Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series, characters, or anything that goes with it. I am just having a little bit of fun here and make no money from this.
Author's Note: Up until now, the story is the same as JKR wrote it. Like normal, Harry has gone through life with the Dursleys, then received his Hogwarts letter and went through his first year at Hogwarts. Now, the monster of Slytherin is on the loose, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione have brewed Polyjuice Potion using a signature from Lockhart and stolen ingredients from Snape. It is now Christmas night, and Ron and Harry are just returning from questioning Malfoy in the Slytherin Common Room.
Warning: This is for future reference, but parings will be changed. I figure since I'm already changing something major, I might as well pair them the way I want.
Chapter 1: True Identity
Harry and Ron didn't even look at each other as they ran all the way back to Myrtle's bathroom. Once they had seen the potion starting to wear off, they had bolted from the room and were now working on putting as much distance between them and the Slytherin commons area as possible. The entire dungeons section of the school was the last place any sane Gryffindor wanted to be; adding in the fact that it was nearly curfew, playing near the dungeons was a pure suicide mission.
Harry couldn't help but think that it had been a complete waste of time. After all they had done, all of the risks they had taken, they had learned nothing. Malfoy was not the Heir of Slytherin, and he didn't know who it was; that left them back at square one. They were no closer to catching the Heir of Slytherin, and its monster was still parading around the school at complete liberty to attack muggleborns. The only thing he could stay positive about, regarding the ordeal, was that at least they hadn't gotten caught. There were so many broken rules that factored into this that he was sure that he and Ron, at the very least, would be expelled if they were found out.
Once inside the second floor girls' lavatory, both boys flung themselves against the wall and sank to the floor to catch their breath. "Well–that–was-exciting," Ron breathed out between gasps for air. "I'm going to tell Dad to check under the Malfoys' drawing room." Harry was working on realizing he still didn't need his glasses, for some reason, when Ron jumped back and shouted ,"BLOODY HELL!"
Harry looked at Ron in wonder; he seemed to have gotten his energy back quickly.
"M-mate?" Ron stuttered cautiously. This just made Harry even more confused. "What happened to you?" Ron looked half terrified, and it made Harry start to panic.
"What are you on about?" Harry demanded. If this was Ron's form of a joke, Harry was going to knock him one. He was not in a joking mood after having just brewed illegal Polyjuice Potion when they didn't even get anything out of it.
"Hermione, I think you had better see this." Ron had gotten to his feet, moved to Hermione's cubicle, and started pounding on the door. He had completely ignored Harry's question.
"Go away, Ronald!" Hermione's voice was still high pitched and squeaky; that alone made Harry wonder what was going on with her.
"Come on, Hermione, you must be back to normal by now, and you have to take a look at Harry. I think something went wrong with his potion." Ron completely ignored Hermione's strange voice and order to leave her alone.
"What are you talking about, Ron?" Harry's voice was angry now. "I feel just fine. What's wrong with me?" Deciding he wanted to see what Ron was freaking out about, he walked the length of the bathroom to look into one of the mirrors. What he saw about made his eyes pop out of his head and quickly glance behind him in terror to make sure it was just him.
"H-Her-Hermione!" Harry stuttered, backing away from the mirror and feeling all over his face. He felt faint, and he was pretty sure if it hadn't been so long since he had eaten, he would have thrown up right there on the floor. Harry finally forced himself to look away from his reflection and joined Ron outside Hermione's cubicle.
"Hermione, you have to see this." This time it was Harry banging on the door, but Ron spoke, since Harry didn't seem to have control of his voice anymore due to shock and terror. There was no way he could stay looking like this!
"Go away!" Hermione repeated. Ron, however, withdrew his wand.
"Hermione, you can come out of there now, or I'll open the door myself. You have to see Harry because there is no way I'm going to let my best mate go around looking like... like..." Ron couldn't finish. It didn't matter, however, because Harry knew what he was talking about, and just the thought made him shudder.
Just then, however, a gleeful looking Myrtle appeared. "Oh, just wait 'til you see her," she giggled. "It's just awful." She then spotted Harry and began giggling even harder. "Oh you are in trouble," she squealed with delight. "Naughty students brewing forbidden potions in the girl's lavatory; now it's all catching up with you." Ron made a swipe at her, but she floated high above them, giggling hard.
They could hear the sound of the lock sliding back, and both boys backed up. Slowly, the door opened, and Hermione appeared. Her hands were wrapped around her giant robes, however, and she had pulled the material up so that it covered her face. Ron and Harry both looked at each other, confused, but Ron shuddered, and Harry just glared at him.
"Oh just wait," Myrtle chortled from the top of a cubicle. "You'll be teased something awful."
Ignoring her, Hermione slowly lowered her robes, and both of her friends jumped back in shock with wide eyes. Hermione had suddenly grown black fur all over her hands and face. Her hands had also turned into cat paws, and she had pointy black ears sticking out of her bushy brown hair.
"Bloody hell," Ron whispered. "Is mine the only potion that didn't go wrong?" With that, he ran over to the mirror and started inspecting his features carefully.
Hermione shook her head. She was staring at the floor, and when she spoke, it was in a tear-filled voice. "It was a c-cat hair I p-pulled off of Millicent Bulstrode's robes. She must have a c-cat, and the potion isn't meant for a-animal t-transformations." Hermione was absolutely distraught; how could she have let this happen? How could she be stupid enough to pluck random hair off of people? Not just any people, but people she didn't even really know, someone she didn't even like. Of course, that was just one of the stupid things that had gone along with this entire ordeal, right along with getting a book to make an illegal potion, as well as stealing from the most forbidding professor at Hogwarts to get the ingredients for said potion.
Hermione had been so worked up over her own transformation disaster that she hadn't even really been paying attention to Ron and Harry talking about something being wrong. Slowly, she lifted her head and looked at her two friends with bright yellow eyes. Ron had convinced himself that there was nothing wrong with his transformation and was back to looking dumbstruck. When she spotted Harry, however, her eyes went wide, and she took a step back in shock. There was no way this could be happening. There was just no way! As she looked at her best friend, she no longer saw a mop of untidy black hair that wouldn't stay flat. Instead, his hair was now lying completely flat, and it looked like he had overdosed on gel to get it to stay like that. His face was also sallower, and his nose was slightly longer and hooked at the end. He still had emerald green eyes, but he no longer needed to hide them behind the wire frame of glasses; he was also a bit taller. In short, Harry no longer looked like a 12-year-old version of James Potter; instead, he looked like someone else that was all too familiar to them. Harry now had the resemblance to a 12-year-old Severus Snape.
Hermione wasn't about to say that they had gotten away with using illegal Polyjuice Potion. Brewing it? Yes. Using it? Most definitely not! They had successfully gotten the forbidden book; they hadn't gotten caught stealing the necessary ingredients from Snape's private stores; they hadn't even gotten caught brewing it in a girl's lavatory, even though two of their party was boys. Now they had used it, however, and the transformations made this fact painfully obvious. She looked like a human had successfully cross-bred with a cat, and Harry looked like he had given their most hated and feared professor a youth potion. Neither of these was going to be easy to explain, and neither of these was going to be possible to hide. Of course, neither of these had to do with the quality of the potion. Harry's transformation actually proved that it had been brewed absolutely perfectly; that was one of the problems. Harry's transformation also wasn't their fault, but that wasn't going to make it any easier to explain.
"H-Harry?" Hermione could barely control her voice. "I think we need to go see Professor Dumbledore."
"Hermione, are you mental?" Ron asked incredulously. "You have a tail, and Harry looks like he decided to dress up like Snape for Halloween! We can't go to Dumbledore; we have to fix this."
"How do you expect me to fix this, Ronald?" Hermione snapped furiously as she wheeled around to glare at him. Just then, however, she had a sudden coughing fit and choked out a hairball. When the fit ended, she sank to the bathroom floor and placed her head in her knees. "You don't understand," she all but whispered. "This is something out of our control, and Dumbledore needs to know about it. He's going to find out one way or another, and it would be better coming from us."
"What is he going to find out exactly?" The way Hermione was speaking made Harry grow increasingly nervous.
"I'm not completely certain," Hermione whispered. "At the very least, it's painfully obvious that we've been brewing Polyjuice Potion. I'm also pretty sure that your transformation is permanent."
Harry's eyes widened at this. "PERMANENT?" he shouted. "THIS CAN'T BE PERMANENT! I LOOK LIKE THAT GREASY BAT FROM THE DUNGEONS!"
"I know, Harry, there is no need to yell at me." Hermione looked up at him and glared. "You look like Professor Snape, and I have fur. Now, I seriously think we need to go to Dumbledore. Do you remember the password to get into his office?"
"Yes," Harry spoke cautiously, and sighed, "but, Hermione, why do we need to go to Dumbledore? Why can't we just go to the infirmary?"
"Yeah, Madam Pomfrey could put you two right, and she doesn't ask too many questions," Ron chimed in.
"Because, Ronald, the only other person we would be able to go to is Professor Snape. Would you rather go to him? Need I remind you that it's after curfew already, and it's even more dangerous with Slytherin's monster on the loose?" Hermione looked murderous as she got to her feet glaring at Ronald.
"Alright, fine, but tell me why we need to go to Dumbledore, or even worse, Snape?" Ron looked like he was about to pass out at the mention of going to Snape with this.
"Because, I can't be sure, but I think that Harry's transformation is the result of some other type of magic, something that has nothing to do with us." Hermione was looking at the floor again.
"What magic, Hermione?" Harry looked ready to pass out. Dumbledore was not going to be happy about this. Hadn't he said that the next time they broke rules like this, he and Ron would be expelled? He was pretty sure that this fell under that category, and if for some miraculous reason they didn't get expelled, Ron had already received a Howler threatening to take him out of school if he got into any more trouble.
"I'm not exactly sure, Harry; that's why we have to go to Dumbledore. He will be able to explain."
"This is suicide, but alright," Harry muttered and headed for the door. Ron and Hermione silently followed.
They had miraculously made it to the stone gargoyle without running into any prefects or teachers. Not that it mattered, of course, since they were already headed for the Headmaster's office. Once there, Harry took a deep breath before muttering, "Lemon Drop." At once, the stone gargoyle sprang to life and jumped out of the way to let them pass.
"Lemon drop?" Ron asked, in an incredulous whisper.
"It's a muggle sweet," Hermione explained quietly, as the trio walked up the spiral stairs towards inevitable doom.
Once there, Hermione knocked. After half a second, they heard Dumbledore give a heavy sigh and proclaim, "Enter, children."
"How does he do that?" Ron mouthed. Harry just shrugged as Hermione pushed the door open and led the way into the office.
"How can I help you at this hour?" Dumbledore was looking at his window, but when he finished speaking, he turned to look at them and froze. "I see," he stated calmly. "Miss Granger, would you care to explain your appearance?" He spoke calmly, but all 3 children could sense the seriousness in the Headmaster's tone.
"It's kind of a long story, Headmaster." Hermione looked at the floor in embarrassment, and Dumbledore nodded.
"Have a seat, children; I have a feeling we'll be here for a while. Why don't you start at the beginning?"
The trio sat down before the Headmaster and looked at Hermione to start who just sighed. "You see, sir, we wanted to help catch the Heir of Slytherin. We thought that it was Malfoy, so we wanted to question him. We couldn't think of a way to do that without getting into the Slytherin commons area and pretending to be Slytherins. As such, we made Polyjuice Potion to get the job done. I took a hair from Miss Bulstrode's robes at the dueling club, and Harry and Ron took hairs from Crabbe and Goyle tonight. We did the transformation, and I realized that it must have been a cat's hair I took, since I came out like this. Harry and Ron's, however, were successful, and they went to question Malfoy. When the potion wore off, though, Harry didn't turn back into Harry. Well, he did, but..." At that point, words seemed to fail Hermione, but it was obvious what she was attempting to say.
"I see." Dumbledore steepled his fingers together as he watched the three students in front of him. The sight was actually quite comical, but at the same time, it was quite serious. "So, let me get this straight: you successfully brewed Polyjuice Potion, Miss Granger?" Hermione just meekly nodded with her head bowed. "That is quite commendable. I believe that 20 points to Gryffindor is in order." At that, all 3 heads snapped towards him in complete shock. "Polyjuice is a particularly difficult potion that even N.E.W.T. students have a difficult time with. I don't need a sample to find that it was done correctly, since Mr. Potter and you are living proof of it." Hermione gave a tiny, shy smile at the Headmaster's praise. "However, I am quite certain you will not be thanking me for those 20 points in a moment." The twinkle left Dumbledore's eyes, and all 3 children flinched. "First of all, please enlighten me as to how you got the book required to make the potion."
"Well, we... You see..." Hermione was stuttering again and looking down at her black paws. Harry was twirling his still giant robes in his fingers, and Ron was clicking the toes of his trainers together. "We asked Professor Lockhart for his signature to get the book. I told him it was for some background reading for one of his books." Hermione's face couldn't show it with the black fur, of course, but she was certain if her skin were normal, she would be bright red. She had lied to a teacher, and that was just the start of her transgressions in this entire ordeal.
"I see." Dumbledore continued to speak calmly. There was no doubt in his mind that most, if not all, of this had been Miss Granger's idea and doing. "How, pray tell, did you get the ingredients for this potion? It is to my understanding that bicorn horn and boomslang skin are not available in the student stores."
"They aren't," Hermione whispered, as she wiggled her clubbed fingers. "I stole them from Professor Snape's private stores." She looked completely mortified and was just barely able to keep herself from attempting to cover her face with her paws in shame.
"Thank you, Miss Granger." Dumbledore deferred to her two partners-in-crime, who squirmed under his penetrating stare. "Where did you three brew this potentially fatal potion, boys?"
"In the second floor girls' lavatory." Ron mumbled into his hands.
"I see." Dumbledore picked up a tin can, opened the lid, and popped a small yellow sweet into his mouth as he studied the three charges before him.
"Professor, can you tell me why I didn't turn back to my normal self? Ron turned back to normal, and Hermione would have, too, if she hadn't used cat hair. Why do I suddenly look different?" Harry had finally gathered enough of his courage to just come right out and ask.
"Well, dear boy, I have a guess." Dumbledore then rose and took a crystal jar off the fireplace mantle. "This doesn't concern just you, however, and I think it is only fair to inform the other party as well. You will wait here just a moment, please." With that, Dumbledore knelt on a small cushion in front of the fireplace, stuck his head into the fire, and called clearly, "Severus Snape's quarters."
The trio sitting in Dumbledore's office flinched at the location that Dumbledore called out but remained silent. It took a few seconds, but Snape finally accepted Albus's call. "How can I help you, Albus?" Snape's patience was wearing thin. With so much going on lately, it was rare that the Headmaster Floo-called him with good news.
"I was wondering if you were missing some bicorn horn and boomslang skin, Severus." Albus's voice was calm, and it made Severus freeze in his tracks.
"I am, Headmaster. Why do you ask?" Snape's voice was cautious, but the Headmaster had certainly attracted his attention. The ingredients in question had in fact gone missing the same day Mr. Goyle's potion had exploded; that had been about two weeks ago, the approximate time it took for a batch of Polyjuice Potion to finish after adding the ingredients.
"I believe I have found your missing ingredients, Severus." Albus couldn't hear the students behind him flinch; he didn't need to. "However, I believe I have also found something else that belongs to you. Of course, this is something you would have misplaced many years ago."
"What?" Severus was now completely perplexed; he never misplaced anything. He wasn't missing anything. What was Albus talking about?
Behind Albus, the reaction wasn't much different. Harry and Ron were looking at each other completely bewildered. They hadn't taken anything but those two potion ingredients. Hermione, however, continued staring at her paw.
When Dumbledore didn't answer him right away, Severus started to get annoyed. "What else could I have possibly misplaced, Albus?"
"Your son, Severus."