Chapter Thirty Six
A/N: I do not own anything other than any and all OCs that make an appearance. Everything else is owned by either Disney or JK Rowling.
Okay, okay, I know it's been a while since the last update. Apologies for that! Unfortunately I've got some other fics that have been taking up a big chunk of my time and so they've been taking priority in the scheme of things.
I'm going to try to keep up the updates as much as I can but I can't promise anything regarding an update schedule!
Hope you all enjoy the chapter! Let me know what you think! :D
Harry had to wonder what it was like, having a stress free life. Between the tournament, figuring out what was wrong with Ariel's friend Nina, and now Ariel's sisters appearing all over the place, Harry was tapped out in terms of his stress levels.
Thankfully Hermione had backed off a little but that didn't really help much. Harry knew his friend after all, and knew it was only a matter of time before Hermione started investigating again.
Merlin, I've never been more thankful for Krum. Had he not gotten Hermione's attention, she'd probably still be wondering where I disappear to all the ruddy time, he thought, slightly shaking his head. It wouldn't do to appear to be daydreaming while on a call. Especially a call with royalty.
"I can't believe you're human!" Andrina exclaimed, looking at her younger sisters. "What in the world were you thinking?"
"I wanted to talk to Harry about the fact that I wouldn't be able to talk to him anymore," Ariel said, shrugging her shoulders slightly as if it was the most reasonable thing in the world; altering her very DNA to become human for a friend.
"And I had to become human so that I could talk to Ariel and try to get her to come home without attracting too much attention regarding the merpeople of the Black Lake," Alana said.
"Uh huh," Andrina sighed. "Ariel, what possessed you to steal our father's trident? What if something had happened to you because they saw you with it?"
"It was the only way I could become human," Ariel told her. "I wasn't exactly thinking when I took daddy's trident, I just knew that I needed to talk to Harry and face to face would have been better than on daddy's device."
Andrina couldn't help the second sigh that escaped her. Her life had gotten very complicated very fast and now she had no idea how she was going to tell her father about any of this.
Oh yes father, I found Ariel and Alana, that's the good bad news is that they turned themselves human. But there's good news too. They found Harry. Unfortunately, that's also why they're human.
Yeah something told her that wasn't going to go over very well with their father. Or any of their sisters for that matter.
"Ariel, do you have any idea how dangerous this was?" Andrina asked. "What if something had gone wrong when you turned yourself human?"
"But it didn't go wrong Andrina!" Ariel said. "And how else was I supposed to let Harry know I couldn't talk to him anymore?"
"You could send him a letter!"
"And what post fish would take that letter to the surface world?"
Andrina sighed and shook her head. Her little sister was nothing if not stubborn—and the worst part was she could see Ariel's argument.
With a ban on talking to anyone from the surface, or even going to the surface, there would have been no way to send correspondence to Harry for Ariel to let him know that their father had removed her only way of talking to him.
Still, that didn't mean Andrina had to like it.
"And how am I supposed to tell our father what happened? You really think he's going to just accept the fact that you not only stole his trident but that you also turned yourselves human with it?"
"Crazy idea but you could always wait to tell daddy?" Ariel suggested.
"Just until the second task is over! Andrina, you don't want the citizens of the Black Lake to get in trouble with our father for working with the humans here do you?"
"Ariel, I need to let father know that I arrived safely! You want me to lie to him?"
"Not so much lie…just don't tell him that we're human."
"Oh that'll go over real well Ariel. If I don't tell father that you and Alana are human, he's going to ask to speak with you. What do I tell him, that you've sold your voices and can't speak?"
Harry cleared his throat. "If I may? Why can't Ariel and Alana talk to your father through this device?"
"Because King Triton would have to travel to the Black Lake to use the device," Lord Black said. "Granted King Triton has a device of his own but I don't know if it would be able to connect to yours…"
"…it will," Harry said, his voice soft as a memory seemed to come back to him. It was faded but he could remember being in this room as a child, talking to who he could only assume to be King Triton.
At the very least Harry remembered talking to a seahorse in the Room of Requirement. Whether or not he dreamed that encounter had yet to be seen.
Ariel looked over at Harry in slight shock. "Are…are you remembering something?"
"Wait, he's got memory problems too?" Andrina asked but both Ariel and Harry paid her no mind.
"Yeah, it's a long story," Alana nodded.
"Alana, you mind filling me in? Seeing as our siblings have no intention of even acknowledging that I said anything?"
"Um…it's kinda their story to tell."
Meanwhile, Ariel had gotten up and gone to the timeline they'd had put together. "Where on the timeline would you say this memory falls?"
"Well I mean…I think I'm around five years old in it," Harry said as he looked over at the board. "So probably pretty early on in the timeline I'd say."
"Okay so around five…before or after my memory issues start?"
"I'd say after. In my memory, I'm human when I'm using this device to speak to a seahorse and we know there was a time when we were both merpeople."
Ariel nodded and quickly made a note on a piece of parchment before pinning it to their constructed timeline. They'd been working on it tirelessly but there were still plenty of holes left to fill.
"What's going on?" Andrea asked Alana.
"Remember how I said Harry's memory issues were a long story?" Alana asked.
"Considering how that was five minutes ago, I should hope I still remember."
Alana shook her head. "Anyway, they've been working on this timeline to see if they can figure out what happened to their memories. Or at the very least narrow down who might have removed them."
"People can remove memories?"
"They can here," Alana said softly. Her relationship with Harry still wasn't that strong so usually when he visited the room they were in, he spent most of his time with Ariel or swimming. Though the conversations Alana had overheard were enough to make her blood boil.
That Lockheart fellow better be grateful he never met her or her father otherwise they'd do a lot more than simply remove his memories. Imagine, attacking a royal of Atlantica? Typical human.
Though Alana diid have to feel bad for Harry's godfather, from what she heard from his conversations with Ariel. Alana couldn't imagine being innocent and being forced to relive your worst…memories…
"Could…could being around a Dementor help Ariel figure out who took her memories?" Alana asked, drawing the attention of Harry and Ariel.
"No," Harry said flatly.
"But if we try it…"
"No. First of all, Dumbledore would never allow a Dementor on campus with the Tri Wizard Tournament going on and not after everything that happened last year. The only way we'd be able to get near one would be if we went to Azkaban and I don't even know where that is. Besides…Dementors force you to relieve your worst memories and there's no guarantee the loss of her memories would be Ariel's worst one."
"But…that's when you were taken from our family," Andrina said softly, entering back into the conversation. "The only thing worse was…when mom…oh."
Harry nodded. "The only way for sure I could think about getting a Dementor in here would be if there was a Boggart but even so, that's something that's a little too cruel just to get our memories back."
"Besides, Nina needs us more," Ariel said. "And I think we've gotten off track."
"Right, right," Harry nodded.
Lord Black sighed. "Speaking of Nina, I don't want to rush you your highness but the timeline to the second task is getting closer. Are you sure you don't want to inform your father?"
"Lord Black, if we inform my father about this before the second task, he'll find out that you've been working with the humans here," Ariel countered. "The last thing I want to do is put the Black Lake under more strain because of the tournament."
"But that's not fair to you," Harry countered.
"Mr. Potter's right," Lord Black nodded and Andrina had to fight the urge to correct him. That wasn't how you addressed a prince after all! "We can handle the backlash that'll come from assisting in the second task, your highness. You should focus on yourself."
"Ariel, trust me," Harry said. "You've spent every waking moment in here searching for a cure. It's not fair to you to put all this stress on your shoulders when it sounds like your dad might be the only one who knows how to reverse Nina's slumber."
"It is caused by a security feature on the Trident," Andrina said as she slowly nodded her head. "If Nina touched it at any point in the trek to the Black Lake from Atlantica…"
"I…I don't think she did," Ariel said. "At least, not on purpose. She was always telling me about how she couldn't touch the trident and how if she didn't, it'd be better for both of us if we were caught. But it was heavy and there was one time when I…I fell asleep floating straight up so she had to carry me to our shelter for the night…"
"It must have touched her then," Andrina said. "Alright, I have no choice. I've got to tell father that his trident's here….but I'll do my best to hide the fact that you three are humans until he arrives."
"Um…you mean you two?" Harry said softly. While he knew that Alana and Andrina had considered him part of their siblings, he still wasn't entirely sure if that was a world he wanted to be in and he knew that at some point that would be offered.
How could it not be? After all, it'd already been established that he had fins so he'd fit right in with Ariel's family.
But he had family on land—Hermione, Ron, the Weaselys. Sirius. How could he just up and leave his family?
Plus…I've got swim trials coming up, he thought. All that work to get Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia to see me as something less than a freak…if I made the Olympics, that would be something they could be proud of. Because it'd be without my magic. It'd just be me. Just Harry.
"Oh…right, right," Andrina said, her soft and yet shocked voice breaking Harry out of his thoughts. "I meant 'you two'."
"I guess there's no delaying the inevitable then," Lord Black said. "We'll be sure to reach out if your father decides to arrive in the Black Lake, your highnesses."
"Thank you your grace," Alana and Ariel nodded.
Harry sighed as the device sighed off. Why did he think his life was going to get a lot more complicated?