The solution to the problem, is the cause itself; so here I am, drenched in the autumn rain, ringing Severus Snape’s bell well past midnight. It had to be him; of course it had.
A dim light emerges under the door and then it opens; just slightly. “Snape.” His nose is all I see, crooked and pale in the darkness of the night. I could snap the door close and cut it off. “I have nowhere to go. I need your help. You know me. I can explain.”
My toes curl in annoyance and my boots are filled with water; there’s the sound of a thunderbolt somewhere behind me and I’m reminded of another bolt he needs to see. I push up my fringe and raise my eyebrows hoping it’ll be enough. “It’s me. It’s - Harry.”
The door opens a bit more. He takes a good look at my sorry existence and doesn’t seem to care I’m still standing in the rain. “And what did you once see in my Pensieve without permission then, Harry?”
“My dad… undressing you. Upside down. In front of my mom. You called her a mudblood ‘cause she tried to—”
“And what do you want?”
“May I come in?”
He’s still staring. But he steps aside and holds the door for me. It’s a matter of seconds and here I am, with my bum on his previously dry carpet, pulling off my boots and socks and jacket. “Hope you have a spare blanket,” I say just as one is thrown on my face. Always a gentleman. "Right.”
He aims his wand at me and I jump up. “No no don’t DON’T DON’T.”
He raises a brow. “It was a drying spell.”
“I know. I can’t. My… state is sensitive. I’ll explain.”
“This isn’t Polyjuice you’re under. What is it?”
I take off my shirt and pass it through my hair quickly; it’s long now, so long I keep having it in my mouth when the wind blows even when I tie it back. My bra is also wet but I won’t take that off. He throws me a shirt and it’s oversized ‘cause my karma is of a very specific kind.
“Thanks. Thought I’d freeze to death. Hate this weather. I… No. It’s not Polyjuice.” He’s cautious, and I can tell he’s still not sure it’s me. Two cups of something hot fly through an open door in the corridor and land on the little table in front of the couch. He’s waiting for me to sit, and I take a corner, wrapping myself with the blanket and rubbing my eyes with a hand. “I couldn’t think of anyone else. I… didn’t know where to go. I had nowhere to go. I thought of renting some room for a few days but, well. It’s not like I can go to Gringotts like this. They wouldn’t believe it’s me. And I ran out of money.”
“Potter.” I look up at that. That part of my name is, at least, true. “What the hell.”
I laugh. This is how ridiculous my situation is. I managed to leave Severus Snape speechless. Perhaps this is the first time such achievement occurred in the history of the world. No nasty remarks, no threats. He doesn’t know what to say.
“I should turn you in.”
“I’m not missing. I left. I just wanted to disappear for a while, that’s all. I did send letters to my friends, just so you know. The shit you read in the press is not true. I just needed space. I didn’t go missing.”
“Four years is not a while. Some thought you to be dead. Needless to assume you couldn't care less for the people who risked their lives to see you sound and safe —”
“I know. I’m sorry. I would have left sooner, I stayed for you. For your trial. I would have gone right after the war but I stayed to testify. You’d still be in prison if I was as selfish as you think I am.”
“Should I thank you, then? Where the hell had you been Potter? And what… is this appearance? Who are you hiding from? What in God's name happened to you?”
I nod to my cup. There’s no easy way to say it, so I settle for at least not looking directly at him when saying it. “I went to Spain. I needed a spell done. Dark Magic. If I had done it here everyone would know. No one could know. I didn’t hurt anyone, some would argue it shouldn’t even be considered dark magic, it’s still questionable —” I take a breath. I can feel his eyes burning me. “All my life… I was the boy in the cupboard, then the boy who lived, then the boy who lived again. There was never time for searching. I always knew, but I never said it — I tried to hide who I knew I was because I didn’t think it’d be possible to do anything about it, ever — and then I read about this spell, it’s a whole ritual, really — and had to do it or I’d have to kill myself. Because I always knew that I was never, in fact, a boy.”
I can hear the silence and I can’t look at him. I expect rage. Nothing comes. I turn to him and his head is tilted. “What have you done?”
I smile. “It’s not Polyjuice. It’s me. It’s permanent. I’m a woman.”
“What have you done Potter?”
“Only what was needed.”
He’s standing up now, and my mug crashes to the floor as he grabs my arm and pulls me up on my feet. “You’ve lost your mind, haven’t you?” For a moment I don’t know what exactly it is that he’s doing and I’m terrified. The blanket has fallen next to my feet and I’m pushing him away while he immobilises me with strong arms and pulls down my panties. I fall back to the couch with my heart racing and my fingers numb; his eyes are wide in terror much like my own. “What did you do to your body?”
“Transformed it. Magic, you know. Took me four years of failed rituals to succeed. It wasn’t easy. And it doesn’t work if you don’t mean it.” I pull my panties back up and I hate him from the depths of my heart.
“This is what you have been doing, then. The famous Harry Potter vanished from existence for half a decade because he was trying to become a woman.”
“And I succeeded.”
“You’ll be imprisoned. Go away and take your shame with you. Hide. You shouldn’t have come back. Why did you?”
“Because this is my home. England. Hogwarts. The people I know. I don’t want to hide anymore.”
“No, Potter. This is my home. And I shouldn’t have let you in. Leave.”
“I have nowhere to go.”
“You should have thought of that before you chopped of your genitals, Harriet. Get out.”
“It’s Hanna. I prefer Hanna.”
He grabs me by the collar and as much as I want to punch him I’m exhausted and there is no energy left. I’ve been sleeping on the streets for days. He pushes me to the door and I’m not even wearing my shoes when he throws me face down on his doorstep.
“Will you really kick me out Snape? I saved your life. You owe me.”
“The man I owe my life to, is dead. I don’t know who you are. Leave.”
“Snape!” The door closes shut and, of course, it’s still raining.