Once the term restarted, I was back to skimming through books for ten minutes whenever I had a break. Harry and I had even less time than the other two because Quidditch practice had started again.
Wood was working the team harder than ever. Even the endless rain that had replaced the snow couldn’t dampen his Quidditch spirit.
During one of our many wet and muddy practices, Wood gave us bad news. He was very angry with the twins because they kept dive-bombing each other and pretending to fall off their brooms.
“Will you stop messing around!” Wood yelled. “That’s exactly the sort of thing that’ll lose us the match! Snape’s refereeing this time, and he’ll be looking for any excuse to knock points off of Gryffindor!”
This time George really did fall off of his broom.
“Snape’s refereeing?” he spluttered through a mouthful of mud. “He’s not going to be fair if we might overtake Slytherin.”
The rest of us landed next to George to complain too.
“It’s not my fault,” said Wood. “We’ve just got to make sure we play a clean game, so Snape hasn’t got an excuse to pick on us.”
After practice, I hung back to talk to Angelina and Katie like usual.
“Has Snape ever refereed a match before?” I asked.
“I think he did once last year and then once when I was a first year,” Angelina said.
“I still can’t believe he’s actually refereeing,” said Katie. “When has Snape ever shown any interest in Quidditch except when Slytherin won the Quidditch cup last year?”
“He never has. I think Wood said he heard that Snape volunteered to referee this match,” Angelina said.
“Great,” I muttered as I left the locker room.
I returned to the common room and saw Harry already explaining to Ron and Hermione what Wood said at practice.
“Say you’re ill.”
“Pretend to break your leg.”
“REALLY break your leg.”
“I can’t,” said Harry. “There isn’t a reserve Seeker. If I back out, Gryffindor can’t play at all.”
“For the last time,” I said, starting to get annoyed, “Snape is NOT trying to kill Harry.”
“How do you explain Snape’s sudden desire to referee a Quidditch match then?” Harry said.
“Angelina told me that Snape has refereed matches before,” I said. “Harry it’s going to be fine.”
Hermione and Ron looked at me and shook their heads.
“You’re not helping!” I shrieked. “Look, if Snape wanted to kill Harry he wouldn’t have done it in an obvious way. If anything he would slip a potion into your pumpkin juice.”
“But it doesn’t make sense for anyone else to have been doing it!” Hermione cried.
“It does, actually,” I said. “You don’t know who else has it in for Harry. Just because they’re nice doesn’t mean that they truly want everything to turn out alright for him.”
At that moment, Neville toppled into the common room from the portrait hole with his legs locked into what looked like a Leg-Locker Curse. He probably had to bunny hop all the way up to Gryffindor tower.
Everyone fell over laughing while I got up and performed the countercurse. Neville’s legs sprang apart and he got up, his feet trembling.
“What happened?” I asked, leading him over to sit with us.
“Malfoy,” Neville said shakily. “I met him outside the library. He said he’d been looking for someone to practice that on.”
“Go to Professor McGonagall!” Hermione urged Neville. “Report him!”
Neville just shook his head.
“I don’t want more trouble,” he mumbled.
“You’ve got to stand up to him Neville!” said Ron. “He’s used to walking all over people, but that’s no reason to lie down in front of him and make it easier.”
“There’s no need to tell me I’m not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy’s already done that,” Neville choked out.
Harry grabbed something in his pocket and gave it to Neville, who looked like he was about to cry.
“You’re worth twelve of Malfoy,” Harry said. “The Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didn’t it? And where’s Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin.”
This definitely cheered up Neville a little bit because he showed a weak smile.
“Thanks Harry… I think I’ll go to bed….D’you want the card back, you collect them, don’t you?”
Neville walked away and handed Harry back the card he had given him.
“Dumbledore again,” Harry said. “He was the first one I ever－”
Harry gasped, looked down at the back of his card, and then looked back up at Ron, Hermione, and I.
“I found him!” he whispered. “I found Flamel! I told you I’d read his name somewhere before, I read it on the train coming－listen to this: ‘Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel’!”
Hermione jumped to her feet, looking excited.
“Stay there!” she said and sprinted up to our room, coming back with an enormous old book in her hand.
“I got this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading,” she whispered.
“Light?” Ron said.
Hermione ignored him as she flipped through the pages.
“Nicolas Flamel,” she whispered dramatically, “is the only known maker of the Sorcerer’s Stone!”
“The what?” said Harry and Ron.
“The stone can transform any metal into gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which makes the drinker immortal,” I explained. “That’s brilliant Hermione! The dog must be guarding Flamel’s Sorcerer’s Stone!”
“A stone that makes gold and stops you from ever dying!” said Ron. “No wonder Snape’s after it! Anyone would want it.”
“I’m going to play in the match,” Harry said randomly. “If I don’t, all the Slytherins will think I’m just too scared to face Snape. I’ll show them…. It’ll really wipe the smiles off their faces if we win.”
“That’s the spirit－” I began.
“－As long as we’re not wiping you off the field,” Hermione said, which made me frown at her.
The game of course went just fine and Harry managed to catch the Snitch only a few minutes into the game before either team had a chance to score.
Harry jumped off of his broom and grinned at me, holding up the Snitch for me to see.
“What did I tell you?” I said laughing. “Great job!”
I flew down to where he was and gave him a quick hug as the Gryffindors began to pour down the stands to lift Harry above their shoulders and cheer loudly.
After some more celebrating, I joined the rest of the team in the locker room.
“I am momunterally proud,” Wood said, gripping Harry’s shoulders. “You’ve done something incredible, thank you.”
I grinned as Wood pulled Harry into a tight hug.
“Reckon he’s better than Charlie?” Fred asked me.
“Nah,” I said. “Not yet. Charlie was spectacular, he could’ve played for England if he didn’t go study dragons.”
Harry came closer and tapped my shoulder.
“Do you wanna walk to the broomshed with me?” he asked, and I nodded.
“You did amazing,” I said, as we walked.
“I got lucky. You did really good too,” said Harry.
“I don’t know about that. I barely touched the Quaffle before you had caught the Snitch so I didn’t do a lot,” I said.
“You always do good Mads－” then he faltered looking behind me.
I turned and saw Snape walking as fast as possible towards the forest, clearly not wanting to be seen.
“Let’s go investigate!” Harry said, mounting on his broom and soaring in the sky.
“Damn it!” I said, mounting mine and flying after him.
“Harry!” I hissed, once I had caught up to him. “Please don’t do this.”
He ignored me and flew through the trees. I scowled and landed in a towering beech tree next to Harry. We climbed along one of the branches, holding tight to our broomsticks, trying to see through the leaves.
“...d-don’t know w-why you wanted t-to meet here of all p-places, Severus,” the unmistakable voice of Quirrell stammered under the trees.
“Oh, I thought we’d keep this private,” Snape snarled to him. “Students aren’t supposed to know about the Sorcerer’s Stone after all.”
Quirrell mumbled something in a low voice before Snape interrupted him.
“Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid’s yet?”
“B-b-but Severus, I－”
“You don’t want me as your enemy Quirrell,” Snape said.
“I-I don’t know what you－”
“You know perfectly well what I mean.”
An owl hooted loudly and we almost fell out of the tree. We steadied ourselves in time to hear Snape say, “－your little bit of hocus-pocus. I’m waiting.”
“B-but I d-d-don’t－”
“Very well. We’ll have another little chat soon, when you’ve had time to think things over and decide where your loyalties lie.”
Harry looked at me and narrowed his eyes in suspicion. I shrugged and pointed back the way we’d come. Harry nodded and we flew back to the castle to leave our brooms back in the broomshed.
As soon as we walked back into the Great Hall, Ron and Hermione ambushed us.
“Where have you two been?” she asked frantically.
“We won! You won! We won!” shouted Ron, clapping us both on the back. “And I gave Malfoy a black eye, and Neville tried to take on Crabbe and Goyle single-handed! He’s still out cold but Madam Pomfrey says he’ll be fine－talk about showing Slytherin! Everyone’s waiting for you two in the common room, we’re having a party, Fred and George stole some cakes and stuff from the kitchens.”
“Nevermind that now,” said Harry. “We need to find an empty room so Mads and I can tell you what we heard.”
We made sure Peeves wasn’t inside before shutting the door behind us, then we told them what we had seen and heard.
“So we were right, it is the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Snape’s trying to force Quirrell to help him get it. He asked if he knew how to get past Fluffy－and he said something about Quirrell’s ‘hocus pocus’－I reckon there are some other things guarding the stone apart from Fluffy, loads of enchantments, probably, and Quirrell would have done some anti-Dark Arts spell that Snape needs to break through－”
“So you mean the Stone’s only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape?” Hermione said in alarm.
“It’ll be gone by next Tuesday,” said Ron.
“Hermione the exams are ages away.”
“Ten weeks,” Hermione snapped. “That’s not ages, that’s like a second to Nicolas Flamel.”
“But we’re not six hundred years old,” I reminded her.
“Anyway, what are you studying for, you already know it all,” Ron said.
“What am I studying for? Are you crazy? You realize we need to pass these exams to get into the second year? They’re very important, I should have started studying a month ago, I don’t know what’s gotten into me….” she continued to say.
We spent most of our free time in the library, trying to get through all of our extra work that the teachers had been giving us.
“I’ll never remember this,” Ron burst out one afternoon, throwing down his quill and looking longingly out of the library window.
I was working on my Charms homework when I heard Ron say, “Hagrid! What are you doing in the library?”
“Jus’ lookin’,” he said, in a shifty voice that got my interest at once. “An’ what’re you lot up ter?” He looked suddenly suspicious.
“Yer not still lookin’ fer Nicolas Flamel, are yeh?”
“Oh, we found out who he is ages ago,” said Ron impressively. “And we know what that dog’s guarding, it's the Sorcerer’s St－”
“Shhhh!” Hagrid looked around quickly to see if anyone was listening. “Don’ go shoutin’ about it, what’s the matter with yeh?”
“There are a few things we wanted to ask you, as a matter of fact,” said Harry, “about what’s guarding the Stone apart from Fluffy－”
“SHHHH!” said Hagrid again. “Listen－ come an’ see me later, I’m not promisin’ I’ll tell yeh anythin’, min, but don’ go rabbitin’ about it in here, students aren’ s’pposed ter know. They’ll think I’ve told yeh－”
“See you later then,” I said.
Hagrid shuffled off.
“What was he hiding behind his back?” Hermione said, thoughtfully. “Do you think it had to do with the Stone?”
“I’m going to see what section he was in,” I said, tired of working. I returned back to our table with a pile of books in my arms.
“Dragons!” I whispered. “Hagrid was looking up stuff about dragons! Look at these: Dragons Species of Great Britain and Ireland: From Egg to Inferno, A Dragon Keeper’s Guide.”
“Hagrid’s always wanted a dragon, he told me so the first time I met him,” said Harry.
An hour later, we made our way to the hot cabin covered with closed curtains.
“Bloody hell, Hagrid,” I gasped when he let us in. “Are you trying to make a sauna?”
“No,” Hagrid said. “So－yeh wanted to ask me something?”
“Yes,” Harry said immediately. “We were wondering if you could tell us what’s guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone apart from Fluffy.”
Hagrid looked at all of us and frowned.
“O’ course I can’t,” he said. “Number one, I don’ know meself. Number two, yeh know too much already, so I wouldn’t tell yeh if I could. That Stone’s here fer a good reason. It was almost stolen outta Gringotts－I s’ppose yeh’ve worked that out an’ all? Beats me how yeh even know abou’ Fluffy.”
“It’s not hard to know when you run straight into it,” I said.
“Run straigh’ inter it?” Hagrid asked. Wha’ are yeh goin’ on abou’, Mads?”
“We came across it in passing,” Ron said.
“That’s not important,” Hermione said quickly. “Hagrid, you might not want to tell us, but you do know everything that goes on round here. We only wondered who had done the guarding, really. We wondered who Dumbledore trusted enough to help him apart from you.”
The flattering seemed to work, because Hagrid’s chest swelled and he beamed, his expression softening.
“Well I don’ s’pose it could hurt ter tell yeh that,” said Hagrid. “Let’s see… he burrowed Fluffy from me… then some o’ the teachers did enchantments… Professors Sprout… Flitwick… McGonagall… Quirrell… an’ Dumbledore himself did somethin’ o’ course. Hang on, I’ve forgotten someone. Oh yeah, Professor Snape.”
“See guys?” I said. “Snape’s on Dumbledore’s side!”
“Nevermind that,” Harry said, clearly not intent on agreeing with me. “You’re the only one who knows how to get past Fluffy, aren’t you Hagrid? And you wouldn’t tell anyone else, would you? Not even one of the teachers?”
“Not a soul knows except me an’ Dumbledore,” Hagrid confirmed.
“That’s something,” Harry mumbled.
“Hagrid,” I said. “Can we please open a window? It’s boiling in here.”
“Can’t Mads, I’m sorry,” Hagrid said, looking at the fire at the corner of his eye.
“Hagrid－what’s that?” I asked, pointing over at where he had just looked, with a feeling that I knew what it was.
“Ah,” said Hagrid, fiddling nervously with his beard. “That’s－er….”
“Where did you get it Hagrid?” said Ron, crouching over the fire to get a closer look at the egg.
“I won it,” Hagrid said softly. “Las’ nigh’. I was down in the village havin’ a few drinks an’ got into a game o’ cards with a stranger. Think he was quite glad ter get rid of it, ter be honest.”
“But what are you going to do with it when it’s hatched?” asked Hermione.
“Well I’ve bin doin’ some readin’,” Hagrid said. “Says here, ‘keep the egg in the fire, ‘cause their mothers breathe on em, see, an’ when it hatches, feed it on a bucket o’brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour. An’ see here－how ter recognize different eggs….what I got there’s a Norwegian Ridgeback. They’re rare, them.”
“Hagrid you live in a wooden house,” Hermione said.
“It’ll be fine,” Ron said reassuringly. “Can I be here when it’s born?”
“I’ll be sendin’ an owl,” Hagrid said.
Within the next few days, we’d received a letter at breakfast and were informed that the dragon was hatching.
Ron wanted to skip Herbology and go straight down to the hut but Hermione wouldn’t hear of it.
“Hermione, how many times in our lives are we going to see a dragon hatching?”
“We’ve got lessons, we’ll get into trouble, and that’s nothing to what Hagrid’s going to be in when someone finds out what he’s doing－”
“Shut up!” I whispered. Malfoy was a few feet away and definitely listening to their conversation.
Ron and Hermione continued to argue all the way to Herbology and in the end, Hermione agreed to run down to Hagrid’s with us during morning break.
When the bell sounded at the end of our lesson, we dropped our belongings off in the common room and then hurried to the edge of the forest. Hagrid greeted us looking flushed yet excited.
“It’s nearly out,” he ushered us inside.
The egg on the table had deep cracks in it, and within it something wiggled excitedly. It clicked and then suddenly kicked at the shell. The egg split open and the baby dragon flopped out. It was slimy, and it’s black wings were spiny and twice the size of its body. Its eyes were a brilliant orange, and it cooed when it saw Hagrid, sneezing suddenly to release a few sparks.
“Isn’t it beautiful? Hagrid murmured, stroking his head. The dragon snapped at his finger, showing pointed fangs.
“Bless him, look, he knows his mommy!” said Hagrid.
“Hagrid,” said Hermione, “how fast do Norwegian Ridgebacks grow, exactly?”
Hagrid was about to answer when the color drained from his face－he lept to his feet and ran to the window.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Someone was lookin’ through the gap in the curtains－ir’s a kid－he’s runnin’ back up ter the school.”
I bolted to the door and looked out.
Malfoy had seen the dragon.
This of course meant we had to get the dragon out of Hogwarts as soon as possible, which was partly solved when I received a letter back from Charlie saying a couple of his friends could pick up the dragon and bring it to Romania at midnight on Saturday.
That day, Harry and I headed up to the Astronomy Tower to deliver the dragon while Hermione stayed with Ron in the Hospital Wing due to his burns.
“This dragon must weigh 100 pounds and it’s still a baby!” I hissed.
“We’re nearly there!” Harry panted as we reached the corridor beneath the tallest tower.
Suddenly there was a movement and I almost dropped the crate.
We shrank into the shadows and stared at the outlines of two people grappling with each other.
“Detention!” Professor McGonagall shouted. “And twenty points from Slytherin! Wandering around in the middle of the night, how dare you－”
“You don’t understand, Professor. Harry Potter and Madison Carter are coming－they’ve got a dragon!” Malfoy said.
“What utter rubbish! How dare you tell such lies! Come on－I shall see Professor Snape about you Malfoy!”
Suddenly the steep staircase seemed the easiest thing in the world after that. After we stepped out into the cold night air we threw off the cloak and I was glad that I could breathe properly again.
“Malfoy’s got detention! I could sing,” I said.
“Please don’t,” Harry said, and I gave him a look.
“I don’t know what you mean Harry, I sing like an angel,” I said laughing.
He chuckled, “I think that even some angels have their limits.”
I playfully punched him in the shoulder and soon we were laying on the ground laughing when four broomsticks swooped down from the darkness.
We helped them buckle Norbert safely and then shook hands with them, thanking them very much.
As soon as they were out of sight we slipped back down the spiral staircase. Our happiness quickly vanished as we stepped into the corridor, running into Filch’s face that came out of the darkness.
“Well, well, well,” he whispered, “we are in trouble.”
Crap. We’d gotten so excited we had left the invisibility cloak on the top of the tower.
Filch took us down to see Professor McGonagall’s study on the first floor, where we sat and waited without saying a word to each other.
How could we have been so stupid and forget the cloak? I honestly don’t know.
After about ten minutes of waiting Professor McGonagall appeared with Neville by her side.
“Harry? Madison?” Neville burst out, the moment he saw us. “I was trying to find you to warn you, I heard Malfoy saying he was going to catch you, he said you had a drag－”
I shook my head violently to shut Neville up, but Professor McGonagall had already seen. She looked more likely to breathe fire than Norbert as she towered over us.
“I would never have believed it of any of you. Mr. Filch says you were up in the astronomy tower. It’s one o’clock in the morning. Explain yourselves.”
We stayed silent, not sure what to say.
“I think I’ve got a good idea of what’s been going on,” said Professor McGonagall. “It doesn’t take a genius to work it out. You fed Draco Malfoy some cock-and-bull story about a dragon, trying to get him out of bed and into trouble. I’ve already caught him. I suppose you think it’s funny that Longbottom here heard the story and believed it, too?”
I’d never seen Neville look so hurt.
“I’m disgusted,” said Professor McGonagall. “Four students out of bed in one night! I’ve never heard of such a thing before! You, Miss Carter, I thought you had more sense. As for you, Mr. Potter, I thought Gryffindor meant more to you than this. All three of you will receive detentions－yes, you too, Mr. Longbottom, nothing gives you the right to walk around the school at night, especially these days, it’s very dangerous－and fifty points will be taken from Gryffindor. Fifty points each.”
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Potter. Now get back to bed, all of you. I’ve never been more ashamed of Gryffindor students.”
A hundred and fifty points lost, putting Gryffindor in last place. In one night we had ruined any chance Gryffindor had had at the house cup.
That night I couldn’t fall asleep so I went down to the common room to sit in front of the fire. I held my legs close to my chest, when I heard movement behind me and whipped my head around.
“Hey,” Harry said, still looking sad.
“Hey,” I said, with a small smile.
“I really messed this up, Mads,” He said as he sat down next to me.
“No you didn’t. This will all blow over in a few weeks. Fred and George have lost loads of points in all the time that they’ve been here, and people still like them,” I said.
“They’ve never lost a hundred and fifty points in one go, though, have they?” said Harry miserably.
“Well－no, but that’s not the point,” I said.
“I’m going to resign from the Quidditch team,” Harry said quickly.
“Resign?” I said. “What good’ll that do? How are we even going to get any points back if we can’t win at Quidditch?”
“Mads, the team won’t even speak to me during practices anymore,” said Harry.
“I will Harry, I always will. You’re my best friend, of course I’m gonna talk to you. Please don’t resign Harry,” I said looking at him.
“I….fine. Okay. I won’t resign, just for you though. I should try to get some sleep. Goodnight Mads,” he said, getting up and walking to his dorm.
“Goodnight Harry,” I whispered, not ready for what the next day would bring.
All credit for original characters and original plot goes to J.K. Rowling. I own only my OCs and select scenes that are not from the original series. Thank you, J.K. Rowling for writing this series and changing so many lives. Thank you all, for reading.
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