TITLE - Water Aerobics for the Aquaphobic
FANDOM & CATEGORY - Harry Potter; slight crossover with Ranma 1/2 - action/adventure/humor
PAIRING(S) - none
RATING - PG-13/PG-15
WARNINGS - crack!fic; although I do believe it is very safe to say that I keep and maintain the canon characters as in-character as possible. That's what makes a good humor story, see, is that they are themselves, even given these ridiculous situations.
SUMMARY - In retrospect, Harry should've known that Umbridge's field trip to the ancient springs of Jusenkyo was an unmitigated disaster waiting to happen. Having fallen into the Springs of the Drowned Emo and Drowned Emu, Harry supposes he's luckier than, say, Snape (Spring of the Drowned Unicorn) or Ginny (Springs of the Drowned Pig and Homing Pigeon), but there are more problems in the upcoming year than just curses that have no known cure: Voldemort takes advantage of his own cursed form to infiltrate Hogwarts as Luna's new pet bunny and actively plots the demise of, well, everyone. And there's really no way to explain Lucius Malfoy, the benevolent Buddhist monk. (AU OotP; Ranma 1/2 crossover) Features many minor characters with personalities – especially Daphne Greengrass and Blaise Zabini.
NOTES: I know that I have other stories I'm currently writing, but this story's plot bunny had rabies when it bit me! On the bright side, I'm having very few problems writing this story as I'm able to follow the fifth book as an outline for events. My mind is absolutely brimming with so many different ideas and ambitions for this story, and it's so easy to write. :) Nursing school will be starting up soon and I won't have time for projects that require as much thought as my other stories. Not that a lot of thought doesn't go into this story, but it's kind of writing itself the way that A Gutter Rat's Tale did. So I thought I'd post the first chapter before I left for vacation, and then updates should theoretically be once or twice a week, even despite school This story is AU to OotP, but follows it very closely.
"It all began long before the Founders created Hogwarts." For once, the students watched and listened to Umbridge as she paced up and down their ranks, her little smile curling her lips and the wide brim of her pink straw hat shading her eyes from the morning sun (which was hidden beyond the fog). "Three thousand years ago, the first two Dark wizards fought. With the blackest of magic to match their rotten hearts, they changed the very nature of this valley."
Umbridge stopped at the head of the students and spread her hands wide to gesture to the thousands of springs that dotted the countryside, many masked beneath the heavy mist that blanketed the ground. "Some of you," here she sent a very pointed look to where Harry Potter stood, shoulder to shoulder, with Neville and Hermione, "have chosen to question the value of being taught theory. The minister and I have decided you would benefit from seeing, first-hand, the destruction that such magic in action can do, the effects of which persists for many centuries thereafter."
She turned and smiled sweetly at Severus Snape, who looked sour and rumpled and quite offended to be outside of his dungeons first thing in the early dawn light, although it had been close to dusk when they Portkeyed away from Hogwarts. "Now, for your assignment, you must each gather a vial of water from one of the springs."
The guide, a heavyset Chinese man whom no one could figure was a Muggle, Squib, or Wizard, gasped in astonished fear. "Oh no, madam, you must not-"
"Silence!" Umbridge snapped her wand at the guide, and his mouth flapped without sound. She turned back to the students, her smile creepy and disarming once more. "Oh, yes, it would be prudent of me to explain how the very nature of this valley has changed. You see, children, the Jusenkyo springs are individually cursed." She giggled in glee. "Should you fall into the spring, you will take on the form of whatever drowned in it. The curse is activated with cold water, and dispelled with hot water, and, unfortunately, is permanent. I highly advise none of you to fall into the springs." With that, she waved to the box of vials Snape held. "Well, go on, then."
"Do not touch the water," Snape added as Harry cautiously grabbed a vial from the box. Harry flashed a look at Snape's face, but the Potions Master's expression was carefully blank, his dark eyes hooded.
Harry cupped the vial in both hands, gazed in wonder at the many springs that he could see within the mists, and descended the hill upon which he and his classmates stood. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was approaching his doom. The ground beneath him was slick and muddy, dotted only here and there with bunches of scraggly grass. He was careful with his footing as he approached a spring. The waters looked dark and murky, like it was mixed with some sort of scum. Harry turned away from that spring and looked at another. This one seemed to swirl counterclockwise, as if something big and invisible swam just beneath the surface.
Harry could feel the hair on the back of his neck rise on end as he carefully weaved around the springs, searching for one that didn't give him the heebie-jeebies.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Ron bending over and dipping his vial into one of the springs. Harry jumped, startled. "Ron! Look out-"
Draco viciously bumped into Ron, sending him head-first into the spring. "Oops. I slipped on the mud." He snickered. "Clumsy me."
Harry leapt to his feet with a growl, the vial tossed somewhere he didn't care. "Malfoy! You're going to pay!"
"Am I, Potter?" Draco just smirked after that as he pointed his wand near Harry's feet and muttered something under his breath. The mud was suddenly much more slick than it had been before, and Harry slid backwards. His feet came out beneath him into empty air – and then it was shockingly cold and wet. Harry thrashed in the water, his feet unable to touch the bottom. He sank lower and lower, the darkness enclosing around him. Oh, what was the use? Let it end like this. The Dark Lord would eventually kill him, just as he had killed Cedric and his parents. Umbridge was winning; let her. Let the stupid old bat have whatever she wanted – just as bad as Voldemort, that one. For all that Harry cared, she and Voldemort could squabble over who would eventually rule, and hopefully kill each other in the process -
Harry was yanked out of the springs by an invisible hand. He briefly saw Hermione, her wand trained upon him as she performed a levitation charm. Oh, swell. Rescued by a dame. Could this get any worse?
Hermione was tackled from behind by Pansy Parkinson. Losing the charm's concentration caused Harry to drop onto the muddy embankment beside the spring. The impact painfully drove the air from his lungs and made spots float in his vision. Ooohh, pain, yes, he deserved pain so much. Sniffling, Harry sat upright and looked around. He dimly realized that the students were now going at each other en masse, Slytherins versus Gryffindors, and Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff slipping and sliding to get out of the crossfire. Across the way, he saw a young woman he hadn't recognized before. She had short, dark hair, but was dressed in Ron's clothes. She was also poking at her chest. It bounced.
"Um." She looked up at Harry's voice. The stupefied expression was definitely Ron's.
"Oh dear." The guide hurried to the girl's side. "Oh, too bad, sir. You have fallen into Spring of Drowned Violent Tomboy. Not-so-tragic tale of young girl who almost drowned there last year."
Ron froze in poking his newly-acquired chest. "I'm a what?"
"Now, whoever fall into spring take the body and temper of young Tendo Akane."
The guide hurried to Harry's side next; Harry felt like bursting into tears at the horrible thought of how his best mate was now a girl. Although, actually it wasn't all that horrible a thought. Maybe Ron needed some help exploring?
NO! No, he couldn't do that to his best friend. Harry sobbed in misery.
"Oh, sir." The guide looked from Harry, to the spring that Harry had fallen into, and then back to Harry again, this time with an expression of sympathy. "You have fallen into Spring of Drowned Emo; very tragic story of young emotional goth who drowned himself in spring five years ago. Now, you are cursed to be emo."
So the Boy-Who-Lived was now an emotional goth. Harry leapt to his feet. "I hate my life!" he screamed to the skies. "I'm going to end it now!" He immediately threw himself headlong into another spring. It was blissfully cold, and his body felt heavy, but it demanded to breathe. Stupid body. But the need to breathe seemed a little more important than the need to die, so Harry scrambled up the slippery side of the spring. His head broke free of the water long before the rest of his body followed. He seemed to have difficulty keeping his balance. His feet slipped on the mud, and he sat heavily, scrawny legs jutting off in either direction in an awkward split.
Ron-as-Akane and the guide were looking in aghast at Harry. He opened his mouth to ask them what was wrong.
"Meep?" Wait, that didn't come out right….
Ron slapped both hands over her mouth to stop something that sounded suspiciously like a hysterical giggle, and the guide shook his head sadly. "Oh dear, sir. You have also fallen into Spring of Drowned Emu. Very tragic legend of emu that drowned there over six hundred years ago."
"Now, who ever falls into spring takes on body of emu."
"Harry's an emo emu!" Ron declared, before toppling over backward with a shriek of laughter.
Oh no. This was simply too much for Harry. With a scream of "MEEP!" he ran blindly through the valley, trying to escape the laughter that stung his pride and followed him no matter where he went. He ignored people that were in his way, knocking them backwards without a single care. Let them suffer as he had suffered!
Such a shame that he didn't really look around at the swath of destruction that followed him. It certainly would have made him feel better.
Draco struggled up the embankment, snarling and hissing in anger, water dripping from his fur. When he found out where that stupid turkey responsible for this went… He came up behind the guide, who was shaking his head and talking to someone else.
"It's okay, Neville," that loopy Luna Lovegood was saying as she patted the short, dumpy-looking critter that Draco couldn't see very well around the guide's legs. "I'm sure Harry was thinking of what was best for you when he prevented you from falling into Spring of the Drowned Goose with Pansy. I, personally, think you make a smashing wolverine."
The guide turned around then, just in time to see Draco. "Oh no, sir! You have fallen into Spring of Drowned Ferret! Very tragic-"
Draco refused to listen anymore. He launched himself at the guide with a snarl, who sidestepped the attack with an ease born from dodging many a newly cursed individual, and abruptly found himself face-to-face with a rather dank and vile-looking wolverine. It smiled at him. My, what sharp teeth you have there, Longbottom.
Umbridge saw the Granger girl fall into a spring with a mighty splash, and approached it unhurriedly. She shook her head sadly at the paperwork she would now have to file regarding these children's cursed statuses. Poor dears; they will always their curses hanging over their heads. What a trial that shall be in life. She couldn't help but allow the small smile. Now, perhaps, these dear children would realize the true horrors of dark magic, of being subhuman and all that entailed, and why they should only follow the approved protocol of the Ministry-
Granger exploded from the spring, somersaulted through the air, and landed on the ground with an unnatural ease and grace. Umbridge immediately up brought her wand, prepared to battle whatever crazed monster Granger had turned into. She found herself staring down the unwavering, pointed edge of a claymore. Which ought to have been too heavy for Granger to hold, but Umbridge supposed anyone could build some decent upper body strength from lugging so many books around.
"Professor." Granger smiled. She looked like an older, more mature version of herself; a woman of twenty-some years, rather than a teenager. A leather band tied back her long, bushy hair. She was also heavily muscled, and dressed in what appeared to be a chainmail and leather bikini armor. Before Umbridge could snap about Granger's inappropriate wardrobe, the guide decided to add his own commentary.
"Oh, miss, you have fallen into Spring of Drowned Warrior Goddess!"
Granger looked down at herself in awe. "Really?"
"Very tragic story of warrior goddess who drowned there by the hand of the Phoenix God, almost two thousand years ago. Now, whoever falls into spring takes on form and abilities of Warrior Goddess-"
"Brilliant!" Granger swung around and shook her sword at the sky. "I have a Dark Lord to defeat; see you around, professor!" With a battle cry that echoed across the valley, Granger levitated off the ground and flew off through the air. Somewhere, there was a clapping boom of thunder.
"P-points from Gryffindor!" Umbridge yelled after Granger. Her silent seething was interrupted when one hand dropped on her left shoulder, and then another hand dropped on her right shoulder.
"Oh, well, points," said one of those atrocious Weasley twins.
"Is that the worst we can expect?" the other asked.
"Come!" A third hand grabbed Umbridge just below her right elbow.
"Join the fun!" A fourth hand grabbed Umbridge just below her left elbow.
The guide began to sweat. "Oh dear. Sirs must have fallen into Spring of Drowned Twins."
Umbridge couldn't say anything to that, because the two Freds and two Georges picked her up and tossed her into a spring. She swallowed a mouthful of water as she screamed when she plunged into the frigid water.
"Was the Spring of Drowned Horny Toad really necessary, sirs?" asked the guide mournfully.
Severus Snape briefly saw what looked to be an ostrich with bright green eyes and a suspiciously familiar-looking scar as it tried to skid to a halt. Too late to stop its maddened rush, it accidentally headbutted Snape into the Spring of the Drowned Unicorn. Very tragic legend, sir, of a unicorn who drowned there more than fifteen hundred years ago. Sir? Why are you looking at me like that, sir? Yeeeaaaaiii! Sir has very sharp horn!
Voldemort surveyed the Jusenkyo springs, a hint of smile on his bloodless lips as he remembered the last time he had been here, fourteen years ago. Ah, one of his more creative ideas, really. Anyone could torture and kill traitorous subordinates, but to crush them so utterly and thoroughly, trap them in humiliation and servitude for the rest of their unnatural lives? Yes; it was times like this that Voldemort felt damn good about himself. And soon, he would have his hands on the elusive Brat-Who-Just-Wouldn't-Roll-Over-and-Die-Damnit. The chance to grab the Brat while he was beyond the safety of Hogwarts was too delicious to bypass, and the opportunity of being out of Europe made him feel strangely amiable.
"Come," he told his servants as he smoothly descended into the mist-covered valley. So amiable, in fact, that he briefly stopped by at Azkaban to grab some of his more loyal servants to join him on this foray. "Don't touch the water. It's cursed." Someone snorted in disbelief behind him. He stopped walking so suddenly that Bellatrix bumped into him. She wilted backwards as he turned, bowing and scraping with platitudes falling from her lips. "Who mocked me?" Only silence and Bellatrix's platitudes answered him.
"You don't believe that the waters are cursed." Voldemort moved forward; the ranks of his Death Eaters parted before him, each one reverently upon bent knees. A smile twisted his lips. "You all have much to remember these past years." A flick of his wand, and Bellatrix was sent, screaming and tumbling, down the hill and into one of the many springs. The Death Eaters hurried to the spring to see what would emerge, Voldemort following at his own leisure.
Bellatrix clambered back out, looking drenched and none the worse for wear. She spat and muttered vile obscenities beneath her breath as she tried to push back long, tangled hair from her face.
"I thought it was supposed to be cursed," muttered Avery.
"Alas," Voldemort said, choosing to ignore the dissenter since he had plans for that one later. Painful plans. "Spring of the Drowned Harpy." Bellatrix stomped to them. "Very tragic legend of a harpy who drowned in the spring twelve hundred years ago." Bellatrix viciously shoved Lucius Malfoy to the side when he failed to move fast enough to suit her. Everyone winced as Malfoy tumbled into a separate spring with a mighty splash. She stopped just before Voldemort, her face red and eyes glittering dangerously. "And whoever falls into the spring will take the form of a vicious, bloodthirsty harpy." Voldemort placed a gentle hand on Bellatrix's shoulder and steered her out of his path before he marched forward.
Everyone turned to look at Lucius Malfoy, who doggy-paddled to the spring's edge. He looked dazed, drenched, and confused, but otherwise unchanged in appearance. "And how do you feel, Lucius?" Voldemort asked softly.
Lucius blinked. "I… I have the sudden urge to hug puppies!" Voldemort frowned at that as Bellatrix circled Lucius with a predatory gleam in her cold eyes. Then she reached out and poked Lucius hard. "I say, was that really necessary?" She poked him again as a bloodthirsty smile spread across her gaunt face.
"Please, you are infringing on my personal space, and I'm a happily married man!"
Voldemort moved forward before the bickering between two of his top lieutenants mounted into a bloody battle to the death. He really wasn't in the mood to watch clothes being ripped apart and teeth sinking into flesh as his subordinates completely forgot that they were human and just opted to fight like mindless, ravenous beasts. It bothered him that he couldn't remember which spring Lucius had fallen into. At one time, he knew what of each curse contained in the thousands of springs and their locations – and then he heard the confirmation he needed.
"Please. I don't want to fight you," Lucius told Bellatrix patiently as he took one of her hands into his own and gazed kindly into her eyes. "Can't we just be friends and let bygones be bygones?"
Voldemort winced. Oh yes; Spring of the Drowned Good Samaritan. Well, he knew just how to take care of that. He brought his wand forth and stalked up to Lucius, preparing a spell that would immediately send Lucius into the Spring of the Drowned Harpy. Lucius must have sensed his approach, because he turned, wide-eyed, and then flailed his arms in panic, as if he wasn't battle-hardened Death Eater.
"My lord – duck!"
Voldemort ignored Lucius as he raised his wand – the Spring of the Drowned Duck was just across the valley.
Bellatrix frowned as she looked in the same direction as Lucius. She pointed an accusing finger. "It's a chicken."
"No, no," declared Avery, "a turkey!"
And how, Voldemort thought in irritation, do you possibly mix up a duck, chicken, and turkey? Unless some unlucky sod managed to fall into all three springs; he knew of the most unfortunate fellow who somehow managed to tumble from the Spring of the Drowned Porcupine into the Spring of the Drowned Parakeet, and came out looking like a flying green pincushion that had escaped from a second year's transfiguration class. (Served the fool right; no one gets away with overcharging Voldemort guide fare!) He turned to face this horribly conglomerated chimera, and found that it wasn't. "You imbeciles. That's an emu-" and then Harry knocked him sideways into the Spring of the Drowned Rabbit.
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Ron looked at the ground, as if he desperately hoped that it would open up in a hole and swallow him – or, at the very least, a spring would pop up that he could drown himself in. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean-"
"Mum is going to be absolutely delighted with another daughter," Ginny cut in snidely.
"You – you wouldn't!"
"We'll have so much fun with your hair-"
"Leave my hair out of this!"
"And your clothes-"
"I get enough of the lace when I'm just a bloke!"
"And your makeup…"
Ron was unable to verbally respond to that, so he settled on making an undignified squeaking noise.
Ginny gave him a tight, dark smile that promised terrible retribution. "I've always wanted a sister.