No one could move. We stood stock still, watching the jet black dragon roaring, blowing fire at the trees, and watching them fall. The first few times the trees crashed to the ground, we flinched, but soon, we became immune to the shock. Hagrid still stood with his arm gesturing towards the huge dragon, with a brilliant gleam stretched across his red face. Hagrid’s smile slowly diminished when no one said anything.
“Well come on. Someone says somethin’” We slowly moved our gaze between Hagrid and the colossal monster fifty feet in front of us.
“Ha…Hag...” Hermione stuttered.
“Hagrid. What on earth…” Ron finished her sentence.
“What are you doing with Norbert… I thought Charlie…” Harry said, not taking his eyes of Norbert.
“Charlie, as you very well know Ron, is travelling, so….”
“Charlie gave him back to you?” Ron said, interrupting him.
“No. He wouldn’t. One of his friends was looking after him, then he couldn’t look after him… So I offered. And he was more than happy to give him back to me”
“Hagrid… You can’t.. I mean… It’s too dangerous to… Hagrid” I said, not able to complete my sentences.
“Don’t worry, any of you. He’s perfectly safe. I promise.”
“HAGRID. HE ISNT EVEN CHAINED UP” Hermione bellowed.
“Do you fink I would let him out of this forest Hermione”
“Well. It looks that way!”
“Don’t worry Hermione. Charlie’s friend put an, oh what’s the word he used ‘impenetrable force fields’ around a small area - but only for the dragon. Humans can still come in and out”
“No Hermione. Pupils do not come this far into the forest. Well not this far in. Don’t worry about it” Hagrid cut her off.
No one had anything to say. We just stood there, the dragon had lied down, and was now snoring.
“Come on Harry. Aren’t you happy at all” Harry slowly looked away from the snoring black rock that was Norbert towards Hagrid’s face.
“Hagrid. Surly you can understand that we are in a little shock”
“Yeah. Just waiting for my heat to restart” Ron whispered in Harry’s ear.
“What about you Hermione?”
“Well. Apart from this violating about a hundred school rules… It’s nice to see you happy Hagrid”
“WHAT?” Harry shot a glare in Hermione’s direction.
“Come on Harry. Someone with less empathy than a toad stall can see that Hagrid is ecstatic with Norbert being back
“Ugh.” Harry muttered, but he relaxed his posture a little.
“Thanks Hermione. What do you think Ginny?” Hagrid surprised me by asking my opinion.
“Uhh. I think… Like Hermione said, its good. But come on. How is that” I pointed at Norbert “going to stay inconspicuous?”
“Quite simple, really. We are VERY far from Hogwarts. No one will notice him”
“Until the forest goes up in smoke from his fire” Ron said sarcastically.
“Your not going to tell anyone about him are you?” Hagrid asked, worried now.
“Of course not Hagrid” Hermione said earnestly.
“Ugh” Harry grumbled, clutching my hand tighter.
“Where did all the bad mood come from Harry” Ron said, reluctantly looking at our entwined hands.
“Just. Does Dumbledore know Hagrid?”
“Umm.. Not exactly”
“Well, You guys had a start. Do you think Dumbledore wont. He might have a heart attack”
“Hagrid. He needs to know” Hermione piped up.
“I will tell him… eventually”
“HAGRID” We moaned in unison.
“Could you help me”
“HAGRID” We repeated.
“Sure” Hermione said. We all looked at Hermione in disbelief. Of all the people surrounding me, I thought Hermione was the one person who would not be caught in Dumbledore’s office, asking him to excuse an illegal dragon, hidden in the school grounds.
“Norbert? He’s back.” Dumbledore just about chocked out.
“Yes” Hagrid said simply.
“But… How? When?”
“Three days ago… He was... Delivered”
“Hagrid. I cannot condone this. In the school forest” I stared at him, sitting behind his desk, still in his ruby red pajamas, with his half moon spectacles pushed down to the end of his nose.
“Oh. Right. I’m sorry. I will return him. Boy, Reggie isn’t going to be happy with me.”
“Charlie’s friend, he gave Norbert to me”
“Charlie? Why isn’t he looking after Norbert?” Dumbledore said, looking between Ron and me. Ron shrugged, looking at the floor.
“He is traveling, so Reggie is looking after him. And, he said he couldn’t look after him, so I offered… And… Here he is” Hagrid gestured out the window opposite us that looked out the forest.
“He couldn’t look after Norbert?”
“No Sir” Hagrid said. Harry shifted his weight uncomfortably, and I didn’t understand why. I followed his gaze out the window, and a huge flame flew up out of the forest, then disappeared as soon as it had come.
“Oh. Well. Who will Norbert go to, and be safe with?”
“I haven’t thought about that Professor Dumbledore”
“Well. Until you find the perfect place for Norbert to stay, I think he could stay in the forest. On one condition.”
“Yes Dumbledore, yes”
“That you allow myself to cast some spells around the forest, and a few on Norbert, to keep him, and the students safe”
“Okay. I will do that tomorrow, well later today actually.”
“Thank you Dumbledore. Thank you” Hagrid said, bounding out the door. Dumbledore looked at us expectantly. Hermione yawned quietly, Dumbledore looked at her before saying.
“Well. I think we all need a good sleep now. Hagrid isn’t good at timing”
“You got that right” Ron said, before turning to leave. Hermione followed him, and Harry next, pulling me along behind him.
“Night Dumbledore” Harry called over his shoulder. Dumbledore nodded in answer. Then turned his attention to me, proberly not realizing I was still looking at him from the corner of my eye. A look of anger, mixed with frustration flashed across his face as he looked at me back as I left his office. I was confused. Why was Dumbledore glaring at me for? What did I do wrong? Was he actually glaring at me? Or Harry?
“Tired?” Harry whispered in my ear, pulling me from my train of thought.
“Just a tad” I said, yawning.
“Sorry. It’s been quite eventful hasn’t it”
“That’s an understatement”
“A dragon, of all of Hagrid’s crazy animals…. A dragon” Harry said in disbelief.
“What. You think a dragon is worse than a brutal three headed dog?”
Harry chuckled. “It’s a draw” I laughed with him as we walked, Harry supporting half my weight. My eyes were drooping, I was almost falling asleep. I felt something cold slip off my neck and fall onto the floor in front of me. “What’s that?” Harry asked, as I bent down to pick my necklace off the floor.
“Oh. I found it in my house. I thought it was pretty, and it was lying next to a chain, so I put it together, and… I wanted to keep it.”
“I like it” Harry said. I fumbled with the clasp, as I put it round my neck again. Harry pushed my hands carefully away, pushed my hair aside, and did up the chain, before adjusting it so the gem hung around the front. “Beautiful” He said, before smiling widely at me.
“Ginny. Where did you go last night?” Mary said over the huge rack of toast in between us, over the table.
“Huh” Was my only response. I still felt a little dazed from last night, about all the things that had changed so suddenly. I mean, there is now a dragon as a school pet.
“Where did you go? I saw you leave the dorm with Hermione, and I was going to follow, but I was too tired, then I heard a whack, and someone shout out” I suddenly remembered the punch I threw at Ron – could it only have been last night. The surge of anger that ran through me, that didn’t end until I realized the pain I had caused my brother. I shivered.
“Ginny? Where did you go?”
“Umm… I went…. To the common room with Hermione” I said. My voice cracking. I never could lie convincingly.
“Is that all?”
“Yeah. I think”
“Who yelled then?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I said harshly.
“Okay. Calm down Ginny.”
“Ugh. I’m going to the Common Room”
“Your coming to Hogsmead later though? Right?”
“Sure. Whatever” I swung my legs out from under the table, and walked away from the table, and the faces of my friends, Mary looking shocked, like someone had just slapped her round the face.
“What’s her problem?” Mary muttered when she thought I was out of ear shot.
“Yeah. I know. What do you think happened to her in the holidays. She never had such a temper before” Hannah responded.
“Yep. Something must have happened.” Mary agreed.
I turned to look at them, I felt hurt, and a little betrayed. Also a weird wave of embarrassment washed over me. I was rude. I do have a short temper. Maybe, it’s that Harry is confusing me. He hasn’t even asked me out, and we almost kissed… What was going on in his head. Will he ask me out. I’ll have to see. Maybe in Hogsmead. I need to meet up with him before we go, so I can stay with him… Will Ron have forgiven me completely by then? He has to get over it eventually…
I stalked up the grand staircase, headed for the common room.
“Come on” I heard someone say behind me. I whipped around, shocked by the voice. No one stood there, not close enough that the I would have heard. The nearest people were down three floors, on lower staircases - a bunch of first year Gryffindors laughing and running down the flights of stairs. I swung back around and continued walking up. Only four more stair cases till I reach the fat lady.
“You know what you need to do” The same glorious voice sounded from behind me again. I looked behind me. Was I going insane? No one was there. Hearing voices in my head… I must be crazy. I started up the stairs again.
“Give in. Give in” I found myself sprinting up the stairs, taking them two at a time. I got to the fat lady, screamed the password t her, this startled her, and she swung open. I ran in, and pressed my back to the wall next to one of the huge tapestries that hung from the ceiling, waiting for the voice to start again. Nothing. No voices. No sounds except the faint crackling of the flames in the fire place. I breathed in deeply, realizing I was not alone. A pair of bright green eyes was staring at me, shocked. I relaxed my tense muscles a little as the I recognized the eyes, behind the perfect circular glasses, just below the lightning shaped scar.
“Ginny?” Harry asked warily.
“Yes” I said. He got up cautiously, and approached me with exaggerated slowness. He carefully put his arms around my neck, and held me close.
“Nothing” I muttered too quickly. I didn’t convince him. He pushed me back softly, staring into my eyes. I tried not to meet his gaze, but it was next to impossible.
“Ginny? What’s happened” He was suddenly worried. I racked my brain for any situation where I might react like this.
“Malfoy” I said suddenly.
“Malfoy. What did he do?”
“He tried to hurt me” I said. Surprised how real it sounded, he might even believe me.
“Is he out there now?”
“No. It was, earlier. I just ran away” Lying was becoming easier and easier.
“Don’t worry. He wont hurt you again. Or I will set Ron on him.” He chuckled. I joined in.
“Looking forward to Hogsmead” He said, tugging me towards the sofa where he was sitting, with his ‘Charms through the ages’ book.
“Yeah. Can I go with you?”
“Of course you can” He said. Leaning forward towards me. I closed my eyes slowly.
“Ugh” George said, entering the room. Harry abruptly leant back, both of us blushing scarlet. George started laughing, Fred following close behind him.
“Alright there Harry?” George said smiling.
“Don’t be rude George. Give them some privacy” Hermione said, I hadn’t noticed her enter. I blushed again.
“Where’s Ron, Hermione?”
“No idea.” Hermione said, shrugging, she went to sit in an arm chair next to the blazing fire reading a humongous book on her lap.
“When are we leaving for Hogsmead?” Fred asked George.
“In an hour. Filch is checking everyone though, to make sure we aren’t taking anything ‘bad’ to Hogsmead?” George said, using his fingers as air quotes around ‘bad’. Fred and George chuckled darkly simultaneously. Hermione shook here head at this. They ignored her, and sat down as well.
“You didn’t happen to see Malfoy out there did you?” Harry asked everyone.
“Nope” Hermione said.
“Yeah. But he was being a prat, so we threw a rock at him”
“Where did you get a rock?” Hermione asked.
“We were outside at the time. He was being the cocky prat he is. And we got irritated. We made do with what we had, threw a rock at him. It was surprisingly entertaining.” George said.
“Good.” Harry said, smirking. “He gets what he deserves I guess”
“Damn right” Fred said smiling too.
“I’ll get him again for you” Harry whispered in my ear, I could hear he was smiling, and I couldn’t help smiling to. We all sat, talking, laughing and gossiping about Malfoy, and planning revenge against him. I didn’t notice the time passing, until Ron ran through the door, telling us that people were leaving to go to Hogsmead. We followed him down the staircase in a hurry, I was almost sprinting. Not wanting to miss the trip, but also terrified that the voice would come back. I got out the huge front door, with no interruption in my head from that smooth luxurious voice. Filch was standing there, with an evil glare spread across his face. He searched us, with McGonagall by his side, casting spells to make sure we had no dark objects on us. Fred, George, Ron, Hermione, Harry and I passed through them quickly, and traveled into Hogsmead, with huge grins on our faces, laughing the whole way there.