Fantasie Impromptu: A Wet Tale
Summary: The Twins explain what they saw – in a roundabout way – and Hermione takes charge.
Rating: T (for now)
Warnings: This will be SLASH in the future, between Draco and Harry, though nothing graphic will happen until they are of age. They won't be rushing into a relationship, OR into bed. If you don't know, slash is the term for a homosexual relationship between guys.
Author's Note: Just to let everyone know, this story is highly AU. Go back a few years, after fourth year, and take a hard left, because this story definitely deviates far off-course. Though I may borrow elements from the later books, it won't be terribly many as they annoyed the hell out of me. And the epilogue? Don't even think it. "Albus Severus" and "James Sirius"? Seriously? Anyway, I won't rant ^^;
Oh and please excuse any typos/grammatical errors. I did re-read through it, but it's also 2am so I'm guessing I'm not at my best.
Apology: Hi everyone. Who would expect me to update this after 3 years? Certainly not me. If you'd like a bit of an explanation, please read my profile. I would like to thank everyone who enjoyed this story and took the time to review, even years after the last update. It's because of you I decided to sit down and write this. It's probably not the most brilliant piece of fiction, as I'm quite rusty and it's a bit of a fluff chaper, but I do hope you like it. I will try and answer some people's questions from reviews in the next chapter (if there is interest). Now, read on!
Chapter 4 – What the Twins Saw
"Fred! George! Stop this nonsense and just tell us what you saw!" growled Hermione, a fierce scowl thundering across her features.
"Now, now, Hermione dear," soothed Fred, holding up his hands in placation.
"There's no need for all that, we were just about to get to the point—" assured George, sidling up to the irate brunette and attempting to sling an arm around her shoulder. She roughly shook him off and heaved a great, long-suffering sigh. A little snicker escaped the twin as he backed off.
"—Before you interrupted us, that is," added Fred cheekily, darting across to the far side of the room as Hermione's expression darkened. Never let it be said Fred was a stupid boy – foolishly daring, yes, but not stupid.
"Guys, please," begged Harry, pale hands clutching at his hair. Normally he found the twins' antics rather amusing – primarily when they were inflicting themselves on other people, not him. This was so not what he wanted to deal with after just having woken from some day-long sleep, feeling like he'd been tumbled through a washing machine, with no bloody memory of the night before. Brilliant, really.
"Fine, fine," George waved his hand dismissively, flinging himself onto the bed beside Harry. "Like we were saying, after we heard this ungodly girlish scream," he continued, tossing Harry a pointed glance, "We did what any concerned citizen would do, and snuck out of the house in the dead of night to investigate."
"Naturally," muttered Ron, crossing his arms. He already knew what had happened, as he'd had the fortune of being a first-hand witness. He just wanted to twins to quit messing around and prove him right. Then maybe Hermione would stop giving him that achingly disappointed look. Ugh…
For some odd reason Harry was distracted by his friend's muscles that bulged with the movement, thickening and stretching against his sweater. Had Ron always been so muscular? He glanced down at himself, eyes flickering over his pale and admittedly slender limbs. Self-consciously, he too crossed his arms and noticed they didn't bulge nearly as much.
"—thought we'd find some unlawfully sexy damsel in need of our manly rescue services," blinking rapidly, Harry brought his attention back to the conversation at hand. He'd been getting more and more distracted by little odd things lately…
Fred had picked up the story now, his hands gesturing wildly as he enthused, "We forged ahead, heedless of any danger, didn't we, brother?"
"Not even scared, we were!"
"Not even! If there was a pretty maiden that needed rescuing, we weren't going to let her down!"
Hermione rolled her doe eyes at their dramatics, but a small part of her couldn't help be a little swept up. Her heart drummed a little faster. What had the twins seen?
"Closer, closer, the river was close, just a few steps away," an intense Fred leaned in close to Harry, his voice dipping low.
"All was quiet, deathly so, and we did fear something had happened to our fair maiden!" cried George suddenly, startling the others.
"We had to get to her, to save her, this maiden whom whilst on the walk there, George and I had already decided we'd share during the week and then have alone on alternate weekends," threw in Fred, sounding both decisive and disappointed. Harry guessed that – obviously – what they'd found had not been a lovely damsel in distress. Or else he supposed she'd be there with them now, all frilly and flighty and fainting over her heroes… Harry shook his head. Where did these weird mental images come from?
"Finally we pushed through a thicket and the river appeared before us… and on the bank of that river…" George trailed off, his voice a hushed, tense whisper.
"There was…" continued Fred, a tiny quirk of a smile teasing his lips.
"…There was? What? What was there?" murmured Harry, green eyes impossibly wide and frightful.
The twins shared a secretive glance, then as one turned to face the trio. They remained passively silent.
"Oh, for goodness' sake just spit it out already!" ordered Hermione.
"There was Harry," George stated.
"Yep. It was Harry's delightfully girlish scream we'd heard," smirked Fred.
"Hey!" Harry was quite sure that if he screamed, and he wasn't sure he had, it would be a rather manly scream. Hmph.
"So, what was Harry doing if he wasn't drunk?" prompted Hermione, leveling the twins with an expectant stare.
"Ah, my dear Hermione, it was not what Harry was doing, it was what he was being," corrected Fred, nodding sagely.
"What he was 'being'? What's that supposed to mean?" she pressed, pursing her lips. If those twins didn't get to the point, so help her…
"What we are saying, Hermy—"
"Don't call me Hermy!"
"—is that Ron was telling the truth."
"You must be joking. It just doesn't happen!" she insisted, shaking her head in firm denial.
"But it did happen, Hermione!" affirmed Ron, feeling bolder now that the twins were backing him up – for once.
"Indeed it did, my good man!" George slapped Ron heartily on the back. The younger redhead stumbled forward a bit, shooting his brother a menaced look.
"Our young Harry here… was a mermaid!" finished Fred with a dramatic flourish, flinging his arms wide and drawing himself up pompously.
The silence that followed was so loud and thick, Fred couldn't help but think perhaps he hadn't said it dramatically enough.
"Ahem, I said—" he began, and drew breath deep into his lungs.
"We heard you," said Hermione, faintly, turning dazed eyes to her dear friend, who seemed to be having an embolism.
Trickle by trickle, wave by wave, memories were slowly washing back over Harry's mind. He recalled the daring challenge of skinny dipping that had seemed so harmless. He remembered the cool night air teasing his naked skin. He recollected the first kiss of the water on his legs.
He remembered mind-numbing, ear-splitting, bone-rattling pain. He remembered gasping, struggling, fighting for air, each shuddering breath choking him further, darkness swimming around the edges of his vision, sinking, floundering, the dull roar of water in his ears, pain, gasp, agony, ah! Can't breathe! Can't… can't br…breathe… Ron… HELP!
He remembered darkness.
Then Ron's bone-white face blotting out the moon. And he remembered…
Blinking slowly, very… slowly… once… twice… he drew in a deep, shuddering breath, as if to reaffirm he still could breathe.
"I remember," he whispered, lifting his eyes to meet those of his friends'. "I remember," he repeated.
"Oh… oh…" Hermione's knees buckled, and she collapsed onto Ron's violently orange bed. It clashed horribly with her hair.
"Finally you believe me!" shouted Ron, relieved beyond measure. He slumped onto the bed beside her.
"I'm… not sure what to believe," she said. She honestly wasn't. Yes, she had grown used to the magic and wonder that living in the Wizarding world gifted her each and every day. Yes, fantastical things like this happened all the time. There was dragons, goblins, elves, faeries, and fantastical creatures that muggles couldn't even dream of imagining.
But… this? She'd never even heard of a wizard just… suddenly turning into a mermaid!
"The fish!" she cried.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, subdued. "That bloody fish."
It had taken some time for everyone to calm down enough to discuss things rationally. The twins had found it all spectacularly hilarious. Hermione's scientifically-inclined mind had eventually kicked in, and she'd leapt right in with one-hundred-and-one different questions that nobody could answer, as they didn't know any more than she did.
Harry had huddled down in his bed for a while, cocooning himself in the protective folds of his blanket and just prayed for it to all be some hallucinogenic-induced nightmare caused by eating one too many of those 'special' mushrooms that Mr. Weasley grew out the back for 'educational' purposes only. Then he remembered he hadn't eaten anything of the sort and there really was no excuse for this horrible nightmare, thus he only had two choices; one: get out of bed and face this nightmarish reality, or two: finally accept his status as a complete loon and allow them to cart him off to St Mungo's.
Hm. Tough choice.
Ron had just been so relieved that he wasn't going insane, he immediately switched into "I told you so" mode and thus repeated the phrase over and over to an increasingly irritated Hermione. After the thirty-eighth "I told you so", she finally smacking him across the back of the head, and left him to nurse his wounded dignity.
"Okay, look, this is obviously a bit of a problem," Hermione straightened up, squared her shoulders, and took charge, giving all a glimpse of what a formidable woman she would become, "I can think of two immediately obvious dangers with this. One, if the press found out, it would be a social nightmare for you, Harry," he couldn't help but agree. They'd be all over him, and it would just stem a whole plethora of other problems… "Two, if Voldemort found out… well, there's no telling how vulnerable you are in that form. If all he had to do was get you wet to incapacitate you…" she shot a disapproving look to the twins, who'd snickered at the unintended double-entendre, "Anyway, we need to find out more about this, so I suggest we take a three-pronged approach."
"'Three-pronged'?" mouthed Ron to his brothers. They both shook their heads cluelessly.
"Firstly, we need to research. Which means we need books. I don't know if I have enough here with me that may contain any relevant material, which means we either wait until we get back to Hogwarts – and idea I'm not fond of, as time is of the essence – or we go back to Diagon Alley and visit Flourish and Blotts. Which leads to my second approach, going back to Alrum's Animalia and finding out all we can from him (without letting on what has happened to Harry), and hopefully get another look at that fish. And thirdly, we need to conduct some experiments."
Harry gulped, shifting uneasily under the covers, "…Experiments?"
"Of course! We need to find out as much as we can in very little time, that means we need to do some at-home testing. Nothing invasive, Harry, don't worry."
"'Don't worry,' she says. You're not the one about to get experimented on!" bellowed Harry, pulling the sheets up higher over his head.
"Harry, be reasonable. We need to know this. What if it's not just triggered by water? What if it's any liquid? What happens if you accidentally get splashed, how long will you remain in your new… ah… form? How much control do you have over your new… appendage?"
Harry sighed. Of course she was right. She usually was. He supposed he should be grateful he had a friend as level-headed and intelligent as Hermione but…
"Oh and we should probably tell Dumbledore as soon as possible."
"No. I don't want to… not yet. Can't I just enjoy the rest of the holidays?"
"It's no good burying your head in the sand, Harry."
"…I know, just… look, it's only a week. Can't it wait until we get back to school?"
"I suppose," Hermione conceded, "but as soon as we get back, we must tell. He'll be able to help keep you safe Harry."
"Fine. Can I just… be alone for now? Before we go all 'gung-ho' about fixing this mess… I just need to… sleep for a while or something." More like wallow in self-pity, but who's telling?
Hermione gazed sorrowfully at the huddled lump under the blankets. She glanced at Ron. He nodded at her, offering a slight smile.
"Okay Harry. We'll leave you alone for now."
"Yeah, mate. I'll tell mum you're still not up to getting out of bed," promised Ron, rising to his feet. Feeling rather gentlemanly, he offered his hand out to Hermione to help her up. She quirked a brow at him and gave him an amused smile before placing her hand in his and standing up.
Ron had no idea his body could tingle all over like that from a simple touch. A goofy grin spread across his face. Fortunately Hermione's eyes were once again lingering on Harry's hidden form, so she missed the incredible love-struck expression on his face.
"Come on," he urged, face flushing. She nodded briefly at him and they both moved to the door. Her hand still clasped in his.
Fred and George tittered between themselves, then as one turned to Harry, "Righteo, Old Chap, we'll clear on out," chirped Fred.
"Before we go though, did you want to finish that glass of water? We've a whole pitcher if you need. Here, we'll just…" as he spoke, a decidedly wicked look stole over George's face, as he crept ever closer to the huddled mass of Harry. In his hands he held the half-full pitcher of water. Then, just as he was poised to tip the water over the unsuspecting Harry, Hermione happened to catch them out of the corner of her eye as she was leaving the room.
"GEORGE!" she shrieked, dropping Ron's hand as if it were hot coal and charging over to his mischievous brother.
"Merlin on a broomstick!" George exclaimed, and threw his hands up in fright. Unfortunately, he also let go of the pitcher. It flew into the air, and as one they all watched it flip and turn. Water sloshed and sprayed out, caught by the light and glistening beautifully in the afternoon light.
Harry, who had tentatively poked his head out to see what the commotion was about – hadn't they promised to leave him in peace? – just managed to catch a glimpse of four stunned faces before—
Cold all over his legs.
"You stupid, stupid boys!" raged Hermione, "What were you thinking?!"
"Now, now, Hermy—" George stretched his hands out before him, edging away from her as if she were a raging bull, liable to charge any moment. She huffed so forcefully it was a wonder steam wasn't shooting out her nostrils. Ron stomped over to stand beside her, his face the depiction of thunder.
A groan from the bed caught their attention, and the twins used that small window of opportunity to high-tail it out of there.
On the verge of hyperventilating, Harry gently pushed the sodden covers off. As they slid down, each inch revealed a sparkling expanse of stunning sea-green scales, so delicate and jewel-like.
"Oh, Harry…" whimpered Hermione, her hand moving of its own will to brush against those silken scales. He jerked under her touch, scuttling backwards awkwardly. Harry's own face was awash with horror, staring at the grotesquely beautiful mutation his legs had become. With each movement, the… thing… would twitch, muscles subtly shifting beneath those scales.
Ron, too, found himself completely stunned. He hadn't really had a good look the previous night, what with it being so dark and him having a mild panic attack at the time. But now that he could get a good look at them, they really were rather… lovely.
"Um," Harry began, squeezing his eyes shut, "could someone maybe get me a towel?"
And there it is, the brand-new fourth chapter of Fantasie Impromptu: A Wet Tale. Not terribly exciting or eventful, but it did serve its purpose, setting the scene and planning for what's to come.
Up Next: Begin Hermione's experimentation phase, a trip back to Diagon Alley, and Alrum's definitely up to something.
There will be some Harry/Draco interaction once they get back to Hogwarts in the next couple of chapters, but we will get some 'on-screen' Draco time before that, to introduce him to the story.
Feel free to review if you liked it, it would mean a lot to me to know people are still out there to enjoy this. I only ask that nobody flame me for my long absence.
 That's right. Magic mushrooms _
 Bit of a play on a blasphemous phrase I often say when I get a shock: "Jesus Christ on a pogo stick!"