Unnatural

BY : Lexin
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Snape
Dragon prints: 28842
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Disclaimer: We don't own anything and no money is being made from this.
Notes: Alternate universe. We don't *really* think Harry is a hermaphrodite. Even Lexin and Tidmag have more brains than that. This is a world where magic works; if you can believe in magic and werewolves, believing in a fully functional hermaphrodite should be a snap.

Warnings: Did we mention that it's MPREG? And alternate universe. We did? In that case, flames on those subjects will be treated with derision and scorn. Work in progress so early chapters are liable for revision.

Private feedback: pmrommel@hotmail.com and generalraid@aol.com. Please copy to both. Happy to take comments, advice for the future and brickbats.

Thank yous to Lexin's beta readers on livejournal. You know who you are.

******************

Unnatural

by Lexin and Tidmag

****

"Vernon!" Petunia Dursley said. Then more loudly, "Vernon!" Finally she looked over the banister and yelled down the stairs, "Vernon!" In the nursery behind her, Harry Potter started to cry.

"What?" Having stomped up the stairs, Vernon had to raise his voice to be heard over the noise the child was making.

"This...baby."

"What about him?" Vernon looked down, he seemed puzzled, as well he might be.

"He...it's a freak!"

"You said he was your sister's boy, we shouldn't be too surprised at that." Vernon was trying to be conciliatory, she could tell. "He's very noisy. Is the scar bothering him, do you think?"

"Come here!" Petunia could have picked the baby up, but she didn't want to touch him after what she'd found. Vernon lumbered round the table. "Look at that," she pointed.

"Isn't that normal?"

From his expression, she gathered that the look she gave him would have shattered glass. "Of course it's not normal. He'll have to go to hospital and have it put right," her voice was tight, pitched higher than usual.

"But...that'll mean doctors...days off to look after our poor Dudley while this one sees specialists. And what will we tell the neighbours?"

"We could take him to a private hospital. Get it done quickly and quietly."

"Oh, no! I'm not spending that kind of money on your sister's brat. I said that about the scar, too. I'm not paying for plastic surgery, and that Indian bloke down at the doctors said they wouldn't do it on the NHS. I bet…that…would be the same. He'll just have to grow up like it, like he will with the scar. He'll manage, it'll feel quite normal to him."

"I'm not having him sleep in Dudley's room. It might...contaminate...him." The baby had stopped crying, but was now making pathetic little hiccoughing noises. Petunia finally managed to force herself to handle the child enough to put a nappy on him and fasten it. "That horrible scar, and now this. Damn Lily, anyway. What are we going to do?"

"Could he sleep in the other bedroom?"

"I want that room. It's got my sewing things in it, and when Dudley's older he'll need it...for...for… well, for something. Clear out the cupboard under the stairs. He can sleep there." She fiddled with the tee shirt and little trousers, wondering how to get them on the boy while touching him as little as possible.

Vernon looked at the baby and then back at her. "Very well, my dear, if that's what you want." He lumbered out again, and she heard him dragging the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard.

"Put it in the utility room, Vernon, do," she called. "You'll be much happier in the cupboard," she said to the baby. "It'll be a place of your own. Nice and dark, you'll sleep beautifully there."

The baby kicked his legs. He didn't understand her yet.


Harry came back to Privet Drive after his day in wizard London with Hagrid completely happy for once. That lasted until the door opened and he saw Uncle Vernon standing in the hall. He swallowed, but walked in anyway.

"What did you tell him?" Uncle Vernon asked.

"Nothing. There wasn't much he didn't know about me already."

"About you being a…" Uncle Vernon's voice lowered, "wizard, perhaps not. What about the other thing?"

"I didn't tell him. He didn't ask." Anyway, thought Harry, why would he mention that to someone he'd never met before, however nice? He'd never even told the school nurse.

"See that nobody finds out at this freak place you're going to."

"So I can go?" Harry seized on the good news, better than worrying about the rest of it.

"You might as well, better than having you here on your own while Dudley's away at school."

That aspect had been worrying Harry, too. "Yes," he agreed, hurriedly.

"Don't you forget. Nobody's to find out - you wouldn't want to get thrown out, would you?"

"No, Uncle Vernon."


As he looked down at the blood on his

underpants; the only thing Harry could think was: better now than just after Quidditch practice. He felt around carefully under his penis and inserted the tips of his fingers into his vagina. There was blood all over his fingers when he withdrew. That was a relief; he wasn't having some unexplained haemorrhaging. He was surprised how calmly he was taking this. He remembered - vaguely - what they'd beold old in second year sex education about the girls' monthly cycle. Even being the freak he was, it had never occurred to him that it might apply to him as well.

He rolled up a plug of toilet paper and stuffed it between his legs to stop the blood - not that he believed it would hold for long, but there wasn't anything else. He washed his hands and cleaned up after him, making sure there were no traces.

Back in the dormitory he pulled out the invisibility cloak and wrapped it around himself.

"Where are you going?" Ron whispered. "Shall I come, too?"

"No!" said Harry. Then to soften it he added, "I'm just going to the library to look something up."

"Must be pretty important," Ron pushed aside his blankets.

"Only to me. Ron, no! I'll be fine on my own."

"But…"

"Please?" Harry wasn't sure what he would do if he couldn't convince Ron to stay in the dormitory.

"If you're sure?" Ron still looked worried.

"Certain. I won't be ." ."


****************************


That had been a lie. It took Harry some time to find the information he needed - though he noted several books he would need to read properly at some time in the future - and to find a name for his condition. It was one he'd never seen before, and he tried it on the tongue. "Hermaphrodite. I'm a hermaphrodite."

The dragging pain in his lower abdomen reminded him of the real reason he was here. He saw the book they'd used in sex education and pounced on it, thankfully. Somewhere… Then he found it, something that would stop the blood. He read down the potion recipe and sighed. If he could manage it.

Harry realized he would have to return to his dormitory to retrieve parchment and quill to write down the recipe. The library had wards to prevent theft, so he left the book on the table and crept to his school supplies. Harry paused as he left to look at Ron, safely asleep. He sighed; and went to the bathroom to replace the wad of toilet paper before returning to the library. He copied the information onto parchment.

He sneaked into the deserted workroom. The potion the fifth years were doing this week used the ingredients that Harry needed and they were in the student store. This was fortunate since Snape's personal stock had been impossible to break into since their fourth year.

At five in the morning, feeling sick from the effects of the potion, he dragged himself back to the dormitory and undressed. He hid his blood stained clothes at the bottom of the laundry pile, went to the bathroom and showered, then climbed into bed. He'd have to make that potion every month if he was to hide this from everyone. Every month for the whole of his fifth year. So, despite all the difficulties did did.

**

Two phrases dominated his life while at Privet Drive. They were 'Yes, Aunt Petunia' and 'No, Aunt Petunia.' Today, the first day of the holidays, was no different, his aunt started with, "Finish the breakfast!"

Harry said, "Yes, Aunt Petunia."

He was careful not to sound insolent, that could gain him a swift blow to the head if she was holding something she could hit him with, and as usual the proximity of his period - due any day now - made him tired and irritable. He wondered, as he fried bacon for breakfast, if Aunt Petunia had the same problem. But then, she was a crabby old bag all the time so that didn't explain it.

As soon as breakfast was over, Aunt Petunia gave him something to do; his first job was to clean the windows, the insides anyway. He'd done this before and knew that if there were any smears or marks when she checked he could expect trouble - and she liked it done the old fashioned way, with dilute vinegar
and newspaper. She said it kept away the insects. Harry doubted that any insect with a brain would dare come into 4 Privet Drive, but then most of them didn't have much of a brain if the ease of transfiguring them was anything to go by.

Cleaning windows took up about a third of his mind; it didn't stop him thinking. He rather wished it did, thoughts of men - one in particular - kept intruding and he forced his mind onto other things with an effort.

He'd made up a larger than usual batch of the potion that stopped the bleeding, he'd calculated he had three periods to get through before he went back to Hogwarts - there was something to be said for being predictable - but one bottle had leaked out all over his Quidditch robes. In any case, the book said it wasn't wise to take it every month but it didn't say why. He didn't have much choice now but to find some other solution to the problem, he was sure even Aunt Petunia would catch on if he bled all over the bedsheets.

He hid the remaining vials of potion and the books on what he still termed his 'condition' under the loose floorboard under the bed. The floorboard stuck up a bit with all the books, and he wished he could cast a concealing charm on it. Some he'd bought in Hogsmeade, but some were from the Hogwarts library, and he wondered if Madam Pince would notice which books he'd borrowed and guess his problem. This was more likely over the holidays, all the books should have been given back but he hadn't had time to read them all. He sighed, and moved on to the next window, the one in Dudley's room.

The Dursleys had relaxed their rules a little when they found out about Sirius, so the rest of his things, his homework and his books on Quidditch he could keep in his room on the narrow desk. With his things around he thought his room looked friendly and even welcoming compared with the rest of the house, and he didn't particularly envy Dudley. Harry picked his way through the empty pizza boxes, dirty mugs, discarded underwear and used plates towards the window. At least, he thought, my room is tidy and it doesn't smell like a dustbin. Dudley had only been home three days.

Harry tore off another sheet of newspaper, dipped it into the vinegar and water solution, and started at the top as Aunt Petunia had taught him. He heard Dudley come in, but ignored him.

"Freak," said Dudley. "Fucking freak."

Harry gritted his teeth and carried on cleaning. An early lesson had been don't rise to the bait. He'd learned it well.


"Can I go for a run?" Harry asked. It was lunchtime; Uncle Vernon, who would have refused out of hand, was at work and there was only Aunt Petunia and Dudley. He'd finished the windows but felt restless, desperate to get out of the house and breathe air that didn't smell of vinegar.

"The neighbours will see you," said Aunt Petunia.

"If I promise not to speak to anyone?"

He could almost see the gears moving in Aunt Petunia's mind. Finally she said, "Very well. Don't be too long."

"No, Aunt Petunia. Thank you."

It was very pleasant to be running along the lane on a warm, bright day. People smiled to see him go past, which was more than anyone did at home, and he could admire the gardens of the houses on Daffodil Road and Magnolia Crescent. He waved at Mrs Figg, and she waved back. Away from people he might know, he could even put his brain into neutral and simply be in a way that wasn't possible when he was stuck in the house with Dudley and his Aunt.

Having run as far as he dared, he sat on a log to get his breath back. He watched a spider build a web and envied her singleminded determination - he rather wanted to move in with her. Regretfully he stood, stretched his muscles, which had cramped a bit and ran back to Privet Drive, carefully not thinking about anything.

His period started that night and he took the potion only just in time to stop it again. His Aunt had expected him to wash and iron his own clothes almost since he'd started school so
he didn't have to worry too much about staining those, but the sheets were a different issue. Aunt Petunia was very particular about her sheets; he couldn't take that risk next month. The idea of discussing - that - with act actually frightened him, he couldn't imagine what she'd say. He doubted it would be of any help.

His room was full of Dudley's books and these included one called "Growing up" by Louisa Jordansson. Harry was sure Dudley had never read it, Dudley never read anything, but he had, very carefully not breaking the spine or leaving finger marks. He checked back through it, Muggle girls had to deal with periods, so there had to be something. Yes, there was a description of how to insert tampons. It sounded a bit gross, but he supposed he could manage. But of course they'd cost money. Or he could use those other things, which sounded easier. They cost money, too.

He sighed - he seemed to do that a lot. He had money, but it was wizard money and it was at Gringotts.


Breakfast again. Harry cooked it; he was tempted to spit on Dudley's, who was being even more annoying than usual. What Dudley could possibly want with a skateboard was more than Harry could fathom since he never left the house unless it was to go to McDonalds or Burger King. Last time Dudley had been taken to the cinema - last year, as far as Harry knew - he'd claimed the film was 'too long' to sit through. Harry hadn't been included in the trip; he'd spent the evening with Mrs Figg in her cat-smelling living room listening to her talk about Mrs Epstein's piles and poor Mr Saunders' horrible death from cancer of the pancreas. Awful though that was, it was better than going to the cinema with Dudley.

Finally, Uncle Vernon said, "I'm not paying for a skateboard, it'll have to come out of your grandmother's trust fund."

Aunt Petunia frowned, "But the trust fund is for University."

"I don't want to go to University," said Dudley. "I want a skateboard."

"I'll write to the bank," said Uncle Vernon.

Harry stared, then looked down before Uncle Vernon noticed. Of course. He had Hedwig, he could write to Gringotts. Uncle Vernon had made him promise not to contact his friends, but one could hardly call a bank a friend.

"Can I have it now and I'll pay you back?" said Dudley.

"Absolutely not." Uncle Vernon took a slice of toast.

Dudley took a deep breath.

"I'll get it for you, Duddykins," said Aunt Petunia. She recognised the signs as well as Harry did, or better. "Will that be all right?"

Dudley let out the breath. Disaster was averted. "My room's a mess," he said.

Aunt Petunia turned to Harry. "Clean Dudley's room for him," she said.

Harry's reply was automatic. "Yes, Aunt Petunia."


The money came in five days; with it was a note from the cashier at Gringotts showing him what rate of exchange had been used. Harry had specified the amount he wanted in Muggle money - he discovered it didn't take as much wizard money as he'd thought it might. In theory he could now buy new gls ans and new clothes, but there was no way that his Aunt and Uncle would let him go to Croydon - where the shops and opticians were - so that was a forlorn hope. Besides, the massive jeans and the folds of the sweatshirt made him feel less self-conscious - nobody would guess what he was with him dressed like that, he looked like a scarecrow.

His Aunt never went to the only shop in Little Whinging, she thought it 'common' because it was run by a little Pakistani gentleman called Mr Patel; she did her shopping at the Asda superstore on Bergmann Road, and in Marks and Spencer. She was careful that the neighbours saw only the M&S bags which Harry found very funny; the good thing about it was that it meant he could pop in to the local shop when he was out running without fear of running into her. Uncle Vernon sometimes went to Mr Patel to buy his Daily Mail, but as he didn't like 'wogs' as he called them, there was little chance he'd get into conversation, and Harry


made sure he was never there when Uncle Vernon could possibly be around.

Food at 4 Privet Drive wasn't a problem, Aunt Petunia was a good cook to which the bulk of both Vernon and Dudley was mute testament, but Harry hated her choice of toothpaste and soap, his was always 'value', which meant the very cheapest possible. As a result, the toothpaste tasted like soap, and the soap brought his skin out in a rash. Also, while Dudley got all the sweets he wanted and though Harry wasn't much of a sweet eater - he'd never had the opportunity to develop a taste for Muggle sweets - he did like to suck mints while he was working on his homework.

The most important thing, though, and one he now had to buy was sanitary protection. Problem was, now he looked at the possibilities he hadn't a clue. He'd re-read Louisa Jordansson's book, but that didn't help with which brand to buy and he was running out of time. He looked at the shelves, trying not to be too obvious about it. "Can I help?" a voice behind him. A female voice. He turned round. She reminded him of Parvati Patil, which shouldn't have surprised him but did, and her namebadge read 'Nila'.

"I...my girlfriend's not feeling very well, she asked me to get some of these for her." Harry went scarlet.

"Did she say which brand?" Nila didn't look at all phased.

"I'm sorry, no."

"Do you know if it was pads or tampons?"

"Er...no. I can't remember."

"Oh. Can't you ask her?"

"It was urgent. She's run out."

"Oh, I see. You'll probably have to guess then, and come back if you're wrong. We'll change them if she hasn't opened the pack."

"Which would you suggest?"

"Well, to be honest, if she's not a tampon girl wild horses aren't going to get her to use them. The safest would probably be something like these." Nila pulled a squashy purple pack from the shelf. "She'll probably manage with these until she can get out and get her own. It's very good of you, you know. Not many boys would buy this sort of thing for their girlfriend. Not many men, either. If they're not what she wants, you should tell her so." Nila grinned at him, infectiously. "I wish you were my boyfriend."

He grinned back. "I'll tell her," he said.

"Or…you could buy both," she said. "Then you'd be sure you'd got at least something she can use."

"I'd better do that." Harry realised that if he bought both, he could experiment and he'd find out what suited him best. He added, "She'll be cross with me, otherwise." Nila smiled at him again, and he blushed.


The books, both library and bought, proved harder going than he'd expected. Most of them were medical texts, and he learned a lot about how the human body worked, most of it fascinating but some of it rather terrifying. Now he finally understood what Mrs Figg had been talking about when she'd described Mrs Epstein's piles, and it was far from welcome knowledge.

He was glad he'd been able to keep Hermione away from this stuff, she'd have sucked it up with the sponge-like facility she normally had for information, but he was sure she'd put two and two together very quickly and come up with at least four. He wished he could confide in her, but he didn't want anyone to know. He wished, more than anything, that he was like other boys. He didn't like having to get changed behind the curtains of his bed, he knew the other boys thought him weird for that alone, and he hated showering in the changing rooms, it was the only part of Quidditch he could do without. He sighed - again.

He turned to the one picture he'd been able to find of a hermaphrodite. It was a line drawing and unusually for a wizard book it didn't move, or not that he'd ever seen. All of the books were wizard books, even the ones on anatomy and physiology, and most of them mentioned hermaphrodites only in passing. It seemed that like Parselmouths, they were rare - rarer, so one said, in the wizard than in the Muggle world. So why did he have to be this weird rare creature?

Couldn't he be normal in anything?

He'd left one book till last, not least because the flick through he'd had of it had made him wonder if he would be able to read it at all. For a start, it was old even for a wizard book, and in some odd typeface like the German books he'd seen in the Potions research section of the library when he was doing that dreadful homework on the variants of Stumbling Potions. Then when he managed to sort out the typeface, there was the language. The writer appeared to have dropped English altogether and adopted some peculiar mixture of allegory, allusion and metaphor. After a few hours, Harry felt the best thing to do with "Living Two Lives" was smell it. He might learn more that way.

One thing was clear. The writer, one Brinsley Meslier Mll hll had been a hermaphrodite himself. Why in that case he had to couch everything quite such farmyard language was beyond Harry, it was all either stuff about stallions and mares, or about bees and flowers, or about Duty and Sacrifice. Harry felt distinctly intimidated by the capitals and he flicked forward in the book, hoping to find something a bit easier.

This was more like it. Or maybe it wasn't. He'd read on a few pages and was starting to feel a bit warm. Too warm. The physiology books had said that certain parts of the body were pleasurable when stimulated. Well, yes, Harry had thought. Tell me something I hadn't already realised for myself. "Growing Up" had talked about masturbation, had said it was normal and nothing to be worried about unless indulged in 'to excess'. That was all very well. But Meynell's book told him how to do it. In detail. To a body exactly like his. No pictures, but his mind supplied all the pictures he needed. He moaned, softly.

At that moment, Aunt Petunia yelled up the stairs, "Dinner! Now!" Harry sighed. His cock was hard, and he had a most peculiar liquid sensation between his legs. Like a period, but…nice. Oh, no. He was facing two hours of sitting on a dining chair in the Dursleys' cold dining room. He sat up and pulled his clothes straight, willing his erection to go away.


That was the pleasantest part of Meynell's book. The rest was either frightening or boring, with the emphasis mostly on the frightening. The descriptions of some of the uses of hermaphrodite blood in particular he was sure would him him nightmares. The least horrifying was a potion that changed someone's sex permanently, though quite why anyone would want it was beyond him. But then, as he thought further, he couldn't, could he? He had no opposite to change to.

Then there was the section on how Meynell's male genitalia had been reabsorbed into his body as his first pregnancy advanced, which made Harry sit with his legs crossed. And pregnancy? It had never occurred to him that he might be able to give birth. All but two of Meynell's children had been boys - the notes at the end of the book said that he'd had twelve who lived to adulthood. It didn't say how many didn't. Twelve children. Harry's stomach ached in sympathy. He read on a bit. Meynell had been 149 when he died. Wow. If he lived that long he'd be still alive in…2130.

The description of the conception, on the other hand, Harry rather enjoyed. So much so he kept turning back to it, it was almost as good as the masturbation bit. He was honestly horrified, though, at the person his mind kept picturing as what Meynell would keep referring to as 'my stallion', a description that made Harry giggle.

Apart from the sex, Harry was most interested in and most puzzled by those areas of the book concerned with magic. It explained so much - how he'd survived Voldemort, why he could do magic without a wand - but also left so much unsaid. The idea that he was a human wand who soaked up magic from his surroundings and threw it back was just so bizarre that he didn't know what to make of it. He'd never thought of his wand as an amplifier before, but now it was explained it was so obvious. But if it was an amplifier, so was he.


In fact as he read on, he wasn't just an amplifier, he was a superconductor - he'd read about them in one of Dudley's discarded books. According to Meynell, hermaphrodites took part in protection spells and other large magical workings and Meynell had been instrumental in the last spell which had been cast over Hogwarts, the spell which protected the staff and students from suicide, attack and sundry other nasties. Indeed, Meynell called this his 'greatest work', even though it had nearly killed him. He said that without him the spell would have taken the greatest wizards of his age twenty years to cast and cost all of them their lives. Reading about it, Harry believed him.


Harry's sixth year started out well; he was a prefect, Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and at last seemed to have some sort of a grasp on his studies. Voldemort was peculiarly quiet, which rather worried him, but that was a more back-of-the-mind worry than an everyday worry. If it hadn't been for his condition and his unfortunate obsession with men's bodies, it would be perfect.

It was this last that troubled him the most, it was an at-least-once-an-hour worry. Hiding an emergency supply of sanitary protection from the other boys in his dormitory wasn't fun, though he was getting quite good at brewing the potion and he'd bought most of the ingredients in bulk at the beginning of the year. But it seemed that every time he saw the way Seamus sat or turned, the way Ron moved his head, the way Dean brushed his hair, even the way Neville used his hands, he blushed.

Worst of all was his response to some of the male teachers; not Binns or Flitwick, even his perverted little mind couldn't dig up any enthusiasm for them, but any other breathing male over 15 seemed to be grist to his mental mill. He'd even - thankfully only once - had a very strange dream about Professor Dumbledore which had left him unable to look at the teachers' table in the Great Hall for a week. None of the books he'd read made any mention of this and Harry started to wonder if his condition included insanity as a side effect.


The first night of the Easter holiday found him in a small workroom in the dungeon, brewing the potion. He'd been tempted to give it a miss and if he'd been alone would have done so, but the news that both Seamus and Neville were staying over the holidays stopped him. Neville probably wouldn't notice anything, he wasn't the type, but Seamus was naturally curious.

He lit a couple of lamps, got out his cauldron and made a start. By now he had a rhythm for making this potion; he knew exactly when to cut up the plane tree root and how small, and precisely how the mixture should look before he sprinkled in the dried willow leaves. He could even, when the potion was simmering, waiting for the blackberry seeds to soften, sit and read.

Feeling it should be almost ready, Harry looked up. He dropped his book in surprise. There was a figure in the doorway. It was Professor Snape.

"Potter," said Snape.

This was unnecessary in Harry's opinion. He knew who he was. He stood and waited.

Snape came fully into the room and strolled over to look at the bench and the ingredients. Harry's mouth was quite dry, though not from fear. Snape had been having this effect on him for some time, the smooth walk, the almost snakelike way he held his head and only moved his eyes, his graceful hands, had all drawn Harry's attention since first year, and since he turned fifteen there had been days when he could think of nothing else.

"I know what it is," said Snape. "What I don't quite understand is why you have a use for it. Granger is well able to make her own, and wouldn't need to do it at one in the morning."

Harry stared at the floor.

"You need to add the crushed locusts now, by the way," said Snape, after a very long pause.

Harry did so. He stirred the result smoothly and slowly in a figure of eight exactly as Snape had always taught them. Snape watched, and

Harry gritted his teeth. He had
made this potion - successfully - over twenty times now, but with Snape there his nerves were in shreds. He measured out the final ingredient, the dried camomile flowers, and added them.

"Slower," said Snape. "They're supposed to calm the girl, not knock her out."

Harry looked up at him. That would explain why Harry sometimes had trouble staying awake the day after taking it.

The mixture was ready, and Harry set it to strain through muslin into a fresh container. He wished Snape would go, but the man had settled himself against a bench as if he meant to take root. Harry washed his cauldron and all the equipment he had used. By the time he'd finished that, the mixture was ready and just needed to be boiled up once more before it could be bottled.

"Why does the container have to be hot?" Snape asked, suddenly.

"Because the recipe says it does," Harry replied, without thinking.

"Potter, you are a moron. Let me recast the question: why do you think the recipe says the container has to be hot?"

Harry frowned. "You might not be using it immediately. This potion keeps for three months and you need to sterilise the bottle or things might grow in it."

"And?"

"If you pour a very hot liquid into a cold glass it might shatter?"

"Any other guesses?"

"It seals the ingredients."

"Quite good for two thirty in the morning." Snape sounded almost approving.

"If I'd known I was going to get an impromptu exam I'd have done some revision."

"Don't be insolent, Potter, you're skating very close to the line already. Do you make this every month?"

Harry had a feeling that lying wasn't going to get him very far this time. "Yes," he said.

"I thought so. I heard you leave last month." Snape took a turn round the room. "It is not actually against the rules for you to make this, but I will not have you brewing potentially dangerous elixirs in the dead of night."

"But…"

"Your girlfriend - whoever she is - may just be stupid enough to trust you, but I'm not. Next month you'll do this in my workroom where I can be sure you're not poisoning anyone. I just hope she's suitably grateful."

"Yes, sir."

"And Potter?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Five points from Gryffindor. For being such a complete prat."

"Yes, sir."


All month he considered whether to disobey. But he had more than a feeling that Snape would be on his guard for any attempt of that nature. So, a few days before he would need the potion he stayed behind after class and approached Snape's desk. Once again he was taken by the unconscious grace of the man's movements.

"Yes?" Snape broke into his reverie.

"Sir, I need Impediere Infans. You said…"

"I remember what I said. When?"

"By next Tuesday." At least, Harry hoped so. But then, he was predictable.

"Be back here on Sunday evening, after dinner."

"Thank you, Professor."


Harry found it was very much easier to make Impediere Infans in a properly lit room; even measuring the ingredients was easier. This advantage, however, was largely negated by Snape's batlike presence. He stood over Harry, watching him measure and chop slugs as if expecting him to cut his own fingers off.

"For whom are you making this?" asked Snape.

Harry looked up. Snape had sounded as if someone was pulling his teeth out, and Harry supposed it wasn't usual for him to ask students that kind of question.

"This is a school," Snape pointed out. "Another name for it would be 'gossip factory', and you are our resident celebrity. If Harry Potter were seeing someone it would be all over the school like acne."

Harry picked up another slug, and cut it into unnecessarily small pieces.

Snape said, "The only other reason is so absurd I almost dismissed it out of hand."

Harry threw the slug into the pot and steadfastly looked down.

Snape went on, "You're a hermaphrodite."

"Yes." Harry answered the unasked

question. "I suppose you'll tell the
Slytherins tomorrow."

"Why would I do that?"

"Lupin."

"Touché," said Snape. "I admit it, that was petty and vindictive."

"Yes, it was." Harry felt at this stage that he might as well be expelled for a sheep as a lamb.

"But you're not a danger to the school or anyone in it. At least…" Uncharacteristically, Snape trailed off. "I'm the only person who knows?"

"Yes."

"Keep it that way. Among the students, anyway."

"As if I want anyone to find out."

Snape looked down, his head on one side as if considering something wriggling under glass.

Harry flushed. "It's not something I'm proud of, but I can't do anything about it." He stirred the cauldron slowly.

"I see," said Snape.

He sounded as if he understood more than Harry did, but Harry wasn't sure how to ask what he meant.rry rry said, "You won't tell anyone, will you?"

"I should."

Harry looked Snape in the eye. "I don't want anyone to know," he said.

"Nobody?" Snape looked shocked.

"Nobody," replied Harry.

Snape was silent for a moment. He said, "Then I won't say anything. But…you should tell Madam Pomfrey - she can help you. Better than I can, in fact. Or Professor Dumbledore." He stopped, then added, "I can see I'm wasting my breath."


Whenever he was around Snape, Harry was aware of that peculiar liquid feeling between his legs. He could just about control his erection - thinking of Uncle Vernon invariably got rid of that problem - but the other kind of arousal was slower to build up and much slower to dissipate. It would have helped if he could find a quiet corner to touch himself, but in a school, even one like Hogwarts, that was difficult.

Harry kept on finding Hermione and Ron snogging in odd corners, so clearly they were in a similar position if for a different reason. He was very tempted to ask Ron if they'd found somewhere he could use, but he didn't quite have the nerve. It didn't help that watching them turned him on, and he didn't want to admit that, either.

In fact, his interest in men had narrowed to one; watching Snape was becoming an obsession. While this was a relief in some ways, it made potions lessons the most important of his week and also a torture akin to something thought up by Torquemada. He squirmed through double potions every Tuesday; he was unable to get comfortable on the hard benches and he took noteat mat made no sense because Snape's honey and razor blades voice made it impossible for him to concentrate. He wondered if Hene hne had endured this over Lockhart. He wished now that he'd been more sympathetic.


Harry looked at his Potions essay, dissatisfied. He'd run out of time and he'd have to hand this in or it would be late. He rolled it up and headed for the dungeons.

Seeing a light under the workroom door, Harry knocked, and then pushed the door open. Snape looked up from whatever he was doing.

Harry went in. "I brought you my homework," he said.

"Thank you, Potter," said Snape. "I was on the edge of my seat. I couldn't have lived for another minute without seeing your homework."

Harry interpreted that as a joke - of sorts - and smiled. "What are you doing?" he asked.

"Marking first year essays. Not that it's any business of yours."

"Sorry. I'm just…interested."

"Oh."

Harry noticed that Snape seemed surprised. It was not a look he'd seen often and for some reason that gave him courage. Ht hit his bag down, went over to the bench and rested against the edge.

"I don't remember inviting you in." Snape put his quill down.

"You didn't," said Harry. He leaned forward and quite deliberately kissed Snape on the mouth. He'd done it before he remembered that he didn't quite know how.

His lack of expertise didn't seem to bother Snape, who kissed him back. Harry opened his mouth - he'd seen Hermione and Ron enough times now to know that tongues were involved

somewhere. Snape tasted of tea and something sweet, Harry
supposed that must be what he'd last eaten and drunk.

"I shouldn't do this," Snape murmured against Harry's lips.

Harry waved a hand behind him and the door closed and locked. Snape looked momentarily impressed before he returned to his exploration of Harry's mouth.

"I'm surprised I remember how," Snape said, somewhat indistinctly.

"How long has it been?" Harry was curious.

Snape frowned slightly, "Twenty years? About that, I think."

"Do you want me?" Harry asked.

Snape gave him a peculiar half smile. "I am completely unworthy of someone like you. Not," he added, "that there is anyone quite like you."

"That isn't what I asked," Harry reached for the buttons on Snape's jacke"I "I want to know if you want me. Because I want you."

Snape didn't answer, but he didn't stop Harry unbuttoning his jacket or pushing it off his shoulders, and nor did he prevent him from unbuttoning the white shirt underneath.

With Snape's nipples exposed, Harry kissed them then touched his tongue to one and heard a moan. He remembered reading about this in Meynell's book, and was pleased it worked in real life.

"I should be…pleasing…you," said Snape, throatily.

"You are," said Harry. "But you could take my clothes off."

Snape was still for a moment, and then he pushed the robe off Harry's shoulders and reached for the pullover.

A man, naked, wanting him; Snape looked rathersledsled from Harry's hurried undressing of him. Harry almost drooled, he had to swallow somewhat hurriedly to hide it and he was so wet between the legs that he was surprised he wasn't dripping. Harry pressed against Snape, kissing him again hungrily.

Snape said, "Are you sure?" He sounded almost as hoarse as Lupin.

"Yes," moaned Harry. "Yes. Yes, please…" Snape pushed Harry back to lie across the bench, and Harry looked up at Snape's face. His expression was…desperate…and Harry smiled to have caused that.

Harry opened his legs and Snape ran his hand up the inside of his right thigh. Harry sighed, and bit his lip. "Oh! More!" He closed his eyes, and felt one of Snape's hands take hold of his cock. The other reached between his legs.

"Tell me if I hurt you," Snape's voice was soft and still hoarse.

Harry nodded once, and opened his legs a bit more. Snape's hand pumped Harry's cock slowly and Harry felt the other touch his clitoris. "Harder!" said Harry, squirming to press himself against those fingers. Snape obeyed, and Harry dug his fingernails into the bench. "In me. Now," gasped Harry.

"Are you quite sure?"

"Yes!"

Snape's fis mos moved lower. Harry felt them, then something else, something warmer and wider, slide partway into him. It pulled out slowly and he moaneelplelplessly. It slid back and he sighed. "That's what I want," said Harry. "That's what I've wanted for a year." It was a strange feeling, but it fulfilled him.

Snape started to thrust, finding a rhythm quickly. Acting on instinct, Harry closed his legs slightly to keep his clitoris pressed against Snape. The orgasm in his cock came first, the other, the curious swallow inside him followed almost immediately. It took longer, as it always seemed to.

He opened his eyes as Snape pulled out of him, and saw Snape's astonished look.

"What?" said Harry. He wondered if he'd done something wrong.

"You were a virgin."

"Er…yes," said Harry, puzzled.

"I wouldn't have touched you if I'd known."

Harry sat up slowly, his muscles seemed to have fixed in place. "Good thing I didn't tell you then."

"You should not have given…that…to someone like me."

Harry ignored that remark. "Next time," he said, "can we do it on a bed? That bench is hard."

"There won't be a next time."

Harry went cold. "Didn't you like it?"

"That's irrelevant." Snape's voice was softer. "I shouldn't have done it; there's no way I'm going to do it

again."

"But you did like it?" Harry knew he
sounded like a child asking to be told that the bogeyman was out from under his bed.

"You were… Yes, I enjoyed it. But I should not have done it." Snape sat, still naked, on the chair. He reached for his shirt. "Get dressed, Potter."

"Is it that I'm ugly?" Harry didn't move.

"You're not ugly."

Harry bit his lip, aware that Snape was staring at him. He swallowed, ruthlessly suppressing tears. "I am. They've always said so."

"Who have?"

Harry shook his head, and reached for his clothes. Snape was still looking at him and Harry wished he'd look away. He dressed, then tried to brush the dust from his robe. He turned to go.

Suddenly he felt Snape's hand on his arm, and looked up into black eyes. Snape slid both arms round his waist, and kissed him. Desperately, Harry kissed back. Snape said, "You're not ugly, Potter. Whoever told you that was lying." He let go.

"It's very kind of you to try to make me feel better," said Harry. He picked up his bag and went out.


To Harry's intense gratitude, Snape's determination not to touch him again lasted only until he arrived in the workroom to make the Impediere Infans potion. And this time he did take Harry to his rooms.


A warm night in early June, extraordinarily warm for the time of year. Harry thought that was why he couldn't sleep, at least until the pain hit him. It had all the geniality of a tidal wave, and Harry clapped one hand to his forehead. With the other hand over his mouth he just managed to make it to the bathroom before he was violently and spectacularly sick. It helped the pain, but only marginally. Harry had time to wipe his nose and mouth before another bout of sickness took him.

There was a noise behind him and he turned to see Ron. "I'll get Madam Pomfrey," Ron said.

Harry nodded, he couldn't speak, and turned back to the toilet and vomited again.

Madam Pomfrey wasn't long. "Is it the same as before?" she asked.

"Yes," whispered Harry. "The pain in the scar and…this."

"He Who Must Not Be Named must be having a fine old time," she said. She helped Harry stand, and put an arm around him. "I think you'll be better off in the hospital wing for the rest of the night."

"Thanks," said Harry.


He still felt shaky next day, and though he protested that it was pathetic for a man of sixteen to be laid low by a sick headache Madam Pomfrey decided he wasn't well enough to go to breakfast. He was sitting up in bed, still irritated, when Ron and Hermione arrived.

"Mints," said Hermione. She dropped two packs on the bedside table. "Ron told me what happened. Was it him, do you think? Or did you just eat something that disagreed with you?"

"The scar hurt, I think it was him. Thanks for the mints; how is it that when you're sick vomit goes up your nose? I can still taste it."

"It's all connected up back there," said Hermione. "The back of your throat and your nose are all linked by…"

"I don't want to know," said Ron. Harry grinned; Ron could get a bit squeamish.

"Snape wasn't at breakfast," said Hermione. "And he wasn't at dinner last night, did you notice?"

Harry had noticed.

"Doing something foul, I should imagine," said Ron. "Hey, Harry, next Hogsmeade weekend we don't we set up Crabbe and Goyle? I've got an idea…"

"Harry can't play tricks,ermiermione sounded scandalised. "He's a prefect!"

"What difference does that make?"

Harry smiled. Ron and Hermione had this exchange about twice a week. "What's the plan?" he asked.


Snape was away two weeks, not unprecedented but unusual. The first double potions lesson he was back Harry watched him dreamily, paying very little attention to the lesson. As a result, he wasn't too surprised when Snape said, "Stay behind, Potter."

Harry collected up his books and stowed them in his bag while the other sixth years filed out.

Far too close, Snape's voice came

from behind him, "Do you have any objections to missing dinner?"


Harry turned so fast he nearly cricked his neck. "No." Missing dinner meant sex, Snape's body on - in - his. Harry's mouth went dry.

"Good."


It was afterwards the trouble started. Even just after he'd said it Harry knew he should have kept his mouth firmly closed on those three fateful words.

Snape gave him an appalled look, "You can't."

"But I do." Nobody had ever called Harry Potter anything less than stubborn.

"You can't. I'm not suitable for you." Snape sighed. "In fact, you don't know how very unsuitable I am."

Harry frowned. Snape had said odd things like this a couple of times before. "Are you saying you don't love me?" he asked.

"If it makes it easier for you." Snape sat up, the movement abrupt. "Perhaps it woul bet betif tif this…whatever it is…stopped now."

"You can't mean that!" Harry felt as if he'd been hit by an avalanche - shocked and cold.

"I… I do mean it. Please go."

Harry took a deep breath and got out of bed. He dressed in silence willing himself to stay calm. At last, he was ready. He said, "Do you really mean you…"

"I don't love you. Now, go."

Empty and expressionless, Harry climbed the many stairs to the Gryffindor tower. There might have been people in the common room, but he didn't notice. He was alone in the boys' dormitory, thankfully, and he undressed and put on his pyjamas. He didn't think he'd be getting up again today. He considered just closing the curtains, but that didn't keep everyone out, Ron had been known to fling them back if he got enthusiastic over something.

After a moment's thought, he pulled the invisibility cloak out of his trunk, wrapped it around himself, and lay down. What a total bastard. Harry wished he were stronger; crying only made him feel even more humiliated and wretched, and gave him a headache as well. At last, worn out, he went to sleep.


Harry climbed on board the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross at the beginning of his seventh year, feeling surprisingly well. He remembered the shock of the journey down only two months ago, the sudden horror that had struck him on realising he'd missed his period. His worst fear had proved founded - he was pregnant. How he still wasn't sure - apart from the obvious - as Impediere Infans was supposed to prevent that kind of thing, but he was.


He found Ron and Hermione in their usual compartment at the end of the train, snogging. He waited at the door until they noticed him, watching them pull apart like someone undoing a button very slowly. He smiled.

"Harry!" said Ron. He smoothed his hair, as far as he could. "You look…different."

"Different?" said Harry.

"You're not as thin as usual," said Ron. "I know you told us you didn't spend summer with the Dursleys but I wasn't expecting it to make such a difference."

"I suppose not," said Harry. His pregnancy couldn't be showing yet, the moment of panic had been entirely misplaced.

"So, where was this place?"

"Cornwall. I took a cottage for the summer…"

"How?" asked Ron, quite reasonably.

"Oh, that was fun. I used that Illusion charm - the one Flitwick told us we could practise over the summer - to make me look older. It worked, I was really surprised. The man in the estate agents didn't ask any questions. Mind you, that could also have been because I paid up front for three months."

Ron laughed, "I used it to turn Percy's quills into daffodils," said Ron. "He got really pissed off with Fred and George, he thought it was them. Percy can be such a prick."

Hermione laughed, but she said, "I said you shouldn't. Fred and George were quite hurt. So what was this cottage like?"

"Small," said Harry. "Right next to the sea, I swam almost every day. I learned to cook, or at least put stuff from the supermarket in the oven and not poison myself. I met some people who ran an art gallery and did

some painting. It was fun."

"Didn't the Dursleys mind?" Hermione asked.


"Mind? You've never seen such a happy man as when I told Uncle Vernon I wasn't going to be spending summer with them. He said they'd finally be able to make that trip to Iowa to see his cousin, the one that they've been promising Dudley since he was two."

"Was it really so bad with them that you had to go off on your own for all that time?" said Hermione. "I had a really funny letter from Professor Dumbledore about it."

"You can't imagine," said Harry.

"I can't see my Mum letting me stay anywhere on my own," said Ron. "She'd be convinced I'd have a drunken party."

"You would," commented Hermione. "You and your brothers would get smashed on vodka and be ill for a week. Harry's got more brains than that." She smiled at him.

Harry was glad she couldn't read his mind. He was not about to tell anyone about the night he'd drunk most of a bottle of gin as an experiment, or about the following three days in which he'd wished - fervently - for death to take him.

There was a noise at the door of their compartment and Draco Malfoy came in. Behind him, as always, were Crabbe and Goyle looking more than ever like boulders only not as intelligent. Harry produced his wand, but held it loosely in his hand.

"Well, Potter," said Malfoy in his trademark drawl. "For once you don't look as if you spent the summer in an internment camp. What happened? Those Muggles you live with learn to cook?"

"Fuck off, Malfoy," said Ron.

"Call that wit, Weasley?"

"No," said Ron. "It was an instruction. As in: we don't want you here so get lost."

Though talking to Ron, Malfoy was staring at Harry. Harry didn't much like the expression on his face but couldn't place it.

Crabbe and Goyle exchanged identical looks of evil and raised their wands. Harry was ready, and as they cast their spells, he responded. Behind him, he felt Ron and Hermione do the same. At once, Crabbe bounced up and caught his head on the top of the door. He let out a howl, which was repeated a second later when he hit the floor, and again when he hit the ceiling of the corridor.

Meanwhile, Malfoy collapsed to his knees, and Goyle fell backwards as if made of stone and fur grew over his face and hands.

"Potter!" said Malfoy.

"Not my hex," said Harry. "Mine was Furball."

Ron, who had turned a splendid shade of dark purple with black marbling, glanced down at Malfoy. He said, "Lead Knees was mine. It'll wear off in an hour or so."

Malfoy crawled to the compartment door; Harry and Ron carried Goyle outside and dropped him. "I won't forget this, Potter," said Malfoy.

"That's what you always say," said Harry. "Your diary must be one long moan about me." He closed the compartment door and locked it.

He and Ron turned to Hermione, whose eyebrows were growing down over her face at speed. They grinned at each other. Hermione parted the hair and laughed up at them, "Come on! I can't stay like this forever. My word, Ron, what is that colour?"

"I like the hair," said Ron, thoughtfully. "It's attractive in a yeti sort of a way. We should keep it."

"What did Harry get?" she turned to him. "Oh, they missed you."

"Looks like it," said Harry.

"He cast a really spectacular Furball, though," Ron sniggered. "Goyle looks like a bear." He pointed his wand at Hermione, "Finate Incantatem!" Nothing happened and he sighed. "You try," he said to Harry.

"OK," said Harry. "Invertere Incantatem!" Hermione's eyebrows were instantly back to normal.

"Isn't that supposed to take time?" Ron asked. He looked stunned.

"Er…yeah," said Harry, equally astonished. "I think so."

"You must have really hated those eyebrows," said Hermione. "Wish I'd seen that Furball."

"He's still outside the door," said Ron. "Take a look." He pointed his wand at himself. "Finate Incantatem!" At once he was back to his usual pink and freckles.

Hermione crossed the compartment to the door, and looked down. "Are
you sure that was Furball?" she said. "He seems to be moulting. And who cast Petrificus?"

"Your bouncer was pretty good, too," said Ron. "Cracked Crabbe's head on the ceiling. Wish I had a picture, I mean, his face…"

"Who cast Petrificus?" Hermione raised her voice.

"Not me," said Ron.

"Nor me," said Harry.

Hermione looked out of the window again, "Well, somebody did." She turned back. "And Harry? I'd watch yourself. Draco Malfoy fancies you."

"Urgh!" said Ron. Harry could have said the same, 'Urgh' about covered it.

**



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