Hogwarts' Potions master was enjoying his last few hours of privacy before the start of yet another term when he found his concentration rudely interrupted.
"Professor Snape," said a voice that belonged to a student who should not yet have been present at the school. The note of hysteria in it was new to Snape, and that was why he left off working on his anti-apparation potion and turned his attention to Draco Malfoy.
The boy was not alone. Cradled against his chest was the unconscious form of a young girl with disheveled black hair. She was wearing ill-fitting clothing and looked familiar to Snape, though he could not place her. Draco looked as though he was about to drop the girl.
"Merlin's beard, Draco! Who is this person and what has happened to her?" Snape demanded, striding toward his student to help him support the girl.
Taking her into his arms, Snape realized that she was not as young as he had initially believed; her clothing, gummed with blood and dirt, had hidden her development, and then her fringe fell back as he adjusted her head on his right shoulder. The scar stood out like a blood-red rune against the bruises on her face.
"Who--how? Is this--what happened?" he spluttered, not, in that moment of shock, caring at all how he sounded.
Draco sank to the stones. "Please help him, please help him, please help him . . . ."
Carefully examining the face of the girl, he realized that there was no mistaking the matter: Harry Potter had become a Harriet, Draco Malfoy seemed to care about this fact, and Severus Snape did not know what to do about either situation.
Unbidden, the thought came to him that, in female form, Harry looked nothing at all like James. And isn't that an improvement?
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