What to Do with a Dragon?
Harry, Hermione, and Ginny slowly returned to the castle, arguing about Hagrid’s dragon.
“It’s crazy!” Hermione insisted. “He lives in a wooden house!”
“Yes, Hermione,” Ginny said wearily. “So you’ve said. Four times. But he’s protected it, and he seems to have a good plan–“
“But he didn’t hide the egg very well,” Harry pointed out. “We saw it within a minute of entering the hut.”
“Harry, how many people do you think visit Hagrid’s hut?” Ginny demanded. “Us. No one else. Charlie said that even Dumbledore only talks to him when he comes up for dinner.”
Hermione gasped. “That’s the answer!”
“Charlie!” the bushy-haired Ravenclaw exclaimed. At Ginny and Harry’s confused stares, she explained, “Ginny and Ron’s big brother Charlie! He works at a dragon preserve in Romania, remember? He can come and get the dragon egg!”
Harry cocked his head to the side. “It could work,” he agreed. “The question is, how do we get it to him?”
Hermione was muttering now, apparently listing magical methods of transport. “We don’t know anyone who can make a Portkey – well, anyone who can make one legally, anyway… Floo travel reacts badly to infants, which would include an egg… none of us can Apparate, and if Hagrid was expelled I doubt he can… I suppose that Charlie could Floo here and fly back, but that’s a long way to travel by air… but he could Floo here and Apparate back!”
Ginny snorted. “Apparation can’t go more than a hundred miles or so safely, and it can’t go over big bodies of water, either. That’s why international travel is done with long-distance Floos or Portkeys.”
“Sorry,” Harry interrupted, “but what’s Floo? And a Portkey?”
“Portkeys,” Hermione began to explain, “are objects that travel through space, taking whoever touches them, from one point to another. They travel through the same method as Apparation, but slower… I’m not sure what that means,” she grudgingly said, “but they can’t go as fast. They can go farther, and pass through anti-apparation wards, which is why it’s against the law to make them without registering them.”
“They can go over water,” Ginny added. “I’m not sure why Portkeys can and Apparation can’t, but there you go. And then Floo travel is the closest thing that we have to how Phoenixes travel. It’s from one fire to another, but the fire has to be saturated with the Floo powder, which is expensive, and it has to be from one fireplace to another, since it’s controlled by the Ministry.”
“Think of it as a telephone that you can step through,” Hermione said, seeing that Harry still looked kind of confused.
“Okay,” Harry said, nodding. “That makes a bit more sense. So those are the only ways of magical travel?”
“Well, broomsticks,” Ginny said. “And there’s an old story about pairs of doors and cabinets and such that you can step through. But yeah.”
“Okay,” Harry said, frowning. “And then the best way to get rid of the dragon is…”
Hermione sighed. “I think the only way, if Apparation doesn’t go over water, is to have Charlie fly it away.”
“I still don’t think that it needs to be taken away,” Ginny insisted “Besides, I bet a real dragon would make a wonderful subject for sketching.”
“Sure, if you can get it to not eat you,” Harry agreed. “So, will you write to Charlie about our problem?”
Ginny frowned. “Yes. No. Maybe. I need to think about it more.”
“That’s the best we’ll get,” Harry said, stopping Hermione as she opened her mouth to argue. “Come on, it’s time for dinner.”
How are you? Did you have any luck starting up that local
Quidditch league? And how’s the dragon preserve going? Last I heard it had at
least one of every dragon except for the Horntail and the Ridgeback.
Well, you remember how Hagrid likes to raise dangerous beasts, right? Like the chimera he got a hold of your fourth year? Well, he’s got a dragon egg now, a Ridgeback. It’s due to hatch mid-February, so only two weeks or so, and he plans to keep it in the Forest and claim that it migrated. Harry, Hermione and I think that it’s best if you could come get it before then and take it to the preserve.
Obviously, Hagrid doesn’t want to get rid of it, but we think that if you come to “visit your family” and also drop in on him, you could convince him. Please? We’re worried that the dragon will set the Forest on fire or something.
Charlie’s eyes widened as he read the letter from his little sister, and so did his smile. A Ridgeback for the preserve? What luck! And while Hagrid would be sad about it, it would be easier if he could get the egg before it hatched. Ginny had definitely made the right decision telling him. He made a mental note to buy her something nice for her birthday, maybe some magical pencils. As he mused, he began drafting a note to his boss, asking if he could take a few days semi-vacation.
The day after Ginny sent the letter to Charlie, she and Harry were in an abandoned classroom. Harry was posing on his broomstick while she sketched him.
“Argh!” she muttered, tearing another sheet off her sketchpad and crumpling it up. “This is so frustrating!”
“At least I’m getting practice at the Vanishing Charm,” Harry pointed out. “Evanesco.” The crumpled paper shudder for a moment before vanishing.
“I can draw monsters and buildings and magic and fire and smoke,” Ginny complained. “Why can’t I draw people?” She began another sketch.
Someone knocked on the door a few minutes later. “Come in,” Harry called as Ginny tore another sheet. He hopped off his broom and put a hand on her shoulder as the door swung open. “Why don’t you take a break?” he suggested. “I’m no artist, but I’m sure that being frustrated doesn’t help.”
Ginny sighed. “I suppose. But I really – Ron!”
Her twin was standing sheepishly in the door. “Hi Harry, hi Ginny,” he whispered.
Harry narrowed his eyes. “Have you finally figured it out?”
He sighed. “The Headmaster took me aside and explained about the potions. He didn’t say who put them in, but I get the feeling that he knows.”
“Anything else?” asked Ginny.
Ron shrugged. “Well, he asked if Bill was still interested in Potions. Seemed rather disappointed when I said that he was happy as Cursebreaker.”
Harry glanced at Ginny, then back at Ron. “Well, I’m sorry that I blew up at you during… the Incident,” he finally said. “Forgive me?”
Ron gaped. “You’re sorry! I was the one who wouldn’t listen. You were under a potion, I wasn’t! I should be asking your forgiveness!”
Harry shook his head. “I was under a potion, but it wore off quickly and I was able to fight it off once I realized what was going on,” he insisted. “You were under a potion too, but it was a longer-lasting one that made you sad!”
Ron furrowed his brow. “I guess it’s only wearing off now…” he said slowly. “Well, why don’t we put this whole thing behind us? Just... forget about it? It wasn’t either of our faults, I guess, it was whoever spiked our drinks.”
Harry nodded in relief. “Yeah, let’s do that. That sounds good. How about a game of chess?”
Ron smiled. “You’re on.”