Warning Spoilers, If you haven't read all the books. The following story may contain spoilers.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, I am only playing in the world created by J.K. Rowling. No money is being made from this story.
This story may also not be suitable for younger readers. You have been warned. Any complaints will be ignored.
This story primarily is about and deals with people from the United Kingdom. So I am using the U.K. spellings as much as possible. So before you tell me something is misspelled, be sure you have taken that into consideration. Having also read many Brit-pickers pet peeves, I have tried very hard not to have them in my story. But I am an American, so there may be a bit of me in here. Please forgive my failures and try not to let it ruin the story.
Title "To Walk A Mile In Someone Else's Shoes"
Ever heard the phrase, 'Try walking a mile in my shoes, and then judge the choices I've made'? If you have, you would probably say something like: "That's a nice thought. It would sure go a long way towards, helping people understand each other better. That is, if such things were possible."
Well - I'm here to tell you not only is it possible, I'm living proof of it. After all my name is Mrs. Harry James Potter. But that wasn't always the case. Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all unhappy with how my life has turned out. Becoming a wife and mother are things I would never trade or be willing to give up. I say this as I find myself pregnant with our third child. You see, my body wasn't originally like this. I wasn't even born female. I started out with a very different life than the one I now live. You see, I was originally born Harry James Potter. So how exactly did I end up, becoming my own wife? Now that's a really interesting story.
My life as Harry Potter is well known in the Wizarding World. Just ask anyone, and they will tell you how I defeated the Dark Lord when I was only 15 months old, and was dubbed 'The Boy Who lived'. This happened because I was the only person to have ever survived the Killing Curse. Most people seem to forget that on that same night both my parents were murdered. And that I only survived due to my Mum's sacrifice. This sacrifice somehow caused the Killing Curse to rebound on the Dark Lord, destroying his body - while at the same time giving me my famous lightning bolt scar. Now I ask you, would you want to be famous for something that you can't even remember and left you an orphan? Well, I can assure you I wouldn't, but it's not like I was given much of a choice. I guess that's why it never really sat well with me. I'd much rather have my parents alive, than be a famous orphan. Which is why it always annoyed me when I was told how great it must be, to be the famous Harry Potter. Oh yes, it's so wonderful! I highly recommend it! You stupid idiots! Of course, it wasn't until much later that I found out what really happened that Halloween night.
Most people don't know it, but I had a VERY unpleasant childhood. Because I was left with my Aunt and Uncle, after my parents died. That, in itself, wouldn't normally make for an unhappy childhood. But then your Aunt or Uncle probably wouldn't tell you that your dead parents were worthless drunks who died in a car crash. Or make you live in a dark dirty cupboard under the stairs for nearly ten years. And have to wear your fat stupid whale of a cousin's cast-off clothes that were always several sizes too large. To never get Birthday or Christmas presents. No hugs or any other forms of affection. To be neglected - to the point bordering on abuse. Barely fed, or starved as punishment - and treated no better than slave labour. There were also many times I was given chores that were far beyond the age of a small child to perform. I didn't even know what my real name was, until I started school, as I was usually addressed as "worthless boy" or "freak". But worst of all, was believing it was all true and that somehow I deserved everything that happened to me and worse. I know. Pretty sad, try living it. This of course isn't in any of the history books. In fact no one even asked. I guess they just assumed my childhood was wonderful and left it at that.
Fortunately, the truth about my life would eventually become known. And that truth finally arrived with a letter from a certain school known for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Despite my Aunt and Uncles' best efforts at trying to prevent it, there was no stopping a delightful Half-Giant from delivering my Hogwarts letter. His arrival corrected many things that I was told about my life. I was a Wizard. My parents weren't drunks who died in a car crash - they were murdered by an evil wizard. The very same wizard who gave me my famous scar.
Hagrid's arrival, and my introduction to the Wizarding World, exceeded even my expectations. I thought that this is where I truly belonged. I wasn't a freak here, I was a wizard. How wrong I was, as this was proved over and over again. Sure the Wizarding world had magic, that was true. But in many ways it was even more bigoted and backward than the Muggle world. It astounded me how ignorant the average wizard or witch was about Muggles. They had this great gift of magic - but instead of using it to better their lives in meaningful ways, it made them lazy, weak, and often stupid. Even the simplest physical tasks had the average wizard or witch winded after so little effort. Another thing that occurred to me was that the average magical person didn't seem to have much common sense. It was like they didn't think things through to their logical conclusions. I guess they didn't feel they needed to. Because if anything did go wrong, they could fix it with the wave of a wand. Another thing that troubled me was how other magical beings were treated. This was probably due to how badly I had it growing up. And I didn't like to see others abused in a similar fashion.
I also learned quickly that I didn't like how people fawned over me, and constantly thanked me for defeating He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. All because of something I did as a baby. At first, I was surprised that people knew who I was and were nice to me because I was 'The Boy who lived.' But this grew old fast. It wasn't something I deserved to be praised for. It was my Mum's love and sacrifice that repelled the Killing Curse! She was the one who should have been praised.
When I finally started school during my first four years there were several times that were unpleasant, to say the least. To go from being Hogwarts' golden boy, to being labelled the next potential Dark Lord. Well let's just say, it was enough to give me emotional whiplash.
By my fifth year things reached a whole new level of trouble and misery. Sure I've been ostracised by my fellow students and various Professors. But now I had the Ministry of Magic and the Daily Prophet calling for my head. There is nothing like being called an attention-seeking liar to make one feel appreciated. The Ministry putting me on trial for defending myself and my cousin from Dementors only added to my summer fun. To make things worse, the Ministry forced the appointment of Madam Dolores Umbridge as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. Much to my continued joy.
One of the few things that made things tolerable during that period was the creation of Dumbledore's Army. I loved teaching it. It was one of the few times, that I really felt I was making a difference. We needed to learn how to defend ourselves. And with Dolores Umbridge as our teacher in Defence Against the Dark Arts. We sure wouldn't be learning how to do so in class.
The other highlight of my fifth year was meeting a rather unusual blond bluish-grey eyed Ravenclaw pupil by the name of Luna Lovegood. She was quickly added to my sphere of friends. I remember thinking for a girl, she never seemed very concerned about her looks. Things like brushing her hair, or wearing makeup, didn't seem very important to her. But even so you could tell that she could be very pretty, with just a little effort. But that never seemed to be her focus. Her personality could be described as a bit odd, or even strange at times. Yet she could also be very perceptive. It was almost scary how perceptive she could be. I think she, more than anyone else, realised how difficult I had things. Not that she had it much better. Because of her odd personality and lack of attention to her appearance, she was often called "Loony" Lovegood. And many of her female housemates would pick on her by hiding her things. I didn't like it one bit and tried to help. But Luna insisted not to bother - that eventually her things were always returned. She was always like that. While those sort of things always caused me a lot of pain and stress - to her, it was like water off a duck's back. She never seemed to let it get to her. And it was something I always admired about Luna. Even if I didn't like her being treated badly.
After the events at the Ministry of Magic, I felt worse than ever. Not only had my friends been hurt, I had also lost Sirius - who had been the closest person I ever had to a father figure. Then there was finally being told about the Prophecy. Well to be blunt, I was a mess. Later, I saw Luna, by chance. We talked, and Luna spoke of losing her Mum when she was younger. And how when we lose them, that they really aren't gone. Not really. Well, it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. And that helped more than anything else that was said around that time. I'll always be grateful to Luna for giving me that lifeline, when I needed it the most. As I look back now, I realize if she hadn't intervened at the time, things might have turned out very different than they did. Because the path I was on at that time only led to my giving up. And giving up would meant that Voldemort would have won. So Luna saving me from my guilt and depression, really saved us all. And yet no one but me knew it.
In my sixth year many things happened - but as I look back it was the times I spent with Luna, that really stand out. I always enjoyed talking and spending time with her. She always had such a unique view on life and the world. Taking her to the Slug Club Christmas party was one of the few times she wore a real dress. It was unique of course - just like her. But then no one can say that she ever willingly conformed to anyone else's expectations, other than her own. I'll never understand why I never dated Luna. Let's face it, just about every relationship I've had with the opposite sex somehow always ended screwed up. Even the short time I spent going out with Ginny was a mistake. This of course, led to my eventual breakup with her. Did I love Ginny? Of course, I still do. It just wasn't a romantic kind of love. I guess it took my becoming female to finally start understanding girls better. But I'm getting ahead of myself again.
In what would have been my seventh year, Ron, Hermione and I were running around Horcrux hunting. Meanwhile, back at Hogwarts, Luna, Neville and Ginny were fighting the good fight. Eventually, the Horcrux hunt finally brought us back to Hogwarts - and led to the final battle of the Second Wizarding War with Voldemort and his Death Eaters. It was a little before that final battle, when I learned I was a Horcrux. And that before Voldemort could be truly defeated once and for all, I would have to die.
In the end, when I thought I was going to my death, it was thoughts of Luna that filled my heart with regret. Yet somehow I managed to survive the Killing Curse, once again.
When Voldemort was finally defeated - at what would later be called the Battle of Hogwarts - I thought that things would finally settle down and I'd be able to move on with my life. But the powers that be, decided that many of the students who missed the previous school year, would be allowed to return to complete their magical educations. At first, I wasn't sure if I would return for a seventh year at Hogwarts. But in the end, it seemed the best choice for me at the time. Yes - I had defeated Voldemort. I even expected most people to be happy about it. But what I wasn't ready for was the reactions of people in the Wizarding World. At first, I was embarrassed by people constantly coming up and thanking me for it. After a while, it really started to grate on me. Many of these same people were the ones who believed back in my fifth year, that I was mentally unbalanced when I said Voldemort had returned. Then in my sixth year they called me the Chosen One. And after Voldemort's defeat, I was proclaimed the Saviour of the Wizarding World. All this from people who acted like a bunch of sheep, whom did nothing but hide when the big bad wolf came, whilst so many others died trying to stop that madman. I didn't do it for them. I did it because for whatever reason, I was the only one who could. I didn't even really want to do it - but I had to. I also had no guarantee that I would survive my final encounter with Voldemort. But somehow through it all, I did live to see my eighteenth birthday.
Returning to Hogwarts allowed me to hide from a lot of the adulation. Sure, there was some even there - but it was mostly from the younger years. The older ones were there and knew how high the price of victory was. So when Hogwarts was repaired and reopened for the following school year, I decided that I would return. It was strange not having Voldemort hanging over my head anymore. I wanted more than anything to just move on with my life. But being Harry Potter made that almost impossible. Many times in my life I had wished that I wasn't Harry Potter. But I never really expected that I'd ever be able to escape my life. And if I was to be completely honest, I would never have been able to leave it. At least not until Voldemort was finally dealt with. I could never leave the burden of dealing with Voldemort to someone else.
So once I was back in school, I generally kept to myself. I used my cloak and the Marauders map to avoid most people. Don't get me wrong, I was still friends with Ron and Hermione. But now that they were officially a couple, I found myself more often than not the third wheel in our once glorious golden trio. Many had expected me and Ginny to get back together. But in the end, we both decided that we were better suited for something more like a brother-sister type of relationship. Little did I know that a certain blonde Ravenclaw had been closely watching me from a distance. Not just this year, but several before it.
One day, while using the Marauders map, I noticed Luna was by herself in an unused classroom. At the time I didn't think anything of it. But as the weeks went by, I noticed that whenever students had free time, Luna was usually by herself in that unused classroom. Eventually curiosity got the better of me - and one Friday, after dinner, I decided it was time to find out what Luna was up to. She was always a bit of a loner, but I couldn't help but wonder what she was up to. When I finally reached the classroom it wasn't Luna that I found, it was Padma Patil. I looked down at the map again. It showed that Luna Lovegood and Harry Potter were the only ones present.
"Oh! Hello, Harry," the pretty Indian girl spoke, looking up from what she was doing.
It was said just like how Luna would have greeted me, with all the tone and mannerisms of her. Yet with the looks and voice of Padma Patil.
"Why do you look like Padma, Luna?" I asked, having a pretty good idea how this was possible.
"Well, as I'm sure you have guessed, I've been experimenting with the Polyjuice potion," she replied. "It's a special research project that I've been working on. I'm trying to find out if there is a way to make the effects last longer than the usual hour."
"Why would you need it to last longer?" I asked, more than a little curious.
"There are many reasons that it would be useful," she replied, as she walked to a desk with what appeared to be her notes. "But I must admit to having personal reasons, for wanting it to last longer."
"How much longer than a hour are you trying for?" I asked, also intrigued about the possibilities.
"Well, I think I have finally figured out how to make it last pretty much indefinitely," she replied, sounding fairly certain of her solution. "Or at least until you purposely reverse the process. At least I think so. So far I haven't been able to prove my theory. Because I need someone else to help me do it," she added, closely observing my reaction to this.
"Why do you need someone else, to help you prove it will work?" I asked her, curious why a second person was necessary.
"Two reasons. I can't have two of the same person running around the school at the same time. At least not for more than an hour. That's part of the reason why I've been using Padma's hair. Since she already has a twin, it would be easier to explain two of them. But if I used hair from someone else and my theory is correct, I would need someone to be me while I was them." Luna said it as if it was perfectly obvious.
I continued to watch her as the potion began to wear off and she slowly began to change back into her real self. As both her dark hair and brown skin slowly returned to Luna's normal blonde hair, pale skin and blueish grey eyes. After a few other changes, Luna was back to being her usual self.
"Why tell me all this?" I asked her curiously.
"Because I was kind of hoping you might be willing to help me prove that it works," she replied in her usual, dreamy-sounding voice. "I couldn't help noticing, that you haven't exactly been very happy being Harry Potter, lately. I thought you might like the chance to be someone else for a while. But without someone else's involvement or permission, I can only offer you the opportunity to be me." She gave me a suggestive wink.
I had always been intrigued with the Polyjuice potion, since I first heard of it in my second year - which was when Ron, Hermione and I used it to try and find out if Draco Malfoy was the Heir of Slytherin. Or in my fourth year, when Barty Crouch Junior used it to become the fake Moody. And finally in what should have been my seventh school year, the potion was used to transform the Weasley twins, Ron, Hermione and Fleur into likenesses of myself. Seeing them all changed into copies of me was more than a bit disturbing. Imagine a potion that could change you into someone else so completely. Tall or short, thin or fat, even male or female. I must admit the thought of being able to become someone else, even for a little while somewhat appealed to me. Especially during some of the more difficult moments in my life. But I never really thought I would ever have the chance to actually do it. And the thought of becoming Luna for a bit, was very tempting. Because I wouldn't have to be Harry Potter, at least for a while. And I'd also have the opportunity to see what it's like to be a member of the opposite sex. At the time, I really didn't see a downside to helping Luna.
"So let me get this straight... You want me to be YOU, while you're ME?" I asked sceptically.
"That about sums it up. Unless my theory is wrong, and we both change back to normal after an hour," Luna replied.
I was still doubtful. "How do you expect to make the Polyjuice potion last more than an hour?"
"Well, after several weeks of experimenting with it, I began to get a pretty good idea of how it works. You see when you take it and change into someone else, your body still knows what your true form is. And when it wears off you will return to your original form. But let's say you took a dose that changed you into me - then took another dose right away, that changes you back to yourself. What do you think would happen when the hour is up?" she asked me seriously.
"I don't know. Maybe nothing," I answered Luna.
"Perhaps. But if my theory is correct, you should change back into me. And you would remain that way, until you took another two doses that reversed the process. I believe this happens because the first dose retains your original form. But taking another dose right away will reset your default form to the one you had when you took the second dose," she continued explaining.
"If that's true. How do you explain then why Barty Crouch Junior changed back, after he couldn't keep taking the potion? If you are right about your theory, wouldn't he still look like Mad-Eye Moody even after the potion wore off?" I asked Luna, honestly confused by her explanation.
"No. He wouldn't, because every dose of Polyjuice potion he took was the same - all it did was reset the hour that he would remain in that form. It never changed what his original form was," She replied.
"Wouldn't someone have already tried this?" I asked Luna, finding it hard to believe that someone hadn't already thought of trying this.
"I don't think so, not quite like this. Since the Polyjuice potion is hard to make and several ingredients are very expensive, the average Wizard or Witch would never think to use it like this. Why would you use it to transform into someone else, only to use another dose right away that changes you back into yourself?" Luna answered me thoughtfully. "Besides, I think that second dose of your original form is the key. It causes your body to get confused. So when the second dose wears off, your body should return to what it was when you took that second dose of Polyjuice potion. Of course this is all just a theory at this point, I could be wrong."
Only Luna could come up with such an interesting idea. Could it really be that simple?
"So what do you say? Are you willing to give it a try?" Luna asked hopefully.
"Okay, I guess I wouldn't mind a break from being Harry Potter for a bit," I answered, intrigued by the idea she was proposing.
"Fair enough. If it does work I think we should stay switched, until at least Sunday night. Think you can be a convincing Luna Lovegood, till then?" she asked in return.
"I think I'll manage," I replied with a grin. "How well do you think you'll do, at being Harry Potter?" I asked her playfully.
"I should be able to do okay. Besides it's not like either of us have been all that social lately," she pointed out.
"I guess you're right about that. Besides you are known for a little odd behaviour now and then. If I did something a little strange, nobody will probably even notice." I said, smirking at Luna.
"All right then. This is what we are going to do," she declared, giving another dreamy smile.
Grabbing a pair of scissors, she cut some of my hair. Then she handed the scissors to me, to cut some of her hair. And held up the hairs she cut from me as well as a couple of envelopes.
"These are for the potions and a few extra ones just in case." Luna placed my hairs in one of the envelopes, and handed me the other envelope for me to put her hairs in.
She then conjured two glasses, and pulled out a large jug of what looked and smelled like Polyjuice potion. She then poured enough for two doses in each cup. She also had me add her hairs in one, while she added my hairs in the other. Both glasses started to bubble.
"Where did you get so much Polyjuice potion?" I asked, surprised that she had so much of it.
"I brewed it myself over the summer. It's not that hard for a seventh year. It just takes a month and the proper ingredients," she replied playfully.
"Where did you get some of the more expensive ingredients?" I asked.
"I bought them with the money I saved, working for Daddy at The Quibbler. I finally earned enough these last couple of years to buy them." Luna then handed me the cup with her hairs, while she picked up the glass with mine and spoke again.
"Drink about half of the cup - then wait till the change is complete. Then we'll switch cups and drink the rest. We should know if it is going to work in a little over an hour after that."
I held my glass up to hers and said "Cheers!" Luna did the same. We then drank from both our cups. I have always thought that every potion, that I have ever drank has tasted awful. But the worst one of all, has to be the Polyjuice potion - by far. But instead of it tasting horrible like I remembered when I used it to turn into Gregory Goyle in my second year. The Luna Polyjuice potion was actually pleasant to drink. Perhaps the old saying was true - that girls were made from sugar and spice and everything nice.
It didn't take long for my body to start feeling all tingly all over. I noticed several changes starting to happen at once. I was becoming quite a bit shorter - whilst my hair felt like it was growing longer. I saw my hips widening - even as my waist narrowed, as if to counterbalance them.
Looking up at Luna, I saw her transforming also - but in the opposite way. Her shoulder-length, dirty blonde hair receded, and turned darker - whilst her hips and thighs narrowed, the legs turning thicker and lengthening. She slowly grew nearly a head taller. Her physique lost its graceful, soft contours, and developed a somewhat more muscular, but youthful, masculine build. The attractive blueish grey eyes that were watching me with interest, turned green, and Luna's face altered - until I ended looking at myself. Or rather the face that I was losing, as my skull tingled. I reached up, feeling the nub at the back of my cranium disappear. Then my more delicate hands rubbed against my now stubble-free face and jaw, as I seamlessly took on the features of Luna Lovegood - complete with her paler, softer skin.
There was more, of course. But I was distracted by the pressure of two bumps forming on my chest. I also noticed that my vision had blurred because of my spectacles. So I moved them up on top of my head. It was odd being able to see so well without my glasses.
With my jaw hanging open, I looked over my now smaller frame. My clothes were looser in some areas, and tighter in others. Mostly tighter in the chest and hips. I couldn't believe it - I was actually female. So this is what it's like to be Luna, I thought.
When I re-focussed on Luna, I saw someone who appeared to be myself - but wearing Luna's school uniform, with the skirt and everything. It was a very odd experience seeing myself from the outside.
"Your eyesight is worse than I thought. Harry. I can hardly see without your glasses." Luna spoke - in what had to be my voice as it sounded to other people. Luna held out one of her hands... No - one of HIS hands, in front of HIS face.
"Now we should switch cups and drink the rest," the Harry in the skirt declared.
I did as I was told and drank the rest of the other cup, that was handed to me. As Luna, in my form, did the same with the cup that I had originally drank from. I felt myself again begin to change - my whole being tingling once more, before I started to feel my transformation reversing itself, my waist widening, whilst the hip bones contracted. I grew taller, the arms and legs developed a little more muscle, and my newly-acquired blonde curtain of hair turned into the short, dark mop I was used to. The growths on my broadening chest shrank - and, as if to compensate for them, my new genitals reverted back into my previous male groin, forming a small bulge underneath my boxer shorts and trousers.
At the same time, Luna was resuming her small, willowy frame - regaining the wide eyes and longer hair that she originally possessed, even as the outline of her breasts began to show again underneath her jumper. My vision once again blurred, so I slid my glasses back down from the top of my head. Any other changes that were happening could not be seen with my eyes, only felt. Then, moments later, the tingling had ceased altogether.
The newly restored Luna turned and smiled at me.
"Now we wait and see what happens after the hour is up," she declared.
(To be continued)
Beta reader / Proof reader / Helpful edits gratefully provided by Ravenclaw Midnight Blue!