Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do not make any money from the writing of this fanfiction.
Author's note: The muses for all of my crossovers have decided to hide from me…so here's an AU that got stuck in my head a couple of years ago that I wrote down in a notebook, forgot about, and rediscovered recently when going through all of my old notebooks that I used to write my fanfics in before I got my own laptop. Enjoy.
*By the way, this story completely ignores Sirius' death and the Horcruxes. That's why it's Alternate Universe – for that, and, you know, time travel.
Warnings: Abuse – physical, sexual, and emotional. Male/Male slash.
Harry Potter was not a happy bunny.
This in and of itself was not unusual. However, Harry had woken at three in the morning with burning pain on the top of his head, his lower back, and, oddly, his fingernails. After nearly an hour of suffering this in silence, the pain had abruptly stopped, leaving him feeling shaky and exhausted. Harry had stumbled into the bathroom, and had been staring at himself in the mirror with wide eyes since.
A pair of black, cat-like ears sat on top of Harry's head. He swallowed hard, and lifted his now-shoulder-length hair to check for human ears. Nope. The transformation was real, then. Something brushed the backs of his knees, and Harry looked down to see a black cat's tail swishing behind him. He felt behind him, and discovered that the tail originated about two and a half inches above his butt – he had found the source of his earlier back pain. He was relieved the tail wasn't lower – he should be able to wear pants without too much trouble.
Experimentally, Harry tried to move his tail, and was relieved that it responded the same way his arms and legs did. He wrapped his tail around his waist, and tried to think about what to do about this latest oddity in his life.
"Boy!" Petunia's voice shrieked up the stairs. "Get up!"
Harry stared at his changed reflection and breathed out softly, "Shit."
An hour later, Harry stumbled back up the stairs bruised and bleeding, his aunt's scream ringing in his ears: "Write that freak Headmaster of yours NOW!"
Harry had been kidnapped by Death Eaters during Christmas break of his fifth year, and brought to another house owned by Riddle, where the snake-like creature that had once been the mighty Lord Voldemort challenged him to another duel. Harry spent most of the time dodging frantically, as he didn't know even a quarter of the Dark spells that were being flung at him, and thus did not know how to counter them. The more he dodged, the angrier Riddle got, and the flashier the curses became – finally attracting the attention of the Aurors searching for him and the Order of the blasted Phoenix that Dumbledore had not seen fit to tell him about until after the fight. When the Order and the Aurors had burst in and distracted the Death Eaters and Voldemort, Harry had cast the most powerful attack spell he knew: Fira.
Voldemort promptly caught on fire – a fire he could not put out by magical or normal means. Harry had watched in silence, ignoring the shouts of Aurors and screams of pain from the Death Eaters as their Dark Marks burned as well. He had watched until Voldemort crumpled to the ground, still screaming in agony, and he continued to watch until the body was still and there was silence from the fighters of the "Light" sides and "Dark" sides alike. Harry found out later that the Fira spell hadn't worked for any witch or wizard in the past three hundred years – until Harry. Harry had read in the book he found the spell in that it was designed so that one whose only intent was to help others could cast it, and was mildly disgusted by the fact that it took three hundred years for a fighter who cared for others more than himself to appear. The fact that he had never seen Dumbledore use the spell was telling.
Harry had been forced back to the Dursleys the summer following Voldemort's defeat, and now this summer after sixth year as well. Dumbledore's manipulation and outright greed had become clear to Harry as soon as he'd forced Harry to return to his Aunt the summer after fifth year; he didn't dare write the old man for help in the latest complications of his life, for fear of being further used to increase Dumbledore's already formidable power. The purpose of the Order of the Phoenix had been well-advertised in the Daily Prophet after Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort, and its vigilante members were hailed as heroes – "The Boy-Who-Lived's faithful guardians and defenders of peace" – as it was printed in article after article, when Harry had seen nothing of said guardianship until the last battle.
Harry was no longer speaking to Ron; the boy had been too open with his bragging about his earlier adventures with Harry, and Harry had seen him for the pawn of Dumbledore that Ron truly was. Even more bitter to Harry was the fact (learned from a small garter snake that happened to be near a certain conversation) that Dumbledore was encouraging Ron to control all of all Harry's public actions as a famed Hero (capital letter hated and despised by Harry) – and that Ron was taking payment from Dumbledore to do so. Harry would not stand for political manipulation from his so-called best friend any more than he would from the hated Umbridge; he confronted Ron, several hexes were thrown, and Ron struck out on his own, using the media to gain his own fame while Harry fled into the shadows as much as he could.
He didn't dare write Sirius – the animagus was still in hiding as Wormtail had not been caught yet – but the other loyal Marauder might be able to help. Remus was teaching DADA again this year; if anyone would know what had happened to Harry, the gentle werewolf would.
Once Harry's letter to Remus was complete, he looked contemplatively at the parchment in front of him, then penned another letter, this one to the Weaseley twins, asking if they'd mind sharing the apartment above their joke shop for a bit until he found his own place. He didn't want to stay with the Dursleys now that he was of age any longer than he had to.
The twins' reply came first; Harry was, of course, welcome whenever he wished, and could use the accompanying Portkey as soon as he was ready to come. Harry turned the Ton-Tongue Toffee over in his fingers and smirked, reminded of the events before his fourth year. Now all he had to do was wait for Remus' reply so Hedwig wouldn't come back and find him missing.
Remus' reply came a day later. Harry was a nekoshin, a semi-rare brand of humanoid magical creature originating in Japan. How nekoshin blood had gotten into either the Potter line or the Evans line Remus didn't know, but he was certain the physical changed were relatively harmless – and permanent. He did reassure Harry that the changes easily be hidden with a glamour, if Harry so desired.
Upon reading the letter, Harry stepped into the bathroom and placed a powerful glamour upon himself, hiding not only the ears and tail, but also the vicious bruises and welts still apparent on his face and arms from Vernon's latest beating. He hurriedly packed and shrunk his wizarding belongings, ignoring the pathetic assortment of hand-me-downs from the Dursleys; he intended to buy an entire new wardrobe that actually fit.
Dressed in the only pair of jeans and tee shirt that actually fit him (courtesy of Hermione last year), Harry made his way down the stairs, thankful that his Uncle had stormed out of the house, taking his loathsome cousin with him. He went to the kitchen, where his aunt was sitting at the table sipping tea and reading a romance novel. He watched his mother's twin sister for a while, wondering, not for the first time, how Lily could have come from the same family as Petunia, much less been her twin. Finally, he cleared his throat.
Petunia jumped, then glared at him. "What?" she spat out.
"I'm leaving now. I won't be coming back." Harry didn't know quite what was making him say this, when his aunt had never done a thing for him, but somehow the words welled up out of his throat. "You should be careful. Without me to focus on, Vernon will find another target."
"Don't be ridiculous, freak," Petunia said contemptuously. "And good riddance to bad rubbish."
Harry shook his head a little; after seventeen years of such emotional abuse, he couldn't bring himself to react this last time. He pulled the Portkey out of his pocket. "Good-bye, Aunt Petunia."
Harry's feet slammed into the ground, and he would have fallen had two sets of arms not caught him.
"'Welcome home, little brother!'" Fred and George chorused happily, wrapping Harry in a double embrace. Harry winced, and the twins frowned, asking in unison, "'Harry?'"
Harry glanced about, noting he was in the twins' main store, receiving several openly curious and shocked stares.
"I'm going to put my stuff up, okay?" Harry asked softly, pulling his shrunken belongings from his pocket.
"'Okay,'" the twins chorused obediently.
Harry slipped around the check-out counter and up the stairs leading to the twins' private quarters. He opened the door to the room that the twins had painted "Harry's Place" in bright orange (he winced a little) on, and smiled in relief when he saw that the room was done in shades of blue and green, his two favorite colors. He unshrunk his trunk, settling it at the foot of the bed, and put Hedwig's cage on a corner of the desk that sat on the right side of the room.
He turned about to see Fred, the somewhat-quieter of the twins, leaning in his doorway.
Fred eyed him, and said firmly, "Drop the glamour."
Harry's eyes flashed, but Fred's gaze was steady. With a sigh, Harry looked away, and muttered, "Finite incantatem."
There was a moment of silence, then Fred growled softly, "Wait here, I'll get you something for those bruises."
Harry sat on the edge of the bed as Fred left the room and rubbed his temples to stave off a headache, wishing he hadn't removed the glamour. He was surprised that Fred hadn't reacted to the feline features, then remembered that the prankster twins had seen – and invented, Harry thought ruefully, recalling the Canary Creams – stranger.
Moments later, the bed dipped on both sides of him as both twins joined him, Fred holding a jar of bruise balm and some bandages and George holding what appeared to be some kind of wound cleanser. George tugged on Harry's shirt, and the raven-haired boy resignedly allowed him to remove it. There were two sharp intakes of breath, and Harry fastened his gaze firmly to his lap. Fred silently began to smooth the balm over the worst of the bruises, a large palm-shaped mark on his lower left ribs; George took the bandages from his twin and began to work on Harry's back. Harry was grateful that whatever George was using the clean the welts on his back and arms only caused a soothing cooling sensation, and didn't sting.
"Is that a tail, Harry?" George's interested voice broke the silence, and Harry smiled crookedly at the blunter of the twins.
"Yeah." He reached up and touched one of his large cat ears. It felt velvety. "I'm a nekoshin, according to Professor Lupin. D'you two know anything about them, 'cause I don't."
"They're pretty rare in Europe, so they don't have an established society and rules like the Veela do," George told him. "Most pureblood families consider them beings to be honored and respected in this area. Did you get a power increase?"
"Dunno." Harry shrugged. "I haven't tried anything major other than the glamour." When Harry turned seventeen, he had been told by his pureblood friends, he should expect an increase in both physical and magical strength, traditionally called an Inheritance. Instead, he'd gotten cat ears and a tail. Why did this just seem typical?
"We should…experiment…and find out what else you got," George drawled, a look of unholy mischief gleaming in his eyes
Harry eyed his unofficial older brother warily. "NO," he said very firmly.
"N. O. That spells 'no,'" Harry said without a tremor in his voice.
This did not deter George from reaching out curiously, and gently stroking Harry's tail. A violent shudder worked its way down Harry's spine.
George stopped immediately. "Did I hurt you?" he asked worriedly.
Harry knew his face was crimson. Wordlessly, he shook his head, gaze once more on his lap.
George stared at him, then grinned evilly in understanding. "Sensitive spot, aye?" He reached for the tail again.
Harry hastily wrapped his tail around his waist again, and batted at George's questing hand.
"Enough, George. Let our little brother be for now," Fred said softly, taking the bandages and covering the last of Harry's scrapes.
Harry smiled gratefully at Fred, then poked George as his hand inched forward again. "Thank you both," he murmured, while still keeping a wary eye on George's hand. "So, do you guys reckon it's all right for me to take the glamour on the ears and tail off?"
"You might as well, that way the Daily Prophet can have its field day," Fred advised. Harry grimaced at the mention of the hated newspaper, and the twins snickered.