Fantasie Impromptu: A Wet Tale
This is the
first chapter completely REWRITTEN. The beginning of an ENTIRE
re-working of this story. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES MADE. Please, be dears
and read it? Its
absolutely 100 much better, guaranteed! And, as you'll no doubt
notice, all the old chapters are gone. Poof. Sorry, that's just the way
it is :P
I will ATTEMPT to start posting a little more regularly. I already have
more chapters ready and a rough outline of the way the story will go,
but I'll try to set up a posting schedule, perhaps once every week. Ta!
Summary: When Harry Potter accidentally upsets a temperamental fish in Diagon Alleys new pet shop, he is cursed with a veryY fishy condition.
My version of Harrys 5th year, a LOT of an AU. Love, tragedy, drama, humour, angst, horny teenagers and angry fish - what every good storys made of! Ill try to keep most of it rather light, but, honestly, the boys bound the have problems - the fate of the worlds resting on his shoulders!
Disclaimer: Yes, I think it's rather obvious that I definitely do NOT own Harry Potter. Not mine. Never was, never will be... unless... no, no it never will be. Oh, and, forgive the rip-off at the beginning from Pride and Prejudice/Bridget Jones Diary...
Also, the original character Szane Alrum's name is pronounced Zane but a bit softer on the z. Alrum is pronounced like the two words all and rum put together. Oh, and for some reason all my apostrophes and hyphens and elipses all the like for some reason vanished/converted to strange capital letters ... I've read through again to try and fix them all, but if I've missed any, please forgive, yes?
The Itsy-Bitsy Prologue - It begins...
It is a fact universally acknowledged - at least, in the marine world - that there are just some fish it is wise not to cross. Whether they appear the most harmless or placid of creatures, beneath that misleading exterior can sometimes lurk the most terrifying of beasts.
One such beast, however, had recently had the unfortunate luck of having been snared by a most reprehensible man, and now spent his days swimming round, and round, and round, in a quaint little fish bowl. With each passing day, this fraudulent fishs anger boils steadily. With a knowing eye, his captor watches - any day now, that fish would reach his limit.
A day... like today, for example...
Stupid people. Starin'at me! What's with that hair -you lose a fight with a pair o'scissors? Stop lookin'at me! Slimy little... What, you never see a fish with two tails before? I'll show you!
There is a shower of red sparks as this tempestuous fish frightens off a would-be buyer - a sweet, petite thing with plump, rosy cheeks and a mass of shiny ringlets atop her head - with a harmless little spell. The spell doesn't even touch her, but the poor girl squeals and frantically back-pedals, stretching her chubby arms out in a desperate plea for comfort. A good many more would-be buyers reconsider after that particular show, and move on to examine the more... agreeable prospects.
Humph! That'll learn ya!
With that, the abhorrently inclined aquatic beast whirls in his glowing bowl and, with a most self-satisfied air, high-tails it into a majestic coral castle - built just for him.
The Dreaded Chapter One - Hell Hath No Fury Like A Fish Scorned
It was a maniacal rush in Diagon Alley on that particular day. Witches and Wizards of all kinds were clumped together in a swarming kaleidoscope of robes and hats, all pushing and shoving in a desperate race, their eyes locked on the flashing new sign hanging sign replacing the old one of Eeylops Out-of-Business Owl Emporium:
Alrums Arcane Animalia. 1
The owner, a distinguished gentle-wizard by the name of Szane Alrum had just bought the deeds to the Owl Emporium and the Magical Menagerie and merged them into a most spectacular pet shop! Rumour had it that Szane had just come back from a trip to the Ancient Ruins just recently discovered by the Chinese Ministry of Magic underneath the Great Wall of China, so there was sure to be an unimaginable selection of Asian animals. Now he had returned to supervise the grand opening of the Arcane Animalia, which was purported to feature an endless array of rare and non-rare, magical and non-magical creatures - all mostly tamed, he assures - for any qualified witch or wizard to buy.
Therefore, it was understandable that there was not a witch or wizard in the London area that was not at Diagon Alley that day. A ferocious stampede of potential buyers, all rushing forward without heed - never mind that they had just unwittingly trampled a most important celebrity in his own right, along with his two best friends.
"Ugh... I think I've broken something," muttered one voice, the husky alto of a teenaged boy.
"Me, too. In fact, I think I've broken everything, even my hair feels broken..." voiced another, the low, groaning counterpart of another boy.
"My books! They're everywhere! And after I just bought them! I hope theyre not too damaged, I havent even had a chance to read them yet..."
The last voice, of course, could be mistaken for none other than the frantic shrill of a girl to whom learning and knowledge were of utmost importance: Hermione Granger. Splayed amongst the littering of new books with a pinched frown on her face, her fantastically curly locks were trussed up wildly. Her small hands frantically plucked up each book from the abrasive ground, brushing each off with a meticulous care.
"Jeez, Hermione... Books arent everything! Me an' Harry were bloody near squished by that herd of, of blast-ended skrewts! And all you care about is your bloody books," said a boy with an obviously sour face, and a cap of flaming red hair tossed back to reveal a scowling face of freckles. Ronald Weasley, youngest son of the large Weasley family, and the probably only one who didn't realise he had a crush on Miss Granger.
"It's not that, Ron, you know it's not that. Books are important, and I just spent a lot of money on them, I'd hate to have them damaged now! Honestly, Ron, you can be so incredibly self-centred sometimes!" Miss Granger was not widely known for her sudden flares of temper, but those who'd been on the end of them knew immediately not to tempt her ire.
Ron wisely realized that discretion is often the better part of valour and decided simply let it go. Instead, he focussed a pleasant blue gaze on the third member of their party, who it seemed had become rather intimately acquainted with a particularly sharp stone.
"All right there, Harry?"
Harry glanced up from gingerly soothing his backside - there was sure to be a bruise there tomorrow - and offered a dazed smile at his best friend, carmine lips pulling up faintly.
"I think so, but if you see any parts of my body lying around, be a mate and let me know, yeah?"
There was nothing particularly extraordinary about this boy. He was a gangly teen with snow-white skin, knobbly knees and a mop of black hair that brushed his thin shoulders. Nothing particularly special. That is, until one saw his eyes. Wide pools of iridescent green, framed endearingly with thick-framed hideous glasses and a thick curl of lashes. His mothers eyes. They knew life, those eyes. And they knew death.
This was Harry Potter: whose defeat of the unspeakable Dark Lord had renowned him throughout the wizarding world, there was not a witch or wizard that didnt know his name. Harry Potter, whose shoulders bore a heavy burden. Harry Potter, whose destiny was to finally destroy Lord Voldemort.
Ron stretched out a broad hand to help his friend up. It was then, in that precise, split-second moment, that Harry knew. Something was going to happen. Something that send haunting chills racing down his spine. Something was going to happen, soon. Something-
"Harry? Something wrong? I said we should get going before all the animals are gone," Hermione butted into his musings, poised elegantly with her bag slung over one shoulder as she waited for her two friends to get a move on.
Honestly, boys are such trouble, she thought, her eyes unwittingly lingering on her green-eyed companion.
Before Harry even had a chance to utter anything, Ron thrust in his opinion, his voice laced with a pride-filled anger. "In case you hadnt realized, Hermione, we were just flattened. The least you could do is act a little concerned," he fairly spat, his ego smarting after realising that his secret crush wasn't about to drop everything and fret over him.
"In case you hadnt realized, Ron," Hermione shot back, "I was just trampled as well, and I'm perfectly fine."
Harry shook his head at those two, biting back a snicker. It was so painfully obvious that Ron was suffering from nothing more than wounded pride. Glancing down the rapidly clearing street - as most had pushed their way into the Arcane Animalia by now - he once again felt that eerie chill. What could it mean? He had been hoping that after last year... kill the spare... Harry squeezed his eyes shut against the memories, rapidly shoving his dropped books back into the homemade book-bag hed gotten from Mrs Weasley just yesterday. His shoulders dipped with the weight of the guilt on his shoulders, yet it only made him more determined to destroy Voldemort.
Firming his disposition, he whirled to face his friends with a wobbly grin on his face, "Hurry up, you two, you can flirt later. I want to check out those animals before theyre all gone!"
Rons ears flamed bright red at the blatant innuendo, while Hermione only appeared faintly disappointed. Harry forced out a bark of laughter at the both of them and hurried off down the street. The remaining two-thirds of the Gryffindor Trio stared after their friend.
"Mental, he is," murmured Ron. Hermione rolled her eyes, but found it hard to disagree. Harry really was rather strange at times. Nevertheless, she had to wonder... as her eyes stubbornly refused to look away from her friends retreating backside. Just as Ron was having a hard time tearing his eyes away from her.
"Well... come on then, lets go after him," Hermione murmured, adjusting the bag on her shoulder.
"Right," Ron said, lowering his eyes as they strolled along together. His hearted jumped rapidly in his chest, swelling at the realisation that he was alone with Hermione. The thought alone left him in a blissful daze.
"...exciting, all those animals, dont you think?"
"Pardon?" he blinked at the girl beside him as she threw him an annoyed glance.
"I said, it must be terribly exciting, all those animals, dont you think, Ron? Supposedly theres lots of rarely seen species there, and even some newly discovered ones!"
"I mean, just think of what we could learn. There are so many species I havent heard of, what with that new discovery in China. Hopefully well be covering some in Care of Magical Creatures this year."
Ron rolled his eyes in mock-irritation of the know-it-all witch, both frustrated and in awe of her sharp intelligence. "Is that all you ever think of? Learning? There are other things to life, you know."
Hermione frowned at the redhead and replied matter-of-factly, "Ron! Knowledge is the basis of our existence! It defines us, ultimately. Knowledge is power. Besides, our OWLs are this ye-"
"I know, I know," the agitated boy waved it off - he'd already heard it a million times.
Besides, he really didn't want to start yet another argument about why this and why that, when he could be figuring out a way to gain the girl's attention. He was almost desperate to get her to notice him in that way, ever since his older brother Bill had suggested his feelings for the intelligent witch might be more than platonic. Now he couldn't stop thinking about her.
Hmm...maybe if I...Talk about something interesting, she'll think I'm smarter! She's so pretty... Okay, okay, something interesting. Um...
Then he brightened considerably, "I'm thinking there might be something there we could use as a sort of mascot for our Quidditch Team - the amateur one me and the boys are starting. You know, I told you all about it in that letter?" he enthused, even though Hermione was already tuning out his voice. "I was thinking something sort of like the Chudley Cannons, but our own. Maybe something like..."
And so Ron continued to babble at Hermione, trying oh-so-hard to impress the smart witch, while the brunette continued to conjure up thoughts of what types of animals could be in the shop, and if any would make an appearance in their Care of Magical Creatures class.
Another normal episode in the Ron and Hermione saga.
Harry paused outside Alrum's Animalia before entering. The door gaped open like a hungry maw, greedily swallowing all who entered. Intricate animal carvings climbed the walls either side, their paws and claws and wings and whiskers twitching with each shift of the light.
When Harry finally pushed his way through the herd of cooing wizards at the front of the store, he was blasted by a cacophony of exuberant voices; screeches; warbles; growls; hisses and other more disturbing rackets. The Animalia was flooded with animals, from roof to floor, centred round a magnificent spiral staircase that lead to the upmost floors, where birds of every kind flapped and squawked. Around almost every cage, perch and enclosure hung a small mob of witches and wizard, all vying for a good visual position.
It stole his breath to see so many animals in one building. The inside looked infinitely larger that the deceptively small exterior; Harry realized it must be some charm at work. His eyes wafted over the busy scene, lighting up as he recognized some common creatures. From Muggle puppies, kittens, and birds to deadly runespoors, baby hippogriffs, flobberworms and blast-ended skrewts. From cuddle me, I'm cute and fluffy to back off, buddy, or lose a limb! To beyond the familiar, a whole array of animals Harry had never even heard of! Whats more, everyone was so enamoured with these critters that nobody even stopped to recognise the Boy Who Lived. Harry had to smile a little at the anonymity it leant.
Harry toed and nudged his way through the bobbing sea of heads and shoulders and hands, and soon found himself ensconced in a rather lonely corner. He thought it strange that no one lingered here, but people seemed to be avoiding it like the plague. A peculiar darkness clung to the walls, shot through with strange slivers of pale blue, like light dancing on water. Puzzled, he sought out what could be emanating the strange light.
A splash of water caught his attention; he flicked his eyes and found a large fish bowl, enshrouded by a draping black curtain.
He crept closer, wondering what exactly would be covered so carefully. A curious frown tugged at the corners of his lips, as he stretched out a hand and pulled back the curtain.
It was with bitter eyes that one particular sentient fish took in the uproar the world outside his glass prison. Overflowing with odd-looking individuals with silly pointed hats and colourful garments, not to mention how they constantly fawned and fretted over the lowly animals that his captor had filled this place with. Filthy, disgusting creatures, the lot of them. Still, it was a small mercy that, after having scared off that vexing little girl, his captor had thought to conceal him in a cloak of darkness. People steered clear of his corner after that.
However, that didnt seem to be the case for this snoopy little brat nosing around his corner. Hadn't the kid been paying attention before? What, did he need to put up a sign that said: 'DANGER, YOU IDIOTS'?
He'd thought after that display earlier, everyone would get the hint and leave him alone. But, alas, this idiot was having trouble understanding. And why exactly was he pulling back the curtain?
The fish gave an exaggerated flourish and ducked behind his castle in the hope of escaping torment from this scarred loser.
Great, just great. I finally manage to get some ALONE time, and this loser scar-head just barges in on my territory! Buzz off, Wizzy! Stupid human...HELLO! I'm TRYING to SLEEP here! Bloody... mumble, mumble...
The minutes crawled by at an agonising pace, until he could stand it no more. He charged out from behind his castle, fully intent on giving the no-brained loser the shocking of a lifetime - only to come face to face with a giant green eye.
Harry could scarcely believe the sight before him was real - he'd never, ever before seen a fish so beautiful. His eyes sprung comically wide as he watched the fish dart fearfully behind its jagged coral palace. All he could do was stare in awe as the rest of the world sank into the background.
The entire bowl was alight with a terpsichore play of pearlescent light, fracturing off the lucid shards of a castle fashioned from rare white-glass coral. And amidst the jutting coral towers hid a most spectacular fish. Splashes of blue, yellow and red gleamed from the sleek, two-tailed body, its scales rippling with every twitch of its tails. Fins that shamed the finest of gossamer, flitting aimlessly as it wafted through the still water. Peeking between the slender turrets, one bright blue eye sparkled with intelligence.
Harry was enthralled.
As he eased closer, the fish shot out from hiding and zoomed towards his face. "Wow... you're so... pretty..." Harry breathed in wonderment, each breath wafting over the glass in a fine fog, dissipating moments later.
What! PRETTY! I'm not pretty! I'm the most masculine fish I know! Look at these rippling muscles!
A huff of laughter escaped Harry as he watched the fish give a wiggle and a flourish.
"You even dance! Brilliant!"
HUH! Dance? Never in all my years...! Youre pushin'it, buddy...
Despite the swell of happiness in his chest, Harry felt a niggling in the back of his mind. That foreboding feeling was back, a definite warning, but still, he was sure it could wait until later, when Ron and Hermione joined him. He could discuss it with them then.
"You know... Ive never seen a fish thing quite like you before. What are you, anyway? If only you could talk. I bet you'd make the best pet. You're a girl, arent you? You seem like one. Do you have a name, girl?"
FISH THING! GIRL! Right, thats it! That was the last straw!
Harry had no time to dodge it. One minute his face was pressed against the glass, the next he was flung back as an almighty screech echoed from the small tank. A bolt of electric blue lightning arced from the luminous water and zeroed in on Harry. He could only watch in shock as the sizzling current dove toward him. With a Seeker's practised instinct from dodging bludgers, he scuttled back, but wasn't fast enough as the magical spark liquefied and landed with a soft splash on his bared ankle.
Ice-cold licks of fire lanced up his leg. Harry let out a gasp, doubling over as jets of pain engulfed his legs. He scrunched up his face in a grimace, hands instinctively grabbing at his legs to try and sooth the pain. Gods...it hurt! More than the Cruciatus multiplied a hundred-fold. Like fire it burned, but was ice cold. Then in a rush that sucked the very air from his lungs, it was over.
He was left sprawled on the hardwood floor, strands of silken black hair pooling around his head in a dark halo. Obsidian lashes flickered over hooded green eyes. His body twitched in aftershock, splayed in a boneless heap, wondering what in the world had just happened.
And to think, he'd hoped this year might be semi-normal... for him, anyway.
"Harry!" Two fretful voices exclaimed in unison. The thump of their heavy footfalls pounding on the floor jarred his aching body, and then suddenly he could see naught but too worried faces looming over him.
"Harry, what happened? Are you all right?" Hermione prodded urgently, her hands flitting uselessly over his ankle where the fish had struck him, hating that for once she did not know what to do.
Ron, on the other hand, was frantic, his blue eyes bulging with fear and his freckles standing out in stark relief against a pale face. "Harry! Harry! Look at me, mate! Harry! Speak to me! Do something!" His large hands shook Harry roughly, begging for a reaction.
Harry could feel darkness brushing at the edge of his vision. Leave me alone, you big dolt, Harry thought as his sore body endured another frenzied shove. He wanted to say it. He desperately wanted to tell Ron to get lost. His lips quivered uncertainly, the words hovering at the tip of his tongue.
The best he managed was a weak groan, before his eyes rolled back in a dead faint.
"Ron, get back! Let him breathe for goodness' sake and stop shaking him!" snapped Hermione. Her fingers automatically felt for a pulse.
A crowd was slowly gathering around the huddled trio, alerted by the cries of the two young Gryffindors. A plump, bald wizard at the front of the group fiddled with his hat before gathering the courage to step forward.
"Say, young miss... Is 'e all righ'?" A twig-like witch piped up, her tall frame towering over the short man in front of her.
"Who is he?"
"Hey! Thats Harry Potter! Its the Boy Who Lived!"
"What? Goodness! Where's my camera?"
Suddenly the crowd was abuzz with excitement - Harry Potter was here, at the new Arcane Animalia, and he had fainted! This was front-page news! A few over-zealous witches and wizards pushed forward with cameras at the ready, and it was only after a moments pause that the first flash went off.
"Hermione... this is getting a little out of hand. Where's Bill, he was supposed to meet us here!" yelled Ron, doing his best to fend off the eagre fans, while Hermione mothered over their unconscious friend.
"This isnt going to work... we need to wake him up and get him out of here. Ennervate," she murmured, waving her wand gently and praying it would work.
Harrys eyes fluttered open. Blearily they focussed once more on Hermione's worried visage.
"Yes, Harry. Are you alright?"
"Nver... bett'r... Wh-h...ppned?"
"I was hoping you could tell me," intruded a polished English accent.
Her head snapped up as the owner of the voice stepped forward - Mr. Szane Alrum himself stood there, clad in a beige and khaki ensemble with many pockets. He bent over the pair, hands propped on his knees and his thin moustache twitching.
"I... Im sorry, sir, I don't really remember. I only remember talking to that fish, and then..." Harry managed to point a trembling finger in the general direction of the bowl.
"Ah. Him. One of my more... lively creatures, I'm afraid. Eastern Two-Tailed Fighting Fish. One of our newer discoveries from China. Quite fascinating, really, thought to be a myth. Why, the last sighting was over a century ago! Ah, listen to me, blathering on. I admit, it was remiss of me to not have a sign up... although most people already know to stay away from this little blighter," he eyed Harry sternly, "he's only for the most experienced Wizards and Witches. Otherwise, he can be a bit too much to handle. I had thought I'd trained it out of him, however."
The last part was directed with a glare at said fish, which cowered under his stare and darted back into his castle.
"Not too much pain, lad?" he inquired, turning back to Harry, "These fish have been known to give a bit of a nasty shock. Though as I said, it's been well over a hundred years since anyone has been zapped. Ah, well... from what I hear, the last one to be hit survived, so you should be fine." Hardly very reassuring, but it was the best he could offer.
The boy didn't really need to know the truth: the last person documented to have been struck by a Two-Tail's spell had disappeared forever. Alrum coughed and straightened his robes. He was sure the boy would be fine, or else he'd be a dead man.
Harry only offered a weak nod, grasping Ron's hand as it was offered and pulling himself up onto trembling legs. He would take Alrum's word for it - he was a reputed expert on these things, after all.
"Come on, Harry, we should go - the animals here are too wild for my tastes, anyway," Ron said, sounding a bit disappointed, but Hermione's nodded approval was worth it.
"Harry! Ron, Hermione! Are you three all right? What happened?" the three teens glanced up in great relief as the thin figure of Bill Weasley (who was staying with them for the week and had been roped into helping the three do their school shopping with Mrs. Weasley) rushed through the small gap in the crowd. "I heard the commotion outside, and-"
"It's nothing, Bill," Harry assured, all the same suspiciously eyeing his ankle under the guise of brushing off his robes. With a pensive frown, he put the matter aside. But why is it tingling so much? It...itches.
"Harry, are you sure youre all right?" Hermione placed a gentle hand on his arm, holding him back as he tried to move away. He shook it off with a smile.
"I'm fine, I promise."
"Well, come along then, you three - Mum took the rest of your things back to the Burrow. We'd best be off," Bill urged, gathering the three of them close and turning to the murmuring crowd. "Right then, you lot! Shove off, Mr. Potter must be going!"
Dazed and thrilled at having seen their Hero so close, the gathering of people obediently cleared a path to the door, shouting out departing calls of "we love you Harry!" and "I do hope you feel better, Mr. Potter."
Rolling his eyes with a slanted grin, Bill guided them out of the Animalia and back towards the Leaky Cauldron, with Ron chattering blithely about all the different animals he'd seen and which ones would make the best mascot for his amateur Quidditch Team.
Pausing outside the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, Harry glanced one more time back down the street, where people were filing out of the Arcane Animalia. At the forefront of the crowd stood Alrum, ushering people from store. As if sensing he was being watched, Alrum lifted his head and peered directly at Harry. Narrowing his eyes, Harry turned and followed his friends.
There we go! First chapter, re-done and hopefully improved!
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To be continued...
1 To my understanding, Animalia is an animal kingdom. Maybe it got that meaning from the book Animalia by Grahame Base (I love that book!). So, credit to Grahame Base! But, even if I'm wrong and it doesnt have that meaning, I just think Alrums Arcane Animalia has such a good ring to it, I'll be leaving it like that anyway :P
I have been rewriting this steadily for a while now, in my spare time. Two jobs and school, it's a bit tough on a lazy procrastinator like me hehehe. I have four more redone chapters ready to be posted, but I'll be holding off because frankly if uploading them is going to cause all those weird grammar errors I am way too tired to go through and correct them all :P So tell me what you all think, yes? Again, please forgive any mistakes. This chapter HAS been beta'd but like I said before, I had to go back and correct all the things that uploading did, plus I can't help going back a lot and changing bits and pieces. I've also never finished the fifth book and haven't even started the sixth, so... if there are plotholes just try to ignore them, yes?