say this, but... we've analyzed your DNA from your blood sample, and it turns out that you're a... Veela," Poppy said cautiously, and hesitantly.
"I thought I was a werewolf," Harry protested petulantly. As shocked as he'd been to hear the terrible news, he's began to get used to the idea by now.
"Well, you're also a Veela," Poppy said. "A Dark Veela."
"What the fuck is that? Does such a thing even exist?"
"Yes, yes, Dark Veelas do exist," Dumbledore said solemnly. "They are quite rare, mind you... in fact...."
"Well, it figures," Harry said dryly. "If something rare exists, it must be me. So?"
"Well, it's going to be a difficult thing to manage, once your Veela heritage kicks in, and your magic multiplies a thousandfold," Poppy said, sounding mournful. "We need to find your mate right away, or else, you stand the risk of destroying the world once you reach the age of Veela maturity..."
"Let me guess, sixteen?" Harry asked sardonically.
"No need to look," Harry said confidently. "Ginny is my mate. I've always liked her."
"I'm afraid, that's not possible, Harry," Dumbledore said apologetically. "The configuration of Veela magic in your system indicates that your mate will be male."
"No way!" Harry protested. "I don't even like blokes."
"It'll all change once your instincts awaken, dear," Poppy soothed. "All you'll want then is to be tied up and spanked, and claimed by your mate... and if we're lucky, it'll bring your Dark side under control, before it runs wild and destroys the world."
"You don't want to destroy the world, do you?" Dumbledore asked with obvious concern.
"Well, to be honest, I'm undecided at this point."
"Why me? Why am I a Dark Veela?" Harry lamented.
"I don't know," Hermione said sadly. "Would you like me to do some genealogy research on your parents?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
"I'll see what I can find out."
"My mother was a what???"
"A pureblood daughter of Gellert Grindelwald," Hermione said in a hushed whisper. "She was adopted to the Evans family when she was a baby. Her real name was Crystalle Amethysta Magnolia-Oleander Grindelwald."
"Oh god, this is horrible," Harry said, feeling a wave of nausea reach his throat.
"Yes, Grindelwald was an awful man," Hermione said sympathetically.
"That I don't care about so much... but Crystalle Amethysta Magnolia-Oleander? That's just nasty."
"I know," Hermione said mournfully. "What I don't understand is this then... why did the blood protection and blood wards work, if Petunia and your mum weren't related? It doesn't make any sense..."
"I don't even care anymore," Harry spat.
"Well, I do care," Hermione said, appearing deep in thought. "You know, maybe the wards worked for some other reason...maybe there's something more to your connection with Voldemort than meets the eye... I'll try to find out," Hermione said, and left, before Harry could tell her not to fucking bother.
"Harry, we've located your mate," Sirius and Dumbledore said, sounding pleased.
"Yes?" Harry asked, and winced, seeing Snape sitting next to Dumbledore's desk. "Oh no. Don't even go there. This isn't funny."
Snape shrugged. "It's a little bit funny."
Harry cast a pleading glance at his godfather. "Sirius, do something!"
Sirius shook his head sadly. "I can't fight with your Veela instincts, Harry. I can't stand between you and Snape. I won't win."
"You'll totally win!" Harry protested. "Come on! You can't tell me that you want me to – with him?"
"Harry, dear boy, we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good," Dumbledore cooed in a comforting way.
"Oh yeah? Well - what is Snape sacrificing?" Harry demanded.
"A perfectly good set of leather restraints that will undoubtedly bear the bite marks from your teeth after the mating," Snape said humorlessly.
Harry swore under his breath. "Well, I hope you contract lycanthropy from me!" He said hatefully.
"Hmmm," Snape murmured, sizing Harry up with a critical eye. "I'll admit, this is a much more pleasurable way to become a werewolf than what your godfather had in mind for me. Yes, I look forward to it."
"What the fuck is that?" Harry asked, scratching his back furiously. "It bloody itches."
Ron lifted Harry's shirt to expose his back.
"Oh shit," Ron whispered, sounding positively horrified.
"What?" Harry demanded. "Do I have warts? Did someone hex me?"
"Uh... not exactly," Ron said dubiously, and quickly allowed Harry's shirt to drop back into place. "Sorry, Harry, it's probably nothing."
"What was it?" Harry demanded.
"It can't be," Ron said.
"WHAT IS IT???"
"Something poking through," Ron murmured. "Maybe... er... wings?"
"It's not wings," Poppy said reassuringly, petting Harry's head.
"What? Don't tell me I'm part squid, in addition to being a Veela and a werewolf!!!"
"What? Oh, no, no, no!!!" Poppy laughed out loud. "No, Harry. I think you had an alien life form attach itself to you, and.... well, it's a symbiotic kind of relationship. Probably harmless."
"Probably? Get it out of me! I want it gone!"
"I wouldn't do that," Dumbledore said, passing by. "You don't want to kill the alien inadvertently."
"I really don't care!" Harry protested. "This is my body we're talking about!"
"Well, you wouldn't want to start a war with an unknown alien civilization, would you?" Dumbledore said reasonably.
"I don't care!" Harry repeated stubbornly. "I'll kill them all!"
Dumbledore squeezed Harry's shoulder. "One war at a time, child. One war at a time."
"I'm absolutely not a hermaphrodite," Harry said. "This is ridiculous."
"Your parents had you magically modified at birth to look male, but yes, you are a hermaphrodite," Poppy said. "You have a uterus. You're going to be able to bear children for Snape."
Harry muttered something spiteful about Snape under his breath.
The bonding ceremony was about to begin. Harry surveyed the headmaster's office numbly. Not many people other than Snape and himself were there – Dumbledore, McGonagall, Sirius, Remus, Ron and Luna. Everyone looked absolutely undisturbed – as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with a bonding ritual between a fifteen year old student and his professor. Even Ron looked like wasn't especially bothered by the idea of Harry and Snape becoming... mated. Only Hermione was conspicuously absent.
"Well, shall we begin?" Dumbledore asked.
"No, we should wait for Hermione," Harry said, desperately wanting to stall.
Just then the door to the office flung open, and Hermione burst in.
"I've got some news," she said breathlessly. "It's about Harry..."
"Of course it is," Harry said tiredly. "Now what?"
"You and Voldemort... I found out... connection... Trelawney's prophecy... twin..."
"You're Voldemort's twin brother, Harry!" Hermione panted. "Literally!"
"What? That's impossible," Harry said. "He's like seventy, and I'm – well, fifteen."
"There was time travel involved," Hermione explained. "You see, the relatives of Grindelwald wanted to hide you and your twin brother from the Dark Lord, so they placed you with Crystalle Amethysta Magnolia-Oleander's adoptive family, and sent your twin brother back into the past... and he grew up to become the Dark Lord!"
Harry blinked. "Hermione, that sounds extremely unlikely."
"I know, but it's the truth! That's why your blood was needed to resurrect him – you two share the same blood! And that's why you were safe in Petunia's home, not because of her blood, but because you and Voldemort share the same blood, and he couldn't attack you in your own home, see?"
"Huh? No, I don't see that at all," Harry said, beginning to feel like he was losing his mind.
"How can you fail to understand something so perfectly logical and simple?" Hermione demanded.
"Well, I'm sorry," Harry said, "it just doesn't make any sense to me."
Sirius chuckled quietly under his breath.
"Harry, it only doesn't make any sense because it's not true," Sirius said softly. "You aren't Voldemort's twin brother. Hermione just made that up."
Harry's hand clenched into a fist, and he was about to lunge at Hermione, but Sirius held him back.
"Just like I made up an affair between Remus and your mum," Sirius added remorselessly.
"Oh god," Harry breathed. "Really? You mean it? I don't have lycanthropy?!!"
"No, Harry," Dumbledore said gently. "By the way, you also don't have an alien growing tentacles out of your back, nor are you a pureblood descendent of Grindelwald."
"My mum wasn't called Crystalle Amethysta Magnolia-Oleander?" Harry asked, grinning ear to ear.
Remus shook his head. "No, Harry. She was just Lily. Lily Evans. A muggle-born witch."
"Incidentally, Potter," Snape added in a silky voice, "You're also not a Dark Veela, required to become my submissive mate and bear my children. Which, given my clearly heterosexual orientation, and utter lack of interest in s&m, is quite fortunate for both of us."
Harry issued a deep, deep breath, feeling immensely relieved and ridiculously happy.
"Why all the deception?" Harry demanded, looking at everyone reproachfully.
"Frankly, we just wanted you to put things into perspective, and realize that your life isn't that bad," Remus said gently. "Yes, coming of age is difficult, and wallowing in teenage angst and grieving over feeling different is all well and good... but only to a point."
Sirius patted his shoulder. "Do you think you can handle your life now, Harry?"
"Yes," Harry said. He should have been angry, but... he really had been a self-absorbed, egotistical brat. And his friends were still here, standing around him, smiling ear to ear. Suddenly, parseltongue, scar, prophecies, nasty secrets, Wormtail, and even Voldemort himself didn't seem so bad.
For that matter, even Snape didn't seem so bad now that Harry didn't need to think about having sex with him.
"So, Professor," Harry said, looking at Snape cautiously. "Will you teach me Occlumency?"
"I'll be willing to try again," Snape said, and added, with a deadpan expression on his face, "but only if you manage get your hermaphrodite hormones under control, and stop emoting during lessons."