The hair charm was definitely out of the question. Ron and Hermione each tried to persuade Dumbledore on Harry's behalf, but their efforts didn't work. The blond hair stayed, much to Harry's chagrin. Malfoy had also tried to charm his hair blond, but that too failed.
Though physical altering was out of the question, their personalities still managed to come out. Harry's irrepressibly messy hair had followed him. His blond locks now spiked every which way and his eyes shined more brilliantly than they had for their previous owner. Malfoy tried with all his might to tame the unruly black hair and a portion was able to stay down. His now green eyes became lighter with this new presence and made them look more mint-like than emerald.
Harry learned that Malfoy was slightly shorter than Harry, but his limbs were long and delicate. That made his Gryffindor uniform awkward to wear with the sleeves riding up short and the hem constantly underfoot. Malfoy's Slytherin robes fit more tightly around his new body's chest but the sleeves were too long. They made him look awkward, like a mis-dressed rag doll, and he hated it from the look in his eye.
When they arrived at dinner, even those who did not know about the switch could already see different personalities showing through both boys as they walked to their friends. Malfoy had a distinguishable strut as he walked to his table while Harry briskly walked with no hint of a strut. After Snape told Harry that his father "strutted about the castle" one year, Harry made sure that he never gave off that appearance. As Harry sat down, he could feel the stares of all the school on him. Ron gave a sympathetic smile. He could hear Malfoy telling off a housemate for questioning Malfoy's presence at the Slytherin table. This is going to get real interesting this month, he thought as he ate dinner. Real interesting.
After two days in Malfoy's body, Harry wanted to tear his hair out. His roommates still found Harry's appearance startling. They did their best to recover quickly and made it their mission to terrorize Malfoy by way of making it up to Harry. Apart from the thrill of abusing Malfoy, they hoped the pranks might distract Harry from his misery. They set only one condition: avoid damaging Harry's body. Harry appreciated the gesture. It amused him to watch his roommates plan revenge while Hermione lectured the group with her usual stern looks.
Two days after the 'switch' Harry sat in Transfiguration class waiting for Professor McGonagall to begin. She crept into the room in Animagus form and sat stiffly on her desk, looking severely at her students before transforming. Quickly she indicated to the class the board of the day's lesson: Animagus Studies: Understanding the Theory of Being an Animagus. Underneath the heading were notes of theory which pages of their text to refer for more extensive readings on the topic.
"The next several lessons will concentrate solely on Animagus Studies. I implore you to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the readings since practical application is out of the question for the class at this time and for most of you, ever."
"Why, Professor?" a Hufflepuff asked in the back row.
"Practical application would need to be supervised in case any unusual occurrences should arise. This is not a branch of magic one should take lightly. Any misconduct can result in serious injury that even Madam Pomfrey would not be able to fix."
Murmurs rose from the class until she held her hands up to silence them. She glanced over at Ron and saw Harry with him. She felt some sympathy for Harry; no one should have to deal with this situation. Once in a while, when Harry happened to look up at her, she gave him a small warm smile so he could concentrate on class and not on what he looked like.
He appreciated the gesture as he listened to the lesson. The only other professor that did not give him a look of shock was Dumbledore. Professor Flitwick had given a slight glare before remembering that Malfoy's body was now Harry's. He had not seen Professor Jennings in Potions yet, but he hoped that she would be as kind as Professor McGonagall. Hagrid was aghast when Malfoy's body greeted him cheerfully in the halls the day after the switch. But after recovering himself with a shake of his head, Hagrid greeted Harry with a smile and a pat on the back before heading outside for his class.
"Now then, I realize that this topic was mentioned a few years ago in Defense Against the Dark Arts. This class will deal more with Transfiguration theory and will be discussed in more detail."
The room was quiet as she explained the nature of an Animagus and ways to become one. Bloodline was the most common predictor of Animagus ability. Harry smirked at this information and let his mind wander. His father had been an unregistered Animagus. He felt proud of his father for that accomplishment and hoped that he could become one as well. If he became one, what form would he take? That question, he thought, will have to wait for later. He was certain McGonagall knew of his father's abilities, and hoped she could help him develop those abilities.
"Harry?" Hermione interrupted his thoughts as she tapped him on the shoulder. Class had ended. He looked around and saw Professor McGonagall by her desk.
"I'll catch up with you later. I need to talk to Professor McGonagall first."
Ron was about to say something, but Hermione pulled him out of the room by his robe sleeve. Malfoy watched Harry suspiciously for a moment before he also left the room.
"Professor?" he asked cautiously.
"Yes, Mr. Potter?"
"I was wondering. I think that there may be a chance I could be an Animagus because of my father," he said while avoiding her sharp eye.
"I think that idea is plausible, but we cannot test it now."
"Yes, Professor, I understand. But, once I get back into my own body, can we test it then?" He asked, trying to keep down the enthusiasm in his voice.
She regarded him questioningly for a moment before nodding. He thanked her and quickly made his way to the Great Hall for lunch. That was the best news he'd had in days.
When he arrived, he saw Ron and Hermione talking to Seamus and Dean. At the Slytherin table, Malfoy sat surrounded by his group. It was unnerving to see his body at the Slytherin table and even worse to imagine Malfoy's body at the Gryffindor Table. He dreaded the reactions he received when sitting at the Gryffindor table. He shook off the uneasy feeling and joined his friends. As he got closer, he could hear Dean speaking.
"You know that it is still strange to see Malfoy here even though it's Harry," he said before catching sight of Harry over Ron's shoulder. "Sorry, Harry. No offence and all."
"It's all right Dean, none taken. What are you plotting now?"
A smile crept along the faces of both roommates. Hermione just shook her head, glaring at Ron.
"Well, Harry," Ron began, "I think you may like this. We were thinking that-"
"Plotting something, Weasleby?" Malfoy stood over Harry with a sneer on his face.
Ron snarled under his breath. The other boys tried to imagine Malfoy's face taunting them instead of Harry's. "Nothing you should be concerned about, Malfoy," Ron snapped.
"Touchy there, Weasleby? You should have a little more respect than that around me. It would be a shame for anything unfortunate to happen to this wretched body of Potter's, wouldn't it?"
Ron clenched and unclenched his fists in an attempt to calm down. Seamus and Dean rose menacingly from their seats and glared at Malfoy before he left them laughing.
"That bloody b-"
"Ronald." Hermione snapped. "There is no need to swear."
"He's right, Hermione," Harry interrupted quietly. "Malfoy knows that all of you don't want to harm my body and he's just not intimidated at the thought of anything we could do to him with that restriction. We need to do something though." He sighed, placing his head on the table. Hermione and Ron gave him looks of sympathy while the other boys glared at Malfoy across the room. "I just don't know what to do. It's been a miserable two days and Dumbledore said it would take a month to fix this."
"You can get through this, Harry. All of us will help you," Hermione placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah," Seamus agreed. "Listen to Hermione on this. She and Ron will support you while the rest of us give Malfoy hell."
Harry grinned up at his friends, "Thank you."
The weekend came upon them, and those students eligible were looking forward to the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. Harry didn't want to go, but Ron wouldn't stand for it.
"Oi, Potter! Get out of bed!" Ron yelled, pacing around Harry's closed bed curtains.
"Can I not have a peaceful lie-in?" Harry growled from within.
"I am not going! Leave me alone."
Ron yanked the drapes aside to reveal a blanket wrapped Harry. Blond tuffs of hair spiked out where his head was. Ron yanked a pillow out from under him and hit Harry hard on the head with it. On the second swing, Harry grabbed the pillow out of Ron's hand and swung back into Ron's jaw.
Harry snorted in satisfaction before curling back up into the blankets. Ron retreated to the common room to bring in the heavy artillery. When Ginny arrived, Ron pointed to the bed where Harry had redrawn the drapes. Rolling her eyes and sighing, Ginny stormed over and with a violent tug, pulled the drapes off their fittings. Ron used a loose pillow to shield his face from wayward flying hooks. She pointed her wand in the direction of Harry's legs and zapped him with wand sparks. The blankets caught fire and Harry jumped out of bed, wincing as he bumped the small burn on his leg. The moment he got out of bed, Ron hit him with a freezing charm for good measure. Harry gave a yowl of frustration as his wound turned blue. While rubbing his wound to warm it and swearing, he turned furiously to the two amused Weasleys before growling a sigh and stalking off to the showers.
"All right I'm going! SATISFIED?"
Both Weasleys nodded at each other in congratulations before heading downstairs to wait for him.
Hogsmeade wasn't that bad for Harry after all. He did notice some people staring, but they were brief and not too conspicuous. He enjoyed having his friends around him for a butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks. Ginny joined them after her morning's shopping and gave Harry a hug. She bought him a butterbeer to apologize for burning him earlier.
They were in the back of The Three Broomsticks when Malfoy came in with Pansy and his other friends. Harry bristled with Malfoy's presence and deliberately looked away. They're only here for a drink, I hope.
He heard Hermione gasp and turned to the direction of her gaze. He quickly wished he hadn't. Malfoy, who had just pulled out of a kiss with Pansy, smirked in Harry's direction while the adults in the pub muttered their disapproval of such public displays. He is using me!
"That's just so wrong in so many ways," Ron commented when the kiss began afresh, much to Harry's horror.
"For once, I agree with you," Hermione muttered.
I can just see the headlines now, he thought bitterly. "The Boy-Who-Lived takes The Pug on a Date!"
Malfoy looked so content that it sickened Harry to watch. Pansy looked like she was rather enjoying herself, as well. Ron and Hermione looked warily to Harry as Malfoy deepened the kiss into something more sensual.
"Malfoy!" Harry jumped to his feet, nearly knocking over the heavy oak table.
Malfoy calmly looked over Pansy's shoulder at Harry with a satisfied sneer and waved him off before heading out the door with Pansy on his arm. Harry sat down and slumped his head to the table, hard. Ron patted him on the back reassuringly while Ginny snarled in Malfoy's general direction. Hermione sat in shock. When the pub door opened again, Seamus and Dean came in. Their smiles quickly turned to worry when they saw Hermione's expression.
"What just happened?"
Ron quickly explained and the two newcomers began to look nauseated.
"He needs to be taught a lesson."
"How? We can't hurt Harry's body, and he's using that to his advantage," Ginny noted.
"Ginny's right. So what can we do?" Dean pressed.
Harry lifted his head and finally added, "Forget trying to not harm my body. Get him good."
"But, Harry-" implored Hermione.
"No, Hermione, I'm tired of him exploiting this and it's only been three days. Three days!" Harry snarled, frustrated. Sighing to calm down, he continued, "Just, when you attack him, try not to leave any permanent scars. That's all I'm asking."
The group looked at Harry long and hard. They wanted to make sure Harry was fully serious before discussing means of revenge on Malfoy. Harry thoroughly enjoyed the ensuing conversation of revenge; even Hermione was wholeheartedly involved in the plotting.
After two hours, they left the tavern and returned to Hogwarts. Plans were set and after a quick trip to the Post Office, the materials needed were on order from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. All the friends needed were a few hours to set up with Hermione leading the way. The plan was dubbed R.E.D., Revenge Every Day. Each day for the next week would bring a new set of troubles for Malfoy. The fun would start Monday; the first possible moment they could have everything ready.
Monday came and Hermione asked them all to meet at Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom before lunch. The boys arrived early and quietly so to not attract attention while waiting for Hermione and Ginny.
"Here's a question. Why are we meeting in the girl's bathroom in broad daylight? Don't you think we'll get caught?"
"No, no one ever comes in here Dean," Hermione answered as she briskly walked in with Ginny in tow. "Moaning Myrtle roams around here. I thought you knew that."
"I knew that! I just thought it was that other bathroom on the second floor."
"No. She likes to roam to the other bathrooms in the school," Hermione explained.
Just as Dean was about to ask another question, Moaning Myrtle came up behind him. Everyone else became real quiet when she came in. Hermione pointed behind him while Ginny quietly snickered behind her.
"What are you boys doing in here? No one usually visits me. Why visit me? Poor, pitiful Moaning Myrtle," she moped. Dean jumped out of the way as she continued to berate herself until she came upon Harry.
"What are you doing in here?" she retorted at him.
"Well. Before you get hostile, I'm Harry."
"No you're not. You're that mean boy from Slytherin."
"No really. I'm Harry. There was a switching spell done to the both of us and now…well…you can see what it did to me."
She considered him for a moment before smiling and floating away.
"What was that about?" Seamus asked a slightly embarrassed Harry.
Harry shrugged before turning to Hermione. Hermione took that as a signal to begin.
"All right. First off, remember not to get caught. I carried the charmed pieces Fred and George sent us to their designated places during my rounds last night and Crookshanks followed me in case I ran into Mrs. Norris. All we need to do is finish the incantation on these pieces here for today."
"Your cat helped us?" Dean asked.
Hermione nodded before continuing, "The finishing part of the spell is totalus. Any questions?"
"Just one. Where are these 'pieces'?" asked Harry
"They're wherever Crookshanks is whenever you get out of class with Malfoy."
"Okay, great idea. When can we start?" Dean asked.
"Anytime you see Crookshanks with Malfoy nearby."
The meeting adjourned as the Gryffindors headed off to lunch.
The pranks on Malfoy began Monday afternoon after Potions class when Seamus noticed Crookshanks in a nook outside the dungeons. Seamus placed himself outside the right side of the door while other classmates exited from the left, leaving him in their blind spot. After Malfoy came out and walked down the hall, Seamus muttered "Totalus."
The wall to Malfoy's left literally walked out, leaving a crumbling hole in its wake. As The Wall moved, each step left scattered pieces of rock and dents on the floor. It quickly made its way to Malfoy and looked at him like a curious child. Malfoy noticed a pair of large stone feet in his way and looked up in shock. The Wall's heavy arms moved forward, grabbed Malfoy by the waist and carried him down the hall like a toy. Malfoy screamed in terror as he tried in vain to get out of its grasp.
Hermione, along with the other Gryffindors, came out to watch the show. Harry came from behind and moved beside Hermione to get a better view. It surprised him to see how his own face could look utterly frightened. He wondered if he ever looked that way to Voldermort or to his Death Eaters. Malfoy, in the meanwhile, struggled with all his might against The Wall to get away.
Bored with his toy, The Wall dropped Malfoy and sank back into the castle just as Professor Jennings came out to investigate the commotion. Cracking sounds could be heard as The Wall continued to move back to its original spot. Panting, Malfoy went up to the wall and placed a shaking hand on it.
"Just wait until my…" Malfoy snarled.
"Father does something about it? He's in Azkaban, remember? You can't go to him anymore," Ron said.
Malfoy approached Ron with a look of evil on his face and a curled fist.
"Just you wait Weaselby. You'll get yours soon enough along with that Mudblood b…"
"Finish that," Harry growled as he walked up to Malfoy. "I dare you."
Malfoy scowled at Harry before turning on his heels to leave.
When Malfoy was out of earshot, the Gryffindors sighed out a tense relief before they started to laugh hysterically. Harry laughed the hardest and used the wall as a support, so he could get up later. The rest of the Gryffindors that knew of the prank secretly smiled at Hermione as they slowly made their way out of the hall.
Professor Jennings had to run from the far side of the room to the door when the screaming started and saw The Wall merge into the hole it came out of. She looked at the students gathered in the hall and saw a mixture of all the houses looking on as Malfoy picked himself up off the floor. She did not know what happened, but saw that the student in question was fine. She stayed out of sight of the students to see what would happen next. She understood house rivalries from her Beaubaxtons' days. They did housing differently from Hogwarts, but there were still tension from the different years. When the confrontation began after The Wall receded, she nearly went out to stop it. As she hesitated, though, she noticed the Gryffindors handled themselves very well in that situation and thought better than to go after them.
She was confused by the group of students from all the houses that were nearby laughing afterwards. She had an inkling of an idea why, but could not prove it without a dose of Veritaserum. That would be illegal, and she was not Professor Snape. Sighing at the idea, she roamed around the classroom in thought before dinner.
The Great Hall was filled with laughter as rumors of Malfoy's brush with 'The Wall' spread throughout the school. The Houses responded with hushed mirth as Malfoy entered with a flushed face and a deeper scowl on his face.
"You would think he'd lighten up," Ron stated. "He's ruining Harry's face with that permanent frown."
"Too true. Maybe we could cast a cheering charm or something. I like Harry's smile."
Harry cocked an eyebrow quizzically in Ginny's direction before returning to his plate. She likes my smile? He wondered for a moment if he could ruin Malfoy's face by smiling more.
He turned back just in time to catch Ginny smiling at him. She saw him look at her before she quickly turned to her dinner.
Ron waved his hand impatiently in front of Harry to interrupt his gaze and thoughts. Harry looked at his friend before noticing that Hermione was trying to get his attention as well.
"Let's meet in the Room of Requirement after dinner to plan tomorrow's attack," Hermione told him quietly before returning to her dinner.
Harry nodded an acknowledgement to Hermione while watching Ginny again. She was doing a hair flip to move her fringe off of her face. He noticed that whenever they were at the Burrow. Tonight, part of her hair was tied up and the rest fell around her shoulders in a cascade of red waves. Another hand waved in front of him, and this time it was Dean's. Oh no!
He quickly turned back to his dinner and intentionally ignored all other conversations happening around him. He knew he should not look at her like that; she was going out with Dean. He had no right to gaze at her like that and felt guilty about it.
He quickly finished his dinner before he headed back to the tower while he muttered an excuse about homework as he left. While walking to the tower, his thoughts returned to Ginny. He was so ashamed for looking at her like that. He knew she was going out with Dean and yet, he still looked. Why do I still look?
He waited on the couch quietly until Hermione came to get him for the meeting. As he waited, his thoughts concentrated solely on Ginny. When Hermione saw him, she walked up to him with a look of concern.
"What?" he asked looking up to her pensive expression.
"Are you all right? You rushed out from the Hall rather quickly." She then smiled and it made him nervous.
"It's nothing. Can we go now?" Harry replied a little too quickly.
"No, not until you tell me what's going on."
"Then we'll be here all night."
"Does it have anything to do with Ginny?"
Am I that easy to read? "No…"
Too late for lying, Hermione caught him in the act as he stammered the answer. She tilted her head to the side to express a question before he answered her properly.
"Fine. Yes it does deal with Ginny. I was thinking that she looked nice tonight," Hermione raised her eyebrows at him as he went on. "What happened was that I looked to her general direction and got caught by Dean. She's going out with him you know. She told Ron and me about it. Happy now?"
Hermione looked at him after he curtly answered her before stating, "She was lying to Ron just to get a rise out of him. Apparently it worked. I don't think she meant for it to be taken so seriously. Have you not noticed that she hasn't been with Dean?"
He thought about weeks past and could not remember seeing Ginny and Dean together that often. He nodded slightly before Hermione left him to go to the meeting in the Room of Requirement.
The meeting went relatively well. They all decided that the next prank should be to make Malfoy smile uncontrollably for a day. Harry suggested that they do it at the start of Defense class so that Snape could find a reason to take points from Slytherin. In a unanimous decision, they choose Defense.
Harry went to bed in relatively good spirits. For five days in a row, he had not been plagued with nightmares or visions; this meant that he had been getting a good night's sleep for the first time in years. And, thanks to Hermione's information, he knew for a fact that Ginny was not going out with Dean.
For the first time this year, he thought that anything could be possible.
A/N: I hope that the chapter name was appropriate. It notes The Wall and a relationship-building motif. Isn't that fun? Thanks once again and always to my pre-betas (Melissa and Bart), beta (Tante) and boyfriend.
Thanks so much for reading and please send in reviews!