2009 gold

.Thrice Turned.

Author: ThreeSidedOrchid
Pairing: SS/HP
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Het sex. Other pairing: Ginny/Harry (sort of), Genderbending
Summary: Severus has always been bad at making decisions, when left to his own devices.
Author’s Notes: Team Snitch 2009 entry for the Snarry_Games -- written with the genres/prompts: Cross-dressing/genderbending, consequences, some enchanted evening. With many thanks to Joanwilder, for the beta (remaining mistakes are entirely my own) and for her support.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and its characters belong to JKR and Warner Brothers, not me. I'm not making any money off of this - it is done soley for love of the characters and fun.

Severus is stirred to consciousness by the tug of something insistent and irresistible in a part of himself that should not exist anymore. No, he thinks. And no again, more emphatically, when the denial does nothing to stop the feeling that he is moving, drifting through floor and walls, over land. It is like a dream of falling: sensations of wind and wood and stone, but never solid matter. There are screams in the air; they begin as an unidentifiable reverberation -- the tinkle of wind chimes that, as distance closes, reveal themselves a thunderous waterfall. Incendio. Expelliarmus. Incarcerous. Crucio. He turns the sounds over in his consciousness, trying to mouth out their meanings without lips to do so.

Another tug, stronger than the first, jerks him forward. Meanings come into his awareness, dragging with them a host of memories and images like a fisherman's net exhuming all the detritus of the sea. Light begins, and as it bursts in brilliant Technicolor, Severus understands that he had been in darkness. Shadows and shapes follow the light, becoming people that, oblivious to his drifting, rage on in battle.

A little ways away, before the trees (forbidden forest his mind supplies), stands a pillar of light. No, a man; Albus, beckoning him. I am dead, Headmaster, Severus thinks at him, what more do you want from me?


A girl stumbles backwards into Severus' path, her hair whipping around in the spell-wind and obscuring her vision. Ginny Weasley. She hasn't a hope of surviving. He hears the first half of the curse, growled out by her opponent with the force of one unused to killing, before another tug yanks at him.

There is the briefest, strangest sensation of their bodies overlapping, then the world explodes in green and Severus collapses to the hard earth.

He awakes suddenly. Snatching up the unfamiliar wand, he rolls to the side and then up, stumbling as he tries to stand up higher than is possible. The flash of spell-light takes precedence, and Severus darts off into the fray rather than question his sudden acquisition of a body. The sight of red hair in his peripheral vision is enough to confirm his fears.


No one has turned on a light. Molly pulls food from the cupboards, laying out bread and olives, jars of preserves and pickles and eggs, while her children stand, watching. In the three a.m. silence, there is only the sound of the items being set out, rattling against the table as her hands shake.

"Mum," Percy says, taking gentle hold of her shoulders and steering her towards the stairs, "it's too late for food."

There is a sense of relief when she has crossed the threshold, as if a spell has been lifted.

"'m going to bed," Ron mumbles. No one objects when he takes Granger's hand, pulling her with him.

Potter starts after them, turning at the door to look at Severus. He opens his mouth, but closes it after a moment and gives a small, dry smile before turning back to the stairs.

The rest follow him, treading lightly to try and quiet the rickety stairs' protests against so many bodies.

People break away, one by one, closing themselves up in their rooms with the soft snick of a door turning into place. Severus finds her room by process of elimination. He sits down on the bed, his smaller body sinking into the blankets unfamiliarly. Reaching out, he trails his hand over the covers, fingers curling in the strands of the knitted blanket, tracing them and trying to read their pattern in the darkness.

He has to tell them. He'd almost done so earlier, when Molly was screaming at him, shaking him until he half-thought he'd been turned into a rag doll. "What in Merlin's name did you think you were doing, fighting out there? You could have been killed!"

How tempted he'd been to throw her off then, to rip himself out of her arms and laugh, could have been? But he'd kept his silence. Grave as the Great Hall was, it did not seem the appropriate place to announce another death.

There is nothing for it, he determines, but to wait for morning, when color has seeped back into the world. Striding to the cabinet, he locates the nightclothes. Buried beneath the shorts and camisoles is a pristine nightgown, ruffled at the neck and sleeves. Severus selects it as the closest thing to his own, simpler nightshirt, wanting something familiar, however obscurely. Perversely, stripping out of the dirt-stained uniform makes him feel more soiled, setting every speck of dust on his body tingling and itching. He sweeps his hands down his arms to get rid of the feeling, and shivers at the feel of smooth skin beneath his fingertips. The nightgown slips on easily, skimming down over the softer curves of this body and bringing with it the scents of lavender and cocoa butter. Falling back to his seat on the bed, Severus breathes a moment, adjusting to the scent and the knowledge that it clings so strongly to a garment she likely rarely wore.

In moments, Severus cannot breathe for the scent. It sticks in his throat and lungs. He gasps, and it clings to his tongue. Fleeing out into the hallway, he inhales the clearer air, letting it soothe him.

Severus makes his way down the hall on light feet, skirting the bedroom where Molly is curled up beneath one of her own blankets, Percy seated at her side. Candlelight flickers in the window, a pale circle of warmth for Arthur and George, when they return from their vigil. A whispered charm, bare breath in the shape of the spell, silences the stairs.

He needn't have bothered. Halfway down the waning glow of the fireplace comes into view and Harry Potter looks up at him from the sofa. They stare at each other across the distance, Severus balancing with one foot paused mid-air, extended to take the next step.

It falls just as quietly as the rest, when at last he determines that Potter is no better at Legilimency than he ever was, and the sense that he can see Severus behind Ginny's eyes is ridiculous. It is only the haunted look in the boy's eyes that has fooled him.

"I can't stay here," he whispers, having inched as close as he would like.

Potter nods solemnly, like Severus has imparted some great truth, and then stands. Severus' heart sinks in dismay, but he follows as Potter takes two cloaks from the kitchen hooks and opens the door to the back.

Dew clings to his feet as they step out into the night. It seeps into the hem of the nightgown, weighing it down and making it slap wet against his ankles.

He begins to wonder why he is following Potter at all. With the moon low on the horizon, it is not so dark, and the opalescent glow makes one vector the same as the next. How easy it would be to turn away and stride off in another direction. Yet his feet carry him forward, along the darker path that Potter's feet have marked in the grass. Severus flexes his hands, the nightgown ruffle tickling along his knuckles.

Potter stops before the pond. Or, Severus thinks, the pond has stopped Potter, and the boy had no better idea of where they were going than he. His suspicions are confirmed when Potter shifts his feet restlessly before bending to pick up a stone. Flinging his arm out, he sends the stone out over the pond. It doesn't skip, but flies silently before landing with a weighty glump into the water. Potter falls still after that, staring at the ripples of his action.

"I didn't think it would be like this."

Scowling at Potter's back, Severus cannot stop his words. "What were you expecting, a party?"

"No!" Potter whirls to face him, "no. Maybe… no. Just. Not this."

There's nothing to say to that, so Severus holds out his hand for one of the cloaks. He spreads it on the ground and seats himself facing the water.

"It was supposed to fix things."

"It's war, was a war," Severus corrects, "they don't fix things, just tear them apart so you can start again."

Startled by Potter laughing, a dreadful, pained sound, Severus looks up at him.

"What's left to start over with? Merlin's soul, Ginny, Teddy's an orphan!"

"Sit down," Severus snaps, discomfited by Potter's flailing restlessness above him and the reminder of who he thinks Severus is. "Please," he adds as a concession.

Spreading out his own cloak, Potter flops down beside Severus.

"I saw them, you know," Potter says, just as the silence has grown comfortable and Severus begun to drift into his own thoughts.


"Remus, Sirius… my parents."

Lily, Severus thinks, his mind clinging to her name as it always has. He pushes aside the flash of sentimentality. Most likely, Potter saw them in some unconscious dream, resurrected by desperation. "When?" he asks anyway.

"In the forest. Before --" he stops, clearly at a loss for where to begin. "You know Beedle the Bard?"

He nods, and then stares. He can't mean --

Potter does, though it takes him some time to say so, starting his tale at the beginning of the year as he does. Severus listens to the recounting of his own death, and then Potter's. It is the in-between that interests him, where Potter divulges with carelessness how he turned the stone. Three times, Severus reasons, it must have been. Three turns, a final in confluence with the killing curse, and Severus is hauled back to the mortal world in the body of a child. He should have known it was Potter's bloody reckless luck that would cause his own misfortune, history always repeats.

Rage flares up in him. Oblivious to Severus' anger, Potter is still telling his story, his distant tone becoming a low hum, counterpart to the crickets and nighttime birds. Perhaps it is that dreary relentlessness that Severus does not have the energy to lash out against, but his anger dies quickly.

It cannot change the fact that she is dead, after all. Though he does spare a bitter thought for a fate that would determine he should live in her place.

The touch of fingertips against his hair startles him, and Severus looks up. He realizes only now that Potter has been silent for some time. Finishing the motion, Potter brushes some of the hair that has fallen into Severus' face back behind his ear.

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For Fred. For leaving you behind. Everything." He shrugs and looks away, though his hand falls to land on top of Severus'. "I missed you."

Withdrawing his hand, Severus brings his knees up, hugging them to his chest. It is better than Potter's hand on him, though he can feel the soft curve of his breasts pressed against his legs. He should tell Potter now, let the boy scream at him and be done with it. That is what he intends, but too accustomed to subterfuge, all that comes out is, "I'm not the girl you knew."

"I'm not the boy you knew," Potter answers, giving him a wry smile that is uncannily like his father. When Severus only looks at him, the smile fades to a more serious expression, and his eyes remind Severus so strongly of Lily that he looks away, out over the water. "I don't think people change. Maybe -- maybe things bring out stuff, but I don't think anyone ever really changes."

'You are who you are, Severus, Lily's words come back to him from, god, lifetimes ago. Unlike her voice, which had been filled with resignation, Potter's is beckoning.

"Things bring out stuff?"

He raises an eyebrow at Potter, or tries to. Ginny's features do not cooperate.

"Okay, okay. I didn't exactly have time to work on my vocabulary, you know?" He's laughing again, and for the first time tonight Severus hears real humor in it.


It's not intentional, but Severus is finding this body too unfamiliar to exert his usual control over, and so the smallest of smiles twitches at his lips. This would be bearable, but that Potter does not recognize it for the mocking that it is. He reaches out instead, touching his fingertips, ever light, against the corner of Severus' mouth. It is a wholly different thing, to feel the rougher fingertips of a man against delicate skin.

"I missed you," Potter says again, as if he's talking to himself, and presses his lips to Severus'.

Off-guard, Severus inhales sharply. Potter takes the parting of his lips as invitation, deepening the kiss despite Severus' lack of response. Stop, Severus thinks. He raises his hand to Potter's chest, but gets no further in pushing the boy away.

Potter's hands have come up too, sliding into Severus' hair and cradling his head. Against all reason, it feels safe to be so held out here in the cold morning, and Severus gives in for one, brief moment. He should know better, but it is too easy to close his eyes and forget himself. Too easy to forget that the places where their mouths meet, where their hands lie, are not the only things that exist.

Potter will hate him more, later, Severus thinks, but if nothing else he will have one last good thing in this life.

Breaking the kiss, Potter tilts Severus' head up slightly, so that he can kiss the hollow between throat and jaw.

"Ginny," he murmurs, working his way down

Severus opens his eyes, a little surprised by how bright the sky is -- not light yet, but inching its way from black to morning blue. Potter sucks at the base of his throat, and Severus stops the moan before it can escape, too high-pitched for his comfort. He clenches his hand in Potter's shirt.

Potter slides one hand down, over the line of Severus' throat, brushing briefly across his collarbone and down, further, to cup one small breast. Even over the fabric, it sends an unexpected jolt of pleasure through his body.

Moving his hands to Potter's head, he forces the boy to look up, smashing their mouths together in another kiss. Potter moans and leans into him, pushing Severus' body to lie down.

Severus lets him. It becomes a challenge, as Potter descends again and begins to nip and suck at Severus' breasts, tonguing the sensitive nipples through the nightgown, not to cry out. He has always preferred to remain silent with his partners, but then he had been well familiar with his own body and its weaknesses.

Hands clinging to Potter's shoulders, Severus tries to focus on other sensations. There is the earth, uneven beneath his back, the firmness of Potter's back and shoulders where Severus' hands clutch, Potter's cock, hard and rubbing against his leg, and his own wetness, hot between his thighs.

"I want to hear you," Potter says.

In lieu of an answer, Severus reaches down, pulling at Potter's shirt until he lifts his arms and allows Severus to slide it off. Potter's chest is hairless but firm, and he sighs into Severus' exploratory touches.

Potter leans over him, propped up on one arm, his head bowed so that each breath caresses Severus' ear. "Please," he says, other hand gathering up Severus' nightgown so it can slip up, underneath, and stroke over the bare skin of his stomach, "Let me hear you."

Raising his head just slightly, just enough to bring his lips to Potter's ear, Severus whispers, "Shut up and touch me."

He can feel Potter's grin, brief as it is. Rucking the nightgown further up, Potter slides his thigh between Severus' legs. They rut against each other, hands drifting lazily over flesh. The motion draws Potter's sleep pants down in slow increments, and he moans deeply when his prick is exposed, sliding onto Severus' skin.

It is wet with precome, sliding against his stomach.

"Ginny," Potter sounds choked, "look at me."

Severus had not realized he'd closed his eyes again, but he opens them now and looks up. This, he realizes, is what her eyes would have looked like, driven to desperation. He reaches up, curling his hand over Potter's cheek, trying to memorize the expression in his eyes.

Spreading his legs, he lets Potter slide between them. He doesn't look down as Potter lines himself up, but has to bite his lip to hold back a whimper as he is breached. It does not hurt, but aches, and he had not realized that he had felt empty until he is filled.

Potter thrusts, and Severus pushes back against him, as natural as an instinct. Unable to focus on anything except the next thrust, Potter holds himself above Severus, looking down. He pants, breaths thrown into Severus' own parted mouth.

With each stroke, Potter falls a little more, his body drawing closer to Severus' until their lips are touching as they breathe each other's air.


"Don't," Severus answers, and in the half-second when Potter's eyes darken in ecstasy, before they close, Severus finds his own climax. He clenches around Potter, hardly aware of the boy pulsing inside of him over the thrumming pleasure of his own limbs.


Severus lets himself be curled up with his back against Potter's chest, their legs tangled together. They listen to the birds and frogs come awake in the last minutes before dawn.

Staring at the water lapping against the pond's edge, Severus thinks about what it will be like, to tell them. Or, and this comes first as the barest whisper in his mind, to not tell them. There is the truth, and then there is taking another life from a mother, from brothers, from a lover.

There is little enough for him to pick up. Little enough he could do as himself, with his past looming ever-present. He has given one lifetime already to the cause, no loss a second that should not have been.

As the first blush of rose is rising in the east, Severus gets up. He steps to the water, kneeling at its edge to rinse his hands and face. He watches the ripples of his splashing settle, revealing his reflection in the water's surface. He studies it, looking for himself in the depths of her eyes.

"You're dead," he hisses at it, and turns away.

Potter stirs not long after that, and they gather up the grass-stained cloaks.

"You'll marry me when I ask, won't you?" Potter asks, and in the morning light, Severus can see that he is only half-teasing.

"I might," he answers, letting Potter draw him forward into a last kiss.



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