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Chapter One: The Polyjuice Potion

by Cassandra Claire


It was June, and it was boiling hot in the Potions dungeon, but Snape didn't care. "Can anyone tell me what this is?" he asked his miserable class, all of whom were stifling their robes, and he lifted a beaker of glutinous brown liquid high into the air so they could all get a gander at it.

Hermoine’s hand shot into the air, as usual.

"Polyjuice Potion," she said promptly, and gave a little shudder. She was probably recalling how it tasted, thought Harry with an inward grin, remembering the afternoon three years ago when he, Ron and Hermoine had all drunk the shape-changing potion in an attempt to turn themselves into replicas of Slytherin students so they could sneak into the Slytherin common room.

Snape ignored her. "Anyone?" he said, scanning the class.

Draco Malfoy raised a pale, lazy hand into the air. "Polyjuice Potion," he drawled out of the corner of his mouth. Harry glared at him. Where the rest of the class looked sweaty and miserable, Draco looked as cool as if he’d just eaten a bag of Ice Mice.

"Very good, Draco!" said Snape enthusiastically. "Five points for Slytherin. Now," he went on, "Can anyone tell me what it does?" He rounded suddenly on Ron, who blinked. "Weasley?"

Ron, startled in mid-yawn, said, "It, er, changes you into somebody else."

Snape, looking disappointed, said, "That’s correct." He did not give five points to Griffyndor, however, only picked up the vial and began dispensing measured amounts into small paper cups. " Now," he said, straightening up, "I’ll be splitting you into groups of two. You’ll each be drinking half a cup of Polyjuice Potion with a heair from each of your heads in it….no, you don’t have to swallow the hair, Miss Brown..…there's enough potion to turn you into your partner for half an hour exactly. No more, no less. That’ll give you an idea how the potion’s supposed to work. Tomorrow, you’ll try making it yourself, then drinking it. I warn you, however," he said, directing this last bit to Neville, "that making a mistake with Polyjuice potion can have…unpleasant consequences. You might end up half yourself and half the other person, never able to return to your true appearance."

Neville squeaked.

"Right then," said Snape, "Miss Patil and Miss Brown, come up," and Lavender and Parvati came up to the desk, took a cup of Polyjuice potion, and sat down, giggling. Snape quickly paired off Crabbe and Goyle with each other, put poor Neville with bulldog-faced Pansy Parkinson (who cast a longing look at Draco as she went over to sit by Neville --- if she couldn’t have Draco, she seemed to be thinking, at least she could be him for a while.) Ron was paired with Hermionne, and Harry…

"Potter," said Snape, in an icy, amused voice, "and Malfoy, come up here."

Draco’s jaw dropped; so did Harry’s. "No!" they said, in unison.

"I won’t be Malfoy," said Harry in a furious voice, but Snape was not impressed.

"Get up here, both of you," he said.

Malfoy was the first to get to his feet. Casting an icy glance at Harry, he stalked up to the front of the room, grabbed the potion, and stalked back to where Harry was sitting. Harry cast an anguished glance at Ron and Hermoine, who gazed back in sympathy. Ron shook his head; Hermione mouthed something at Harry that he didn’t quite catch, but he knew Hermione well enough to know what she was saying, You’d better go along with it Harry, it’ll count towards your final marks!


All over the room, students were drinking down the potion — there were gasps and giggles from Lavender and Parvati, a yell from Neville, who, having transformed himself into the much larger Pansy Parkinson, suddenly found himself being choked by too-small robes, and helpless laughter from Ron and Hermione.

"Here," said Draco, thrusting the cup at Harry, who looked at him with loathing. "Well, I haven’t poisoned it, Potter, drink it," he said.

"I’d rather drink poison than turn into you, Malfoy," said Harry between his teeth.

"And I’m not looking forward to being a speccy git for half an hour, but you don’t see me whinging on about it," said Draco. "Or are you afraid?"

Harry pushed his chair back violently, and grabbed the cup, into which Draco had already put one of his own silvery-blond hairs. He pulled out one of his own hairs, took a mouthful of potion, dropped his hair into the cup, and handed the cup back to Draco, who drained it.

At the same time, they swallowed.

Draco doubled up, gasping, as a horrible feeling, as if his skin were melting, washed over him. He threw out a hand to steady himself, and another wave of nausea broke over him as he saw his skin turning from pale to brown, his own fingernails (kept perfectly manicured by house-elves) turning into Harry’s bitten ones. From somewhere above his head, he heard Harry say, "Urrrgh!" and he threw his head back, tears leaking out of the corners of his eyes, and saw ---

--A pale, pointed face looking back at him, his own silvery-Grey eyes blinking behind Harry’s round spectacles. As he gazed, hhis vision blurred, and he realized that Harry couldn’t see without his glasses — and now, neither could he.

"Give me your glasses, Potter," he said, and Harry, obviously shaken, did so.


Harry, feeling ill, looked down at his new body. In real life he wasn’t any shorter than Draco, so his robes fit all right, but he felt naked without his glasses. He looked up and saw his own face staring back, chalk-white with surprise, but with a bit of a grin on it.

"Wha — what’s funny?" he said, wincing to hear Draco’s voice coming out of his mouth.

"I was just thinking that I reeeallly am very handsome," said Draco in Harry’s voice.

"You’re a stupid prat, Malfoy,’ said Harry dispassionately, and walked away. He went over to Ron and Hermione, who were busy laughing, although they stopped abruptly when Harry walked up, and gaped at him.

"It’s me," said Harry.

"Oh, Harry!" said Hermoine, screwing up her — Ron’s -- face, "how awful for you!"

Ron shook his head. "I dunno if I can talk to you while you look like that. It’s….creepy."

"Well, you look pretty stupid yourselves," said Harry irritably.

"Now you even sound like Malfoy," said Ron, and Harry, even more irritated, went back and sat down by Draco, who had his arms crossed over his chest and was staring into space. As soon as Harry sat down, Malfoy muttered, "Enjoying being me, Potter?"

"No one can stand me like this," said Harry. "But I suppose you’re used to that, Malfoy."

Draco turned his eyes on Harry, who squirmed. It was really difficult to look at Draco and see his own face screwed up with dislike, the green eyes he saw every morning in the mirror now regarding him with contempt. If Draco felt the same compunction, he didn’t show it. "Do you remember what I told you that time on the train, Potter?" he asked.

"Which time," said Harry in a bored tone, "the time where you threatened to hold me down and force-feed me slugs or the time you called me a four-eyed toad?"

Draco snorted with mirth. "The time I told you I could help you out," he said. "Any time you want to throw over that overgrown git and that puffy-haired Mudblood you hang around with, I can show you how to get your hands on some real power."

"Let me think about that," said Harry, slowly. "Right, I’ve thought about it. No."

Draco’s now-green eyes sparkled with malice behind Harry’s glasses. "Are you sure?"

"Quite sure," Harry snapped his anger building. "You can take me off the evil mailing list, Malfoy, I am not interested."

Harry rather expected Malfoy to make a rude response to this, but instead Malfoy was staring at him with an odd expression. "What is it," said Harry, glancing down, "am I changing back?"

"That’s just it," said Malfoy. "You’re not. Everyone else has. Look."

Harry glanced around and saw that this was true. Everyone had resumed their seats, back in their own bodies. Snape had gone back to lecturing about the uses of Polyjuice Potion, apparently confident that all his students were back to their rightful selves. Harry looked wildly down at himself, then back at Draco.

"How — how long’s it been?"

"Forty-five minutes," said Draco, consulting his Rolex. "We ought to have changed back by now."

"Well, what’s going on?"

Malfoy shook his head, an odd little smile on his face. "I wish I knew," he said.

Harry’s heart began to pound wildly. "Did you do something to the Potion?" he hissed. "Malfoy–"

"Of course not, Potter," said Malfoy with contempt, "d’you really think I want–"

But Harry wasn’t listening. He grabbed hold of Draco’s robe and yanked him forward. "Turn me back!" he hissed violently. "Do it now, or I’ll break your face!"

Malfoy, who wasn’t used to Muggle expressions like "break your face", looked at Harry blankly. Then he started to laugh. This was too much for Harry, who swung at Draco and landed a solid punch on his jaw, which knocked him to the floor. His quill, cauldron, and books rained down around him. Harry jumped down out of his seat, grabbed Draco by the front of his robes, and started banging his head on the ground.

The rest of the class swung around to look at them, and Snape began running towards them, shouting at them to desist. Harry let go of Draco, suddenly shocked, but Draco, apparently thinking Harry was about to hit him again, lunged upward and landed a perfect uppercut to Harry’s chin. Harry, who had been looking over at Snape, was unprepared for this assault. He flew backward and slammed into the wall, knocking his head hard against the ancient stone. Everything went black.


Draco stood up and leaned against his desk, gasping for breath. Harry had knocked the wind out of him. Fighting the ringing noise in his ears, he looked around. There was Harry — still looking like Draco — lying sprawled on the stone floor, blood pooling under his head. Draco looked away, feeling ill, and saw Snape, struggling to restrain a frantic Ron and Hermione, who were fighting to get to him. As he watched, Hermione broke free and ran to him, seizing him by the sleeve of his robes. "Harry," she sobbed. "Are you all right?"

Draco just stared at her blankly. She thought he was Harry. He looked up, saw the stunned faces of the Gryffindors watching him, the scowls on the faces of the Slytherins. They all thought he was Harry.

Snape strode forward and peeled Hermione off him, shoving her aside. Draco could hear the buzzing as the other students yelled at Snape — the Slytherins were silent, but the Gryffindors were all shouting that Draco had punched Harry first.

Snape came oozing up to Draco and peered into his face. "Potter," he said. "Can you explain this to me?"

Draco opened his mouth to say, "I’m not Potter, the Polyjuice Potion isn’t working, it should have worn off by now and it hasn’t–"

But what came out was, "I don’t know, Professor. He hit me first."

What happened after that was a bit of a blur for Draco. He was marched up to the hospital wing by Snape, who was carrying Harry’s limp body, the sight of which gave Draco an ill feeling whenever he looked at it. He kept feeling his own face, his hair, to see if he’d begun turning back into himself, but he hadn’t. Nothing happened.

Madam Pomfrey was waiting for them; she instructed Snape to lay Harry down on a bed surrounded by curtains, into which she vanished. Draco wound up sitting in a hard chair across from Snape, who was staring at him, eyes glittering with malice.

"If Draco dies," he hissed in an undertone, "you’ll be a murderer, Potter. How do you like that?"

Draco’s mouth sagged open in shock, but before he could say anything, Madam Pomfrey emerged and shook her head at Snape. "Draco Malfoy is not going to die," she said severely. "He’s got a nasty bump on the head and he’ll probably be out until morning, but he’s otherwise perfectly fine."

A look of relief flashed across Snape’s face. Draco was touched. This wore off quickly, however, as Snape jabbed a finger into his solar plexus and hissed, "I’m not even going to bother taking points from Gryffindor, Potter. I’m going straight to Dumbledore." And he stood up and stalked out of the room.

Madam Pomfrey snorted. "I wouldn’t worry, Harry,’ she said, "He’s all talk. Dumbledore knows what Draco Malfoy’s like. Now sit still." And she began sponging the cuts on his face. "You’ll have a lovely black eye, Potter," she said, "and a cut lip. What did you–"

But the door of the infirmary burst open and Ron and Hermione came pouring in, their eyes lighting up when they saw Draco. Madam Pomfrey leaped up to head them off, and Draco took the opportunity to sidle over to Harry’s bed and look down at him.

It was a horrible feeling, like one of those dreams where he was dead and looking down at his own body. Harry lay with his arms crossed, still looking exactly like Draco in every particular, his white-blond hair bloody where his head had hit the wall. Draco felt a wave of nausea overcome him and he stepped back, which was fortunate because at that moment Ron and Hermione hit him head-on like a bullet train. "Harry, oh Harry!" Hermione was exclaiming, "Are you OK?"

Ron was more interested in clapping him on the back and congratulating him on the uppercut he’d delivered to Harry in Potions. Draco allowed himself a smile. "It was fantastic, wasn’t it?" he agreed. "The way he just flew backwards!"

Madam Pomfrey shooed them towards the door, which Ron was now holding open. Draco gave a last glance back at Harry as they left the infirmary. He hadn’t moved.

Draco trailed after Ron and Hermoine as they hurried back towards towards Gryffindor Tower. Ron kept up a steady stream of chatter, the topic of which seemed to be how pleased everyone in Gryffindor would be that Harry had nearly killed Draco Malfoy in Potions. "Fred and George are thrilled," said Ron, "they hate that slimy git, he never plays fair at Quidditch–"

‘No more do they!" yelped Malfoy in indignation, then clapped his hand over his mouth, but they had reached the portrait of the Fat Lady now and he got busy looking like his head really hurt so no one would look to him for the password.

"Boomslang," said Ron, and when the portrait swung forward, Draco followed him into the common room. Fred and George Weasley, sitting by the fire, greeted them with shouts of welcome. Draco looked around the room in irritation --- the common room here was much nicer than the Slytherin one, which, being in the dungeon, was cold and had a tendency to drrip during the winter. He would definitely be complaining to his father about this when he got his body back.

He trailed Ron and Hermione slowly over to the fire — he detested Fred and George, not just because they always hit the Bludgers right at him during Quidditch matches, but also because they’d become really obnoxious ever since they’d opened up their own mail-order joke shop, the stock for which was now trading at over a hundred Galleons a share on the MSE (Magical Stock Exchange.)

"HARRY!" George yelled, thwacking Draco hard on the back. "Heard you had a go at Malfoy in Potions, good work."

"He’s been asking for a nice hard thumping for years," agreed Fred.

"Pity you didn’t kill him is all," said George.

Draco felt his face working, and, knowing it’d be a dead giveaway he pulled out his wand and cursed Fred and George with boils, he took a few deep, calming breaths instead. Then he felt a small hand wrap around his arm and he saw Hermione next to him, looking up at him with concern.

"Are you all right, Harry? You sound like you can’t breathe," she said.

"Head…hurts," said Draco with difficulty, and sat down hard in a chair.

"Not your scar?" said Ron, looking green. "Your scar doesn’t hurt?"

"No, idiot," said Draco, through his teeth, "just my head where that fool Har–where Draco banged it against the floor."

"So why did Draco attack you like that, Harry?" asked Hermione, brown eyes wide.

"Because he’s a rotten little snake, why else?" said Ron.

Draco bristled. "I insulted his mother," he said shortly. "So he punched me."

"Harry!" said Hermione.

"Good on you," said Ron, ‘for punching him back."

"There's no point insulting Malfoy," Hermione went on. "I think you should try to feel sorry for him, Harry —"

"Sorry for him!" Draco yelped. "Why? He’s rich, his family’s powerful, he’s good-looking and the ladies love him–"

"He’s got that terrible father," said Hermione severely. "And he’s obviously very jealous of you, Harry, you’re such a good Quidditch player, and so brave, and he isn’t, remember that time in the Forbidden Forest when he ran away from Quirrell?"

Draco made a strangled noise.

"And he isn’t any better-looking than you, Harry," said Hermione, avoiding his eyes.

"But he’s–" Draco stammered, "He’s — blond!"

Ron and Hermione stared at him.

"I’m tired," said Draco in a strangled voice. "I'm going to bed."

As he went up the dormitory stairs, followed by Ron, Draco’s mind raced. He had always assumed that Potter and his friends hated him as much as he hated them. Well, it looked like Weasley probably did, but Hermione…advocating that they feel sorry for him? A Mudblood feel sorry for Draco Malfoy? He clenched his hands in rage and slammed the dormitory door behind him.

"Aack!" yelled Ron in pain, have been hit in the nose by the slamming door.

"Oh," said Draco, ‘Sorry."


Hermione sat for a long time in front of her mirror that night, one elbow on her tattered copy of "Affirmations for Witches Who Do Too Much" and the other on an equally tattered copy of "Witches Who Love Wizards and the Wizards Who Don't Notice" She sighed; it wasn't exactly true anymore that Harry didn't notice she loved him, she'd told him so last month, when she couldn't stand it any more, and he'd been very nice about it, but very clear.

He didn't love her.

He'd told her how he felt about Cho, and she said she'd sort of known it anyway, and they'd both sort of laughed, and he'd told her how much her friendship meant to him, and that had been it. Hermione still got a sick feeling in her stomach when she thought about it.

But tonight, she thought -- tonight had been different, it seemed to her that Harry had been looking at her in a new way, as if…as if he was seeing herr for the first time. Of course, that might have been the head injury. She put her face in her hands. Please, she thought, please let it not have been the head injury.


In the hospital wing, Harry, still unconscious, was lost in a horrible dream in which he was lost in the Forbidden Forest….he was looking for something…Ron was with him, but where was Hermione? He yelled aloud without waking up, and Dumbledore, in whispered conference with Madam Pomfrey, broke off and looked over at him anxiously.

"There is a great darkness in that Malfoy boy," he told Madam Pomfrey, who sniffed doubtfully. She had never liked Draco much. "I fear," said the Headmaster, "that it may someday overpower him."


Taking a shower the next morning was probably the oddest experience of Draco’s life. He kept his eyes screwed shut so he wouldn’t see Harry naked, but when he did look down by accident, his jaw dropped in amazement. "Would you look at that," he said, trying not to. " Congratulations, Potter."


It was strange going to all of Harry's classes, thought Draco. It was a relief when they got to Care of Magical Creatures class, which the Gryffindors had with the Slytherins anyway. They were currently studing grindlefongs: nasty little amphibious creatures with big, tooth-lined jaws. When Hagrid went back to his house to get more flobberworms to feed them, Crabbe and Goyle took the opportunity to abduct Neville’s toad and hold it over the cage of grindlefongs, who slavered hungrily.

"Har har," sneered Goyle, who was gripping Trevor the toad while Crabbe held off Neville with one arm. "Do you want me to feed your toad to the monsters, likkle boy?"

"Please, no!" Neville begged. "Leave Trevor alone!"

Neville was practically in tears. Draco watched, sniggering, until he became aware of Hermione’s eyes on him. They were imploring. Oh, right, he recalled, I’m Harry Potter, Wonder Boy. Hermione obviously expected him to Do Something, so with a sigh, he went up to Goyle and said,

"Goyle, give the boy back his toad."

Goyle’s piggy eyes narrowed. "Make me," he said, tightening his grip on Trevor.

Draco was used to Goyle doing everything he said, so that rocked him for an instant. This might turn unpleasant, he realized. He’d seen Goyle wreck a city bus with his bare hands before, he didn’t want to be next.

"Goyle," he said, lowering his voice now so only the two of them could hear, "Did you know I could read minds?"

Goyle stared at him blankly.

"It’s true," said Draco. "It’s the magical power of my scar," he added, wondering if even Goyle was dim enough to believe this malarky.

"I don’t believe you," said Goyle slowly, but there was a fear in his small eyes.

"For instance, I could tell everyone here that you sleep with your night light on, you wear pink frilly underwear because it makes you feel pretty, and you’re secretly in love with Crabbe — you’ve got a photo of him under your pillow."

Goyle let out a yell of horror, shoved the toad at Draco, and took off running. For such a big fellow, he moved pretty fast and was soon out of sight.

‘Here you go, Longbottom," said Draco, thrusting Trevor at Neville, who looked at him gratefully. He caught sight of Hermione gazing at him; she looked full of admiration and blushed when he looked at her. No one had ever looked at Draco like that before; it made him feel odd, and rather tingly around the ears. Furious, he trod purposefully on Seamus Finnegan’s toe as he headed back towards Hermione, and was pleased to hear him shout with pain.


Madam Pomfrey watched Draco Malfoy sleeping with a mixture of dislike and concern. She didn’t like the boy, but she couldn’t help feeling sorry for him, he was obviously having terrible nightmares, lashing out with his hands and screaming. Suddenly his eyes flew open and he looked at her, seeming horrified.

"You’re awake!" she said brightly.

"What’s going on?" he demanded, siting up. "Where am I?"

"Shush, Draco, you’ve had a bad bump on your head, you need to rest," she said, forcing him back down.

"I’m not Draco Malfoy!" he shrieked, his silver-gray eyes wide. "I’m not Malfoy! I’m not!"

Madam Pomfrey was horrified, this was worse than she had thought. "Here, drink this,’ she said, forcing a cup filled with sleeping potion between the boy’s lips. He swallowed reflexively and fell back on the pillows, eyes closing.

Madam Pomfrey stood up, shaking her head; she didn’t care what Dumbledore said, it was time to send an owl to this boy’s father telling him to come and take his son home.


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