Dragons speak Parseltongue too, you know

Harry befriends the dragon in the first task, and this makes all the difference. Watch as Harry rebels against the ministry, forms a bond with a dragon the likes of which hasn't been seen in centuries, and goes up against Voldemort! And he might just fall in love along the way... some Dumbles bashing, temporarily bad Ron, and Harry/Hermione/Luna for the pairing!



19. Let's Get Crackin'

While Neville and Hannah were doing their frantic last-minute dress shopping, Luna and Hermione were waiting in the owlery, oblivious to their awkward friend's dress-induced plight. Their reason for standing around in what was widely acknowledged as the smelliest room in the school? Harry's gillyweed.

Harry wasn't with them because he was "studying," in the library. All three members of the trio had been researching how long it took for dragon eggs to hatch, but when the sound of Harry softly snoring had reached the girls' ears, it became too much for them to handle without laughing. They'd had to leave the library for fear of waking Harry and, more dauntingly, incurring Madame Pince's wrath. Thankfully, the egg was in the dorm, so they didn't have to worry about Parkinson or someone trying to hurt it while Harry slept and the girls were able to leave.

As the two friends wandered the halls, Hermione remembered that Harry's gillyweed was due to arrive that afternoon, thus explaining why they were currently waiting for the package in the owlery rather than having it come to them.

Sure enough, after about 15 minutes of idle chatter between the girls (if one counts different potting methods as idle chatter), a large brown barn owl flew in, carrying a medium-sized, tightly sealed container in its claws. Harry had initially only planned to order enough gillyweed for the hour, but Luna had talked some sense into him. After all, there was a distinct possibility that he could be down for longer than an hour, and of course he would be insane not to test the gillyweed before the task. Also, Luna stated, she wasn't entirely certain about Hermione, but she would absolutely love to be able to explore the Great Lake as one of its creatures. She fully intended to go down there with him, and as a result he'd ordered enough gillyweed to last all three of them several hours.

"Hey Luna, do you suppose that the owl will even let us take Harry's mail for him? I hadn't really thought of that before we came down…" Hermione mused lightly as they watched the owl soar downwards toward them.

"Don't worry, owls can sense our intentions." Luna smiled dreamily as she untied the package from the owl's leg. "That's why they make the best messengers. They know who to trust; they're very intuitive that way." The owl nipped her ear affectionately, almost as if it were agreeing with what she said. Then it flew away, presumably back to the headquarters of Herbology Monthly for its next delivery.

"Are owls in the magical world different than those that muggles see?" Hermione queried. "You see, before coming to Hogwarts I'd have never said that owls were intuitive animals. Cats, maybe, but not owls."

"Well, I don't suppose I know. You see, I've never met a non-magical owl. Where I live they're rarer than Crumple-Horned Snorkacks."

"Really, it's possible to be more rare than a Crumple-Horned Snorkack?" Hermione held a straight face as they made their way out of the library.

"Yes—though the only thing that comes to mind that may truly be that rare is Harry studying of his own volition." Luna played along, but neither girl was able to keep a serious face for very long. They both started laughing quietly while they walked, comfortable in their friendly camaraderie.

Harry snored softly in the library, seeming to any outside observer to be sleeping peacefully. In reality, however, he was having a rather peculiar dream.

Harry wandered around in a springy meadow. He had never been there before, and he had never seen a clearing quite like it. It was covered with grass so green and flowers so radiant, it almost hurt his eyes to look. It seemed sort of like a strangely beautiful picture, one that had been colored in with psychedelics. The meadow itself was surrounded by a variety of different trees. The trees were a much darker green than the grass, but they were no less extraordinary in their brilliant coloring.

As he walked, musing the strangeness of the bright and vibrant coloring of his surroundings, he saw it; the egg! Only, there was something different about it… there was a crack!

Had someone damaged it? Thoughts of what could have happened began racing through Harry's head, and he ran towards the egg, full of fear-induced adrenaline. As he got closer, he realized that the egg was… shaking? He stopped when he was about 2 meters away, the realization hitting him. It was… hatching? The egg was hatching?! He leaned forward in anticipation, careful not to get too close, as the crack slowly got bigger and bigger until—

CRASH! Harry jolted awake, panic-stricken. The egg! He looked around frantically, only to realize that he was in the library. A second year boy had dropped a heavy book that he had been trying to get from the top shelf, and was currently being scolded by a very irate Madame Pince.

As he regained his bearings, he couldn't shake off the feeling of anticipation that the dream had given him. When after five minutes the feeling still refused to leave him, Harry packed up his note-taking supplies as quickly as he could before racing up to the dorms.

Fifteen minutes later, he was gasping the password for the Gryffindor common room to the very bemused Fat Lady. As he climbed through the portrait hole, he felt it. Something was, for lack of a better word, calling him. He couldn't quite place how he knew it, but he knew somehow that it was the egg. The egg needed him. He started sprinting, ignoring the yelled questions of the other Gryffindors who had stayed for the Yule holidays as he raced up the steps and into the 4th year boys' dorm. He threw the door open, and there it was, sitting exactly the way he had left it. He couldn't shake off the feeling of anticipation and long, however, so he crept closer. What was that…?

He gasped—there it was, running up the side of the egg, a small crack exactly like the one from his dream.

Albus Dumbledore was frustrated. The reason behind his frustration? One Harry James Potter. The Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, the boy who was supposed to love all things good and light and listen to everything that he, the venerable defeater of the Dark Lord Grindelwald, said. The boy who, in reality, listened to absolutely nothing he said.

He'd tried everything he could, but the boy was immune to compulsions. There was some sort of energy radiating from the scar that blocked them, presumably leftover magic from that fateful night, Halloween 1981. He'd managed to keep Miss Granger under some light compulsions for a while, but they kept slipping off and needing to be reapplied. Plus, ever since that wretched Lovegood girl gave her a charmed necklace, it had been impossible for him to apply new ones.

So, because of his inability to keep those two in line, he had been steadily increasing the compulsions he had on the youngest Weasley boy. Of course, he'd already had some basic charms on him, like one that make him trust the Headmaster above all else, one that made him prone to jealousy, and one to keep him from getting too invested in his schoolwork. Initially, when Dumbledore had first applied those charms near the middle of Ron's third year, those ones had been enough. Harry had been so desperate to hold onto his friends that he would put up with almost anything from them, and he also had had a tendency to copy Ron's performance level on schoolwork. It had been a perfect plan, keeping Harry extremely busy satisfying Ron. It also kept him complacent enough in his learning that he would never even think to ask why the Dark Lord had attacked his parents that night.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. His jealousy charms had turned out to be too much in the end, culminating in Ronald cutting off all ties with Harry when the other boy's name came out of the goblet. This had initially posed a problem to the old wizard, because he'd lost his best spy. So, he'd applied more compulsions, more than were safe or healthy. After all, what was the health of one boy in comparison to the Greater Good?

There was one point in his life that Albus wouldn't have even entertained the thought of putting a teenager under compulsion charms. The very thought of such a thing would have repulsed him. Alas, 70 years of political maneuvering, fighting an upward battle for the good, and being looked to for every little problem had given Albus a complex. To him, there was no way but his way. Everything he did was for a reason, but he had gotten too wrapped up in the end justifying the means. He wasn't a terrible person, just one trying to do what was right. Alas, there is a saying about good intentions. Anyway, back to the present.

The only downside of this was that he had to reapply the compulsions every 4-8 days, and use several additional charms to take care of some of the more unpleasant side effects. After all, it simply wouldn't do for Ronald to go to Madame Pomfrey with a headache and for all the charms to be discovered.

Unfortunately, Dumbledore had been so bogged down with paperwork for the Wizengamot that he had been unable to reapply the charms before the Weasley boy went home for the holidays.

Either he'd have to reapply everything when the boy came back, or, he mused, he would have to pay the Weasleys a little Christmas visit.

Ron was grumpy. Ever since he'd gotten home, he'd had a rough time. Fred and George were still at school, so he wasn't getting pranked. No, he was dealing with something much worse than their pranks: the wrath of his mother. Ginny had told their Mum some ridiculous story about him being a jealous prat. Him, jealous? Please! He wasn't jealous, he was the best mate Harry could ever hope for. It was that jerk's fault that his mum was giving him all the worst chores, like his current task of degnoming the garden. And, to top it off, he had another one of his headaches, but he couldn't very well go see Dumbledore about it while he was home on break, now could he?

Ron was muttering about all the injustices of the world under his breath as he pulled at a particularly stubborn gnome. The gnome wouldn't budge. "Oh, come on you little bugger!" He exclaimed, tugging at it violently with both hands. Not even a little nudge. He set himself up, and put all of his strength into his next pull. What he had failed to realize was that the gnome had let go of his hold in the ground. When Ron pulled with all his might, the lack of resistance threw him off his balance. He tumbled backward and hit the corner of the shed, head first.

"Ronnie, dear, are you alright?" Mrs. Weasley called from the kitchen, where she'd been watching him work through the window. "Ron?" No response. She quickly wiped her hands on her apron and hurried outside, thinking that he was just being sullen, like the last few days. She came around the corner and stopped dead in her tracks, shrieking at the sight before her. Her Ronnie was lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. He was bleeding a lot. "Bill! Charlie!" Mrs. Weasley called, frantically checking to see if her baby was alright. "COME QUICKLY!"

Her eldest two came rushing out into the garden, followed by Percy and Ginny. "Mum, what's the-" Bill's sentence came to an abrupt halt when he came around the corner, suddenly understanding his mum's urgency.

"Floo St. Mungo's, straight away!" The Weasley matriarch ordered tearfully. Dear God, please let her baby be okay.

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