Harry Potter, Unexpected Animagus

With the love of a good woman, Harry becomes more confident and learns to handle the embarrassment that comes from being a teenage boy as well as an unexpected animagus. Set during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Severe Ron bashing ahead.



9. Chapter 9

Fleur finished her homework, and hurried to the building the residents of Hogwarts referred to as Greenhouse 8. Unlike her school, where Herbology was taught in one huge greenhouse, the British school had a greenhouse assigned for each year of its students, with an eighth one being reserved for those students truly gifted in Herbology who wanted to do independent study. In other words, her new friend Neville had a greenhouse all to himself.

When she reached Greenhouse 8, Fleur found the rest of the Marauders hard at work on their Herbology homework. As soon as she joined them, she started thinking of them by their Marauder names. The two Janus were working in one garden bed on the left, while Scorch, Fade, and Velma worked together at a waist high table full of drawers in the middle of the greenhouse. Groot was in his Ent form at the back of the greenhouse. He had roots spreading out to interact with four other garden beds.

An ancient Herbology text that Professor Sprout had loaned to Neville mentioned that Ents were able to mimic and duplicate the effects of any plant they had studied. As always when it came to Herbology, Neville was a quick learner. Copies of the plants found in the beds along the back wall were slowing starting to form on the exposed roots section of the Forest Guardian. A deep voice reverberated from the tree like giant, startling Fleur. She had never actually heard Groot say anything other than "I am Groot."

"Hey Scorch, before I forget, Professor Sprout wanted me to thank you again for the huge load of fertilizer you donated the other day," Groot said.

"No problem, Groot. It's not like it cost me anything," Harry replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Still, Dragon dung is pretty expensive, and getting it free has really loosened up her budget to purchase more exotic plants," Groot stated.

George and Fred looked down at the new "fertilizer" they had been mixing into the soil. "Are you telling us we've been playing around in Harry poop all afternoon?" Fred demanded, turning a little green. Neville nodded his huge wooden head.

"That…" George started to say.

"..is so…" Fred added.

"...wrong!" George finished. Both twins stepped away from the garden bed shaking the dirt / manure mixture off of their gloves.

Hermione sighed and gave the twins one of her patented disapproving looks. "Honestly Jani, you two have been using Dragon dung since your second year. Why are so freaked out about it now?" she inquired.

"Back then, we didn't know the bloke it came out of," Fred insisted.

Fleur chuckled and walked up to Fred to kiss him on the cheek. "Pardon me, Fade, but you called the twins Jani. What does that mean?" she asked, knowing full well what it meant, but she wanted to tweak her boyfriend's nose a bit in fun.

"Well, since 'ani' is one of the possible plural forms of 'anus', it just stands to reason that the pair of them would be called something similar," Hermione responded with a wink at Fleur.

George shook his head in frustration, he had also turned a bit green at the thought of playing in Harry poop. "Can we please talk about something other than poop and butts?" he asked, causing the rest of the Marauders to laugh.

Granting his request, Hermione looked at Luna. "Velma, I've noticed you refer to Scorch as being an 'Elder Dragon'. I've looked through Scalesniffer's guide cover to cover, and couldn't find any mention of an Elder Dragon. In fact, the guide failed to provide any description of a dragon with feathers instead of bat wings at all," she stated. Harry finished repotting the small plant he was working on, and turned to face Velma. He was understandably just as curious as Fade was regarding what he was.

Luna gave Hermione a gentle smile. "Of course you couldn't find anything there. Scalesniffer only did his studies around 700 years ago. The Elder Dragons are extremely rare. The last sighting of an Elder Dragon was almost a 1,000 years ago during the reign of Arthur Pendragon," she stated.

"Exactly how rare are we talking about?" Hermione inquired.

"There have only been three Elder Dragons in all of history, and two of them have been animagus - Harry and Myrddin Emrys (or Merlin Dragonspawn as he was known to the English)," Luna replied.

Hermione frowned. Even though she was coming to be more accepting of Luna's strange knowledge base, it still bothered her when she couldn't look up something herself. "How did you learn about this?" she asked.

"One of my ancestors was Myrddin's scribe, and accompanied Myrddin when he went to the the Dragon elders to learn about his draconic side. The Dragons told Myrddin about their history, as well as the story about how they came into being," Luna replied. Everyone but Groot stepped closer to hear more of Luna's story. For his part, Groot just leaned forward, and positioned his head over his girlfriend.

"Who was the other Elder Dragon- the real one?" Harry asked.

Luna paused as she collected her thoughts. It was a very new experience for her to have people take her stories seriously. "The first thing you need to know is that we live in the Fourth Age - the Age of Man. During the First Age, long before there were any mammals on our planet, the world was populated by Dragons. These were not just the Dragons we know of today, but all different types of Dragons - some with wings, some without, some who lived on land, and some who roamed the seas. The Muggles call them dinosaurs I think," she explained.

"The Earth was ruled by a pair of Dragons - a 13 headed dragon named Tiamat and her husband, the Elder Dragon. Tiamat was in charge of the sea and land, with each head being responsible for a certain niche. The Elder Dragon's domain was the sky above. Out of all of Tiamat's heads, there was only one who did not love their husband. The head in charge of the beasts that lived below ground grew jealous of the Elder Dragon's wings, and wanted to rule the sky herself. Eventually, her jealousy consumed her, and she tricked the Elder Dragon into going into a cavern without his usual honor guard of seven Great Eagles. Once inside the cavern, the jealous head's enforcers killed her husband, flooding the cavern floor in his blood," Luna told them. Without thinking about it, Hermione took Harry's hand in hers to reassure her that her Elder Dragon was still alright.

Luna went on with her story. "The other heads searched high and low for their husband, but couldn't find any sign of him. Eventually, one of the cave dwellers admitted to the other heads what they had done. Not believing that one of their own heads could devise such a heinous crime, Tiamat went to the cavern to see for herself. She went into the cave accompanied by her husband's honor guard. When they saw the Elder Dragon lying dead on the cavern floor, Tiamat's other heads became so enraged, they bit off the neck that held their traitorous head. The neck and head landed in a pool of the Elder Dragon's blood. His magic combined with hers in a flash of green light. The severed head and neck turned into the very first Basilisk, a creature so foul, it takes numerous unnatural acts to create a new one. The first Basilisk slithered deeper into the cavern before the Great Eagles could catch her," she stated.

"Overcome with grief, the seven Great Eagles each took hold of a part of the Elder Dragon, and flew him out of the cavern. Wanting to give him a proper burial, they flew to a gigantic volcano where the Gulf of Mexico is now. For the entire flight, the Great Eagles wept for the loss of their beloved leader. When they reached the volcano, the Great Eagles decided to follow their oaths of service to the Elder Dragon to the very end. They refused to let go of the Elder Dragon as they dove into the mouth of the volcano. The combination of the that much magic interacting with the largest volcano on Earth caused an explosion that wiped out almost all of Dragonkind, ending the First Age. The release of the Elder Dragon's magic also had an unexpected effect on the Great Eagle Honor Guard. Before they died, his magic melded with theirs in the presence of the Spirit of Fire itself. Where seven Great Eagles died, seven Phoenixes rose up from their ashes," Luna explained.

Harry was so entranced with Luna's story, he wasn't paying attention to where his free hand was. He leaned forward, and accidentally knocked a small trowel off the table top. As both Harry and Hermione bent over to pick up the trowel, they heard the door to the greenhouse slam open. Before either of them could stand up to see who had come in, they found themselves pinned to the ground by a mass of Groot's roots. Two of the roots slithered up to cover Hermione and Harry's mouths in a sign that they should stay quiet. Trusting Neville completely, Harry and Hermione nodded their heads. The two roots moved away from their mouths, but the rest stayed where they were to keep the couple from moving.

Ron Weasley threw open the greenhouse house door and stormed inside. He glanced around at the plants, desks, and large tree in the back before sighing in disgust. George met Fred's eyes and his twin nodded his head slightly. "Can we help you, Ron?" George asked neutrally.

"Yeah, I'm looking for Hermione. Have you guys seen her?" Ron replied looking at Fred and George. He made a point of not looking at "Loony" Lovegood. Instead, he let his eyes linger on Fleur like he was sizing up a piece of meat.

"Why are you looking for Hermione?" Fred inquired, distracting Ron.

Ron smiled and puffed out his chest. "I decided that I would let her go to the Yule Ball me," he boasted.

Fleur frowned at Ron's choice of words. "What do you mean 'let her' go to the ball with you?" she asked sharply.

Creasing his brows in confusion, Ron replied. "It's Hermione we're talking about. It's not like anyone else would have asked her to the ball all ready. I figured I would do my duty as a friend and take her, so she doesn't have to suffer the embarrassment of going stag," he explained.

"As her friend, I would have thought you would have known she is going to the ball with Harry," Fleur pointed out.

Ron still looked confused. "Why would she do that?" he asked.

George shook his head in disappointment at his brother. "Probably has something to do with the fact that she and Harry are dating," he stated.

"WHAT?!" Ron bellowed, and then caught himself. After a moment he smiled, and pointed at George. "Good one, Fred. You really had me going there. Hermione is way too smart to date a cheating, glory hound like Harry. Not to mention that the Slytherin in Gryffindor clothing has so many groupies, he has a lot better choices than some buck toothed, bossy bookworm," he argued.

Fred and George both ground their teeth in anger. Part of them wanted to beat their backstabbing brother to within an inch of his life. The rest of them was happy Groot had Harry restrained so they wouldn't have to explain to their parents that their youngest son had "disappeared".

Fleur stepped in between George and Ron, while she squeezed her boyfriend's hand to keep either of them from throttling their brother. "I think you should leave now, Ronald," she warned.

Ron just rolled his eyes, and decided to stay just to spite the French tramp. "I'll leave when I feel like it, not when some foreign tart tells me to," he spat back.

Luna fought a tremendous battle within herself. Velma wanted desperately to tear this red headed ponce apart, but Luna knew that murdering someone (even one as deserving as Ron) would probably get her expelled, and then she couldn't see her friends as regularly as she did now. She stomped on one of Groot's roots when she saw a large branch slowly shifting to be right above Ron's head. It would do her no good if her boyfriend was expelled for murder either. Eventually, Luna figured out a foolproof way of getting rid of Ron. "He's right, Fleur, we can't just throw him out," she told her new friend. Luna shifted to look at Ron. "Ronnie, you're more than welcome to stay and join in our study group. We were going to spend the next two hours quizzing each other on Herbology terms," she lied.

Ron suddenly looked panicked. "Um… no, thanks. I have better things to do," he blurted out before racing out of the greenhouse.

Groot listened to the Earth, and when he was sure Ron was far away, he shifted form back to Neville again. Harry and Hermione stood up once Groot's roots disappeared. Both had their jaws clenched in anger over what Ron had said about the other. Suddenly, Harry's face relaxed and he gave a Hermione a feral grin as a prank sprang fully formed into his mind. Like the twins, he had read the Marauder notebook cover to cover, and now knew how to put one of Moony's failed experiments to good use.

Remus Lupin had been working on creating a pocket universe that was tied to a witch or wizard, instead of a rune stone like a wizard's tent. His hope was that he could come up with a way to transport just about anything without having to worry about how much it weighed. Remus had been able to create a pocket universe easily, but was never able to figure out how to keep the blasted thing from randomly dropping what was stored inside before snatching it back up a second later.

"Fade, I need you to go get your arithmancy books. Velma, go get your rune etcher. Janus, give the notebook to Valkyrie, and then get me something of Ron's - hair, toenail clippings, whatever. Valkyrie, I need you gather the supplies listed on page 113 of the notebook. Meet me in the Lair in one hour," Scorch ordered.

"What about me?" Neville asked.

"Grab that garden rake and follow me," Harry replied with a wink.

Professor McGonagall shared a worried look with her friend, Filius Flitwick, as they sat down for the dinner meal in the Great Hall. Earlier that afternoon, McGonagall had found a vial with a pensive memory in it on her desk. The cork was scorched around the edges and claw marks in the distinctive pattern of a feline were scratched on the glass. Taking advantage of one of Professor Dumbledore's numerous absences from the castle, Flitwick and McGonagall used the pensive in his office to view the stored memory. The memory was of Ronald Weasley's horrible behavior during the past school year and culminating in an truly ugly display in Greenhouse 8. The marking on the outside of the vial were a clear indication that the Marauders would be handling things.

Eventually McGonagall convinced herself the Marauders were good people after all, and she probably wouldn't have to write a letter to the Weasley parents explaining how their youngest son met a grisly end. At least that's what she hoped when Harry and friends strolled casually into the Great Hall. Harry spared Ron a quick glance and then met McGonagall's eyes. A quick wink was told the Head of Gryffindor house that the evening meal was going to be anything but boring.

Once the new Marauders were in their seats, all four of the House ghosts rose solemnly up from the floor, and took positions at the head of the four tables. Each of the ghosts had agreed to participate in the prank for their own reasons. The Bloody Baron appreciated the brutal nature of what was to occur this evening. The Fat Friar was still seething that any student at Hogwarts could betray his two supposedly best friends the way the Ronald Weasley had. The Gray Lady was impressed with the technical aspects of the prank, and happily went along with it. As for Sir Nicholas, he had taken a dislike to the redheaded berk during Harry's first opening feast, and had only grown to dislike him even more with each betrayal of Harry and Hermione.

Dumbledore stood and addressed his dead members of the four houses. "Not that you are ever unwelcome here, but what do we owe the honor of having all four of you together when it isn't one of the special feasts?" he inquired.

The Bloody Baron floated a few feet towards Dumbledore and then stopped. Of all of the ghosts, he had the least problem lying to the Headmaster. "Come now, Albus. I know you want to protect theses young minds from fear, but they deserve to know what this evening is, and what might happen to them," he replied. "Tonight is the 500th anniversary of the betrayal and murder of the old tenant farmer, Hamish McDonald by his best friend, Ethan Irving," the Bloody Baron added.

Professor Dumbledore's confused look was the Gray Lady's cue. "Surely you have read Hogwarts: A History, Headmaster," she chided, choosing her words so that she could say she never lied to Dumbledore.

Dumbledore looked embarrassed as he stroked his long, white beard. "Yes… um… that is… I have read parts of it, but I might have skipped over some things," he admitted.

Sir Nicholas nodded in understanding. "It would be easy to miss the paragraph about old McDonald's murder. I only remember the passage because of his chilling last words as he greeted his friend twice before he was betrayed, and found a dagger stuck in his back. You see, the friends had long ago fallen into the habit of referring to themselves by their initials, instead of their names. Old McDonald's last words were, 'E.I., E.I., ..ooooooh'," he stated. The obvious clue let the muggle born students know what they were witnessing was a prank, and they should relax and enjoy the show.

The Bloody Baron continued the narrative of the betrayed farmer. "While old McDonald's magic abilities were barely above a squib, he still had enough power to enact a Wizard's Curse. He vowed that he would spend his afterlife avenging those who had been betrayed as badly as he was. Since McDonald wasn't very powerful, the first time he could manifest after being murdered is tonight," he explained. The Bloody Baron smirked as he thought about how many of his little snakes must be pissing their pants about now. When he turned to look along the table, he noticed several of the Durmstrang students looked uneasy as well.

Peeves spent the time the Baron was speaking trying out the temporary boost to his invisibility powers the new Marauders gave him. Since Dumbledore didn't react to Peeves mooning him only a couple of inches from the old wizard's face, Peeves was certain the boost was working. He floated out of the Great Hall, and picked up the heavily enchanted garden rake they had hid in a nearby alcove.

With a psychic push, Peeves slammed open the doors to the Great Hall, and slowly floated back in, carrying the rake. "It would look as if your calculations are correct as usual, my lady," the Fat Friar said, also choosing his words so that no one could say he lied.

Peeves slowly floated above the heads of each student, starting with the Slytherins and ending at the Gryffindor table. Several students involuntarily fliched when the rake was directly above them and would pause as if weighing their sins before moving on. When the rake finished floating above each student, it slowly drifted back over to float above the bright, red hair of the youngest Weasley male.

A collective gasp was let out from the occupants of the Great Hall as the rake swung upwards and then downwards with enough force to crack a skull open. The rake halted six inches above Ron's head. After Ron let out a sigh of relief, the rake dipped down a bit to lightly tap him on the top of his head. The instant after it touched his hair, the rake disappeared as it was sucked into a pocket universe tied to Ronald Weasley.

When nothing else happened, Dumbledore muttered, "Well, that was anti-climatic."

Ron's cheeks quickly became the color of his hair when he realized the entire Great Hall was staring at him. Eventually, it became too much for him, and he jumped off the bench. He yelled, "What?! What are all you staring at? I'm a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin. I haven't betrayed anyone!" When people continued to stare at him, Ron threw his napkin down in disgust, and stormed towards the doors leading out of the Great Hall. He only made it halfway before the randomness of the pocket universe chose that moment to deposit the rake on the ground, right in front of him. Ron's right foot went down on the tines and the tines acted as a fulcrum. The handle shot upwards, and hit Ron square in the quaffles before vanishing back into the pocket universe.

Tears slid down Ron's face as he held his injured groin and dropped to the floor. Madam Pomfrey quickly had her wand out, and was soon levitating the whimpering boy to the Hospital Wing for a testicular de-rupturing potion. As they left, the ghosts slowly faded away. Sir Nicholas gave Harry a cheeky wink right before he slipped through the floor.

Professor Flitwick leaned over to whisper in his best friend's ear. "You know Minnie, I'm not sure if we should expel the new Marauders for causing intentional pain to another student, or give them each an award for outstanding service to the school by ensuring that young Mr. Weasley won't be reproducing," he stated. His gut was telling him that evening wasn't the only time the rake would be making a visit to Ron's groin.

"My thoughts exactly. I suppose in the end it's a wash and the two sides even out," McGonagall replied before focusing on her meal again.

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