Fanfic: Sweeter, yes, but never soft by StrictlyNoFrills (Free to read, 564,411Clicks)


“Hey, you. Where’d you go?” he asked, his voice gentle in a way it never got for anyone else.


No Archive Warnings ApplyHarry Potter/Severus Snape Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley Cedric Diggory/Harry Potter Hermione Granger & Harry Potter & Ron Weasley Harry Potter & Weasley Family Sirius Black & Harry PotterHarry Potter Ron Weasley Hermione Granger Ginny Weasley Severus Snape Cedric Diggory Sirius Black Luna Lovegood Dobby (Harry Potter)Female Harry Potter Male Ginny Weasley Eigth Weasley Child ’cause Molly really did want a little girl Fem!Harry/Severus endgame 31 Drabbles Non-Linear Narrative Fred Weasley Lives Severus Snape Lives Harry Potter Epilogue What Epilogue | EWE Harry Potter Has a Pet Snake Gally is short for Galahad gotta follow that Arthurian theme



“Hey, you. Where’d you go?” he asked, his voice gentle in a way it never got for anyone else.Huffing a laugh, Harry rolled her eyes at herself. “Nowhere good.”“Well, come back, would you? We’re supposed to be relaxing, not stressing about noseless arseholes.”Or, a series of thirty-one drabbles very much out of chronological order, revolving around one of the many universes in which Harry was actually born a girl, in honor of the season.Edit: Now with even more bits and bobs from this ‘verse, and more to come!


I’ve been having a rough go of it (I’m sure I’m not the only one.), so in order to get my writing mojo back, I decided to do something a little unique in honor of the season. Thirty-one drabbles for the thirty-one days of October…And a bonus drabble in the end notes.

(See the end of the work for more notes.)

Chapter 1

Chapter Text
Silky, airy fabric slipped over her head and her narrow shoulders, making not a single whisper against her legs and the floor as she glided from the girls’ dormitories and out the common room. The eyes of the portrait subjects passed over her, unseeing, and Professor McGonagall strode by, sharp senses on alert but unrewarded.At last, she reached the library, her nighttime haven from nightmares and nosy dormmates alike. Her favorite tome flew gently from the annal bookshelf and greeted her as a friend, opening to the page she loved best: a picture of the graduating class of 1978.
After Gryffindor House trundled off to their beds, Harry ventured out of the castle proper, toward the Forbidden Forest. Creeping past the dragon tamers, with a slightly guilty glance towards her best friend’s older brother, she stepped up to the slumbering Hungarian Horntail in her massive cage and placed a regretful hand upon her snout. Leaning down, she pressed a kiss to the world’s grumpiest mother.“I’m sorry,” she whispered, the words strangled and hissy. “I know today wasn’t exactly your idea of a good time, either.” The horntail snorted in her sleep and tossed her head, dislodging Harry’s hand.
“Ron, what’re you doing?” Harry asked, eyes watering, threatening to fall out of her head. “I didn’t mean it, mate. You know I didn’t. Don’t go!”He kept walking, not even looking back, until he passed the outskirts of their camp wards and disappeared with a bone-shaking crack.Choking, Harry tried to call out to him again, even knowing there was no way he could hear her now.What was she supposed to tell Hermione? What would her bookworm do?How could she ever face the rest of this journey without her Wheezy?She sank to her knees, mumbling again, “Don’t go.”
She was such an idiot.“Hey,” Ron muttered, bumping against her side. “You saved her life, mate.”She shook her head angrily. “I shouldn’t’ve even had to. Who just lets her best mate eat chocolates when she doesn’t know where they came from?”“Right, yeah, ‘course. I forgot there for a second that you’re supposed to be perfect.”Harry grunted.“You can’t know everything. And you can’t do anything but your best. Don’t be an idiot about it, yeah?”She wrinkled her nose and then stuck out her tongue before shaking her head in defeat. “Yeah, alright.”“That’s better.”
Two upper year Gryffindors stood over something in the tall highland grass, and Harry froze, hearing a tiny, distressed cry. What the hell?“Hey! You lot! What’re you doing?”“What’s it to you, little Dark Witch?” one boy demanded, not moving an inch.Harry aimed her wand and shot them her most venomous look, and the other boy backed away, tugging on the first idiot’s sleeve. “C’mon, Macken. Let’s go before she petrifies us, too.”“As if she could,” Macken scoffed.“Wanna find out?”They fled.Harry knelt down, holding her hand out to a tiny, frightened garden snake. “Alright?”
How long would it take to memorize every single one of Gally’s freckles? Would she ever get the chance to find out?His warm brown eyes stared out at her in concern.“Hey, you. Where’d you go?” he asked, his voice gentle in a way it never got for anyone else.Huffing a laugh, Harry rolled her eyes at herself. “Nowhere good.”“Well, come back, would you? We’re supposed to be relaxing, not stressing about noseless arseholes.”“Gally!” Harry gasped, sitting up and causing Gally to flop down onto the bank.“What?”“You’re a mess, Weasley.”“Look who’s talking, Firebug.”
“With all due respect, Mister Sorting Hat, if I have to spend the next seven years in close quarters with that poncy little prick, I will set him on fire,” Harry stated, dire promise in her tone.As afraid as she’d been of the hat deciding she simply didn’t belong, the more it muttered about Slytherin, the more that slick-haired git got stuck in her head. She’d be damned if she was forced to live with someone magical who reminded her so starkly of her horrible cousin.“Well, then. In that case, best be GRYFFINDOR for you, little firebug.”“Cheers.”
Little Vivian Weasley huddled close to another firstie who looked vaguely familiar, both of them covered by Hagrid’s vast moleskin coat, looking soaked to the bone.“Guess what, guys!” Viv shouted, a wide grin on her tiny, heavily freckled face. “I got to meet the Giant Squid, ‘cause me and Dennis fell in the lake!”Ron groaned and let his head thump into his palm, but Fred, George, and Gally all called out, “Good job, Viv!”“Cheer up, mate,” Harry said. “Viv’s fine.”“Just wait. Mum’ll hear about this, and somehow – I dunno how, but somehow – it’ll be my fault.”
Throwing Harry’s previously discarded robe over her shoulders, Hermione dragged her away from her conversation with Neville. “Wha- hey, Hermione, what gives?!”“Harry, you’re bleeding!” Hermione whispered, her eyes wide and concerned.She slapped a hand to her scar, but her palm and fingers came away bloodless. Flipping it over, she checked the jagged words, letting out a relieved sigh. I must not tell lies, had not, in fact, reopened.“Not that kind of bleeding, Harry. You need to change skirts.” At her blank look, Hermione raised her eyebrows pointedly.Oh. That kind of bleeding. “Well, that’s new.”And embarrassing.
At Viv’s woeful look, Harry frowned after the boys who were all tromping out to the broom shed. Even Gally, who spent most of his time holed up in his room, had ventured out for a game of Quidditch.As much as Harry loved flying, she couldn’t stand the lonely look on Baby Weasley’s face.Harry held out her hand. “C’mon. Let’s go see if we can get that old muggle radio in your dad’s shed to play some real music.”“What for?” Vivian asked, looking hopeful.Harry grinned. “For a dance party, of course. No boys allowed.”Viv beamed.
Harry spotted Hermione rolling her eyes for what had to be the tenth time since they came up for the night.She nudged her bookworm’s shoulder. “Come on,” she said lowly. “They’re not that bad.”Hermione shot her an incredulous look. “You don’t even believe the words coming out of your own mouth.”Eying Lavender and Parvati’s Tarot setup and hearing them giggle again, Harry winced.“Okay, no. I really don’t.” Ever since their dormmates had discovered the wonders of Divination, they’d become insufferable.Hermione tilted her head. “Common Room?”After another round of giggles, Harry leapt up. “You’re on.”
Harry rubbed at her ears. She must’ve heard that wrong. “You’re… asking me?”Cedric raised his eyebrows and then got that flustered look he wore whenever his dad said something embarrassing. “Look, if you don’t want to go with me-““What? No! I mean, yes! I mean.” Harry smacked her forehead. “I’d love to go with you. But is that even allowed?”“Why? Because I’m seventeen?”“No, because of the whole… champion thing.”“Oh,” Cedric laughed, sounding relieved. “I’m sure it’s fine. We’re each expected to have a date, yeah? But no one’s said that the champions can’t go together.”
“Hedwig, this is Sascha. She’s our friend. We do not eat our friends.”Hedwig eyed the little garden snake and then turned her sharp gaze upon Harry with an insulting amount of asperity.Harry shrugged. “Okay, yeah, I guess I deserved that. But you’ve gotta cut me some slack, alright, girl? I just saved her from some berks over by the greenhouses, so I’m a little on edge.”Not that Macken and Collins were the real source of her problems, but since Harry was trying her best not to think about how everyone thought she was the heir of Slytherin…
Ever so lightly, Harry traced the tip of her index finger over Severus’s eyebrows, his nose and lips.His eyelids twitched. “Must you?” he grumbled, voice gravely with sleep.“Sorry,” she whispered. “I’m just… really glad you’re still here.”Frowning, Severus held up Harry’s left hand, showing her the ring he’d placed on her third finger yesterday. “I had thought that was rather the point.”Harry shook her head. “No, that’s not… I had that nightmare again. Y’know. The one where Nagini’s venom kills you before I can do anything.”His dark eyes softened. “I am here, Harry.”“Always?”“Always.”
“Get AWAY FROM ME!” Harry screamed, her magic snapping through the air, rattling the walls.Didn’t they know? Didn’t they understand?She’d hurt Mister Weasley. She’d hurt their father. If they got too close to her… maybe she’d hurt them, too.Shaking his head, Gally reached out and dragged her kicking and screaming body into his arms, holding her close.“LET ME GO!”He held her tighter. “We’re not going anywhere, Potter. Deal with it.”“I’ll hurt you,” she sobbed, then whimpered again, “I’ll hurt you.”“Don’t be an idiot,” he whispered, his voice a strange mix of tender fierceness.
This mirror was so much better than the pictures in the old, black-and-white yearbook photos. She had her mother’s pert mouth and nose, in addition to her eyes.No one had ever told her that. They just said she was the female version of her father.Oh, sure, she had his eyebrows and cheekbones. His stubborn jawline, slightly softened by childhood and femininity. And, of course, she had his ridiculous hair.But she carried more pieces of her mother with her than she’d realized, and the knowledge soothed something jagged and yearning inside her she hadn’t even known was there.
Her wrapping wasn’t the greatest, even after five years of being able to afford to buy things for her favorite people, but she was particularly proud of the gift within the crumpled yellow paper and spellotape.“Shall I wait for Yule to unwrap it?”Glancing down at her friend’s bare feet, Harry shook her head. “Now’s good.”Luna discovered several pairs of brightly patterned woolen socks and two pairs of trainers: one set of yellow and one set a brilliant purple.“Well?” Harry asked nervously.The package slipped to the floor as two slender arms wrapped exuberantly around Harry’s shoulders.
Shoving down her aversion to dogs – not all of the canine species should be forced to answer for the crimes of Aunt Marge’s terrors – Harry reached out to the large black figure, half-hidden by the darkness.“Hey, there. Are you lost?”The dog whined, lowering its head, and Harry took a cautious step forward before tripping over something on the ground, her wand arm flying up into the air.Something large and violently purple burst into existence on Privet Drive, and Harry stared up at it from the ground as an accordion door opened.Her life was so strange sometimes.
Snape’s hands clamped down upon her shoulders as he studied her critically from head to toe.“You are undamaged from the crash?” he demanded. Harry shoved back down a retort about being a person, not an object.“Yeah. I mean, yes, sir. I’m alright, sir.”Was it her imagination, or did Snape look slightly less murderous after hearing that?He gave Ron a cursory once-over. “And you, Weasley? Are you also in once piece?”Ron hunched his shoulders under the terrifying gaze of their Potions professor. “Yes, sir.”“Good. I prefer for students to be healthy when I expel them.”
“Listen to this, Sascha,” Harry murmured, reading out one of the Prince’s notes and then shaking her head. “Brilliant, isn’t he?”Her little green friend gave a snakey shrug. “If you say so, nestmate.”“Well, I do.”She’d never met anyone quite like the Prince. He was darkly hysterical, and quite possibly incredibly lonely, if the amount of notes scrawled in the margins of his old textbook were any indication. The Prince must have had quite a lot of time on his hands.Her chest aching a little, she looked at the next annotation. She knew what that was like.
“You really mean that?” Harry asked, cautious hope unfurling in her chest.“Absolutely,” Black said. “Never meant something so much in my life.” He glanced away, his body seeming to shrink in on itself. “I messed up that night, kiddo. I should’ve just taken you and run. Found somewhere safe for us to hunker down until we could be sure Voldemort was off somewhere licking his wounds. I’m sorry for not doing better by you, the way you deserve, but if you’d let me, I’d like to make up for it now.”Harry sniffled. Damn that pollen. “I’d like that.”
“Isn’t he amazing?” Hermione asked, staring up at their new Defense professor.“Amazingly conceited,” Harry muttered, already sick of second year Defense, and class hadn’t even started. “Like a peacock. Or Malfoy.”“Harry!” Hermione hissed, her voice full of mortified reproach.“Oh, save it, Hermione. And get your hormones under control while you’re at it. The man’s a total fraud and a disaster waiting to happen.”Several months later, when part of the Chamber’s roof caved in, Harry stared at the wreckage and remembered that moment, wishing Hermione hadn’t been petrified so that she could share in this wonderful experience.
For the first time in her life, Harry twirled in front of a mirror, enjoying the way her emerald-green robes flared out like a bell and brought out the color of her eyes, just at Mrs. Weasley said they would.She fingered her newly long, surprisingly lustrous curls, grown out with the aid of a potion Parvati had been kind enough to help her find at the apothecary in Hogsmeade.Harry felt… pretty, which was not a sensation she was familiar with, growing up wearing Dudley’s ratty old hand-me-downs.When Cedric told her she looked beautiful, Harry actually believed him.
“What is Miss Harry Potter doing?” Dobby asked, his bulbous eyes even bigger than normal.“Oh,” Harry said, glancing down at her outstretched palm. “I was going for a high-five.”At his bewildered look, she added, “You’re supposed to put your hand against mine, kinda quick, like a clap shared between two people to celebrate something good. I reckon being freed warrants a high-five.”Dobby’s ears flapped, and he straightened up, quivering with excitement. “Dobby would love to share a high-five with Miss Harry Potter!”“Alright, then,” Harry grinned.With a little hop, Dobby lightly slapped his palm against hers.
Gally’s lips twitched as he gazed down at her. “Is that one of Viv’s old jumpers?”Harry shrugged, refusing to be embarrassed about inheriting clothing from a third year. At least Vivian’s cast-offs fit Harry’s slender frame, unlike all of Dudley’s old things. “Might be.”Shaking his head, Gally told her, “I don’t even know why I bother being surprised. You really are going full Weasley on us, aren’t you?”“Well,” Harry started, trying not to feel too presumptuous. “Would that be such a bad thing?”“No,” Gally said softly. “Not bad at all.”“C’mon. Maybe Hogsmeade has red hairdye.”
“Cedric? Cedric, c’mon. Get up. Cedric, please, please, don’t be dead.”Fleshy hands ripped her away from Cedric’s body, and Harry screamed, lunging back towards the boy who was maybe, sort of, a little bit in love with her.“CEDRIC!”“Shut her up, Wormtail!” commanded a high, thready voice Harry remembered from her nightmares, and from her confrontation with Quirrell and his permanent passenger three years prior.She fought harder, biting and scratching and throwing her head back; anything to get away.The back of her head connected with something, and Wormtail cried out, dropping her.Her world went dark.
“You don’t mind bunking with my little sister, do you?”“Are you kidding? Viv’s brilliant.” She nudged Ron playfully. “I might even like her more than you by summer’s end.”He nudged her back. “You shut your mouth, Potter.”“Make me, Weasley.”“Don’t think I won’t. Girls get no mercy in this house.”“Liar. You all treat Viv like she’s your own baby.”He shrugged sheepishly. “Well, she is the baby, isn’t she? And she was so small when she was born…”“Babies tend to be that way,” Harry said dryly, and then, “Hey, Ron?”“Yeah?”“Thanks for saving me.”
She’d been staring at his pale, wan face for so long that she didn’t even realize it when his eyes finally slid open.“Potter,” he rasped.Harry jumped and stared down at Snape anxiously, trying to determine whether her mind was playing tricks on her. She’d been a bit… funny, since dying and coming back, although in the weeks since the battle, that had slowly gotten better.“What’re you doing here?” Snape slurred, the departure from his usually impeccable diction a sure sign of his limited recovery.“D’you want me to go?” she asked reluctantly.Snape eyed her consideringly. “…No.”
Hermione’s bed was riddled with books – not an unusual sight, it was true, though the subject matter was certainly far from her typical fare – about the Triwizard Tournament.“We can do this,” she promised, dragging Harry in for one of her signature rib-cracking hugs. “You can do this. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”Harry sniffled, for once holding Hermione back just as fiercely. “Hermione?” she asked, her voice small.“Yes?”She could do this. She could say the words, even though she’d never said them before.“… I love you.”“Oh, Harry. I love you, too.”
“I don’t understand,” Harry admitted.Gally shrugged, looking every bit as lost as Harry felt, and every bit as exhausted. “I don’t either, Firebug.”She twitched. “Maybe, um. Maybe you shouldn’t call me that. If we’re really not… in love anymore.”“Maybe I shouldn’t,” Gally agreed tiredly.“What do we do?” Harry asked. “What do we say?”“Whatever we want to, I suppose. So, we fell out of love. It’s not the end of the world. If this is the worst thing that happens to us because of the war, that’s okay with me.”“True. At least everyone’s mostly alright.”
“You’re a witch, Harriet.”“It’s Harry,” she mumbled absently, her mind snagging on their giant visitor’s words and playing them over and over on a loop.There was no way.This must be some elaborate, bizarre dream, like the one about the green light, except not, because this one made something that felt strangely like hope burn in her aching heart, and the dream about the green light always left her feeling sickly and cold.She couldn’t be special. She was just Harry. Just that scrawny little Potter freak.And yet…She peered up at Hagrid avidly. “Tell me everything.”

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