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 these 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.
In the resulting confusion from seeing their Dark Lord roll head over heels into one of the cursed springs, the rampaging emu managed to escape. Wanting to end his life was one thing, but Harry hadn't really meant it enough to willingly throw himself at the feet of Death Eaters – yet. So he took off in a flurry of feathers and down, weaving a haphazard path through the thick mist and around the many springs. He didn't know yet where he'd wind up, but there couldn't be too many places worse than an area filled with Death Eaters.
Come to think of it…
Harry skidded to a halt. He had to warn the others!
Uh. Except he appeared to be quite lost.
The dark, ancient magic from the cursed springs blanketed the entire valley. It not only warped reality around itself, but also changed fortunes of all who entered it. Thus, when Nymphadora Tonks Disapparated into the valley, she didn't land with the field trip party as she had intended.
She landed in one of the cursed springs.
Tonks splashed her way to shore, her split tongue wagging in the air as she looked at the ground (it was far closer than she was used to), looked over her scaly shoulder at the spring, and then concentrated. A few moments passed before Tonk the gila monster became Tonk the Auror with shockingly pink hair.
Tonks was also quite naked.
Face flushing red as she covered herself with one hand and quickly looked around for any lurking audience in the mist, Tonks immediately accioed her drenched clothes from the spring. She tried dressing and drying with charms at the same time, lost her balance, and flopped into another spring.
Exasperated, Tonks the pink Shetland pony morphed back into Tonks the Auror. She summoned back her clothes, patiently charmed all of them dry, and then dressed without rushing anywhere. How on earth did animagi manage to keep their clothes when they changed shapes? Well, she supposed the point of a curse was the inconvenience at it's very best, and losing one's clothes was certainly that, at very best!
Tonks took careful note of her surroundings – marked the placement of every spring that she could see, though visibility was limited to less than a hundred feet. She knew that the students were in the valley somewhere, so she picked a random direction (hoped it would work), and then set off in a cautious, but determined march. She refused to fall into any more springs, to get wet, to change her shape (and species) involuntary, to — hey!
The springs, she suspected as she swam out of the Spring of the Drowned Dodo Bird, were prone to moving.
She later decided that the fact that the springs seemed to move was not nearly as bizarre as the Spring of the Drowned Octopus. Granted, it was confusing just to figure out which limbs were which when Tonks morphed back to herself (and just how on earth did she managed to sprout feathers while doing so?), but a far more important question begged to be answered: How does an octopus drown?
The first thing that Voldemort thought when he finally reached shore was how much bigger the world seemed around him. And how strange ankles looked up close. Truly, how often does a person think about ankles, unless you're someone with a foot fetish or Victorian obsession? Although Bellatrix's ankles were rather nice, he supposed, if you liked those sort of things, because they were small and pointy, and she didn't appear to have any varicose veins. Of course, the robes swirling around her ankles could probably conceal the varicose veins if they were located higher, but it bode rather well for her genetics to come out of Azkaban without varicose veins.
This also begged the question of why he was even concerned about varicose veins on one of his most loyal lieutenants-
"Oh, my lord, you are just so cute!"
He glared up in annoyance – Voldemort was not cute. He was evil! He was cruel! He was-
Bellatrix grabbed a handful of soaking fur and hefted him up. She cuddled him close to her breasts and rubbed him in wonder.
Stop that! he commanded in irritation, struggling to breathe when she was so insipid as to try smothering him with her chest. (This was regardless of the fact that Voldemort couldn't even remember the last time he had sex, much less remember the last time he even possessed the faintest desire to experience any.) Unfortunately, Parseltongue didn't translate very well in whatever tongue rabbits spoke. How dare you take the liberty to touch me! You shall suffer for such indiscretion. You shall not – oooh. Wait. Right there. That's nice. He forgot his tirade a moment as her questing fingers found an area just behind his ears that made him feel absolutely delicious.
"So cute!" Bellatrix declared. "And soft, and sweet." A change swept over her face, one that Voldemort didn't see because he had his eyes closed in pleasure. "I…I…." They sprang open, however, when her grip nearly crushed his neck. "I have this sudden and violent urge to rip open your throat and drink your blood. Ow!"
She dropped Voldemort when he viciously bit the palm of her hand, and stared, almost hypnotized, as blood gushed from the open wound. Despite everything that ever happened to him, Voldemort was a Slytherin and remained true to his roots – and survival was tangible to those roots. He darted off into the midst, marveling at how springy he felt. He hadn't had this sort of energy in ages! Weeeee….
Death Eaters remained in place, too stupid and stunned from the events to do much more than stare at each other in befuddlement. Except Lucius, who turned on Bellatrix and immediately began to gently bandage her hand and berate her behavior. "Rabbits are our friends," he told her firmly. "All animals are our friends, even though I know he's our dark and cruel master, disguised beneath that beguiling white fur and big red eyes. You must treat them with respect and dignity-"
Voldemort heard nothing after that when Bellatrix threw herself at Lucius with a scream of outrage, her nails undoubtedly extended for maximum damage.
The Spring of the Drowned Man was on the far side the valley, hidden away in some of the dark forest that grew in the very east, and perfectly capable of negating his current curse and thereby undoing all of its effects. Unfortunately, the Spring of the Drowned Man was also dry six months out of the year, and it the time of the year it was dry was determined by a complex mathematical formula that involved the current Zodiac calendar year, lunar cycles, and future stock market prices. He never did manage to figure out what the stock market had anything to do with the springs, except maybe that the gods had a seriously sick and demented sense of humor.
But a dried-up spring wasn't a problem. All he had to do was find some hot water, cast a few water-repelling charms, and patiently hide in a desert for the next few months until the next time the spring filled. He'd have to Obliviate the unfortunate memories of his rabbit self from his Death Eaters, but that wouldn't be an issue. No need for anyone to know that beneath his cruel, bloodthirsty exterior was a cute and fluffy-
He dashed into another pair of ankles. Dazed, he rocked back on his heels and shook his head to clear it.
"Oh, hello there. Are you a hefflelump?"
Voldemort sprang away from the hand that swooped down to grab him, but found his path blocked by a rather vicious-looking wolverine. It growled at him. The rabbit's senses immediately shut down in defense, the animalistic instinct to Play dead! briefly overwhelming Voldemort's analytical mind.
Luna picked him up and placed a leashing charm on him. "I told Neville that the woozles were hiding in the mist, but you're just a stray hefflelump and can't do any harm. Poor little guy." She rubbed Voldemort behind his ears. "You know, the woozles like to capture and eat hefflelumps, so I should take you back to Hogwarts with me. You'll be safe there."
Voldemort's ears snapped upright at the idea of going back to Hogwarts. Oh ho, this was just too rich.
The wolverine whined and nuzzled Luna's ankle. "It's okay, Neville. My dad says that woozles don't like wolverines or weasels, so if we all stick together, we'll stay safe."
The wolverine sighed and shifted its weight.
The ferret caught beneath its front paw squeaked and looked as resentful as a ferret could, but wisely refrained from struggling. Voldemort surveyed them all with his usual air of arrogance as Luna rubbed him in all the right areas. Foolish girl; she had no idea what terror she would be bringing into Hogwarts, of the favor she was doing by sneaking him into Dumbledore's stronghold, right beneath Dumbledore's nose.
Voldemort would have laughed, but a rabbit's vocal cords just weren't up for the task. So he settled, instead, on being smug.
Oh yes; it was good to be him.
Having made his way back to the valley area where the others were present, Harry strutted about in depressed boredom. He wanted to die; just roll over and call it quits, but he didn't really want to be buried in the middle of China. He was cold, wet, miserable, and hungry. He looked at his fellow students, all suffering as he suffered; all cursed as he was cursed, although some were better, or worse, off than others. For instance, the twins managed to stay human; so had Ron (although Ron complained long and loud that he didn't appreciate being a girl, for which a pig – whom everyone assumed was most likely one of the female students – attacked him, and the resulting tussle that followed accidentally knocked the pig into the Spring of the Drowned Homing Pigeon. The pig was none the worse for wear, the guide explained to everyone once she had been fished out by one of the twins' Summoning charms. See, curses usually join together, rather than overriding one another, and that was why the pig now had a pair of relatively normal-sized, red-feathered wings sprouting from its back. Perfectly normal, you see, sirs, because who wouldn't like their very own flying pig?).
Personally, he thought that an emu was pathetic. An overgrown turkey, one of the twins had said affectionately. Harry pondered the risk of falling into, say, Spring of the Drowned Lion (because, after all, he was a Gryffindor), but sadly realized that he'd probably only have a fluffy, featherless tail, and then he's look more ridiculous than he was currently. Or worse yet, ferocious teeth in his beak.
He envied Neville, because who in their right mind would try taking on a wolverine? Well, Draco Malfoy had, but Neville soundly trounced Draco because a ferret really couldn't compare to its much more vicious cousin. And it wasn't as if they didn't already know that Draco wasn't in his right mind, the moronic git. And Hermione had fallen into Spring of the Drowned Warrior Goddess. All four of the Weasley twins described in great detail her brand-new chainmail and leather bikini armor, and how, er, mature she had become. Why couldn't he have fallen into a cool spring?
On the other hand, Professor Snape was now a unicorn.
The dark, greasy bat of the Hogwarts Dungeons was an ethereal, graceful, beautiful, creature of Light with a long, iridescent horn jutting majestically from his forehead, silvery mane flowing like moonlight, and hoofs clear and bright as diamonds. A creature of goodness and innocence.
Oh, the wonder and the irony!
That would have made Harry meep in laughter as he thought of it now, but an amorous toad was busily humping his foot and therefore distracted him from joyful thoughts. He kept shaking it free and tried to distance himself from the amphibian, but the toad would hop back and promptly resume its determined rutting.
Just how pathetic was his life that a toad saw him merely as a convenient way of getting it off?
Harry hung his head in defeated despair.
After her belly-flopping adventures in at least another dozen springs, Tonks finally happened across the wayward students of Hogwarts. "Wotcher, everyone!" She waved and called at where she could see one of the Weasley twins. And then suddenly there were also three more Weasley twins (the world was not ready for two, much less four), and then an entire barnyard of animals – domesticate, wild, and even magical, Tonks noticed, because a unicorn pointedly poked her in the hip with its horn – descended upon her, all sorts of animal calls rising in the air.
"Silence!" she finally yelled at them. "One at a time, please. Why don't you start?" she asked the guide. "How do we get rid of these curses?"
"There really is no way to get rid of the curses," the guide began. "You can momentarily cancel them out with hot water, though."
"Hot water? Cancel?"
"They are activated with contact to cold water, miss."
"Right, then. We just need to get some hot water together and douse everyone." That seemed like a simple matter to Tonks. "I suppose we shouldn't use just any old water we find lying around here to heat, right?"
The guide gave her a strange look. "I do not advise this. Stay; I will get uncursed water." The guide hurried away after ensuring everyone was presently staying in the one area. Tonks took the opportunity to count heads to ensure no one was missing. "We're short by five," she announced, after subtracting the extra twins from her final number.
"Luna, Neville, and Malfoy are over by the trees," one of the Georges (or Freds) said with a jerk of their thumb over their shoulder.
"Luna's the only one who didn't get cursed," said another of the four twins. "She's also supervising Malfoy and Neville. Said that they're cousin species, and she completely expected them to get along." The twins snickered in amusement.
Tonks would have asked them why, but the emu approached her then, its head drooping low. Its feathers were bedraggled and damp, giving it a rather drowned look. It also had green eyes and a scar shaped like a lightening bolt. "Harry?"
The emu stumbled back wide-eyed, and then sheepishly shrugged. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Harry." It managed to shrug again, made some sort of waving motion with its foot, and then moved to sit down beside an unexpectedly-female Ron and the red-winged pig.
"It's okay, mate. It'll all work out," Ron said as she threw an easy arm over Harry's broad back. The red-winged pig oinked in sympathy and nudged Harry with its snout. "We don't know where Hermione is," Ron added. "She fell into Spring of the Drowned Warrior Goddess, and flew off to defeat Voldemort." Harry's head drooped even more. "Oh, don't worry about it. I'm sure she'll leave you a few pieces, Harry."
As Ron spoke, Tonks noticed a very strange rubbing sensation against her bare foot. She lifted the hem of her robes and peered down at a toad that was busily making out with her toes. Umpha umpha umpha. "Oh yeah, that's another one of the group," said one of the four Weasley twins with a nasty-looking smile. (It was probably one of the Freds, if Tonks went with her gut feeling.)
Tonks mentally tallied up all the numbers. "Then we're all here, except for Hermione, but she can probably take care of herself if she's a warrior goddess." Tonks wasn't quite sure what being a warrior goddess entailed, but she thought maybe she should feel jealous or something. "Right, then. I dropped in at Hogwarts to talk to Dumbledore, found out that Umbridge had arranged the fieldtrip without informing Dumbledore and then waited until he was away at the Ministry, so he sent me here with a portkey to bring you all right back immediately. I was supposed to tell Umbridge that she should have cleared this field trip with the Chinese Courts of Magic before even attempting it, but… Where is she?"
One of the twins smiled. (George?) "Oh, she's around." He waved his hand. "A bit busy with her curse, she is."
Tonks blinked. "What spring did she fall into?"
All four twins lifted their index fingers to their lips and replied in unison, "That's a secret!"
Well, since it was Umbridge, Tonks decided she didn't really care. (She attempted to hex the toad from her foot, but stopped when she narrowly missed turning her pinky toe into a potato). "Right then. Does everyone know where their clothes are?" Tonks received a lot of blank stares. "You all lost your clothes and wands when you fell into the springs. So we just have to get them back, otherwise there's going to be a bunch of students running around starkers when they're de-cursed." She never thought she'd see an emu blush, but it was kind of cute, actually.
"So you four there, Ron, and Luna, can all help me fetch the clothes and wands from the springs. Hop to it now; the sooner we get this all finished, the sooner I can get us all back to Hogwarts. Now, the rest of you," she looked at the other creatures and pointed left and right, "blokes off to the left, lasses off to the right, and maybe you all can retain some sense of dignity when you change back." She tried to kick the toad free of her foot, but it persisted in hopping back and renewing its efforts with vigor. Ew.
By the time the guide had returned with a large, covered wok filled with hot water, Tonks and her chosen helpers had already managed to fish everyone's wands and clothes from the various springs and had tossed them all into different piles. Tonks made sure all the clothes were dry and the wands easily separated before allowing the two groups to return themselves to normal. She made herself busy in the meantime, setting up a parameter to unwind a fifty foot-long red and gold Gryffindor flag that Dumbledore had kindly lent her after turning it into a powerful, transcontinental portkey.
Luna, clutching a rabbit close to her chest ("It's my new pet hefflelump. I can't leave him here for the woozles, and Neville promised he'd help me watch him."), observed in silence for a moment. "What are you doing?"
"This is a portkey. I'm going to bring everyone back to Hogwarts. Professor Dumbledore is absolutely livid that Umbridge took all the fourth through seventh year students on this so-called field trip with only one other professor to chaperone." She tried to shake her memory of an angry Dumbledore – and when that didn't work, tried shaking her foot free of the amorous toad – that didn't work either. Blasted thing kept distracting her from unwinding the cloth. Luna wordlessly stood on one end so Tonks could stretch the flag out to its full length and lay it flat on the ground. She finally picked up the toad and addressed it. "What in all blazes is wrong with you?" The toad closed its eyes in bliss. "Ugh. I think we ought to leave this one behind."
"I would most certainly agree," Snape said as he stalked forward from the bushes, his clothes wrinkled and rumpled. He looked very surly and disheveled, and snatched the toad from Tonks's hand before she could say anything. "However, I will need to create an antidote for the curses, and who knows what sort of ingredients I may need." The toad wriggled rather obscenely in his grasp.
Snape stilled it with a well-aimed stunner, and then ruthlessly stuffed it into his pocket.
"A cure?" Harry asked, sounding all too eager as he and other students approached the flag.
"Since the curse was applied manually through a liquid submersion, it may be forcefully extracted." Snape sneered and didn't say anything else to that, but it left the minds of his listeners whirling in simultaneous hope (no more being cursed!) and dread (forceful extraction from Snape's point of view was likely to be extremely unpleasant and embarrassing, and possibly quite painful).
Tonks had the other students gather around the flag, and she instructed them to grab the very hem of it. They did, although Ginny had to jostle some of the people with her elbows to get close enough to kick Ron in the shin.
"Ow! What was that for?"
"For acting as if being a girl is so horrid! And for knocking me into Spring of the Drowned Homing Pigeon."
Ron was horrified. "That was you?"
"And I'm telling Mum, too."
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."
Before the situation could deteriorate further, a lone voice called out, "Hey! Wait for me!"
Everyone turned to face the voice. And then wands whipped out of where they had been secured in pockets, sleeves, and waistbands (and ear, in Luna's case) to point at the figure that trailed the origin of the voice.
"No! Stop it – it's all right," Hermione told them firmly. She was young, bushy-haired, flushed in embarrassment, and wrapped up in a slightly damp cloak that was too long for her, its fabric a tell-tale rich green color and fine texture. "I… it's all right," she said finally, her voice nervously trailing off and her eyes glancing around. "I suppose we can all talk later." Lucius Malfoy followed at a sedate pace. It was clear that he, too, had taken an unexpected swim, but he walked without cloak or cane.
"You're all safe? Draco?" Malfoy looked expectedly at his son, who had gone deathly pale at his father's appearance. A tinge of red spotted Draco's cheeks as he hastily broke eye contact. "We shall discuss this later," Malfoy declared with a sniff. Then he turned to Snape, who glowered coldly at him. "I say, what bloody fool thought it was a brilliant idea to expose these children to such danger? The Board of Governors shall hear of this, mark my words! I don't understand how someone as farsighted and as wise as Dumbledore could possibly choose to allow such an idiotic and foolish endeavor."
"Even Dumbledore is not infallible," Snape replied with a blank expression. "But right now, we're readying ourselves to portkey to Hogwarts's Great Hall."
"Splendid. I shall accompany you to give the Headmaster a piece of my mind." Snape grudgingly budged over for Malfoy to squeeze in between him and Theodore Nott. Most of the people gathered at the portkey gave him strange and suspicious looks. Susan Bones looked as though she would have an aneurysm when Malfoy greeted her with a bright smile.
Before the situation could deteriorate beyond her control, Tonks quickly tapped her portkey with her wand three times, firmly declared, "Gumdrops," to activate it, and then caught her breath at the hooking sensation in her navel.
They all landed, very firmly, in the Great Hall. All the tables and benches had been pushed aside to the opposite ends of the Hall to allow a safe and wide landing for the students and their teachers. Dumbledore leapt to his feet from where he had been patiently seated in a squishy chair beside the fireplace, and hurried over to the students, his eyes scanning faces and cataloguing body languages. He had summarily sent the other waiting teachers off to bed when midnight came and went without hide nor hair of the students returning, but not before Minerva had blistered his ears with one of the most heated dressing-downs she had ever given anyone. "Is everyone safe?" he asked.
The students immediately began to speak as one, all clamoring for attention as they attempted to explain what happened. Tonks hurried forward to make her report, but tripped over the portkey and skidded across the stone floor. Surprisingly, it was Lucius Malfoy who beat everyone in the foray. He firmly planted himself before Dumbledore (who managed to cover his surprise well), and began to loudly tell Dumbledore off for putting those poor, innocent children at risk of their lives, their magic, why, their very souls, and what did he intend to do about it, eh? Clearly the children were cursed – that dear Granger girl, for instance, became a bikini-clad Amazon berserker. "Not," Malfoy hurried to assure Hermione as her face flushed red in embarrassment, "that I have anything against you being an Amazon berserker, my dear, as I have a great deal of respect for women in all stripes of life and firmly believe that they should wear whatever they feel most comfortable in, but it was dank and misty, and you could have caught a cold! Your studies would've have suffered terribly from a bout of pneumonia!"
Hermione's mouth, which had opened to begin a protest, snapped shut at the idea of Lucius Malfoy being concerned about her health and grades.
Dumbledore sighed as he waved everyone – even the adults – quiet. When the last voice trailed off into silence, he crossed his hands before himself and surveyed them all. "It was my understanding that-" A unexpected drop of water hit his nose. He looked up; so did everyone else.
The enchanted ceilings of the Great Hall were a rolling thunderstorm, lightning streaking across its angry clouded skies.
Another drop of water struck, only this time it hit Harry's scar.
It was wet and cold.
"Oh, bugger," Harry muttered.
And for the first time in Hogwarts's history, the enchanted ceilings released a very real and quite cold torrid of rain.
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Hermione whipped around, her chain-mail bikini top flashing like a Muggle disco ball from the light cast from the lit fireplace. "Harry! Stop trying to skewer yourself on the candle bracers, or I'll string you up with the Slytherin flag!"
Harry hurriedly stepped away from the bracers with as much dignity as an emo emu could retain after his angsty attempt at feeling something other than depression had been spotted by his best female friend. He had actually been trying to get warm, because wet feathers was even worse than a pair of chafing wet pants, and now everyone thought he was a suicidal emo emu. Not yet, Harry thought. But if this continues, I might very well be.
"You can come sit beside me, Harry," Luna offered. She patted the floor beside herself, and Harry fluffed up his feathers as he accepted her offer. The hefflelump in Luna's grasp was the most evil-looking rabbit that Harry had ever seen, but that was probably because it had red eyes. Harry had a lot of negative experience pertaining to red eyes, and thought he was justified in being wary.