The Sugar Quill
Author: Wendelin the Weird (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Harry Potter and the Fresh Blood Prince  Chapter: Chapter 1: Fish Appears
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Harry Potter and the Fresh Blood Prince



A/N: Nothing belongs to me except the words,etc. But more importantly, you should know that a dream inspired this story. And as we all know, not much is logical in dreams.

Summary: Why is there a fishbowl on Harry's bed?

When Harry woke up that crisp winter morning, he couldn't think what that oversized goldfish was doing swimming around in a bowl at the foot of his bed. He didn't own a goldfish, did he? And if he did, he certainly wouldn't have left it within kicking range all night.

But it was beginning to all come back to him. He'd been to Hogsmeade yesterday with Ron and Hermione... there had been a lot of butterbeer around, yes... He vaguely remembered howling with laughter as he and Ron staggered into Patsy's Pretty Pets. Oh. Yes. Ron had been prattling about having no gold. And he, Harry, had said something about buying the biggest goldfish in the shop to cheer him up.

He groaned and rubbed his forehead with both hands. Ron must have put the fish on his bed before they went to sleep. The fish leered at him with its unblinking eyes and a manic grin. Harry made a face, and reached for his glasses.

"Ron," he called.

No answer.

Harry reached a hand out to the next bed and poked the bundle of blankets curled up on it. "Ron!"

The bundle twisted and grunted, "Yamma mzcwycs.." and became still again.

Harry sighed. Then he sat up on his bed, reached across, and tugged at the blankets till they came free. Ron shivered, and sat up. "What?" He said, annoyed.

"Take your goldfish back." Harry said.

"You woke me up for that?"

"Oy, take it. I could've kicked it over in my sleep. Why'd you put it on my bed?"

"Go away," said Ron, gathering his blankets around him again. "It's not my fish. You bought it."

Harry frowned, and pulled Ron's blankets off again. "I bought it for you. Take it!"

"Stop doing that!" Ron yelled. "It's not bloody mine just because you want it to be mine. Now shut up and let me sleep."

He tucked his blankets firmly around his gangly body, and turned away from Harry in a final way.

Harry yawned and looked at the goldfish, which was still staring at him unblinkingly. A fish. He'd bought a fish. How come Hermione hadn't stopped him from buying it? Then he shrugged, and went off to brush his teeth and get dressed for breakfast.

**********

In Charms, while Flitwick was busy undoing the effects of Seamus Finnigan's latest attempt at performing a Get Lost Spell, Harry turned to Hermione. "D'you know what goldfish eat?"

Hermione stared. "What?"

"Goldfish. What do they eat? Worms and such, I expect?"

"How should I kn- Since when do you have a goldfish?"

"I bought it for Ron yesterday, but he doesn't want it. Weren't you there?"

"So that's where you disappeared to! I was looking all over for you both, then Ginny told me she'd seen you heading back to the castl-"

"Well, do you know what goldfish eat or not?" Harry interrupted impatiently.

"No," said Hermione, sounding acutely embarrassed.

Harry started to grin, but stopped himself. "Well, I guess I'll try and find a couple of worms in the greenhouses after the lesson."

For the rest of the lesson, he concentrated on learning how to make a creature go round and round in continuous right turns until it got hopelessly lost.

The lesson ended soon enough, and Harry made his way out of the front doors towards the greenhouses. He had just rounded a corner when he ran straight into Lupin.

"Oh, sorry, Profes-" he began, but Lupin waved him into silence.

"No damage done, Harry," he said, smiling. "See you in class."

Rubbing his forehead, which had knocked into a button on Professor Lupin's robes, Harry rooted around in the loose soil that covered the floor of the greenhouse. He found a couple of earwigs and an earthworm, and satisfied, he made his way back to the Gryffindor common room.

The common room was empty except for a couple of pesky third years who were trying to annoy Harry's goldfish, which was now sitting on a desk in the far corner. Harry shooed them away without much trouble; it was useful, at times, having two prefects for best friends. The goldfish swam around the bowl, unconcerned, as Harry took it to the dormitory, wondering how to feed the worms to the fish.

Was he supposed to simply drop the worms into the water and hope the fish would eat it? Or should he try to levitate the fish out of water for a minute, and then force its mouth open and drop the worms in? Somehow, he didn't think the fish would take kindly to being pulled out from its watery home...

So he experimentally dropped one of the earwigs into the water. The fish simply swam around, ignoring the worm quite pointedly.

"Come on, Fish," Harry urged under his breath. "Eat up."

As though it had been waiting for the cue, Fish suddenly sprang right out of the fishbowl in a giant leap. Harry gasped and tried to catch it, but before he could even stretch his arm out to grab it, Fish had changed into a man in glittering golden robes.

For a few moments, Harry was struck incoherent. "Wh- Fish... Who... Animagus?"

"Who, me?" asked Fish. "No, I'm a fish."

"You're a man," Harry pointed out.

"Yeah, I can take this form when I want to. Worked hard for it, you know. But I'm a fish."

"What d'you mean you're a fish?" Harry demanded. "You're... talking... and everything."

"I was born a fish," explained Fish, patiently. "I just learned to change forms from one of the Mermen. Pretty dangerous thing for a fish to do, really. Just look at all the Merpeople."

Harry's head was reeling. "What about them?"

"Well, their ancestors all tried to become human, didn't they? It just didn't go off like they expected, I suppose. Now they're stuck being half and half. That's what happens when you have bad technique."

Harry nodded dumbly. "So ... what do you want?"

"How's about something for the tummy, eh?"

Harry looked doubtfully at the remaining worms in his hand.

Fish stopped his train of thought quickly. "Not that, you idiot. Bleaarrgghh."

"Well, what do you eat?"

"I drink," said Fish. "Got any fresh blood?"

Harry jumped about six inches, and stared at Fish for a moment. Then he shook his head. "I'm dreaming."

"Eh?"

"You're a fish who can become a human, and you drink ... fresh blood... right?"

"Yeah, so?"

Harry nodded. "I'm dreaming."

"Oh," said Fish, his eyes brightening. "I've heard about dreams! It happens when you... er... sleeve, doesn't it? What's it like?" He asked eagerly.

"Sleep," Harry corrected. "You've heard about dreams?"

"Oh yes, I know all about them." Fish nodded wisely. "More than any other fish, at least. That boy - Tom - he told me the last time I was in here."

Harry's neck snapped up so suddenly that he heard his joints crack. "T- Tom? Who? You've been in Hogwarts before?"

"Yeah, that was the first time I'd managed to become a man. There was this boy, Tom Puzzle or something, his name was... I stayed in his room for a while, but it was so dark and stinky in there, I got tired and escaped from the bathroom. I'm a fresh-water fish, you know," he said, bobbing his head proudly. "Need some sunlight and such."

Harry was still coming to grips with what Fish was saying. "You stayed with T-Tom-?"

"He was mighty nice to me, he was," Fish interrupted peevishly. "Never kept me hungry like this."

"You mean he gave you fresh blood? How?!"

"Took me to some room ... there was this old guy dozing in a chair, and Tom just told me to go ahead and drink." Fish grinned maniacally. "Tom told me no one would miss the guy - he was the most boring teacher ever."

"Boring teacher?" Harry repeated, uncomprehendingly. "You drank the bl- you killed a teacher? Who was it?"

"Stout old man, frizzy white hair sticking up from the back of his head, round glasses perched on his nose..." said Fish, and added, after a pause, "Loud snorer."

"Boring teacher... frizzy white hair, round glasses..." Something clicked in Harry's mind. "Oh my God, you killed Binns!"

"Oh that was his name, was it?" Fish said reminiscently. "I never knew. Most delicious."

Harry stood speechless, not knowing what to say.

"Well, how about a spot of lunch then, eh?" Fish said, rubbing his hands.

Harry's mind sprung into action. "You're going straight back into the pond," he said, whipping his wand out of his pocket. "Or I'll curse you."

Fish looked taken aback. "But why?"

"You're a killer, that's why. I'm not Tom Riddle, you know. I'm not going to help you murder someone."

"Then how do I eat?" Fish said, plaintively.

"Whatever you ate at the fish store. Or when you were in your pond. Or whatever. I don't care. In fact, I'm going to kick you out of Hogwarts right now."

Harry swished his wand and uttered the most powerful banishing spell he could think of. Sure enough, Fish zoomed straight out of the window and away over the lake towards Hogsmeade. In his mind, Harry concentrated on the Shrieking Shack, willing Fish into it with all his might. The Shrieking Shack was deserted, now that Lupin no longer used it. It was the perfect place to imprison Fish. Harry had a shrewd idea that Fish, being a fish, wouldn't be able to find his way back to the castle.

**********

The next morning, Harry woke up to find an unusually large goldfish swimming around in a bowl at the foot of his bed. Harry squinted at it. He didn't own a goldfish, did he? And if he did, he certainly wouldn't have left it ....

Harry sat up, suddenly wide awake. "You!" He yelled at Fish. "How did you get back here?!"

In the bed next to him, Ron sat up immediately. "What? Harry? What happened?"

"Fish... he's back! I didn't tell you yesterday, Ron, but this fish can turn into a man! He's evil! He drinks fresh blood," Harry said as he hurriedly rummaged through his drawer for his wand. The goldfish swam around, unconcerned.

Ron was regarding him with a raised eyebrow. "Are you all right, mate? You sure it wasn't a dream or something?"

"Aha," said Harry, straightening up with his wand pointed straight at the fish. "Ron, I'm not crazy. This fish is evil."

Harry felt Ron's eyes on his for a long minute. "Okay," Ron said, finally. "Protect me from the fish, then, if you want to." He turned and went back to sleep.

"Well you're not fooling me," Harry told Fish under his breath. "I've got my eye on you."



More A/Ns: "Fresh Blood Prince" is what my boyfriend insists on calling HBP. Yes, this is his dream.

Stay tuned for the concluding half of this story, which, I may as well warn you, gets all bizarro and kills off some well-loved characters. Special appearance by Sirius's old motorbike.

//
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