Just An Errant Thought: Here fishy, fishy, fishy
After reading numerous Auror after-action reports as well as back issues from the Daily Prophet, both Harry and Hermione along with Neville strive to find a way to curb the problem of Death Eaters (or wealthy purebloods in general) from getting away from due justice. Set during 6th year.
Gryffindor Common Room, prefects 'office.'
Knock, knock! Harry looked up at the sound of someone tapping on the door to the Lions' student office. No one remembered who it was but some unnamed prefect from ages ago thought it would be more professional if they had their own space similar to what the Head Boy/Girl had.
"Come in!" The door opened to admit his girlfriend and best friend, Hermione and Neville, respectively.
Neville crossed his arms as he leaned up against the wall, "Been worried about you, Harry. You've been cooped up in here for days. It's not like you."
Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his perpetually messy hair, "Yeah, I know. It's just that I wanted to get some quiet time to figure out this puzzle that popped into my head and it won't leave me alone."
Hermione sat down next to him and placed her hand on his shoulder gently, "That's what you got us for, you know? Why didn't you try the library or even the Room of Requirement?"
Harry grimaced, "The library is always crowded plus you have the constant whispering. The Room, last I checked was being used by some of the Slytherins. I don't know specifically what it's being used for but I did see one of the Snakes carrying a box of 'toys' if you get my drift." All three shuddered at the implications.
Gesturing to the stack of folders, Neville inquired what he was doing.
Pointing to each pile, Harry explained that these were copies of the after-action reports from the Aurors for various offenses, "I've got a stack of petty crimes like minor theft; Next, I have the more serious cases like Death Eater activity. This stack here is crimes committed by wealthy purebloods who think that because of their status in our society, they have carte blanche to do what they want."
Hermione made a face, "Really exciting stuff, Harry. What's the point?"
Harry glanced between the pair and nervously began picking at his nails, "I had this idea on how to contain those criminals but that doesn't rely on Azkaban or the Ministry holding cells where they could get out of because of who they are or which lawyer they hire."
He dug around into his book bag and pulled out a notebook filled with his indecipherable mess he laughingly called 'writing,' "Now, for the minor cases that involve items below five hundred Galleons or general public disturbances, I really don't care what happens or how the criminals are contained. This idea was for the heavy hitters like Malfoy, Dolohov or Pettigrew. I began wondering what would happen if a captured criminal was transfigured into an animal that couldn't escape its cage?"
Neville slowly slid into an empty chair, "What do you mean, transfigured into an animal?"
"Just that. What if Lucius Malfoy was transfigured into something that couldn't escape easily like a slug? Would he retain the same reactions, personality, magic and all? What would he remember during his time as a slug? Come to think on it, what does a person remember when they're transfigured into an inanimate or animate object? Is there a time limit?"
Hermione had leant back in her chair and judging by the look on her face, she was deep in thought trying to see all the angles, "Well, Professor McGonagall was in her office last I checked. She above all would be able to answer that question."
Minerva McGonagall's office
Minerva sat there quietly and observed her three Lions as Harry explained his proposal. 'It is a good proposal too.' She held up a hand to stop the boy from continuing, "Mr. Potter, your proposal is intriguing and insightful however I cannot permit you from experimenting on the other students. What I can tell you however is that the concept of what a person experiences on their end of being transfigured has already been well documented. There are copies of the studies in the library."
"Would you happen to know off-hand what those limits are, professor? I really don't want to slog through dry reading if it only leads to a tiny paragraph of information," Harry asked hopefully.
Minerva removed her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose before sighing, "Och, if I recall correctly, if a person is transfigured into an inanimate object then they would feel, hear or experience nothing from the moment the spell takes place whereas if they are transfigured into an animal of some kind, their perspective closely resembles that of a dissociative amnesia state."
Harry began beaming, "Thank you, professor. This helps, a lot."
Two days later in the Room of Requirement…
Hermione glanced around the room and shivered and wrapped her arms around herself. The 'Slytherin Snake House of Debauchery' as it had begun to be called was rapidly passing into legendary status after it was discovered just how debauched the participants had been. Rumors of animals, whips, chains and other 'perverted items of a risqué nature' were reported to have either been seen in use or stored nearby. All those who had taken part were removed from the school and sent to Saint Mungo's for evaluation.
In the meantime, Harry had 'convinced' a few of the minor 'wallflower' participants in that nightmare to stay quiet about his offer to keep them from getting tarred and feathered with the same brush if they willingly offered themselves to his experiment.
Located on a table was what appeared to be a glass, rectangular tank filled with fresh water; next to it was a stack of signed contracts that she'd drawn up to enforce their 'test subjects' silence in the matter. Unlike in the DA where she'd jinxed the signup sheet to spell the word, 'SNEAK' on a person's forehead in bright, pulsating pustules if they ever spoke of the existence of their club to anyone not previously approved by the group's leaders; this jinx would wipe a person's memories to that of their first year at Hogwarts. To someone who was nearing the end of their education at the school, to be thrust back to a point in time where they didn't know how to cast a simple Lumos charm was frightening enough to ensure silence.
Harry checked his arithmantic calculations once more then pulled out his wand and cast "Pisces quoque mutantur in homine!" The test subject, in this case Cassius Warrington, shimmered as his body began to morph and with a final pop; turned into a hand-sized carp fish and immediately began flopping about. Harry managed to snag the fish and dropped him into the tank where Cassius the fish calmed down and began to swim slowly.
After ten minutes, Harry retrieved and returned Cassius back to his human form, "Well? What do you remember?"
Cassius groaned from the rapidly growing headache, "It felt like I was there but not, almost as if I were watching a pensieve memory belonging to someone else. There was a brief moment where I was gasping for breath but that might've been right after you transformed me."
"No side effects other than that headache and the pervading sense of 'otherness?'" Cassius slowly shook his head. Harry turned to where his friends were standing observing the proceedings and gave a shark-like grin.
"I think we may have something here. We're gonna need more test subjects."
The tests continued, sometimes the subjects were transfigured into more fish, sometimes into other creatures. As a control, Hermione transfigured a few into rocks or plants. Those who got that treatment were the most disoriented and promptly barfed all over themselves when they were turned back. When they recovered enough, she bombarded them with a now standard list of questions about their experiences.
"What did you feel as you were being turned?"
"Were you able to breathe normally?"
"Did you hear anything?"
"What did the passage of time feel like?"
The list she, Harry and Neville had come up with was rather extensive but hey, this was for the greater good of science after all!
Once the three were able to successfully transfigure their subjects back and forth, the test subjects were moved onto longer and longer times under their new forms. By the time that Yule approached, it wasn't uncommon for Harry to turn one of the 'Slytherin Spankers' into a fish and leave them like that for the entire day.
Over their Yule Break…
Harry and Neville were sharing their Yule break over at Hermione's house and were discussing the next steps in their grand plans to curb the excesses of the Death Eaters and the elite.
"I think we should let Director Bones know what our research has been doing," Hermione commented as she sipped on a hot, spiced tea.
Harry nodded as he read through the data, "That was my plan all along. My question or rather my worry; is that she's going to freak out and forbid us from continuing."
Neville sat there on the couch with his fingers laced together over his stomach and shook his head, "I don't think she'll do that. She's too pragmatic to let an opportunity to hold criminals in secret while building a case against them. She might even think it's the greatest prank to ever befall the magical community."
Hermione gave him a bemused sidelong glance, "A prank? She doesn't seem like the type to like those sorts of things."
Neville turned his head and peered lightly patronizingly at her, "She's engaged to Sirius Black; what does that tell you?" Harry snorted in laughter. His godfather needed someone grounded like her; they were a good match in his opinion.
"Can you imagine if Padfoot got hooked up with a female version of himself?" He began choking on his laughter as the mental image of a female Sirius Black took form.
The other two burst out laughing or groaning, "Bye, bye Magical Britain!"
The next day…
Harry arrived at Bones Manor along with Hermione and Neville in tow. Hermione was holding a 'housewarming' gift even though Amelia and Sirius had been living together since the start of the kids' fourth year. Harry would've taken it but magical transport and he did not get along very well.
"Harry, Hermione, Neville; welcome to the Ossuary," Amelia greeted the trio and helped Harry dust himself off after being shot out of the floo like a cannonball, "I see Harry hasn't yet broken the 'Potter Transport Curse.'" Harry just shot her a disgruntled look which she smirked at.
Amelia led the trio into her office where Hermione placed their gift on top of the desk and removed the cover. It was a pretty round fishbowl that contained a solitary fancy goldfish and some decorative rocks and plants.
Amelia blinked at the gift, "Nice. Not the usual sort of gift, I was expecting." Then she noticed the look on Harry's face.
Harry's growing grin started to unsettle her, "Harry? What did you do?"
The grin started showing teeth which really unsettled her. Sirius got like that whenever someone had wronged him and he was plotting revenge.
"Director Amelia Bones, we three have come up with a solution to your criminal activity problems, namely those on how to hold onto said criminals before they can get sprung free by friends, family or lawyers. The fish you see here is actually a seventh year Slytherin student who was part of an illegal black market running all sorts of contraband in and out of Hogwarts. As you can see, said Slytherin is unharmed, unaware for the most part of what's going on around him and easily cared for."
Amelia reared back in shock and not a little bit of horror at what had been literally placed on her desk, "Sweet Merlin, Harry! Isn't that rather Dark for someone like you? I thought you were Albus' Golden Boy."
Harry sneered at the title, "No, I am not nor have I ever been his 'Golden Boy.' As far as I'm concerned, Albus Dumbledore is guilty of way too much to be truly considered the 'Leader of the Light.' If I had the opportunity to question him on his involvement directly or indirectly with the murders of my parents, I would do so in an instant. This is the same man who repeatedly hired incompetent people to come 'teach,' who hid a valuable and rare artifact behind a series of 'traps' that a first year could figure out in a school filled with the future generation of the nation's children during my first year so as to draw Voldemort out of hiding. This is the man who thinks that punishment of the wicked should be limited to time in Azkaban so they can take the time to think and repent their evil ways. This is the man who swore up one side and down the other that there was nothing he could do to get Sirius a trial or to keep me from participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament despite him holding the titles of Supreme Mugwump, Headmaster and Chief Warlock!" He was breathing hard at the end of his rant and glared at her before growling and visibly restraining himself, "I'm sorry about that Amelia, there's nothing that gets me worked up faster than having to point out his many failings to people who think rainbows shoot out of his every orifices."
Hermione immediately wrapped her arms around her boyfriend and comforted him as he cooled off, "So as you can see, Madam Bones, we offer a solution to the growing criminal ability to get out of trouble without due justice. If no one suspects where they've gone then there can't be any sort of rescue attempted. Who'd ever think to check your brand-new office fish tank with all those pretty fish swimming about?"
Now it was Amelia's turn to grin wickedly as the possibilities presented themselves.
Three months later
Minerva McGonagall stepped out of the lift and headed off down the hall towards the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The desk sergeant greeted her and asked her to wait a moment for the Director to come get her.
"Thank you, Toby. I must say that I think your parents would've been proud of your accomplishments."
Toby Resdant, Gryffindor Class of 1986, smiled shyly at his former professor and Head of House, "Thank you, ma'am."
"Minerva?" She turned and spotted Amelia waving her over, "Come on in, I just have a couple of things left to fill out."
Minerva settled into the seat offered to her and glanced about the room. Taking center stage was a brand-new wall-mounted fish tank filled with all sorts of rocks, plants and a multitude of colorful fish.
"Keep those kitty cat eyes to yourself, Minerva. I know how many fish I have in there," Amelia said without even looking up though the smirk on her face belied the admonishing tone of her voice.
Minerva waved her off with a scoff, "I would never. I was just impressed that you have something like this. It definitely brightens up the place; may I take a closer look?" Amelia waved her hand as way of permission.
Minerva peered into the tank and marveled at how clear the water was as well as the colors of the plants and fishes of all sizes as they swam to and fro, occasionally ducking into a crevice or hole in the scenery. She was surprised when two fish immediately swam up to the glass front and began bumping their fins and faces against the surface, seemingly trying to get her attention.
Amelia moved up alongside her and smirked at the fish's antics, "Amusing aren't they?"
Minerva pointed to the one doing most of the bumping, "This one is the funniest. The grey face with the…tentacles? Feelers? And the flashy scales along its side? It almost seems frantic in its attempts to get my attention while the black one floating behind it almost looks like its sneering or just being disapproving of its companion's behavior."
Amelia just shrugged, "You ready?"
Minerva nodded, "Yes, let's go have lunch."
As they were heading out, Amelia paused, "Hang on, there's one more thing I need to do, it won't take more than a couple of minutes. I'll meet you down in the Atrium by the floos, okay?"
"Sure. I'll see you there."
Once Minerva was gone, Amelia turned back to the tank and peered closely at the grey-faced fish, "Beg all you want, Albus. You're not going to get out of this anytime soon. No one knows where you or the rest of the captured Death Eaters are so no one is going to come to your rescue. You're finally going to answer for all of your crimes against the citizens of Magical Britain in general and Harry Potter in particular. I wonder if I could serve tartar sauce at your trial and execution?" She laughed darkly and turned off the light as she left the room whispering, "Here fishy, fishy, fishy…"