Summery: Harry wakes up to find himself in an alternate universe where there is no Voldemort. Suffice to say, some people have no luck.
A/N: Yes, I am completely ripping off the title from "Draco Malfoy And The Enlightening Experience" over at Twisting The Hellmouth. It was such a good genre fic that I decided to borrow the title. I mean no disrespect by this, JoeHundredaire. If anything, this is an homage.
Timeline: Year 6. Notice how I didn't say "Half-Blood Prince".
Harry Potter And The Enlightening Experience
"W-w-where's my glasses?" asked Harry Potter as he fumbled about with his hands trying to find them on the nightstand next to his bed. Oh, there they are. Harry put them on and then blinked a few times, his eyes just getting used to the light of the daytime sun. Across from Harry's bed was a window which opened up to a gorgeous loch, and the sunlight reflected directly off of it into the area where he slept. Reaching for the string, Harry unleashed the dark crimson curtains to get a view of it. It's another beautiful day at Hogwarts. Late morning. Everyone's probably at breakfast already.
Of course, Harry was kidding himself. Although the sun was out, and it did reflect beautifully into the sixth year dormitories, there was little to celebrate right now. Across the British Isles, there were frequent, almost daily, reports about dementor and werewolf attacks upon wizards and muggles alike. Earlier in the year, Katie Bell had almost died when she accidentally touched a cursed artifact. Ron was poisoned. Almost died. Draco Malfoy got the better end of the Sectrumsempra spell, leaving the young heir to the Malfoy trust with deep gashes all over his body, courtesy of Harry no less who was only defending himself from getting tortured by Draco(Harry hadn't known what the spell in he found in his book actually did until he tried it out). Dumbledore's blackened hand was getting worse, looking as if it was decaying rapidly and about to fall off at any minute. He also seemed more wistful than usual, which Harry associated with the thought that he might be dying. And Snape was a bigger arsehole than ever. All signs of Tom Riddle getting closer to beating the drums of war. Except for Snape being an arsehole...maybe.
He was also thinking impure thoughts about Ginny, his best friends little sister. Best not to mention that to either of them.
Deciding to catch a bit of breakfast before his first class, Harry unraveled himself from his heavy and warm yet comfortable blankets...and then immediately put them back on. Covering his mouth in shock, his eyes gone big, Harry could of swore that he saw a girls torso under the blankets. The torso was thin, yet curvy, with rounded hips flaring out, and a flat washboard stomach. The breasts were big, but not too big like the way you see on famous muggle women in their muggle gossip rags. They were just right, and they(as well as her private parts) were supported by pretty aqua blue bikini underwear. As he was cowering in shock, wondering who could have done this, his right forearm began to feel an itchy feeling. His eyes creeping rightward, he discovered that the source of the irritation was a strand of shiny, raven black hair. Suddenly grabbing the back of his head, Harry moaned silently in annoyance that indeed, his hair had grown longer. So much longer, in fact, that he was pulling on it just by laying down. It wasn't a wig. Crap. Alright, check the face. No stubble. Hell, it felt smoother than when he was twelve. What about my arms? Lifting them both out of the bed, Harry saw that they looked like two flesh colored sticks, with lots of tone, but no muscle to them. His arms had never looked so frail since he'd been starved at the Dursley's. Crap. Crap. Crap. Finally summoning the courage to remove the covers again, Harry saw that the girl's torso was still there as well as her legs, in all their toned glory. Harry's torso and legs, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found. But wait a minute...those legs...that torso...they're both connected to him! Suddenly looking around his bedside curtains in paranoia, just to check if anyone was still inside the dorm, Harry got up and minced towards his school trunk, which had practically everything of value to him inside. Opening it revealed a mirror, which reflected upon the lovely face of a sixteen year old girl. Harry swore that if he ever had a twin sister, this is what she would look like. Lifting up the curtain of black fringe which hid her forehead, Harry indeed saw the lightening shaped scar on her forehead. It was his scar. It was his forehead. Her forehead. Her scar.
Harry was forced to accept the fact that he now looked like a girl. But who would do this! Was it Fred and George? No, they already left Hogwarts. McGonagall? Why the devil would she do this to an unsuspecting student? Snape? But how did he get in here? Would he be so low to punish his most hated student with gender dysphoria? Or was it one of Big V's supporters? Or even Big V himself? No, that didn't make sense either. So many questions. So many possibilities! Who would want to turn Harry Potter female? Harry's mind raced as he plopped near the trunk on his bum, which by the way had grown a couple of sizes, and began to close his eyes to meditate on exactly this question. Suddenly(!), the front door opened.
"Harriet! Veronica asked me to come get you because she said she didn't want to miss breakfast. You know how hungry she gets. I swear, that girl has the best metabolism I've ever seen...Harriet? Why are you cowering on the floor like that?"
Harry looked up, and saw one of his best friends, Hermione Granger, looking down worryingly on his new form. Oh Merlin, she called him Harriet. Was he going crazy, or was the world going crazy?
"Bad dream is all", said Harry cryptically.
"Bad dream? Was it about the Dursleys?"
Harry shook his head.
"Well, who then?"
Harry Potter had gone through a lot in his life. He'd seen a lot too. At age eleven, after being locked inside a tiny cupboard since he was five by an abusive fat idiot with a walrus mustache, he was taken away from there and introduced to a world filled with magic. Not the stage magic you see at parties or in Las Vegas. Real magic. He met friends for the first time in his life. Actual friends, who had his back and were as thick as thieves. Later on in the school year, he had to face down a teacher who had been possessed by the soul of an evil warlock. In his second year, he saw Hermione transform into a furry. He also escaped from a family of giant spiders, only to be saved by a sentient car roaming it's way through the woods. In his third year, he time traveled for the first(and so far only) time to break his doting godfather out of prison, who the rest of the world thought was a spree killer. In his fourth year, he nearly got killed himself by a dragon, and also witnessed the first death of the upcoming war committed by a resurrected version of said evil warlock from his first year.. He and Cedric Diggory weren't particularly close, being from different houses, but Harry learned that Cedric was an honourable and strong young man who he WOULD have been friends had he had the chance. In his fifth year, his cousin nearly got his soul sucked out of his body by something that even the finest minds of the Wizarding World don't yet fully understand, his other friend's dad nearly got killed by a giant snake, and his godfather fell to his death inside a veil of mystery. And now here he was, six years later, going through all that crap and MUCH more on top of the usual school shit like uncaring teachers and bullies who just won't leave you alone. This though, this took the top spot. It wasn't as scary as seeing Cedric or his Sirius die, but it was far more traumatizing. It was like his entire life was being taken away from him. And now Hermione comes up into the boys dormitories to call him 'Harriet'.
"It was about me" he said, hating how feminine and light his voice sounded.
Hermione stepped into Harry's "bedroom", and bent down to cup his chin.
"You can tell me, Harriet. Please, don't hide anything. We're friends, you can trust me."
Sighing, Harry spoke up.
"I woke like this, as a girl. I don't remember being a girl. You're calling me Harriet, but my name is Harry. Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. And I don't know who Veronica is, but I DO know a Ron Weasley. He has red hair and freckles. Don't tell me Veronica has red hair and freckles."
"Oh boy" sighed Harry, laying his head back on the thick curtains.
"The Boy Who Lived? Is that your nickname?"
"Yeah. Not but choice, though. It's what everyone calls me for defeating Voldemort."
"Voldemort. You-Know-Who? He Who Must Not Be Named?"
"I've never heard of him, Harri. What is he, a terrorist of some kind?"
Harry nodded. "The worst Dark Wizard in history, next to Grindelwald."
"Well, I've heard of Gemma Grindelwald the wicked witch that Dumbledore defeated in the 1940's. I've never heard of Voldemort. Harri, I'm going to ask you a question, and I don't want you to get offended. Do you think that someone might have tampered with your mind?"
"I don't know. I just woke up like this. Who am I? You think I'm someone named Harriet! Maybe I'm in an alternate universe or something."
"Yeah, maybe. Harri, come here..."
Hermione embraced Harry in a hug, the younger girl obviously going through some kind of adjustment disorder that she either didn't understand or didn't want to talk with her in full about. Hermione pulled out her wand, pointed it behind Harri's head, and whispered a few words.
Harry's mind was suddenly elsewhere, walking down a small corridor that looks like the corridor on the Hogwarts Express. His POV then walks into a room where there are two young girls, both of about eleven years old. They were laughing and talking while eating candy of various sorts. One of them was a redhead who looked exactly like Ginny did at that age, except this girl was a little taller. The shorter girl had long black hair in braids, and had taped up black framed glasses on her face. Her fringe was hiding it, but Harry knew that under it lay the lightening shaped scar that he had. His POV started to speak up, seeing the redheaded girl's wand and demanding to see a demonstration of magic. The redhead, who Harry guessed must have been this 'Veronica' and also a female doppelgänger for Ron just as the girl on the right was a distaff doppelgänger for himself, tried out a spell to turn her pet rat's fur yellow, but failed embarrassingly at it. Then Harry's POV sat down across from the two girls, talking about what Hogwarts house was the best to go into. It was Hermione's voice. She was saying that while Gryffindor or Ravenclaw sounded like the best choices for her, Dumbledore was a Slytherin, so now she didn't know what to believe. The redheaded girl's family were apparently all Gryffindor's, just as Ron's family were.
Shortly later on, Pansy Parkinson and Micilent Bulstrode both entered the compartment, trailing a svelte girl with platinum blonde hair. Harry guessed that this must be Female!Draco. The blonde girl spoke up to the black haired girl, Harriet Potter, and offered to be allies with her in exchange for abandoning these two "mudbloods" and joining Slytherin. Harriet told Calista(F!Draco's name, apparently) to shove off. Calista's eyes narrowed into a death glare, and then ordered Pansy and Milicent to rough up Veronica and Hermione. Pansy, of course, was a pansy, but Milicent grabbed Veronica by her shirt collar and was about to punch her in the face until she got bit by Veronica's pet rat. Harry knew that Scabbers was really Peter Pettigrew, the traitorous bastard that was directly for his mum and dad getting killed, but was glad that he bit Milicent at the moment. The two mean girls ran out of the compartment, but Calista Malfoy waited just long enough to make an oath that her and Harriet were now enemies for life. Then the dream ended, and Harry found himself back in the sixth year dormitories.
"Did any of that ring a bell?" asked Hermione.
"A little, but I remember it differently. I was a boy, and so was Ron...Veronica, I mean. You were a girl, but not Malfoy. And Pansy and Milicent weren't there with Malfoy, it was two other Slytherin guys named Crabbe and Goyle."
Hermione was aware of gender dysphoria and what it did, so she was unprepared for someone, especially so close to her like Harriet, to suddenly become overwhelmed with it. Hermione knew that it didn't work that way. People with the disorder show it at a very young age. Harriet had never given any hints or signs in the past that she thought that she was supposed to be born male, and the fact that Harriet had remembered specific events differently was a clue that something was wrong with her mind, or...something else. It wasn't out of the question to Hermione that Harriet had been magically brainwashed by the Obliviation Charm. Someone could have done it at Hogwarts easily...but who? Snape?"
"Harri, did Professor Snape ever do anything to you?"
"...Yes. I studied Occulmency with him last year. I don't think that he's responsible though."
"Harri, you ARE aware that only females can do magic, right?"
Harry, who had so far been trying his best to ignore Hermione and focus on the problem internally, his own way, now looked straight into her eyes.
"No. Boys can do magic! In fact, the most powerful magic users have traditionally been men, starting with Merlin."
"Harri, Merlin was the LAST male wizard. King Arthur asked for Merlin to end the magic line with him, sealing it off forever from this realm when he died. But Merlin only cast the spell to seal off magic among human men. He must have forgotten to shut it off to women too."
"Oh Merlin! Oh Merlin!"
"Harriet Potter! You're going through some kind of problem, but we can work through it. You can trust me, Harri. Please, let's just have breakfast first though. I can hear Veronica right now..."
"Hurry up you two!" boomed the voice from the common room.
"That's what I wanted to do. Then I woke up like...like this."
Hermione held Harriet's hand in hers, and tried her best to radiate good vibes from it to Harriet.
"I'll wait for you downstairs, Harriet."
She left, walking down the stairs back into the Gryffindor commons. Harry could hear "Veronica" still complaining, asking where Harriet was, and Hermione breaking the news to her gently. Harry took a deep breath.
Where was he?